Wednesday, September 15, 2010

[Hannah]: "So Convenient a Thing it is to be a Reasonable Creature"

from Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography:

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first voyage from Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many.

Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion consider'd, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, "If you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you."

So I din'd upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet.

So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.


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