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can exist in the same country, and A FEW LINES FROM NÍMROD. I am convinced they can without detriment to either, I do not see
why one man should give up all
own amusement to that of another, or else incur the displeasure of a surrounding neighbourhood, and be termed selfish. I therefore say again, that applying the epithet selfish towards shooting or shooters (all the same), is a most illiberal and undue calumny. Although, Mr. Editor, I have above quoted the words of a late Member of Christ Church with reference to this point, let me not be supposed to be attacking any opinion of his in particular, or find fault with him. On the contrary, I may say that the introduction of his highly amusing letters adds greater interest to your publication; and I must congratulate yourself and your numerous subscribers on the acquisition of so valuable contributor. The pleasure I have received from the perusal of these letters makes me hope that he may keep his promise, and let us hear from him again*.
To conclude: My mind is at ease: my feeble hand has penned that which I could have wished some abler person had attempted. No doubt I shall be overwhelmed by a volley of replies, which, let me say, so far from having any effect upon me, so as to induce me to alter my opinion, may perchance be forgotten as soon as read. I do not wish to fill up your pages with replies and rejoinders, which I have neither time nor wish to make.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
A Well-wisher to all Sports. April 12, 1828.
SINCE I wrote last under this
head, I have perceived there has been such an overflow of matter for these pages, that it would be presumptuous in me to attempt to usurp more of them than might fall to my share, though perhaps now one of your oldest contributors; therefore shall at present do little more than notice the different appeals which have been made to myself in the two last Numbers. First-with respect to the Game Laws. Here I beg leave to observe, that as this subject is now under discussion in the two Houses of Parliament, and it is the universal opinion that some change will be effected, it will be time enough for me to touch on it again, if required, when that change be determined upon. I here, however, beg to acknowledge one error. In my letters on the Game Laws I reprobated the use of the spring gun in preserves. I have been since convinced it was the means of preventing much bloodshed; for the relinquishing it has emboldened the poacher, who now thinks he has the feeling of Parliament and the people on his side, and joins a phalanx, which, from its numbers, it is impossible for keepers to contend with.
Whatever be the result of the various speculations on the Game Laws, I see plainly I was a true prophet when I foretold the not very distant dissolution of English fox-hunting-the bane of which has been the unbounded preservation of pheasants. The letter, from which the following
* Alas! that is impossible, as he is no more. It would ill become us to mention names, or even make allusions to persons, without express sanction-or, be assured, the many well-merited compliments, justly paid to his deserved memory, should not have been withheld from our pages.
is an extract, I received yesterday; and though, with the exception of the master of the pack, I know none of the parties alluded to, I will pledge myself to the strict veracity of the writer.
"I was out on Saturday with Sir John Cope. He has the finest pack of hounds I ever saw; and I think, if you saw them, you would say the same. I do not say they are the largest, but I never saw so even a pack. They are fast, and will hunt the coldest scent. We had a pretty run, after drawing some hundreds of acres of wood, but we did not kill, although I think we might have done so; but it looked as if Sir John was indifferent as to that point, the country being very thin of foxes. We drew the PRESERVES of a young man of large fortune, but no sportsman. We were attended by the keeper, who was candid enough to tell me that the last fox he had seen was about ten days before, and he had since taken him in a rabbit trap!! There is only one thing that can save this country (Sir J. C.'s) as to fox-hunting; and that is, by adopting the plan of a young man of large fortune and equally extensive estate, adjoining the above described gentleman, who is devoted to fox-hunting, and in whose best coverts, where we found our fox, I did not see one pheasant. I shall meet these hounds again to-morrow and Thursday, when Sir John concludes the season."
As a set-off against what I have said, a new pack of fox-hounds are, I find, established in Suffolk, and long may they continne to hunt it! We are indebted to Ringmood for a very able description of them; and as a brother sportsman-which I am sure he is-I shall take this opportunity of correcting one mis
take he has fallen into with respect to Leicestershire hunting. He clearly insinuates, it is all plain sailing there, and that "working for a scent is quite out of the question." (p. 359.) He is little aware that no county in England brings hounds to hunting more frequently than Leicestershire, from the continual stain of cattle and sheep. This accounts for better runs being oftener seen in the neighbourhood of Charnwood Forest-where the quality of the land is very inferior-than over the cream of the Market Harborough country, where there is not a ploughed field. Near the Forest there are neither cattle nor sheep; at least very few.
Although I have nothing to say at present on the Game Laws, yet I take this opportunity-the first I have had-of presenting my readers with some very sensible remarks on this important subject, and they will not be less acceptable for the subject being now under discussion. They are from the pen of a gentleman of high rank, a considerable game preserver, and although only sent to me at Christmas last, I have reason to believe they were written whilst Lord Wharncliffe's last Bill was before the House.
"Entirely doing away the present qualification necessary to kill game, is not only a blow of the greatest magnitude to the game preserver, but must be the cause of endless petty squabbles, ill blood, and mischief, to all concerned in landed property. It will be the greatest annoyance to the occupier, as well as the owner of the soil. Every apprentice, every idle disorderly person, will have fresh excitement; all will go armed with a
gun, taking the chance of detection-so easily avoided, either by a light pair of heels, or a companion to watch and warn the approach of any one likely to interfere.
Trespassers will spring up like mushrooms; the farmers' fences will be destroyed; and every nuisance and annoyance multiply upon the unfortunate occupier of a farm, who may be supposed to have a few pheasants or partridges, bred upon and belonging to the land.
"The experiment of summary punishment for trespass has already been tried with very little effect. The farmer's loss of time; difficulty of proof of actual damage; the trifle that is awarded when fences are broken and destroyed; make it little worth his while to take the offender before a Magistrate, who probably puts him off till Bench day, and causes him to lose two days labour or attention on his farm, for the sake of sixpence or one shilling damages (awarded), when the mischief is ten times the amount and since this sum
mary mode of dealing with a trespasser has been in force, what has been the consequence? Those, who before came singly in search of nuts or any other pursuits, now assemble in numbers, and set the law at defiance by resistance. What then will be the consequence (especially to those whose property happens to be near a populous town), when they will have a right each to arm with a gun, and a market open for the sale of game, which it appears is also proposed in the alteration of the present Game Laws?
"The Bill, as at present reported in the newspapers, is evidently the production of a large landed proprietor; one who can afford to keep a host of keepers and
assistants; one who can ensure himself a constant and continual watch; and from whom a trespasser may have some difficulty to escape. But the man of small fortune, who cannot afford to keep more than one keeper; who is, equally with the great proprietor, doing all the good he can, by looking to the management of the poor, and endeavouring to keep the parish in which he resides in good order and regulation; and who, although so much, may not be in his power, still would be a great loss to his neighbourhood (there are many such), both as a Magistrate and a person spending his income on the spot: he will have no chance to detect the numerous trespassers that these new laws will inevitably bring upon him, whilst his only keeper may be gone miles to look for the nearest Magistrate-probably not find him; or be put off till the meeting of the Bench, causing his absence several times, giving the armed trespassers time and opportunity to destroy all the game he may have. A wrong name given, or a wrong place of abode, may be found out, may be traced by the man of large property and many keepers; but how is it to be done by the other? The expense entailed upon him would be endless, and his keeper rendered perfectly useless. Four or five have only to agree to trespass, and allow one to be taken and conveyed to the Magistrate; the others, by their day's diversion, could well afford to pay the trifle that the Magistrate would inflict.
"Still worse will this new regulation affect the now qualified farmer, who keeps no regular keeper, but who, farming his own land, enjoys the diversion it af
fords, by preserving the game. What chance would he have to detect these wilful and constant trespassers? His occupations, his time would not allow it. All who live much in the country are well aware, that if a trespass is committed by a gentlemen, he endeavours to do as little mischief as possible to the occupier of the soil; whilst the nutter, the bird's-nester (an occupation not confined to children), the idle apprentice, and unqualified trespasser, never in the least consider the occupier of the soil, his loss, or his annoyance. Surely the drawbacks are great already on landed property! The inducements, in these times of pauperism and poor laws, are very few to make gentlemen reside on their property. Deprive them of their amusement (which amusement is now a protection, a guard to the occupier in every sense of the word), and you will completely sever the landlord and the tenant, and thoroughly break up what remains of the English country gentleman.
"If game must be made a saleable article, strong restrictions should be made as to those who have the power to sell; and all who buy, should buy of a licensed person. Yet, in this, great evils will arise: the man who has one or two acres close to a preserve (I am not speaking of the many preserves of the great landowner) would be enabled to destroy all the game; and, without being at any expense or trouble, would reap the whole benefit.
"If, as is often the case, three or four farmers club together to preserve their game, their lands adjoining each other, another person residing in the town, having an acre or two of land intersecting
VOL. XXII. N. S.-No. 128.
theirs, could destroy all their amusement, and would reap the whole benefit and profit, to which he can in no way be entitled, not assisting in the least towards the preservation of that which would yield him a greater harvest than the produce of his land; and which land he would, in future, cultivate so as to ensure a constant endless drain on the preserve of his neighbours. In many instances, the proposed alterations will be a most decided attack upon private property. Many are the manors which can now be let or sold to great advantage, for the sake of sporting. Under the meditated Game Laws, the whole system will be changed: the amusements, the hospitality, the social intercourse of the country gentlemen, will receive a blow that the change cannot compensate: the idle and disorderly will have greater inducements to continue so, and will have a market open for their plunder.
"In the proposed Bill, there is no punishment for marking or disguising by blacking or otherwise. A protection against poison would be no bad introduction.
"A Shooter, and a Fox-hunter."
Our American friend Septentri onalis, in his very interesting letter on the various breeds of horses, and the method of treating them in his country (Transatlantic coaching, &c.), has done me the honour to express a wish that I should resume my remarks upon the condition and diseases of these noble animals. He particularly alludes to foot-lameness, which he very justly designates "the curse upon good horse flesh." I beg to inform him, I shall resume the subject in
the June Number, and continue it to its conclusion.
No Vulpecide calls for a word from me. I agree with him in every line he has written on the subject which he treats of, and more particularly so in his proposed method of remunerating keepers. The system of payment would be an equitable one to all parties. I was not aware that a hundred brace of foxes had been stolen from the Quorn and Pytchley countries, (surely Samson must have been amongst them!) neither is it in my power to gainsay it; but this I will assert, that so long as sporting of almost all descriptions is carried on in the artificial way in which we now see it, fox-stealing will always flourish. What would have been the fox-hunting of my own neighbourhood at this present time, had it not been for the purchase of foxes, from somewhere? Most likely a score blank days in the season; for seventeen would be no novelty.
I should have liked this article better had it not been for the concluding part of it. "I (NIMROD) give too much of my noble friends," says the writer," and not enough of the noble animal the fox." Now this reminds me of a remark a brothersportsman-since gone to his fathers--made to me about four years ago. "I like your letters much," said he, "but you had better stick entirely to matter of fact, as regards pure sporting matters." -"You think so, do you?" observed I;" then, I do not," was my reply. But pray let me ask, when speaking of sportsmen, conspicuous as such, have I been lavish only on my noble friends? Is John Warde a Lord? Is Ralph Lambton a Lord? Is Sam Nicoll a Lord? Is
Tom Hodgson, a Lord? Or is Will Danby a Lord? No man cares less for a Lord than I do, merely because he is a Lord; but if he be a good sportsman, and a good fellow withal, I like him the better for being a Lord: and where is the man who does not? Why make a man a lord if he is not to be exalted by the title you give him? and surely his rank gives eclat to his actions, and strengthens the force of his example, if a good one.
This, however, is not all. Our zealous fox-preserver has amused himself with applying a taunting and sarcastic quotation to me, which I not only do not relish, but which, I am put to the pain of telling him, does not fit. It is as much as to say, that, if not a stranger, I am something like an intruder in good society. To rebut this-which my nature shrinks from-I will give him my passport. My only title, it is true, is NIMROD; but I claim a fifth Viscount for my ancestor; a Baronet for my uncle ; I married the grandaughter of a Viscountess, and the great grandaughter of an old Welsh Baronet, once Speaker of the House of Commons.
Turning now to pleasanter subjects, I am happy to have it in my power to send you an account of a gallant Irish steeple chase, which I received from one of my "noble friends" in that country, accompanied by a most kind invitation to visit him next winter, and have one more season's hunting in Ireland, before I go hence and be no more seen. "Be assured," adds he, "you will find plenty for the book, as well as plenty of every thing else, in this land of good fellowship and fun." Of this I enter