The travels of Sig. Pietro della Valle, a noble Roman, into East-India and Arabia Deserta in which, the several countries, together with the customs, manners, traffique, and rites both religious and civil, of those Oriental princes and nations, are faithfully described : in familiar letters to his friend Signior Mario Schipano : whereunto is added a relation of Sir Thomas Roe's Voyage into the East-Indies.
Della Valle, Pietro, 1586-1652., Roe, Thomas, Sir, 1581?-1644., Havers, G. (George)

SECTION XX. Of the tenderness of that people in preserving the lives of all other inferiour Creatures, &c.

FOr they will not (if they can help it by any means) take, but, on the contrary, do what they can to preserve the Page  437 lives of all inferiour Creatures, whence (as before I told you) they give large money to preserve the lives of their Kine, (a reason for this you shall have afterward) and I have often ob∣served, that when our English boyes there have out of wanton∣ness been killing of Flies (there swarming in abundance) they would be very much troubled at it; and, if they could not per∣swade them to suffer those poor Creatures to live, they would give them money, or something else, to forbear that (as they conceived) Cruelty.

As for themselves (I mean a great number of them) they will not deprive the most useless, and most offensive Creatures of Life; not Snakes, and other venomous things that may kill them, saying, that it is their nature to do hurt, and they cannot help it: but as for themselves they further say, that God hath given them Reason to shun those Creatures, but not liberty to destroy them.

And in order to this their conceit, the Banians (who are the most tender-hearted in this case of all that people) have Spittles (as they say) on purpose to recover lame Birds and Beasts.

Some ground for this their tenderness haply proceeds from this consideration; that they cannot give Life to the meanest of the sensible Creatures, and therefore think that they may not take the Lives of any of them: for the poorest worm which crawleth upon the face of the Earth, tam Vita vivit, quam An∣gelus, (as one of the Ancients speaks) live for the present as much as the Angels, and cannot be willing to part with that Life, and therefore they imagine that it is most injurious by vio∣lence to take it.

But (as I conceive) the most principal cause why they thus forbear to take the lives of inferiour Creatures, proceeds from their obedience unto a precept given them by one of their principal, and most highly esteemed Prophets and Law-givers they call Bremaw; others they have in very high esteem, and the name of one of them is Ram, of another Permissar. I am ignorant of the names of others, and I conceive that my Reader will not much care to know them. But for him they call Bremaw, they have received (as they say) many precepts, which they are careful to observe, and the first of them, This

Thou shalt not kill any living Creature whatsoever it be, having Life in the same; for thou art a Creature, and so is it; thou art indued with Life, and so is it; thou shalt not therefore spill the Life of any of thy fellow-Creatures that live.

Other Precepts (they say) were delivered unto them by their Law-giver about their devotions, in their washings and worshippings where they are commanded,

To observe times for fasting, and hours for watching, that they may be the better fitted for them.

— Other directions they have about their Festivals where∣in they are required,

Page  438To take their Food moderately, in not pampering their Bodies.

—Concerning Charity, they are further commanded,

To help the poor as far as they are possibly able.

—Other Precepts (they say) were given them likewise in charge; as

Not to tell false Tales, nor to utter any thing that is untrue.
Not to steal any thing from others, be it never so little.
Not to defraud any by their cunning in bargains, or contracts.
Not to oppress any, when they have power to do it.

Now all those particulars are observed by them with much strictness; and some of them are very good, having the impres∣ssion of God upon them, but that scruple they make in forbear∣ing the lives of the Creatures made for mens use, shews how that they have their dwellings in the dark, which makes them by reason of their blindness, to deny unto themselves that liberty, and Soveraignty which Almighty God hath given unto Man over the Beasts of the Field, the Fowls of the Air, and the Fishes of the Sea, appointed for his Food, given unto him for his service and sustenance, to serve him, and to feed him, but not to make havock and spoil of them.

However, the tenderness of that people over inferiour Crea∣tures, shall one day rise up in judgement against all those who make no scruple at all in taking the Lives, not of sensible Crea∣tures, but Men, not legally to satisfie good and known Laws, but violently to please their cruell and barbarous Lusts.