« ПредишнаНапред »
beasts of draught or burden, and in few instances as fit for quick travelling There must, however, have been some horses even in this dreary period of jockeyship of a superior character, as the following incident will testify, and which has escaped the erudite compilers of the 66 Treatise on the Horse.” It occurred in 1606,
after Queen Elizabeth's decease.
“John Lepton, of York, Esquire, servant to King James, undertook for a wager to ride six days together betwixt London and York, being (as it was then estimated) seven score and ten miles" (but really nine score and eighteen at least), " stylo vetere, as I may say, and performed it accordingly," as old Fuller observes in his Worthies of the County of York, to the greater praise of his strength in acting than his discretion in undertaking it. He first set forth from Aldersgate May 20th, being Munday, Anno Domini 1606, and accomplished his journey every day before it was dark-a thing rather memorable than com mendable, many maintaining that able and active bodies are not to vent themselves in such vain (though gainful) ostentation, and that it is no better than tempting Divine Providence to lavish their strength and venture their lives except solemnly summoned thereunto by just necessity.”—P. 231. It is “generally allowed,” as Sam Slick would
that there were men in those days. We think that this adventure proves that there were likewise horses, although Blundeville was able to find so few good
We think that those writers are most probably just who ascribe a considerable share of the credit of reducing horse-racing to a more regular and systematic business unto the period of King James the First. We know that there were races at that time at various places Croydon and Enfield for example, under the Royal eye-Stamford, Chester, and many minor Meetings at a distance from the metropolis. King James was accustomed to visit Newmarket for the sake of hunting and hawking upon the extensive plains by which that village is surrounded. The probability is, that he raced likewise, and encouraged racing on a spot so admirably suited to that diversion, although the lists of all the running horses” have not come down to us-
-these as well as the more regular Calendar forming a later stage in the “march of intellect.”
We are informed that James the First was a pedant in his sports, as well as in everything else ; and that wonderful magician, Sir Walter Scott, who has not only delighted the world with Historical Novels, but has converted Fiction into History, has given us in The Fortunes of Nigel a most felicitous picture of his style of hunting. Not even James himself could be a more complete pedant than some of the training grooms it has been our lot to cross in the race of life, though their pedantry is of a different kind from that of books : and we can easily imagine that in the details of a race-course this Monarch might have found a characteristic relaxation from the abstruse mysteries of Kingcraft. We do not forget that this is in a great measure hypothetical.
It is on record that King James purchased a shabby bad Arabian from an extortionate merchant or dealer of the name of Markham, who had the conscience to charge five hundred pounds for the beast, equal
probably to five-and-twenty hundreds at the present day. According to the Duke of Newcastle, the best authority we have—though not a very good one-His Grace being fonder of the manege than the Turf, this was a very sorry bargain, for the horse was beaten every time he started. What his produce were we know not; but at all events a spirited if not a lucky speculation.
That this was the first introduction of foreign, that is of Southern or Oriental, blood into this country, we do not for a single instant believe. From the time of the Crusades, as we have already observed, we have no doubt that the superiority of the Eastern horse over that of Europe in everything but drawing or carrying heavy weights, must have been obvious. Sir Walter Scott, both in the duel of Sir Kenneth with Saladin, and also in the superb romance of Ivanhoe, has made ample use of the contrast. Another authority we may cite on this subject is Shakspeare, who familiarly speaks of the steeds of Barbary. It will be remembered, that in the play of Hamlet he makes the King of Denmark wager, as that impersonation of affectation and folly Osric expresses it, “six Barbary coursers," against which Laertes "impawned as many French rapiers and poniards with their assigns,” &c. Now, however absurd it may be to suppose either Barbary coursers or French rapiers to be rife at Elsinore in the period of Hamlet the Dane, it is quite enough to prove that such matters were accessible in that of Shakspeare. Spanish horses possibly passed for Barbs; but still there is fully sufficient of evidence to prove that horses
were regularly brought from the Southern countries into Northern Europe before the Markham Arabian purchased by James the First.
In this opinion too we have the concurrent support of Sir Walter Scott and Mr. James, than whose it would be difficult to find any of greater weight and authority in modern times, since this species of antiquarianism is a part of the business in which they have so greatly distinguished themselves, being in fact the craft by which they procured their wealth. Mr. James, in his Philip Augustus, gives a most spirited sketch of an Arabian, on which he mounts his chivalric De Courcy on his return from Palestine; and few, we fancy, will have forgotten “ the goodly steed,” the spoiling of which was so little heeded by the headlong Ivanhoe, while Isaac of York sat invoking Father Abraham, and exclaiming “how fiercely that Gentile rides!” This Barb, we may observe, Kirjath Jairam of Leicester, a Hebrew dealer, sold to Ivanhoe on the credit of his friend Isaac; and, if Sir Walter's view of the matter be correct, it would seem that to purvey Southern or Oriental steeds for the tournament was, during the rage for that expensive amusement, a very lucrative branch of commerce, and one in which the Jews, from their foreign connexions, must have enjoyed particularly superior advantages. That foreign horses were used in tournaments at a later period we have direct evidence. The horse rode by Henry the Second of France when he was killed by Montgomery (June 1559), was a Turk, and named “Le Malheureux," an omen of evil import, as is observed by a contemporary writer who records the fact.
The popular opinion at the present time appears to be that the Duke of Newcastle's condemnation of the Markham Arabian, and the indifferent performance of the animal itself, sent for more than half a
VOL. XIX,-SECOND SERIES.-No, 110.
century that particular breed out of fashion. We do not possess any record either in support or refutation of this supposition. That James the First, Charles the First, and Cromwell, had foreign stallions in their respective studs appears certain ; but it is probable that Spanish, Barbary, and Turkish horses were more easily procured, and were indeed preferred for the purposes for which a superior breed of horses was at that time principally cultivated.
By some strange confusion, the “ Treatise on the Horse," which we have several times had occasion to mention as having been published in the Library of Useful Knowledge, and which is indeed a very excellent work, though it sometimes is found to be in error as to matters connected with the race-horse-by some strange confusion we repeat, this Treatise describes the well-known stallion Place's White Turk as the property of James the First; and another horse from which sprung some excellent racers, the Helmesley Turk, as having been imported by James's favorite, the First Villiers Duke of Buckingham. In the proper place we shall demonstrate that these are errors, and that both of the horses above-mentioned were in their glory towards the conclusion of the reign of Charles the Second. That foreign horses were owned by the First Duke of Buckingham, as well as by James, we do not doubt: we only deny the possibility of Place's White Turk and the Helmesley being in existence during the reign of the British Solomon.
We will conclude this Introductory Chapter with the description of a horse-shoe, supposed to be Roman, which was dug up not long since at Willey Park, Salop, the seat of Lord Forester. This shoe we saw lately in a provincial museum. It is short and wide at the heel, yet calculated to protect the hoof effectually, and might serve as a subject on which to read an excellent lecture to a class of blacksmiths. The nail-holes are admirably situated, so as to permit the frog and heel to expand naturally and freely. It is of a mixed material, principally iron, not brass, nor bronze, nor bell-metal, but resembling the metal of which all the British Roman implements we have had an opportunity of inspecting seemed to be formed, and from appearance of the metal we should say not possessed of malleability. Its shape answers to Bracy Clark's plate of a Persian shoe, and it would fit the hoof of an Arab under thirteen hands high. From its broad and handsome form, we should confidently surmise that it had been worn by an Oriental steed. We are disposed to assign to it a very high degree of antiquity. What can be more probable, than that Eastern horses should have accompanied the Roman Legions in their march from the banks of the Nile or the Euphrates to those of the Ouse and the Severn! We are, therefore, of opinion, that a strain of Oriental blood was occasionally introduced into Britain even at the period of its forming a portion of the Roman Empire-more frequently during the time of the Crusades—and still more commonly as commerce advanced during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries; but not until the middle or latter part of the 17th century do we regard the thorough-bred English horse as constituting a distinct variety: and at this epoch we shall resume the subject in the next Chapter
RACING INTELLIGENCE EXTRA.
Newmarket July Meeting.--Mr. Thornhill's Merganser, 8st. 1018., agst Lord Exeter's Express, 7st. 1318., New T. Y. C., 100, h. ft.
Newmarket Second October Meeting.--Friday : Lord Stradbroke's Algy agst Mr. Greville's Proteus, &st. 4lb. each, T. Y. C., 100, h. ft.
Mr. Theobald has purchased Dragsman for 1200 gs. of Mr. Clarke, but the horse is to remain in Scott's stable till after the Leger.
The Hippodrome. - The long-disputed question of a "right of way" from the Uxbridge Road to Kensal Green across a portion of the course has been set at rest by the proprietor wisely giving up the contest with the parochial authorities of Kensington, and enclosing other ground, extending in the same direction, and shutting out the old and useless path by a high fence, which now forms the eastern boundary. The title of the ground is also changed to “The Hippodrome Victoria Park,” the whole being surrounded by high fences, and including all the requisite courses of half-mile, mile, and two miles, either for running or steeple-chases.-- That the Heir Apparent to the Throne of Russia and Prince Frederick Henry of the Netherlands, who have been lionising in this country for the last month, might, having witnessed the “ Derby,” form some idea of our steeple or hurdle racing, the spirited proprietor announced an “opening day" for Saturday, May 25; and such intention having been communicated at head quarters," His Imperial Highness immediately intimated his intention to give a Cup, or 100gs. in specie, as an additional Prize. For this only six entered, most of the “crack horses” having been sent to “country quarters.” At about four o'clock the Grand Duke and the Prince, accompanied by Princes Dolgourouki and Bariatinski, Count Orloff, and a numerous circle of Illustrious Foreigners, arrived on the ground in three of Her Majesty's carriages. They immediately mounted horses which had been in waiting, and, being joined by the Duke of Cambridge, the Marquisses of Anglesea and Worcester, the Stewards (the Duke of Beaufort, Earl of Chesterfield, Count Bathyany, and Count D'Orsay), &c. and Mr. White, the proprietor of the ground, the whole cavalcade proceeded to view the preparations for the races. An immense concourse of people assembled. Next the Stewards' Chair was the carriage of the Duchess of Cambridge, containing Her Royal Highness, the Princess Augusta, and Prince Saxe Weimar ; and above and below was an elegant display of equipages filled with rank and fashion ;
the equestrians were numerous beyond all former precedent; and the Hill, from which a perfect view of the sport is obtained, was crowded with pedestrians. During the running His Imperial Highness, accompanied by his brilliant cortege, rode, clear of the competitors, to witness the leaps, and all being well mounted, a spirited effect was given to the scene hitherto unequalled. The first race was the Olympic Stakes of 3 sovs. each, with 25 added, over the Steeple-chase Course, two miles, in which there were several severe leaps. For this five horses started—Mr. Goodman's Vandyke (Mason), Mr. Whittington's Catherine (Martin), Mr. Martin's Lady Essex, Mr. Phillips's Dan O'Connell, and Mr. Francis's Lincoln Lass.
The two latter refused their first and second fences, and, although subsequently persuaded over, lost all chance of the race with those that had gone before. Indeed the contest lay entirely with Catherine and Vandyke, the former coming in first. Mason, however, declared that Catherine and the other horses were all distanced, from having omitted to take the last rail, as pointed out by Mr. White that morning, and claimed the Stakes. Martin admitted that he had not gone over the rail, but denied that it had been shewn to him when he went over the ground the night before. This w
also admitted, but it appeared that Mr. White had directed all the jockeys to attend that day at two o'clock for final instructions ; and Martin not having done so, he was not aware of this additional leap in coming in. On an appeal to the Stewards they decided in favor of Mason ; but it was subsequently agreed that the race should be run over again. The whole five started, and Vandyke was the conqueror-thus doubly entitling him to the Stakes, from the decision of the Stewards in the first, and by priority in the second heat. It should be added, that Martin, notwithstanding the verdict against him for not taking the rail, neglected to do so on the
new trial ;” but still considers himself entitled to the Stakes from his ignorance of the leap in question. The second race was the Trial Stakes, for four-year-olds, mile heats, for which four came to the post-Count D'Orsay's Baronet, Mr. Theobald's Caligula, Mr. Smith's Pucelle, and Mr. Whittington's Falklandicus. The latter won the first heat, and Caligula the second, after a severe race with Baronet. Falklandicus, evidently out of condition, was drawn for the third heat, which, after an equally severe struggle between Caligula and Baronet, was won by the latter ; when the Count and Mr. Theobald agreed to divide the Stakes. The last race was the Grand Duke's Cup, 12st. each, twice round the course, or four miles, for which six appeared at the scratch-Mr. Goodman's Weathercock (Mason), Mr. Blyth's Comet (Land), Mr. Whittington's Falklandicus (Martin), Mr. Smith's Tam-oʻ-Shanter, Mr. Richards's Friar, and Mr. Power's Irishman. This was a pretty race with the first four, particularly between Weathercock and Comet, the former winning at the finish easily by two lengths.- Mr. Blyth, however, claimed the Stakes, alleging that Weathercock had won 50 sovs. at Hendon, when four started for a Sweepstakes of 10 sovs. each, with a Cup added, and consequently ought to have carried 71b. extra according with the conditions. The decision remains in abeyance for the necessary proofs to substantiate the validity of the objection. The Illustrious party, at the conclusion of the race for the Cup, left the ground, expressing the gratification afforded them by the sports of the day.
Mr. Robertson, of Lees, near Coldstream, Berwickshire, was the purchaser of the Quorn Hounds, and intends hunting the fine country from Wooler to the Tweed, and all north of the Cheviot. He purposes taking the field four or five days a-week ; and as for the last four years nearly twenty coverts have been inclosed by the exertions of the Gentlemen in the county, and there are plenty of foxes, it is conjectured he will have country enough for his sixty couple of hounds. The kennel is to be either at EtalHouse or Ford ; and the Hunt will be called either “ The North Durham and Northumberland Fox Hunt,” or “ The Glendale."- Major St. Paul takes the country from Wooler to the Coquet.
On dit that the Earl of Wilton, Henry Greene, Esq., of Rolleston, and
Whyte, Esq., will take the Management of the Quorn Hunt next season with a new pack, better suited to the Leicestershire country than Lord Suffield's were.
Mr. Delmè Radcliffe having resigned the Hatfield country from illhealth, we understand the Hon. T. Brand has undertaken the Management of the Hounds with a most satisfactory arrangement.
A subscription is now progressing at Holderness for the purchase of a piece of Plate, intended to be presented to Mr. H. Styche, huntsman to Sir T. A. C. Constable, of Burton Constable, as a token of esteem from the Members of the Hunt. A dinner is to be held at Spoatley on the birth-day of the “ Master” (in June), as an appropriate day on which to do honor to his very efficient and respected huntsman.