Friday, June 30, 2006

Eighteenth-century tidbits #3

From Richard Bradley, The Gentleman and Farmer's Guide For the Increase and Improvement of Cattle, viz. Lambs, Sheep, Hogs, Calves, Cows, Oxen. Also the best Manner of Breeding, and Breaking Horses, both for Sport and Burden, 2nd ed. (1732):

We may observe, that as no Creature is generally so voracious as an Hog, so a Sow that has Pigs, is the most mischievous Creature that we know. It has, besides its own natural Disposition to Gluttony, a Wantonness which induces it to prey upon every Thing which falls in its Way, or it can get within its Power. We see its ill Nature, in its Disposition to prey upon its own Pigs; and it would even be well if its voracious Appetite would end there. But what melancholy Instances have we had of the Mischief done by Sows that had Pigs, in the wounding, and even in the eating of little Children, where there has not been due Care taken of them? I could mention several Cases of this Nature. Some are now living, who wear the Marks of their savage Inclination; and others who mourn the Loss of a Child. However this Paragraph may be thought out of the way by some People, I think it no Imprudence to insert it, to prevent for the future such Mischiefs. We must consider, that at first all Hogs were wild; and we know, how tame soever, they are the most voracious Creatures. But though they have a spirit equal to Tygers, Bears, or Wolves, the Way to civilize them, is to feed them well, and keep them in Plenty of Victuals; for, I have experienced in a Tyger, which I was very familiar with, that he never attempted any Thing in the savage way, or endeavoured to insult his Keeper, or the Persons about him, but when he wanted his common Subsistence, or convenient Nourishment.

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