decorative endpaper
The Chase, the Turf and the Road
by Nimrod

The word “rogue” is obsolete on the modern turf; the term “clever man” has superseded it.

Do not ask why it isn’t The Chase, the Road and the Turf—the book’s original title, reflecting the order of its three parts. I’ve also seen it as The Road, the Turf and the Chace, in that order, with the parts rearranged to fit. (For the keen-eyed reader: By 1850 the spelling “Chace” was hopelessly obsolete, so the pictorial title page has “Chase” while the main title page adheres to the earlier spelling.) By any name, the book is made up of three independent essays, originally published in The Quarterly Review in 1832 and 1833. In 1837, with some modifications, they were collected into book form.

The author began life as Charles James Apperley (1778?–1843). His year of birth isn’t entirely certain; the Dictionary of Welsh Biography says 1779, and you’d think they would know. The same source sums up his life as “hunting, farming, and ultimately losing most of his money”, which is what happens when you are a second son and haven’t been brought up to a respectable profession. In 1822 Apperley began writing for The Sporting Magazine using the name “Nimrod”. In 1830 he fled to Calais—not for any exciting political reason but to escape his creditors. He remained there until near the end of his life.

About that pen name: In 1822, or 1837, or 1850, the name “Nimrod” had no associations other than the Biblical mighty hunter. Bugs Bunny was a good century in the future.

This and That

The author is fond of putting words and phrases in italics, which sometimes makes him look rather excitable.

The name the author spells “Aysheton Smith” is usually given as Assheton Smith. In a later author, it could be blamed on misreading long ſ, but a person of Nimrod’s age had no excuse.

Casual research suggests that the average family income in Nimrod’s time was well under £100. Keep this in the back of your mind when considering the costs associated with hunting and racing.

And yes, someone really did name a racehorse Pot-8-o’s.


The original articles had no illustrations. The book added some twenty drawings, ranging from vignettes to full-page plates. The signatures suggest that the engraver, Henry Vizetelly (1820–1894), considered himself just as important as the artist—at a guess, the prolific painter and illustrator John Gilbert (1817–1897).

names as shown on illustrations

The book’s cover wasn’t very interesting: plain leather, with more coffee-cup stains than you might expect from a reputable academic library. Instead I’ve shown one of the colorful endpapers.


This ebook is based on the 1850 Murray edition, which looks like a reissue of the same publisher’s 1843 edition.

Typographical errors are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each section. The word “invisible” means that the letter or punctuation mark is missing, but there is an appropriately sized blank space. “Corrected from Quarterly Review” means that I had doubts, so I checked the book’s reading against the periodical.

Footnotes have been renumbered and are grouped at the end of each section. Look closely and you’ll also find one marked with an * asterisk, because it’s a footnote to a footnote.


decorative title: THE CHASE THE TURF and THE ROAD / by NIMROD / JOHN MURRAY Albemarle Street









Links lead to the illustration itself, which may be a page or two away from its original location.

Engraved Title.
Hound And Horn.
Wild Boar Hunt 1
Ashby Pasture in the Quorn Country.—Snob just arrived 36
“‘Go along!’ roars Mr. Holyoake.”—Snob takes the Lead 39
The Little Bay Horse will have no more 44
“Seven out of the thirteen take it in their stride; three stop short,—and three find themselves in the middle of it.” 46
“Osbaldeston’s ’Who-hoop’ might have been heard at Cottesmore.” 49
Hunting Dinner 54
The Leaders.
Mail Coach of 1742 55
“‘It’s the Comet, and you must be as quick as lightning.’” 58
The Regulator on Hartford Bridge Flat 71
“‘Stop, Coachman! I have lost my hat and wig.’” 74
The Ring.—Hyde Park 113
Racing Plate.
Arabian Mares brought to Charles II. 115
The Warren.—Preparing to start 213
“They are off again—a beautiful start, and still more beautiful sight.” 215
“It is a terrible race. There are seven in front within the distance, and nothing else has a chance to win.” 216
Jockey and Groom 258


All page references are active links.

Advance, a celebrated hunter 39
Alvanley, Lord 39
Arundel, Lord 4
Baird, Sir David 14
Bassewitz, Count 34
Bathyany, Count 15
Beaufort, Duke of 26, 29
Berkeley, Captain F. 46
Biddulph, Mr. Middleton 47
Blood, celebrated fox-hound 24
Blown to a stand still 47
Brudenel, Lord 42
Burdett, Sir Francis 45
Chace, beasts of 1
Check, an interesting one 40
well hit off by the Squire 41
Childe, late Mr. 22
Christian, Richard 47
Chute, late Mr. 26
Cleveland, Duke of 26
Club, Old, Melton 11
Club, New, ditto 13
Coat, how to take the shine off a new one 46
Coke, Mr. William 39
Cooke, late Colonel 31
Corbet, late Mr. 32
Cover-side, Leicestershire
description of 36
going to 20
Crash, the 41
Darlington, Earl of 14
Death of the fox 48
Edge, Mr. Thomas 47
Errington, Mr. 16
Ferneley, Mr. (the artist) 34
Find, the 37
Fitzwilliam, late Earl of 26
Flourisher, a noted fox-finder 39
Foljambe, Mr. 26
ii Foreigners in Leicestershire 34
Forester, Lord 33
his popularity 33
Forester, Major 46
Fox-hounds, origin of 3
blood of 24
kennels of 26
most celebrated 24, 26
Fox, first public notice of 2
Fox-hunter of old and new school 5
French sportsmen 34
Gardner, Lord 46
Germaine, late Honourable George 13
Gilmour, Mr. Little 43
Goodricke, late Sir Harry 22, 45
Grafton, Duke of 26
Graham, Sir Bellingham 18, 50
Green, Mr. 46
Hahn, Count 34
Heathcoate, Sir Gilbert 24
Holyoake, Mr. 38
Horlock, Mr. 24
Horse, the half-bred of past and present times 6
Horse man, second 19
by whom introduced 19
Hounds, celebrated breeders of 29
size of 26
condition of 27
pace of 7
price of 32
expenses of 31
riding to 6
Hunters, how bred at present 7
thorough bred 8
their high condition at Melton 9, 23
Hunting, antiquity of 1
past and present compared 4
Kinnaird, Lord 47
Lambton, Mr. Ralph 26
Leicestershire, as a hunting country 16, 21
its fences 17
how hunted 18, 21
who has hunted it 18
subscription to 17
celebrated riders over, during the last half century 22
Lonsdale, Earl of 24
Lowther, Colonel 49
Maher, Mr. 45
Matuchevitch, Count 34
Maxse, Mr. 47
Melton-Mowbray, situation of it described 9, 11
on a hunting morning 19, 20
sportsmen residing in its neighbourhood 14
Old Club 11
New Club 13
Meltonians, their style 20
Meynell, late Mr., his character as a sportsman 1821
Middleton, late Lord 26, 32, 33
Miguel, Don 35
his horsemanship 35
Moore, Mr. John 39
Mostyn, late Sir Thomas 26
Musgrave, Sir James 49
Musters, Mr. 26
Osbaldeston, Mr., his establishment 15
as master of the iii Quorn hounds 18
as a breeder of hounds 29
the great value of his hounds 33
a run supposed to have taken place with his hounds over Leicestershire, in 1826 36
Ox-fence 17
Payne, Philip, huntsman to the late Duke of Beaufort; his character 30
Peyton, Sir Henry 23
Peyton, Mr., his pluck 48
Plymouth, late Earl of, his immense stud 10
Puleston, Sir Richard, a good breeder of fox-hounds 26
Quorn, or Quorndon Hall 15
Rancliffe, Lord 43
Raven, John, huntsman to the celebrated Mr. Meynell 19
Riding hard to hounds, by whom introduced 32
past and present system compared 6
Rose, Tom, late huntsman to the Duke of Grafton 27
his opinion of the condition of hounds 27
Ross, Captain 44
Run, the supposed one, over the finest part of Leicestershire 36
the find 38
Snob, a stranger from the provincials, makes his appearance 38
supposed to have been one of the Quarterly Reviewers 39
the start 39
a check well recovered 41
Snob going well 41
the country 41
the crash 41
the field becomes select 42
Snob attracts notice 43
a stopper 43
Snob floored; his horse “pumped out by the pace,” 44
a rich scene at the Whissendine brook 46
awful pace 47
a celebrated welter-weight planted 47
how to go in distress 48
proof of pluck 48
death of the fox 48
comments on the run in the field 49
description of it after dinner, at the Old Club 50
Snob on his road to Melton 51
his soliloquy 51
receives advice from an old Meltonian, and notes it in his book of memory 52
appears in the field again, and again goes well 52
his reception at Melton 53
Rutland, Duke of 26
celebrity of his kennel 26
character of his grace as a master of fox-hounds, and a British nobleman 33
Sampson, a celebrated hunter 45
iv Sandore, Count, an Hungarian nobleman, his exploits at Melton 34
Snob, his history 38
Stevens, Jack, first whipper-in to Mr. Osbaldeston 38
his fine horsemanship 42
Studs at Melton 10
average number of each 10
expenses of 11
Tilbury, Mr. 34
Wellington, Duke of 35
Whissendine brook 45
White, Mr., a celebrated horseman 41, 44
Wilton, Earl of 14
Wolf, the 1
Woodwell Head cover 46
Yarborough, Earl of 24
Accidents 84, 86, 88, 97, 107
Agar, Sir Felix 110
Age, the Brighton 77
Alexander the Great 74
Annesley, Mr. 108
Apprentice 99
Apsley House 59
Artist, the 64
Axletrees, broken ones; accidents from 90
Bagshot, scene at 68
Bearing-reins, remarks on 86
Bo-kickers 62
Boxes, patent, no coach safe without them 94
Brentford 60
Brighton, coaches to 56, 77
Brown, Tom 73
Bull and Mouth 94
Capital embarked in coaching 83
Carriages, private 104
varieties of 105
London, fine display of 112
private, price of 112
Changing horses, old method 65
Chaplin, Mr., his immense establishment 83
Coach, a slow one 57, 75
how to horse 79
how worked 80
how to load 93
profit on 84
build of 84, 91
Coaches, expedition of 56, 57
Coach-horse, his life 80
price of 81
description of by Nimrod 82
change in 103
Coachman to the Comet 58, 69
to the Regulator 69
of the old school 98
Coachmen, gentlemen 77, 108
London 112
Clocks, how to regulate 64
v Club, the B. D. C., or Benson Driving Club 110
Collinge’s patent 94
Comet, the 58, 66
Conservative of 1742 on his journey to Exeter 66
Cotton, Sir Vincent 78
Devonport, mail to 57, 73, 78
Drag, a patent one 88
Drag-chain 67, 88
Driving, hints for 87
Edinburgh, mail to 78, 97
Exeter Herald, day coach 78
Finch, late Hon. Charles 111
Foggy night, how to pass a bridge on a 82
Friction 93, 95
“Fronti nulla fides” 72
Galloping 70, 89
Gammon-board 69
Harness 68, 104
Harnessing horses well, advantage of 89, 104
Hartford Bridge flat 71
scene on 72
Herald, the 78
Hercules’ Pillars, the 59
Highflyer, the Shrewsbury 76
Hills, how to cheat 64
how to ascend 101
how to descend 87
Hirondelle, the 79
Holmes, Mr., piece of plate to 108
Horne, Mr. 83
Horse-keeper, his answer to the Conservative of 1742 65
Hospital ground 61
Hounslow, scene at 60
Hume, Mr. 60
Journey, a most expeditious one 56
Kenyon, Hon. Thomas 108
Laconic, specimen of the 68
Lade, Sir John 111
Linchpin, the only safe one 90
Liverpool, coach to 79
Livy, the historian 59
Londonderry, Lord, extraordinary journey of 56
M‘Adam, Mr. 63
Mail-coach, its excellence 96
its wheel described 91, 93
build of, not to be improved 96
the Devonport 57, 73, 78
Edinburgh 78, 97
Holyhead 56, 75
Worcester 85
Manchester Telegraph, the 58
Mechanique, le 88
Nestor of the road 108
Night-coach 97
Onslow, Tommy 111
Oxonian, story of the 107
vi Pace increased, a security to travellers when things are properly conducted 84
Peyton, Sir Henry 108
Piccadilly, scene in 58
Pony-chaise 107
Pork pies 76
Posting, its excellence 55
Post-offices, the want of, lamented by Cicero 95
Proprietors, hints to 102
Quicksilver mail 73
Regulator coach 68
coachman to 69
team of 70
Reins, not buckled at the ends 86
bearing 86
Roads, Colossus of 63
Roller-bolt, what 68
Seneca, old 113
Sherman, Mr. 83
Smith, Mr. 65
Sophocles 108
Staines, scene at 65
Start, the 66
Stevenson, late Henry 77
Sun not wanted on the Exeter road 64
Team, the Regulator’s 70
a superb one 79
Vidler, Mr. 96
Vis vivida, coachmen’s version of the term 102
Waiter, specimen of 68
Warde, Mr. 109
Way, the Appian 113
Wellington, Duke of 59
Western, Squire 59
Whip, the taste for, declined 107
White, Jack 73
Williams, Billy 76
Wonder, the, a celebrated day coach 79
its great punctuality 79
its superb team 79
its coachmen 79
Worcester, mail to 85
Wrexham, its church, its inn, and its ale 76
America, racing in 229, 235
Anne, Queen, patronized racing 124
Anson, Colonel 203
Arabian horse, the first imported into England by James I. 122
the Godolphin 125
Aristides, a modern one, little chance on the turf 242
Arithmetic, palpable, an instance of 252
vii Ascot race meeting 217
Balls, nauseating ones 246
Barnard, Samuel 155
Batson, Mr. 205
his conduct respecting his horse Plenipotentiary 221
Beardsworth, late Mr. 243
Beaufort, Duke of 197
Bedford, late Duke of 176
Belgium, races in 231
Bentinck, Lord George 209
Berners, late Lord 182
Betting, its evils 237
system of 240
considered to be essential to racing 239
Bibury. (See Burford.)
Biel, Baron, his stud 234
his efforts to introduce racing into Germany 234
his success 234
Biggs, Mr. 205
his horse Camerton 205
Biter bit 141
Book-making 249, 254
Boswell, Sir James 228
Boyce, Frank 152
Buccleugh, Duke of 229
Buckle, late Francis, his character as a jockey 144
anecdote of 145
Bullock, Mr., anecdote of 186
Bunbury, late Sir Charles, anecdote of 179
Burford, afterwards Bibury, races, much frequented by George IV. 123
Caution to young sportsmen 237
Character, the value of one to a rogue 239
Charles II. a great promoter of the turf 123
Charlton, Mr. Lechmere 206
his career on the turf 207
Chester, races at 211
accident at 211
Chesterfield, Earl of 200
his career on the turf 200
Chifney, the Messrs. 133
Samuel, his fine jockeyship 148
Clarendon, Earl of 199
Clermont, late Earl of 178
Cleveland, Duke of 194
Clever men 239
Clift, William 150
anecdote of 151
Cocktail racers 235
Conolly, the jockey 152
Conyngham, Lord Albert 209
Country races 223
alterations at for the better 224
Cromwell, Oliver 123
his stud 123
Cumberland, Earl of, one of the first victims to the turf 121
Cumberland, his Royal Highness the late Duke of 173
his career on the turf 174
Curragh of Kildare 129
Curwen Bay Barb 124
Darley Arabian 124
Darling, Samuel, the jockey 153
viii Defaulters, late numerous ones 252
Derby, Earl of 191
Dockeray, George 152
Doncaster 218
roguery at 219, 220
expenses at 222
Frenchman’s visit to 222
Dorset, Duke of 192
Duval de Boileau, the Count of 232
East Indies, races in 229
Eclipse 223
and his jockey 116
his career 125
Edwards, the family of, all jockeys 154
anecdote of 155
Eglinton, Earl of 228
Egremont, Earl of 197
Elcho, Lord 228
Epsom, races at 212, 216
description of the Warren at 213
race for the Derby described 213
Exeter, Marquis of 196
Favourites, made so fraudulently 243, 246
Fitzwilliam, Earl of 191
Forgery, to win a bet 221
Forth, Mr. 155
Fox, the late Right Honourable Charles James 176
Frampton, Tregonwell, his character 125
France, racing in 231
Fraud in cocktail racing 236
Frenchman at Doncaster 222
George I. instituted king’s plates 124
George II. encouraged the breed of horses 124
George III. encouraged racing as a national sport 125
George IV. a great promoter of racing 125
his career 186
his stud 188
Germany, racing in 229, 233
Goodwood, races at 217
Goodisons, the celebrated jockeys 154
Grafton, late Duke of 184
Grafton, the Duke of 193
Grafton stud 184
Greville, Mr. 209
Groom, a training one 165
Grosvenor, late Earl of 175
his career on the turf 175
anecdote of 141
Grosvenor, General 204
Hahn, Count of 230
his stud, &c. 235
Hamilton, Duke of 184
Hamilton, Lord A. 185
Handicap, an extraordinary one 142
Hobart Town, races at 230
Holcroft, his memoirs 158
his description of Newmarket, and his proceedings there 159
his description of a training establishment at Newmarket 159
ix Holstein, his Serene Highness the Duke of 229
Prince Frederick of 229
Horse, the book-horse, what is meant by 251
Hunter, Mr., his career 208
James I. the first great patron of racing 121
James II. 124
Jersey, Earl of 201
Jockeyship, first display of 116, 117
Olympic 116
Jockey, an early one 117
the, commencement of his public life 166
his system of wasting 169
Jockeys, the history of 143
celebrated Yorkshire ones 156
a, how to breed one 169
the training of them 169
gentlemen 225
betting, the evils of 245
anecdote respecting 245
Judge at Newmarket 130
Kelburne, Viscount 228
Kildare, Curragh of 129
King William IV. 126
his stud 126
sale of stud 126
anecdote of 127
Lichfield, Earl of 200
Lowther, Viscount 201
Lucca, Duke of 230
Luck, little to do with success in racing 247
Macdonald, a Newmarket jockey 153
Mann, Samuel, a light jockey 153
Mellish, Colonel, the late 182
his character 182
his career 183
his stud and establishment 183
Newcastle, Duke of 122
Newmarket 122, 128
the judge at 130
its heath 131
the betting-room at, description of 131
the rooms at 132
the town and neighbourhood 133
in days of yore 174
O’Kelly, late Mr. 173
as a breeder of race-horses 173
his career 174
Olympia and Newmarket, comparison between 115, 117
Olympic race-horse, the training of 116, 117
Orford, Lord 199
Orleans, his Royal Highness the Duke of 232
his stud 232
Osbaldeston, Mr. 127, 208
Oxford, Earl of 209
Palmer, Mr. 232
Palmerston, Lord 202
Pavis, Arthur, a celebrated jockey 153
Edgar, a celebrated jockey 153
Payne, Mr. 208
x Peel, Colonel 208
Peel, Mr. Edmund 208
Persepolis, the brood mare 199
Plenipotentiary, the racehorse, made safe 220
Poisoning horses 246
Poole, Sir Ferdinand 185
his stud 186
Portland, the Duke of 194
Prunella, the brood mare 184
Queensbury, late Duke of 180
his career 180
his jockey 181
anecdote of 181
Race-horse, first attempt at breeding 120
method of training him in early times 134
his peculiarities 235
Races, provincial 210, 223
in Scotland 228
commence in England at London, Newmarket, &c. 122
Racing in England, its origin as a national sport 120
diffuses happiness, and but little objectionable if properly conducted 224
Racing stud, management of 247
Ramsay, Mr. 228
Richmond, Duke of 195, 199
Riddell, late Mr. 210
Robinson, James and Thomas, celebrated jockeys 149, 150
Rogue, obsolete word on modern turf 239
Rush, Mr. 205
Ruthven, Mr., report of 248
Rutland, Duke of 194
Scotland, racing in 228
Sefton, Earl of 200
anecdote of 200
Seymour, Lord Henry 232
his stud 233
Smolensko, the race-horse, his career 180
Sowerby, Mr. 208
Sportsmen, young ones, a caution to 237
Stakes, evil of great amount of 241
Standish, Sir Frank, his character as a sportsman 185
Stanley, Mr. M. 208
St. Leger stakes, allusion to 220
Steeple chaces 227
Stevens, Mr., the trainer, on Ilsley Downs, Berks 176
Stonehewer, Mr. 208
Stubbs, the celebrated animal painter 176
Stud, the Grafton 184
Mr. Mellish’s 183
Suffield, Lord 209
Sweden, races in 230
Syntax, Doctor, the racehorse, his winnings 210
Tempest, late Sir Harry Vane 185
his stud and career 185
Thornhill, Mr. 206
his career 206
xi Trainers, evils of their betting on races 243
Training, the commencement of 121
alteration in the system of 135
Trials 138
false ones 139
Turf, comments upon the 121
Udney, Colonel, his career 206
Van Diemen’s Land, races in 230
Vansittart, Mr. 208
Vernon, late Hon. Richard 177
his character, by Holcroft 177
Verulam, Earl of 199
Warren, scene in the 213
Warwick, Earl of 199
Wasting, system of 171
Watt, Mr. 243
Weight 142
what first carried by race-horses 117
Wemyss, Colonel 127
William III. and his Queen patronised racing 124
William IV., his stud 126
anecdote of 127
Wilson, the late Mr. Richard 182
Wilson, Mr., Father of the Turf 181
his career 181
his attention to the interest of the turf 182
detects a forgery 221
anecdote of, respecting a trial 141
Wilton, Earl of, as a jockey 200
Wood, Sir Mark, his career 203
York, late Duke of, his career and stud 189


Notes and Corrections: Contents

Arundel, Lord   4
, missing

Heathcoate, Sir Gilbert   24
spelling unchanged: error for Heathcote

Holstein, his Serene Highness the Duke of / Prince Frederick of   229
[For both entries, the printed text inexplicably has “268”.]

Smolensko, the race-horse, his career   180
text has . for ,

dog and hunting implements, text THE CHASE

“Listening how the hounds and horn

Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,

From the side of some hoar hill

Thro’ the high wood echoing shrill.”—Milton.

N various old writers—“The Mayster of the Game,” for instance—we find lively pictures of the ancient English chace, which in many respects, no doubt, was of a more noble and manly nature than that of the present day. The wolf, the bear, the boar, were among the favourite beasts of “venery;” and none can doubt that the habit of pursuing such animals, independently of giving vigour to the frame, and strength to the constitution, must have nourished that martial ardour and fearless intrepidity, which, when exerted in the field of battle, generally won the day for our gallant ancestors. The hart, the stag, the hind, the roebuck, and the hare, are 2 likewise constantly mentioned, as is also the wild or martin cat, now nearly extinct; but the fox does not appear to have been included in the list of the Anglo-Norman sportsman. The first public notice of this now much-esteemed animal occurs in the reign of Richard II., which unfortunate monarch gives permission, by charter, to the abbott of Peterborough to hunt the fox. In Twice’s “Treatise on the Craft of Hunting,” Reynard is thus classed:—

“And for to sette young hunterys in the way

To venery, I cast me fyrst to go:

Of which four bestes be, that is to say,

The hare, the herte, the wulf, and the wild boor;

But there ben other bestes five of the chace;

The buck the first, the seconde is the do;

The fox the third, which hath ever hard grace,

The forthe the martyn, and the last the roe.”

It is indeed, quite apparent that, until at most a hundred and fifty years ago, the fox was considered an inferior animal of the chace—the stag, buck, and even hare, ranking before him. Previously to this period, he was generally taken in nets or hays, set on the outside of his earth: when he was hunted, it was among rocks and crags, or woods inaccessible to horsemen; such a scene, in short, or very nearly so, as we have, drawn to the life, in Dandie Dinmont’s primitive chasse in Guy Mannering. If the reader will turn to the author of Hudibras’s essay, entitled “Of the Bumpkin, or Country Squire,” he will find a great deal about the hare, but not one word of the fox. What a revolution had occurred before Squire Western sat for his picture! 3 About half-way between these pieces appeared Somerville’s poem of “The Chace,” in which fox-hunting is treated of with less of detail, and much less of enthusiasm, than either stag-hunting or hare-hunting!

It is difficult to determine when the first regularly appointed pack of fox-hounds appeared among us. Dan Chaucer gives us the thing in embryo:

“Aha, the fox! and after him they ran;

And eke with staves many another man.

Ran Coll our dogge, and Talbot, and Gerlond,

And Malkin with her distaff in her hond.

Ran cow and calf, and eke the veray hogges,

So fered were for berking of the dogges,

And shouting of the men and women eke,

They ronnen so, hem thought her hertes brake.”

At the next stage, no doubt, neighbouring farmers kept one or two hounds each, and, on stated days, met for the purpose of destroying a fox that had been doing damage in their poultry yards. By-and-by, a few couples of strong hounds seem to have been kept by small country esquires, or yeomen, who could afford the expense, and they joined packs. Such were called trencher hounds—implying that they ran loose about the house, and were not confined in kennel. Of their breed it would be difficult to speak at this distance of time; but it is conjectured that they resembled the large broken-haired harriers now to be met with in the mountainous parts of Wales, which, on good scenting days, are nearly a match for anything by their perseverance and nose. Slow and gradual must have been 4 the transition to the present elaborate system; but let us wave the minutiæ of sporting antiquarianship.1

In no one instance has the modern varied from the ancient system of hunting more than in the hour of meeting in the morning. With our forefathers, when the roost cock sounded his clarion, they sounded their horn; throwing off the pack so soon as they could distinguish a stile from a gate, or, in other words, so soon as they could see to ride to the hounds. Then it was that the hare was hunted to her form by the trail, and the fox to his kennel by the drag. Slow as this system would now be deemed, it was a grand treat to the real sportsman. What, in the language of the chace, is called “the tender-nosed hound,” had an opportunity of displaying himself to the inexpressible delight of his master; and to the field—that is, to the sportsmen who joined in the diversion—the pleasures of the day were enhanced by the moments of anticipation produced by the drag. As the scent grew warmer, the 5 certainty of finding was confirmed; the music of the pack increased; and, the game being up, away went the hounds “in a crash.” Both trail and drag are at present but little thought of; hounds merely draw over ground most likely to hold the game they are in quest of, and thus, in a great measure, rely upon chance for coming across it; for if a challenge be heard, it can only be inferred that a fox has been on foot in the night—the scent being seldom sufficient to enable the hound to carry it up to his kennel. Advantages, however, as far as sport is concerned, attend the present hour of meeting in the field. Independently of the misery of riding many miles in the dark, which sportsmen of the early part of the last century were obliged to do, the game, when it is now aroused, is in a better state to encounter the great speed of modern hounds, having had time to digest the food which it has partaken of in the night, previously to its being stirred. But it is only since the great increase of hares and foxes that the aid of the trail and drag could be dispensed with, without the frequent recurrence of blank days, which now seldom happen.

Compared with the luxurious ease with which the modern sportsman is conveyed to the field—either lolling in his chaise and four, or galloping along at the rate of twenty miles an hour on a hundred-guinea hack—the situation of his predecessor was all but distressing. In proportion to the distance he had to ride by starlight were his hours of rest broken in upon; 6 and, exclusive of the time which that operation might consume, another serious one was to be provided for—this was, the filling his hair with powder and pomatum until it could hold no more, and forming it into a well-turned knot, or club, as it was called, by his valet, which cost commonly a good hour’s work. The protecting mud-boot, the cantering hack, the second horse in the field, were luxuries unknown to him; and his well-soiled buckskins, and brown-topped boots, would have cut an indifferent figure in the presence of a modern connoisseur by a Leicestershire cover-side. Notwithstanding all this, however, we are inclined strongly to suspect that, out of a given number of gentlemen taking the field with hounds, the proportion of really scientific sportsmen may have been in favour of the olden times.

In the horse called the hunter, a still greater change has taken place. The half-bred horse of the early part of the last century was, when highly broken to his work, a delightful animal to ride; in many respects more accomplished, as a hunter, than the generality of those of the present day. When in his best form, he was a truly-shaped and powerful animal, possessing prodigious strength, with a fine commanding frame, considerable length of neck, a slight curve in his crest, which was always high and firm, and the head beautifully put on. Possessing these advantages, in addition to the very great pains taken with his mouth in the bitting, and an excellent education in the school or at the bar, he was what 7 is termed a complete snaffle-bridle horse, and a standing as well as a flying leaper. Held well in hand—his rider standing up in the stirrups, holding him fast by the head, making the best of, and being able, from the comparatively slow rate at which hounds then travelled at, to pick or choose his ground—such a horse would continue a chace of some hours’ duration at the pace he was called upon to go, taking his fences well and safely to the last; and he would frequently command the then large sum of one hundred guineas. But all these accomplishments would never have enabled a horse of this description to carry the modern sportsman, who rides well up to hounds, on a good scenting day, over one of our best hunting countries. His strength would be exhausted before he had gone ten minutes by the increased pace at which he would now be called upon to travel, but to which his breeding would be quite unequal; and his true symmetry, his perfect fencing, his fine mouth, and all his other points, would prove of very little avail. If ridden close to the hounds, he would be powerless and dangerous before he had gone across half a dozen Leicestershire enclosures.

The increased pace of hounds, and that of the horses that follow them, have an intimate connection with each other, if not with the march of intellect. Were not the hounds of our day to go so fast as they do, they would not be able to keep clear of the crowd of riders who are now mounted on horses nearly equal to the racing pace. On the other hand, as the speed of hounds has so much 8 increased, unless their followers ride speedy, and, for the most part, thorough-bred horses, they cannot see out a run of any continuance if the scent lies well. True it is that, at the present time, every Leicestershire hunter is not thorough-bred; but what is termed the cock-tail, or half-bred horse of this day, is a very different animal from that of a hundred years back. In those days, a cross between the thorough-bred, or perhaps not quite thorough-bred, horse, and the common draught-mare, was considered good enough to produce hunters equal to the speed of the hounds then used. There was not such an abundance of what may be termed the intermediate variety of the horse in the country—“pretty well-bred on each side the head”—which has of late years been in demand for the fast coaches of England, in which low-bred horses have no chance to live. Mares of this variety, put to thorough-bred stallions, and their produce crossed with pure blood, create the sort of animal that comes now under the denomination of the half-bred English hunter, or cock-tail. These are also the horses which contend for our several valuable stakes, made for horses not thorough-bred, though, when brought to the post, they are sometimes so much like race-horses in their appearance and their pace, that it would be difficult to detect the blot in their pedigree. A prejudice long existed against thorough-bred horses for the field, particularly such as had once been trained to the course; and in some quarters it still lingers. It is argued by their opponents that the thinness of their 9 skins makes them afraid of rough black-thorn fences, and that they lose their speed in soft, or what, in sporting language, is termed deep ground: also, that having been accustomed from their infancy to the jockey’s hand, they lean upon their bits, as when in a race, and are therefore unpleasant to ride. Such of them as have been long in training may undoubtedly be subject to these objections, and never become good and pleasant hunters; but when purchased young, and possessing strength and bone, they must have many counterbalancing advantages over the inferior-bred horse. So far from not making good leapers, the firmness of bone and muscle peculiar to this variety of the breed is prodigiously in favour of that desirable qualification. Indeed, it has been truly said of them, that they can often leap large fences when lower-bred horses cannot leap smaller ones,—the result of their superior wind, when put to a quick pace.

Whoever wishes to see two distinct species of the horse in the most perfect state, should go to Newmarket and Melton-Mowbray—to the former for the race-horse, to the latter for the hunter. In no place upon the earth is condition attended to with so much care, or managed with such skill, as in this renowned metropolis of the fox-hunting world. Indeed, we conceive it would be useless to expect horses to live with hounds in such a country as Leicestershire, unless they were in condition to enable them to contend for a plate.

Melton-Mowbray generally contains from two to 10 three hundred hunters, in the hands of the most experienced grooms England can produce—the average number being ten to each sportsman residing there, although some of those who ride heavy, and rejoice in long purses, have from fourteen to twenty for their own use; the stud of the Earl of Plymouth for many years exceeded the last-mentioned number. It may seem strange, that one man should, under any circumstances, need so large a number of horses solely for his personal use in the field; and it must be admitted that few countries do require it. In Leicestershire, however, the universal practice is for each sportsman to have at least two hunters in the field on the same day,—a practice found to be economical, as it is from exhaustion, the effect of long-continued severe work, that the health of horses is most injured. And when it is also borne in mind, that hounds are to be reached from Melton, Leicester, &c., every day in the week,—that one horse out of six in every man’s stud is, upon an average, lame, or otherwise unfit for work,—and that a horse should always have five days’ rest after a moderate, and at least seven or eight after a severe, run with hounds,—it will not seem surprising that ten or twelve hunters should be deemed an indispensable stud for a regular Leicestershire sportsman.

The stables and other conveniences for hunters in the town and neighbourhood are upon a very superior scale, and the greater part of the studs remain there all the year round; though, from the comparatively small 11 quantity of arable land in the county of Leicester, and the very great demand for forage, oats and hay are always considerably dearer here than at any other place in England. The sum-total of expenses attending a stud of twelve hunters at Melton, including every outgoing, is, as nearly as can be estimated, one thousand pounds per annum. In all stables the average outlay for the purchase of horses is great,—at least two hundred guineas each hunter; and, in some, the annual amount of wear and tear of horse-flesh is considerable.

At no distant date—within at most thirty years—Melton-Mowbray was an insignificant-looking little town. It is prettily situated in a rich vale, through which the river Stoure passes, but had nothing an artist would have called a feature about it, except its beautiful church. But of late it has put on a very different appearance, owing to the numbers of comfortable houses which have been erected for the accommodation of its sporting visiters, who now spend not less, on an average, than fifty thousand pounds per annum on the spot. It stands on one of the great north roads, eighteen miles from Nottingham, and fifteen from Leicester; which latter place is also become a favourite resort of sportsmen, as it is well situated for the best part of the Quorn, and Lord Lonsdale’s countries, and many of the favourite covers of the Atherstone (lately better known as Lord Anson’s) country, can be reached from it.

The following description of the Old Club at Melton-Mowbray, so called in contradistinction to the New 12 Club, some time since broken up, is given in one of Nimrod’s letters in the “Old Sporting Magazine” about ten years back:—

“The grand feature at Melton-Mowbray is the Old Club, which has been established about thirty-eight years, and owes its birth to the following circumstances:—Those distinguished sportsmen, the late Lord Forrester and Lord Delamere (then Messrs. Forrester and Cholmondeley), had been living for some years at Loughborough for the purpose of hunting with Mr. Meynell, and removed thence into Melton, where they took a house and were joined by the late Mr. Smythe Owen, of Condover Hall, Shropshire. As this house, now known as the Old Club House, only contains four best bed-rooms, its members are restricted to that number. But the following sportsmen have, at different periods, belonged to the club:—The Hon. George Germaine; Lords Alvanley and Brudenel; the Hon. Joshua Vanneck, now Lord Huntingfield; the Hon. Berkeley Craven; the late Sir Robert Leighton; the late Mr. Meyler; Messrs. Brommell, Vansittart, Thomas Aysheton Smith, Lindow, Langston, Maxse, Maher, Moore, Sir James Musgrave, and the present Lord Forrester—the four last-mentioned gentlemen forming the present club. There is something highly respectable in everything connected with the Melton Old Club. Not only is some of the best society in England to be met with in their circle, but the members have been remarkable for living together on terms of the strictest 13 harmony and friendship; and a sort of veneration has been paid by them to the recollection of the former members, as the following anecdotes will prove:—The same plate is now in use which was purchased when the club was established (for there are none of the ‘certamina divitiarum’—no ostentatious displays at the table of the Old Club, though every thing is as good, of its kind, as a first-rate cook can produce, and the wines are of the best quality), and even trifles are regarded with a scrupulous observance. A small print of the late Samuel Chiffney, on ’Baronet2,’ was placed against the wall by the Hon. George Germaine, so distinguished as a most excellent sportsman, as well as a rider over a country or a race-course,—in the latter accomplishment perhaps scarcely excelled by any gentleman jockey; and although, since it was first affixed, the room has undergone more than one papering and repairing, yet the same print, in the same frame, and on the same nail, still hangs in the same place.

’The rivets were not found that joined us first,

That do not reach us yet;—we were so mixed,

We were one mass, we could not give or take

But from the same, for he was I—I he.’”

There have lately sprung up two junior clubs at Melton. The one called the New Club, occupying the house formerly the residence of Lord Alvanley, opposite that excellent inn called the George Hotel, is composed 14 of the following eminent sportsmen:—Mr. Errington, the master of the hounds; Count Matuchevitcz, Mr. Massey Stanley, and Mr. Lyne Stevens. The other, at the house of the late Sir Harry Goodricke, is known as “Lord Rokeby’s Club;” and consists of Lords Rokeby and Eglinton, Sir Frederick Johnson, and Mr. Little Gilmour. The uninitiated reader would, perhaps, be surprised by an enumeration of the persons of rank, wealth, and fashion, who, during months of every year, resign the comforts and elegancies of their family mansions for a small house in some town or village of Leicestershire,—to the eye of any one but a sportsman, nearly the ugliest county in England. Amongst these devotees to fox-hunting are the following:—The Earl of Wilton and his countess, in the town of Melton, at the house formerly occupied by the Earl of Darlington, to which he has greatly added, having purchased it: it is, perhaps, the most complete and splendid hunting-box at this time in England. At Little Poulton, the Earl of Darlington and family; at Leicester, Sir John Key and his lady; at Sowerby, Mr. and Mrs. John Villiers; at Quorndon, Mr. Farnham; and at the Hall, late Mr. Meynell’s, Mr. Angerstein; at Ratcliffe, Captain Oliver and his lady; at Oakham, Mr. Curwin; at Lowesby, the Marquis of Waterford; at Barleythorpe, Mr. Bevan; at North Stoke, Mr. Turner; at the Lodge, near to Melton, the residence of the late Earl of Plymouth, are domiciled, in the season, Sir David and Lady Anne Baird; and nearer the town, the following well-known sportsmen:—Mr. 15 John Ewart, with his family, in the house formerly Lord Kinnaird’s; Count Bathyany, per se; and in various hotels and lodgings are to be found, Lords Archibald Seymour, Macdonald, and Howth; Messrs. White, Spiers, Wharton, Rochford, Harvey Aston, Doyne, William Coke, John Campbell (of Saddel), Charles Lambe, &c.

Nor can any foreigner visiting this country, and a sportsman in his own, fail to be greatly surprised at the magnificence of our hunting establishments, whose sole object is the fox. The kennels and stable at Quorndon Hall, celebrated as the residence of “the great Mr. Meynell,” and subsequently, until within the last few years, of every proprietor of the Quorndon or Quorn hounds, are especially worthy his attention. The former are perhaps the most extensive at the present day in England; among the latter is one holding twenty-eight horses, so arranged, that when a spectator stands in the centre of it, his eye commands each individual animal; and being furnished with seats, and lighted by powerful lamps, forms a high treat to the eye of a sportsman on a winter’s evening; in addition to this, there are several loose boxes and an exercise ride, as it is called, under cover, for bad weather. The usual amount of the Quorn establishment has been forty efficient hunters, and from sixty to one hundred couples of hounds. Mr. Osbaldeston, however, during his occupation of the country, had a still larger kennel,—and no wonder, for it was his custom to turn out every day in the week, weather permitting; and, after Christmas, as the days increased in 16 length, he had often two packs out on the same day—a circumstance before unheard of. This gentleman, however, is insatiable in his passion for the chace; and when we think what fatigue he must have been inured to whilst hunting his own hounds six days a week, in such a county as Leicestershire, for a succession of seasons, we read with less surprise his late Herculean feat of riding fifty four-mile heats over Newmarket heath, in the short space of eight hours, and in the face of most tempestuous weather!

Four packs of fox-hounds divide this far-famed county of Leicester: namely, Mr. Forester’s, late the Duke of Rutland’s; the Earl of Lonsdale’s; the Atherstone, late the Earl of Lichfield’s, afterwards Sir John Gerard’s, but now Mr. Applewaite’s; and what were so long called the Quorn, now Mr. Errington’s, but lately Sir Harry Goodricke’s, who built a kennel for them at Thrussington, half way between Melton and Leicester, which situation is more in the centre of the country than Quorn, where they had previously been kept for the period of Mr. Meynell’s hunting. The county of Leicester, however, does not of itself find room for all these packs: parts of Rutlandshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and Warwickshire, are also included in their beat.

Our readers are doubtless aware that such portion of a country as is hunted by any one pack of hounds is technically called their country; and of all the countries in the world, the Quorn certainly bears the bell. This superiority arises from the peculiar nature of the soil, 17 which, being for the most part good, is highly favourable to scent; the immense proportion of grazing land in comparison with that which is ploughed; and the great size of the enclosures, many of which run to from sixty to one hundred acres each. The rarity of large woods in this part of Leicestershire is also a great recommendation to it as a hunting country; while it abounds in furze-brakes, or gorse-covers, as they are termed, for the rent of which a considerable annual sum (nearly one thousand pounds) is paid to the owners. Independently of these, what are termed artificial covers are made with stakes, set at a certain height from the ground for the grass to grow over them; but they are very inferior to the others, being difficult for hounds to draw. The subscription to the Quorn hounds has varied from two thousand to four thousand pounds per annum3; but Sir Harry Goodricke bore the whole expense of them himself.

One of the most striking features in the aspect of the chosen regions of English fox-hunting is the formidable ox-fence, rendered necessary by the difficulty of keeping fatting cattle within their pastures, during the season of the œstrus, or gad fly. It consists of—first, a wide ditch, then a sturdy black-thorn hedge, and at least two yards beyond that a strong rail, about four feet high: to clear all these obstacles, from whichever side they may be approached, is evidently a great exertion for a horse. 18 What is termed the bulfinch-fence (still more common in these districts) is a quickset hedge of perhaps fifty years’ growth, with a ditch on one side or the other, and so high and strong that horses cannot clear it. The sportsman, however, charging this at nearly full speed, succeeds in getting to the other side, when the bushes close after him and his horse, and there is no more appearance of their transit than if a bird had hopped through. Horses, unaccustomed to these fences, seldom face them well at first; perhaps nothing short of the emulation which animates their riders, and the courage created in the noble animals themselves by the presence of the hounds, would induce them to face such things at all. Timber-fences, such as rails, stiles, and gates, but particularly rails, are oftener leaped in Leicestershire than in any other country, by reason of the great height which the quickset fences attain—a height which, in some places, nothing but a bird can surmount: brooks also abound, amongst the widest of which are the Whissendine; the Smite, or Belvoir; one under Stanton Wood; another under Norton by Galby; and a fifth near Woodwell Head.

At the conclusion of the last century, Mr. Meynell was master of these Quorn hounds, since which time they have been in the hands of the following conspicuous sportsmen:—Earl Sefton, the late Lord Foley, Mr. Thomas Aysheton Smith, Sir Bellingham Graham, Mr. Osbaldeston, Lord Southampton, the late Sir Harry Goodricke, Sir Francis Holyoake Goodricke, and Mr. 19 Errington, the second son of Sir Thomas Stanley, Bart., of Cheshire, who now has them.

The town of Melton furnishes an interesting scene on each hunting morning. At rather an early hour are to be seen groups of hunters, the finest in the world, setting out in different directions to meet different packs of hounds. Each sportsman sends forward two. On one is mounted a very light but extremely well-dressed lad, who returns home on his master’s cover hack, or in the dickey of his carriage, if he has happened to be carried to cover in the more luxurious fashion. On the other hunter is a personage of a very different description. This is what is called the “second-horse man;” he rides the second horse, which is to carry his master with the hounds after his having had one, or part of one, chace on the first. This description of servant is by no means easy to procure; and he generally exhibits in his countenance and demeanour something like a modest assurance that he possesses qualities of importance. In short, he must have some brains in his head; be a good horseman, with a light hand; be able to ride very well to hounds; and, above all, he must have a good eye to, and a thorough knowledge of, a country, to enable him to give his master a chance of changing his horse in a run, and not merely when it is over. Lord Sefton brought this second-horse system into fashion at the time he hunted Leicestershire, when Jack Raven, a light weight, and son of his huntsman, the celebrated John Raven, huntsman to the still more celebrated Mr. Meynell, 20 used to ride one of his thousand-guinea hunters in his wake—if we may so express ourselves—in the field, to which he changed his seat at the first convenient opportunity. The system, however, has been improved upon since then. The second-horse man now rides to points, instead of following the hounds, and thus often meets his master at a most favourable moment, when his good steed is sinking, with one that has not been out of a trot. There is much humanity as well as comfort in this arrangement; for at the pace hounds now go over grass countries, horses become somewhat distressed under heavy weights in a short time after the chace begins, when the scent lies well, and they are manfully ridden up to the pack.

About an hour and a half after the servants are gone forward with the hunters, a change of scene is to be observed at Melton. Carriages and four appear at some doors; at others very clever, and, most commonly, thorough-bred hacks, led gently in hand, ready for their owners to mount. The by-roads of this country being bad for wheels, the hack is often the better conveyance of the two—always, indeed, unless the fixture be at a place on, or not far from, a turnpike-road; and twelve or fourteen miles are generally performed by him within the hour.

The style of your Meltonian fox-hunter has long distinguished him above his brethren of what he calls the provincial chace. When turned out of the hands of his valet, he presents the very beau-ideal of his caste. 21 The exact Stultz-like fit of his coat, his superlatively well-cleaned leather breeches and boots, and the generally apparent high breeding of the man, can seldom be matched elsewhere; and the most cautious sceptic on such points would satisfy himself of this fact at one single inspection.

Before Leicestershire acquired its present ascendant rank in the scale of sport, it was hunted by what were called the Noel hounds, which afterwards became the property of the Lonsdale family; but, in those early days, this county wore, to the eye of a sportsman, a very different appearance from that which it now presents. A great portion of the land was unenclosed; neither was there a tenth part of the furze-covers with which it now abounds. The foxes, on the other hand, were wilder then than they are at present, and runs of longer duration than those of later times were, on an average, the result. Game was not so plentiful as it now is; consequently foxes had further to travel for their usual provender, which trained them for runs of extraordinary length; and they were wilder, from the wilder nature of the country in which they were bred. It was, however, reserved to Mr. Meynell to render famous the county of Leicester as a hunting country. He was, doubtless, the most successful sportsman of his own time, nor has he been surpassed by any who have trodden in his steps; although it may be admitted he has had his equals in some departments of “the craft.” It is a great mistake to fancy that a fool will ever make a 22 first-rate figure even in fox-hunting; and, in truth, this father of the modern chace was anything but a fool. He was a man of strong and vigorous mind, joined with much perseverance, as well as ardour in his favourite pursuit, and bringing faculties to bear upon sport, as a science, which would have distinguished themselves in any walk of life to which he might have applied them. As a breeder of hounds he displayed a perfect judgment: the first qualities he looked for were fine noses and stout running; a combination of strength with beauty, and steadiness with high mettle. His idea of perfection of shape was summed up in “short backs, open bosoms, straight legs, and compact feet.” Although he did not hunt his hounds himself, yet he was one of the boldest, as well as most judicious horsemen of his time; but this was only a minor qualification. His knowledge of hunting was supreme, and several of his maxims are in force to the present hour. He was a great advocate for not hurrying hounds in their work; and having, perhaps, unparalleled influence over his field, he was enabled to prevent his brother sportsmen from pressing on the hounds when in difficulties—himself being the first to keep aloof: in chace, no man rode harder.

It was in his day that the hard riding, or, we should rather say, quick riding, to hounds, which has ever since been practised, was first brought into vogue. The late Mr. Childe, of Kinlet Hall, Shropshire—a sportsman of the highest order, and a great personal friend of Mr. Meynell—is said to have first set the example, and it 23 was quickly followed by the leading characters of the Quorn hunt.4 This system has not only continued, but has gained ground; and the art of riding a chace may be said to have arrived at a state of perfection quite unknown at any other period of time. That a drawback from sport, and occasional loss of foxes, are often the results of this dashing method of riding to hounds, every sportsman must acknowledge; as an old writer on hunting has observed, “The emulation of leading, in dogs and their masters, has been the ruin of many a good cry.” One circumstance, however, has greatly tended to perfect the system of riding well up, and this is the improved condition of hunters.5 Of Mr. Meynell’s time, two celebrated chaces are recorded in print: one of an hour and twenty minutes without a check; and 24 the other, two hours and fifty minutes without a cast. Only two horses carried their riders throughout the first run, and only one went to the end of the second; both foxes were killed, and every hound was present at the death of each. We may venture to say, had the two runs we have alluded to taken place within the last few years, this superiority in the condition of the hounds over the horses would by no means have been maintained.

We wish we could gratify such of our readers as are sportsmen with the date and origin of our best packs of fox-hounds, as well as the names and character of their owners; but our limits will not allow us to go into much detail. Perhaps the oldest fox-hound blood in England at this time is to be found in the kennel of the Earl of Lonsdale, at Cottesmore. The Noels, whom this family succeeded, were of ancient standing in the chace; and the venerable peer himself has now superintended the pack for nearly fifty years, with a short interregnum of three or four years, when Sir Gilbert Heathcote had them.

Lord Yarborough’s kennel can likewise boast of very old blood, that pack having descended, without interruption, from father to son for upwards of one hundred and fifty years.

The hounds, late Mr. Warde’s, sold to Mr. Horlock a few years since for two thousand guineas, claim a high descent, having much of the blood of Lord Thanet’s and Mr. Elwes’s packs, which were in the possession of the 25 Abingdon family, at Rycot, for at least three generations, and hunted Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Mr. Warde was a master of fox-hounds during, as we believe, the yet unequalled period of fifty-seven years in succession. During this time he sold his pack to Lord Spencer; but reserved three couples of bitches, from which he raised another pack, and thus never lost sight of his old blood.

The late Earl Fitzwilliam comes very near Mr. Warde as an old master of fox-hounds. Soon after Mr. Warde purchased his first pack of the Honourable Captain Bertie, this peer bought the one called the Crewe and Foley, which had been very long established in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire; and he kept them to his death—nearly fifty years, and they are now in the kennel of the present Earl.

The Belvoir hounds are also a very old established pack, but had an interval during the minority of the present Duke of Rutland, when in the hands, first, of Sir Carnaby Haggerstone, and afterwards of Mr. Percival, brother of the late Lord Egmont.

The Duke of Beaufort’s are another justly celebrated pack, now in possession of the third generation; they date from the time of Lord Fitzwilliam’s taking the Crewe and Foley hounds, which made an opening in that part of Oxfordshire which the Duke now hunts.

Fox-hounds have been kept at Raby Castle, Durham, by the present Duke of Cleveland and his uncle, the late Duke, for more than a century; and his Grace 26 officiated as huntsman to his pack for nearly forty seasons, still following them to the field.

The Earl of Scarborough’s late pack, now Mr. Foljambe’s, hunting the Collingworth country, claims also an early date; and among the other old masters of fox-hounds now alive, the names of Sir Richard Puleston, the late Lord Middleton, the Earl of Harewood, Mr. Villebois, Mr. Ralph Lambton, Mr. Musters, and the Duke of Grafton, stand next on the list. The late Sir Thomas Mostyn was in the uninterrupted possession of fox-hounds for upwards of forty years; the late Mr. Chute, of Hampshire, kept them at least thirty years; and that super-excellent sportsman, Mr. Musters, has already seen out a similar period.

With the exception of these and a few others, the packs of English fox-hounds have changed masters so often within the last fifty years, that it is almost impossible to trace them, either in blood or possession. However, the most valuable kennels of the present day are those of the Dukes of Rutland, Beaufort, and Cleveland, Lord Fitzwilliam, Messrs. Ralph Lambton and Osbaldeston (now Mr. Harvey Combe’s). Mr. Warde has been remarkable for the great bone, size, and power of the hounds he has bred. With the exception of the Duke of Cleveland’s and Mr. Villebois’s large packs (so called in contradistinction to packs consisting of their smaller hounds, which these eminent sportsmen bring into the field on the alternate days), no hounds of the present day equal his in this respect. His logic on the 27 subject is incontrovertible. “You may at pleasure,” says this distinguished sportsman, “diminish the size and power of the animal you wish to breed; but it is difficult to increase, or even preserve them, adhering to the same breed.” Many thought that Mr. Warde’s hounds looked to some disadvantage, owing to their generally carrying a good deal of flesh, which, however, he considered—as did also the celebrated Tom Rose6, 28 the Duke of Grafton’s late huntsman, and father of the present—absolutely essential to those which, like his, hunted strong woodland countries. To the eye of a 29 sportsman, it is certain they always afforded a high treat, as the power and fine symmetry of the fox-hound were apparent at first sight; and almost every kennel in the south of England, and several in the north, are now proud to acknowledge their obligations to the blood of John Warde—the Father of the Field.

Sir Richard Puleston is celebrated as a judicious breeder of hounds, and his blood has likewise been highly valued in several of our best kennels, amongst which is the Duke of Cleveland’s, to whom Sir Richard sold a very large draft some years since, and also that of the Fife. The late Mr. Corbet, a very considerable breeder of hounds, always bowed to his superior judgment in this department of the science. The most celebrated breeders, however, of this day, are the Dukes of Rutland and Beaufort, and Mr. Ralph Lambton; and Mr. Osbaldeston’s blood, although himself no longer the owner of hounds, is de facto in the highest repute in the hunting world. A few years back, he had nearly forty couples of hounds at work at one time, by one sire—his Furrier.


The following testimony to the character of the late Duke of Beaufort, and his fox-hounds, appeared in a late number of the New Sporting Magazine, from the pen of Nimrod:—

“Yet it is as a master of fox-hounds, that it is within my province to speak of the late Duke of Beaufort; and, from the many years’ experience I had of his Grace in the field, I feel myself in some measure competent to the task. I need scarcely say I was always an admirer of his hounds, although I could not like his country. The gradual improvement I saw in the former, in defiance of all the disadvantages of the latter, convinced me that there was a system at work highly worthy of my consideration—a directing hand somewhere which must eventually lead to perfection. But whence this directing hand I was for a long time unable to discover. I doubted it being that of the Duke, not from a mistrust of his capacity, but because I had reason to believe the numerous avocations of his station prevented his attending to the minutiæ of a kennel;—although I did not consider his Grace a sportsman of the very first class, in which his hounds certainly stood. I doubted it being that of Philip Payne, his huntsman, for, to appearance, a duller bit of clay was never moulded by Nature. But we should not judge from appearances, and I lived to confess my error. There was about Philip a steady observance of circumstances, which, increasing with the experience of their results, was more useful to him, as a breeder 31 of fox-hounds, than the learning and talent of a Person. His observation alone taught him, that in seeking to produce excellence in animals, we have the best prospect of success in the election of those to breed from which have individually exhibited the peculiar qualities we require from them. Having availed ourselves of those in a kennel, a combination of strength and symmetry—which we call beauty—produces the perfect hound; at least as nearly so as the somewhat imperfect law of nature will allow of.”

Persons, who are not sportsmen, may be at a loss to estimate the annual expenses of a pack of fox-hounds, hunting our first-rate countries; and, perhaps, equally so to account for such large sums being expended in such pursuits.7 32 Hay and oats, and, consequently, oatmeal, being very much cheaper now than they were during the war-prices, of course these expenses are diminished: but, even at present, we understand that, in the best establishments, very little is left out of four thousand pounds at the end of the year, when all contingent charges are liquidated; and we have reason to know that several greatly outstrip even this sum, perhaps to the extent of one-half in addition. The late Sir Harry Goodricke had eighty couples of hounds in his kennel, and forty-four hunters in his stables; and we believe that his predecessors, Lord Southampton, Mr. Osbaldeston, and Sir Bellingham Graham, even exceeded this measure of establishment.

The price of hounds is, perhaps, not generally known. Thirty years ago, Sir Richard Puleston sold his to the Duke of Bedford for seven hundred, and, fifteen years since, Mr. Corbet’s were sold to Lord Middleton for twelve hundred guineas. A well-known good pack will, in these times, command a thousand guineas;—those of Lord Tavistock (the Oakley), to Sir Harry Goodricke; Mr. Nicholl’s, to the Earl of Kintore; and Sir Richard Sutton’s to Mr. Thomas Aysheton Smith, have been sold for that sum within the last few years; and those of Mr. Warde, as we have already said, for double that sum. But a very few years back, indeed, 33 Mr. Osbaldeston sold ten couples of hounds for the first-named sum to the late Lord Middleton; and we have reason to believe he had hounds in his kennel for which he would not have taken two hundred guineas a‑piece. Knowing all this, one can make every allowance for the angry feeling and fears of their owners when they see the chance of their being ridden over and destroyed in chace. Good hounds are not easily replaced; and it is on this account, that in the hard-riding countries, and where the covers are small, seldom more than sixteen or seventeen couples form a pack.

The recent retirement of the Duke of Rutland from the field has been felt to leave a vacuum in the hunting world. Those hounds are now in the possession of a very popular young nobleman, Lord Forester, and his Grace subscribes one thousand two hundred pounds per annum towards their support; but the Duke himself no longer hunts, neither is there the annual assemblage of sportsmen that was wont to be within the walls of Belvoir Castle. These are circumstances which have caused much regret; for his Grace retires with the good name of all the fox-hunting population. He “did the thing” with princely magnificence, both in-doors and out; and if materials had been sought for to furnish a faithful representation of the style and grandeur of the genuine English nobleman, giving a fair part of his attention to the arrangements of the chace, we have reason to believe they would have all been met with at Belvoir.


Although most foreigners express vast surprise that we should go to such expense in hunting the fox, unattended by the parade of the continental chasse, yet several of them have of late been induced to make their appearance in Leicestershire; and some few have shewn that, had they been born Englishmen, and rightly initiated in the art, they must have been conspicuous characters in the field. The performances of Count Sandore, an Hungarian nobleman, who resided one year at Melton Mowbray, on a visit to Lord Alvanley, have already met the public eye; and his daring horsemanship, and consequent mishaps, formed the subject of an amusing tale. From a ludicrous description given of them by himself, a series of pictures were painted by Mr. Ferneley, of Melton-Mowbray, representing him in as extraordinary and perilous situations as the imagination of man could have conceived. Fiction, however, was not resorted to, every scene being a real one; and the Count—the delight of the Meltonians—carried them to his own country, on his return, together with some English mares to produce hunters, having had a good taste of the breed. He was mounted by Mr. Tilbury, a celebrated horse-dealer in London, who found him a stud of eight horses for the season, for the moderate sum of one thousand pounds, including every contingent expense, even to the turnpike gates. Count Bathyany is a resident at Melton; Counts Hahn and Bassewitz, from Germany, spent part of one season there; and Count Matuchevitch, the 35 Russian minister, is residing there now. His Excellency has ten hunters of his own, rides hard, and is much esteemed by the Meltonians, and all sportsmen in the neighbourhood.8 During the visit of Don Miguel to the Duke of Wellington at Strathfieldsay, a few years back, he went out with the Vine hounds (late Mr. Chute’s), to which his Grace is a subscriber. He rode a celebrated hunter of the late King’s, and gallantly did he put him along. It too often happens, however, on such occasions, when sport is most anxiously desired for the amusement of some distinguished individual, that the game runs short, or the scent lies faintly. Such was a good deal the case in this instance, although there was running enough to shew that Miguel would have stopped at nothing that might have come in his way to oppose his being with the hounds. Of his qualities as a sportsman there was little opportunity of judging, but he certainly shewed himself to be a horseman of a 36 superior caste; insomuch that those who observed him were little astonished with the accounts of his personal activity in the first weeks after his return to Portugal:—he, at that crisis, is said to have ridden six hundred miles in six successive days, a feat which those who have travelled on Portuguese roads will appreciate. So much for, we fear, one of the last persons to whom anybody would think of applying Wordsworth’s eulogium on “the Shepherd Lord:”

“In him the savage virtue of the chace,

Revenge, and all ferocious thoughts, were dead.”

group of hunters gathering with their horses

Ashby Pasture in the Quorn Country—Snob just arrived.

It is a hackneyed enough remark, that both ancient and modern writers make sad work of it when they attempt a description of heaven. To describe a run with fox-hounds is not a much easier task; but to make the attempt with any other county than Leicestershire in our eye, would be giving a chance away. Let us then suppose ourselves to have been at Ashby Pasture, in the Quorn country, with Mr. Osbaldeston’s hounds, in the year 1826, when that pack was at the height of its well-merited celebrity. Let us also indulge ourselves with a fine morning in the first week of February, and at least two hundred well-mounted men by the cover’s side. Time being called—say a quarter past eleven, nearly our great-grandfathers’ dinner hour—the hounds approach the furze-brake, or the gorse, as it is called in that region. “Hark in, hark!” with a slight cheer, and perhaps one wave of his cap, says Mr. Osbaldeston, 37 who long hunted his own pack, and in an instant he has not a hound at his horse’s heels. In a very short time the gorse appears shaken in various parts of the cover—apparently from an unknown cause, not a single hound being for some minutes visible. Presently one or two appear, leaping over some old furze which they cannot push through, and exhibit to the field their glossy skins and spotted sides. “Oh you beauties!” exclaims some old Meltonian, rapturously fond of the sport. Two minutes more elapse; another hound slips out of cover, and takes a short turn outside, with his nose to the ground and his stern lashing his side—thinking, no doubt, he might touch on a drag, should Reynard have been abroad in the night. Hounds have no business to think, thinks the second whipper-in, who observes him; but one crack of his whip, with “Rasselas, Rasselas, where are you going, Rasselas? Get to cover, Rasselas;” and Rasselas immediately disappears. Five minutes more pass away. “No fox here,” says one; “Don’t be in a hurry,” cries Mr. Cradock9; “they are drawing it beautifully, and there is rare lying in it.” These words are scarcely uttered, when the cover shakes more than ever. Every stem appears alive, and it reminds us of a corn-field waving in the wind. In two minutes the sterns of some more hounds are seen “flourishing”10 above the 38 gorse. “Have at him there,” holloas the Squire11—the gorse still more alive, and hounds leaping over each other’s backs. “Have at him there again, my good hounds; a fox for a hundred!” reiterates the Squire; putting his finger in his ear, and uttering a scream which, not being set to music, we cannot give here. Jack Stevens (the first whipper-in) looks at his watch. At this moment “John White,” “Val. Maher,” “Frank Holyoake” (who will pardon us for giving them their noms-de-chasse12) and two or three more of the fast ones, are seen creeping gently on towards a point at which they think it probable he may break. “Hold hard, there,” says a sportsman; but he might as well speak to the winds. “Stand still, gentlemen; pray stand still,” exclaims the huntsman; he might as well say so to the sun. During the time we have been speaking of, all the field have been awake—gloves put on—cigars thrown away—the bridle-reins gathered well up into the hand, and hats pushed down upon the brow.

At this interesting period, a Snob13, just arrived from 39 a very rural country, and unknown to any one, but determined to witness the start, gets into a conspicuous situation: “Come away, Sir!” holloas the master (little suspecting that the Snob may be nothing less than one of the Quarterly Reviewers). “What mischief are you doing there? Do you think you can catch the fox?” A breathless silence ensues. At length a whimper is heard in the cover—like the voice of a dog in a dream: it is Flourisher14, and the Squire cheers him to the echo. In an instant a hound challenges—and another—and another. ’Tis enough. “Tallyho!” cries a countryman in a tree. “He’s gone,” exclaims Lord Alvanley; and, clapping his spurs to his horse, in an instant is in the front rank.

field covered with horses and hunting dogs

“‘Go along,’ roars Mr. Holyoake.—Snob takes the Lead.”

As all good sportsmen would say, “’Ware, hounds!” cries Sir Harry Goodricke. “Give them time,” exclaims Mr. John Moore. “That’s right,” says Mr. Osbaldeston, “spoil your own sport as usual.” “Go along,” roars out Mr. Holyoake, “there are three couple of hounds on the scent.” “That’s your sort,” says Billy Coke,15 coming up at the rate of thirty miles an hour on Advance, with a label pinned on his back, “he kicks:”—“the rest are all coming, and there’s a rare scent to-day, I’m sure.” Bonaparte’s Old Guard, in its best 40 days, would not have stopped such men as these, so long as life remained in them.

Only those who have witnessed it can know in what an extraordinary manner hounds that are left behind in a cover make their way through a crowd, and get up to the leading ones of the pack, which have been fortunate in getting away with their fox. It is true, they possess the speed of a race-horse; still nothing short of their high mettle could induce them to thread their way through a body of horsemen going the best pace, with the prospect of being ridden over and maimed at every stride they take. But, as Beckford observes, “’Tis the dash of the fox-hound which distinguishes him.” A turn, however, in their favour, or a momentary loss of scent in the few hounds that have shot ahead—an occurrence to be looked for on such occasions—joins head and tail together, and the scent being good, every hound settles to his fox; the pace gradually improves; vires acquirit eundo; a terrible burst is the result!

At the end of nineteen minutes the hounds come to a fault, and for a moment the fox has a chance,—in fact, they have been pressed upon by the horses, and have rather over-run the scent. “What a pity!” says one. “What a shame!” cries another; alluding, perhaps, to a young one, who would and could have gone still faster. “You may thank yourselves for this,” exclaims Osbaldeston, well up at the time, Ashton16 looking fresh; but 41 only fourteen men of the two hundred are to be counted; all the rest coming. At one blast of the horn, the hounds are back to the point at which the scent has failed, Jack Stevens being in his place to turn them. “Yo doit! Pastime,” says the Squire, as she feathers her stern down the hedge-row, looking more beautiful than ever. She speaks! “Worth a thousand, by Jupiter!” cries John White, looking over his left shoulder as he sends both spurs into Euxton, delighted to see only four more of the field are up. Our Snob, however, is amongst them. He has “gone a good one,” and his countenance is expressive of delight, as he urges his horse to his speed to get again into a front place.

The pencil of a painter is now wanting; and unless the painter should be a sportsman, even his pencil would be worth little. What a country is before him!—what a panorama does it represent! Not a field of less than forty—some a hundred acres—and no more signs of the plough than in the wilds of Siberia. See the hounds in a body that might be covered by a damask tablecloth—every stern down, and every head up, for there is no need of stooping, the scent lying breast-high. But the crash!—the music!—how to describe these? Reader, there is no crash now, and not much music. It is the tinker that makes great noise over a little work; but at the pace these hounds are going there is no time for babbling. Perchance one hound in five may throw his tongue as he goes to inform his comrades, as it were, that the villain is on before them, and most musically do 42 the light notes of Vocal and Venus fall on the ear of those who may be within reach to catch them. But who is so fortunate in this second burst, nearly as terrible as the first? Our fancy supplies us again, and we think we could name them all. If we look to the left, nearly abreast of the pack, we see six men going gallantly, and quite as straight as the hounds themselves are going; and on the right are four more, riding equally well, though the former have rather the best of it, owing to having had the inside of the hounds at the last two turns which must be placed to the chapter of accidents. A short way in the rear, by no means too much so to enjoy this brilliant run, are the rest of the élite of the field, who had come up at the first check; and a few who, thanks to the goodness of their steeds, and their determination to be with the hounds, appear as if dropped from the clouds. Some, however, begin to shew symptoms of distress. Two horses are seen loose in the distance—a report is flying about that one of the field is badly hurt, and something is heard of a collarbone being broken, others say it is a leg; but the pace is too good to inquire. A cracking of rails is now heard, and one gentleman’s horse is to be seen resting, nearly balanced, across one of them, his rider being on his back in the ditch, which is on the landing side. “Who is he?” says Lord Brudenel, to Jack Stevens. “Can’t tell, my Lord; but I thought it was a queerish place when I came o’er it before him.” It is evidently a case of peril, but the pace is too good to afford help.


Up to this time, “Snob” has gone quite in the first flight; the “Dons” begin to eye him, and, when an opportunity offers, the question is asked—“Who is that fellow on the little bay horse?” “Don’t know him,” says Mr. Little Gilmour (a fourteen-stone Scotchman, by-the-by), ganging gallantly to his hounds.—“He can ride,” exclaims Lord Rancliffe. “A tip-top provincial, depend upon it,” added Lord Plymouth, going quite at his ease on a thorough-bred nag, three stone above his weight, and in perfect racing trim. Animal nature, however, will cry “enough,” how good soever she may be, if unreasonable man press her beyond the point. The line of scent lies right athwart a large grass ground (as a field is termed in Leicestershire), somewhat on the ascent; abounding in ant-hills, or hillocks, peculiar to old grazing land, and thrown up by the plough, some hundred years since, into rather high ridges, with deep, holding furrows between each. The fence at the top is impracticable—Meltonicè, “a stopper;” nothing for it but a gate, leading into a broad green lane, high and strong, with deep slippery ground on each side of it. “Now for the timber-jumper,” cries Osbaldeston, pleased to find himself upon Ashton. “For Heaven’s sake, take care of my hounds, in case they may throw up in the lane.” Snob is here in the best company, and that moment perhaps the happiest of his life; but, not satisfied with his situation, wishing to out-Herod Herod, and to have a fine story to tell when he gets home, he pushes to his speed on ground on which all regular 44 Leicestershire men are careful, and the death-warrant of the little bay horse is signed. It is true he gets first to the gate, and has no idea of opening it; sees it contains five new and strong bars, that will neither bend nor break; has a great idea of a fall, but no idea of refusing; presses his hat firmly on his head, and gets his whip hand at liberty to give the good little nag a refresher; but all at once he perceives it will not do. When attempting to collect him for the effort, he finds his mouth dead and his neck stiff; fancies he hears something like a wheezing in his throat; and discovering quite unexpectedly that the gate would open, wisely avoids a fall, which was booked had he attempted to leap it. He pulls up, then, at the gate; and as he places the hook of his whip under the latch, John White goes over it close to the hinge-post, and Captain Ross, upon Clinker, follows him. The Reviewer then walks through.

several horses jumping a hedge, but one horse balks

“The little bay horse will have no more.”

The scene now shifts. On the other side of the lane is a fence of this description: it is a newly plashed hedge, abounding in strong growers, as they are called, and a yawning ditch on the other side; but, as is peculiar to Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, a considerable portion of the blackthorn, left uncut, leans outwards from the hedge, somewhat about breast-high. This large fence is taken by all now with the hounds—some to the right and some to the left of the direct line; but the little bay horse would have no more of it. Snob puts him twice at it, and manfully too; but the wind is out of him, and he has no power to rise. 45 Several scrambles, but only one fall, occur at this “rasper,” all having nearly enough of the killing pace; and a mile and a half further, the second horses are fallen in with, just in the nick of time. A short check from the stain of sheep makes everything comfortable, and the Squire having hit off his fox like a workman, thirteen men, out of two hundred, are fresh mounted and with the hounds, which settle to the scent again at a truly killing pace.

Hold hard, Holyoake!” exclaims Mr. Osbaldeston (now mounted on Clasher), knowing what double-quick time he would be marching to, with fresh pipes to play upon and the crowd well shaken off; “pray don’t press ’em too hard, and we shall be sure to kill our fox.17 Have at him there, Abigail and Fickle, good bitches!—see what a head they are carrying! I’ll bet a thousand they kill him.” The country appears better and better. “He’s taking a capital line,” exclaims Sir Harry Goodricke, as he points out to Sir James Musgrave two young Furrier hounds, who are particularly distinguishing themselves at the moment. “Worth a dozen Reform Bills,” shouts Sir Francis Burdett, sitting erect upon Sampson18, and putting his head straight at a yawner. “We shall have the Whissendine brook,” cries Mr. Maher, who knows every field in the country, “for he is making straight for Teigh.” “And a bumper, 46 too, after last night’s rain,” holloas Captain Berkeley, determined to get first to four stiff rails in a corner. “So much the better,” says Lord Alvanley, “I like a bumper at all times.” “A fig for the Whissendine,” cries Lord Gardner; “I am on the best water-jumper in my stable.”

The prophecy turns up. Having skirted Ranksborough gorse the villain has nowhere to stop short of Woodwell-head cover, which he is pointing for; and in ten minutes, or less, the brook appears in view. It is even with its banks, and, as

“Smooth glides the water where the brook is deep,”

its deepness was pretty certain to be fathomed.

group of horses riding at a hedge: some jump, some stop short

“Seven out of thirteen take it in their stride; three stop short,—and three find themselves in the middle of it.”

Yooi, OVER he goes!” holloas the Squire, as he perceives Joker and Jewell plunging into the stream, and Red-rose shaking herself on the opposite bank. Seven men, out of thirteen, take it in their stride; three stop short, their horses refusing the first time, but come well over the second; and three find themselves in the middle of it. The gallant “Frank Forester” is among the latter: and having been requested that morning to wear a friend’s new red coat, to take off the gloss and glare of the shop, he accomplishes the task to perfection in the bluish-black mud of the Whissendine, only then subsiding after a three days’ flood.19 “Who is that under his horse in the brook?” inquires that good sportsman and fine rider, Mr. Green, of Rolleston, 47 whose noted old mare had just skimmed over the water like a swallow on a summer’s evening. “It’s Middleton Biddulph,” says one. “Pardon me,” cries Mr. Middleton Biddulph; “Middleton Biddulph is here, and here he means to be!” “Only Dick Christian20,” answers Lord Forester, “and it’s nothing new to him.” “But he’ll be drowned,” exclaims Lord Kinnaird. “I shouldn’t wonder,” observes Mr. William Coke. But the pace is too good to inquire.

The fox does his best to escape: he threads hedge-rows, tries the out-buildings of a farm house, and once turns so short as nearly to run his foil; but—the perfection of the thing—the hounds turn shorter than he does, as much as to say—die you shall. The pace has been awful for the last twenty minutes. Three horses are blown to a stand-still, and few are going at their ease. “Out upon this great carcase of mine! no horse that was ever foaled can live under it at this pace, and over this country,” says one of the best welter-weights, as he stands over his four-hundred-guinea chestnut, then rising from the ground after giving him a heavy fall—his tail nearly erect in the air, his nostrils violently distended, and his eye almost fixed.21 “Not hurt, I hope,” exclaims Mr. Maxse, to somebody whom he gets a 48 glimpse of through the openings of a tall quickset-hedge which is between them, coming neck and croup into the adjoining field, from the top bar of a high, hog-backed stile. His eye might have been spared the unpleasing sight, had not his ear been attracted to a sort of procumbit-humi-bos sound of a horse falling to the ground on his back, the bone of his left hip indenting the greensward within two inches of his rider’s thigh. It is young Peyton22, who, having missed his second horse at the check, had been going nearly half the way in distress; but from nerve and pluck, perhaps peculiar to Englishmen in the hunting field, but very peculiar to himself, got within three fields of the end of this brilliant run. The fall was all but a certainty; for it was the third stiff timbered-fence that had unfortunately opposed him, after his horse’s wind had been pumped out by the pace; but he was too good to refuse them, and his horse knew better than to do so.

The Æneid of Virgil ends with a death, and a chace is not complete without it. The fox dies within half a mile of Woodwell-head cover, evidently his point from the first, the pack pulling him down in the middle of a large grass field, every hound but one at his brush. Jack Stevens with him in his hands would be a subject 49 worthy of Edwin Landseer himself: a blackthorn, which has laid hold of his cheek, has besmeared his upper garments with blood, and one side of his head and cap are cased in mud, by a fall he has had in a lane, his horse having alighted in the ruts from a high flight of rails; but he has ridden the same horse throughout the run, and has handled him so well he could have gone two miles further, if the chace had been continued so long. Osbaldeston’s “who-hoop” might have been heard at Cottesmore, had the wind set in that direction, and every man present is ecstatic with delight. “Quite the cream of the thing, I suppose,” says Lord Gardner, a very promising young one, at this time fresh in Leicestershire. “The cream of everything in the shape of fox-hunting,” observes that excellent sportsman Sir James Musgrave, looking at that moment at his watch. “Just ten miles, as the crow flies, in one hour and two minutes, with but two trifling checks, over the finest country in the world. What superb hounds are these!” added the Baronet, as he turned his horse’s head to the wind. “You are right,” says Colonel Lowther, “they are perfect. I wish my father had seen them do their work to-day.” Some of the field now come up, who could not live in the first flight; but, as there is no jealousy here, they congratulate each other on the fine day’s sport, and each man turns his head towards home.

gathering of dogs and triumphant hunters at the end of the course

“Osbaldeston’s ’Whohoop!’ might have been heard at Cottesmore.”

A large party dine this evening at the Old Club, where, of course, this fine run is discussed, and the 50 following accurate description of it is given by one of the oldest members, a true friend to fox-hunting, and to all mankind as well23:—“We found him,” said he, “at Ashby Pasture, and got away with him, up wind, at a slapping pace over Burrow Hill, leaving Thorpe Trussels to the right, when a trifling check occurred. He then pointed for Ranksborough gorse, which some feared and others hoped he might hang in a little, but he was too good to go near it. Leaving that on his right also, he crossed the brook to Whissendine, going within half a mile of the village, and then he had nothing for it but to fly. That magnificent country in the direction of Teigh was open to him, and he shewed that he had the courage to face it. Leaving Teigh on the right, Woodwell-head was his point, and in two more fields he would have reached it. Thus we found him in the Quorn country; ran him over the finest part of Lord Lonsdale’s, and killed him on the borders of the Belvoir. Sir Bellingham Graham’s hounds once gave us just such another tickler, from the same place, and in the same time, when the field were nearly as much beaten as they were to-day.”

But we have left Snob in the lane, who, after casting a longing eye towards his more fortunate companions, who were still keeping well in with the hounds, throws the rein over the neck of the good little bay horse, and, walking by his side, that he may recover his wind, 51 inquires his way to Melton. Having no one to converse with, he thus soliloquises as he goes:—“What a dolt have I been, to spend five hundred a year on my stable, in any country than this! But stop a little: how is it that I, weighing but eleven stone four pounds with my saddle, and upon my best horse, an acknowledged good one in my own country, could neither go so fast nor so long as that heavy fellow Maxse; that still heavier Lord Alvanley; and that monster Tom Edge, who, they tell me, weighs eighteen stone, at least, in the scales?” At this moment a bridle-gate opens in the lane, and a gentleman in scarlet appears, with his countenance pale and wan, and expressive of severe pain. It is he who had been dug out of the ditch in which Jack Stevens had left him, his horse having fallen upon him, after being suspended on the rail, and broken three of his ribs. Feeling extremely unwell, he is glad to meet with Snob, who is going his road,—to Melton,—and who offers him all the assistance in his power. Snob also repeats to him his soliloquy, at least the sum and substance of it, on which the gentleman,—recovering a little from his faintness by the help of a glass of brandy and water at the village,—thus makes his comment:—“I think, Sir, you are a stranger in this part of the world.” “Certainly,” replied Snob, “it is my first appearance in Leicestershire.” “I observed you in the run,” continued the wounded sportsman; “and very well you went up to the time I fell, but particularly so to the first check. You then rode to a leader, and 52 made an excellent choice; but after that period, I saw you not only attempting a line of your own, but taking liberties with your horse, and anticipated the fate you have met with. If you remain with us long, you will be sure to find out that riding to hounds in Leicestershire is different from what it is in most other countries in England, and requires a little apprenticeship. There is much choice of ground; and if this choice be not judiciously made, and coupled with a cautious observance of pace, a horse is beaten in a very short time. If you doubt my creed, look to the events of this memorable day.” Snob thanks him for his hints, and notes them in his book of memory.

The fame of Snob and his little bay horse reaches Melton before he walks in himself. “That provincial fellow did not go amiss to-day,” says one. “Who was that rural-looking man on a neatish bay horse—all but his tail—who was so well with us at the first check?” asks another, who himself could not get to the end, although he went “a good one” three parts of the way. There is no one present to answer these questions; but the next day, and the next, Snob is in the field again, and again in a good place. Further inquiries are made, and satisfactory information obtained. On the fourth day, a nod from one—a “how do you?” from another—“a fine morning,” from a third—are tokens good-humouredly bestowed upon him by some of the leading men; and on the fifth day, after a capital half-hour, in which he has again distinguished himself, a noble bon-vivant24 53 thus addresses him,—“Perhaps, Sir, you would like to dine with me to-day; I shall be happy to see you at seven.”

“Covers,” he writes next day to some friend in his remote western province, “were laid for eight, the favourite number of our late king; and, perhaps his majesty never sat down to a better-dressed dinner in his life. To my surprise, the subject of fox-hunting was named but once during the evening, and that was when an order was given that a servant might be sent to inquire after a gentleman who had had a severe fall that morning over some timber; and to ask, by the way, if Dick Christian came alive out of a ditch, in which he had been left with a clever young thorough-bred one on the top of him.” The writer proceeds to describe an evening in which wit and music were more thought of than wine—and presenting, in all respects, a perfect contrast to the old notions of a fox-hunting society:—but we have already trespassed on delicate ground.

It is this union of the elegant repose of life with the energetic sports of the field that constitutes the charm of Melton-Mowbray; and who can wonder that young gentlemen, united by profession, should be induced to devote a season or two to such a course of existence? We must not, however, leave the subject without expressing our regret that resorting, year after year, to this metropolis of the chace should seem at all likely 54 to become a fashion with persons whose hereditary possessions lie far from its allurements. It is all very well to go through the training of the acknowledged school of “the craft;” but the country gentleman who understands his duties, and in what the real permanent pleasure of life exists, will never settle down into a regular Meltonian. He will feel that his first concern is with his own proper district, and seek the recreations of the chace, if his taste for them outlives the first heyday of youth, among the scenes, however comparatively rude, in which his natural place has been appointed.

group of well-dressed gentlemen seated casually at an elegant table

1 In a letter, dated February, 1833, from the late Lord Arundel to the author of these papers, is the following interesting passage to sportsmen:—“A pack of fox-hounds were kept by my ancestor, Lord Arundel, between the years 1690 and 1700; and I have memoranda to prove that they occasionally hunted from Wardover Castle, in Wiltshire, and at Brimmer, in Hants, now Sir Edward Halse’s, but then the occasional residence of Lord Arundel. These hounds were kept by my family until about the year 1745, when the sixth Lord Arundel died, when they were kept by his nephew, the Earl of Castle-Haven, until the death of the last Earl of that name, about the year 1782. The pack were then sold to the celebrated Hugo Meynell, Esq., of Quorndon Hall, Leicestershire; and hence it is possible they may have, in part, contributed to the establishment of that gentleman’s fox-hunting fame.”

2 Baronet was a celebrated racer, belonging to George the Fourth, when Prince of Wales.

3 Sir Bellingham Graham alone received the last-named sum. That now given to Mr. Errington is about two thousand five hundred pounds.

4 Among the foremost of these were, the present Earl of Jersey, then Lord Villiers; the late Lord Forester, then Mr. Cecil Forester; Lord Delamere, then Mr. Cholmondeley; the Honourable George Germaine; Earl Sefton; Lord Huntingfield, then the Honourable Joshua Vanneck; the late Lords Charles Somerset, Maynard, and Craven; Lord Lynedoch, then Colonel Graham; the late Lords Foley and Wenlock (then Sir Robert Lawley); Honourables Robert Grosvenor, Berkeley Craven, and Martin Hawke; Sir John Shelley, Sir Henry Peyton, and the late Sir Stephen Glynn; General Tarleton; Messrs. Loraine Smith, Childe, Charles Meynell, Harvey Aston, Lowth, Musters, Lambton, Bennet, Hawkes, Lockley, Thomas Aysheton Smith, Lindow, Jacob Wardell, cum multis aliis.

5 The advantages of the new system of preparing the hunter for the field have been so clearly demonstrated by the author of these papers, in his Letters on the Condition of Hunters, Riding to Hounds, &c., that the old one, of turning him to grass in the summer, and destroying that condition which it had taken months to procure, is nearly, if not totally, exploded, in the studs of all the hard riders of the present day.

6 The following sketch of honest Old Tom is copied from a late number of the Northampton Herald, with a few additional particulars by the friend who has kindly forwarded it to us, and who had long known him, and was able to appreciate his character. It is but an imperfect sketch, he observes, and hardly does Old Tom justice.

“Poor Tom has at length gone to the place where all things are forgotten. For many years have I known him well, and safely can I aver that a more honest and worthy man never sat on a saddle, or ever cheered a hound. He had been from his infancy in the family of the Duke of Grafton. It is related of him, that Joe Smith, who had the care of the old Duke’s hounds, whilst hunting one day at Staen, near Brackley, heard a boy hallooing crows, and was so pleased with his voice, that he took him into the stable. Be that as it may, he hunted the Grafton pack for nearly half a century. As it is much easier to pick a hole than mend one, so many, who were unacquainted with the nature of the country, used ofttimes to be not very scrupulous in their remarks as to his management. No one knew what hounds ought to be, better than Tom; but, as he frequently used to say, ‘a man must breed his pack to suit his country.’ His hounds were supposed to be wild, and to have too much fly in them; or, according to his phrase, ‘a leetle in a hurry.’ They certainly were so in a degree; but, in the ungovernable woodlands he had to hunt, how many foxes would he have caught had he not lifted them and thrown them in at head, with a bad fox? One fox would have lasted him a season. This system, doubtless, would make them wild in the open, but in a woodland country what other system is to be pursued? Knowing that they had a good deal of fling in them, Tom could not bear the sight of a red coat. The Pytchley wild-boys, who were ever for a scurry in the morning, used to indulge Tom with their company whenever they met in the open, and not being accustomed (when at home) to give them ‘much room,’ used to drive them over it most unmercifully, and generally soon lost their first fox for them. As soon, however, as Tom’s company had left him, or he had left them, by slipping down-wind with a few farmers and a field he could controul, no hounds would sooner settle to their scent, or make more of it. If the scent would let them, none could twist him up sooner. Tom had one failing, (and who has not?) which was, that he was too strongly prejudiced in favour of his own sort, and thereby lost the advantage which is derived from judiciously crossing, and which has so mainly contributed to the improvement of hounds in the present day. He had generally many lame hounds, which arose, not from any fault of his, but from the dampness of the kennel, in which there arose upright springs; which (whatever may be the case now) were not cured in his time. Though not an elegant, he was a capital horseman, and no one got better to his hounds. He did not like either a difficult or a raw horse, and he was not what is called a bruising rider; but he well knew the pace his horse was going, and always kept something in him. He did not like cramming him at large fences; but, like his inimitable pupil, Charles King, would always let any aspiring rider break the binders for him, and would rather get his horse’s hind legs into the middle of a fence and make him creep through it, than let him jump.

“He had a sharp eye for a gap, or the weakest place in a fence, and could bore a hole through a black, dark double hedge better than most men. In the latter part of his life, he had a propensity highly disagreeable to a horseman’s eye: he used to poke his horse on the head till he frightened him out of his senses, held him too hard, and frequently made him jump short, either before or behind. The consequence was, he often spoilt his beauty in a scramble, or lay on his back, as the penalty of his cowardice. However, he got well to his hounds without upsetting his horse; and when he was with them he knew well when to stir them, and when to let them alone.

“Some five-and-thirty years ago, no pack was better appointed. The horses came chiefly from the racing stud, and all the men were well mounted. Dick Forster* and Ned Allen, then both in high feather, were of the first order of the profession (Jackett, too, was a famous assistant, and a fine rider), quick, active, and light, and always ready to play into one another’s hands. As many a flower blows unseen, so had these hounds many a fine day’s sport that was hardly ever heard of. With no one out but ‘Old Beau,’ with his low-crowned hat, black top-boots, one steel spur; his groom, Luke, in his twilled fustian frock, on the second horse; and a few old potterers like myself,—I have seen many a run, the recollection of which warms the expiring embers of my old age. Tom had a fine voice, which he, however, never used unnecessarily; and he scarcely ever blew his horn, except to get them out of a cover when the fox was away. As long as fox-hunting is followed by Englishmen, so long will the name of Old Tom Rose be cherished with the fondest recollections.”

* Now huntsman to Mr. Villebois, in Hampshire.

7 The following are the items of expenses, laid down by Colonel Cooke, in his “Observations on Fox-hunting,” published a few years since. The calculation supposes a four-times-a-week country; but it is generally below the mark.

Fourteen horses, £700
Hounds’ food, for fifty couples 275
Firing 50
Taxes 120
Two whippers-in, and feeder 210
Earth-stopping 80
Saddlery 100
Farriery, shoeing, and medicine 100
Young hounds purchased, and expenses at walks 100
Casualties 200
Huntsman’s wages and his horses 300

Of course, countries vary much in expense from local circumstances; such as the necessity for change of kennels, hounds sleeping out, &c., &c. In those which are called hollow countries, consequently abounding in earths, the expense of earth-stopping is heavy; and Northamptonshire is of this class. In others, a great part of the foxes are what is termed stub-bred (bred above ground), which circumstance reduces the amount of this item.

8 Several French sportsmen have lately visited Leicestershire; the best performer of them, perhaps, is M. Normandie. M. de Vaublan and M. d’ Hinnisdale have both had a taste of Melton; and, in 1834, the last-named gentleman spent the winter at Leamington, in Warwickshire. This was the year in which M. Vaublan was in Leicestershire, where, although very indifferently mounted by Tilbury, and experiencing many falls, he was almost always to be seen at the finish of a good run. At all events, he went as long as his horse could go, and was considered a very good horseman. M. de Normandie has hunted much, both in Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and Dorsetshire, being at this time domiciled at Catestock, in the latter county, the head quarters of Mr. Farquharson’s hunt, with three thorough-bred young ones in his stud,—namely, Ciudad, Rouncival, and Rodrigo,—which no doubt will soon become perfect in his hands, for no man need have better.

9 This gentleman resided within the limits of the Quorn hunt, and kindly superintended the management of the covers. He has lately paid the debt of nature.

10 Technical, for the motion of a hound’s stern or tail, when he first feels a scent, but is not sufficiently confident to own, or acknowledge it.

11 When Mr. Osbaldeston had the Quorn hounds, three of the four packs which hunted in the same county with his own, were the property of noblemen; so, for the sake of distinction, his friends conferred on him the familiar title of “the Squire.”

12 John White, Esq., of Park Hall, Derbyshire; Valentine Maher, Esq., a member of the Old Club; and Francis Lyttleton Holyoake, Esq., of Studley Castle, Worcestershire, but now Sir Francis Holyoake Goodricke, having succeeded to the title and estates of the late Sir Harry Goodricke.

13 We know nothing of the derivation of the word “Snob,” unless it be in contra-distinction to Nob; it is certainly not a classical one, but either that or Tiger is too often applied to a total stranger who ventures to shew himself in the “swell countries,” as they are called.

14 A noted finder, now in Mr. Osbaldeston’s pack.

15 Nephew to Mr. Coke, of Holkham; his famous horse Advance was dangerous in a crowd, and hence the necessity of a label.

16 Mr. Osbaldeston sold Ashton to Lord Plymouth for four hundred guineas, after having ridden him six seasons.

17 One peculiar excellence in Mr. Osbaldeston’s hounds, was their steadiness under pressure by the crowd.

18 A favourite hunter of the baronet’s, which he once honoured by coming all the way from London to Melton to ride one day with hounds.

19 A true story.

20 A celebrated rough-rider at Melton-Mowbray, who greatly distinguished himself in the late grand steeple-chace from Rolleston. He is paid fifteen shillings per day for riding gentlemen’s young horses with hounds.

21 The writer here alluded to that celebrated sportsman, as well as horseman, Mr. Thomas Edge, of Nottinghamshire, who some years back refused, from the late Lord Middleton, the enormous sum of two thousand two hundred pounds for two of his horses, and on another occasion fifty pounds for the loan of one of them during the first run of the day from a certain cover, whether short or long.

22 The only son of Sir Henry Peyton, Bart., one of the best and hardest riders of the present day.

23 The writer here alluded to Mr. John Moore.

24 The writer here alluded to Lord Alvanley.

Notes and Corrections: The Chace

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“The Chace” originally appeared, in slightly different form, as Article VII in The Quarterly Review vol. XLVII no. XCIII (vol. 47, no. 93, March 1832), pg. 216-243. There it had the apparent title “Remarks on the Condition of Hunters, the Choice of Horses, and their Management; in a Series of Familiar Letters. By Nimrod. London. 8vo. 1831.” I say “apparent” because Remarks is the title of a book published the previous year—hence the “London. 8vo. 1831”. But the Quarterly Review article is neither an excerpt from, nor a review of, the book.

The first page of the article was omitted from the book, as were about half of its footnotes. To make up for it, the book adds a number of new footnotes, along with adjusting names and dates to allow for changes between 1832 and 1837.

martial ardour and fearless intrepidity
[This passage—only—seems to have been cribbed from an 1823 work, Illustrations, Historical, Biographical, and Miscellaneous, of the Novels by the Author of Waverley, by a certain Rev. Richard Warner:

From this and many other representations of the same description, still preserved, it is evident that the hunting of our forefathers was of a far more manly cast than that of modern times. The wolf, the boar, and the wild bull, were the dangerous objects of their chace; the horse was not called in to speed their course, or aid their flight: the exercise was “an image of war,” which gave vigour to the frame, and strength to the constitution; and nourished that martial ardour, and fearless intrepidity, which, when exerted in the field of battle, generally carried off the palm of victory. ]

[3] Somerville’s poem of “The Chace”
[Book-length poem from 1735, as seen elsewhere on this site.]

[11] for the accommodation of its sporting visiters
spelling unchanged
[Quarterly Review had the expected “visitors”.]

[13] A small print of the late Samuel Chiffney
spelling unchanged: error for Chifney
[The (mis)spelling is carried over from Quarterly Review, which may well have followed (Old) Sporting Magazine.]

[14] Count Matuchevitcz
spelling unchanged: expected Matuchevitch

Sir David and Lady Anne Baird
[Anne was the daughter of a marquess, making her Lady Anne. Since she married a commoner—yes, the second baronet of Newbyth counts as a commoner—she retained her courtesy title. I was obliged to look it up because so many fiction writers, even English ones, get this kind of thing egregiously wrong.]

[31] such large sums being expended in such pursuits.7 / Hay and oats
[The printer ended a paragraph at “pursuits”, probably to make room for the footnote with its long, hard-to-break-up table. The following page begins with “Hay and oats”, not indented. In Quarterly Review, which had longer lines and different page breaks, it is all one paragraph.]

[49] “The cream of everything in the shape of fox-hunting,” observes that excellent sportsman
text has . for ,

[3] That now given to Mr. Errington
. in “Mr.” missing

[5] in the studs of all the hard riders of the present day.
final . missing

[13] We know nothing of the derivation of the word “Snob”
[At one time there was a fairly prevalent folk etymology tracing it to sine nobilitas. In consequence, some people used it as if that were its actual meaning: an upstart or mushroom.]

groom leading a pair of horses, text THE ROAD.

“Sunt quos curriculo, &c.”—Horace.

VEN at the present wonder-working period, few greater improvements have been made in any of the useful arts, than in those applied to the system of travelling by land. Projectors and projects have multiplied with our years; and the fairy-petted princes of the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments were scarcely transported from place to place with more facility or despatch, than Englishmen are at the present moment. From Liverpool to Manchester, thirty-six miles, in an hour and a half!—surely Dædalus is come amongst us again: but we will, for the present, confine our observations to the road; to coaches, coach-horses, coachmen, and coach-masters. We are not thinking of the travelling chariot and four,—though, to be 56 sure, the report given us of Lord Londonderry’s speaking in the House of Peers one night, and being at his own house in Durham the next (two hundred and fifty miles off), is astonishing, and was a performance that no other country under the sun could accomplish; yet bribes to postillions and extra relays of horses might have been called in aid here. We shall, therefore, confine ourselves, at present, to the usual course of public conveyances;—and a sentence in the private letter of a personal friend of our own has suggested the subject to us. “I was out hunting,” he writes, “last season, on a Monday, near Brighton; and dined with my father in Merrion Square, Dublin, at six o’clock on the following Wednesday—distance four hundred miles!” It was done thus: he went from Brighton in an afternoon coach that set him down in London in time for the Holyhead mail; and this mail, with the help of the steamer to cross the Channel, delivered him in Dublin at the time mentioned. But expedition alone is not our boast. Coach travelling is no longer a disgusting and tedious labour, but has long since been converted into comparative ease, and really approaches to something like luxury; otherwise it could never have had any chance to engage the smallest part of the attention of that genuine “Epicuri de grege porcus”—the late happily-named Dr. Kitchener.1

It is difficult to determine the exact period at which 57 a stage-coach first appeared upon the road; but it seems to be pretty well ascertained, that in 1662, there were but six: and one of the wise men of those days—John Crosswell, of the Charter House—tried his best to write them down. It was supposed he had the countenance of the country gentlemen, who were afraid, if their wives could get easily and cheaply conveyed to London, they might not settle so well afterwards to their domestic duties at the Hall or the Grange. We will, however, only go back ninety-four years. In 1742, the Oxford stage-coach left London at seven o’clock in the morning, and reached Uxbridge at mid-day. It arrived at High-Wycombe at five in the evening, where it rested for the night; and proceeded at the same rate for the seat of learning on the morrow. Here, then, were ten hours consumed each day in travelling twenty-seven miles, and nearly two days in performing what is now done with the greatest ease under six hours. To go from London to York—two hundred miles—used to take six days; it now occupies twenty hours!2 From London to Exeter, eighty years ago, the proprietors of coaches promised “a safe and expeditious journey in a fortnight.” Private carriages now accomplish the journey—one hundred and seventy-five miles—in twenty hours; and the mail (the Devonport) in seventeen, passing through Wincaunton, a new route, within the last month. The 58 Manchester Telegraph, from the Bull and Mouth, performs her journey, with the utmost regularity, in eighteen hours!

May we be permitted, since we have mentioned the Arabian Nights, to make a little demand on our readers’ fancy, and suppose it possible that a worthy old gentleman of this said year—1742—had fallen comfortably asleep, à la Dodswell, and never awoke till Monday last in Piccadilly? “What coach, your honour?” says a ruffianly-looking fellow, much like what he might have been had he lived a hundred years back. “I wish to go home to Exeter,” replies the old gentleman, mildly. “Just in time, your honour, here she comes,—them there grey horses; where’s your luggage?” “Don’t be in a hurry,” observes the stranger; “that’s a gentleman’s carriage!” “It ain’t! I tell you,” says the cad; “it’s the Comet, and you must be as quick as lightning.” Nolens volens, the remonstrating old gentleman is shoved into the Comet by a cad at each elbow, having been three times assured his luggage is in the hind boot, and twice three times denied having ocular demonstration of the fact.

passengers scrambling to board four-horse coach

“It’s the Comet, and you must be as quick as lightning.”

However, he is now seated; and “What gentleman is going to drive us?” is his first question to his fellow passengers. “He is no gentleman, sir,” says a person who sits opposite to him, and who happens to be a proprietor of the coach. “He has been on the Comet ever since she started, and is a very steady young man.” “Pardon my ignorance,” replies the regenerated; “from 59 the cleanliness of his person, the neatness of his apparel, and the language he made use of, I mistook him for some enthusiastic bachelor of arts, wishing to become a charioteer after the manner of the illustrious ancients.” “You must have been long in foreign parts, sir,” observes the proprietor. In five minutes, or less, after this parley commenced the wheels went round, and in another five the coach arrived at Hyde Park gate; but long before it got there, the worthy gentleman of 1742 (set down by his fellow-travellers for either a little cracked or an emigrant from the backwoods of America) exclaimed, “What! off the stones already?” “You have never been on the stones,” observes his neighbour on his right; “No stones in London now, sir.” “Bless me!” quoth our friend, “here’s a noble house! to whom does it belong? But why those broken windows, those iron blinds, and strong barricade?”3 “It is the Duke of Wellington’s,” says the coach proprietor, “the greatest captain since the days of Scipio. An ungrateful people made an attack upon his life, on the anniversary of the day upon which he won the most important battle ever fought in Europe.” Here a passenger in black threw out something about Alcibiades, which, however, the rattle made it impossible to understand. “But we are going at a great rate!” exclaims again the stranger. 60 “Oh no, sir,” says the proprietor, “we never go fast over this stage! We have time allowed in consequence of being subject to interruptions, and we make it up over the lower ground.” Five and thirty minutes, however, bring them to the noted town of Brentford. “Hah!” says the old man, becoming young again; “what! no improvement in this filthy place? Is old Brentford still here? a national disgrace! Pray, sir, who is your county member now?” “His name is Hume, sir,” was the reply. “The modern Hercules,” added the gentleman on the right; “the real cleanser of the Augean stable.” “A gentleman of large property in the county, I presume,” said the man of the last century. “Not an acre,” replied the communicative proprietor: “a Scotchman from the town of Montrose.” “Ay, ay; nothing like the high road to London for those Scotchmen. A great city merchant, no doubt, worth a plum or two.” “No such thing, sir,” quoth the other; “the gentleman was a doctor, and made his fortune in the Indies.” “No quack, I warrant you.” The proprietor was silent; but the clergyman in the corner again muttered something which was again lost, owing to the coach coming at the instant, at the rate of ten miles in the hour, upon the vile pavement of Brentford.

In five minutes under the hour the Comet arrives at Hounslow, to the great delight of our friend, who by this time waxed hungry, not having broken his fast before starting. “Just fifty-five minutes and thirty-seven seconds,” says he, “from the time we left 61 London!—wonderful travelling, gentlemen, to be sure! but much too fast to be safe. However, thank Heaven, we are arrived at a good-looking house; and now, waiter! I hope you have got breakf——” Before the fast syllable, however, of the word could be pronounced, the worthy old gentleman’s head struck the back of the coach by a jerk, which he could not account for, (the fact was, three of the four fresh horses were bolters,) and the waiter, the inn, and indeed Hounslow itself (“terræque urbesque recedunt”), disappeared in the twinkling of an eye. Never did such a succession of doors, windows, and window-shutters pass so quickly in his review before—and he hoped they might never do so again. Recovering, however, a little from his surprise—“My dear sir,” said he, “you told me we were to change horses at Hounslow? Surely, they are not so inhuman as to drive these poor animals another stage at this unmerciful rate?” “Change horses, sir!” says the proprietor; “why we changed them whilst you were putting on your spectacles, and looking at your watch. Only one minute allowed for it at Hounslow, and it is often done in fifty seconds by those nimble-fingered horse-keepers.” “You astonish me!—but really I do not like to go so fast.” “Oh, sir! we always spring them over these six miles. It is what we call the hospital ground.” This alarming phrase is presently interpreted: it intimates that horses whose “backs are getting down instead of up in their work”—some “that won’t hold an ounce down hill, or draw an 62 ounce up”—others “that kick over the pole one day and over the bars the next”—in short, all the reprobates, styled in the road slang bo-kickers, are sent to work these six miles, because here they have nothing to do but to gallop—not a pebble as big as a nutmeg on the road; and so even, that it would not disturb the equilibrium of a spirit-level.

The coach, however, goes faster and faster over the hospital ground, as the bo-kickers feel their legs, and the collars get warm to their shoulders; and having ten outsides, the luggage of the said ten, and a few extra packages besides on the roof, she rolls rather more than is pleasant, although the centre of gravity is pretty well kept down by four not slender insides, two well-laden boots, and three huge trunks in the slide. The gentleman of the last century, however, becomes alarmed—is sure the horses are running away with the coach—declares he perceives by the shadow that there is nobody on the box, and can see the reins dangling about the horses’ heels. He attempts to look out of the window, but his fellow-traveller dissuades him from doing so:—“You may get a shot in your eye from the wheel. Keep your head in the coach; it’s all right, depend on’t. We always spring ’em over this stage.” Persuasion is useless; for the horses increase their speed, and the worthy old gentleman looks out. But what does he see? Death and destruction before his eyes?—No: to his surprise he finds the coachman firm at his post, and in the act of taking a pinch of snuff from the gentleman 63 who sits beside him on the bench, his horses going at the rate of a mile in three minutes at the time. “But suppose anything should break, or a linchpin should give way and let a wheel loose?” is the next appeal to the communicative but not very consoling proprietor. “Nothing can break, sir,” is the reply; “all of the very best stuff; axletrees of the best K. Q. iron, faggotted edgeways, well bedded in the timbers; and as for linchpins, we have not one about the coach. We use the best patent boxes that are manufactured. In short, sir, you are as safe in it as if you were in your bed.” “Bless me,” exclaims the old man, “what improvements! And the roads!” “They are perfection, sir,” says the proprietor: “no horse walks a yard in this coach between London and Exeter—all trotting-ground now.” “A little galloping ground, I fear,” whispers the senior to himself! “But who has effected all this improvement in your paving?” “An American of the name of M‘Adam,” was the reply—“but coachmen call him the Colossus of Roads. Great things have likewise been done in cutting through hills and altering the course of roads: and it is no uncommon thing now-a-days to see four horses trotting away merrily down hill on that very ground where they formerly were seen walking up hill.”4


“And pray, my good sir, what sort of horses may you have over the next stage?” “Oh, sir, no more bo-kickers. It is hilly and severe ground, and requires cattle strong and staid. You’ll see four as fine horses put to the coach at Staines as you ever saw in a nobleman’s carriage in your life.” “Then we shall have no more galloping—no more springing them as you term it?” “Not quite so fast over the next ground,” replied the proprietor; “but he will make good play over some part of it: for example, when he gets three parts down a hill he lets them loose, and cheats them out of half the one they have to ascend from the bottom of it. In short, they are half way up it before a horse touches his collar; and we must take every advantage with such a fast coach as this, and one that loads so well, or we should never keep our time. We are now to a minute; in fact, the country people no longer look at the sun when they want to set their clocks,—they look only to the Comet. But, depend upon it, you are quite safe; we have nothing but first-rate artists on this coach.” “Artist! artist!” grumbles the old gentleman; “we had no such term as that.”

“I should like to see this artist change horses at the next stage,” resumes our ancient; “for at the last it had the appearance of magic—‘Presto, Jack, and begone!’” “By all means; you will be much gratified. It is done with a quickness and ease almost incredible to any one who has only read or heard of it; not a buckle nor a rein is touched twice, and still all is made secure; but 65 use becomes second nature with us. Even in my younger days it was always half an hour’s work—sometimes more. There was—‘Now, ladies and gentlemen, what would you like to take? There’s plenty of time, while the horses are changing, for tea, coffee, or supper; and the coachman will wait for you—won’t you, Mr. Smith?’ Then Mr. Smith himself was in no hurry; he had a lamb about his coach for one butcher in the town, and perhaps half a calf for another, a barrel of oysters for the lawyer, and a basket of game for the parson, all on his own account. In short, the best wheel of the coach was his, and he could not be otherwise than accommodating.”

The coach arrives at Staines, and the ancient gentleman puts his intentions into effect,—though he was near being again too late; for by the time he could extract his hat from the netting that suspended it over his head, the leaders had been taken from their bars, and were walking up the yard towards their stables. On perceiving a fine thorough-bred horse led towards the coach with a twitch fastened tightly to his nose, he exclaims, “Holloa, Mr. Horse-keeper! You are going to put an unruly horse in the coach.” “What! this here oss?” growls the man; “the quietest hanimal alive, sir!” as he shoves him to the near side of the pole. At this moment, however, the coachman is heard to say in somewhat of an under-tone, “Mind what you are about, Bob; don’t let him touch the roller-bolt.” In thirty seconds more, they are off—“the staid and steady team,” 66 so styled by the proprietor, in the coach. “Let ’em go, and take care of yourselves,” says the artist, so soon as he is firmly seated upon his box; and this is the way in which they start. The near leader rears right on end, and if the rein had not been yielded to him at the instant, he would have fallen backwards on the head of the pole. The moment the twitch was taken from the nose of the thorough-bred near-wheeler, he drew himself back to the extent of his pole-chain—his fore-legs stretched out before him—and then, like a lion loosened from his toil, made a snatch at the coach that would have broken two pairs of traces of 1742. A steady and good-whipped horse, however, his partner, started the coach himself, with a gentle touch of the thong, and away they went off together. But the thorough-bred one was very far from being comfortable; it was in vain that the coachman tried to soothe him with his voice, or stroked him with the crop of his whip. He drew three parts of the coach, and cantered for the first mile; and when he did settle down to his trot, his snorting could be heard by the passengers, being as much as to say, “I was not born to be a slave.” In fact, as the proprietor now observed, “he had been a fair plate horse in his time, but his temper was always queer.”

After the first shock was over, the Conservative of the eighteenth century felt comfortable. The pace was considerably slower than it had been over the last stage, but he was unconscious of the reason for its being diminished. It was to accommodate the queer temper 67 of the race-horse, who, if he had not been humoured at starting, would never have settled down to his trot, but have ruffled all the rest of the team. He was also surprised, if not pleased, at the quick rate at which they were ascending hills which, in his time, he should have been asked by the coachman to have walked up: but his pleasure was short-lived; the third hill they descended produced a return of his agony. This was what is termed on the road a long fall of ground, and the coach rather pressed upon the horses. The temper of the race-horse became exhausted; breaking into a canter, he was of little use as a wheeler, and there was then nothing for it but a gallop. The leaders only wanted the signal; and the point of the thong being thrown lightly over their backs, they were off like an arrow out of a bow: but the rocking of the coach was awful, and more particularly so to the passengers on the roof. Nevertheless, she was not in danger: the master-hand of the artist kept her in a direct line, and meeting the opposing ground, she steadied, and all was right. The newly-awakened gentleman, however, begins to grumble again. “Pray, my good sir,” says he anxiously, “do use your authority over your coachman, and insist upon his putting the drag-chain on the wheel when descending the next hill?” “I have no such authority,” replies the proprietor; “it is true we are now drawn by my horses, but I cannot interfere with the driving of them.” “But is he not your servant?” “He is, sir; but I contract to work the coach so many 68 miles in so many hours, and he engages to drive it, and each is subject to a fine if the time be not kept on the road. On so fast a coach as this, every advantage must be taken; and if we were to drag down such hills as these, we should never reach Exeter to-day.”

Our friend, however, will have no more of it. He quits the coach at Bagshot, congratulating himself on the safety of his limbs. Yet he takes one more peep at the change, which is done with the same despatch as before: three greys and a pie-ball replacing three chestnuts and a bay—the harness beautifully clean, and the ornaments bright as the sun. Not a word is spoken by the passengers, who merely look their admiration; but the laconic address of the coachman is not lost on the by-standers. “Put the bay mare near wheel this evening, and the stallion up to the cheek,” said he to his horse-keeper, as he placed his right foot on the roller-bolt,—i.e. the last step but one to the box. “How is Paddy’s leg?” “It’s all right, sir,” replied the horse-keeper. “Let ’em go, then,” quoth the artist, “and take care of yourselves.”

The worthy old gentleman is now shown into a room, and, after warming his hands at the fire, rings the bell for the waiter. A well-dressed person appears, whom he of course takes for the landlord. “Pray, sir,” says he, “have you any slow coach down this road to-day?” “Why, yes, sir,” replies John; “we shall have the Regulator down in an hour.” “Just right,” said our friend; “it will enable me to break my fast, which I have not done to-day.” “Oh, sir,” observes John, 69 “these here fast drags be the ruin of us. ’T is all hurry scurry, and no gentleman has time to have nothing on the road. What will you take, sir? Mutton-chops, veal-cutlets, beef-steaks, or a fowl (to kill)?”

At the appointed time, the Regulator appears at the door. It is a strong, well-built drag, painted what is called chocolate colour, bedaubed all over with gilt letters—a bull’s head on the doors, a Saracen’s head on the hind boot, and drawn by four strapping horses; but it wants the neatness of the other. The passengers may be, by a shade or two, of a lower order than those who had gone forward by the Comet; nor, perhaps, is the coachman quite so refined as the one we have just taken leave of. He has not the neat white hat, the clean doeskin gloves, the well-cut trowsers, and dapper frock; but still his appearance is respectable, and perhaps, in the eyes of many, more in character with his calling. Neither has he the agility of the artist on the Comet, for he is nearly double his size; but he is a strong, powerful man, and might be called a pattern-card of the heavy coachmen of the present day—in other words, of a man who drives a coach which carries sixteen passengers instead of fourteen, and is rated at eight miles in the hour instead of ten. “What room in the Regulator?” says our friend to the waiter, as he comes to announce its arrival. “Full, inside, sir, and in front; but you’ll have the gammon-board all to yourself, and your luggage is in the hind boot.” “Gammon-board! Pray what’s that? Do you not mean the basket?” “Oh no, sir,” 70 says John smiling—“no such a thing on the road now. It is the hind-dickey, as some call it, where you’ll be as comfortable as possible, and can sit with your back or your face to the coach, or both, if you like.” “Ah, ah,” continues the old gentleman; “something new again, I presume.” However, the mystery is cleared up; the ladder is reared to the hind wheel, and the gentleman seated on the gammon-board.

Before ascending to his place, our friend has cast his eye on the team that is about to convey him to Hartford Bridge, the next stage on the great western road, and he perceives it to be of a different stamp from that which he had seen taken from the coach at Bagshot. It consisted of four moderate-sized horses, full of power, and still fuller of condition, but with a fair sprinkling of blood; in short, the eye of a judge would have discovered something about them not very unlike galloping. “All right!” cried the guard, taking his key-bugle in his hand; and they proceeded up the village, at a steady pace, to the tune of “Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,” and continued at that pace for the first five miles. “I am landed,” thinks our friend to himself. Unluckily, however, for the humane and cautious old gentleman, even the Regulator was about to show tricks. Although what is now called a slow coach, she is timed at eight miles in the hour through a great extent of country, and must of course make play where she can, being strongly opposed by hills lower down the country, trifling as these hills are, no doubt, to what they once were. The 71 Regulator, moreover, loads well, not only with passengers, but with luggage; and the last five miles of this stage, called the Hartford Bridge Flat, have the reputation of being the best five miles for a coach to be found at this time in England. The ground is firm, the surface undulating, and therefore favourable to draught; always dry, not a shrub being near it; nor is there a stone upon it much larger than a marble. These advantages, then, are not lost to the Regulator, or made use of without sore discomposure to the solitary tenant of her gammon-board.

heavily loaded coach drawn by four galloping horses

The Regulator on Hertford Bridge Flat

Any one that has looked into books will very readily account for the lateral motion, or rocking, as it is termed, of a coach, being greatest at the greatest distance from the horses (as the tail of a paper kite is in motion whilst the body remains at rest); and more especially when laden as this coach was—the greater part of the weight being forward. The situation of our friend, then, was once more deplorable. The Regulator takes but twenty-three minutes for these celebrated five miles, which cannot be done without “springing the cattle”5 now and then; and it was in one of the very best of their gallops of that day, that they were met by the coachman of the Comet, who was returning with his up coach. When coming out of rival yards, coachmen never fail to cast an eye to the loading of their opponents on the road, and now that of the natty artist of the Comet experienced a high treat. He had a full view of 72 his quondam passenger, and thus described his situation. He was seated with his back to the horses—his arms extended to each extremity of the guard-irons—his teeth set grim as death—his eyes cast down towards the ground, thinking the less he saw of his danger the better. There was what is called a top-heavy load—perhaps a ton of luggage on the roof, and, it may be, not quite in obedience to the act of parliament standard. There were also two horses at wheel whose strides were of rather unequal length, and this operated powerfully on the coach. In short, the lurches of the Regulator were awful at the moment of the Comet meeting her. A tyro in mechanics would have exclaimed, “The centre of gravity must be lost; the centrifugal force will have the better of it—over she must go!

The centre of gravity having been preserved, the coach arrived safe at Hartford Bridge; but the old gentleman has again had enough of it. “I will walk into Devonshire,” said he, as he descended from his perilous exaltation. “What did that rascally waiter mean by telling me this was a slow coach? and, moreover, look at the luggage on the roof!” “Only regulation height, sir,” says the coachman; “we arn’t allowed to have it an inch higher; sorry we can’t please you, sir, but we will try and make room for you in front.” “Fronti nulla fides,” mutters the worthy to himself, as he walks tremblingly into the house—adding, “I shall not give this fellow a shilling; he is dangerous.”

The Regulator being off, the waiter is again applied 73 to. “What do you charge per mile posting?” “One and sixpence, sir.” “Bless me! just double! Let me see—two hundred miles, at two shillings per mile, postboys, turnpikes, &c., twenty pounds. This will never do. Have you no coach that does not carry luggage on the top?” “Oh yes, sir,” replies the waiter, “we shall have one to-night that is not allowed to carry a band-box on the roof.” “That’s the coach for me; pray what do you call it?” “The Quicksilver mail, sir; one of the best out of London—Jack White and Tom Brown, picked coachmen,6 over this ground—Jack White down to-night.” “Guarded and lighted?” “Both, sir; blunderbuss and pistols in the sword-case; a lamp each side the coach, and one under the footboard—see to pick up a pin the darkest night of the year.” “Very fast?” “Oh no, sir; just keeps time, and that’s all.” “That’s the coach for me, then,” repeats our hero; “and I am sure I shall feel at my ease in it. I suppose it is what used to be called the Old Mercury.”

Unfortunately, the Devonport (commonly called the Quicksilver) mail is half a mile in the hour faster than most in England, and is, indeed, one of the miracles of the road. Let us, then, picture to ourselves our anti-reformer snugly seated in this mail, on a pitch-dark night in November. It is true she has no luggage on the roof, nor much to incommode her elsewhere; but 74 she is a mile in the hour faster than the Comet, at least three miles quicker than the Regulator; and she performs more than half her journey by lamplight. It is needless to say, then, our senior soon finds out his mistake; but there is no remedy at hand, for it is the dead of the night, and all the inns are shut up. He must proceed, or be left behind in a stable. The climax of his misfortunes then approaches. Nature being exhausted, sleep comes to his aid, and he awakes on a stage which is called the fastest on the journey,—it is four miles of ground, and twelve minutes is the time! The old gentleman starts from his seat, having dreamed the horses were running away with the coach, and so, no doubt, they might be. He is, however, determined to convince himself of the fact, though the passengers assure him “all’s right.” “Don’t put your head out of the window,” says one of them, “you will lose your hat to a certainty:” but advice is seldom listened to by a terrified man, and next moment a stentorian voice is heard, crying, “Stop, coachman, stop—I have lost my hat and wig!” The coachman hears him not—and in another second the broad wheels of a road wagon have for ever demolished the lost head-gear, But here we must leave our adventurous Gilpin of 1742. We have taken a great liberty with him, it is true, but we are not without our precedent. One of the best chapters in Livy contains the history of “an event which never took place.” In the full charm of his imagination, the historian brings Alexander into Italy, where 75 he never was in his life, and displays him in his brightest colours. We father our sins, then, upon the Patavinian.

agitated man waving out of coach window while horses do not break their stride

“Stop, Coachman; I have lost my hat and wig.”

But we will now adhere to sober prose, and the changes of our own time. Thirty years ago, the Holyhead mail left London, viâ Oxford, at eight o’clock at night, and arrived in Shrewsbury between ten and eleven the following night, being twenty-seven hours to one hundred and sixty-two miles. This distance is now done, without the least difficulty, in sixteen hours and a quarter; and the Holyhead mail is actually at Bangor Ferry, eighty-three miles further, in the same time it used to take in reaching the post-office at Shrewsbury. We fancy we now see it, as it was when we travelled on it in our school-boy time, over the Wolverhampton and Shiffnal stage—in those days loose uncovered sand in part—with Charles Peters or old Ebden quitting his seat as guard, and coming to the assistance of the coachman, who had flogged his horses till he could flog them no longer. We think we see them crawling up the hill in Shrewsbury town—whip, whip, whip; and an hour behind their time “by Shrewsbury clock;” the betting not ten to one that she had not been overturned on the road! It is now a treat to see her approach the town, if not before, never after, her minute: and she forms a splendid day-coach through Wales and England, on her up-journey in the summer; namely, from Holyhead to Daventry. A young man of the name of Taylor, a spirited proprietor, horses her through Shrewsbury, 76 from Hay-Gate to Nescliff, in a manner that deserves to be spoken of. The stages are ten and eight, and for these he has a team of bays, a team of greys, and two teams of chestnuts, that can shew with England.7 Let us look to another coach out of this town at the period we have been speaking of—“the Shrewsbury and Chester Highflyer!” This coach started from Shrewsbury at eight o’clock in the morning, and arrived at Chester about the same time in the evening—distance, forty miles. This was always a good hard road for wheels, and rather favourable for draught; and how then could all these hours be accounted for? Why, if a “commercial gentleman” had a little business at Ellesmere, there was plenty of time for that. If a “real gentleman” wanted to pay a morning visit on the road, there could be no objection to that. In the pork-pie season, half an hour was generally consumed in consuming one of them; for Mr. Williams, the coachman, was a wonderful favourite with the farmers’ wives and daughters all along the road. The coach dined at Wrexham; for coaches lived well in those days,—they now live upon air: and Wrexham church was to be seen—a fine specimen of the florid Gothic, and one of the wonders of Wales! Then Wrexham was also famous for ale—no public breweries in those days in Wales—and, above all, the inn belonged to Sir Watkin!8 77 About two hours were allowed for dinner; but “Billy Williams”—one of the best-tempered fellows on earth, as honest as Aristides, and, until lately, upon the same ground—was never particular to half an hour or so: “The coach is ready, gentlemen,” he would say; “but don’t let me disturb you, if you wish for another bottle.” A coach now runs over this ground a trifle under four hours!

The Brighton road may be said to be covered with coaches, no less than twenty-five running upon it in the summer. The fastest is the Vivid, from the Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street, which performs the journey in five hours and a quarter. That called the Age, when driven and horsed by the late Mr. Stevenson, was an object of such admiration at Brighton that a crowd was every day collected to see it start. Mr. Stevenson was a graduate of Cambridge; but his passion for the bench got the better of all other ambitions, and he became a coachman by profession;—and it is only justice to his memory to admit that, though cut off in the flower of his youth, he had arrived at perfection in his art. His education and early habits had not, however, been lost upon him: his demeanour was always that of a gentleman; and it may be fairly said of him, that he introduced the phenomenon of refinement into a stage-coach. At a certain change of horses on the road, a silver sandwich-box was handed to his passengers by his servant, accompanied by the offer of a glass of sherry to such as were so inclined. Well-born coachmen prevail on this 78 road. A gentleman connected with the first families in Wales, and whose father long represented his native county in Parliament, horsed and drove one side of the ground with Mr. Stevenson; and Mr. Charles Jones, brother to Sir Thomas Tyrwhit Jones, had a coach on it called the Pearl, which he both horsed and drove himself. The Bognor coach, horsed by the Messrs. Walkers of Mitchel Grove, and driven in the first style by Mr. John Walker, must also be fresh in the recollection of many of our readers; and Sir Vincent Cotton, one of our oldest Baronets, now drives the Age, having purchased it of Mr. Willan who drove it, and who now drives the Magnet on the same road.

But to return to fast work: the Edinburgh mail runs the distance, four hundred miles, in a little over forty hours, and we may set our watches by it at any point of her journey. Stoppages included, this approaches eleven miles in the hour, and much the greater part of it by lamplight. The Exeter day-coach, the Herald, from the Saracen’s head, Snow Hill, runs over her ground, a hundred and seventy-three miles, in twenty hours—admirable performance, considering the natural unevenness of the country through which she has to pass. The Devonport mail does her work in first-rate style, two hundred and twenty-seven miles, in twenty-two hours. In short, from London to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Worcester, Birmingham, Norwich, or any other place, whose distance does not much exceed one hundred miles, is now little more than a pleasant 79 morning drive. We say pleasant; for this extraordinary speed is not attained, generally speaking, by putting animals to anything like cruel exertion.

A fast coach has, or ought to have, very nearly a horse to every mile of ground it runs—reckoning one way, or “one side of the ground.”9 Proprietors of coaches have at length found out—though they were a long time before they did discover it—that the hay and corn-market is not so expensive as the horse-market. They have, therefore, one horse in four always at rest; or, in other words, each horse lies still on the fourth day, thus having the advantage of man. For example, if ever we turn coach-proprietors, or “get into harness,” as the proper term is—which, as we have become fox-hunters, is by no means impossible—we shall keep ten 80 horses for every ten miles’ stage we engage to cover. In this case, eight horses only will be at work, four up and four down. If the stage be less than eight miles, nine horses may do the work; but no horse in a fast coach can continue to run every day, the excitement of high keep and profuse sweating producing disease. In practice, perhaps, no animal toiling for man, solely for his profit, leads so easy and so comfortable a life as the English coach-horse. He is sumptuously fed, kindly treated; and, if he do suffer a little in his work, he has twenty-three hours in the twenty-four of luxurious ease. He is now almost a stranger to the lash, nor do we ever see him with a broken skin; but we often see him kick up his heels when taken from his coach, after having performed his stage of ten miles in five minutes under the hour. So much for condition.

No horse lives so high as a coach-horse. In the language of the stable, his stomach is the measure of his corn; he is fed ad libitum. The effect of this is visible in two ways:—first, it is surprising to see how soon horses gather flesh in this severe work; for there is none, as far as muscular exertion goes, more severe whilst it lasts: and, secondly, proprietors find that good flesh is no obstacle to their speed, but, on the contrary, operates to their advantage. Horses draw by their weight, and not by the force of their muscles, which merely assist the application of that weight: the heavier a horse is, then, the more powerful is he in his harness; in short, it is the weight of the animal which produces the 81 draught, and the play and force of his muscles serve to continue it. Light horses, therefore, how good soever their action, ought not to be put to draw a heavy load, as muscular force cannot act against it for any great length of time.

The average price of horses for fast-coaches may be about twenty-five pounds. Fancy teams, and those working out of London, may be rated higher, say thirty pounds; but taking a hundred miles of ground, well horsed, the former is about the mark.10 The average period of each horse’s service does not exceed four years in a fast-coach; perhaps scarcely so much, although still equal to more moderate work. In a slow one we may allow seven; but in both cases we are alluding to horses put to work at five or six years old.11 Considerable judgment is necessary to the selection of horses for fast work in harness; for if they have not action which will command the pace they are timed at, they soon destroy themselves. For a wheel-horse he should have sound fore-legs, or he cannot be depended upon down hill. Good hind-legs and well-spread gaskins are also essential points in a coach-horse; the weight or force applied proceeding from the fulcrum formed by the hinder feet. The price we have named as the average one for such animals may appear a very low one; but we must 82 remember that to be a hunter or a good roadster, a horse must have length of shoulder, length of frame, peculiarly placed hinder-legs, and a well-bitted mouth: whereas, without any of these qualities he may make an excellent coach-horse; and hence the value of the coach-market to our breeders. Blemished horses also find their way into coaches, as do those whose tempers are bad; neither is a blind horse, with good courage, altogether objectionable now, the roads are so level.12

The following description of a road coach-horse, for fast work, was given by the author of these papers at the request of an eminent London coach-proprietor:—“First requisite, action. Second, sound legs and feet, with power and breeding equal to the nature and length of the ground he will work upon. Third, good wind, as the power of respiration is called, without which the first and second qualifications will not avail, in very fast work, for any length of time. A clear-winded coach-horse will always keep his condition, consequently his health; because he does not feel distress on a reasonable length of ground. The hunter and the racer are good or bad, chiefly in proportion to their powers of respiration; and such is the case with the road coach-horse. 83 The most proper food, then, for a coach-horse in fast work is that which affords him sufficient nourishment, without having an injurious effect on his wind; in other words, that which does not impair his respiratory organs by pressing on them.”

It may, probably, surprise many of our readers to be informed of the extent to which individual persons in England embark their capital in what is termed the coaching-line. Mr. Chaplin, who is the occupier of the five following “yards,” as they are termed, in London,—namely, those of the Spread Eagle, and Cross Keys, Gracechurch Street; the Swan with Two necks, Lad Lane; the White Horse, Fetter Lane; and the Angel, behind St. Clement’s,—has no less than thirteen hundred horses at work, in various coaches, on various roads; and Messrs. Horne and Sherman, the two next largest coach-proprietors in London, have about seven hundred each. Those who have not witnessed it, might, perhaps, be still more astonished at the regularity and ease with which these prodigious, apparently overwhelming, establishments are conducted, by the means of foremen and subordinates well trained to their business.13

It may not be uninteresting to the uninitiated to learn how a coach is worked. We will, then, assume that A, B, C, and D enter into a contract to horse a coach eighty miles, each proprietor having twenty miles; 84 in which case, he is said to cover both sides of the ground, or to and fro. At the expiration of twenty-eight days, the lunar month, a settlement takes place; and if the gross earnings of the coach should be five pounds per mile, there will be four hundred pounds to divide between the four proprietors, after the following charges have been deducted; viz., tolls, duty to government, mileage (or hire of the coach, to the coachmaker), two coachmen’s wages, porters’ wages, rent or charge of booking-offices at each end, and washing the coaches. These charges may amount to one hundred pounds, which leaves three hundred pounds to keep eighty horses and to pay the horse-keepers, for a period of twenty-eight days, which gives, within a fraction, a pound a‑week for each horse. Thus it appears that a fast coach, properly appointed, cannot pay unless its gross receipts amount to five pounds per double mile; and that, even then, the horser’s profits depend on the luck he has with his stock.

In the present age, the art of mechanism is eminently reduced to the practical purposes of life, and the modern form of the stage-coach seems to have arrived at perfection. It combines prodigious strength with almost incredible lightness, not weighing more than about eighteen hundred weight; and, being kept so much nearer the ground than formerly, is of course considerably safer. Accidents, no doubt, occur, and a great many more than meet the public eye; but how should this be otherwise, when we take into account the 85 immense number of coaches on the several different roads, a great portion of which travel through the night, and have all the varieties of our climate to contend with? No one will assert that the proprietors guard against accidents to the utmost of their power; but the great competition they have to encounter is a strong stimulant to their exertions on this score. Indeed, in some respects, the increase of pace has become the traveller’s security.14 Coaches and harness must be of the best quality, horses must be fresh and sound, and coachmen of science and respectability can alone be employed. In fact, to the increased pace of their coaches is the improvement in these men’s moral character to be attributed. They have not time now for drinking: and they come in collision with a class of persons superior to those who formerly were stage-coach passengers, by whose example it has been impossible for them not to profit in all respects. A coachman drunk on his box is now a rarity. A coachman, quite sober, was, even within our memory, still more so. But let us press this question a little further: do the proprietors guard against accidents to the very extent of their ability? We fear not: too many of them, to touch only one point, allow their coachmen to omit the use of the hand or end-buckle to their reins, which, to our own knowledge, has lately been productive of several accidents. This is 86 new, and it is a mere piece of affectation, and should be put a stop to; for surely if a coachman fancies he has not time to “pin his ribbons” before mounting the box, he can do so after having proceeded a short distance on his stage; and he cannot say he has not time to unbuckle them before he comes to the end of it. It is evident, that with reins unbuckled at the ends, should either of them drop out of his hand, all command over his team is gone. Moreover, in the hands of the best coachman, a wheel-horse will now and then drop, and should he not fortunately in this case be dragged on the ground so as to stop the coach, up he jumps, and, expecting the whip, rushes forward with his head loose, his rein having been drawn through the coachman’s hand. Had it been buckled at the end, such an occurrence could not have happened; and if, after our warning, damages are sought for on this score, coach-proprietors may depend on it they must be prepared to smart. It is also now become fashionable to have no bearing reins to the harness, which, with horses having good mouths, may be, perhaps, dispensed with; but the absence of the pad and crupper cannot be unattended with danger.15


That, in fact, nineteen accidents in twenty are the effects of want of proper precaution, cannot be denied. Coachmen, it is true, are not theoretical philosophers; but experience teaches them, that if they drive fast round corners, the centre of gravity must be more or less disturbed by thus diverging from the right line; and if lost, over she goes: yet a great number of the overturns that occur happen exactly in this way. Why then are not coachmen strictly enjoined by their employers to avoid so gross an error? But it is in the act of descending hills that the majority of catastrophes take place; and the coachman needs not book-learning to enlighten him as to the wherefore. Let him only throw up a stone, and watch its descent. If it falls sixteen feet in the first second, it will fall three times that distance in the next, and so on. Thus it is with his coach; the continued impulse it acquires in descending a hill presses upon the wheel-horses, until at last it exceeds their powers of resistance. In short, they have a new force to contend with at every step they take. But this is not all. Instead of checking the active force of his coach before she begins to move downward, he too often adds that to the fresh impulse she acquires on her descent. Every coachman, who has a regard to the safety of his own neck, should check the velocity of his coach at the top of every hill; which, in the language 88 of the road, is termed “taking a hill in time.” He may, in that case, if his harness be sound, drive his coach down most hills now found on our roads with ease; and, when a certain way down them, may increase his pace, with perfect safety, to meet the opposing ground at the bottom. With heavily-laden coaches we prefer this to the drag-chain on one wheel only, by which hundreds of them have been pulled over on slippery roads; and which is a great check to speed, too, as the momentum cannot be taken advantage of, in continuing the motion of the coach when she brings the horses to their collars again.

All persons who have travelled on the Continent have observed an appendage to the public carriages by which both hinder-wheels can be “dragged,” as the term is, or their rapid rotation checked, by the conducteur, or guard, without his descending from his seat; and which is vulgarly called “le mechanique.” It is much to be regretted that a similar instrument is not in general use with our stage and mail-coaches, as it would be the means of preventing numerous accidents that occur by coaches overpowering horses when descending long hills, but such as are not considered sufficiently steep to require the drag-chain; or, in case of horses attempting to get the better of their driver. A gentleman of the name of Tongue, residing in Staffordshire, has obtained a patent for a machine, to answer this end, known as “Tongue’s patent drag,” and it is now used on several coaches out of London, as well as on various 89 cross-roads. It is more simple in its construction than that we see on the Continent, and its additional weight—not exceeding twenty pounds—is not worthy of regard when balanced against its security to passengers, and the benefit wheel-horses derive from being eased of the pressure of the load, which is considerable, even on a moderate descent.

The question often arises,—is there danger in galloping horses in a coach on perfectly level ground? Under certain circumstances there is. For instance, if there happen to be two horses at wheel which take unequal strides in their gallop, their action will be felt by the coach—they being so near to her—and lateral motion will be produced, by which her equilibrium may be destroyed. When a coach once begins to swing, a little thing will upset her—even passing over a small stone—as the faster she goes on level ground, the more weight is thrown upon her fore-wheels, and, of course, increased on a descent. Neither is a good road a security to her; on the contrary, the harder the surface of it the more danger, there being nothing to hold the wheels to the ground. If, however, it were possible to make the stride and draught of four horses quite equal, their increased speed would have but little effect on a coach upon tolerably level ground; which is proved by her being quite steady in ascending a hill at ever so quick a rate, when every horse is at work. This shews the necessity of putting horses well together, and driving them with a steady hand.


The worst of accidents—and one which, with the present structure of coaches, can never be entirely provided against—arises from broken axletrees, from which cause, since these articles first appeared, several lives have been lost, and more limbs fractured. There is certainly something startling in the reflection, that whenever we travel by a coach we are liable to this occurrence, which must happen if the weight above be too great for the sustaining power below; and for this reason the mails are safer than stage-coaches, as not loading so heavily. Everything that can be done to prevent the snapping of the axletree has now been adopted, we think, by our coach-builders. In case it does break, what is called the idle wheel, in addition to the active wheel, is the only security against an upset; but as this somewhat adds to the weight of a coach, the adoption of it has been abandoned. Accidents, then, are always to be apprehended by travellers from this cause; the loss of wheels is another; and until an act of parliament enforces the use of the patent box, or the screw-nut, so as to trust no longer to the common linch-pin, it will remain a third.16


On the whole, however, travelling by public conveyances was never so secure as it is at the present time. Nothing can be more favourable to it than the build of the modern coaches. The boots, being let down between the springs, keep the load, consequently the centre of gravity, low: the wheels of many of them are secured by patent boxes; and in every part of them the best materials are used. The cost of coaches of this description is from a hundred and thirty pounds to a hundred and fifty pounds; but they are generally hired from the maker, at from two pence half-penny to three pence per mile.

The common height of the stage-coach wheels of the present day is as follows:—the fore-wheels, three feet four inches, the hinder, four feet eight inches. As the former turn round so much oftener than the latter, and also bear more weight, they require to have their fellies fresh wrung about every five weeks; whereas the latter will stand good for two months, or more. The strength of a wheel depends greatly on the attention paid to the arrangement and framing of the spokes. In common wheels, they are framed regularly and equally all round the thickest part of the nave, the tenons of the spokes being so bevelled as to stand about three inches out of perpendicular, by which is produced the dishing wheel. This dishing, or concave, wheel is not essential on our present rutless roads, and perpendicular wheels are preferable on level ground. The best wheels we know of are those under our 92 mail-coaches. The spokes are framed somewhat differently into the nave, which is made rather larger than is usual for common coach-wheels, and every other spoke is framed perpendicular to the nave. Hence, the mortises to receive them in it are not made in a parallel line round it, but stand as it were in two different parallels—one without the other; by which means greater solidity is given to the nave, and an immense addition of strength to the wheel. What is called the patent hoop, always used in stage-coaches,—having the iron tire drawn into one complete ring,—is not put on these wheels; but the common strokes, as they are called, forged and hammered to the sweep of the rings, and in lengths equal to those of the fellies, are put on red hot, and well secured by rivetted nails. The mail fore-wheel is somewhat higher than that of the stage-coach, which is an advantage. Low fore-wheels place the axle so much below the level of the wheel-horses’ breasts, that they have not only the carriage to draw, but also part of its weight to bear. This weight distresses their hams, stifles, and hocks, and accounts for coach-horses being so soon unfit for the saddle. It is evident that attention to these points is necessary in putting horses to a coach; and when the fore-wheels are low, the wheel-horses should have as much length of trace as can be given them, for the line of traction should be as nearly even with the draught of the horse as we can make it.17


It requires, also, some art to load a coach properly. A waggoner on country roads always puts the greater weight over his hinder-wheels, being the highest; and he is right, for he has obstacles to meet, and the power necessary to overcome them diminishes with the increased diameter of the wheel. On our turnpike roads, however, where there is now no obstacle, the load on a coach should be condensed as much as possible, and the heaviest packages placed in the fore-boot. Indeed, all the heavier packages should be put into the boots, and the lighter ones only on the roof. A well-loaded coach is sure to follow well, and is always pleasant to ride in; and as a weak child totters less when it has a weight on its head, coach-springs break less frequently with a moderately heavy and well-adjusted load than with a light one.

Allowance is made for the retarding power of friction in all kinds of machinery, and of course it is not overlooked in carriages. The coachman sees its effect every time he puts the drag-chain on his wheel, which 94 merely decreases the velocity of his coach, by increasing the quantity of friction. Common sense must likewise instruct him, that when two bodies are rubbing against each other in opposite directions—as the arm of an axletree and the iron-box of a wheel—the smoother these bodies can be made, the less, of course, is the friction. As economy in the expense of power is one of the chief objects of a mechanic, it is not to be wondered at that great pains have been taken in the construction of the axles and boxes of carriages. To Mr. Collinge are we chiefly indebted for his patent cylindrical axletree and box, which have stood the test of many years, and given universal satisfaction—for the silent and steady motion they impart to the wheel—for their great strength and durability—and for carrying oil several thousand miles without the necessity of replenishing it. They are turned upon a lathe, case-hardened, and rendered as smooth on the surface as it is possible, in the existing state of the art, to render them. But as the expense of these boxes is too great for stage-coaches, patents have been taken out for others of a less costly nature, which answer extremely well, and have long since been in use on all the coaches that run from the Bull and Mouth, and many others besides. No stage-coach can be safe without the patent boxes, as they are termed, but there is a prejudice amongst proprietors against them. They certainly add to the cost, and also to the weight, of the coach; and by preventing the wheels from escaping any obstacle that may present itself—the consequence of 95 their being air-tight—they wear out rather sooner than when used with the common axle. Their general adoption, however, would be a great safeguard to the public, as well as of considerable assistance to trade. In the mail-coaches, the boxes are of a different construction, and owe their safety to four bolts, which pass completely through the nave of the wheel, having a square shoulder on the back of the nave, with screws and nuts on its front. We have no hesitation in saying, this is the best wheel ever put under a coach; and, of course, Mr. Vidler, the late contractor for the mails, had a patent for it. The mails could never do their work with the common axle and box.18

Cicero laments the want of post-offices, and well he might. Nothing can excel that department in our 96 country, as it has long been administered by the late Sir Francis Freeling; although we feared in this, as in more important matters, we were about to lose sight of the good old rule of “letting well alone.” It was said to have been the intention of Government to substitute light carriages with two horses, for the present mail-coaches drawn by four; but we had many suspicions as to the result of such a change. It is true, the persons that horse the mails cry out lustily against the Government for not remunerating them better for the increased speed at which they are now required to travel—the maximum price being ten-pence a mile. Indeed, several proprietors have, in consequence of their losses, taken their horses off some of the mails; and others would refuse fresh contracts, unless more liberal terms were offered them. The Chester has already disappeared. These complaints have, no doubt, been troublesome—and, in some cases, perhaps, not quite reasonable; but we will state our reasons for thinking the present system cannot be improved upon.

First, the build of the mails is admirable for endurance. Why do we often hear of axletrees and other parts giving way with stage-coaches, and scarcely ever in the mails? Simply because the sustaining powers of the latter are more than equal to the weight, and they cannot lose their wheels. Moreover, they are excellently adapted for quick travelling; the centre of gravity being low—and now still lower in those furnished by the new contractor, the term of Mr. Vidler’s contract having 97 expired;—and they are light in comparison with stage-coaches that run as fast as they do: indeed, amongst coachmen, they are slightingly termed “paper carts,” in reference to comparative weight, and their great speed on the road. When the mail-coach of the present day starts from London for Edinburgh, a man may safely bet a hundred to one that she arrives to her time; but let a light two-horse vehicle set out on the same errand, and the betting would strangely alter.

It is quite a mistaken notion, that a carriage is less liable to accidents for being light. On the contrary, she is more liable to them than one that is well laden in proportion to her sustaining powers. In the latter case, she runs steadily along, and is but little disturbed by any obstacle or jerk she may meet on the road; in the former she is constantly on “the jump,” as coachmen call it, and her iron parts very liable to snap. Our present mail-coach work reflects the highest credit on the state of our roads, and everything connected with them. It will be borne in mind that, with one or two exceptions, they all begin their journey at night, and those which perform very long distances have two nights to one day; yet, see the wonderful regularity with which they arrive, and the few bad accidents they meet with! But, indeed, all our night-travelling in England is deserving of high praise for the expedition and regularity with which it is conducted; and, we have reason to believe, fewer accidents happen to night-coaches 98 than to such as run by day. This, however, may be accounted for. Barring fogs, it matters not how dark a night is, as our lamps supply the light of the sun; and, taking the average of nights, have a preference over the moon. Coachmen—now always sober—are then more careful and less given to larking, and the road is generally clear of any carriages but those which travel with lights. Horses also run more steadily by night, and certainly with more ease; it is a very common case to hear a coachman say, such a horse is “a good night horse, but an indifferent one by day.” Some cannot bear a hot sun on their backs; and those whose wind is not so good as it should be, run with much greater ease by night.

It is, indeed, gratifying to contemplate the change that has lately taken place in the whole system of the road; and it is a most humane one. The old-fashioned coachman to a heavy coach—and they were all heavy down to very recent times—bore some analogy with the prize-fighter, for he stood highest who could hit hardest. He was generally a man of large frame, made larger by indulgence, and of great bodily power—which was useful to him. To the button-hole of his coat were appended several whipcord points, which he was sure to have occasion for on the road, for his horses were whipped till whipping was as necessary to them as their harness. In fair play to him, however, he was not solely answerable for this: the spirit of his cattle was broken by the task they were called to perform—for in 99 those days twenty-mile stages were in fashion;—and what was the consequence? Why, the four-horse whip and the Nottingham whipcord were of no avail over the latter part of the ground, and something like a cat-o’-nine-tails was produced out of the boot, which was jocularly called “the apprentice;”—and a shrewd apprentice it was to the art of torturing, which was inflicted on the wheelers without stint or measure; but without which the coach might have been often left on the road. One circumstance alone saved these horses from destruction; this was the frequency of ale-houses on the road, not one of which could then be passed without a call.

Still our old-fashioned coachman was a scientific man in his calling—more so, perhaps, than by far the greater part of his brethren of the present day, in as much as his energies and skill were more frequently put to the test. He had heavy loads, bad roads, and weary horses to deal with, neither was any part of his harness to be depended on, upon a pinch. Then the box he sat upon was worse than Pandora’s, with all the evils it contained, for even hope appeared to have deserted it. It rested on the bed of the axletree, and shook the frame to atoms; but when prayers were put up to have it altered, the proprietors said, “No; the rascal will always be asleep if we place his box on the springs.” If, among all these difficulties, then, he by degrees became a drunkard, who can wonder at his becoming so? But he was a coachman. He could fetch the last 100 ounce out of a wheel-horse by the use of his double thong, or his apprentice, and the point of his lash told terribly upon his leaders. He likewise applied it scientifically; it was directed under the bar to the flank, and after the third hit he brought it up to his hand by the draw, so that it never got entangled in the pole-chains, or in any part of the harness. He could untie a knot with his teeth and tie another with his tongue, as well as he could with his hands; and if his thong broke off in the middle, he could splice it with dexterity, and even with neatness, as his coach was proceeding on its journey. In short, he could do what coachmen of the present day cannot do, because they have not been called upon to do it; and he likewise could do what they never try to do—namely, he could drive when he was drunk nearly as well as when he was sober. He was very frequently a faithful servant to his employers; considered trustworthy by bankers and others in the country through which he passed; and as humane to his horses, perhaps, as the adverse circumstances he was placed in by his masters would admit.

It has been suggested to road surveyors, that, if they would leave a narrow slip of loose gravel on the near side of severe hills, or those of only moderate declivity where the fall is a long one, and the road hard, it would save innumerable accidents in the course of the year, as the moment a coachman found his coach was getting the better of his horses,—or should any 101 part of his tackle give way,—he could run her into the gravel, and her velocity would be almost instantly checked. If placed on the near or left-hand side of the road, it would not inconvenience carriages ascending the hills; and the attention of a labourer, about every third day, to keep the gravel in its place, would obviate every difficulty. Likewise, it is desirable that roads should be raised a little to meet a coach, as it were, in the turns, especially such as are at the bottom of a hill. For example, if the turn is to the right, the left side of the road should be the highest, so as to give support to a coach in preserving her centre of gravity. Be it remembered that if the body of a coach could be made to lock with the carriage, she would go round a corner at full speed without danger; but as that cannot be done, too much precaution cannot be used when turning her from her line. Only a few years back, the Kingston and Worcester mail was upset in going round a turn, where the road was in an opposite form to the one we have just pointed out, when, according to evidence produced, she was going at the rate of only six miles in the hour. The effects of this accident were dreadful. In one respect, however, roads are more safe than they were, being no longer rounded in the middle, which caused the overthrow of many coaches in the act of crossing them, and the ruin of many coach-horses, by straining them in the fetlock-joint.

The hills on our great roads are now so cut through, that coaches ascend nearly all of them in the 102 trot. Indeed, coachmen have found out that their horses are gainers here, as in the trot every horse does his share; whereas very few teams are all at work together when walking. Four weak horses, well put together, will draw a very heavy load up a hill of considerable acclivity, if the surface be hard, and they are kept to a trot. As a mechanical agent, the worst method in which the strength of a horse can be applied, is carrying a weight up hill; and the best, that of drawing it. We should, however, give him every advantage; and, with a loaded coach, “keeping her alive,” as coachmen translate the vis vivida of the mechanic, is of vast importance in the draught of her.

We have now only one more hint to offer as to stage-coaches. Proprietors should never, if they can avoid it, suffer two coachmen to drive the same horses; either each man should drive his own ground double, or he should go the journey throughout and return the next day. It cannot be expected that horses can do well in the hands of two coachmen, even allowing them equal merits; and for these plain reasons:—they not only feel the effect of change of hands, which ruffles them, but they know not what to be at in their work; one man makes his play, as it is called, over one part of the ground, the other over another part. The system also destroys the pride a coachman takes in seeing his stock look well; and if anything goes wrong, a wrangle is sure to be the consequence. As it is ascertained that no horse can run at the top of his speed more than seven 103 or eight miles without injury, it is much better that a coachman should work his ground double—that is, with the same team down and up—if the hour suits, than that another man should touch them.19 Some persons object to two sweats a day, but it is nonsense; how does the race-horse run his heats? and how many sweats does a roadster or a hunter get on the same day? In very fast work, it is better for cattle to run five miles in and out, with an hour or two of rest between being taken from one coach and put to the other, than nine miles straight on end.

A wonderful change has taken place in the English coach-horse, as well as the sort of horses put into other kinds of harness; but this has been progressive. Fifty years ago, the idea of putting a thorough-bred horse into harness would have been considered preposterous. In the carriages of our noblemen and gentleman, the long-tailed black, or Cleveland bay—each one remove from the cart-horse—was the prevailing sort, and six miles an hour the extent of his pace; and he cost from thirty pounds to fifty pounds. A few years back, a nobleman gave seven hundred guineas for a horse to draw his cabriolet: two hundred guineas is now an everyday price for a horse of this description, and a hundred and fifty for a gentleman’s coach-horse! Indeed, a pair of 104 handsome coach-horses, fit for London, and well broken and bitted, cannot be purchased under two hundred guineas; and even job-masters often give much more for them to let out to their customers. In harness, also, we think we have arrived at perfection, to which the invention of the patent shining leather has mainly contributed. A handsome horse, well harnessed, is a noble sight; and is it not extraordinary that in no country but England is the art of putting horses into harness generally understood? Independently of the workmanship of the harness-maker, if our road-horses were put to their coaches in the loose awkward fashion of the Continent, we could never travel at the rate we do. It is the command given over the coach-horse that alone enables us to do it.

We may as well say a word or two as to private vehicles ere we close. As a fac-simile of the gentleman’s family-coach of fifty years back is now become difficult to produce, we will describe it. It had a most comfortable and roomy body, quite fit to contain six portly persons, and suspended by long leather braces, affixed to nearly upright springs. To enable the body to hang low, the perch of a bent form, called the compass perch, was used; and the carriage was of great length and strength. In fact it was, coachman and all, in strict accordance with the animals that drew it, and came under the denomination of “slow and easy.” The fashionable open carriage of this day was a still more unsightly object—the high, single-bodied phaeton, all 105 upon the fore-wheels, and looking as if the hinder ones had nothing to do but to follow. This was the favourite carriage of the late King, when Prince of Wales, and was commonly driven, by such as could afford it, with four horses in hand. Indeed, it may almost be said to have given birth to our gentleman-coachmanship, as well as to the well-known doggrel epigram:—

“What can Tommy Onslow do?

He can drive a phaeton and two.

Can Tommy Onslow do no more?

Yes—he can drive a phaeton and four!

The phaeton was succeeded by the no less classically yclept curricle—a carriage, when properly appointed, and followed by two well-dressed and well-mounted grooms, of singular elegance certainly. It had a long run in the fashionable world; but being, like the phaeton, only calculated to carry two persons, and requiring never less than three horses, taxation and economy put an end to it. Then came the reign of the gig. The curate’s wife, a gouty attorney, or a rich old farmer, fifty years ago, might be seen boxed up in a whiskey—which, being hung on hind and fore-braces, with a head to protect its inmates from weather, made a convenient family conveyance, and—with a steady dobbin to draw it—a safe one. Economy induced a leader of ton to cast favouring eyes on this snug whiskey; and thence the airy gig, which, with a hundred-guinea horse in it, has been the best friend to doctors and undertakers they have ever yet found. The race 106 has multiplied, and many names and varieties have been adopted in succession. The quiet movement of their wheels, the nice equilibrium in which they are placed on the axle, the evenness of their motion by reason of their being detached from their shafts, and the ease with which they follow the horse, make gigs delightful carriages to ride in, and we could wish they were not so dangerous. The stanhope, so named after the Honourable Fitzroy Stanhope, who planned it, succeeded the tilbury, so called from the well-known coach-maker; and the cost, without harness, of either may be about seventy pounds. Now “every dog has his day,” and so have our prevailing fashions. The buggy, stanhope, dennet, and tilbury, have all, during some seasons past, been supplanted by the cabriolet for town work, for which we must allow it is far more suitable—though much too heavy for the road. In London, this has been seen at the opera, at the theatres, at the club-houses, and at dinner parties, with a neat little urchin on the foot-board, performing all the offices of the chariot with not a third of its expenses. The English cabriolet, however, is rather on the decline in the fashionable world, and the light and airy tilbury is making its appearance again.

For country work nearly all these open vehicles have given place to the double-bodied phaeton and the britscka, both of which are much used in travelling post. The former is likewise in vogue with citizens and others who have families, and is now made so light as to be drawn 107 by one horse with four persons in it with ease, for a limited number of miles. Descending still lower in the scale, and only one remove from the donkey-cart, is what is called the pony-chaise, out of which more people have been killed than we should like to enumerate here. These vehicles, by far the most dangerous carriages of the whole family they belong to, are so light that an animal even of little power can do what he pleases with them; they are also obliged to be made so short in the carriage, that the least thing upsets them, while the persons in them are not out of reach of heels. Should the animal be alarmed and endeavour to run away, the lowness and lightness of the vehicle nearly destroy all power of resistance; indeed, if he have much power, a carriage of this description may be compared to a canister tied to a dog’s tail.20

The taste for the whip has undoubtedly declined; and at one time, perhaps, it occupied more attention among the higher classes of society than we ever wish to 108 see it do again. Yet, taken in moderation, we can perceive no reason to condemn this branch of sport more than others. If so great a personage as Sophocles could think it fitting to display his science in public, in the trifling game of ball, why may not an English gentleman exercise his skill on a coach-box? If the Athenians, the most polished nation of all antiquity, deemed it an honour to be considered skilful charioteers, why should Englishmen consider it a disgrace? To be serious—our amateur or gentlemen-coachmen have done much good: the road would never have been what it now is, but for the encouragement they gave, by their notice and support, to all persons connected with it. Would the Holyhead road have been what it is, had there been no such persons as the Hon. Thomas Kenyon, Sir Henry Parnell, and Mr. Maddox? Would the Oxford coachmen have set so good an example as they have done to their brethren of “the bench,” had there been no such men on their road as Sir Henry Peyton, Lord Clonmell, the late Sir Thomas Mostyn, that Nestor of coachmen, Mr. Annesley, and the late Mr. Harrison of Shelswell?21 Would not the 109 unhappy coachmen of five-and-twenty years back have gone on, wearing out their breeches with the bumping of the old coach-box, and their stomachs with brandy, had not Mr. Ward, of Squerries, after many a weary endeavour, persuaded the proprietors to place their boxes upon springs—the plan for accomplishing which was suggested by Mr. Roberts, nephew to the then proprietor of the White Horse, Fetter Lane, London, but now of the Royal Hotel, Calais? What would the Devonshire road have been, but for the late Sir Charles Bamfylde, Sir John Rogers, Colonel Prouse, Sir Lawrence 110 Palk, and others? Have the advice and the practice of such experienced men as Mr. Charles Buxton, Mr. Henry Villebois, Mr. Okeover, Sir Bellingham Graham, Mr. John Walker, Lord Sefton, Sir Felix Agar,22 Mr. Ackers, Mr. Maxse, Hon. Fitzroy Stanhope, Colonel Spicer, Colonel Sibthorpe, cum multis aliis, been thrown away upon persons who have looked up to them as protectors? Certainly not: neither would the improvement in carriages—stage-coaches more especially—have arrived at its present height, but for the attention and suggestions of such persons as we have been speaking of.

Gentleman-coaching, however, has, as we said, received a check; and in more ways than one. “Tampering with the currency,” and low prices, have taken off the leaders; and the bars and four-horse whips are hung up for the present—very few four-in-hands being visible.23 The “B. D. C.,” or Benson Driving Club, which still holds its rendezvous at the “Black Dog,” Bedfont, is the only survivor of those numerous driving associations whose processions used, some twenty years ago, to be among the most 111 imposing, as well as peculiar, spectacles in and about the metropolis.

The fashion, however, was not one of venerable standing among us—gentlemen-coachmen not having been known in England for more than about half a century. We believe we ourselves remember the Anglo-Ericthonius—the late Hon. Charles Finch, brother to the late Earl of Aylesford, who used to drive his own coach-and-four, disguised in a livery great coat. Soon after his debut, however, the already celebrated “Tommy Onslow,” Sir John Lade, and others, mounted the box in their own character. Sir John was esteemed a renowned judge of coach-horses and carriages, and a good coachman of the old school; but everything connected with the coach-box has undergone such a change in the last twenty-five years, that the Nestors of the art are no longer to be quoted. Mr. Warde, the father of the field, may now, we believe, be called the father of the road also; and if the old heavy Gloucester, “six insides, and sixteen out, with two tons of luggage,” were to re-appear on the road, no man’s advice would be better than his.

Count Pecchio, whose little volume on England lately appeared, has a luculent chapter on the astonishing convenience of our public conveyances, and the finished elegance of our private ones. We hardly, indeed, know which of the two things is more likely to strike the imagination of a foreigner, no matter from what part of the world he may come. Any one who has 112 been accustomed to admire the muster of vehicles at the Tuilleries, must indeed open his eyes wide the first time he is in St. James’s Street on the day of a levee or drawing-room. Hyde Park, however, on any fine afternoon, in the height of the London season, will be more than enough to confound him. He will there see what no other country under the heavens can shew him, and what is more, we may venture to add, what no other country ever will shew him. Let him only sit on the rail near our Great Captain’s statue, with his watch in his hand, and in the space of two hours he will see a thousand well-appointed equipages pass before him to the Mall, in all the pomp of aristocratic pride, and in which the very horses themselves appear to partake. Everything he sees is peculiar:—the silent roll and easy motion of the London-built carriage,—the style of the coachmen; it is hard to determine which shine brightest, the lace on their clothes, their own round faces, or their flaxen wigs,—the pipe-clayed reins—pipe-clayed lest they should soil the clean white gloves; the gigantic young fellows, in huge cocked-hats bedaubed with lace, in laced silk stockings, new kid gloves, and with gold-headed canes, who tower above “Mr. Coachman’s” head; not forgetting the spotted coach-dog, which has just been washed for the occasion. The vis-à-vis, containing nobody but a single fair dame, with all its set-out, has cost at least a thousand pounds; and the stream of equipages of all calibres—barouches, chariots, cabriolets, 113 &c., almost all got up, as Mr. Robins’s advertisements say, “regardless of expense,”24 flows on unbroken, until it is half-past seven, and people at last must begin to think of what they still call dinner. Old Seneca tells us such a blaze of splendour was once to be seen on the Appian Way. It might be so: it is now to be seen nowhere but in London.

group of riders gathered around a small carriage

1 Dr. Johnson boasted of having travelled from London to Salisbury in one day, by the common stage, “hung high and rough!”

2 According to Creech’s “Fugitive Pieces,” there was only one coach from Edinburgh to London, which was from twelve to sixteen days on the road.

3 Nearly on the site occupied by Apsley House stood, in 1742, the suburban inn, the Hercules’ Pillars, where Squire Western put up on his arrival in town in quest of his daughter; and from whence, by-the-bye, he sent back his chaplain several stages to fetch his forgotten tobacco-box!

4 Most roads through hilly countries were originally struck out by drivers of pack-horses, who, to avoid bogs, chose the upper ground. Consequently, it often happened that point B was lower than point A; yet to go from A to B the traveller ascended a hill to secure sound footing, and then descended to his point.

5 The term on the road is “springing them”—the word cattle understood.

6 These men were both on the Quicksilver mail, and both first-rate coachmen.

7 It is a well-known fact, that this mail has not varied five minutes in or out of Shrewsbury during the last eighteen months.

8 Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bart.

9 For example, from London to Shrewsbury is a hundred and fifty-eight miles, and the number of horses kept for the Wonder coach is a hundred and fifty. Perhaps, for the length of ground it travels over, this is the most punctual coach at all its stages on the journey at this time in England. It leaves Shrewsbury at a quarter before six, A.M., and arrives at the Bull and Mouth, London, at a quarter past nine, P.M.; and as this was the first coach that attempted to become a day-coach over so great an extent of ground, we are induced to notice one particular team on it, said to be the most superb of their kind, and for the purpose for which they are used, at this time in Great Britain. They are chestnuts, the property of Mr. Evans, of Wolverhampton; and their ground is from that town to Wednesbury, distance six miles. The coachmen of the Wonder also deserve notice for their uniformly good conduct and skill. Their names are Wood (who drives out of London), Lyley, Wilcox, and Hayward.

There is likewise a very fast and well-conducted coach which passes through Shrewsbury, viz., the Hirondelle, from Cheltenham to Liverpool, a hundred and thirty-three miles, in twelve hours and a half! Both these coaches load uncommonly well.

10 Of course we speak of prime cost; for coach-horses increase in value as they acquire condition, and are found to be equal to their work.

11 There are at this time two leaders on the Dover road, which have run together over the same stage upwards of twelve years!

12 Thirty years back blind horses were numerous in stage-coaches; in fact, it would now and then happen that the whole team were in darkness. “Well over that, sir,” said one of the old school of coachmen to a passenger that sate beside him on the box, having just passed a dangerous bridge on a foggy night; “only one eye among us!” That “one” was his own!

13 Mr. Chaplin is likewise proprietor of two London hotels, residing in that called “Osborne’s,” in the Adelphi.

14 To give one instance—the Worcester mail was one of the slowest on the road, and the oftenest overturned. She is now fast, and reckoned one of the safest in England.

15 A false notion has lately got abroad, that horses are less apt to fall down with their heads quite at liberty, as those on the Continent are generally driven. Physically speaking, this must be false; forasmuch as the weight being in this case thrown more forward, the centre of gravity is more difficult to be recovered when disturbed. A short time since, the author saw ten horses out of eleven, in two Boulogne and Paris diligences, with broken knees, and called a respectable inhabitant of the first-named town to witness the fact. French diligence-horses, however, fall from want of wind, as well as from want of assistance to keep them on their legs.

16 The only linchpin that can be relied on is the wooden one, which together with the screw-nut, is used in the French diligences. It is made of heart of oak; and being once driven through the eye of the arm, cannot be drawn out again, without cutting off the bottom of it, as it swells to a size which prevents its returning the way it went in. There is no dependence on iron linchpins.

The model of a carriage has lately been exhibited, built on a plan by which the centre of gravity is preserved under any ordinary circumstances to which our coaches are exposed on the road.

17 Thus it is with a farmer’s waggon. When the shaft-horse is standing at rest—allowing two degrees of an angle for that position—the point of the shaft is nearly even with the top of the fore-wheel; but when the horse exerts his strength to move a load, he brings his breast so much nearer the ground, that the line of draught is almost horizontal, and in a line with its centre. The trace of a coach-horse, when he stands at rest, is also oblique to the horizon, and must be so with low fore-wheels; but it approaches the horizontal when he is at work, and the nearer it approaches to it the better. Horses draw by their weight, and not by the force of their muscles; the hinder feet, then, being the fulcrum of the lever by which their weight acts against a load, when they pull hard it depresses their chests—thus increasing the lever of its weight, and diminishing the lever by which the load resists its efforts.

18 An improvement on all the patents yet brought forth was some time since attempted by two spirited coach-makers in London, but we have not heard of its success. Its object is to diminish draught in two distinct ways—first, by reducing the bearing parts, and thereby lessening friction; and, secondly, by diminishing the “dead hug,” as it is termed, which is always an attendant on the cylindrical arm and box. It substitutes a square instead of a cylindrical box, in which the cylindrical axle or arm works. This is made to fit on each of the four sides as true and as air-tight as if it were a complete circle: and if the four different bearings are but one eighth of an inch each, it is apparent that there is but half an inch of surface for the arm to oppose or work against in each axle; and so on in proportion to the size of the bearing. Nor is this all: those parts or angles not touched by the arm—as may be seen when the box is revolving—serve as reservoirs for oil, affording a constant supply. The nose of the arm is protected by a circular end, ground on to form the nicest fit, and prevent the possibility of the smallest particle of gravel finding its way into the box.

19 So material, indeed, is this point considered by one of our best judges of road coach-work, that he denies the possibility of any coach keeping its exact time over a long distance of ground, unless each man drives his own horses, with short stages for each team.

20 Accidents by these carriages frequently arise from apparently an unknown cause; it is by no means generally known that horses frequently begin kicking or plunging in consequence of some part of their harness pinching them, but which their drivers are quite unconscious of at the time. Thus a coach-horse is frequently set kicking by merely a twist in his trace. Many accidents, however, arise from using horses not properly broken to harness, as well as from the inexperience of drivers. We have all heard of the young Oxonian, who prevailed on his uncle to accompany him in his gig to Oxford. In passing through Kensington, the old gentleman observed, he had paid his nephew a great compliment, for that was only the fifth time he had ever been in a gig in his life. The nephew replied, that his horse beat him hollow, for he had never been in one at all before that day!

21Mr. Charles Holmes and the Blenheim Coach.—Nimrod, in his Northern Tour last month, got upon his favourite subject, the road; and we were glad to see it, because we think occasional notices of the different coachmen, and the turns-out from the various establishments, are calculated to afford an additional stimulus to all persons of the same class, and also to promote the public service in the coaching department. We have much pleasure, therefore, in recording a very handsome and flattering compliment that has been recently paid to Mr. Charles Holmes, the driver and part proprietor of the Blenheim coach (from Woodstock to London), to celebrate the completion of his twentieth year on that well-appointed coach, a period that has elapsed without a single accident to his coach, his passengers, or himself, and during which time, with the exception of a very short absence from indisposition, he has driven his sixty-five miles every day, making somewhere about twenty-three thousand miles a year. The numerous patrons of the coach entered into a subscription to present him with a piece of plate; and accordingly a beautiful cup, bearing the shape of an antique vase, and cover, ornamented with rich handles, composed of scrolls and foliage, the cover surmounted by a beautifully modelled horse, with a coach and four horses on one side, and a suitable inscription on the other, was presented to Mr. Holmes by that staunch patron of the road, Sir Henry Peyton, Bart., in August last, at a dinner at the Thatched House Tavern, St. James’s Street, to which between forty and fifty gentlemen sat down. The cup was manufactured by Messrs. Green and Ward, and the list of subscribers amounted to upwards of two hundred and fifty, including among others the Duke of Wellington, and indeed all persons of rank, business, or pleasure, whose vocations call them in the direction that the coach travels. We see by ‘Bell’s Life in London,’ a paper that has uniformly devoted itself to the patronage of this useful class of men, that a handsome salver is yet to be presented to this fortunate and deserving coachman, at Oxford. We feel assured that this nattering distinction will have its due influence in all parts of the country, and we wish Mr. Holmes many years of health and prosperity to enjoy the reward of his long and meritorious services.”—Extract from the “New Sporting Magazine” for November, 1835, p. 68.

22 Perhaps one of the finest specimens of good coachmanship was performed by Sir Felix Agar. He made a bet, which he won, that he would drive his own four-horses-in-hand, up Grosvenor Place, down the passage into Tattersall’s Yard, around the pillar which stands in the centre of it, and back again into Grosvenor Place, without either of his horses going in a slower pace than a trot.

23 Only ten years back, there were from thirty to forty four-in-hand equipages to be seen constantly about town:—one is stared at now!

24 Already, however, like all other trades, coach-making is on the wane. Two years back, the town-coach could not be had under four hundred guineas. Three hundred is the price now. The travelling-chariot, with everything complete, could not be purchased under three hundred and eighty guineas; three hundred will now suffice. The town-cabriolet, with patent boxes to the wheels, commenced at a hundred and fifty guineas; a hundred and twenty is now the figure: and so with all the rest of the tribe.


Notes and Corrections: The Road

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“The Road” originally appeared, in slightly different form, as Article III in The Quarterly Review vol. XLVIII no. XCVI (vol. 48, no. 96, December 1832), pg. 346-375. As in “The Chase”, the author sometimes adjusted numbers, so the periodical’s “ninety years” (ago) becomes “ninety-four”.

This time the article comes with two book titles: The Traveller’s Oracle, or Maxims for Locomotion. By William Kitchener [sic], M.D. Third Edition. 12mo. London. 1828. and The Horse and Carriage Oracle. By John Jervis, an old Coachman. Revised by William Kitchener [sic again], M.D., Author of the Cook’s Oracle, &c. &c. Third Edition. 12mo. London. 1828. Just to make sure everyone is throughly confused, these appear to be the same book; the Jervis book is the second volume of the Kitchiner book.

[55] From Liverpool to Manchester, thirty-six miles, in an hour and a half!
[The Liverpool-to-Manchester line, England’s first passenger railway, opened in 1830.]

[56] the late happily-named Dr. Kitchener
[William Kitchiner (1775?–1827), best known for Apicius Redivivus (“The Cook’s Oracle”), was probably used to seeing his name misspelled.]

[58] suppose it possible that a worthy old gentleman of this said year—1742—had fallen comfortably asleep, à la Dodswell, and never awoke till Monday last
[W. Outram Tristram admired this episode, devoting several pages of the Exeter Road chapter of Coaching Days and Coaching Ways to a retelling.]

twice three times denied having ocular demonstration
text has occular
[Corrected from Quarterly Review.]

[69] and they proceeded up the village
text has proceded

[71] this stage, called the Hartford Bridge Flat
[Quarterly Review calls it “Hertford-bridge flat”.]

[Illustration] The Regulator on Hertford Bridge Flat
spelling unchanged
[The body text spells it “Hartford”, as does the List of Illustrations.]

[75] coming to the assistance of the coachman
text has assitance

[96] as it has long been administered by the late Sir Francis Freeling
[The Quarterly Review had “as it has long been administered by perhaps the only universally approved public servant in our generation, Sir Francis Freeling”. In performing the last-minute edit (Freeling, Secretary of the General Post Office, died in 1836), our author really should have changed it to “as it was long administered”. The next few sentences were rather superfluously changed from present to past tense, as if the Post Office ceased to exist when its Secretary died.]

we were about to lose sight of the good old rule
text has loose
[Corrected from Quarterly Review.]

[105] What can Tommy Onslow do?
[It scans better if you leave out the words “He can” both times.]

the airy gig . . . has been the best friend to doctors and undertakers they have ever yet found
[I wish he had made this just a little more unambiguous. As written, there are two possible interpretations, though “we could wish they were not so dangerous” later in the paragraph does give a hint.]

[106] the double-bodied phaeton and the britscka
[Ordinarily spelled britska, brichka or britzka, the name is from Polish bryczka.]

[111] Count Pecchio . . . has a luculent chapter
[Now, is that “illustrious” or merely “lucid”?]

[112] the muster of vehicles at the Tuilleries
spelling unchanged

the gigantic young fellows, in huge cocked-hats
text has huged

trophy and plate, with text THE TURF.

N splendour of exhibition and multitude of attendants, Newmarket, Epsom, Ascot, or Doncaster would bear no comparison with the imposing spectacles of the Olympic Games; and had not racing been considered in Greece a matter of the highest national importance, Sophocles would have been guilty of a great fault in his “Electra,” when he puts into the mouth of the messenger who comes to recount the death of Orestes, a long description of the above sports. Nor are these the only points of difference between the racing of Olympia and Newmarket. At the former, honour alone was the reward of the winner, and no man lost either his character or his money. But still, great as must have been in those old days the passion for equestrian distinction, it was left for later times to display, to perfection, the full powers of the race-horse. 116 The want of stirrups alone must have been a terrible want. With the well-caparisoned war-horse, or the highly-finished cheval d’école, even in his gallopade, capriole, or balotade, the rider may sit down upon his twist, and secure himself in his saddle by the clip which his thighs and knees will afford him; but there is none of that (obstando) resisting power about his seat which enables him to contend with the race-horse in his gallop. We admit that a very slight comparison can be drawn between the race-horse of ancient and that of modern days; but whoever has seen the print of the celebrated jockey, John Oakley, on Eclipse—the only man, by the way, who could ride him well—will be convinced that, without the fulcrum of stirrups, he could not have ridden him at all; as, from the style in which he ran, his nose almost sweeping the ground, he would very soon have been pulled from the saddle over his head.

Of the training and management of the Olympic race-horse we are unfortunately left in ignorance—all that can be inferred being the fact, that the equestrian candidates were required to enter their names and send their horses to Elis at least thirty days before the celebration of the games commenced; and that the charioteers and riders, whether owners or proxies, went through a prescribed course of exercise during the intervening month. In some respects, we can see, they closely resembled ourselves. They had their course for full-aged horses, and their course for colts; and their prize for which mares only started, corresponding with 117 our Epsom Oaks-stakes. It is true, that the race with riding-horses was neither so magnificent nor so expensive, and consequently not considered so royal, as the race with chariots, yet they had their gentlemen-jockeys in those days, and noted ones too, for amongst the number were Philip, King of Macedon, and Hiero, King of Syracuse. The first Olympic ode of Pindar, indeed, is inscribed to the latter sovereign, in which mention is made of his horse Phrenicus, on which he was the winner of the Olympic crown. Considerable obscurity, however, hangs over most of the details of the Olympic turf, and particularly as regards the classing of the riders, and the weights the horses carried. It is generally supposed these points were left to the discretion of the judges, who were sworn to do justice; and here we have a faint resemblance to the modern handicap.

How much is it to be lamented, that we have no faithful representation of the Olympic jockeys—of Philip on his brother to Bucephalus, or the King of Syracuse on Phrenicus. We are not to expect that they were dressed à la Chifney; but we could not see deformity on such classic ground. As suited to their occupation, nothing can be more neat—nothing more perfect—nothing more in keeping, than the present costume of the English jockey; but a century back it was deformity personified. “Your clothes,” says the author of “The Gentleman’s Recreation,” in his direction to his race-rider—for by the print annexed we must decline calling him jockey—“should be of coloured silk, or of white 118 Holland, as being very advantageous to the spectator. Your waistcoat and drawers (sans culottes, we presume) must be made close to your body, and on your head a little cap, tied. Let your boots be gartered up fast, and your spurs must be of good metal.” The saddle that this living object—this “figure of fun”—was placed upon, also bade defiance to good jockeyship, being nearly a fac-simile of that upon a child’s rocking-horse; and which, from the want of a proper flap, as well as from the forward position of the stirrup-leathers, gave no support to the knee.

Cowper says in bitter satire—

“We justly boast

At least superior jockeyship, and claim

The honours of the turf as all our own!”

The abuses of the turf we abhor, and shall in part expose; let it not, however, be forgotten that, had we no racing, we should not be in possession of the noblest animal in the creation—the thorough bred-horse. Remember, too, that poor human nature cannot exist without some sort of recreation; even the rigid Cato says, “the man who has no time to be idle is a slave.” Enclosures, and gradual refinement of manners have already contracted the circle of rural sports for which England has been so celebrated, and we confess we are sorry for this, for we certainly give many of them the preference over racing. Hawking has disappeared; shooting has lost the wild sportsmanlike character of earlier days; and hare-hunting has fallen into disrepute. 119 Fox-hunting, no doubt, stands its ground, but fears are entertained even for the king of sports. Fox-hunting suspends the cares of life, whilst the speculations of the race-course too generally increase them. The one steels the constitution, whilst the anxious cares of the other have a contrary effect. The love of the chace may be said to be screwed into the soul of man by the noble hand of nature, whereas the pursuit of the other is too often the offspring of a passion we should wish to disown. The one enlarges those sympathies which unite us in a bond of reciprocal kindness and good offices; in the pursuit of the other, almost every man we meet is our foe. The one is a pastime—the other a game, and a hazardous one, too, and often played at fearful odds. Lastly, the chace does not usually bring any man into bad company; the modern turf is fast becoming the very manor of the worst. All this we admit; but still we are not for abandoning a thing only for evils not necessarily mixed up with it.

Having seen the English turf reach its acmé, we should be sorry to witness its decline; but fall it must, if a tighter hand be not held over the whole system appertaining to it. Noblemen and gentlemen of fortune and integrity must rouse themselves from an apathy to which they appear lately to have been lulled; and they must separate themselves from a set of marked, unprincipled miscreants, who are endeavouring to elbow them off the ground which ought to be exclusively their own. No honourable man can be successful, for any length of 120 time, against such a horde of determined depredators as have lately been seen on our race-courses; the most princely fortune cannot sustain itself against the deep-laid stratagems of such villanous combinations.

Perhaps it may not be necessary to enter into the very accidence of racing; but, on the authority of Mr. Strutt, “On the Sports and Pastimes of England,” something like it was set agoing in Athelstane’s reign. “Several race-horses,” says he, “were sent by Hugh Capet, in the ninth century, as a present to Athelstane, when he was soliciting the hand of Ethelswitha, his sister.” A more distinct indication of a sport of this kind occurs in a description of London, written by William Fitz-Stephen, who lived in the reign of Henry II. He informs us that horses were usually exposed to sale in Smithfield, and, in order to prove the excellency of hackneys and charging-horses, they were usually matched against each other. Indeed, the monk gives a very animated description of the start and finish of a horse-race. In John’s reign, running-horses are frequently mentioned in the register of royal expenditure. John was a renowned sportsman—he needed a redeeming quality—but it does not appear that he made use of his running-horses otherwise than in the sports of the field. Edwards II., III., and IV., were likewise breeders of horses, as also Henry VIII., who imported some from the East; but the running-horses of those days are not to be too closely associated with the turf; at least we have reason to believe the term generally 121 applies to light and speedy animals, used in racing perhaps, occasionally, but chiefly in other active pursuits, and in contradistinction to the war-horse, then required to be most powerful, to carry a man cased in armour and seldom weighing less than twenty stone. In fact, the invention of gunpowder did much towards refining the native breed of the English horse; and we begin to recognise the symptoms of a scientific turf in many of the satirical writings of the days of Elizabeth. Take, for instance, Bishop Hall’s lines, in 1597:—

“Dost thou prize

Thy brute-beasts’ worth by their dams’ qualities?

Sayst thou thy colt shall prove a swift-paced steed,

Only because a jennet did him breed?

Or, sayst thou this same horse shall win the prize,

Because his dam was swiftest Tranchefice?”

It is quite evident, indeed, that racing was in considerable vogue during this reign, although it does not appear to have been much patronised by the Queen, otherwise it would, we may be sure, have formed a part of the pastimes at Kenilworth. The famous George, Earl of Cumberland, was one of the victims of the turf in those early days.

In the reign of James I., private matches between gentlemen, then their own jockeys, became very common in England; and the first public race meetings appear at Garterley, in Yorkshire; Croydon, in Surrey; and Theobald’s, on Enfield Chace; the prize being a golden bell. The art of training also may be said now to have 122 commenced; strict attention was paid to the food and exercise of the horses, but the effect of weight was not taken into consideration, ten stone being generally, we have reason to believe, both the maximum and minimum of what the horses carried. James patronised racing; he gave five hundred pounds—a vast price in those days—for an Arabian, which, according to the Duke of Newcastle, was of little value, having been beaten easily by our native horses. Prince Henry had a strong attachment to racing as well as hunting, but he was cut off at an early age. Charles I. was well inclined towards such sports, and excelled in horsemanship, but the distractions of his reign prevented his following these peaceful pastimes. According to Boucher, however, in his “Survey of the Town of Stamford,” the first valuable public prize was run for at that place in Charles the First’s time, viz., a silver and gilt cup and cover, of the estimated value of eight pounds, provided by the care of the aldermen for the time being; and Sir Edward Harwood laments the scarcity of able horses in the kingdom, “not more than two thousand being to be found equal to the like number of French horses;” for which he blames principally racing.1 In 1640, races were held at Newmarket; also in Hyde Park, as appears from a comedy called the “Merry Beggars, or Jovial Crew,” 1641;—“Shall 123 we make a fling to London, and see how the spring appears there in Spring Gardens, and in Hyde Park, to see the races, horse and foot?

The wily Cromwell was not altogether indifferent to the breed of running-horses, and with one of the stallions in his stud—Place’s White Turk—do the oldest of our pedigrees end. He had also a famous brood-mare, called the Coffin mare, from the circumstance of her being concealed in a vault during the search for his effects at the time of the Restoration. Mr. Place, stud-groom to Cromwell, was a conspicuous character of those days; and, according to some, the White Turk was his individual property. Charles II. was a great patron of the race-course. He frequently honoured this pastime with his presence, and appointed races to be run in Datchet Mead, as also at Newmarket, where his horses were entered in his own name, and where he rebuilt the decayed palace of his grandfather James I. He also visited other places at which races were instituted, Burford Downs, in particular—(since known as Bibury race-course, so often frequented by George IV., when regent)—as witness the doggrel of old Baskerville:—

“Next for the glory of the place,

Here has been rode many a race.

King Charles the Second I saw here;

But I ’ve forgotten in what year.

The Duke of Monmouth here also

Made his horse to sweat and blow,” &c.

At this time it appears that prizes run for became more valuable than they formerly had been; amongst 124 them were bowls, and various other pieces of plate, usually estimated at the value of one hundred guineas; and from the inscriptions on these trophies of victory, much interesting information might be obtained. This facetious monarch was likewise a breeder of race-horses, having imported mares from Barbary, and other parts, selected by his Master of the Horse, sent abroad for the purpose, and called Royal Mares—appearing as such in the stud-book to this day. One of these mares was the dam of Dodsworth, bred by the King, and said to be the earliest race-horse we have on record, whose pedigree can be properly authenticated.

James II. was a horseman, but was not long enough among his people to enable them to judge of his sentiments and inclinations respecting the pleasures of the turf. When he retired to France, however, he devoted himself to hunting, and had several first rate English horses always in his stud. William III. and his Queen were also patrons of racing, not only continuing the bounty of their predecessors, but adding several plates to the former donations. Queen Anne’s consort, Prince George of Denmark, kept a fine stud; and the Curwen Bay Barb, and the celebrated Darley Arabian, appeared in this reign. The Queen also added several plates. George I. was no racer, but he discontinued silver plates as prizes, and instituted the King’s Plates, as they have been since termed, being one hundred guineas, paid in cash. George II. cared as little for racing as his father, but, to encourage the breed of 125 horses, as well as to suppress low gambling, he made some good regulations for the suppression of pony races, and running for any sum under fifty pounds. In his reign the Godolphin Arabian appeared, the founder of our best blood—the property of the then Earl of Godolphin.2 George III., though not much a lover of the turf, gave it some encouragement as a national pastime; in the fourth year of his reign Eclipse was foaled, and from that period may English racing be dated!

George IV. outstripped all his royal predecessors on the turf, in the ardour of his pursuit of it, and the magnificence of his racing establishment. Indeed, the epithet “delighting in horses,”—applied by Pindar to Hiero,—might be applied to him, for no man could have been fonder of them than he was, and his judgment in everything relating to them was considered excellent. He was the breeder of several first-rate race-horses, amongst which was Whiskey, the sire of Eleanor (the only winner of the Derby and Oaks great stakes); and also Gustavus, who won the Derby for Mr. Hunter. Our present gracious monarch—bred upon another 126 element—has no taste for this sport; but continued it for a short time after his brother’s death to run out his engagements, and also with a view of not throwing a damp over a pastime of such high interest to his subjects. It was at one time given out, that his Majesty had consented to keep his horses in training, provided he did not lose more than four thousand pounds per annum by them; but such has not been the case. A royal stud, however, still exists at Hampton Court, and the following celebrated English stallions are now there, exclusive of four Arabians—two from the King of Oude, and two from the Imaum of Muscat, as presents to his Majesty. The former are,—the Colonel, by Whisker, dam by Delpini, the property of his late Majesty George IV.; Actæon, by Scud, out of Diana, by Stamford, purchased of Viscount Kelburne for the sum of one thousand guineas; Cain, by Paulowitz, dam by Pagnator; and Rubini, by St. Patrick, out of Slight, by Selim: the two latter hired for the use of the stud. Of brood mares there are at present no less than thirty-three in the paddocks, of which there are forty-three varying in size from three to five acres each; and some idea may be formed of the profit or loss of this extensive establishment from the following facts:—The produce are sold annually at Tattersall’s, on the Monday in the Epsom race-week, being then one year old. At two of these sales they brought within a trifle of two hundred pounds each; and at that of the present year, the colts and fillies, twenty in number, were knocked down at 127 two thousand eight hundred and forty-six guineas, or within a fraction of one hundred and forty-two guineas for each.3 It may be worthy of remark, that a regard has ever been paid in the Hampton Court stud to what is termed stout blood. For example, of the stud horses which those we have now mentioned replaced, Waterloo was out of a Trumpator, Tranby4 an Orville, Ranter a Beningbrough, and the Colonel a Delpini, mare. This stud is at present under the superintendence of Colonel Wemyss, brother to the Member for Fife, and Equerry to the King, residing at the stud-house, formerly occupied by the Earl of Albemarle; and assisted by the valuable services of Mr. Worley, many years stud-groom to his Royal Highness the late Duke of York. Some amusing anecdotes are on record, touching the rather incongruous association of our sailor-king with the turf, one of which we will venture to repeat. Previously to the first appearance of the royal stud in the name of William IV., the trainer had an audience of his Majesty, and humbly requested to be informed what 128 horses it was the royal pleasure should be sent to Goodwood? “Send the whole squadron,” said the King; “some of them, I suppose, will win.”5

Previously to 1753 there were only two meetings in the year at Newmarket6 for the purpose of running horses, one in the spring, and another in October. At present there are seven, distinguished by the following terms:—The Craven, in compliment to the late Earl Craven, commencing on Easter Monday, and instituted in 1771. The First Spring, on the Monday fortnight following; the Second Spring, a fortnight after that, and instituted 1753. The July, commonly early in that month, instituted 1753. The First October, on the first Monday in that month; the Second October, on the Monday fortnight following, instituted 1762; and the Third October, or Houghton, a fortnight afterwards, instituted 1770. With the last-mentioned meeting, which, weather permitting, generally lasts a week, and at which there is a great deal of racing, the sports of the turf close for the year, with the exception 129 of Tarporley, a very old hunt-meeting in Cheshire, now nearly abandoned; and a Worcester autumn meeting, chiefly for hunters and horses of the gentlemen and farmers within the hunt.

At Newmarket, though there were formerly six and eight mile races, there are now not more than four over the Beacon Course, or B. C. as it is called, which is four miles, in all the seven meetings. This is an improvement, not only on the score of humanity, but as far as regards sport, for horses seldom come in near to each other, after having run that course. Indeed, so much is the system of a four-mile heat disliked, that, when it does occur, the horses often walk the first two. Yet it sometimes happens otherwise, as in the case of Chateau-Margaux and Mortgage, in one of the meetings in 1826; but all who remember the struggle between those two noble animals—the very best of their kind, perhaps never exceeded in stoutness,—and the state in which they appeared at the conclusion, can only think of it with disgust. Chateau’s dead heat with Lamplighter was something like a repetition of the scene; but, to the honour of their owners, they were not suffered to run another, and the plate was divided between them.

The Curragh of Kildare is said to be in some respects its equal, but nothing can be superior to Newmarket heath as a race-course. The nightly workings of the earth-worms keep it in that state of elasticity favourable to the action of the race-horse, and it is never known 130 to be hard, although occasionally deep. But the great superiority of this ground consists in the variety of its courses—eighteen in number—adapted to every variety in age, weight, or qualifications of the horses, and hence of vast importance in match-making. Almost every race-horse has a marked peculiarity in his running. A stout horse ends his race to advantage up hill; a speedy jade down hill; another goes best over a flat, whilst there are a few that have no choice of ground—and some whom none will suit. The Newmarket judge’s box being on wheels, it is moved from one winning post to another, as the races are fixed to end, which is the case nowhere but at Newmarket.7

The office of judge at Newmarket varies from that of others filling similar situations. He neither sees the jockeys weighed out or in, as the term is, neither is he required to take notice of them or their horses in the race. He judges, and proclaims the winner, by the colour—that of every jockey who rides being handed to him before starting. Indeed, the horses are seldom seen by him until the race begins, and, in some cases, till it nearly ends; as they generally proceed from their 131 stables to the saddling-house by a circuitous rout. The best possible regulations are adopted for the proper preservation of the ground during the running, and we know of nothing to be found fault with, unless it be the horsemen being allowed to follow the race-horses up the course, which injures the ground when it is wet. It is true, a very heavy iron roller is employed upon it every evening in the meetings, but this cannot always be effective.

The racing ground on the heath has been the property of the Jockey Club since the year 1753. A great advantage is gained here by giving the power of preventing obnoxious persons coming upon it during the meetings; and it would be well if that power were oftener exerted. Betting-posts are placed on various parts of the heath, at some one of which the sportsmen assemble immediately after each race, to make their bets on the one that is to follow. As not more than half an hour elapses between the events, the scene is of the most animated description, and a stranger would imagine that all the tongues of Babel were let loose again. No country under the heavens, however, produces such a scene as this; and he would feel a difficulty in reconciling the proceedings of those gentlemen of the betting-ring with the accounts he might read the next morning in the newspapers of the distressed state of England, or that money was scarce anywhere. “What do you bet on this race, my lord?” says a vulgar-looking man, on a shabby hack, with “a shocking bad 132 hat.” “I want to back the field,” says my lord. “So do I,” says the leg. “I’ll bet five hundred to two hundred you don’t name the winner,” cries my lord. “I’ll take six,” exclaims the leg. “I’ll bet it you,” roars my lord. “I’ll double it,” bellows the leg. “Done,” shouts the peer. “Treble it?” “No.” The bet is entered, and so much for wanting to back the field! but in love, war, and horse-racing, stratagem, we believe, is allowed. Scores of such scenes as this take place in those momentous half-hours. All bets lost at Newmarket are paid the following morning, in the town, and fifty thousand pounds, or more, have been known to exchange hands in one day.

The principal feature in Newmarket is the New Rooms, for the use of the noblemen and gentlemen of the Jockey Club, and others who are members of the Rooms only, situated in the centre of the town, and affording every convenience. Each member pays thirty guineas on his entrance, and six guineas annually, if he attends—otherwise nothing. The number at present is fifty-seven:—two black balls exclude. At the Craven Meeting of the present year it was resolved—“That members of White’s, Brooks’, or Boodles’ Clubs, may be admitted to the New Rooms and Coffee Rooms, for any one meeting, without any other charge than the payment of one half-year’s subscription to each; and that such member, attending any other meeting in the same year, will be considered a member of the New Rooms, and liable to all the usual charges.”


On entering the town from the London side, the first object of attraction is the house long occupied by the late Duke of Queensbury, but at present in a disgraceful state of decay. “Kingston House” is now used as a “hell” (sic transit gloria!); and the palace, the joint-work of so many royal architects, is partly occupied by a training-groom, and partly by his Grace of Rutland, whose festivities at Cheveley, during the race-meetings, have very wisely been abridged. The Earl of Chesterfield has a house just on entering the town, and the Marquis of Exeter a most convenient one, with excellent stabling attached. The Duke of Richmond, Mr. Christopher Wilson, father of the turf, and several other eminent sportsmen, are also domiciled at Newmarket during the meetings. But the lion of the place is the princely mansion lately erected for Mr. Crockford, of ultra-sporting notoriety. The pleasaunce of this insular consists of sixty acres, already enclosed by Mr. Crockford within a high, stone wall. The houses of the Chifneys are also stylish things. That of Samuel, the renowned jockey, is upon a large scale, and very handsomely furnished—the Duke of Cleveland having for several years occupied apartments in it during the meetings. That of William Chifney, the trainer, is still larger, and, perhaps, barring Crockford’s, the best house in Newmarket.8 Near to the town is the stud-farm of 134 Lord Lowther, where Partisan, and a large number of brood mares, are kept—the latter working daily on the farm, which is said to be advantageous to them. Within a few miles we have Lower Hare Park, the seat of Sir Mark Wood, with Upper Hare Park, General Grosvenor’s, &c. The stables of Newmarket are not altogether so good as we should expect to find them. Of the public ones, perhaps those of Robinson, Edwards, Stephenson, and Webb, are the best.

That noble gift of Providence, the horse, has not been bestowed upon mankind without conditions. The first demand upon us is to treat him well; but, to avail ourselves of his full powers and capacity, we must take him out of the hands of nature, and place him in those of art; and no one can look into old works published on this subject, without being surprised with the change that has taken place in the system of training the race-horse. “The Gentleman’s Recreation,” published nearly a century and a half back, must draw a smile from the modern trainer, when he reads of the quackery to which the race-horse was then subject—a pint of good sack having been one of his daily doses. Again, “The British Sportsman,” by one Squire Osbaldiston, of days long since gone by, gravely informs its readers, that one month is necessary to prepare a horse for a race; but “if he be very fat or foul, or taken from grass,” he might require two. This wiseacre has also his juleps and syrups—“enough to make a horse sick” indeed—finishing with the whites of eggs and wine, internally 135 administered, and chafing the legs of his courser with train oil and brandy. On the other hand, if these worthies could be brought to life again, it would astonish them to hear that twelve months are now considered requisite to bring a race-horse quite at the top of his mark to the post. The objects of the training-groom can only be accomplished by medicine, which purifies the system,—exercise, which increases muscular strength,—and food, which produces vigour beyond what nature imparts. To this is added the necessary operation of periodical sweating, to remove the superfluities of flesh and fat, which process is more or less necessary to all animals called upon to engage in corporeal exertions beyond their ordinary powers. With either a man or a horse, his skin is his complexion; and whether it be the prize-fighter who strips in the ring, or the race-horse at the starting-post, that has been subjected to this treatment, a lustre of health is exhibited such as no other system can produce.

The most difficult points in the trainer’s art have only been called into practice since the introduction of one, two, and three-year-old stakes, never thought of in the days of Childers or Eclipse. Saving and excepting the treatment of doubtful legs, whatever else he has to do in his stable is comparatively trifling to the act of bringing a young one quite up to the mark, and keeping him there till he is wanted. The cock was sacred to Æsculapius by reason of his well-known watchfulness; nor should the eye of a training-groom be shut whilst 136 he has an animal of this description under his care, for a change may take place in him in a night, which, like a frost over the blossoms, will blast all hopes of his success. The immense value, again, which a very promising colt now attains in the market adds greatly to the charge over him; and much credit is due to the trainer who brings him well through his engagements, whether he be a winner or not.

The treatment of the seasoned race-horse is comparatively easy and straightforward, with the exception of such as are very difficult to keep in place, by reason of constitutional peculiarities. Those which have been at work are thus treated, we mean when the season is concluded:—by indulgence in their exercise they are suffered to gather flesh, or become “lusty,” as the term is, to enable them the better to endure their physic; but, in addition to two hours’ walking exercise, they must have a gentle gallop, to keep them quiet. If frost sets in, they are walked and trotted in a paddock upon litter, it being considered dangerous to take them at that time from home. When the weather is favourable, they commence a course of physic, consisting of perhaps three doses, at an interval of about eight days between each. A vast alteration has taken place in the strength of the doses given, and, consequently, accidents from physic now more rarely occur. Eight drachms of Barbadoes aloes form the largest dose at present given to aged horses, with six to four-year olds, five to three-year olds, four to two-year olds, and from two to three to yearlings; 137 although in all such operations the constitution of the animal must be consulted. After physic, and after Christmas, they begin to do rather better work, and in about two months before their first engagement comes on, they commence their regular sweats—the distance generally four miles for horses four years old and upwards. After their last sweat, the jockeys who are to ride them generally give them a good gallop, by way of feeling their mouths and rousing them, for they are apt to become shifty, as it is termed, with boys, who have not sufficient power over them. The act of sweating the race-horse is always a course of anxiety to his trainer, and particularly so on the eve of a great race for which he may be a favourite. The great weight of clothes with which he is laden is always dangerous, and often fatal, to his legs, and there it generally a spy at hand, to ascertain whether he pulls up sound or lame. Some nonsense has been written by the author of a late work9, about omitting sweating in the process of training; but what would the Chifneys say to this? They are acknowledged pre-eminent in the art, but they are also acknowledged to be very severe—perhaps too much so—with their horses in their work; and, without sweating them in clothes, they would find it necessary to be much more so than they are. It is quite certain, that horses cannot race without doing severe work; but the main point to be attended 138 to is, not to hurry them in their work. As to resting them for many weeks at a time, as was formerly the case, that practice is now entirely exploded amongst all superior judges; and experience has proved, that not only the race-horse, but the hunter, is best for being kept going the year round—at times, gently, of course. With each, as with man, idleness is the parent of misfortune.

Thucydides says of Themistocles, that he was a good guesser of the future by the past; but this will not do in racing; and not only prudence, but justice towards the public demands that a race-horse should be tried at different periods of his training. The first great point is obviously to ascertain the maximum speed, and the next to discover how that is affected by weight: but here there are difficulties against which no judgment can provide, and which, when the best intentions have been acted upon, have led to false conclusions. The horse may not be quite up to his mark, on the day of trial—or the horse, or horses, with which he is tried, may not be so: the nature of the ground, and the manner of running it, may likewise not be suited to his capabilities or his action, and the trial and his race may be very differently run. The late Chifney, in his “Genius Genuine,” says the race-horse Magpie was a hundred and fifty or two hundred yards a better horse some days than others, in the distance of two miles! Tiresias won the Derby for the Duke of Portland in a canter, to the ruin of many of the betting men, who thought his chance was gone from his previous 139 trial with Snake who beat him with much ease. It afterwards came out, that his being beaten at the trial had been owing to the incapacity of the boy who rode him—and he was a bad horse to ride: indeed, we remember his taking old Clift, his jockey, nearly into Epsom town before he could pull him up, after winning the race. We are compelled, however, to observe, that much deception in late years has been resorted to, by false accounts of trials, and thereby making horses favourites for the great stakes—as in the instances of Panic, Premier, Swap, the General, Prince Llewellyn, and others—some of whom were found to be as bad as they had been represented to be good. But the trial of trials took place many years back at Newmarket, in the time of George I. A match was made between the notorious Tregonwell Frampton and Sir W. Strickland, to run two horses over Newmarket heath for a considerable sum of money; and the betting was heavy between the north and south-country sportsmen on the event. After Sir W. Strickland’s horse had been a short time at Newmarket, Frampton’s groom, with the knowledge of his master, endeavoured to induce the baronet’s groom to have a private trial, at the weights and distance of the match, and thus to make the race safe. Sir William’s man had the honesty to inform his master of the proposal, when he ordered him to accept it, but to be sure to deceive the other by putting seven pounds more weight in the stuffing of his own saddle. Frampton’s groom had already done the same thing, and 140 in the trial, Merlin, Sir William’s horse, beat his opponent about a length. “Now,” said Frampton to his satellite, “my fortune is made, and so is yours; if our horse can run so near Merlin with seven pounds extra, what will he do in the race?” The betting became immense. The south-country turfites, who had been let into the secret by Frampton, told those from the north, that “they would bet them gold against Merlin while gold they had, and then they might sell their land.” Both horses came well to the post, and of course the race came off like the trial.

The Jockey Club law is very strict as to trials at Newmarket, notice being obliged to be given to the keeper of the trial-book within one hour after the horses have been tried, enforced by a penalty of ten pounds for neglecting it; and any person detected watching a trial is very severely dealt with. Nevertheless, formerly, watching trials was a trade at Newmarket, nor is it quite done away with at the present day; though we have reason to believe that the bettor who should trust much to information obtained by such means would very soon break down. It often happens, that the jockeys who ride trials know nothing of the result beyond the fact of which horses run fastest, as they are kept in ignorance of the weight they carry—a good load of shot being frequently concealed in the stuffing of their saddles.

In later times than these, we have heard of more than one good ruse de guerre being practised at Newmarket; 141 whereby, according to the old adage, the biter was bitten, and deservedly bitten too. The late Earl of Grosvenor had a horse heavily engaged at the Craven meeting, and a few days before he was to run a report was circulated that he coughed. But whence the report? Why a man had been hired, by a party, to lie all night on the roof of his box to ascertain the fact which he proclaimed. His authority, however, being doubted, another worthy was employed to perform the same office on the following night; which, coming to the ears of the trainer, was immediately reported to his noble employer. “Have we no horse that coughs?” inquired his lordship. “We have one, my lord,” was the reply. “Then,” said his lordship, “Let him be put into the box over which the fellow is to pass the night; and if he does not catch his death from this cold north-east wind and sleet, we shall do very well.” Of course the odds became heavy against the horse, from the report of this second herald; and his lordship pocketed a large sum by his horse, who won his race with ease. Still later, indeed (the parties being now alive—the one, no other than Mr. Wilson, the oldest member of the Jockey Club; and the other, a noble duke, but then a noble viscount), a very fair advantage was taken of a report circulated by the means of one of these watchers, vulgarly called “touters.” Mr. Wilson was about to try a two-year colt, and had entered his trial for the morrow. “We must not try to-morrow, sir,” said his trainer. “Why not?” 142 inquired Mr. Wilson. “We shall be watched, sir,” replied the trainer; “and the old horse’s (i.e. the trial horse) white fore leg will be sure to let out the cat.” “Leave that to me,” said Mr. Wilson; “I shall be at the stable before you go out with the horses.” And, coming prepared with the materials for the purpose, he painted the white fore leg of the old horse black, and the fellow one of the colt white; and so they went to the ground. The old one, as may be supposed, ran the fastest and longest; but, being mistaken by the “touter” for the young one, his fame soon spread abroad, and he was sold the next day to the noble viscount for fifteen hundred guineas, being somewhere about eleven hundred more than he was worth. But the march of intellect and roguery, which appears to have run a dead heat on the turf, has made people wiser and sharper respecting such matters as these. The Marquis of Exeter keeps his trying saddles under his own locks; and has a machine for weighing his trial riders, which shews the weights to himself, and to no one but himself.10

But to return for a moment to the effect of weight on the race-horse. Perhaps an instance of the most minute observation of this effect is to be found in a race at Newcastle-under-Lyne, some years back, between four horses handicapped by the celebrated Dr. Bellyse, namely,—Sir John Egerton’s Astbury, four years old, 143 eight stone six pounds; Mr. Mytton’s Handel, four years old, seven stone eleven pounds; Sir William Wynne’s Taragon, four years old, eight stone; Sir Thomas Stanley’s Cedric, three years old, six stone thirteen pounds. The following was the result. Of the first three heats there was no winner, Taragon and Handel being each time nose and nose; and although Astbury is stated to have been third the first heat, yet he was so nearly on a level with the others, that there was a difficulty in placing him as such. After the second heat, Mr. Littleton, who was steward, requested the Doctor and two other gentlemen to look steadfastly at the horses, and try to decide in favour of one of them; but it was impossible to do so. In the third dead heat, Taragon and Handel had struggled with each other till they reeled about like drunken men, and could scarcely carry their riders to the scales. Astbury, who had laid by after the first heat, then came out and won; and it is generally believed the annals of the turf cannot produce such a contest as this. So much for a good handicap, formed on a thorough knowledge of the horses, their ages, and their public running.

Taking into consideration the immense sums of money run for by English race-horses, the persons that ride them form an important branch of society; and although the term “jockey” is often used in a metaphorical sense, in allusion to the unfair dealings of men, yet there ever have been, and now are, jockeys of high moral character, whom nothing would induce to do 144 wrong. Independently of trustworthiness, their avocation requires a union of the following not every-day qualifications:—considerable bodily power in a very small compass; much personal intrepidity; a kind of habitual insensibility to provocation, bordering upon apathy, which no efforts of an opponent—in a race—can get the better of; and an habitual check upon the tongue. Exclusive of the peril with which the actual race is attended, his profession lays a heavy tax on the constitution. The jockey must not only at times work hard, but—the hardest of all tasks—he must work upon an empty stomach. During his preparation for the race, he must have the abstinence of an Asiatic; indeed, it too often happens that at meals he can only be a spectator—we mean during the period of his wasting. To sum up all—he has to work hard, and to deprive himself of every comfort, risking his neck into the bargain; and for what?—Why, for five guineas if he wins, and three if he loses a race, although they occasionally receive handsome presents from the owners of winning horses. The famous Pratt, the jockey of the no less famous little Gimcrack (of whom, man and horse, there is a fine portrait, by Stubbs), rode eleven races over the Beacon course in one day; making, with returning to the post on his hack, a distance of eighty-eight miles in his saddle: yet what was this when compared with the Osbaldeston feat?

Of course we must go to Newmarket for the élite of this fraternity; and this reminds us that Francis Buckle 145 is not there. He is in his grave; but he has left behind him not merely an example for all young jockeys to follow, but proof that honesty is the best policy; for he died in the esteem of all the racing world, and in the possession of a comfortable independence, acquired by his profession. What the Greeks said of Fabricius might be said of him—that it would have been as difficult to have turned the sun from its course, as to have turned him from his duty; and having said this, we should like to say a little more of him. He was the son of a saddler, at Newmarket,—no wonder he was so good on the saddle,—and commenced in the late Honourable Richard Vernon’s stables at a very early age. He rode the winners of five Derby, seven Oaks, and two St. Leger stakes, besides, to use his own words, “most of the good things at Newmarket” in his time; but it was in 1802 that he so greatly distinguished himself at Epsom, by taking long odds that he won both Derby and Oaks, on what were considered very unlikely horses to win either. His Derby horse was the Duke of Grafton’s Tyrant, with seven to one against him, beating Mr. Wilson’s Young Eclipse, considered the best horse of his year. Young Eclipse made the play, and was opposed by Sir Charles Bunbury’s Orlando, who contested every inch of ground with him for the first mile. From Buckle’s fine judgment of pace, he was convinced they must both stop; so, following, and watching them with Tyrant, he came up and won, to the surprise of all who saw him, with one of the worst 146 horses that ever won a Derby. The following year, Young Eclipse beat Tyrant, giving him four pounds. Buckle, having made one of his two events safe, had then a fancy that Mr. Wastell’s Scotia could win the Oaks, if he were on her back; and he got permission to ride her. She was beaten three times between Tattenham’s corner and home; but he got her up again in front, and won the race by a head. The Newmarket people declared they had never seen such a race before, snatched out of the fire, as it were, by fine riding. In another place (Lewes), he won an extraordinary race against a horse of the late Mr. Durand’s, on which he had a considerable sum of money depending; thus winning his race, but losing his money. He rode Sancho for Mr. Mellish, in his great match with Pavilion, and was winning it when his horse broke down. He also won the Doncaster St. Leger with Sancho.

Buckle, as we have already said, commenced riding exercise at a very early age; but his first appearance in public was on Mr. Vernon’s bay colt, Wolf, in 1783, when he rode one pound short of four stone, with his saddle. He soon entered the service of the late Earl Grosvenor, with whom he remained to his, the earl’s, death. His weight was favourable, being seldom called upon to reduce himself, as he could ride seven stone eleven pounds with ease. He continued riding in public until past his sixty-fifth year, and his nerve was good even to the last, although, as might be expected, he was latterly shy of a crowd; and generally cast an 147 eye to the state of the legs and feet, when asked to ride a horse he did not know. His jockeying Green Mantle, however, for Lord Exeter, in the Second October Meeting, 1828, and winning with her, after the tricks she played with him before starting, shewed that even then his courage was unshaken. But it is not only in public, but in private life, that Buckle stood well. He was a kind father and husband, and a good master; and his acts of charity were conspicuous for a person in his situation of life, who might be said to have gotten all he possessed, first by the sweat of his brow, and then at the risk of his life. In a short biographical sketch of him, his little peculiarities are noticed in rather an amusing style. “He was,” says his biographer11, “a great patron of the sock and buskin, and often bespoke plays for the night in country towns. He was a master of hounds, a breeder of greyhounds, fighting-cocks, and bull-dogs (proh pudor!), and always celebrated for his hacks. In the language of the stud-book, his first wife had no produce, but out of the second he had several children. We may suppose he chose her as he would a race-horse, for she was not only very handsome, but very good.” He left three sons, who are comfortably and respectably settled in life—one a solicitor, one a druggist, and the other a brewer. “Young Buckle” is his nephew, and considered a fair 148 jockey, though he does not ride so often as his uncle was called upon to do. But Frank Buckles are scarce.

The present Samuel Chifney presents the beau ideal of a jockey—elegance of seat, perfection of hand, judgment of pace, all united, and power in his saddle beyond any man of his weight that ever yet sat in one. It is scarcely necessary to add, that he is son of the late celebrated jockey of his name, by the daughter of a training-groom, consequently well bred for his profession, to which he is a first-rate ornament. Such a rider as James Robinson may slip him, but no man can struggle with him at the end; and his efforts in his saddle, during the last few strides of his horse, are quite without example. There are, however, peculiarities in his riding: excellent judge as he is of what his own horse and others are doing in a race, and in a crowded one, too, he is averse to making running, sometimes even to a fault. Let whatever number of horses start, Chifney is almost certain to be amongst the last until towards the end of the race, when he creeps up to his brother jockeys in a manner peculiarly his own. But it is in the rush he makes at the finish that he is so pre-eminent, exhibiting, as we said before, powers unexampled by any one. His riding his own horse, Zinganee, for the Claret stakes (Craven Meeting, 1829), was a fine specimen of his style, when contending against Buckle on Rough Robin, and James Robinson on Cadland, and winning to the astonishment of the field. In height he is about five feet seven, rather 149 tall for a jockey, and not a good waster. In fact, he has been subject to much punishment to get to the Derby weight. Samuel does not ride often; but whenever he does, his horse rises in the market, as was the case with his father before him at one period of his life.

Some anecdotes are related of Chifney, confirming his great coolness in a race, and among others the following:—Observing a young jockey (a son of the celebrated Clift) making very much too free with his horse, he addressed him thus: “Where are you going, boy? Stay with me, and you ’ll be second.” The boy drew back his horse, and a fine race ensued, but when it came to a struggle we need not say who won it. Chifney’s method of finishing his race is the general theme of admiration on the turf. “Suppose,” says he, “a man had been carrying a stone, too heavy to be pleasant, in one hand, would he not find much ease by shifting it into the other? Thus, after a jockey has been riding over his horse’s fore legs for a couple of miles, must it not be a great relief to him when he sits back in his saddle, and, as it were, divides the weight more equally? But caution is required,” he adds, “to preserve a due equilibrium, so as not to disturb the action of a tired horse.” Without doubt, this celebrated performer imbibed many excellent lessons from his father, but he has been considered the more powerful jockey of the two.

James Robinson, also the son of a training-groom, is a jockey of the highest celebrity, and, as far as the 150 art of horsemanship extends, considered the safest rider of a race of the present day. He may owe much of his celebrity to his having, when a boy, had the advantage of being in the stables of Mr. Robson, the chief of the Newmarket trainers, and riding many of the trials of his extensive and prosperous studs. When we state that such a rider as Robinson is considered equal to the allowance of three pounds weight to his horse, we can account for his having been employed by the first sportsmen of the day. It is supposed that he has ridden the winners of more great races than any jockey of his time. In 1827 he won the Derby on Mameluke, and the St. Leger on Matilda; receiving one thousand pounds from a Scotch gentleman (a great winner) as a reward for the latter: and in the following year he went a step beyond this; he won Derby, Oaks, and was married all in the same week, fulfilling, as some asserted, a prediction—according to other authorities, a bet. We may also notice his kindness towards his family, which we have reason to believe is most creditable to him. As a jockey he is perfect. His brother, Thomas Robinson, lives with, and rides for, Lord Henry Seymour, in France; as likewise does young Flatman, better known at Newmarket as brother to Natt, whose name is Flatman.

William Clift is next entitled to notice, as one of the oldest, the steadiest, and best of the Newmarket jockeys, and famed for riding trials; but he has taken leave of the saddle. William Arnull, lately deceased, rode for most of the great sportsmen of the day at Newmarket, 151 and was considered particularly to excel in matches. He was much afflicted with gout, but when well was a fine rider, and steady and honest, as his father was before him. Being occasionally called upon to waste, he felt the inconvenience of his disorder, and the following anecdote is related of him:—Meeting an itinerant piper towards the end of a long and painful walk,—“Well, old boy,” said he, “I have heard that music cheers the weary soldier; why should it not enliven the wasting jockey?12 Come, play a tune, and walk before me to Newmarket.” Perhaps he had been reading the “Mourning Bride.”

“A good name is as a precious ointment,” and by uniform correct conduct in the saddle, as well as in the stable, John Day—a very celebrated jockey—has acquired that of “honest John.” The endowments of nature are not always hereditary, and well for our hero that they are not, for he is the son of a man who weighed twenty stone, whereas he himself can ride seven! His winning the Newmarket Oatlands on Pastime, with nine stone six pounds on her back, is considered his chef-d’œuvre. He resides at Stockbridge, in Hampshire, where he has a very large public training establishment, and several race-horses of his own. Samuel Day, his brother, is also a jockey of great ability, and a singularly elegant horseman, with remarkably fine temper; but he has lately declined riding in public. Wheatley is the son of an eminent 152 jockey of that name, who rode for the celebrated O’Kelly, and contemporary with South and Pratt. He is a fine horseman; and esteemed a dangerous opponent in a race, by reason of his tact in creeping up to his horses when little thought on, and winning when least expected: he is likewise a severe punisher when punishment is wanted, and has a character free from taint. He has ridden Mameluke in some of his best races, and exhibited a rare specimen of his art in the ever-memorable contest between that fine race-horse and Zinganee, with Chifney on his back, for the Ascot cup, 1829. Ascot Heath never was honoured before by so many good horses,—and, alas! never again by the presence of George IV. George Dockery stood high on the list as a powerful and good horseman, with excellent nerve in a crowd; but, being a bad waster, and much punished to bring himself to the three-year-old weights, he has given up riding in public. Frank Boyce was very good, and esteemed an excellent starter,—a great advantage in the short races of the present day.13 Richard, or Young Boyce, as he is called at Newmarket, a very pretty horseman, with a good head, has now given up riding, owing to being too heavy. Conolly, who has been riding successfully for Lords Chesterfield and Verulam, is in high repute at Newmarket. He has a bad Irish seat, but he is very strong upon his horse, and his hand and head are good. 153 Wright is also a steady good rider, and comes light to the scale. He was very successful on Crutch. Natt, or Flatman (his surname), is a very improving jockey, and is engaged by the Earl of Chesterfield. James Chappie, very good and very light, seven stone without wasting, rode the winner of Derby and Oaks in 1833. Arthur Pavis has the call for the light weights at Newmarket. He is in very high practice in public and private; and never being called upon to waste, is in great request, and perhaps rides more races in the year, and winning ones, too, than any other jockey in England. As practice makes perfect, Pavis is approaching perfection, and bids fair to arrive at it. He has a very elegant seat, being cast in the mould for a jockey, and is very full of power for his size. His brother, Edgar, is principal jockey for his Royal Highness the Duke of Orleans in France, and rides light and well. Another of the clever light weights is Samuel Mann—the lightest man of all his Newmarket brethren, and of course very often employed. Macdonald, another Newmarket jockey, is a very superior horseman, whose skill is not confined to the turf. He is famed for riding and driving trotting matches, having ridden Driver against Rattler, and driven Mr. Payne’s Rochester against Rattler in the disputed match. He has capital nerve, and shines upon savage horses, which many would be unwilling to encounter. Darling, a very eminent country jockey, has lately been riding for Lord Exeter at Newmarket, where we hope he will be often employed, as he has 154 been very true to his masters, Messrs. Houldsworth, Ormsby Gore, and others.

The name of Goodison has been long associated with Newmarket; the late Richard Goodison having been so many years rider to the Duke of Queensbury, with whom the present jockey, Thomas Goodison, began, by riding the late Duke of Bedford’s chestnut colt, Cub, by Fidget, in the Houghton Meeting in 1794, and signalised himself by winning the famous match on Pecker against Bennington in 1795, B. C., five hundred guineas aside, then riding only four stone one pound, and six to four on him at starting. His father accompanied him on a thorough-bred horse during the latter part of the race, as he was riding against an experienced jockey, and perhaps his instructions enabled him to win. Thomas Goodison rode much for the late King; but his “first master,” as the term is, was the late Duke of York, for whom he won many great races, and particularly distinguished himself by winning the Claret stakes with Moses (with whom he also won the Derby), in the Craven Meeting of 1823, beating Morisco, Posthuma, and three other good ones, by extreme judgment in riding the race. He has ever been distinguished for his patience and decision, and the turf lost a first-rate jockey when he retired.

There are more Edwardses at Newmarket than there were Cæsars at Rome; and they all ride, as it were, by instinct. James, or Tiny Edwards, as he is called, par excellence of course, is father of all the 155 jockeys that bear that name, and also of William, formerly a jockey who trained for his late majesty, and has a pension and part of the palace and stables at Newmarket as his reward. James trains for the Earl of Jersey, and is considered first-rate, and particularly so in his preparation for the Derby course. The cleverest of the jockeys is Harry, the one-eyed man, who lived with the late Earl Fitzwilliam, a very elegant horseman; and our Caledonian friends will not forget his winning the King’s Plate on Terror. He has now retired from the turf, and practises as a veterinary surgeon at Carlisle. George is likewise very good, as are Charles and Edward, young ones, not forgetting Frederick, little better than a child, but with the seat of an old man. When his late majesty saw his own horses mixed with Lord Jersey’s at Ascot, and the answer to every question of “Who is that?” was “Edwards;” “Bless me,” exclaimed the king, “what lots of jockeys that woman breeds!” It happens, however, that they are the produce of three different marriages; so the glories come, as Garter would say, from the baron, not the femme. We are sorry to say Samuel Barnard has lost his eye-sight. He was a steady, good jockey, and rode for the Duke of Rutland, Lord Henry Fitzroy, and several of the best sportsmen on Newmarket heath. But we must not conclude without mentioning Old Forth, as he is called, who won the Derby in 1829, at the age of sixty, with a horse very little thought of before starting. He won a very 156 large sum of money on the event, and has now a string of horses in training; and rode a capital race at Stockbridge in the present year.

It is said of the Yorkshire jockeys, that they should come to Newmarket for a seat. It is true they do not appear to such advantage in the saddle as their brethren of the south, nor, speaking generally, are they equal to them in their calling; but many very excellent jockeys have always been to be found in the north. At the head of those now alive is the noted Billy Pierse, who used to ride Haphazard for the Duke of Cleveland. Having feathered his nest well, he has retired, but is remarkable for the hospitality of his house, situated in the town of Richmond. Robert Johnson is likewise one of the oldest, best, and we may add, most successful of the northern jockeys, having ridden Doctor Syntax throughout his glorious career, and been four times winner of the St. Leger stakes; but John Jackson eclipsed him, having experienced that honour no less than as often again—a circumstance unparalleled among jockeys; and he very nearly won it a ninth time, on Blacklock. Johnson trained and rode Gallopade for Mr. Riddell, the winner of the Doncaster cup. John Shepherd, an old jockey, is still alive, keeping a public-house at Malton. Shepherd was supposed to be the best judge of pace in a four-mile race of any man of his time. We are sorry to hear that John Mangle, another eminent Yorkshire jockey, is blind. He won the St. Leger five times; three in 157 succession, for the Duke of Hamilton, and, in all, four times for his grace. Ben Smith has retired, rich; but the renowned John Singleton, one of the riders of Eclipse, and the first winner of the Doncaster St. Leger, 1776, for the late Lord Rockingham, died a pauper in Chester workhouse.

George Nelson is a very conspicuous man among the northern jockeys, and the more so, as having been thought worthy of being transplanted to the south to ride for his late majesty, in the room of the second best jockey at Newmarket, viz., Robinson. Nelson was brought up by the late Earl of Scarborough, in whose opinion he stood high, and his lordship confirmed it by a pension. He won the St. Leger for the earl, on Tarrare, a very unexpected event. He was likewise very successful in his exertions for his late majesty, from whom he also had his reward; but his great performances were on Lottery, Fleur-de-Lis, and Minna, having never been beaten on the first two, and winning no less than eight times in one year on the latter. He first distinguished himself in a race at York, when riding only five stone four pounds. Tommy Lye, as he is called, is a very celebrated northern jockey, a great winner for the Duke of Cleveland and others; he rides very light, and very well. Templeman, the Duke of Leeds’ rider, and Thomas Nicholson, also stand high. But the Chifney of the north is William Scott, and, perhaps, for hand, seat, and science in a race, he is not much inferior 158 to any one. He rode St. Giles, the winner of the Derby in 1832, for Mr. Ridsdale, and won the St. Leger for Mr. Watt once, on Memnon, and for Mr. Petre twice, viz., with the Colonel and Rowton. He also won the Derby on Mundig, 1835, for Mr. Bowes, with great odds against him; and the Oaks, 1836, on Cyprian, the joint property of himself and his brother. Very excellent prints of Rowton and Mundig and himself have been published by Ackerman, from a painting by Ferneley and Hancock. But such men as Scott, Chifney, Robinson, and Pavis generally appear to advantage; they are in great request, and consequently are put on the best horses in the race, and have the best chance to distinguish themselves. William Scott is possessed of considerable property (part in right of his wife), and is brother to the well-known Yorkshire trainer of his name.

Every trade, profession, or pursuit, opens, in its own peculiar circle of habits, a distinct subject of study; and perhaps the existence of the Newmarket stable-boy, a thing on which the majority of our readers have never spent a thought, might, as painted by Holcroft, interest them more than the most accurate delineation of many higher modes and aspects of life. In that able writer’s “Memoirs”—the genuine and really valuable part of them—all this is capitally described, from his first arrival at Newmarket to his final departure, at the age of sixteen; from his fall off Mr. Woodcock’s iron-grey filly, in his novitiate, to his being one of the best 159 exercise-riding boys in the town;—until all his equestrian hopes were ruined by “idling away his time in reading,” as he was emphatically told by his master; by his spelling a word of six syllables, to the surprise of his drunken schoolmaster; by his being detected in studying Arnold’s “Psalmody,” under the guidance of the journeyman leather-breeches maker; and, lastly, in casting up figures on the stable-doors with a nail, from which the other boys, and the old housekeeper to boot, augured his very soon running mad.

Although, to use his own words, Holcroft scarcely saw a biped at Newmarket in whom he could find anything to admire, and despised his companions for the grossness of all their ideas, he had no reason to complain of his treatment by the several masters whom he served, and especially by Mr. Woodcock.

“He discovered a little too late, that the dark-grey filly and I could not be trusted safely together. But though he turned me away, he did not desert me. He recommended me to the service of a little deformed groom, remarkably long in the fork, I think by the name of Johnstone, who was esteemed an excellent rider, and had a string of no less than thirteen famous horses, the property of the Duke of Grafton, under his care. This was acknowledged to be a service of great repute; but the shrewd little groom soon discovered that I had all my trade to learn, and I was again dismissed.”

After bewailing his misfortune of being out of place, and so far from home in forma pauperis, he thus proceeds:


“I know not where I got the information, nor how, but in the very height of my distress I heard that Mr. John Watson, training and riding-groom to Captain Vernon, a gentleman of acute notoriety on the turf, and in partnership with Lord March, now Duke of Queensbury, was in want of, but just then found it difficult to procure, a stable-boy. To make this pleasing intelligence more welcome, the general character of John Watson was, that though he was one of the first-grooms in Newmarket, he was remarkable for being good-tempered; yet the manner in which he disciplined his boys, though mild, was effectual, and few were in better repute. One consequence of this, however, was, that if any lad was dismissed by John Watson, it was not easy for him to find a place.14 With him Jack Clarke lived, the lad with whom I came from Nottingham; this was another fortunate circumstance, and contributed to inspire me with confidence. My present hopes were so strongly contrasted with my late fears, that they were indeed enviable. To speak for once in metaphor, I had been as one of those who walk in the shadow of the valley of death; an accidental beam of the sun broke forth, and I had a beatific view of heaven.

“It was no difficult matter to meet with John Watson: he was so attentive to stable-hours, that, except on extraordinary occasions, he was always to be found. Being 161 first careful to make myself look as much like a stable-boy as I could, I came at the hour of four (the summer hour for opening the afternoon stables, giving a slight feed of oats, and going out to evening exercise), and ventured to ask if I could see John Watson. The immediate answer was in the affirmative. John Watson came, looked at me with a serious but good-natured countenance, and accosted me with, ‘Well, my lad, what is your business? I suppose I can guess; you want a place?’ ‘Yes, Sir.’ ‘Who have you lived with?’ ‘Mr. Woodcock, on the forest. One of your boys, Jack Clarke, brought me with him from Nottingham.’ ‘How came you to leave Mr. Woodcock?’ ‘I had a sad fall from an iron-grey filly, that almost killed me.’ ‘That’s bad, indeed; and so you left him?’ ‘He turned me away, sir.’ ‘That’s honest. I like your speaking the truth. So you are come from him to me?’ At this question I cast my eyes down, and hesitated, then fearfully answered, ‘No, sir.’—‘No! what, change masters twice in so short a time?’ ‘I can’t help it, sir, if I am turned away.’ This last answer made him smile. ‘Where are you now, then?’ ‘Mr. Johnstone gave me leave to stay with the boys a few days.’ ‘That’s a good sign. I suppose you mean little Mr. Johnstone at the other end of the town?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Well, as you have been so short a time in the stables, I am not surprised he should turn you away; he would have everybody about him as clever as himself; they must all know their business thoroughly; however, they must 162 learn it somewhere. I will venture to give you a trial, but I must first inquire your character of my good friends Woodcock and Johnstone. Come to-morrow morning at nine, and you shall have an answer.’ It may well be supposed I did not forget the appointment, and a fortunate one I found it, for I was accepted on trial, at four pounds or guineas a year, with the usual livery clothing.”

It was in the service of John Watson that Holcroft became a horseman, and the exercise of his skill, in his contest with a certain strapping dun horse, is very amusingly told:—

“It was John Watson’s general practice to exercise his horses over the flat, and up Cow-bridge hill; but the rule was not invariable. One wintry day he ordered us up to the Bury hills. It mizzled a very sharp sleet; the wind became uncommonly cutting, and Dun, being remarkable for a tender skin, found the wind and sleet, which blew directly up his nostrils, so very painful, that it suddenly made him outrageous. He started from the rank in which he was walking, tried to unseat me, endeavoured to set off at full speed, and when he found he could not master me so as to get head, began to rear, snorting most violently, threw out behind, plunged, and used every mischievous exertion of which the muscular powers of a blood-horse are capable. I who felt the uneasiness he suffered before his violence began, being luckily prepared, sat firm and as steady and upright as if this had been his usual exercise. John Watson was 163 riding beside his horses, and a groom, I believe it was old Cheevers, broke out into an exclamation, ’By G—d, John, that’s a fine lad!’—’Aye, aye,’ replied Watson, highly satisfied; ‘you will find some time or other there are few in Newmarket that will match him.’ It will not be amiss here to remark, that boys with straight legs, small calves, and knees that project but little, seldom become excellent riders. I, on the other hand, was somewhat bow-legged; I had then the custom of turning in my toes, and my knees were protuberant. I soon learned that the safe hold for sitting steady was to keep the knee and the calf of the leg strongly pressed against the side of the animal that endeavours to unhorse you; and, as little accidents afford frequent occasions to remind boys of this rule, it becomes so rooted in the memory of the intelligent, that their danger is comparatively trifling.”

Of the comparative good and bad temper of race-horses, the dramatist thus speaks:—

“The majority of them are playful, but their gambols are dangerous to the timid or unskilful. They are all easily and suddenly alarmed when anything they do not understand forcibly catches their attention; and they are then to be feared by the bad horseman, and carefully guarded against by the good. Very serious accidents have happened to the best. But, besides their general disposition to playfulness, there is a great propensity in them to become what the jockeys call vicious. Tom, the brother of Jack Clarke, after sweating a grey 164 horse that belonged to Lord March, with whom he lived, while he was either scraping or dressing him, was seized by the animal by the shoulder, lifted from the ground, and carried two or three hundred yards before the horse loosened his hold. Old Forester, a horse that belonged to Captain Vernon, all the while I remained at Newmarket was obliged to be kept apart, and to live at grass, where he was confined to a close paddock. Except Tom Watson, a younger brother of John, he would suffer no lad to come near him. If in his paddock, he would run furiously at the first person that approached; and if in the stable, would kick and assault every one within his reach. When I had been about a year and a half at Newmarket, Captain Vernon thought proper to match Forester against Elephant, a horse belonging to Sir Jennison Shafto, whom, by-the-bye, I saw ride this famous match. It was a four-mile heat over the straight course; and the abilities of Forester were such, that he passed the flat, ascended the hill as far as the distance post, nose to nose with Elephant, so that John Watson, who rode him, began to conceive hopes. Between this and the chair, Elephant, in consequence of hard whipping, got some little way before him, while Forester exerted every possible power to recover at least his lost equality; till finding all his efforts ineffectual, he made one sudden spring, and caught Elephant by the under jaw, which he griped so violently as to hold him back; nor was it without the utmost difficulty that 165 he could be forced to quit his hold. Poor Forester! he lost, but he lost most honourably. Every experienced groom thought it a most extraordinary circumstance.”

Of the stable discipline among the boys, Holcroft gives the following little specimen:—

“I remember to have been so punished once, with an ashen stick, for falling asleep in my horse’s stall, that the blow, I concluded, was given by Tom Watson, as I thought no other boy in the stable could have made so large a wale; it reached from the knee to the instep, and was of a finger’s breadth.”

We conclude our extracts from this amusing history of a stable-boy’s progress, with something like a shot at the march of the present very refined times:—

“I ought to mention, that though I have spoken of Mr. Johnstone, and may do of more Misters, it is only because I have forgotten their Christian names; for, to the best of my recollection, when I was at Newmarket, it was the invariable practice to denominate each groom by his Christian and surname, unless any one happened to possess some peculiarities that marked him. I know not what appellations are given to grooms at Newmarket at the present day, but at the time I speak of, if any grooms had been called Misters, my master would have been among the number; and his appellation by everybody, except his own boys, who called him John, was John Watson.”

We have reason to believe there are no “Johns” among the Newmarket trainers of these times, though 166 we much doubt the benefit of the change to Mister, and all the appliances to boot. If we mistake not, Sir Charles Bunbury’s training-groom wore livery to the last. At all events, Newmarket jockeys and their Jennys were not then to be seen in an Opera-box, which we find is no uncommon occurrence now. “A cow at the Opera” would have been considered equally in her element.

Those who have only seen race-horses on a race-course would be surprised to witness what diminutive urchins ride many of them in their training, and the perfect command they obtain over them. In the neighbourhood of large racing establishments, the parents of poor children are glad to embrace an opportunity of putting them into the stables of a training-groom; knowing that they are certain to be well fed and taken care of, with a fair chance of rising in the world. But the question that would suggest itself is, how are the poor little fellows made equal to the task of riding so highly-spirited an animal as the race-horse in a few weeks after they are put to the task? The fact is, that Tom or Jack is little more than a looker-on for the first month or so. He makes the other lads’ beds, and performs sundry odd jobs; but then he has his eyes open (if he shews no signs of opening them, he is rejected in a twinkling), and he sees the other boys in their saddles, and observes the confidence with which they appear in them. After a certain time he is placed upon his master’s hack, or a quiet pony, and becomes 167 a spectator on the training-ground. So soon as he has the rudiments of hand and seat he is put on the quietest horse in the string—generally one that has been some time in training, and has been doing good work—who follows those that are before him, without attempting to swerve from the track, or to play any antic tricks. The head lad generally leads the gallop, being the best judge of pace, unless it be necessary to put him on some other horse which is difficult to ride, and not well calculated to lead. In that case he generally places himself second, so that he may instruct the boy before him; but all this takes place under the watchful eye of the trainer.

Order is the beauty and strength of society; and neither in school nor university is regularity of conduct more strictly enforced than in a training establishment. In fact, the soldier might as well absent himself from roll-call, or the sailor from his watch, as the stable-boy from the hour of stable. “Woe to him,” says Holcroft, “who is absent from stable hours.” In the morning, however, he is sure to be there; for, in most cases, the horse he looks after reposes in the same chamber as himself. This is on a principle of prudence rather than of economy: horses in high condition are given to roll in the night, and get cast in their stalls, and here assistance is at hand; as, by the means of stirrup-leathers buckled together, they are extricated from their awkward situation by the joint efforts of the boys. We have been told that an interesting scene takes place 168 on the wakening of the boys in the morning. The event is anxiously looked for by the horses, who, when they hear them awaken each other, neigh and denote their eagerness to be fed, which is the first step taken. The second is a proper arrangement of their beds, and then dressing and exercise. When they return home the horses are well dressed again; the boys break their fast; and Holcroft spoke from experience when he said, “Nothing can exceed the enjoyment of a stable-boy’s breakfast.”

Considering the prodigious number of race-horses in training, and that each horse has its lad, it is astonishing that more accidents do not occur. As we have before observed, almost all race-horses are playful; and “horse play is rough.” But we do not wonder at their becoming vicious:—highly bred as they are, hot in blood, and their tender and nearly hairless skins irritated by a coarse brush, and, after sweating, scraped with rather a sharp wooden instrument,—that, we repeat, is no wonder. Nevertheless, it seldom happens that they hurt the boys who look after them. Indeed, it is an interesting sight to witness a little urchin of a stable-boy approach, with perfect safety to himself, an animal that would perhaps be the death of the strongest man in the land who might be rash enough to place himself within his reach. To what shall we attribute this passive obedience of an animal of such vast power and proud spirit to a diminutive member of the creation—an abortion of nature, indeed, as we might be almost 169 induced to call him—whether to self-interest or to gratitude, to love or to fear, or to that unspeakable magic power which the Almighty has given to the eye and voice of even the child of man?

Precocity of intellect in a stunted frame is the grand desideratum in a Newmarket nursery, where chubby cheeks and the “fine boy for his age” would be reckoned deformities. There are some good specimens of the pigmy breed now at Newmarket; John Day, for instance, has produced a fac-simile of himself, cast in the exact mould for the saddle, and who can ride about four stone. These feather-weights are absolutely necessary where two-year colts are brought to the post, and they sometimes ride a winning race; though if it comes to a struggle, as the term is, they are almost certain to be defeated by the experienced jockey. But, speaking seriously, it is a great blessing to the rider of races to be of a diminutive size, to prevent the hardship and inconvenience of wasting—a most severe tax on the constitution and temper. On this subject the following memorandum of some questions addressed by Sir John Sinclair to the late Mr. Sandiver, an eminent surgeon, long resident at Newmarket, and a pretty constant spectator of the races, with Mr. S.’s answers, may amuse our readers.

“How long does the training of jockeys generally continue? With those in high repute, from about three weeks before Easter to the end of October; but a week or ten days are quite sufficient for a rider to 170 reduce himself from his natural weight to sometimes a stone and a half below it.—What food do they live on? For breakfast, a small piece of bread and butter, with tea in moderation. Dinner is taken very sparingly; a very small piece of pudding and less meat; and when fish is to be obtained, neither one nor the other is allowed. Wine and water is the usual beverage, in the proportion of one pint to two of water. Tea in the afternoon, with little or no bread and butter, and no supper.—What exercise do they get, and what hours of rest? After breakfast, having sufficiently loaded themselves with clothes, that is, with five or six waistcoats, two coats, and as many pairs of breeches, a severe walk is taken, from ten to fifteen miles. After their return home, dry clothes are substituted for those that are wet with perspiration, and, if much fatigued, some of them lie down for an hour or so before their dinner; after which no severe exercise is taken, but the remaining part of the day is spent in a way most agreeable to themselves. They generally go to bed by nine o’clock, and continue there till six or seven next morning.—What medicine do they take? Some of them, who do not like excessive walking, have recourse to purgative medicines, Glauber salts only.—Would Mr. Sandiver recommend a similar process to reduce corpulency in other persons? Mr. Sandiver would recommend a similar process to reduce corpulency in either sex, as the constitution does not appear to be injured by it; but he is apprehensive that hardly any 171 person could be prevailed upon to submit to such severe discipline, who had not been inured to it from his youth. The only additional information that Mr. Sandiver has the power to communicate is, that John Arnull, when rider to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, was desired to reduce himself as much as he possibly could, to enable him to ride a particular horse, in consequence of which he abstained from animal, and even from farinaceous food, for eight successive days, and the only substitute was now and then an apple. He was not injured by it. Dennis Fitzpatrick, a person continually employed as a rider, declares that he is less fatigued, and has more strength to contend with a determined horse in a severe race, when moderately reduced, than when allowed to live as he pleased, although he never weighs more than nine stone, and has frequently reduced himself to seven.”15

The present system of wasting varies from the one here described, and particularly as to the length of the walk, which appears to have been unnecessarily severe. The modern Newmarket jockey seldom exceeds four miles out, and then he has a house to stop at in which there is a large fire, by which the perspiration is very much increased. Indeed, it sometimes becomes so excessive, that he may be seen scraping it off the uncovered parts of his person after the manner in which the race-horse is scraped, using a small horn for the 172 purpose. After sitting a while by the fire and drinking some diluted liquid, he walks back to Newmarket, swinging his arms as he proceeds, which increases the muscular action. Sufficiently cool to strip, his body is rubbed dry and fresh clothed, when, besides the reduction of his weight, the effect is visible on his skin, which has a remarkably transparent hue. In fact, he may be said to show condition after every sweat, till he looks as sleek as the horse he is going to ride. But the most mortifying attendant upon wasting is the rapid accumulation of flesh immediately on a relaxation of the system, it having often happened that jockeys, weighing not more than seven stone, have gained as many pounds in one day from merely obeying the common dictates of nature, committing no excess. Non miserè vivit qui parcè vivit16, is an acknowledged truism; but during the racing season, a jockey in high practice, who—as is the case with Chifney, Robinson, Dockery, and Scott—is naturally above our light racing weights, is subject to no trifling mortification. Like the good Catholic, however, when Lent expires, he feels himself at liberty when the racing season is at an end; and on the last day of the Houghton Meeting, Frank Buckle had always a goose for supper! his labours for the season being then concluded. But it will naturally be asked how these persons employ or amuse themselves during the dead months, of which there are five? At Newmarket, 173 we believe, just as they did in Holcroft’s time, in visiting their friends, coursing, and cock-fighting—the latter a favourite amusement—but with no species of gambling, beyond a few shillings on the event of a course or a battle. A few also take the diversion of hunting, or any other out-door amusement that keeps the body in play. Most of them have neat and well-furnished houses, and appear to enjoy the comforts of life.

Among the conspicuous characters on the English turf of past and present days it is hard to say who stands foremost, but we suppose we must give the pas to the Duke of Cumberland, great uncle to his present majesty, as the breeder, and to Mr. O’Kelly, as the fortunate possessor of Eclipse, and other horses whose character and fame have never yet been eclipsed. It will also be remembered that the duke bred Marsk, the sire of Eclipse; and Herod, who not only, like Eclipse, beat every horse that could be brought against him, at four, five, and six years old, but transmitted a more numerous and better stock to posterity than any other horse ever did before, or has ever done since—amongst others, Highflyer. From the death of Charles II. till the period of the duke’s coming upon the turf, racing had languished, perhaps from want of more support from the crown and the higher aristocracy, and his royal highness was the man to revive it.

“But,” as has been observed, “this was not effected without an immensity of expense, and an incredible 174 succession of losses to the sharks, Greeks, and black-legs of that time, by whom his royal highness was surrounded, and, of course, incessantly pillaged. Having, however, in the greatness of his mind, the military maxim of ‘persevere and conquer,’ he was not deterred from the object of his pursuit, till, having just become possessed of the best stock, best blood, and most numerous stud in the kingdom, beating his opponents at all points, he suddenly ’passed that bourne from whence no traveller returns,’ an irreparable loss to the turf, and universally lamented by the kingdom at large.”

One of the heaviest matches of former or of present days was run at Newmarket, in 1764, between his royal highness’s famous horse, King Herod, as he was then called, and the late Duke of Grafton’s Antinous, by Blank, over the Beacon course, for one thousand pounds aside, and won by Herod by half a neck. Upwards of one hundred thousand pounds were depending on this event, and the interest created by it was immense. His royal highness was likewise the founder of the Ascot race meeting, now allowed to be only second to Newmarket.

In point of judgment in racing, Mr. O’Kelly was undoubtedly the first man of his day; although, were he to appear at the present time, it is admitted that he would have a good deal to learn. For example, his suffering Eclipse to distance his competitors, in a race, for a bet would be considered the act of a novice. As a breeder, however, he became unequalled; and from the 175 blood of his Volunteer and Dungannon, in particular, the turf derived signal advantage. Both were got by Eclipse, who was the sire of no less than one hundred and sixty winners, many of them the best racers of their day, such as Alexander and Meteor (the latter preeminent), Pot-8-o’s, Soldier, Saltram, Mercury, Young Eclipse, &c. In 1793 Mr. O’Kelly advertised no less than forty-six in-foal mares for sale, chiefly by Volunteer and Dungannon, Eclipse being then dead, which fetched great prices, and were particularly sought after by his late majesty, then deeply engaged on the turf. It is confidently asserted, that O’Kelly cleared ten thousand pounds by the dam of Soldier, from her produce by Eclipse and Dungannon; and his other mares, of which he had often fifty and upwards in his possession, were the source of immense gain.

As a breeder coeval with the royal duke and O’Kelly, the late Earl Grosvenor stands conspicuous. Indeed, we believe his lordship’s stud for many years of his life was unrivalled in Europe; but such are the expenses of a large breeding establishment, that, although he was known to have won nearly two hundred thousand pounds on the race-course, the balance was said to be against him at the last! Earl Grosvenor, however, was a great ornament to the English turf; he ran his horses honestly and truly, and supported the country races largely. His three famous stud-horses were John Bull, Alexander, and Meteor, the two latter by Eclipse, and the two former perhaps 176 the largest and the noblest thorough-bred horses ever seen in England, and the sires of many good ones; but his two best racers were Meteora, not fifteen hands high, and Violante; the latter the best four-miler of her day.17 The earl was the first patron of Stubbs, the horse-painter, whose pencil may be said to have founded a new branch of the art in this country, on which the painters of the present day have improved, adhering more closely to nature than their exemplar. The late Duke of Bedford was likewise a great patron of the turf previously to his taking to farming, and had more than thirty horses in training at one time. Among these was Grey Diomed, remarkable for his races with Escape and Traveller at Newmarket; also Skyscraper, Fidget, and Dragon.18 His grace was a great loser, and probably retired in disgust. Charles Fox was also deep in the mysteries of the turf, and a very heavy bettor. The father of the present Prince (the trainer) trained for him, and South and Chifney were his jockeys; but the distemper in his stables ruined his stud. These were also the days of the then Dukes of Kingston, Cleveland, Ancaster, Bridgewater, and Northumberland; Lords Rockingham, Bolingbroke, Chedworth, Barrymore, Ossory, Abingdon, and Foley; 177 Messrs. Shafto, Wentworth, Panton, Smith Barry, Ralph Button, Wildman, Meynell, Bullock, and others, who were running their thousand-guinea matches, and five hundred-guinea sweepstakes, most of them over the Beacon course, and with the finest horses perhaps the world ever saw; and also, considering the difference in the value of money, for nearly as large stakes as those of present times, a few only excepted.

Another of the noted turf characters of those days was the Honourable Richard Vernon, commonly called Dick Vernon, owner of the famous horse Woodpecker, with whom he won the Craven stakes no less than three times. He was an excellent judge of racing, backed his horses freely, and was the best bettor of his day, as may be inferred from the following page of Holcroft’s Memoirs:—

“In addition to matches, plates, and other modes of adventure, that of a sweepstakes had come into vogue; and the opportunity it gave to deep calculators to secure themselves from loss by hedging their bets, greatly multiplied the bettors, and gave uncommon animation to the sweepstakes’ mode. In one of these Captain Vernon had entered a colt, and as the prize to be obtained was great, the whole stable was on the alert. It was prophesied that the race would be a severe one; for, although the horses had none of them run before, they were all of the highest breed; that is, their sires and dams were in the first lists of fame. As was foreseen, the contest was indeed a severe one, for it 178 could not be decided—it was a dead heat; but our colt was by no means among the first. Yet so adroit was Captain Vernon in hedging his bets, that if one of the two colts that made it a dead heat had beaten, our master would, on that occasion, have won ten thousand pounds: as it was, he lost nothing, nor would in any case have lost anything. In the language of the turf, he stood ten thousand pounds to nothing! A fact so extraordinary to ignorance, and so splendid to poverty,” continues Holcroft, “could not pass through a mind like mine without making a strong impression, which the tales told by the boys of the sudden rise of gamblers, their empty pockets at night, and their hats full of guineas in the morning, only tended to increase.”

And in truth it was not without effect; for poor Holcroft began betting next morning, and before the week ended half of his year’s wages were gone! Another staunch hero of the turf was the late Earl of Clermont, the breeder of Trumpator, from whom were descended all the ators of after days, viz., Paynator, Venator, Spoliator, Drumator, Ploughator, Amator, Pacificator, &c.; besides which he was the sire of Sorcerer, Penelope, Tuneful, Chippenham, Orange-flower, his late majesty’s famous gelding Rebel, and several other first-rates. Lord Clermont also was a great contributor to the turf by bringing with him from Ireland the famous jockey, Dennis Fitzpatrick, son of one of his tenants. We have his lordship, indeed, before us this moment, on his pony on the heath, and 179 his string of long-tailed race-horses, reminding us of very early days.

The late Sir Charles Bunbury’s ardour for the turf was conspicuous to his last hour. He was the only man that ever won the Derby and Oaks with the same horse19, and he was the breeder of many of the first-racers of his time—Smolensko among them. When this very celebrated horse started for the Derby—which he won—his owner led him in his hand, after he was saddled, and delivered him up to his jockey (Goodison), with the following pithy remark: “Here is your horse, Tom; he will do his duty, if you will do yours!” Sir Charles was likewise very instrumental in doing away with the four-mile races at Newmarket, and substituting shorter ones in their stead. Some imputed this to the worthy baronet’s humanity, whilst others, more correctly we believe, were of opinion that short races better suited his favourite blood. The Whiskeys and Sorcerers, for example, have been more celebrated for speed than for stoutness, although, where the produce from them has been crossed with some of our stout blood (for instance, Truffle and Bourbon), they have been found to run on. On the whole, Sir Charles, latterly, with the exception of Muley, had got into a soft sort. He was also a bad keeper of his young stock, and would not be beaten out of his old prejudices in favour of grass and large paddocks. Had some persons 180 we could name been possessed of his stud—imperfect, perhaps, as it might have been as far as the real object of breeding horses is at stake—they would have won everything before them at the present distances and weights. His much-talked-of, and justly celebrated, Smolensko died rather early in life, and his stock, with a few exceptions, did not realise the hopes and expectation of the sporting world.

The name and exploits of the late Duke of Queensbury (“Old Q.”) will never be forgotten by the sporting world; for whether we consider his judgment, his ingenuity, his invention, or his success, he was one of the most distinguished characters on the English turf. His horse Dash, by Florizel, bred by Mr. Vernon, beat Sir Peter Teazle over the six-mile course at Newmarket for one thousand guineas, having refused five hundred forfeit20; also his late majesty’s Don Quixote, the same distance and for the same sum; and, during the year 1789, he won two other one thousand-guinea matches, the last against Lord Barrymore’s Highlander, eight stone seven pounds each, three times roundthe round course,” or very nearly twelve miles! His carriage match, nineteen miles in one hour, with the same horses, and those four of the highest bred ones of the day, was undoubtedly a great undertaking, nor do we believe it has ever been exceeded. His singular bet of conveying a letter fifty miles within an hour, was a 181 trait of genius in its line. The MS. being enclosed in a cricket ball, and handed from one to the other of twenty-four expert cricketers, was delivered safe within the time. The duke’s stud was not so numerous as some of those of his contemporaries on the turf, but he prided himself on the excellence of it. His principal rider was the famous Dick Goodison, father of the present jockey, in whose judgment he had much reliance. But, in the language of the turf, his grace was “wide awake,” and at times would rely on no one. Having, on one occasion, reason to know—the jockey, indeed, had honestly informed him of it—that a large sum of money was offered his man if he would lose—“Take it,” said the duke; “I will bear you harmless.” When the horse came to the post, his grace coolly observed, “This is a nice horse to ride; I think I’ll ride him myself;” when, throwing open his great coat, he was found to be in racing attire, and, mounting, won without a struggle.

The name of Wilson commands great respect on the turf, there being no less than three equally conspicuous and equally honourable sportsmen thus yclept. Mr. Christopher Wilson, now the father of the turf, and perpetual steward of Newmarket, resides at Beilby Grange near Wetherby, in Yorkshire, where he has a small but very fashionably bred stud, and was the owner of Chateau Margaux, now in America, and Comus. He is the only man who claims the honour of winning the Derby and St. Leger stakes the same year, with the same horse, which he did with Champion, 182 by Pot-8-o’s, ridden in each race by Francis Buckle.21 The turf is highly indebted to this gentleman, not only for his paternal care of its general interests and welfare, but for having, by his amiable and conciliatory manners and conduct, united the sportsmen of the north and south, and divested their matches and engagements of some disagreeable features which had previously been too prominent. Mr. Richard Wilson, now no more, resided at Bildeston, in Suffolk, and was one of the largest breeders of racing stock, of which he had an annual sale; and Lord Berners, late Colonel Wilson of Didlington, near Brandon, Suffolk, has likewise some capital mares, and bred Sir Mark Wood’s Camarine, the best mare of her day. His lordship was the owner of her sire, Juniper, now dead, and at present has the stud-horse Lamplighter.

The star of the race-course of modern times was the late Colonel Mellish, certainly the cleverest man of his day, as regards the science and practice of the turf. No one could match (i.e. make matches) with him, nor could any one excel him in handicapping horses in a race. But, indeed, “nihil erat quod non tetigit; nihil quod tetigit non ornavit.” He beat Lord Frederick Bentinck in a foot race over Newmarket heath. He was a clever painter, a fine horseman, a brave soldier, a scientific farmer, and an exquisite coachman. But, as his friends said of him, not content with being the 183 second-best man of his day, he would be the first, which was fatal to his fortune and his fame. It, however, delighted us to see him in public, in the meridian of his almost unequalled popularity, and the impression he made upon us remains. We remember even the style of his dress, peculiar for its lightness of hue—his neat white hat, white trowsers, white silk stockings, aye, and we may add, his white, but handsome, face. There was nothing black about him but his hair and his mustachios, which he wore by virtue of his commission, and which to him were an ornament. The like of his style of coming on the race-course at Newmarket was never witnessed there before him, nor since. He drove his barouche himself, drawn by four beautiful white horses, with two out-riders on matches to them, ridden in harness bridles. In his rear was a saddle-horse groom, leading a thorough-bred hack, and at the rubbing post on the heath was another groom—all in crimson liveries—waiting with a second hack. But we marvel when we think of his establishment. We remember him with thirty-eight race-horses in training; seventeen coach-horses, twelve hunters in Leicestershire, four chargers at Brighton, and not a few hacks! But the worst is yet to come. By his racing speculations he was a gainer, his judgment pulling him through; but when we had heard that he would play to the extent of forty thousand pounds at a sitting—yes, he once staked that sum on a throw—we were not surprised that the domain of Blythe passed into other hands; and 184 that the once accomplished owner of it became the tenant of a premature grave. “The bowl of pleasure,” said Johnson, “is poisoned by reflection on the cost;” and here it was drunk to the dregs. Colonel Mellish ended his days, not in poverty, for he acquired a competency with his lady, but in a small house within sight of the mansion that had been the pride of his ancestors and himself. As, however, the wind is tempered to the shorn lamb, Colonel Mellish was not without consolation;—he never wronged any one but himself, and, as an owner of race-horses and a bettor, his character was without spot.

Among other leading sportsmen of the turf, now no more, were the late Duke of Grafton, and Douglass, Duke of Hamilton. The Duke of Grafton was a keen sportsman, and an excellent judge of racing; and his horses having been well and honestly ridden by South, he was among the few great winners amongst great men. It is somewhat singular that the success of the Grafton stud may be traced to one mare, and therefore the history of her is worth relating. In 1756, Julia, by Blank, was bred by Mr. Panton, of great Newmarket fame (her pedigree running back not only to Bay Bolton, Darley’s Arabian, and the Byerly Turk, but beyond the Lord Protector’s White Turk, generally the ne plus ultrâ of pedigrees, to the Taffolet Barb, and the Natural Barb mare), and at seven years old was put into the duke’s stud, and produced Promise, by Snap, Promise produced Prunella, by Highflyer, the dam of eleven first-rate 185 horses, whose names (after the manner of fox-hounds) all begin with the letter P, the first letter of the mare’s name, and she is said to have realised to the Grafton family little short of one hundred thousand pounds. In fact, all breeders of race-horses try for a strain of the justly celebrated Prunella. The all-graceful Hamilton (often called “Zeluco”) was equally conspicuous in the north, and celebrated for stout blood. He won the St. Leger no less than seven times, a circumstance quite unparalleled on the turf: and ran first for it the eighth, but the stakes were given to Lord Fitzwilliam, his grace’s rider having jostled.

Coming nearer to our own times, Sir Harry Vane Tempest and Mr. Robert Heathcote made great appearances with their studs, as well as the heavy engagements they entered into; and such horses as Schedoni, the property of the latter, and Hambletonian, Rolla, and Cockfighter, of the former, are very seldom produced. Vivaldi, by Woodpecker, also the property of Mr. Heathcote, was the sire of more good hunters than almost any other in England, and the very mention of their being “by Vivaldi,” sold them. Hambletonian was one of the meteors of the day. Sir Frank Standish, and his Yellow mare—the breeder of Stamford, Eagle, Didelot, Parisot, and Archduke, all Derby and Oaks winners, except Stamford, one of the best of our stud-horses—must not be passed unnoticed, not only as a sportsman, but as the true stamp of an English country gentleman. Sir Ferdinand Poole also cut a great figure on 186 the turf with his Waxy, Worthy, Wowski, &c.; and could some of our present breeders of race-horses have now before their eyes Maria, by Herod, out of Lisette by Snap, and Macaria, by Herod, out of Titania by Shakspeare, the one the dam of Waxy, and the other of Mealy, we have reason to believe that they would turn away from many of their own mares in disgust. His contemporary, Mr. Howorth, was likewise strong in horses, and an excellent judge of making a book on a race. But Mr. Bullock, generally known as “Tom Bullock,” was, we believe, more awake than any of them, and was often heard to declare, that he should wish for nothing more in this world than to be taken for a fool at Newmarket.

We find the Prince of Wales (George IV.), in 1788, when only in his twenty-sixth year, a winner of the Derby. In 1789, he accompanied the Duke of York to York races, where he purchased his famous horse Traveller, by Highflyer, which ran the grand match against the late Duke of Bedford’s Grey Diomed, on which it is supposed there was more money depending than was ever before known, or has ever been heard of since. But it was in the years 1790 and 1791 that his late majesty’s stud was so conspicuous—the days of Baronet and Escape; the former notorious for winning the Ascot Oatlands, beating eighteen picked horses of England, with twenty to one against him; and the latter, for his various races against Grey Diomed, which caused his royal owner’s retirement from Newmarket. 187 This is now an old story; and though we should be among the first to say—

“Curse on the coward or perfidious tongue

That dares not e’en to kings avow the truth,”

yet we think the Jockey Club dealt rather hardly by the young prince, and he was quite right in refusing their invitation to return. We wish for proof before we condemn; and we think proof was wanting here. Where were the orders to the jockey to lose, and where was the money won by losing? We can hear of neither. But if the change to a certain extent in a horse’s running (accounted for by the late Samuel Chifney22, by the treatment of Escape) is of itself enough to damage the character of his owner, what would have become of that of his royal highness’s principal accuser, the late Sir Charles Bunbury? Look at the running of his Eleanor: it is well known she was the winner of both Derby and Oaks—the best mare of her day. Well! at Huntingdon she was beaten by a common plater, a mare called Two Shoes, ten to one on Eleanor. The next week at Egham, she beat a first-rate race-horse, Bobadil, and several others, ten to one on Bobadil. In both these cases money was lost, and the question that follows is,—who won it? But Sir Charles too is in his grave, and therefore we say—“requiescat in pace.”


After quitting Newmarket, his late majesty was a great supporter of country races, sending such horses as Knowsley, by Sir Peter, and others nearly as good, to run heats for plates; and he particularly patronised the meetings of Brighton and Lewes, which acquired high repute. But Bibury was his favourite race-ground; where, divesting himself of the shackles of state, he appeared as a private gentleman for several years in succession, an inmate of Lord Sherborne’s family, and with the Duke of Dorset, then Lord Sackville, for his jockey. During the last ten years of his majesty’s life, racing appeared to interest him more than it had ever done before; and by the encouragement he then gave to Ascot and Goodwood, he contributed towards making them the most fashionable, and by far the most agreeable meetings—we believe we may say—in the world. Perhaps the day on which his three favourite horses, Fleur-de-lis, Zinganee, and the Colonel, came in first, second, and third, for the cup at the latter place, was one of the proudest of his life.

The stud of George IV., however, was not altogether so successful as it ought to have been from the great expense bestowed upon it, and the large prices given for race-horses bred by other sportsmen. Among those of his own breeding perhaps Whiskey, Manfred, and his favourite mare Maria, were the best. The latter was a great winner—yet made but small amends for persevering in breeding from her sire. The Colonel and Fleur-de-lis were also great winners—the latter 189 decidedly the best mare of her year, either in the north or in the south, and her symmetry not to be excelled. The two last were purchased at very high prices, and now form part of the royal stud, as also does Maria. The history of this mare is worth notice. When, from prudential motives, the royal stud at Hampton Court was broken up, Waterloo and Belvoirina, still in the stud, were the only two kept, and their produce was the said Maria. Miss Wasp, the dam of Vespa, a winner of the Oaks, was likewise bred by George IV.

In his majesty’s long career on the turf, he of course had several trainers and as many jockeys. Among the latter were the late celebrated Samuel Chifney, and South, who rode his horses at Newmarket, and, afterwards, Richard Goodison and Robinson. Latterly, however, he imported one from the north, the well-known George Nelson, who gave him unbounded satisfaction. His trainers were Neale and Casborne, in former days; but latterly, William Edwards, of Newmarket, who enjoys a pension for life, and the use of the royal stables. The last time George IV. was at Ascot was in 1829, but he lived to hear of the next year’s meeting. He was on the bed of death; and so strong was the “ruling passion” in this awful hour—and his majesty was well aware his hour was come—that an express was sent to him after every race.

The late Duke of York was equally devoted to the turf: and, in 1816, we find his royal highness a winner of the Derby, with Prince Leopold, and, in 1822, with 190 Moses; the former bred by Lord Durham, the latter by himself. His racing career may be said to have commenced at Ascot, where he established the Oatland stakes, which at one period were more than equal in value to the Derby, being a hundred-guinea subscription. Indeed, we have reason to believe, that when they were won by his late majesty’s Baronet—beating eighteen of the picked horses in England, his own Escape amongst the lot—there was more money depending than had ever been before, excepting on two occasions. His majesty won seventeen thousand pounds by the race, and would have won still more had Escape been the winner. We wish we could add to this trifling sketch a long list of his royal highness’s winnings; but the Duke of York was on the turf what the Duke of York was everywhere—good humoured, unsuspecting, and confiding; qualifications, however creditable to human nature, ill fitted for a race-course. It is therefore scarcely necessary to say, that his royal highness was no winner by his horses, nor indeed by anything else; and we much fear that his heavy speculations on the turf were among the chief causes of those pecuniary embarrassments which disturbed the latter years of one against whose high and chivalrous feelings of honour and integrity no human creature that knew anything of him ever breathed a whisper. In 1825, we find the duke with sixteen horses to his name, and, with the exception of two, a most sorry lot; but, previously to that period, he had incurred severe loss by persevering 191 in breeding from Aladdin and Giles. The stud usually ran in Mr. Greville’s name; were trained by Butler, of Newmarket, now deceased; and chiefly ridden by Goodison, who did the best he could for them.

The late Earl of Fitzwilliam was distinguished by the princely way in which he conducted his stud, and the magnificence of his retinue on the race-course. His lordship was likewise the breeder of some eminent racers, amongst which were the justly famous Orville—an incalculable treasure to the British turf—and Mulatto, who beat Memnon, Fleur-de-lis, Bedlamite, Tarrare, winner of the St. Leger in 1826, Non-plus, Fanny Davis, Starch, Longwaist—in fact, all the best horses in the north,—and ran second to Tarrare for the St. Leger. Earl Fitzwilliam never sent his horses south, but was a great supporter of York and Doncaster, and won the Fitzwilliam stakes at the latter place in 1826 with the horse we have just been speaking of. He was got by Cattan, also bred by his lordship, out of Desdemona by Orville—all his own blood—grandam Fanny by Highflyer. The stud is now broken up.

The late venerable Earl of Derby was all his life a warm supporter of racing. Next, perhaps, to Eclipse and Herod, no horse that has ever appeared has been equal to Sir Peter Teazle as a stud-horse,—we believe he produced more winners than any other on record. In him were united the best blood which this country can boast of,—King Herod, Blank, Snap, Regulus, and the Godolphin Arabian. As, however, the sun is not 192 without its spots, Sir Peter was not without a blemish. His own legs gave way at four years old, and those of his produce were not, on an average, good; notwithstanding which, as we before stated, their winnings are without a parallel, barring those from the stock of the unparalleled Eclipse. The following anecdote is, we believe, authentic. Doctor Brandreth, the family physician at Knowsley, was commissioned by the then American consul to offer Lord Derby seven thousand guineas for Sir Peter Teazle, which his lordship refused, having, as he said, already refused ten: he certainly would have been a loser, had he accepted the offer. The present earl cared little for racing; but Lord Stanley is likely to do credit to the blood of Sir Peter, as well as to the name he bears.

The present Duke of Dorset, when Lord Sackville, not only shewed himself an admirable judge of a race-horse, but few jockeys by profession could ride one better; and, indeed, at one period of his life, few of them were in much greater practice. His grace was always cautious in his engagements, but from his perfect knowledge of his horses, generally placed them winners. In the days of Expectation, Lucan, and others, he won all before him; but mark the change of the times! Looking into the “Calendar” for 1800, we find Expectation by Sir Peter, out of Zilia by Eclipse, running four miles at Lewes, and beating two very stout mares:—for what! Why, for the sum of sixty guineas, which could not pay the expenses! But then 193 another of his horses, and a good one too (Laborie by Delpini) wins a fifty-pound plate the same year at Winchester; the best of three four-mile heats! Were the Duke of Dorset on the turf now, he would have something better to do with such horses as Expectation and Laborie!

The present Duke of Grafton has been a great winner, having inherited, with his domains, the virtues of old Prunella; but owes some of his success to his late brother, Lord Henry Fitzroy, whose judgment in racing was equal to any man’s. With the assistance then of Lord Henry, the training of Robson, and the good riding of the late Frank Buckle, John Day, William Clift, and others, his grace has done very well although, since the retirement of Robson, the honours of the turf have not poured in so thickly upon him. The duke, however, has no reason to complain, having won the Derby stakes four times, and the Oaks eight; and, as Buckle said of himself, “most of the good things at Newmarket,” for a few years in succession. Indeed, unless we have made a mistake in our figures, his grace pocketed the comfortable sum of thirteen thousand pounds in the year 1825, from public stakes alone! But we must do the Duke of Grafton the justice to say, that in his stable he has marched with the times, his horses having been always forward in their work, the grand desideratum in a training-stable. His grace also deserves success, for he is a nobleman of high character on the turf, and, unlike too many owners 194 of race-horses whom we could name, always runs to win. The Duke of Grafton’s stable is, in consequence, heavily backed, when it brings out good horses for any of the great stakes; and we are happy to add it is at present in good force, having eight or nine two-year olds in training at Newmarket, instead of selling them, as has been the case the last four or five years.

The Duke of Portland has been a steady and ever honourable patron of the English turf; but his stud is now small. In fact, since winning the Derby with Tiresias, in 1819, the tide of fortune appears to have turned against his stable, and he has not done much. His grace has, however, lately shewn himself a zealous advocate for preserving the strength, stoutness, and vigour of the English race-horse, which it is feared has been on the decline, by the munificent donation of three hundred pounds to a one hundred guineas handicap-stakes, at Newmarket, now called the “Portland Handicap;” distance, the last three miles of the Beacon course. His Grace of Rutland has become slack, nor, indeed, has his stable brought out more than five horses the last two years. He won the Derby with Cadland (whom he bred), after a dead heat with the Colonel—a circumstance previously unknown for that great race—and the Oaks with Sorcery and Medora. On the other hand, the Duke of Cleveland’s passion for the turf appears to grow with his years, his grace having been the best buyer of the present century. He gave three thousand five hundred guineas for Trustee and Liverpool, 195 and but a few years back, no less than twelve thousand pounds for four horses, namely, Swiss, Serab, Barefoot, and Memnon, the two last winners of the St. Leger for Mr. Watt. The Duke of Cleveland never won the St. Leger till 1831, with Chorister, nor was he ever winner of either of the great Epsom stakes; but in the days of Agonistes and Haphazard his stable was the terror of the north, and his grace was a great winner of cups, though he afterwards flew at higher game. His match with Pavilion, against Colonel Mellish’s Sancho, at Newmarket, in 1806, was one of the greatest races of modern days, as to the extent of betting; and immense sums were lost on Agonistes, when he was beat by Champion, for the St. Leger, in 1800. His grace has had good horses in his stable of late years; among them Trustee, and Emancipation by Whisker, who had the honour of receiving forfeit from Priam, receiving nine pounds: likewise Muley Moloch, the winner of the York Derby stakes at the Spring Meeting, 1832; and Liverpool, of the gold cup. The duke is one of the heaviest bettors on the turf; and few men know more of racing, or indeed of anything relating to the sports of the turf or field.23 The Duke of Richmond has been one of the most zealous supporters of the turf, having expended a very large sum on the race-course at Goodwood, now the first country meeting in England, after Epsom, Ascot, and Doncaster. His grace has been a 196 considerable winner, but his stud is greatly diminished. He won the Oaks, with Gulnare, in 1827, and has had quite his share of success, being remarkable for very seldom bringing out a bad racer.

The Lord of Exeter stands first of the Marquises on the turf. His lordship has been a great winner, having carried the Oaks with Augusta, Green Mantle, and Galata, and many of the good things at Newmarket and elsewhere; but, somewhat extraordinary, he has never been a winner of the Derby. He breeds much from the famous stud-horse, Sultan, his own property, whose price, to others, is fifty guineas each mare. The Marquis of Westminster, although very well bred for it, never signalised himself on the turf, and has therefore wisely withdrawn from Newmarket, confining his stud, a very small one, to the provincial meetings in his own immediate neighbourhood, where it is quite right for great lords to make the agreeable. We believe that the last time he was at head-quarters was to see his horse Navarino win the great two thousand-guinea stakes! His lordship, however, has shone forth, a bright star at the eleventh hour, with his famous horse Touchstone, having challenged all England with him after winning the Doncaster St. Leger. The Marquis of Conyngham is a sportsman, and was used to back his horses freely, as did the Marquis of Sligo, one of the best breeders of them; but as his lordship belongs to the sister kingdom, for the honour of old England, we presume, he was not often allowed to win. He, 197 however, has had the distinction of being second for the St. Leger twice; namely, with Canteen when Jerry won it, and with Bran in Touchstone’s year. Neither can much be said of the prowess of the most noble Marquises of Tavistock and Worcester (now Duke of Beaufort), who, though good and honourable men, will never increase their patrimony by racing. In short, since the Duke of Cleveland has quitted their ranks, our sporting marquises, with the exception of Lord Exeter, do not shine on the race-course.

But we cannot say this of the noble earls, amongst whom are some of the best judges of racing of past or present days. We will begin with the Earl of Egremont; and not only by the rule of seniores priores, but looking upon him as one of the main contributors to the legitimate end of racing—the improvement of the breed of horses—his lordship having always paid regard to what is termed stout, or honest, blood. Lord Egremont bred Gohanna, by Mercury, by Eclipse, and purchased Whalebone from the Duke of Grafton (the old Prunella sort), whose stock have been invaluable to the turf, and will continue to be so for many years to come, although objections are made to their size—made amends for, in great measure, by their symmetry. His lordship has likewise turned the amusement—and such has been his main object in the pursuit of it—to an excellent account, in the liberal act of affording to his tenantry and neighbours the free benefit of several of his stud-horses. Among these have been two very fine animals, 198 Octavius and Wanderer, the latter not inaptly named, as for many years of his life he was never known to lie down, but was generally in action in his box. He was a noble specimen of the horse, and one of the best bred ones in the world for all the purposes for which horses of speed and strength are wanted, being by Gohanna, out of a sister to Colibri, by Woodpecker, esteemed our stoutest blood. The earl is likewise the breeder of honest Chateau Margaux and Camel, ornaments to the British turf, and sons of good little Whalebone. Lord Egremont won the Derby three times in four years; twice with sons of Gohanna, and subsequently with Lapdog by Whalebone. He has also been three times the winner of the Oaks with fillies from his own stud. But all this success is not to be placed to his lordship’s own account; he received great assistance in all his racing speculations from his late brother, the Honourable Charles Wyndham, since whose decease the stable has not been so successful.

The late Earl of Burlington (Lord George Cavendish) was of great repute on Newmarket heath, as a good breeder of race-horses, a very high bettor, and we need not add, a most honourable man. His lordship, no doubt, had his fancies in his betting, which of course he now and then paid for. When he did “fancy his horse,” as the turf-phrase is, he would risk an immense sum upon him, not far short, we have heard, of ten thousand pounds!

The late Earl of Stradbroke was one of the keenest and best sportsmen at Newmarket, and owner of a large 199 stud. Amongst the number, was the celebrated mare Persepolis, the dam of thirteen good racers; amongst which were Araxes, Tigris, Indus, Euphrates, Phasis, and Cydnus, all sons of Quiz, and Granicus and Rubicon by Sorcerer. The famous brood mares, Cobbæa (the dam of Sorcery) and Grey Duchess, by Pot-8-o’s, were also in his lordship’s stud, and presented by him to George IV. when he commenced breeding race-horses at Hampton Court. The present Lord Stradbroke and his Grace of Richmond were confederates on the turf.

The Earl of Orford took the field a few years back as usual, with a tolerably large string of horses; and, to use his own words, when he won the Great Produce stakes at Ascot, with his Muley filly, and the Clearwell stakes with his Clearwell colt (a clear thousand by the way, and the other five hundred), “got out of his place,” which had generally been a good second. He ran second, indeed, with Ascot, for a Derby; and good judges say, his horse ought to have won. His lordship, however, takes all this with perfect good humour, and is himself always a favourite at Newmarket, should his horse not prove to be so. The noble earl is considered a very liberal match-maker; but he has lately been running so forward as to be considered able to take care of himself. Of the Earls Verulam, Warwick, and Clarendon, we now hear but little, although the first-named lord is rather an extensive breeder. Lord Clarendon we consider little more than an amateur. Earl 200 Sefton began his racing career late in life, and although he entered into it with spirit, giving two thousand guineas for Bobadilla, soon abandoned the slippery course. Indeed, so hastily did he retire from it, that, on a little disappointment at Epsom, he would not wait for the assistance of the printer, but sent a manuscript notice to Tattersall’s yard that his stud was immediately to be sold. We confess we admire his lordship’s decision—“When fortune frowns, the first loss is the best.” The Earl of Lichfield is rather deep on the turf, as the list of his horses shews. Indeed his lordship does everything with spirit, but even spirit cannot command success. Lord Lichfield, however, is a sportsman, and what is termed a high and honourable bettor. The Earl of Wilton, as well bred for the turf as Eclipse, being grandson to the Earl Grosvenor, is not only an owner of race-horses, but also a jockey—one of the best gentlemen race-riders of these days. The Earl of Chesterfield is conspicuous, as a peep into the “Racing Calendar” will confirm, no less than twenty-five horses, now appearing to his name, besides three sent to Germany. His lordship had also, at his stud-farm, in Derbyshire, the renowned horses Priam24 and Zinganee, the former having finished his brilliant career with winning the Goodwood cup. Report says, that he is likely to make his way in this “forest of adventure,” as 201 his experience increases with his years. But the best judge of this rank is the noble Earl of Jersey, who, indeed, does everything well. As a breeder, perhaps his lordship may not quite equal the Duke of Grafton and Lord Egremont, certainly not in extent; but we must place him third, having produced from his own mares one winner of the Oaks—Cobweb, supposed to be the best bred mare in England—and three winners of the Derby; namely, Middleton, Bay Middleton (by Middleton out of Cobweb), and Mameluke; the latter of which he sold to Mr. Gully for four thousand guineas! Perhaps no man ever brought to the post on one day two finer horses than Mameluke, the winner of the Derby, and Glenartney, who ran second to him, beating twenty-one others with the greatest ease. Mameluke was bred by Mr. Elwes. Lord Jersey’s stud is not large, but well selected, and he has every convenience for breeding at his seat, Middleton-Stony, Oxfordshire. His lordship was formerly confederate with that thorough sportsman, Sir John Shelley, who had the honour of breeding Phantom and Priam. The Earl of Durham has retired, but, when Mr. Lambton, he had a splendid stud, which was sold by Messrs. Tattersall, in 1826, eight foals realising the astonishing sum of fifteen hundred and thirty-three guineas (above two hundred pounds each)!

Of Newmarket viscounts we muster more; but, looking to the past, we must give Lord Lowther the pas, not only from his experience and knowledge, 202 considered quite first-rate, but from the single fact of his having had sixteen horses in training, only a few years back, at one time. It is a singular fact, that his lordship has only won the Derby once—with Spaniel—and never won the Oaks, in his long career on the turf. He had formerly a large breeding-establishment at Oxcroft, eight miles from Newmarket; but the land not being suited for it, in addition to the great prevalence of flies, it was removed to within a few hundred yards of Newmarket town, where his lordship occupies a farm. Here stood the horse Partisan, the sire of many good ones, and amongst the rest, Glaucus, purchased by Mr. Ridsdale of General Grosvenor at three thousand guineas, after beating Clearwell (Lord Orford’s) in a match for five hundred guineas, at Newmarket, and now the property of Lord Chesterfield. The best judges are sometimes mistaken; and Lord Lowther should not have sold Glaucus to the general for three hundred and fifty guineas without having had a taste of him; for besides his winnings, amounting to fourteen hundred guineas, he cleared nearly three thousand by the purchase. But “Glauci permutatio” is a standing proverb for a bad bargain, ever since the hero he is named after exchanged gold for iron under the walls of old Troy. Joseph Rogers, of Newmarket, trained for his lordship. Lord Ranelagh was a short time on the heath, but, preferring a more glorious field, is now fighting for Don Carlos; and we must consider our noble secretary for foreign affairs, Viscount Palmerston, 203 only an humble provincial. To the satisfaction, indeed, of his competitors, his lordship has now relinquished even these rural honours, for Luzborough, Grey-leg, and company, were sad teazers to the west-country platers.

Our noble barons make no figure in the Newmarket list. Strange to say, we cannot find one. Lord Wharncliffe was the last; and still more strange to tell of so unwavering a Tory, his lordship’s best horse at one time was Reformer!

Of honourables, owners of race-horses, we can find but one, Colonel Anson, a good sportsman and very spirited bettor. Neither can we produce more than two Newmarket baronets,—and are inclined to ask, how is this? Sir Mark Wood stands first, with a long string of horses.

Some apprehensions were entertained for Sir Mark when he entered the ring, with youth on his brow, and Gatton, just in time, by-the-bye, in his pocket; and it was feared all might find its way into schedule A. But Sir Mark has made a good fight—he has given good prices for good horses, which, with good training and good riding, have pulled him through; although since the days of Lucetta, Camarine, and Vespa (winner of the Oaks), he has not shone so brightly. His last week of the last meeting at Newmarket, 1832, was a very pretty finish. He won six times and received forfeit once; and on one match, Camarine versus Crutch, he is said to have netted three thousand pounds! His 204 beating Rowton also for the Ascot cup, with the same mare the same year (Robinson riding against Chifney), after running one dead heat, was one of the grandest events of the season. Lucetta with eight stone nine pounds met the Duke of Grafton’s Oxygen (a winner of the Oaks) with seven stone two pounds, one six years old, and the other four, for the Jockey Club plate, at Newmarket, Beacon course. Lucetta won, and the speed was very little short of Childers, as they were but seven minutes in coming to the duke’s stand.

One of the oldest sportsmen at Newmarket is General Grosvenor—but far from being the most fortunate. Indeed it is a trite saying, “The general is honest, but unlucky,” and this is well said in these slippery times. He won the Oaks, in 1807, with Briseis, with heavy odds against her, consequently a round sum besides; and, again, in 1825, by Chifney’s fine riding with Wings, with ten to one against her. He likewise won, with Blue Stockings, the Riddlesworth of 1819, perhaps the greatest stake ever won, being, including his own subscription, five thousand guineas! Fortune has also smiled upon him again, for the last year was a winning one. He bought Glaucus for three hundred and fifty guineas, won fourteen hundred pounds with him, and sold him for three thousand!—thus reversing the proverb. A few years back his winnings were somewhat unaccountable, his horses having been in the hands, not of a regularly bred trainer, but of his north-country colt-breaker, who has 205 been in his service twenty-eight years. They amounted to twenty-five times in nineteen months.

After the father of the turf, we believe Mr. Batson is about the oldest of the Jockey Club. Although he was placed third with Hogarth, Middleton’s year, and ran third for the Oaks, he never carried the Epsom honours until 1834 with Plenipotentiary. Mr. Rush also is an old jockey, and a very good supporter of the turf, running his horses more for amusement than profit. He also breeds, but his stock does not shine at Newmarket, where he is generally satisfied with a good third. It is said he breeds from worn-out mares. In the provincials, however, he is rather more fortunate; and it is something to say he was James Robinson’s first master, and John Robinson trains for him. Mr. Biggs is another old member of the Jockey Club, but, like Mr. Batson, is more formidable in the provincials, where he has been a great winner, and hard to beat. Some years since, at Stockbridge, his horse Camerton was the winner of a memorable race. Three others started, viz., Sir John Cope’s Shoestrings, the late Lord Foley’s Offa’s Dyke, and the late Lord Charles Somerset’s Scorpion. The following was the result:—Camerton, ridden by the late Sawyer, who died shortly after, never started again; Shoestrings, by John Day, broke down; Offa’s Dyke, by Goodison, went blind, but recovered his sight; and Scorpion, ridden by Joseph Rogers, now trainer at Newmarket, fell dead at the distance-post, from the rupture of a blood-vessel at the heart. The 206 distance was four miles, and only one heat! Mr. Thornhill is one of the best judges of racing at Newmarket, and has one of the largest studs at his seat at Riddlesworth, whence the great Riddlesworth stakes takes its name. He has won the Derby with Sam and Sailor, both sons of Scud, and the Oaks with Shoveler, also a daughter of Scud. Previously to Sam’s race, this shrewd judge pronounced the Derby stakes in his pocket; and he also picked out Gulnare as winner of the Oaks for the Duke of Richmond, without the possibility, as he expressed himself, of losing it, barring the accident of a fall. The strange coincidence of his winning the Derby with Sailor by Scud, during a violent gale of wind, will, perhaps, never be forgotten at Epsom. Mr. Thornhill owns Æmilius, the celebrated sire of Priam, Oxygen, &c., whose price is forty guineas. Colonel Udney’s name stood high at Newmarket, but he has lately all but retired from the turf. He won the Derby with Æmilius, and the Oaks with Corinne, and has had quite his share of “most of the good things at Newmarket,” as Buckle said, who was the colonel’s principal jockey. He was once confederate with Mr. Payne, uncle to the gentleman of that name now on the turf.

Mr. Lechmere Charlton was on the turf more than twenty years, having run third for the Oaks in 1811, and has been an owner of several good horses—Master Henry, perhaps, the best. He has likewise been a great breeder of racers, and besides Henry (whom he 207 purchased cheaply for seven hundred guineas), had Manfred, Sam, Hedley, Castrel, Banker, and Anticipation, as stud-horses, with several good mares from the Duke of Grafton and Lord Grosvenor, and, indeed, from other celebrated studs within his reach. Like all great breeders, Mr. Charlton has had many public sales, at one of which the sum of nineteen hundred pounds being offered for Henry, by a very badly dressed person in the crowd, he was asked by the auctioneer for whom he was bidding? “Here is my authority,” said the man, pointing to his breeches’ pocket. A few years ago, Mr. Charlton took rather a curious turn, exchanging the cap and jacket of the race-course for the wig and gown of the courts, and was actually called to the bar. Like Dido’s love, however, the passion for racing could not be smothered in the murky atmosphere of Westminster Hall, nearly as gloomy as the vault of Sichæus; and we found him again with a good string of race-horses. There are not many better judges than Mr. Charlton, though we fear, like other gentlemen-sportsmen, he has paid rather dearly for his experience; and he has all but retired from the turf. Mr. Vansittart has also been a long time on the turf, and ran second, 1832, for the Derby, with Perion. He is a breeder of race-horses, and sold Rockingham for one thousand guineas to Mr. Watt. This horse won a good stakes at York Spring Meeting, “beautifully ridden by Darling;” and the great St. Leger stakes of the same year at Doncaster. He is now the property of Mr. Theobald, of Stockwell, 208 and has been a great winner up to the present time. Mr. Vansittart is a good judge, and always runs his horses to win, if they can. Mr. Hunter, of Six-Mile-Bolton, near Newmarket, is a first-rate judge of racing, and considered a good bettor. He won the Derby in 1821, with Gustavus, and has since used him as a stud-horse, but not to much profit. He made some amends by producing Forester, the winner of the July stakes, in 1832, and of several other things, and who was backed freely for the Derby, being out of an Orville mare. With the exception of the great card in their pack, all the Peels have a taste for the turf. The Colonel, however, is the only one who has the courage to face Newmarket, which he does with nearly as good a stud as is to be found even there, and has had his share of success. The Colonel is a heavy bettor, and loses with a philosophic indifference, worthy of a nobler cause. Mr. Edmund Peel has a large stud at Hednesford, in Staffordshire, where he has erected excellent buildings for their accommodation. Mr. Massey Stanley, son to Sir Thomas, has a small but neat stud. Mr. Sowerby has likewise a pretty stud, which he uses like a gentleman, for his amusement. Mr. Scott Stonehewer is one of the same class, and won the Oaks with Variation, in 1830. Mr. Payne, of Sulby, has generally a small stud at Newmarket; and Mr. Osbaldeston has made his appearance on the heath, not as the Hercules of horsemen, as he proved himself in his awful match against time, but as the owner of a string of race-horses. We had rather 209 the Squire had remained with his hounds in Northamptonshire, where nothing eclipsed his fame.

But we must not omit two of our first-class men, in this line, on Newmarket heath, viz., Lord George Bentinck, and Mr. Greville; both said to be the best judges of racing, and the cleverest men at betting, of the present day. It is indeed asserted, that the only difficulty they are likely to have to contend with, is, “lame ducks” on the settling days, for they are very seldom on “the wrong side the post.” The turf is also likely to gain an accession in a bunch of young noblemen just about to shew forth, amongst whom are Lord Suffield, Lord Albert Conyngham, &c.

It rarely happens that what are called provincial studs do much in what may be termed the capitals of the racing world; but we cannot forget Lord Oxford beating the crack nags at Newmarket,—Eaton among the rest,—with old Victoria, and his Hedgeford jockey, the late Tom Car; Mr. Glover winning the Craven with Slender Billy; and, though last, not least, the great Worcestershire grazier (the late Mr. Terret, tenant of Mr. Lechmere Charlton) taking his fine Rubens horse, Sovereign, in his bullock caravan to Newmarket, winning the St. Leger stakes with him in a canter,—and, what was still less expected, his rural jockey, Ben Moss, out-jockeying the best riders on the heath. Neither will the same jockey’s performance on Lady Byron, over the course, to the benefit of the said grazier, be very soon forgotten. But, although we must not enter upon 210 the large subject of the provincial studs, we cannot omit a notice of the late Mr. Riddell, of Felton Park, Northumberland, who died about four years back. He was a firm and liberal supporter of the northern turf, but conspicuous chiefly as the owner of two very celebrated horses, viz., X. Y. Z. and Doctor Syntax—unparalleled winners of gold cups; the former having won nine, and the latter twenty, besides four thousand pounds in specie! The Doctor was one of the few modern racers that has appeared at the post for ten consecutive years; during which period, however, he only started forty-nine times, or within a fraction of five times in each year, on the average—winning twenty-six out of the above number of races. To this careful husbanding of his powers may his owners have been indebted for a great portion of his success. But he is descended from our very stoutest blood, being got by a son of Trumpator, as well as combining that of Regulus and Snap in his pedigree. He was bred by Mr. Osbaldeston, of Hummondsby, Yorkshire; and is the sire of Gallopade, a winner of four gold cups, at four starts only. Mr. Riddell was the breeder of Emancipation, purchased by the Duke of Cleveland for eighteen hundred guineas.

Deservedly high as Newmarket stands in the history of the British turf, it is but as a speck on the ocean when compared with the sum total of our provincial meetings, of which there are about a hundred and twenty in England, Scotland, and Wales—several of 211 them twice in the year. Epsom, Ascot, York, Doncaster, and Goodwood stand first in respect of the value of the prizes, the rank of the company, and the interest attached to them by the sporting world, although several other cities and towns have lately exhibited very tempting bills of fare to owners of good race-horses. In point of antiquity, we believe the Roodee of Chester claims precedence of all country race-meetings;—and certainly it has long been in high repute. Falling early in the racing year—always the first Monday in May—it affords a good trial for young horses, and there is plenty of money to be run for by the old ones, who come out fresh and well. This meeting is most numerously attended by the families of the extensive and very aristocratic neighbourhood in which it is placed, and always continues five days. The course is far from a good one, being on a dead flat, with rather a sharp turn near home, in consequence of which several accidents have occurred, particularly previously to some late improvements.25 When we state that there are nine good sweepstakes, a king’s plate, two very valuable cups, and five plates at Chester, its superiority as a country meeting will speak for itself.26


Epsom, however, ranks first after Newmarket. It is sufficient, perhaps, to state, that there were no less than one hundred and fourteen colts entered for the last Derby stakes, and ninety-seven fillies for the Oaks—their owners paying fifty sovereigns each for those that started, and twenty-five for those that did not. There are, likewise, a gold cup, and several other stakes, as well as three plates. Independently of seeing him run, amateur admirers of the race-horse have here a fine opportunity of studying him in the highest state of his perfection. We allude to the place called the Warren, in which the Derby and Oaks horses are saddled and mounted. It is a small, but picturesque bit of ground in the forest style, enclosed by a wall, and entered by all who choose to pay a shilling. To some it is a great treat to see the celebrated Newmarket jockeys, who may be only known to them by name. A view of half the aristocracy of England, also, is, even in these times, worth a shilling to many. The sporting-men, meanwhile, reap much advantage from their anxious inspection of the horses as they walk round 213 this rural circus. They can closely observe the condition of their favourites; and should anything dissatisfy them, they have a chance to hedge something before the race is run, although the ring is generally broken up a short time after the horses are assembled in the Warren.

group of horses with jockeys gathering near the starting post

The Warren—preparing to start.

But what is the sight in the Warren, interesting as it really is—thousands on thousands depending on the result, ruinous perhaps to many—compared with the start for the race? Fancy twenty-four three-year colts, looking like six-year-old horses, with the bloom of condition on their coats, drawn up in a line at the starting-place, with the picked jockeys of all England on their backs, and on the simple fact of which may prove the best perhaps a million sterling depends. They are off! “No, no”—cries one jockey, whose horse turned his tail to the others just as the word “Go” was given. It is sufficient: ’tis no start: “Come back!” roars the starter. Some are pulled up in a few hundred yards—others go twice as far. But look at that chestnut colt—white jacket and black cap—with thousands depending upon him! He is three parts of the way to Tattenham’s corner before his rider can restrain him. Talk of agonising moments!—the pangs of death!—what can at all equal these? But there are no winnings without losings, and it is nuts to those who have backed him out. Who can say, indeed, but that his temper being known, the false start may have been contrived to accommodate him? However, they are all back again at the post, and each rider endeavouring 214 to be once more well placed. Observe the cautious John Day, how quietly he manœuvres to obtain an inside location for his worthy master, his Grace of Grafton. Look at neat little Arthur Pavis, patting his horse on the neck and sides, and admiring himself at the same time; but his breeches and boots are really good. Watch Sam Chifney minutely; but first and foremost his seat in the saddle—

“Incorpsed and demi-natured

With the brave beast—”

and his countenance! ’tis calm, though thoughtful. But he has much to think of; he and his confederates have thousands on the race, and he is now running it in his mind’s eye. Harry Edwards and Robinson are side by side, each heavily backed to win. How they are formed to ride! Surely Nature must have a mould for a jockey for the purpose of displaying her jewel, the horse. And that elegant horseman Sam Day; but see how he is wasted to bring himself to the weight! Observe the knuckles of his hands and the patellæ of his knees, how they appear almost breaking through the skin! But if he have left nearly half of his frame in the sweaters, the remaining half is full of vigour; and we’ll answer for it his horse don’t find him wanting in the struggle. Then that slim young jockey, with high cheek bones and long neck, in the green jacket and orange cap—surely he must be in a galloping consumption. There is a pallid bloom on his sunken 215 cheek, rarely seen but on the face of death, and he wants but the grave-clothes to complete the picture. Yet we need not fear; he is heart-whole and well: but having had short notice, has lost fifteen pounds in the last forty-eight hours.

group of racehorses in close array

“They are off again—a beautiful start, and still more beautiful sight.”

They are off again! a beautiful start and a still more beautiful sight! All the hues of the rainbow in the colours of the riders and the complexions of their horses! What a spectacle for the sportsmen, who take their stand on the hill on the course to see the first part of the race, and to observe the places their favourites have gotten; they are all in a cluster, the jockeys glancing at each other’s horses, for they cannot do more in such a crowd. They are soon, however, a little more at their ease; the severity of the ground, and the rapidity of the pace, throw the soft-hearted ones behind; and at Tattenham’s corner there is room for observation. “I think I can win,” says Robinson to himself, “if I can but continue to live with my horses; for I know I have the speed of all here. But I must take a strong pull down this hill, for we have not been coming over Newmarket flat.” Pavis’s horse is going sweetly, and the Yorkshireman, Scott, lying well up. But where is Chifney? Oh! like Christmas, he’s coming, creeping up in his usual form, and getting the blind side of Harry Edwards. Chapple is here on a dangerous horse27, and John Day with a strain 216 of old Prunella. It is a terrible race! There are seven in front within the distance, and nothing else has a chance to win. The set-to begins; they are all good ones. Whips are at work—the people shout—hearts throb—ladies faint—the favourite is beat—white jacket with black cap wins.

seven racehorses, three neck-and-neck, approaching the end of the course

“There are seven in front within the distance, and nothing else has a chance to win.”

Now a phalanx of cavalry descend the hill towards the grand stand, with “Who has won?” in each man’s mouth. “Hurrah!” cries one, on the answer being given; “my fortune is made!”—“Has he, by ——?” says another, pulling up with a jerk; “I am a ruined man! Scoundrel that I was to risk such a sum! and I have too much reason to fear I have been deceived! Oh! how shall I face my poor wife and my children? I’ll blow out my brains.” But where is the owner of the winning horse? He is on the hill, on his coach-box; but he will not believe it till twice told. “Hurrah!” he exclaims, throwing his hat into the air. A gipsy hands it to him. It is in the air again, and the gipsy catches it, and half-a-sovereign besides, as she hands it to him once more. “Heavens bless your honour,” says the dark ladye; “did I not tell your honour you could not lose?”

There are two meetings now at Epsom, as indeed there were more than half a century back; but the October Meeting is of minor importance. The grand stand on the course is the largest in Europe; and to give some idea of its magnificence, it has been assessed to the poor-rate at five hundred pounds per annum. 217 The exact expense of its erection is not known to us, but the lawyer’s bill alone was five hundred and fifty-seven pounds. Poor distressed England!

Ascot also stands in the foremost rank of country races. It is of a different complexion from Epsom, not only by reason of its being graced with royalty, and aristocracy in abundance, but as wanting that crowd of “nobody knows who,” which must be encountered on a Derby day—the cockney’s holiday. It is likewise out of reach of London ruffians—a great recommendation; and the strictness of the police makes even thieves scarce. But the charms of Ascot, to those not interested in the horses, consist in the promenade on the course between the various races, where the highest fashion, in its best garb, mingles with the crowd, and gives a brilliant effect to the passing scene. In fact, it comes nearest to Elysium of anything here, after Kensington Gardens, in “the leafy month of June.” Then the king’s approach, with all the splendour of majesty, and, what is still more gratifying, amidst the loud acclamations of his subjects, sets the finish on the whole. Long may the royal name be venerable to the English people.

Goodwood is the next great aristocratic meeting in the south, and has monopolised nearly all the racing of those parts. The Drawing-Room and the Goodwood stakes, and the cup, are prizes of such high value, that, as birds peck at the best fruit, all the crack horses of Newmarket are brought thither to contend for them. The corporation of Chichester add one hundred pounds 218 to the cup, and his majesty gives a one hundred-guinea plate. The course at Goodwood is also one of the best in England, nearly ten thousand pounds having been expended upon it—including the stand and the improvement of the road leading to it—by the Duke of Richmond; but his grace will be reimbursed if the meeting continues, by the admission-tickets to the stand, &c.

Let us take one glance of that modern Epirus, the county of York, in which there are now twelve meetings in the year—(nearly a century ago there were half as many more). York is one of our oldest race meetings, and was patronised by the great sportsmen of all countries in former days; but the names of Cookson, Wentworth, Goodricke, Garforth, Hutchinson, Crompton, Gascoigne, Sitwell, Pierse, Shafto, and some others, appear indigenous to Knavesmere Heath. The money run for at the Spring and August Meetings, 1832, exceeded fourteen thousand six hundred pounds in plates and sweepstakes; yet they are now greatly on the wane. Catterick Bridge, in this county, is also an important meeting, as coming very early in the season; and Richmond and Pontefract are tolerably supported. But what shall we say of Doncaster?

“Troy once was great, but oh! the scene is o’er,

Her glory vanished—and her name no more!”

And wherefore this? Is it that we miss Mrs. Beaumont in her coach-and-six, with her numerous outriders? Is it that the lamented Earl Fitzwilliam, with his splendid 219 retinue, is no longer there? Oh, no!—the magnates of Devonshire, Cleveland, Leeds, Londonderry, and Durham, can replace all that at any time; but it is the many dirty tricks, the innumerable attempts at roguery, which have lately been displayed, that have given a taint to Doncaster race-ground which it will require many years of clean fallow to get rid of. We will not enumerate these vile faux pas—the last but one, “the swindle,” as it is termed, the most barefaced of all—but let the noblemen and gentlemen who wish well to Doncaster, and who do not wish to see the meeting expunged from the “Racing Calendar,” act a little more vigorously than they have hitherto done, and not let villany go unpunished before their eyes. Let a mark be set upon all owners, trainers, and riders of horses with which tricks are played; let them be driven off the course by order of the stewards; let them never again appear at the starting-post or in the betting-ring; and then, but not till then, will racing be once more respectable. Let us indulge our hopes that this will be the case, and that Yorkshire racing no longer shall be the reproach of the present age. “All these storms that fall upon us,” said Don Quixote, “are signs the weather will clear up—the evil having lasted long, the good can’t be far off.” May it prove so here!28


The alteration in the amount of the St. Leger stakes will do something towards abating trickery at Doncaster. The sum subscribed was twenty-five sovereigns, play or pay. It is now fifty sovereigns, half forfeit. The lightness of the old charge induced several ill-disposed persons to bring their horses to the post, purposely to create false starts; and it will be recollected that, in 1827, there were no less than eight of these, to which the defeat of Mameluke was chiefly attributed. The grand stand on this course is one of the finest in England; and if the genius of taste had presided at the building of it, we scarcely know what improvement could have been made. The betting-room has been considered thoroughly Greek!

Although we have reason to believe that there have been fewer attempts at turf roguery within the last three or four years than formerly; and we know that the exposure of it in these pages has not been without its effect; yet we regret to be obliged to say, that the snake, though scotched, is not yet killed. That the Doncaster St. Leger race of 1834 was a robbery, there is not to be found a man in all his majesty’s dominions, unconnected with the fraud, to deny. But by what means the best horse that England has seen since the days of Eclipse—a horse allowed to have been (as Plenipotentiary was allowed to have been), a better horse than Priam was—was made the worst horse in that race, so bad, indeed, as to have been beaten before he got a quarter of the distance he had to run, will 221 perhaps never be known, except to those who made him so. Mr. Batson, his owner, like Æmilius Scaurus, the consul, stood on his character, and made no defence; but, as a St. Leger horse is the property of the public, we think the public had a right to some kind of explanation under Mr. Batson’s hand. He might have followed the example of the late Colonel King, in the Bessy Bedlam robbery at the same place, and for the same stakes, in 1828. The Colonel sent a statement of all he knew of the foul transaction to a London newspaper, leaving the public to judge for themselves from the facts he detailed. Neither did the St. Leger of 1834 pass off with this single fraud. A bet of a thousand guineas was made by two persons, renowned on the turf, whom we call A. and B. A. backed the field against certain horses named by B., of which Touchstone, the winner, was not one. B., however, claimed the bet, and produced his list in which Touchstone, the winner, was named at the bottom of it. A. also produced his list in which Touchstone the winner was not named by B.; and was therefore of course a winner for him. The Jockey Club was resorted to, and the following was the result of their investigation:—“The name of Touchstone,” said Mr. Wilson, the father of the turf, “certainly appears in B.’s list, and apparently written with the same ink. Now my old friend Robarts the banker told me, there is a species of ink that can be made to match any shade which that liquid may exhibit, if examined by daylight; but if put 222 to the test of a candle, a difference of tint is plainly shewn. Let the room be made dark, then, and candles produced.” Now mark the result, which we are sorry thus to proclaim to the world, particularly as the offending party writes Honourable before his name. “Let the gentlemen be shewn into the room,” said Mr. Wilson; when he pronounced the following verdict:—“A. wins from B. one thousand guineas!”

It was a forgery! Gentlemen of England, dissociate yourselves from persons who have thus disgraced your order; or, if that be impossible, withdraw yourselves at once from the turf.

On more accounts than one our turf proceedings must make foreigners marvel. Some years since, a French gentleman visited Doncaster, and gave it the appellation of “the guinea meeting,”—nothing without the guinea. “There was,” said he, “the guinea for entering the rooms to hear the people bet. There was the guinea for my dinner at the hotel. There was the guinea for the stand, for myself; and (oh! execrable!) the guinea for the stand for my carriage. There was the guinea for my servant’s bed, and (ah! mon Dieu!) ten guineas for my own, for only two nights!” Now we cannot picture to ourselves Monsieur at Doncaster a second time; but if his passion for the race should get the better of his prudence, we only trust he will not be so infamously robbed again. Indeed, he may assure himself of this; for Doncaster will never be what it has been, nor is it fitting it should be.


Warwick, Manchester, Liverpool, Cheltenham, Bath, and Wolverhampton are now among our principal country race-meetings, and all of these have wonderfully increased within the last few years; particularly Liverpool—a very young meeting, but which bids fair to catch the forfeited honours of Doncaster. Stockbridge also is now in repute, owing to the Bibury Club being held there—a renewal of the Burford Meeting, one of the oldest in England. Bath and Liverpool have races twice in the year, and the valuable produce stakes which all these young meetings have instituted are likely to ensure their continuance; as to the ever princely-hearted Liverpool, at all events, there can be little fear. Speaking generally, however, nothing fluctuates more than the scene of country racing. Newton, in Lancashire, still keeps its place; but Knutsford and Preston decline; and Oxford, once so good, we may consider gone. At the latter place, indeed, it has been Dilly, Sadler, and Day—then Day, Sadler, and Dilly—winning everything—till country gentlemen became tired of the changes being rung upon them.

It was high time that a change, to a certain extent, should be made in country racing—but in some respects it has gone too far—we allude to the value of the prizes. A hundred years ago, breeding and training of race-horses costing comparatively little, running for fifty-pound plates might have paid. Eclipse, indeed, was nothing but a plate-horse, having, in all his running, 224 only won two thousand pounds, and the manor-bowl in the good city of Salisbury!29 But nothing can now-a-days be got by plating; and the contest by heats, many of them four miles with high weights, borders on cruelty. On the other hand, out of nearly thirty races last year, at Liverpool, there were only three run at heats, and not one four-mile race. At Newmarket there have been no heats, except for a town-plate, since 1772, a most beneficial change, and creditable to the feeling of British sportsmen. This, indeed, is as it should be; man should on no account inflict unnecessary labour on the horse, and, above all, on the race-horse. From no apparent motive but that generous spirit of emulation which distinguishes him above most other animals, and entitles him to our high regard, how he struggles to serve and gratify us! All these things considered, we are inclined to wish well to country racing, as, in itself, a harmless privileged pleasure, which all classes have the power to partake of; indeed, we envy not the man whose heart is not gladdened by the many happy faces on a country race-course. In fact, the passion for racing, like that of hunting, is constitutionally inherent in man, and we cannot reform nature without extinguishing it altogether. The Isthmian games suffered no intermission, even when Corinth 225 was made desolate, the Sicyonians being permitted to celebrate them until Corinth was again inhabited; and it is certain that, during the embarrassments, privations, and panics to which England has been exposed during the last twenty years, racing, particularly country-racing, has progressively increased, and in many respects improved.

We believe it is admitted, that in no country in the world do people ride with so daring a spirit as in the little island of Great Britain, and particularly in our Leicestershire hunts. But riding over a country, and race-riding, if they must be called sister-arts, are diversæ tamen, it being well known that many of our first-rate jockeys (Buckle among the number, who often attempted it) have made a poor appearance after hounds. On the turf, however, as on the field, our gentlemen “delighting in horses” have, from old time, been forward to exhibit their prowess—

“Smit with the love of the laconic boot,

The cap and wig succinct, the silken suit;”

though we take it that it was not until the Bibury and Kingscote meetings that gentleman-jockeyship arrived at perfection in England. It is beyond a doubt that there were gentlemen-jockeys at that time almost, if not quite, equal to the professional artists, and a few of them in nearly as high practice in the saddle. Amongst these first-rate hands were, the present Duke of Dorset and George Germaine, his brother; Lords Charles 226 Somerset, Milsington, and Delamere (then Mr. Cholmondeley); Sir Tatton Sykes; Messrs. Delme Radclyffe, Hawkes, Bullock, Worral, George Pigot, Lowth, Musters, Douglas, Probyn, &c. Who was the best of these jockeys it might be invidious to say; the palm of superiority for head, seat, and hand was generally given to the duke and Mr. Hawkes; but Messrs. Germaine, Delme Radclyffe, and Worral, were by some considered their equals. Lord Charles Somerset was a fine horseman, though too tall for a jockey, and he often rode a winner. Mr. Bullock was also very good till his leg and thigh were broken by his horse running against a post; and Mr. Probyn was superior on a hard-pulling horse. Mr. Delme Radclyffe often rode in the Oaks, and continued to ride at Goodwood and Egham, till nearly the last year of his life. All the others have retired, and some to their long home: but it is favourable to this manly pastime, and the temperate habits which it induces, to state, that, out of seven gentlemen-jockeys who rode thirty-two years ago at Lichfield, only one, Mr. D. Radclyffe, who rode the winner, has died a natural death; all the others being alive, with the exception of Mr. Bullock, who was drowned.

The eminent jockeys of the present day are Lord Wilton, Messrs. White, Osbaldeston, Bouverie, Peyton, Kent, Molony, two Berkeleys, Platel, Burton, Griffiths, Becher, Gilbert, and others whose names do not this moment occur to us. But looking at the value of the prizes at Heaton Park, for example (where, until last 227 year, gentlemen alone were allowed to ride), Bath, Croxton Park, and several other places, we marvel not at the proficiency of these patrician jockeys; and during certain parts of the racing season, such performers as Lord Wilton, Messrs. White, Peyton, Kent, and one or two more of the best of them, are in nearly as much request as the regular hired jockeys, and are obliged to prepare themselves accordingly. Wishing them well, we have but one word to offer them. For the credit of the turf, let them bear in mind what the term gentleman-jockey implies, and not, as in one or two instances has been the case, admit within their circle persons little, if anywise, above the jockey by profession. This has been severely commented upon as having led to disreputable practices, with which the name—the sacred name—of gentleman should never have been mixed up. With this proviso, and considering what might be likely to take the place of “the laconic boot,” were it abandoned, we feel no great hesitation about saying, go—

“Win the plate,

Where once your nobler fathers won a crown.”

A new system of racing has lately sprung up in England, which, however characteristic of the daring spirit of our countrymen, we know not how to commend. We allude to the frequent steeple-races that have taken place in the last few years, and of which, it appears, some are to be periodically repeated. If those whose land is thus trespassed upon are contented, or if recompense 228 be made to such as are not, we have nothing further to say on that score; but we should be sorry that the too frequent repetition of such practices should put the farmers out of temper, and thus prove hurtful to fox-hunting. We may also take the liberty to remark, that one human life and several good horses have already been the penalty of this rather unreasonable pastime; and that, from the pace the horses must travel at, considerable danger to life and limb is always close at hand.30 What are called hurdle-races are still more absurd, by blending the qualifications of the race-horse with the hunter, at a time of the year very unfit for the experiment.

In Scotland, racing is progressing steadily, and in very good hands—in those chiefly of Lords Kelburne, Elcho, and Eglinton, Sir James Boswell, General Sharpe, and Mr. Ramsay. The crack man is Sir James Boswell, to whose honourable name no less than a dozen horses appeared in the calendar, amongst them General Chasse, the best country horse that has been out for some time. Lord Kelburne is an extensive breeder, and had in his stud those celebrated horses Actæon, now the property of his majesty, and Jerry, by Smolensko, a winner of the Doncaster St. Leger. The principal meeting in Scotland is the Caledonian Hunt Meeting, at which there are a king’s plate of one hundred 229 guineas, two cups, and several plates and stakes. The Duke of Buccleugh gives a whip to be run for; but his grace confines his sporting propensities to the amusements of flood and field. There are also races at Cupar, Dumfries, and Edinburgh—where his majesty gives a plate, and the Duke of Buccleugh fifty pounds, as well as a gold cup by subscription—and also at Kelso, where there is a stakes, called the Oats stakes, to which each subscriber contributes five bolls: Dr. Johnson would have pronounced this to have been perfectly characteristic.

After the example of England, racing is making considerable progress in various parts of the world. In the East Indies there are regular meetings in the three different presidencies, and there is also the Bengal Jockey Club. In the United States, breeding and running-horses are advancing with rapid strides; and the grand match at New York, between Henry and Eclipse, afforded a specimen of the immense interest attached to similar events.31 In Germany we find three regular places of sport, viz., Gustrow, Dobboran, and New Brandenburg; and the Duke of Holstein-Augustenburg has established a very promising one in his country. His serene highness and his brother Prince Frederick have each a large stud of horses, from blood 230 imported from England; and, amongst the conspicuous German sportsmen who have regular racing-establishments, under the care of English training-grooms, are Counts Hahn, Plessen, Bassewitz (two), Moltke, and Voss; Barons de Biel, Hertefeldt, and Hamerstein. The Duke of Lucca has a large stud; and the stables at Marlia have been rebuilt in a style of grandeur equal to the ducal palace. At Naples, racing has been established, and is flourishing. Eleven thorough-bred horses were, a year or two back, shipped at Dover, on their road to that capital, and which were to be eighty days on their journey, after landing at Calais. Prince Butera’s breeding-stud, on the southern coast of Sicily, is the largest in these parts: it was founded by a son of Haphazard, from a few English mares; and his highness is one of the chief supporters of Neapolitan horse-racing. In Sweden is some of our best blood, and Count Woronzow and others have taken some good blood-stock to Russia. In Austria four noblemen subscribe to our “Racing Calendar;” in Hungary, eight; in Prussia, two. As I have not the last “Racing Calendar,” there may be more subscribers now; but, of all wonders, who would look for racing in good form at Van Diemen’s Land? There, however, it is: we perceive several well-bred English horses in the lists of the cattle at Hobart Town, where they have three days’ racing for plates, matches, and sweepstakes (one of fifty sovereigns each), with ordinaries, and balls, and six thousand spectators on the course! This little colony is progressing in many odd 231 ways; it turns out, inter alia, as pretty an “Annual,” whether we look to the poetry or the engraving, as any one could have expected from a place of three times its standing; though the engraving, to be sure, may be accounted for.

Until lately France made very little progress in racing; it did not, neither do we think it ever will, generally suit the taste of that people. Much encouragement, however, being given to it by the government, in addition to a strong penchant for the sport in the heir-apparent to the throne, it is at present greatly on the increase; and there are no less than twenty-four race meetings32 advertised in the French “Racing Calendar,” in France and Belgium; at several of which very good prizes are contended for, and the horses trained and ridden by English grooms and jockeys. The principal ones of France are those of Paris and Chantilly, and that of Belgium, Brussels, at which prizes worth contending for are given; and at the first named place there are two meetings in each year, namely, in May and September. Each of these countries also has its Jockey Club and “Racing Calendar;” and some idea may be formed of the interest taken by the nobility and gentry, to whom such matters are at present confined—the betting man, or leg, not having yet made 232 his début on the continent—in their contests for the palm of honour, by the fact of there having been nearly twelve thousand pounds betted on the event of the Jockey Club plate (won by Lord Henry Seymour’s Frank) at the Chantilly races in April last.

The principal breeders of thorough-bred horses in France are his Royal Highness the Duke of Orleans, and Lord Henry Seymour, second son to the Marquis of Hertford, each of whom has a large breeding-stud at about three leagues distant from Paris, and stables for training in the Bois de Boulogne, the Hyde Park of that metropolis, in the roads and cross-roads of which the various horses are galloped and sweated. The stables of the duke are hired, but those of Lord Henry were built by his lordship at an expense of twelve thousand pounds, and are, for their size and conveniences, not excelled in Europe. There is likewise a public training-stable in “The Wood,” kept by a Newmarket man of the name of Palmer, in whom much confidence is placed by the noblemen and gentlemen who intrust their horses to his care.33

It may, perhaps, surprise the majority of our readers to hear the extent of the studs we have alluded to; and we have reason to believe that that of Count Duval de Beaulieu, the President of the Belgic Jockey Club, exceeds them both in number. That of the Duke 233 of Orleans, however, consists of seven brood-mares, exclusive of some lately sold, nineteen colts and fillies in the paddocks, and ten in training; total thirty-six. This does not include the stud-horses, amongst which are Rowlston and Tandem; and in the government establishment, in the Wood, are Spectre, Cadland, and Sir Benjamin Backbite, and Altérateur by Orville.

The stud of Lord Henry Seymour contains nine brood-mares, twelve one and two-year-old colts and fillies, and fourteen in training; total thirty-five, exclusive of the stud-horses, amongst which is Royal Oak, purchased by his lordship for six hundred guineas. Also, amongst the horses in training, is Ibrahim, late the property of the Earl of Jersey, winner of the last year’s second Riddlesworth stakes, the two thousand-guinea stakes, the Grand Duke Michael stakes, as well as some other “good things” at Newmarket, and once first favourite for the Derby, which, however, he did not win.

Racing in Germany is considerably on the increase; fresh places for sport having sprung up within the last four years, particularly Hamburg and Berlin, where two thousand pounds of public money is given to be run for. In short, throughout the states of Mecklenburg and Holstein, as well as, indeed, the whole of Germany and Prussia, including Hanover, the spirit for racing is becoming general, and a peep into Messrs. Tattersalls’ books would shew that no expense is spared in procuring the best English blood. And all this is 234 the fruit of one German nobleman, Baron Biel, of Zieron, near Wiswar, who supplied this part of the continent with the materials for the turf in the following manner:—The baron, having made a large and valuable selection of English thorough-bred horses and mares, had an annual sale of the produce after the following fashion:—about a month previous to foaling-time, tickets were made out of the anticipated produce of each mare (the mares themselves being of course reserved), and put into a bag. The baron then drew out six lots for himself, thereby standing the same chance as the public as to future proceedings on the race-course; and then those lots which remained were sold without reserve, to be delivered when weaned. The prices averaged about sixty guineas per lot, which, considering the possibility of the chickens not being hatched at all, or of being very short-lived, may be considered as good.

The baron’s efforts to introduce racing into his part of the world have been crowned with complete success. Although he has at present some powerful competitors in the Duke of Holstein-Augustenburg, Counts Hahn, Plessen, Bassewitz, and others, his stable the two last years has been pre-eminent, winning most of the best prizes at the various meetings alluded to, and keeping the two challenge whips in his possession. He also had the satisfaction of witnessing the success of several of his brother sportsmen’s horses, the issue of his stud, and of the best colt of last year, the property of Count 235 Halm, by Godolphin, out of a Whalebone mare sold to the count by himself.34 It will be recollected that Count Hahn purchased Godolphin, and resold him to England, after having used him one season as a stud-horse.

But it is in the New World—in America—that racing, and the consequent improvement of horses, are making the most rapid progress; so much so indeed as, from the excellent choice they make in their stud-horses, to incline some persons to the opinion that in the course of half another century we shall have to go to the United States to replenish our own blood, which must degenerate if that of the most sound and enduring qualities is transported to that country. For example, in the American “Turf Register” for March last is a list of twenty-nine thorough-bred English horses propagating their stock throughout the various states, amongst which are Apparition, Autocrat, Barefoot, Claret, Chateau Margaux, Consol, Emancipation, Hedgeford, Luzborough, Leviathan, Lapdog, Margrave, Merman, Rowton, Sarpedon, St. Giles, Shakspeare, Tranby, and Young Truffle. To these are to be added Glencoe, and, alas! Priam, at the extraordinary cost of three thousand five hundred guineas!

The great and leading qualification of a horse bred for the turf is the immaculate purity of his blood. It is, then, little less than a misnomer to call a half-bred horse a race-horse; it is like the royal stamp impressed 236 upon base metal. Besides, what are called stakes for horses not thorough-bred have been the cause of much villany on the turf, by reason of the owners of full-bred horses producing false pedigrees with them, to enable them to start, when of course they are almost sure to win. Perhaps the most successful, and, at the same time, the most impudent case occurred in 1825, when a Mr. W—— took about the country a horse which he called “Tom Paine,” by Prime Minister, not thorough-bred, and won several large stakes with him; whereas this said Tom Paine was proved to be Tybalt, by Thunderbolt, and out of Lord Grosvenor’s Meteora, by Meteor, the best mare in England of her day! But, besides all this, we doubt a good result, as regards the horse and his uses, from these stakes. In the first place, a really half-bred horse will rarely endure severe training; and, if he does, his constitution and temper are all but sure to be ruined by it. Secondly, however good he may be as a half-bred racer, he cannot transmit his base blood to posterity. Again, regular trainers dislike having to do with half-bred horses, and seldom give them fair play, i.e., seldom trouble themselves to go out of the usual course with them in their work, which must be done to bring them well to the post. Finally, these stakes are also the very hot-bed of wrangles; and the system lately adopted of produce-stakes for half-bred horses opens a still wider door for villany and fraud. We wish we could see the turf confined to pure blood.


But we must not conclude this article without a word or two to the young gentlemen just starting into the world who may have imbibed the ambition of shining on the English turf. Let every such person remember that he presents a broad mark—that there are hundreds on the watch for him—and that he stakes what is certain against not only all other chances, but the rife chance of fraud! Let him, before he plunges into the stream, consider a little how it runs, and whither it may lead him! In these days, indeed, gambling is not confined to the turf, the hazard-room, the boxing-ring, or the cock-pit; but is, unfortunately, mixed up with too many of the ordinary occupations of life. “Commerce itself,” said Mr. Coke of Norfolk, in one of his public harangues, “is become speculation; the objects of a whole life of industry and integrity among our forefathers, are now attempted to be obtained in as many weeks or months as it formerly required years to effect.” This fatal passion has, indeed, taken fast hold on a great body of the people, and what is called a “levanter” is perhaps a less rare occurrence from the corn-market, the hop-market, or “the alley,” than from the betting-ring or Tattersall’s. But we are told that betting—

“Though no science, fairly worth the seven,”—

is the life of racing, and that without it the turf would soon fall into decay. To a certain extent there may be some truth in this doctrine; nevertheless betting is the germ which gives birth to all the roguery that has of 238 late lowered this department of sport in the eyes of all honourable men. The Scripture phrase, in short, is now every day verified, the race not being to the swift, but to the horse on whom the largest sums stand in certain persons’ books. Indeed, it was not long since asserted by a well-known rider and owner of race-horses, deep in turf-secrets, that if Eclipse were here now, and in his very best form, but heavily backed to lose by certain influential bettors, he would have no more chance to win than if he had but the use of three of his legs. What, may we ask, must be the opinion of foreigners, when they read the uncontradicted statement of the “New Sporting Magazine,” that in the Derby stakes of 1832, when St. Giles was the winner, every horse in the race, save one (Perion), was supposed to have been made safe, i.e., safe not to win? By whom made safe? Not by their owners, for many of them were the property of noblemen and gentlemen of high personal character. The foul deed can only be perpetrated by the influence of vast sums of money employed in various ways upon the event—in short, where the owners stand clear, trainers or jockeys must combine with the parties concerned in the robbery. But what a stain upon the boasted pastime of English gentlemen! And then the result:—

“This yellow slave

Will knit and break religions; bless the accursed;

Make the hoar leprosy adored; place thieves,

And give them title, knee, and approbation,

With senators on the bench!”


But we may be told that racing—or rather betting on racing, supposed to be essential to its existence—cannot go on without what are called the “legs” (described by an old writer on sporting subjects as “the most unprincipled and abandoned set of thieves and harpies that ever disgraced civilized society”); and that pecuniary obligations are commonly discharged by them with as much integrity and despatch as by the most respectable persons in the commercial world. Undoubtedly they are; for if they fail to be so, the adventurer is driven from the ground on which he hopes to fatten. “I would give fifty thousand pounds for a bit of character,” said the old sinner Charteris; “for if I had that, I think I could make a plum of it;” and the rogues of our day, though not so witty, are quite as knowing as the venerable colonel.35

Woe befall the day when Englishmen look lightly on such desperate inroads upon public morals as have lately passed under their eyes on race-courses! Do they lose sight of the fact, that whoever commits a fraud is guilty, not only of the particular injury to him whom he deceives, but of the diminution of that confidence which constitutes the very existence of society? Can this familiarity with robbing and robbers be without its influence on a rising generation? We say it cannot; and if suffered to go on for twenty years 240 more, we venture to pronounce the most mischievous effects to all classes of society. Talk of jockey-club regulations! As well might Madame Vestris sit in judgment on short petticoats, or Lord Grey on the sin of nepotism, as a jockey-club attempt then to pass censure on offences which they must have suffered to grow before their faces,—if, indeed, they should have been so fortunate as all along to steer quite clear of them themselves.

But let us look a little into these practices. In the first place, what is it that guides the leading men in their betting? Is it a knowledge of the horse they back either to win or to lose? and is it his public running that directs their operations? We fear not. Three parts of them know no more of a horse than a horse knows of them; but it is from private information, purchased at a high price—at a price which ordinary virtue cannot withstand—that their books are made up. Again; how do the second class of bettors act? We reply—they bet upon men and not upon horses; for so soon as they can positively ascertain that certain persons stand heavy against any one horse, that horse has no chance to win, unless, as it sometimes happens, he is too strong for his jockey, or the nauseating ball has not had the desired effect. He runs in front, it is true, for he can run to win; but what is his fate? Why, like the hindmost wheel of the chariot, he is


Still to be near, but ne’er to reach the first.”


Unfortunately for speculators on the turf, the present enormous amount of a few of our principal sweepstakes renders it impossible to restrict the owners of race-horses from starting more than one animal in the same race. The nominations for the Derby, Oaks, &c., take place when the colts are but one year old; consequently, many of them die before the day of running, or, what is worse, prove good for nothing on trial. Thus, the aspirant to the honour of winning them enters several horses for the same stakes, and perhaps two of the number come to the post, as was the case with Mameluke and Glenartney for the Derby of 1827—an occasion when the race was not to the swift, but to the horse which stood best in the book; the losing horse, it is not disputed, could have won, had he been permitted to do so. By the laws of racing this practice is allowable,36 but it gives great cause for complaint, and opens a door for fraud. One of the heaviest bettors of the present day, who had backed Glenartney to a large amount, observed, that he should not have lamented his loss, had it not been clear that Glenartney could have won. A similar occurrence took place in 1832 for the same great race. Messrs. Gully and Ridsdale (confederates, and as such, allowed to do so) compromised to give the race to St. Giles, although doubtless Margrave could have won it. All outside bettors, as they are called—those not in the secret, as well as those not in the ring—are 242 of course put hors du combat by such proceedings; their opinion of horses, formed from their public running—the only honourable criterion—being sacrificed by this compromise. But we will go one point further. It is proceedings such as these that are too often the cause of gentlemen on the turf swerving from the straightforward course; men—true as the sun in all private transactions—allow themselves to deviate from the right path on a race-course, in revenge for what they deem to have been injustice. We could name several honourable and highly-minded gentlemen who have openly avowed this:—“Our money has been taken from us,” they have declared, “without our having a chance to keep it, and we will recover it in any way we can.” In truth, we are too much inclined to believe, that a modern Aristides has fearful odds against him on the English turf at the present time. Look, for example, at the sums paid for race-horses, which we think must open our eyes to the fact. Three thousand guineas are now given for a promising colt for the Derby stakes! But how stands this favourite? There are upwards of a hundred horses besides himself named for the stake; more than twenty will start for it; and if he wins it, it does not amount to much above his cost price. But the purchaser will back him to win it. Indeed! back him against such a field, several of which he knows have been running forward, and others of which have not appeared at all, and may be better than his own! No; these three-thousand-guinea horses are not bought 243 to win the Derby;—but the price makes them favourites—and then thousands are won by their losing it. We believe, however, this trick is now become too stale to succeed.

Then there is another system which cannot be too severely reprobated—namely, making a horse a favourite in the betting, and then selling him on the eve of a great play or pay race. We confess we could by no means understand “the white-washing,” as it was termed by Lord Uxbridge, that the late Mr. Beardsworth obtained by his explanation of an affair of this nature at Doncaster. The act of selling a horse under such circumstances to a duke would have been a culpable one; but what must be thought of “the merry sport” of placing him in the hands of a hell-keeper?37

One of the principal evils is the betting of trainers and jockeys. We may be asked, is there any harm in a trainer betting a few pounds on a horse he has in his stable, and which he thinks has a fair chance to win? Certainly not; and the old, and the only proper way of doing this was, to ask the owner of the horse to let him stand some part of his engagements,—a request that was never known to be refused. But then no trainer 244 had a person betting for him by commission, and perhaps against the very horses he himself was bringing to the post—reducing such bets to a certainty! The evil of trainers becoming bettors has no bounds; for when once they enter upon it, it is in vain to say to what extent the pursuit may lead them. Look to the case of Lord Exeter’s late trainer, examined before the Jockey Club. He admitted having betted three hundred pounds against one of his master’s horses. Was there any harm in that individual act? None: because he had previously betted largely that the horse would win, and he had recourse to the usual, indeed to the only, means of securing himself from loss on finding that he was going wrong. But we maintain, that he had no right, as Lord Exeter’s trainer and servant, to bet to an amount requiring such steps to be taken. Again; who betted the three hundred pounds hedging-money for him? Let those who inquired into the affair answer that! Now what security had Lord Exeter that all the money had not been laid out against his horse, and then, we may ask, where was his chance to win? Moreover, if trainers subject themselves to such heavy losses—for this man, it seems, had a large sum depending on the event—there is too much reason to fear they may be recovered at their masters’ expense.38


The heavy betting of jockeys is still more fatal to the best interests of the turf, and generally, we may add, to themselves. Why did the late king dismiss Robinson, the second best, if not, as in some people’s opinions, the best—in every one’s opinion the most successful—jockey in England? Not because he had done wrong by the king’s horses, but solely because his majesty heard he was worth a large sum of money. What did the great jockey of the north get by his heavy betting? Money, no doubt; but dismissal from the principal stud of the north. In fact, no gentleman can feel himself secure in the hands of either a trainer or a jockey who bets; but of the two, the system may be most destructive with the jockey, as no one besides himself need be in the secret. If he bet against his horse, the event is of course under his control; and such is the superiority of modern jockeyship, that a race can almost always be thrown away without detection. On the other hand, if he back his horse heavily to win, he becomes, from nervous trepidation, unfit to ride him, as has frequently been witnessed at Doncaster;—we need not mention names.

The first admission we have on record of a jockey betting against himself, is in “Genius Genuine,” page 106, where the author, the late Samuel Chifney (1784), rides Lord Grosvenor’s Fortitude, at York, against Faith and Recovery, backing Faith against Recovery, one win, or no bet, and Faith won. He adds, that he did not think he was acting improperly in making this bet, because, he says, he knew Fortitude was unfit to run. 246 Now, as he has given his opinion on the case, we will give ours. Let us suppose that Lord Grosvenor—thinking, perhaps, that his horse was fit to run—had backed him heavily to win, and that his jockey had backed (as he admits he did) Faith to win. Fortitude and Faith come to a neck-and-neck race; and what, may we ask, would be the result? Why, we really have not faith enough to believe that Fortitude would have won. Indeed, we can fancy we hear the jockey’s conversation with the inner man. “The money is nothing to my lord,” he might say, “but a great deal to me,” so one pull makes it safe; and a few pricks of the spur, after he has past the winning-post, serve to lull suspicion. To speak seriously—a jockey’s betting at all is bad enough, but his betting on any other horse in the race save his own is contrary to every principle, and fatal to the honour of the turf.

We have already alluded to one system of turf plunder, that of getting-up favourites, as the term is, by false trials and lies, for the sake of having them backed to win in the market, well knowing that all the money betted upon them must be lost. This is villanous; but what can be said to the poisoning system—the nauseating ball—we have reason to fear an every day occurrence, when a horse is placed under the master-key? This is a practice of some standing on the turf (see Chifney’s account of Creeper and Walnut, 1791), and was successfully carried on in the stables of the late Lord Foley, very early in the present century, when 247 one of the party was hanged for the offence. But people know better now, and the disgrace of the halter is avoided; no post mortem examination—no solution of arsenic. A little opiate ball given overnight, is all that is necessary to retard a horse in his race, but not prevent his starting. Winners of races are now not in request. A good favourite is the horse wanting, and there are many ways to prevent his winning—this among the rest.

There is one point more that we must touch on,—

“Disce, puer, virtutem ex me, verumque laborem,

Fortunam ex aliis,”

says Æneas to his son, when he advises him not to trust to her wanton smiles for achievement and success. It is quite certain that luck has very little to do with racing, and the man who trusts to it will find he is leaning on a broken staff. To the owner of a racing stud, who means to act uprightly, nothing but good management can insure success, and even with this he has fearful odds against him, so many striving for the same prize. His horses must be well-bred, well-reared, well-engaged, well-trained, well-weighted, and well-ridden—nothing else will succeed in the long run. Still less has luck to do with betting. The speculator on other people’s horses can only succeed by the help of one or the other of these expedients—namely, great knowledge of horseflesh and astute observation of public running, deep calculation, or secret fraud; and that the last-mentioned resource is the base upon which many large fortunes have in our day been built, no man will be 248 bold enough to deny. How many fine domains have been shared amongst those hosts of rapacious sharks, during the last two hundred years! and, unless the system be altered, how many more are doomed to fall into the same gulph! For, we lament to say, the evil has increased: all heretofore, indeed, has been “tarts and cheese-cakes,” to the villanous proceedings of the last twenty years on the English turf. “Strange! But how is it that exposures39 are not oftener made?” This 249 question is very easily answered. It is the value of the prize that tempts the pirate; and the extent of the plunder is now so great, that secresy is purchased at any price.

But shutting our eyes to this ill-featured picture, and imagining everything to be honourably conducted, let us just take a glance at the present system of betting, and, setting aside mathematical demonstrations applicable only where chances are equal, state the general method of what is called “making a book.” The first object of the betting man is to purchase cheaply, and to sell dearly; and, next to secure himself by hedging, so that he cannot lose, if he do not win. This, however, it is evident, will not satisfy him, and he seeks for an opportunity of making himself a winner, without the chance of being a loser; which is done by what is called betting round. For example: if twenty horses start in a race, and A bets 10 to 1 against each, he must win 9, as he receives 19, and only pays 10; namely—10 to 1 to the winning horse. This, of course, can rarely be done, because it might not occur in a hundred years that all the horses were at such equal odds. Nevertheless, it is quite evident, that if, when a certain number of horses start, A bets against all, taking care that he does not bet a higher sum against any one horse that may win, than would be covered by his winnings by the others which lose, he must win. Let us, then, suppose A beginning to make his Derby book at the commencement of the new year. B bets him 250 (about the usual odds) 20 to 1 against an outsider, which A takes in hundreds, viz., 2000 to 100. The outsider improves; he comes out in the spring, and wins a race, and the odds drop to 10 to 1. A bets 1000 to 100 against him. He is now on velvet; he cannot lose, and may win 1000. In fact, he has one thousand pounds in hand to play with, which the alteration of the odds has given him. But mark, he is only playing with it; he may never pocket it: so he acts thus. The outsider—we will call him Repealer—comes out again, wins another race, and the odds are only 5 to 1 against him. A bets 500 to 100 more against him; and let us now see how he stands.

If Repealer wins, A receives from B £2000
He pays to C £1000
Ditto to D 500
—— £1500
Balance in A’s favour by Repealer winning £500
If Repealer loses—A receives from C £100
Ditto from D 100
A pays B £100—Deduct 100
Balance in A’s favour by Repealer losing £100

But is there no contingency here? Yes, the colt might have died before A had hedged, and then he must have paid his one hundred pounds; but, on the other hand, he would have been out of the field, which 251 might have been worth all the money to him, in his deeper speculations on other horses. But let us suppose our colt to have remained at the original odds, viz., 20 to 1. In that case, A must have betted 2000 to 100 against him, and then no harm would have arisen.

In what is called making a book on a race, it is evident that the bettor must be early in the market, taking and betting the odds for and against each horse: for backing a favourite to win is not his system. His chief object is to take long odds against such horses as he fancies, and then await the turn of the market, when he sells dearly what he has purchased cheaply. For example, how often does it happen that 12 to 1 is the betting against a horse two months before his race, and before he starts it is only 4 to 1? If the bettor has taken 1200 to 100 against him, and then bets 400 to 100 the other way, he risks nothing, but has a chance to win 800. It is by this system of betting that it often becomes a matter of indifference to a man which horse wins, his money being so divided amongst them all. In fact, what is called an outsider is often the best winner for him, as in that case he pockets all the bets he has made against those horses which gentlemen and their friends have fancied. There is, however, too often what is called “the book-horse” in some of the great races, in which more than one party are concerned. What the term “book-horse” implies, we need not explain further than by saying, that it would signify 252 little were he really a book, and not a horse:—the animal with the best blood in England in his veins, and the best jockey on his back, shall have no more chance to win, if backed heavily to lose, than a jackass.

Yet this evil is likely to cure itself; and we cannot more clearly point out the remedy than by extracting the following passage from the June number of the “New Sporting Magazine” for the year 1836. “The settling-day (for the Epsom Meeting) on the 24th of May, passed off worse than any settling-day within our recollection. There was less money forthcoming than ever was known; and one noble lord, a book-winner of ten thousand pounds, was only able to draw three thousand pounds; while others actually went prepared to pay, whereas they ought to have been large winners. We are happy to add that the black-leg fraternity were the heavy losers, and upon the old proverb of ‘ex nihilo nihil fit,’ no better settling could be expected. Until gentlemen and men of reputation separate themselves from such unworthy associates, betting and book-making must continue a mere farce.”

As we well know that a huge fortune was made in the betting ring by a certain person now deceased, who could neither read nor write, and that one of the heaviest bettors of the present day is in the same state of blessed ignorance,40 we may safely conclude, that if 253 these two persons ever heard of fractional arithmetic, they could know no more of it than of the division of logarithms. Nevertheless, the probability of events can only be found by such help: and even then, as far as racing is concerned, although the adept in this part of the mathematician’s art may be able to ascertain the precise odds that may be given or received, so as to provide against loss, yet he will find that, to be certain to win, advantage must be taken of all chances more favourable than the precise odds. In fact, it will be by advantageous bets on particular events, that he will have a balance in his favour at the winding-up of his book, and it would avail him little to work for no profit. The main point, however, on which it is indispensably necessary to keep the eye in betting, is, in a series of different events, the exact odds to be readily had on every individual event; and having made a round of these engagements, as opinion fluctuates, opportunities will offer themselves where great advantage may be gained.


It is on a plurality of events that figures must be resorted to, the chances on which must be put to the test of arithmetical solution. As everything may be understood which man is permitted to know, a few lessons from the schoolmaster will furnish this; and we now give the following simple examples, which are easily understood, and generally applicable. And let us add, that, to a betting man, who speculates largely, the difference of half a point in the precise odds may win or lose a large fortune in the course of a few years.

Examples.—Two horses are about to start. The betting on one is even, and the odds on the other is 6 to 4. What odds must B bet A that he does not name both the winners? The expression for the former is 1/2, and for the latter 6/10; but 6/10 is equal to 3/5, therefore say—

1/2 × 3/5 = 3/10; and 10 - 3 = 7:

hence the odds are 7 to 3. B, therefore, lays A 7 to 3 that he does not name both winners, and then hedges as follows:—As three pounds is the sum to which he has staked his seven pounds, he lays that sum even that A wins; and on the other event he lays 6 to 4 (the odds in the example) the same way. Now A wins both, and receives of B seven pounds; but B wins three pounds on the former by hedging, and four pounds on the latter, which is equal to what he has lost to A. It is here obvious, that had B, in hedging, been enabled 255 to have made better bets—for instance, could he have done better than by taking an even three pounds on the first event, and had greater odds than 6 to 4 on the latter, he might have won, but could not have lost.

On the same two events, what odds may B lay A that the latter does not lose both? Set down for the former 1/2, and the latter will now be 4/10; but 4/10 is equal to 2/5; therefore, it will be—

1/2 × 2/5 = 2/10; and 10 - 2 = 8:

hence the odds are 8 to 2 = 4 to 1.

Proof by Hedging.—B begins to hedge by betting an even one pound on the first event, which, A winning, he wins. On the subsequent event, B takes the odds, 3 to 2, which, A winning, he also wins. Thus he receives four pounds, which pays the 4 to 1 he betted on A losing both events.

Upon two several events, even betting on the one, and 7 to 4 in favour of A on the other; what odds may B lay against A winning both? The one, as before, is 1/2, and the other is represented by 7/11:

Then 1/2 × 7/11 = 7/22; and 22 - 7 = 15:

thus 15 to 7 is the odds.

Proof by Hedging.—The sum against which B laid his odds is 7; therefore he begins by laying seven pounds on the first event; which, as A wins, he wins. 256 On the next event he lays 14 to 8, or twice 7 to twice 4, as per terms of question, which he also wins; making together 7 and 8 = 15, the odds he had laid with, and lost to A.

Upon the same two events, what odds may B bet A that the latter does not lose both? Set down for the former 1/2, for the latter 4/11:

Then 1/2 × 4/11 = 4/22; and 22 ~ 4 = 18:

therefore 18 to 4 = 9 to 2 is the odds.

Proof by Hedging.—B bets first the sum to which he has laid his odds, namely, two pounds, which he wins; and then taking 7 to 4 on the second event, he wins 2 + 7 = 9, which pays the nine pounds he lost to A; and had more favourable odds been offered, B must have been a winner without risk of losing.

When three distinct events are pending, on the first of which the betting is even; on the second 3 to 2 in favour of A, and the third 5 to 4; what odds should B lay A that the latter does not name all the winners? The first is expressed by 1/2, the second by 3/5, and the third by 5/9:

Therefore, 1/2 × 3/5 × 5/9 = (by cancelling) 1/6; and 6 - 1 = 5:

hence the odds are 5 to 1.

Proof by Hedging.—B begins to hedge by betting an even two pounds that A wins the first event; he then bets the odds on the next, viz. (3 to 2) ÷ 2 = 1½ 257 to 1. B also bets the odds on the third event, viz. (5 to 4) ÷ 2 = 2½ to 2. Now A wins all three; therefore, B wins 24 + 1 + 2 = 5l., which pays what he lost to A. The odds that A did not lose these three events would be 41 to 4.

We now dismiss this subject, with no probability of our ever returning to it. Although the perusal of Xenophon might have made Scipio a hero, we have not the slightest intention of manufacturing jockeys by any effort of our pen; and yet we wish we had touched on these matters sooner. But why so? Is it that we would rather have been Livy, to have written on the grandeur of Rome, than Tacitus on its ill-fated decline? It may be so; for we are loth to chronicle, in any department, our country’s dispraise; but we are not without the reflection, that we might have done something towards preventing the evils we have had to deplore, by exposing the manner in which they have accumulated and thriven. That there are objections to racing, we do not deny, as, indeed, there are to most of the sports which have been invented for the amusement of mankind, and few of which can gratify pure benevolence; but, when honourably conducted, we consider the turf as not more objectionable than most others, and it has one advantage over almost all now in any measure of fashionable repute:—it diffuses its pleasures far and wide. The owner of race-horses cannot gratify his passion for the turf without affording delight to thousands upon thousands of the less fortunate of his 258 countrymen. This is no trivial feature in the case, now that shooting is divided between the lordly battue and the prowl of the poacher,—and that fox-hunting is every day becoming more and more a piece of exclusive luxury, instead of furnishing the lord, the squire, and the yeoman, with a common recreation, and promoting mutual goodwill among all the inhabitants of the rural district.

jockey mounted on tired horse, talking to groom

1 Some time after this the Duke of Buckingham’s Helmsley Turk, and the Morocco Barb, were brought to England, and greatly improved the native breed.

2 The reigns of King William, Queen Anne, and George I. and II., are remarkable in the annals of the turf, as having been the days of the noted Tregonwell Frampton, Esq., a gentleman of family and fortune in the west of England, Master of the Horse during all the above-mentioned reigns; who had a house at Newmarket; was a heavy bettor; and, if not belied, a great rogue. The horrible charge against him, however, respecting his qualifying his horse, Dragon, for the race, by a violent outrage upon humanity, and alluded to by Dr. Hawksworth in the “Elysium of Beasts,” is supposed to be unfounded.

3 See a list of prices in June (1836) number of “The New Sporting Magazine.

4 Tranby, it will be recollected, performed the hitherto unrivalled feat of carrying Mr. Osbaldeston sixteen miles in thirty-three minutes and fifteen seconds, in his wonderful match against time, over Newmarket course, last October twelve months. The time of each four-mile heat was as follows:—

Heats. Min. Sec.
1st 8 10
2nd 8
3rd 8 15
4th 8 50

5 It is proper to remark, that the withdrawing the royal stud was compensated by additional King’s Plates, and by his Majesty’s present to the Jockey Club of the splendid challenge-prize—the Eclipse Foot, still in Mr. Batson’s keeping.

6 Although other places claim precedence over Newmarket as the early scenes of public horse-racing, it is nevertheless the metropolis of the turf, and the only place in this island where there are more than two race-meetings in the year. It does not appear that races took place there previously to Charles the Second’s time; but Simon d’Ewes, in his “Journal,” speaks of a horse-race near Linton, Cambridgeshire, in the reign of James I., at which town most of the company slept on the night of the race.

7 Great improvements have from time to time been effected on Newmarket heath, but particularly within the last twenty years, by the exertions of the Duke of Portland and Lord Lowther. These have been chiefly accomplished by manuring, sheep-folding, and paring and burning, by which means a better sort of covering to the surface has been procured; and likewise by destroying the tracts of old roads, particularly on that part called the Flat, which is undoubtedly the best racing ground in the world.

8 We are sorry to have to state that a reverse of fortune has been the lot of both the Chifneys and that these houses are in the hands of their creditors.

9 Scott’s “Field Sports”.

10 The uninitiated in these matters are not perhaps aware, that horses are often matched at Newmarket for large sums, though with the certainty of losing, merely for the advantage of a trial with a good horse.

11 Nimrod. Vide “Old Sporting Magazine,” vol. xiv., No. 81, June, 1824; also, “New Sporting Magazine,” vol. iii., No. 13, May, 1832.

12 “Music has charms!”

13 This eminent jockey died in November, 1836, at Newmarket, in his thirty-ninth year, with a character quite free from reproach.

14 This is still the case at Newmarket. No trainer will take a boy that offers himself until his late master has been consulted.

15 Arnull died at the age of 62; Pitzpatrick at 42, from a cold taken in wasting.

16 He does not live unhappily, who lives sparingly.

17 Francis Buckle always insisted on John Bull having been the best horse, and Violante the best mare he ever rode over a course.

18 The grandfather of Mr. Stevens, the trainer, late of Bourton-on-the-Hill, but now of Ilsley, Berkshire,—where, perhaps, is the best ground in England for his purpose,—trained those celebrated horses.

19 The celebrated Eleanor, in 1801.

20 Dash carried six stone seven pounds, Sir Peter nine stone.

21 It is remarkable that both Champion and Hambletonian had a hip down.

22 In his book “Genius Genuine,” published in 1804; “Sold for the Author, 232 Piccadilly, and nowhere else,” as saith the title-page. Price 5l.!

23 His grace has a capital two-year old this year in his stable—by Voltaire out of Matilda.

24 Priam has been purchased of his lordship for America, at the hitherto unheard-of price for a stud-horse, of three thousand five hundred guineas!

25 The following most extraordinary accident happened here some years back. A colt called Hairbreadth, by Escape, the property of the late Mr. Lockley, bolted over the ropes, and coming in contact with an officer of dragoons, Sir John Miller, who was on horseback, was killed by the peak of the helmet entering his skull when on the head of the baronet, who escaped with trifling injury!

26 The Eaton stud now cuts but a poor figure on the far-famed Roodee, as indeed, Touchstone excepted, on most other courses. Mr. Clifton is no more, but his memory will live at Chester for many years to come. Lord Stamford and his Sir Olivers have deserted it. Sir Watkin William Wynn has not a race-horse; Mr. Mytton, one of the greatest supporters of this meeting, is dead. Sir Thomas Stanley is no longer “cock of the walk;” nor can Sir George Pigot run second. The Lord Derby is no more; and although (scripsisse pudet) parson Nanney stands his ground, Sir James Boswell, Messrs. Houldsworth, Giffard, Walker, Mostyn, and a few more fresh competitors of the new school, have lately carried most of the northwest-country honours.

27 It will be observed that the above was written in the year 1833, when Mr. Sadler’s Dangerous was a favourite for the Derby stakes, which he won.

28 An amendment in these matters is already apparent. The eyes of noblemen and gentlemen have been opened to certain proceedings, and the turf is evidently in a more healthy state than it was when these papers first appeared in the “Quarterly Review.”

29 He won eleven king’s plates, carrying twelve stone in all but one; was never beaten; and always ridden without whip or spurs. He died, 27th of February, 1789. The “manor-bowl” is still a prize, and was won at the last meeting by a horse belonging to Mr. Stevens the trainer, at Isley, Berkshire.

30 We recommend the uninitiated, who wish to have some notion of a steeple-chace, to study an admirable set of prints on that subject lately published, after drawings by the Hogarth of the chace, Mr. Alken.

31 There are two “Sporting Magazines” now published in America, one at Stockholm and Paris, and one in the East Indies (called the “Oriental Sporting Magazine”). A king’s plate is also now given by William IV., of England, to be run over the Three Rivers course, in Canada.

32 Aix-la-Chapelle, Aurillac, Blois, Bordeaux, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Bruxelles, Chantilly, Compiegne, Jouy (au clocher), Liege, Limoges, Maisons-sur-Seine, Moulins, Namur, Nanci, Nantes, Paris, Pir (le), St. Brieux, St. Josse-te-Noode, St. Trond, Spa, Tarbes, Versailles.

33 A full account of the proceedings of the French and Belgic turf will be found in Nimrod’s “French Tour,” in the “New Sporting Magazine” for the months of July and September, 1836.

34 Baron Biel has at present the following stud-horses:—Varro, brother to Emilius; Predictor; the brother to Interpreter; the General; and Joceline, by Catton, out of General Mina’s dam.

35 The word “rogue” is obsolete on the modern turf; the term “clever man” has superseded it.

36 Lord Jersey declared to win with Mameluke, according to the rules of racing.

37 The racing world remember Mr. Watt’s honourable conduct on this point, when offered a large price for Belzoni, a great favourite for the St. Leger. “No,” said he, “my horse is at present the property of the public.” It is stated in the “Old Sporting Magazine,” for December, 1835, p. 157—and uncontradicted—that Mr. Mostyn had an offer made to him for the Queen of Trumps, on the day previous to her winning the St. Leger stakes, at Doncaster, of seven thousand pounds!

38 This trainer sued a public betting man this last year for three thousand pounds—on a bill given the June or July after the Derby, which the latter won—and in which the former had a great public favourite, who was nowhere in the race!

39 A very proper notice has been taken by the members of the Irish Turf Club, respecting an alleged attempt at fraud on the part of Mr. Ruthven, a member of the Reformed Parliament, and here a reformer on principle. The charge against him was, that of his having ran two horses in Ireland under false names and ages, thereby pocketing large sums of money; and the following was the decision of the stewards, the Honourable John Westenra, John Maher, Esq., and the Earl of Howth, after a long and laborious investigation:—“Having most carefully examined the evidence produced before us, we are of opinion, that, in reference to Leinster and Old Bill, as also to Caroline and Becacine, a case of identity has been proved; and we consider Mr. Ruthven’s refusal to produce those horses for examination here, as conclusive of the facts of substitution alleged against him.

“We are therefore of opinion, that neither Caroline nor Leinster are entitled to any stakes on the races for which they have come in first; that the second horses in those races should be deemed the winners; and that the bets should go accordingly, except in the match between Caroline and Fusileer, in which the bets are off.

“In conclusion, we feel imperatively called upon to remark that, in consequence of Mr. Ruthven’s withdrawal of his name from the Turf Club, it does not become a part of our painful duty to recommend to the Club any further proceedings in this matter.


“John C. Westenra.
John Maher.

A full account of Ruthven’s affair is to be seen in the March number of the “New Sporting Magazine,” 1836, p. 326.

40 We have here, perhaps, the only instance of palpable arithmetic in these days; still it is truly characteristic. The ancient Greeks kept their accounts by the means of pebbles, and so does this modern Athenian, shifting them from pocket to pocket as events come off; and, although a very heavy bettor in the Newmarket ring, he is generally correct. Perhaps he may have been indebted, for this clever expedient, to some learned Cantab, who may have told him, on the authority of Diogenes Laertius, that the bestowing on pebbles an artificial value was even older than Solon, the great reformer of the Athenian commonwealth. Eschines, in his oration for the crown, indeed, speaking of ballanced accounts, says, “the pebbles were cleared away, and none left;” and his rival, Demosthenes, strikes his balance by the help of counters. Hence the origin of the word calculate, from calculus, a pebble; and in popular language of the present day, to clear scores, is to settle accounts.

Notes and Corrections: The Turf

“The Turf” originally appeared, in slightly different form, as Article IV in The Quarterly Review vol. XLIX no. XCVII (vol. 49, no. 117, July 1833), pg. 381-449. The associated book title is A Treatise on the Care, Treatment, and Training of the English Race-horse. By R. Darvill, V.S. 7th Hussars. London. 8vo. 1832.

The author simply adores Buckle’s phrase “the good things at Newmarket”, quoting it at least five times in the course of the article.

[116] The want of stirrups alone must have been a terrible want.
[Awkward wording, but this is really true. Stirrups existed in Asia for centuries or even millennia before the concept reached Europe.]

[120] John was a renowned sportsman
text has sportsmen

[122] both the maximum and minimum of what the horses carried
text has caried

a silver and gilt cup and cover
text has guilt
[Corrected from Quarterly Review.]

[128] The First October, on the first Monday in that month; the Second October, on the Monday fortnight following, instituted 1762; and the Third October, or Houghton, a fortnight afterwards, instituted 1770.
[If the Third is to take place on a Monday, then four years out of seven it would end up as the First November. Seven out of seven, if it is to last a week.]

[132] and affording every convenience.
text has , for .

[136] Eight drachms of Barbadoes aloes
[Or, as we say in the vernacular, one ounce of aloe vera.]

[137] Some nonsense has been written by the author of a late work
[It can’t be all that late; the second edition of Scott’s Field Sports came out in 1820. In full: British Field Sports: Embracing Practical Instruction in Shooting, Hunting, Coursing, Racing, Cocking, Fishing, etc. by William Henry Scott, pseudonym of John Lawrence (1753–1839). Another pseudonym was “Bonington Moubray”, which I dimly recall from the sources of Beeton’s Book of Household Management. One of Lawrence’s particular concerns was the humane treatment of animals, so I suspect modern authorities might not agree with the “nonsense” descriptor.]

[145] What the Greeks said of Fabricius
[Quarterly Review has “Greek”, singular. Query: Why were one or more Greeks saying anything at all about someone with an obviously Latin name? Answer: It’s got something to do with the Pyrrhic wars of 280-275 BC, when southern Italy still had extensive Greek colonies. I don’t know if there’s a locus classicus; I find this in an early translation of Lives of the Illustrious Romans (De viris illustribus urbis Romae) by the 4th-century historian Sextus Aurelius Victor:

The year after the victorious Romans had driven Pyrrhus to Tarentum Fabricius was sent General against him; he had been formerly Embassador to Pyrrhus, and tho he was proffer’d a fourth part of his Kingdom, would not be brib’d from his Honesty. When he and the King encamp’d near one another, Pyrrhus’s Physician came to him by night, promising to poison his Prince, if he would reward him accordingly; Fabricius, detesting the Fact, commanded him to be bound, and carried back, that his Lord might know what this Traitor had design’d against his Life. In admiration of which generous Action the King is reported to have said; This is that Fabricius, whose Integrity ’tis harder to corrupt, than to turn the Sun from its Course. ]

[146] Buckle . . . commenced riding exercise at a very early age
[In May of 1783, Francis Buckle (1766–1832) was not quite seventeen. His stated weight of “one pound short of four stone” (55 pounds) doesn’t seem awfully probable, though, given his later weight of seven stone eleven (109 pounds).]

[147] his little peculiarities are noticed in rather an amusing style
[If he does say so himself, since the footnote seems to say that the biographical sketch was written by Nimrod.]

[158] as painted by Holcroft
[Thomas Holcroft (1745–1809): playwright, novelist and assorted other literary achievements. The book is Memoirs of the late Thomas Holcroft, Written by Himself, and Continued to the Time of his Death from his Diary, Notes, and Other Papers, in three volumes. Only the first seventeen chapters—half of Volume I—were written by Holcroft himself. The remainder was compiled by William Hazlitt (1778–1830) after Holcroft’s death.]

[160] was in want of, but just then found it difficult to procure, a stable-boy
, missing
[Comma after “of” supplied from Quarterly Review.]

[173] the Duke of Cumberland, great uncle to his present majesty
[Counting backward: great-uncle of the current king, William IV; uncle of William’s father, George III; brother of George’s father, Frederick, Prince of Wales; younger son of George II. That gets us to William, Duke of Cumberland (1721–1765), best known for assorted military achievements.]

[178] We have his lordship, indeed, before us this moment
text has monent

[181] I think I’ll ride him myself;”
close quote missing

[185] a strain of the justly celebrated Prunella.
text has , for .

[189] he of course had several trainers and as many jockeys
[As many as what? Stylistic purists gripe at locutions like “two times in as many days”; this may be even worse.]

The late Duke of York
[Frederick, second son of George III, predeceased his brother George IV. If he had had children, the royal succession after 1830 would have been very different. But he and his wife Frederica (really) couldn’t stand each other, separating within a few years. At least two different books on this site have occasion to mention Oatlands, where Frederica—and her dogs—spent the last quarter-century of her life.]

[190] good humoured, unsuspecting, and confiding; qualifications, however creditable to human nature, ill fitted for a race-course
[Probably ill fitted for a monarch, too, so in the end it all worked out.]

[194] He won the Derby with Cadland (whom he bred)
text has whom be bred

[197] the legitimate end of racing—the improvement of the breed of horses
[This seems a bit recursive. We race horses in order to produce better racehorses?]

[198] The late Earl of Burlington (Lord George Cavendish)
[George Cavendish (1754–1834) was the third son of the Duke of Devonshire, hence the Lord Firstname. Late in life he was created Earl of Burlington, a title previously held by his mother’s father, who died sonless in 1753. At the same time he was made Baron Cavendish of Keighley, thereby making a secondary title available for future earls’ heirs to use.]

[201] Of Newmarket viscounts we muster more
[Is he going to continue all the way down the peerage, winding up with Newmarket barons?]

[203] Our noble barons . . . . Of honourables . . . . two Newmarket baronets
[I thought I was kidding when I speculated about running through the peerage. In 1837, there was still some correlation between rank and wealth. Lots of Dukes, whether royal or hereditary, could afford a racing stable; not quite so many Marquesses; still fewer Earls; and so on.]

[204] thus reversing the proverb
[I hope our author is not implying that the General is lucky, but dishonest.]

[208] the only one who has the courage to face Newmarket, which he does
[Comma supplied from Quarterly Review.]

[215] They are off again!
[Paragraph break added to accommodate the illustration.]

and to observe the places their favourites have gotten
text has favourities

[216] the October Meeting is of minor importance.
text has , for .

[217] Ascot also stands in the foremost rank of country races.
[Ascot is, I believe, one of the last places on earth where women are expected to wear hats.]

[210] the evil having lasted long, the good can’t be far off.”
close quote missing

[222] our turf proceedings must make foreigners marvel
text has must take
[Corrected from Quarterly Review.]

[227] gentlemen alone were allowed to ride
[Although it obviously isn’t what he meant, I had to look it up. A generation before “The Turf”, Mrs Alicia Thornton (b. 1782) rode in a few races, notably in 1805 when she beat Frank Buckle. Other than that, female jockeys would not be a regular sight until the late 20th century.]

[229] a stakes, called the Oats stakes, to which each subscriber contributes five bolls
[Today I Learned . . . that a boll—no relation to other senses of the word, such as “cotton boll”—is a Scottish measure of grain, equivalent to six imperial bushels. Five of them would be a hair over one cubic meter. Of oats, I assume.]

In the East Indies there are regular meetings in the three different presidencies
[Calcutta, Madras and Bombay (today’s Kolkota, Chennai and Mumbai).]

[230] who would look for racing in good form at Van Diemen’s Land
[Now Tasmania.]

[231] a strong penchant for the sport in the heir-apparent to the throne
[Louis Philippe had at least five sons who survived to adulthood. (Also a great many daughters but, this being France, they didn’t count.) The first-born would die in 1842, predeceasing his father. Thanks to assorted revolutions in 1848 and later, none of the others ever reigned. Incidentally, the multi-page chunk beginning “Until lately France made very little progress” and ending “three thousand five hundred guineas!” was added for the book.]

[238] “This yellow slave
[Timon of Athens. Is the reader expected to recognize it?]

[239] described by an old writer on sporting subjects as “the most unprincipled and abandoned set of thieves
text has “as the with misplaced quotation mark
[Corrected from Quarterly Review.]

[240] As well might Madame Vestris sit in judgment on short petticoats
[Madame Vestris (1797–1856), born Lucia Elizabeth Bartolozzi, English actress and operatic contralto, was especially known for “breeches roles”.]

[247-248] no man will be bold enough to deny.
text has , for .

[249] But shutting our eyes to this ill-featured picture
text has shutting, with superfluous comma

[256] Therefore, 1/2 × 3/5 × 5/9 = (by cancelling) 1/6
text has 3/5 ± 5/9
[Corrected from Quarterly Review. Did the printer run out of × signs and hope nobody would notice?]

[257] We now dismiss this subject, with no probability of our ever returning to it.
[I see what you did there.]

[1] improved the native breed.
. missing

[2] Tregonwell Frampton . . . . alluded to by Dr. Hawksworth in the “Elysium of Beasts”
[Various antiquarian booksellers offer a portrait of Mr. Frampton, with caption that points to the source of our author’s story. In full:

“This extraordinary character was born in the Reign of King Charles the First, when the Sports of Horse Racing commenced at Newmarket, and he was owner of the celebrated Horse Dragon, whose Portrait appears in a Frame in the Back Ground. The most remarkable event in the lives of this Gentleman & his Horse Dragon, is most pathetically depicted by Dr. John Hawkesworth (in No. 37 of the Adventurer) in the following words, supposed to be spoken by the Horse in the Elysium of Beasts and Birds. ‘It is true,’ replied the Steed, ‘I was a favourite: but what avails it to be the favourite of caprice, avarice, and barbarity. My tyrant was a Man who had gained a considerable fortune by play, particularly by racing. I had won him many large sums, but being at length excepted out of every match, as having no equal, he regarded even my excellence with malignity, when it was no longer subservient to his interest. Yet I still lived in ease and plenty; and as he was able to sell even my pleasures, though my labour was become useless, I had a seraglio in which there was a perpetual succession of new beauties. At last, however, another competitor appeared. I enjoyed a new triumph by anticipation; I rushed into the field, panting for the conquest; and the first heat I put my master in possession of the stakes, which amounted to 1000 guineas. Mr. —— the proprietor of the mare that I had distanced, notwithstanding this disgrace, declared with great zeal, that she should run the next day against any gelding in the world for double the sum: my master immediately accepted the challenge, and told him, that he would the next day produce a gelding that should beat her: but what was my astonishment and indignation, when I discovered that he most cruelly and fraudulently intended to qualify me for this match upon the spot: and to sacrifice my life at the very moment in which every nerve should be strained in his service. As I knew it would be in vain to resist, I suffered myself to be bound: the operation was performed, and I was instantly mounted and spurred on to the goal. Injured as I was, the love of glory was still superior to the desire of revenge: I determined to die as I had lived, without an equal; and having again won the race, I sunk down at the post in an agony, which soon after put an end to my life.” ]

[3] June (1836) number of “The New Sporting Magazine.”
final . missing or invisible

[26] although (scripsisse pudet) parson Nanney stands his ground
[“I am ashamed to have written it.” If Parson Nanney isn’t ashamed to have done it, I don’t see why the author should be ashamed to write it.]

[39] neither Caroline nor Leinster are entitled to any stakes
text has Lenister

[40] Eschines . . . speaking of ballanced accounts
spelling unchanged

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.