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for destroying them, when very offensive, yet none when gentlemen stock the country again, which is the case, on purpose to renew their savage amusement. There are many ways surely of using manly exercise, at least as healthful and far more innocent, and less expensive and dangerous, thao galloping over hedges, gates and ditches. If the manliness of the action lie in the risk you run of breaking your neck for no end, it would still be greater mauliness to jump down a precipice. The destruction of an animal is esteemed amusement! strange perversion of feeling! There are persons who take delight in knocking down an ox: if hunting be a more genteel amusement it is certainly a more cruel one,
. Detested sport! that owes it's pleasure to another's pain! that feeds upon the sobs, and dying shrieks
of harmless nature !-Cowper. Those practices, barbarous enough to be derived from the Goths, or even the Sythians, are encouraged, in some instances, even by Ladies, and the compliment passed by our huntsmen on those of quality who are present, is truly savage. The knife is put in. to the lady's hand to cut the throat of an exhausted, helpless, trembling, weeping creature.
After referring to this practice, Mr. Ritson, adds, 66 The tender feelings of these elegant fair-ones, neyer induce them, it seems, to reject this office They contemplate, with equal satisfaction, the poor heron, with it's wings and legs broken, and it's bill stuck in the ground, a living prey to the savage hawk. “Ladies of quality,” quotha ? rather Gorgons and Furies !”
What glory, what emolument is gained by persecutions so mean, where the completion is so unequal
that the most pony and base of the human kind can bear away the prize ?
The reverend sportsman, instead of slaying the innocent and peaceful tenants of the fields and woods, ought to declaim against such inhumanity and murder in the pulpit, and practice the doctrine himself; but how can this be expected when many hundred thousand lives have been sacrificed in contentions concerning the tenets of christianity ? Oh, laugh or mourn with me the rueful jest, a cassock'd huntsman ! He takes the field. The master of the pack cries, “Well done, saint!” and claps him on the back. Is this the path of sanctity? Is this to stand a way-mark in the road to bliss ?-Cowper.
Lord Chesterfield says, Letter 262, that "the French manner of hunting is gentleman-like; our's is only for bumpkins and boobies. The poor beasts are here pursued and run down by much greater beasts than themselves; and the true British fox.. hunter is most undoubtedly a species appropriated and peculiar to this country, which no other part of the globe produces.”
There are many who quiet the dictates of con. science, by alleging, that " They prefer the business of hunting and shooting, for the sake of exercise, and not for the pleasure of pursuing and destroying animals.” The pretence is fallacious, because the exercise of riding may be taken without hunting ; and the exercise of walking without shooting. How much superior are the amusements of gardening and agriculture, and how much more innocent are the diversions of bowls, cricket, fives, and such like gym. nastics!
Much, has been said respecting the propensity of
dogs to pursue and kill various kinds of animals and birds; but it is evident that no natural propensity of this kind exists; this is evinced by the accidental friendships between animals intended by man to be at enmity. Dogs are capable of being trained to as. sist men in their savage sports, and their different qualities and shapes, fit them for particular purpo. ses of that kind. A dog after being taught to fetch and carry becomes as passionately fond of that exercise as any dog ever did of hunting, and yet nobody undertakes to say that providence made any dog on purpose to fetch and carry. A person, with whom the compiler was acquainted, had a young beagle, which he restrained from following the pack, in or. der to ascertain the truth of what he had frequently heard asserted, that that species had a natural pro. pensity to pursue and kill hares. After the dog was completely grown up, he took a young hare and con. fined them together in a room. For some time they kept as far as possible assunder, but, afterwards, a familiarity and friendship gradually took place.
The practice of agriculture softens the human heart, and promotes the love of peace, of justice and of nature. The excesses of hunting, on the contrary, irritate the baneful passions of the soul; her vagabond votaries delight in blood, in rapine, and devastation. From the wandering tribes of Tartars, the demons of massacre and havoc, have selected their Tamer. lanes and their Attilas, and have poured forth their swarms of barbarians to desolate the earth.-Oswald.
Men of refined understanding are never addicted to this vice, and women who delight in the butchery of the chase, should unsex themselves, and be regarded as monsters.
This brutal pleasure claims, as a sacrifice to the
impious crime of ingratitude, the tender body of the timorous stag. Why does he not enjoy the same privilege of the inoffensive sheep, whose death is procured with much less pain and torment by the expeditious knife? Why is this trepidating, timorous, weeping, half-humanized animal, selected to procure, by agonizing pain, testified by, almost human tears, joy to hearts which should possess superior sympathy as well as superior dignity. Whence is it that the human heart can be so perverted and unnatural, as to receive emotions of pleasure from causes of pity; repay tears, with slaughter; shrieks of pain with ac. clamations of joy ; duration of misery, with the ex. pectation of hope; and the relief of torment by death?
The kings of England seem to have been celebrated hunters. By this sport, one of them, and the son of another, lost their lives. James 1, according to Scaliger," was merciful, except at the chase; he was then cruel, and very angry, when he could not catch the stag. When he had him, he would put his arm entire into the belly and entrails of the beast."
66 The hunt, on Tuesday last, commenced near Salthill, and afforded a chace of upwards of fifty-miles. His Majesty was present at the death, near Iring, in Hertfordshire. It is the first deer that has been run to death for many months; and when opened, it's heart strings were found to be quite rent; supposed to have been effected by excessive exertion in run. ning !"--General Advertiser, March 4, 1784.
Let those who can feel no sympathy with the heartrending groans of the victim, join only with the bloodhounds, from whose ravenous fangs the huntsman snatches the prey, in howlings of disappointed bru. tality. O poverty! if thou art in the enjoyment of the passions of hunger, thirst, and love, thou art to be adored not dreaded; for thou art debarred these infernal pleasures. - BULL-BAITING. In several counties of England, particularly in Shropshire and Staffordshire ; the cities of Chester and Worcester, the towns of Bilston, Wolverhampton, &c. bulls continue to be baited, both previously to being killed and for sport.
The mere tearing off the tongues, ears and tails, of this intrepid animal, by the dogs, is but a small part of the barbarity practiced on these occasions; their horns are frequently broker, and their bodies goaded by sharp irons. Aquafortis, salt, pepper, &c. is then thrown upon the various wounds, in order to enrage him still more. Several dogs are frequently let loose at the same time. In short, they are frequently so completely bruised and mangled, day after day, that they take no food or water, and at length die under an insupportable, and unpitied load of anguish and fatigue. The satisfaction of the baiters is, of course, proportionated to the torment induced and the rage excited.
The following instance of depravity is given by Bingley, in his “ Animal Biography.” Staffordshire, is said to have had the disgrace of producing this bru. tality. A monster, in the form of man, laid a tri. fling wager, at a bull-baiting, that he would, at separate times, cut off all the four feet of the dog, and that after each amputation, it would attack the bull as eagerly as if perfectly whole. He made the experiment, and won the wager. This savage escaped punishment.
But why have recourse to times remote? Recent instances of similar barbarities are numerous. « On the 5th of November, 1801, at Bury, Suffolk, while