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tain not one atom of doubt, for I have already experienced it. "French Park, County Roscommon,
March 20, 1828.
"DEAR NIMROD-According to promise I send you a rough sketch of the Rathcroghan Steeple Chase; of which the following is the programme :
"COUNTY OF ROSCOMMON.
"A Sweepstakes of 101. each, half forfeit, to which A. French, Esq. M.P. adds 30 sovereigns, to be run for on the 18th of March, over the Rathcroghan Course (nearly five miles in extent). During the run six stone walls, five feet high, and eighteen inches broad at top, are to be leaped, independent of other obstacles-twentysix subscribers :-four-year-olds to carry 10st. 10lb.; five, 11st. 8lb.; six and aged, 12st.
"A. French, Esq. M.P. and Fitzstephen French, Esq. acted as Stewards. "The following horses only started: Charles French's Tiger, aged..... Hon. R. King's, M.P. Highflyer, yrs old......
D. Corr's Sportsman, aged..
T. D. Hearne's Cigar, aged..
Fitzstephen French's Cliffe, aged..
A. French, Esq.'s M.P. Cock Robin, 5 yrs old.
J. Irwin's Bergami, 5 yrs old.
J. M. French's b. m. by Pygmalion,
T. Nolan's Dick Dawson...
"I will now attempt to describe some of the finest of the horses; and as to the rest, perhaps, you may agree with me in thinking the least said about them the better. Tiger, the winner, is the property of Capt. Charles French; is a flea-bitten grey horse, of great power, and equal to carry fourteen stone with hounds; his dam is supposed to have been thoroughbred, and he got by Tiger, who was brought to this country, from England, by Mr. Bruen. At all
events, he looks like a thorough bred horse, and his performance here is corroborative of the sup position. Highflyer, who second, is the property of A. French, M. P. for this county, and is a very fine promising brown colt, up to high weights. He is got by Norfolk (a Son of Champion, who, I believe, won both Derby and St. Leger), and, as horse dealers say, is sure to grow into a fine horse, and a deal of money-at present, I think, he has not quite come to his strength. The latter part of the race lay between Tiger, Barony Boy, and Highflyer, who was leading, until they came to the last wall but one, which Highflyer and Tiger took in fine style; but Barony Boy struck it with his knees, and gave himself and rider the most frightful fall I ever witnessed. The horse charged at it gallantly, and from the force with which he struck it, he performed a complete somerset in the air, landing on the opposite side on the top of his head, and then rolling over his rider, who, I am happy to say, was not much hurt, though at the moment I thought both horse and man were really kilt. I believe this was the only fall that took place in the race, which speaks well for the Roscommon hunters, as the course is nearly five miles in length, with a great deal of strong running ground in it, not to mention the deep and rising parts of it-all good receipts for stopping a Carthaginian, near the bellows mender's. After the fall poor Barony Boy was no more seen,' and the remaining part of the race was stoutly contested by Tiger and Highflyer, who both scarcely touched the last wall in jumping it. However Highflyer could not pass his
feline majesty, but has proved himself an out-and-outer for his age, and next year, no doubt, will be a trump. Cigar, who came in the fourth, I should have told you, was the decided favorite before starting, being backed against any one stable, and almost against the field. He has distinguished himself in former fields as a steeple-chaser, and, on that account, certainly justified his party- all the ways from Galway'in backing him. I was not so fond of him, as he is nearly sixteen hands high, rather long on his legs, and too light over his kidneys, as I thought, to be likely to last to the end of five miles, going the best pace from the post. His condition did great credit to his groom, and the same remarks apply to Tiger and Highflyer. The second favorite was a bay mare, by Pygmalion; but, in my humble opinion, she had too much of the Dutch build behind, that would fit a pillion well. She is a good jumper, and was the only horse that took the first wall without a baulk; however, she wanted a turn of speed, or she ought to have been there or there about, from the lead she got by her courage; but perfection is seldom, if ever, to be met with. This mare bears a good character in her hunt. Tiger, Cock Robin, Cigar, Highflyer, and Sportsman are Leicestershire horses, and would do credit to any stud there, however good. The rest of the horses were of the rough and ready kind, and may be better than they looked. The horses were all well ridden. These kind of races require great pluck, as well as judgment. Tiger won the race by a head only, a thing
rarely witnessed at the finale of a steeple chase; and some good judges say that Highflyer would have won, had he not been jostled by a horseman just after he leaped the last wall. The race was scarcely over ere it began to rain in torrents, an event not unexpected by me, as, from the lowering appearance of the morning, and my former experience of the usage of this county, I fully looked forward to a mighty wet night-and faith! I was not disappointed; for here hospitality holds sway!
"I have nothing farther now to say; and shall conclude by apologizing for troubling your honour's honour with so long a letter, and, till we meet, remain your humble servant,
"One of the Boys of the Redmond's."
I now transcribe another letter I have just received from a gentleman whom I knew well in early life, and which, as it is addressed have no hesitation in submitting to me in my public capacity, I to the public eye. I should think the plan not only feasible, but dethe writer was a very agreeable sirable; and shall only add, that and I think I can answer for his companion when I saw him last, not having turned Saint.
"Condie Bridge of Earne, N. B. "MY DEAR SIR-Many years have now elapsed since I had the pleasure of meeting you at Erthigt. By accident I heard from my friend, Colonel Roberts, that you you were connected with the Sporting Magazine, and as such I take the liberty of addressing you
The name of a favorite jig tune.-ED. + The beautiful seat of Mr. Yorke, near Wrexham ; and before noticed by me for the unusual appearance of the pightingale in its woods, so far north of Trent.
on a subject, which I think, if rightly set about, would be highly beneficial to those sportsmen who would like to enjoy prime shooting at an easy (comparatively) expense. The moor and shooting places in this country are now gone to enormous prices, and not come-at-able but by people of very large for tunes. Now as clubs are the order of the day, why not have a Grouse Shooting, or rather Highland Shooting Club? I am of opinion that such an establishment would answer well, as a Highland place would also give excellent shooting and fishing, the two affording sport nearly all the year round. Col. Roberts and myself were talking of such a club, and I drew out a prospectus, which Col. R. now has. About fourteen members, at fifty pounds each, would do the thing in very good style; would obtain a good furnished house, and thirty thousand acres of ground to sport over; pay keepers and the necessary out-fit. A person might be found, who could, with the help of part of the game and fish taken, keep an excellent table at two pounds per head weekly. Each Member would have his room, and the table would be kept all the year round for those who liked to be there the board only to be paid for when there; so that the only actual expense would be fifty pounds per annum. I know at this moment, a house that is excellently well furnished; coble fishing of a river twenty miles; two or three locks; and twentyfive thousand acres of shooting, with all sorts of game now to be let, and think it might be had worth the money. To put this plan in execution, the moneynamely, seven hundred pounds, at fifty each must be had before the
house can be taken. I have mentioned my plan to several of my friends, who, I doubt not, would be glad to join the party. I should, for the sake of society, like married men, who would bring their wives, better than single men. To any persons wishing to see Scotland and its curiosities, such a place would be a nice resting place. Excuse the liberty I have taken in troubling you on the subject; and should you think it a plan likely to succeed, I shall be happy to put my fifty pounds; and, as I am in the country, to render any service in my power by looking out a proper place. Col. Roberts, who has the prospectus I drew, as also a Mr. Barnwell, may be heard of at No. 23, Doverstreet, Piccadilly.-I remain, very truly, yours,
I now conclude for this month, but have an excellent letter from France for next Number. I hope you have found room for my finish to the Tour, or it will be quite "the day after the fair." It is in vain to apologize for what had no alternative; but my readers must be aware, that, on my visit to the North, I was very unfortunate in weather, having been prevented hunting upwards of two months by frost. Add to this, I was unwell, and therefore not up to the mark.
When noticing the hard riders in the Raby Hunt, I cannot well imagine how I overlooked my old friend, Mr. Wharton (the wellknown Jerry Wharton), who is almost altogether on a visit to Lord Cleveland in the hunting season. He is a very good workman, and generally well mounted, having this year a horse Mr. Holyoake offered him 400 guineas for.
THE GAME LAWS. (Continued from our last Volume, page 425.
IN my last communication upon the subject of the Game Laws, I aimed at proving that there might be a qualified property in game, even whilst living and wild. I endeavored, and I trust not unsuccessfully, to deduce the existence of such a principle from the laws of nature and of reason; and I shewed that the qualified property which I have described was recognised by the laws of this country as far back as in the days of Canute.
Up to the period of the Norman Conquest, there does not appear to have been any alteration in the principle, or in the law which sanctioned it. From that time a new scene opens upon the view.
Ancient writers agree in describing the Barbarians of the North as dividing their time between wars, and hunting, and idleness; or, in the language of Tacitus, "quoties bella non ineunt multum venatibus, plus per otium transigentes." When, therefore, their migrating hordes overran the Western Empire, and laid the foundation of most of the modern kingdoms of Europe on its ruins, they naturally brought with them all that ardour for the sports of the country for which they had before been celebrated. The same period witnessed the establishment of the feudal system, by which the sovereign is looked up to as the ultimate proprietor of all the lands of his kingdom.
Flushed with conquest, and careless of the feelings of a people whom he had subdued, the Norman Conqueror, when he establish
ed himself in this country, brought with him the same fondness for those sports in which he had been educated.
Feeling an utter indifference, heightened probably by the very principles of the feudal system, for the rights of individuals, where they interfered with his will, he hesitated not to depopulate whole tracks of country, in order to add them to the existing royal forests. The harshest measures were adopted without scruple, in order that the game might be increased and preserved; and every species of oppression was practised, under the colour of Forest Law. Succeeding Kings pursued the same course of tyranny; and King John, carrying the principle even farther than his predecessors, when he was at Bristol in 1209, laid a total interdict upon the pursuit and destruction of all game, and, in the language of Matthew Paris, " Capturam avium per totam Angliam interdixit."-Page 227, edit. 1640.
The oppressions thus originating with William, and increased by his successors, at length called forth the zealous exertions of our ancestors, who strove, and strove successfully, for the restoration of their rights, and added to the great Charter of our liberties, what they deemed scarcely less important, the Carta de Forestá.
This Act, the Charter of Forests, unwillingly as it was extorted from King John, "has been," Sir Edward Coke informs us, (4 Inst. 303,) "above thirty times confirmed, and enacted, and commanded to be put in execution."
He farther tells us, that it was "a declaratory law, restoring the subject to his former rights."
However, therefore, the principles which have been before laid down with respect to a right of property in game may have been affected by the oppressive courses pursued either by King John or his predecessors after the Conquest, it is clear that they were restored by the Act of that King, thus repeatedly confirmed, to all their former force. And indeed every interference by King John and his predecessors with the law as it existed in the days of Canute, as they found it, is rather to be viewed in the light of wanton and arbitrary encroachment upon the rights of the people, than as legitimate alteration of that law.
Thus then have we this quali fied property in game still existing in the beginning of the thirteenth century.
It is true, that an able and enlightened writer, whose well-earned fame calls for much diffidence and hesitation before one ventures to differ from the opinions which he has expressed, has viewed this matter in another light. Sir Wm. Blackstone, in treating of this subject, (2 Bl. Com. 415,) has said, "Upon the Norman Conquest a new doctrine took place; and the right of pursuing and taking all beasts of chase or venary, and such other animals as were accounted game, was then held to belong to the King, or to such only as were authorised under him: and this, as well upon the principles of the feudal law, that the King is the ultimate proprietor of all the lands in the kingdom, they being all held of him as the chief lord, or lord paramount of the fee; and that, therefore, he has the right of the
universal soil to enter thereon, and to chase and take such creatures at his pleasure: as also upon another maxim of the common law, which we have frequently cited and illustrated, that these animals are bona vacantia, and, having no other owner, belong to the King by his prerogative. As, therefore, the former reason was held to vest in the King a right to pursue and take them any where, the latter was supposed to give the King, and such as he should authorise, a sole and exclusive right."
But though it be granted, that, upon the principles of the feudal law, the King is the ultimate proprietor of all lands in the kingdom; and though it be even conceded, that he has power, as such, to enter upon the lands the private property of any individual, at his pleasure, may it not fairly be asked, How does this confer any farther right in him to take the game that may be found there? No declared law, or positive enactment, is produced as giving this right; and we have seen, that, by the laws of nature and of reason, as sanctioned by the laws of this country at an earlier period than that of which we are speaking, the private individual had a species of property in the game so found on his own lands. Does then this ultimate feudal proprietorship in the King confer a right to take the property of an individual? Could the King, when he had so entered upon these private lands, cut down and sell the timber growing thereon? Could he mow the grass; gather in the ripening corn; or carry off the live stock? Why then should he be privileged to take the game?
Even if it be granted that the King has this power, how does it appear that the private individual