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avoid a farther excess constituted a fulfilment of their duty to the public, as well as a provision of security to the BankProprietors. The consequence has been that the present season of mercantile distress has taken them unprovided; and they have been forced to afford a temporary relief, by permitting their footsteps to sink deeper in that soil which has already threatened to give way.
ART. XIV. Rural Sports; by the Rev. William B. Daniel. 3 Vols. 8vo. pp. 1627. 51. 5s. Boards. Longman and Co.
OME of our literary friends on the north of the Tweed will doubtless indulge a sarcastic smile at seeing a work on Rural Sports from the pen of an English clergyman. In Scotland, we believe, hunting is scarcely ever practised by the clergy, and even shooting is by no means a common amusement among gentlemen of that profession. In England, the case is very different. Here, hunting-parsons, shooting-parsons, and even boxing-parsons, are by no means rare; and where the practice of those liberal and truly christian recreations is so general, we must not be surprised that some one of their reverend professors should occasionally take pen in hand, and communicate instructions on such important topics both to his clerical and his lay brothers of the field. We have now before us a system of hunting, fishing, and shooting, from one reverend gentleman; and perhaps, at some future period, we may favoured, from the same quarter, with a complete treatise on the pugilistic art.
We cannot say that we are fond of those sports in which a harmless animal is put to unnecessary pain, for the sake of affording recreation to the country gentleman; and we do think that a christian divine might have employed his time and labour to much better purpose, than in recommending and promoting an amusement so incompatible with his sacred function. Though we readily admit that those creatures, which are the object of this sport, must be slaughtered for our subsistence, and that foxes and other beasts of prey must be destroyed for the havoc which they commit among our domestic animals, yet we would so far extend the hand of mercy even to our enemies, as to put them to death by the speediest and least painful means. In fact, however, the destruction of these animals is altogether a secondary object with hunters, and the preservation of foxes is promoted by every possible means. Witness the following extract of a letter from a nobleman m London to his agent in the country, which we copy from the work before us:
"I must desire that all those tenants who have shewn themselves friends to the several fox-hunts in your neighbouring counties, may have the offer and refusal of their farms upon easy and moderate terms; and on the other hand that you will take care and make very particular enquiry into the conduct of those tenants who shall have shewn a contrary disposition, by destroying foxes, or encouraging others so to do, or otherwise interrupting gentlemen's diversion, and will transmit me their names and places of abode, as it is my absolute determination, that such persons shall not be treated with in future by me, upon any terms or consideration whatever. I am convinced that land owners, as well as farmers and labourers of every description, if they knew their own interest, would perceive, that they owe much of their prosperity to those popular hunts, by the great influx of money that is annually brought into the country. I shall therefore use my utmost endeavours to induce all persons of my acquaintance to adopt similar measures; and I am already happy to find, that three gentlemen of very extensive landed property in Leicestershire, and on the borders of Northamptonshire, have positively sent within these few days, similar directions to their stewards, which their tenants will be apprised of before they retake their farms at next Lady Day." Vol. I. p. 233.
We will venture to say that this association, against the liberty and property of one of the most useful and industrious classes of the community, has scarcely been equalled for illiberality in any age or country. Giving the noble landlords full credit for the object professed in this letter, "the good of the community," we may at least hint a suspicion that they have mistaken the means of attaining that object; and that the greater consumption of hay and corn, and the increased influx of money, which his lordship and the reverend editor regard as the natural consequences of these popular hunts, are more than balanced by the havock committed by the protected foxes among their protectors' lambs and poultry, and by the mischief done by the members of the hunt to the fields, fences, and crops, of the tenants.
To come now to the author's object in the present performance; it is stated to be to impart a certain degree of previous knowlege, which is requisite to enable sportsmen to prosecute the pastimes of the field with facility and success. We willingly allow that he has attained this end; and had it not been for the unfortunate word Reverend displayed in the engraved title-page, which naturally attracted our peculiar attention, and led us to expect something above the common style of writing, we should have been disposed to view the work in a favourable light: but, keeping the profession of the author in the back-ground, and considering the volumes as the performance of a sportsman, possessing rather more intellectual endowment than most of
his brethren, we think that they form an interesting publication. Mr. D. however, has shewn himself to be an industrious rather than a judicious compiler. He has brought together a great mass of valuable and entertaining matter respecting the natural history of beasts, birds, and fishes; the mode of breeding, training, and feeding dogs; with a complete body of instruction for pursuing the various sports of which he treats; and a digest of the game, forest, and other sporting laws and statutes but these subjects are by no means well arranged, and are interspersed with much useless or irrelevant digression. In estimating his merits, we may consider him in three different points of view; as a naturalist, a sportsman, and a lawyer.
First, as a writer on the natural history of the animals which are either the agents or the objects of rural sports, Mr. Daniel appears in the most amiable and most favourable light; and we have derived much pleasure and some information from this part of his work. He has indeed copied largely, and not always very judiciously, from Pennant, Buffon, White, and other eminent naturalists: but he has done more than this: for, though he modestly styles his work a compilation, and always speaks of himself as the compiler,' he has introduced several interesting facts and anecdotes from his own observation, or that of his sporting friends. We shall select a few of these, both because they will be new to many of our readers, and because they afford good specimens of Mr. Daniel's manner as an original writer.
Much of the first volume, and part of the third, are occupied with the natural history of the dog; and in particular with an account of the fox-hound, the terrier, the harrier, the beagle, the grey-hound, the pointer, the setter, and the spaniel Speaking of the great capability of dogs to support life under very long abstinence from food, he presents us with the following affecting narrative:
In 1789, when prepartions were making at St. Paul's for the reception of his majesty, a favourite bitch followed its master up the dark stairs of the Dome; here all at once it was missing, and calling and whistling was to no purpose. Nine weeks after this, all but two days, some glaziers were at work in the cathedral, and heard amongst the timbers which support the dome, a faint noise; thinking it might be some unfortunate human being, they tied a rope round a boy, and let him down near the place whence the sound came. At the bottom he found a dog lying on its side, the skeleton of another dog, and an old shoe half caten. The humanity of the boy led him to rescue the animal from its miserable situation, and it was accordingly drawn up, much emaciated and scarce able to stand, The workmen placed it in the porch of the church, to die or live as it might happen. This was about ten o'clock in the morning; some RAV. OCT. 1810.
time after, the dog was seen endeavouring to cross the street at the top of Ludgate hill, but its weakness'was so great that, unsupported by a wall, he could not accomplish it. The miserable appearance of the dog again excited the compassion of a boy, who carried it over. By the aid of the houses he was enabled to get to Fleet market, and over two or three narrow crossings in its way to Hol born bridge; and about eight o'clock in the evening it reached its master's house in Red Lion Street, Holborn, and laid itself down on the steps, having been 10 hours on its journey from St. Paul's to that place. The dog was so much altered, the eyes being sunk in the head as to be scarce discernible, that the master would not encourage his old faithful companion, who, when lost, was supposed to weigh 2clbs. and now only weighed 3lbs. 140z. The first indication it gave of knowing its master, was by wagging the tail when he mentioned the name of Phillis; for a long time it was unable to eat or drink, and it was kept alive by the sustenance it received from its mistress, who used to feed it with a tea spoon; at length it recovered.' Vol. I. p. 28.
We have seldom seen a more remarkable instance of unnatural affection between animals which are the declared enemies of each other, than is contained in the subsequent paragraph:
A singular instance of ferocity and affection in a terrier bitch, which occurred some years since, may be here mentioned. very severe burst of upwards of an hour, a fox was by my own hands run to earth, at Heney Dovehouse, near Sudbury in Suffolk; the terriers were lost, but as the fox went to ground in view of the headmost hounds, and it was the concluding day of the season, it was resolved to dig him, and two men from Sudbury brought a couple of terriers for that purpose; after considerable labour the hunted fox was got, and given to the hounds; whilst they were breaking the fox, one of the terriers slipt back into the earth, and again laid; after more digging a bitch fox was taken out, and the terrier killed two cubs in the earth, three others were saved from her fury, and which were begged by the owner of the bitch, who said he should make her suckle them: this was laughed at as impossible, however the man was positive, and had the cubs, the bitch fox was carried away and turned into an earth in another county. The terrier had behaved so well at earth, that I some days afterwards bought her, with the cubs she had fostered; the bitch continued regularly to suckle, and reared them until able to shift for themselves; what adds to this singularity is that the terrier's whelp was near five weeks old, and the cubs could just see when this exchange of progeny was made.' Vol. I. p. 122.
It is, we believe, a novelty in the natural history of the fox, that the female should deposit its young within the hollow of a tree, at a considerable distance from the ground. Hence the ensuing circumstance, observed by Mr. Daniel, merits attention.
In April 1784, the Compiler's hounds found at Bromfield-Hallwood; by some accident the whipper-in was thrown out, and after following the track two or three miles, gave up the pursuit; in returning home, he came through the fields near the cover where the fox was found; a terrier that was with him whined, and was very busy at the foot of an oak pollard tree; this induced the man to dismount and examine if there was any hole at the bottom, suppos. ing it might be the harbour of a polecat, or some small vermin upon examination he could discern no hole, but the dog was still anxious to get up the tree, which was covered with twigs from the stem to the crown, and upon which was plainly to be seen the dirt left by something that had gone up and down the boughs; he lifted the terrier as high as he could, and the dog's eagerness increased; he then climbed the tree, putting up the dog before him; the instant the dog reached the top the man heard him seize something, and to his great surprize found him fast chapped with a bitch fox, which he secured, and four cubs; the height of the tree was 23 feet, and from the top there was a hole about 3 feet down, in which the fox had littered, so that the height from the ground to where the cubs laid was 20 feet: there was no mode of the fox getting to or from her young, but by the outside boughs, and the tree had no bend to render that path an easy one. It was considered by numbers of people who inspected the tree, to be a most extraordinary incident, and the cubs were begged, and three of them reared up tame to commemorate it. One of them the late Mr. Leigh had, and which is well remembered at Wood's Hotel in Covent Garden, where he used frequently to run tame about the coffee-room.' Vol. I. p. 231.
Mr. Daniel has given a rather full account of the diseases incident to dogs, with a large catalogue of their usual remedies. In particular, he describes at considerable length, chiefly from Mr. Blane's pamphlet, that affection which is called the distemper; and he treats at large on canine madness. On this last disease he has collected a voluminous mass of heterogeneous matter, both from sporting and from medical writers; and he has given the opinions of Drs. Bardsley, Darwin, Mede, Tissot, Rowley, Thornton, Arnold, and several other physicians, on the symptoms, causes, and cure of hydrophobia in the human body. In this farrago we particularly notice the observations of Mr. Meynell, communicated to Dr. Arnold, and published by him in his "Case of Hydrophobia," which seem to convey the most accurate ideas of the symptoms of this terrible disease as it occurs in dogs. Perhaps the most valuable part of the author's miscellaneous observations on hydrophobia is that which relates to the practice and effects of worming dogs, though he evidently does not understand the nature of the operation:
The prevention of the direful effects of canine madness (s (says Mr. Daniel) seems to have been attempted in the early ages; to accomplish this, Pliny recommends the worming of dogs, and from his