Born: Sir James Mackintosh, politician and miscellaneous writer, 1765, Aldourie, Inverness shire.
Died: Hugh Capet, king of France, 997; Jane Seymour, consort of Henry VIII, 1537, Hampton Court; Tycho Brahe, celebrated astronomer, 1601, Prague; Professor John M'Cullagh, scientific writer, 1847, Dublin; Daniel Webster, American statesman, 1852, Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Feast Day: St. Felix, bishop and martyr, 303. St. Proclus, confessor, archbishop of Constantinople, 447. St. Magloire, bishop and confessor, about 575.
This distinguished American statesman and orator was horn at Salisbury, New Hampshire, January 18, 1782. His father, a descendant of the Puritan settlers of New England, said by Mr. Webster to have been the handsomest man he ever saw, except his brother Ezekiel, was a farmer and innkeeper. He owned and cultivated a tract of land, and welcomed travellers to the hospitalities of his low cabin. He was also a soldier in the French war, and in the revolution he was present at the battles of Saratoga, and the surrender of General Burgoyne. He afterwards became a judge of the court of Common Pleas. The son, Daniel, was educated at Dartmouth College, studied law, taught an academy, and copied deeds, to support himself and aid his brother. He was elected member to congress, became senator for Massachusetts, secretary of state under two presidents, and the first lawyer and orator of his country. He has been considered by many as the greatest man, intellectually, which America has produced. As a lawyer, he had no superior; as senator, only two or three were ever regarded as his equals in ability; while, as an orator, he stands almost alone in a nation of orators.
His most remarkable efforts were his speeches in the senate on the Greek revolution, and in his debate with Mr. Hayne, of South Carolina. He has also acquired great fame by two orations one at the laying of the corner stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, on the anniversary of the battle, June 17, 1825, and the other at the completion of that structure, eighteen years after. But, in spite of his great talents, and unbounded local popularity, Mr. Webster, like Mr. Clay, was disappointed of his highest ambition; and his death was undoubtedly hastened by his failure to receive the nomination of his party to the presidency.
Mr. Webster's appearance and manner were very impressive. He was a large, massive man, with the head of a giant, deep cavernous eyes, a sallow complexion, and a deep bass voice. His manner of speaking was slow, dignified, and impressive, rising at times to great energy. His character, unfortunately, was marred by some defeats. Generous to prodigality, he was a spendthrift, and unreliable in business matters. Requiring stimulants, he did not always use them in moderation. As a statesman, he was more admired than trusted. Still, his patriotism was undoubted, and his faults were most easily over looked by those who knew him best. He embodied much of the character, the patriotism, and the ambition of the northern people, and was devoted to the preservation of the union, as the condition of the future power and greatness of the republic. The following passage from one of his speeches, as a specimen of his oratory, and a proof of his devotion to the Union, may be almost looked upon as a prophecy, too literally and terribly fulfilled. 'When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious union; on states dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood!'
Now that the cornfields have been thoroughly cleared of their produce, that the woods are strewed with fallen leaves, and the shortened days bespeak the near approach of winter, when the fields in the mornings are crisp with the glittering rime which soon dissolves beneath the autumn sunbeams, when angling for the season has fairly closed, and even the sportsman's ardour has begun to languish, then commences the most renowned and exhilarating of all rural pastimes the thoroughly British sport of fox hunting. The period over which it extends comprises nearly six months, from the latter part of October to the beginning of April. Much of that space is of course, however, wholly unavailable for hunting purposes, whilst the ground is either bound by hard frost or covered with snow.
Though this sport requires, for its exercise, the possession both of a considerable amount of physical courage and activity, and of pecuniary means to sustain the expenses which it entails, there is, nevertheless, no amusement which engages so large and universal a sympathy with all classes of the community. No Briton, however unable he may be from the circumstances of his position to take an active part in the chase, can refrain from experiencing a mingled feeling alike of envy and admiration as he witnesses the gallant array of horsemen assemble at the meet; see the grand 'burst' when the fox has been started, and the cry of Tallyho! Gone away! breaks forth; and then follow with his eye the cavalcade in its exciting pursuit, as it sweeps o'er hill and dale, with the hounds in full cry, till the outlines of the figures, becoming rapidly less and less distinct, are fairly lost in the distance. A scene like this stirs the blood in the veins of the most sluggish, whilst with the devotees of the exciting sport, the enthusiasm felt is such as frequently remains unimpaired by the progress of years or the chills of age, and the gray headed fox hunter of threescore may often be seen following the hounds with the same ardour as the stripling of eighteen.
As is well known, much of the success of a 'run' in hunting depends on the condition of the atmosphere. When this is very dry, or when a sharp northerly breeze prevails, the scent or exhalation from the hunted animal is rarefied and dissipated, and becomes consequently impossible to be traced and followed up by the dogs. When, on the other hand, the air is moist, but without the presence of actual rain, and a gentle gale blows from the south or west, then the scent clings to the adjoining soil and vegetation; and a more favorable condition still is, when it is suspended in the air at a certain height from the earth, and the dogs are enabled to follow it breast high, at full speed, without putting their heads to the ground.
In reference to this subject we may here introduce the celebrated old hunting song, which depicts very graphically the incidents of a fox chase:
A southerly wind and a cloudy sky
Proclaim a hunting morning;
Before the sun rises we nimbly fly,
Dull sleep and a downy bed scorning.
To horse, my boys, to horse, away;
The chase admits of no delay;
On horseback we've got, together we'll trot:
On horseback, on horseback, together we'll trot:
Leave off your chat, see the cover appear;
The hound that strikes first, cheer him without fear;
Drag on him! ah, wind him, my steady good hounds,
Drag on him! ah, wind him, the cover resounds.
How complete the cover and furze they draw!
Who talks of Jolliffe, or Meynell?
Young Rockwood he flourishes now through the shaw,
And Ringwood roars out in his kennel.
Away we fly, as quick as thought;
The new-sown ground soon makes them fault;.
Cast round the sheep's train, cast round, cast round!
Try back the deep lane, try back, try back!
Hark! I hear some hound challenge in yonder spring sedge
Comfort bitch hits it there, in that old thick hedge.
Hark forward! hark forward! have at him, my boys.
Hark forward! hark forward! sounds, don't make a noise!
A stormy sky, o'ercharged with rain,
Both hounds and huntsmen opposes;
In vain on your mettle you try, boys, in vain,
But down, you must to your noses.
Each moment, now, the sky grows worse,
Enough to make a parson curse:
Pick through the ploughed grounds, pick through, pick through;
Well hunted, good hounds, well hunted, well hunted!
If we can but get on, we shall soon make him quake;
Hark! I hear some hounds challenge in midst of the brake;
Tally ho! tally ho, there! across the green plain;
Tally ho! tally ho, boys! have at him again!
Thus we ride, whip and spur, for a two hors' chase,
Our horses go panting and sobbing;
See Ranter and Riot begin now to race;
Ride on, sir, and give him some mobbing.
But hold alas! you'll spoil our sport,
For through the pack you'll head him short.
Clap round him, dear Jack, clap round, clap round!
Hark Lasher, hark Jowler, hark back, hark back!
He's jumping and dangling in every bush;
Little Riot has fastened his teeth in his brush!
Whohoop, whohoop, he's fairly run down!
Whohoop, whohoop, give Torn his half crown!
The leaps taken by fox hunters during the chase form alike the most exciting and perilous part of the pastime. In Leicestershire, which is generally regarded par excellence as the hunting county of England, two specially formidable descriptions of fences require frequently to be surmounted. These are the ox fence and the bullfinch fence. In the former, which is rendered necessary in the locality as an effectual barrier to the roaming of cattle from their pastures during the season of the oestrus, or gadfly, the adventurous votary of Diana finds himself confronted by a wide ditch, bordered by a strong blackthorn hedge, and beyond that by a railing four feet in height, all of which obstacles must be cleared by him and his steed. The bullfinch fence, on the other hand, of still more frequent occurrence, is a thick and lofty quickset hedge, of perhaps half a century's growth, with a ditch on one side, and requiring to be charged at full speed by the horseman, who manages to push through, whilst the bushes close after him, leaving no more trace, in the words of 'Nimrod,' 'than if a bird had hopped through.' Brooks also require frequently to be crossed; and from the aversion with which many horses regard them, requiring to be urged to them at full speed, this leap is often considered as the most difficult of any. In many parts of the country, and more especially in Ireland, stone walls are of common occurrence, and to clear these with success, calls forth all the courage and enterprise of the fox hunter.
In connection with this subject, we may here allude to the celebrated feat, achieved in 1792 by Mr. Bingham, ofleaping a horse over the wall of Hyde Park, the height of which was six feet and a half on the inside, and eight on the outside, where a bed of manure was laid to receive the animal. The high spirited steed performed the feat twice, merely displacing a few bricks at the last jump. On the subject of accidents, it may likewise here be remarked, that though far from uncommon in the hunting field, they are generally less disastrous than might be expected, partly from the soft nature of the ground on which they take place, and partly from the skill shewn by riders in evading as much as possible the consequences of a fall. To know how to fall judiciously becomes, therefore, an important accomplishment of the chase.
Of all hunting enthusiasts, none is more distinguished in sporting annals than the celebrated Thomas Assheton Smith, of Tedworth, in Hampshire, who may be said to have presented the beau-ideal of the British fox hunter and country gentleman in the most splendid type of the character. Possessed of immense wealth in landed property and otherwise, and endowed by nature with the most herculean strength and courage, ho continued till the age of eighty to follow the hounds with unabated vigour, having been a votary of the chase for seventy years, and a master of hounds for fifty. Even during the last two years of his life, when he became unable to ride to cover, or even face the inclemency of the weather out of doors, he would still mount his horse, and make the circuit of an extensive conservatory which adjoined to and communicated with his mansion. The extent of his experience in the sport may be estimated from the fact that, as a master of hounds, he had cut off no less than fifteen hundred brushes from as many foxes. In reference to the value set by him on a fox, an amusing anecdote is related that one morning, while at breakfast at Tedworth, he was observed to drop the newspaper with an expression of horror. A lady present inquired what was the matter: 'Good God!' was the reply, a fine dog fox has been burned alive in a barn!
On another occasion, he had been hearing one of the first sermons of Mr. Dyson, the clergyman's son at Tedworth, who was no less an adept in fox hunting than in theological studies. Mr. Smith was greatly pleased with the discourse, and on coming out of church after service was over, he slapped the young man on the back, and exclaimed: 'Well done, Frank, you shall have a mount on Rory O'More on Thursday!'
The enthusiasm of the master seems to have imparted itself to his servants, and we find the following instance recorded of his huntsman, George Carter. On Mr. Smith's death, it was generally expected that he would be interred in the mausoleum, on the grounds, and under this impression, George made, with great earnestness, the following proposition to the friend in charge of the funeral arrangements: 'I hope, sir, when I, and Jack Pricker, and Will Bryce [the whippers-in] die, we may be laid alongside master in the mausoleum, with Ham Ashley and Paul Potte, and a fine couple of his honour's hounds, in order that we may all be ready to start again together in the next world!'
Though the expense of maintaining a huntingstud is considerable, amounting, in the case of the aristocratic frequenters of Melton Mowbray, to £1000 per annum and upwards, whilst the yearly sum incurred in keeping up a pack of fox hounds, with accessory expenses, will fall little short of £5000, there are, nevertheless, some remarkable instances on record of economy in the management of these matters. Thus, the celebrated miser, John Elwes, whose indulgence in hunting formed a solitary exception to his habitually penurious disposition, contrived to maintain a kennel of foxhounds and a stable of hunters, reputed at the time to be the best in the kingdom, at an annual outlay of less than £300. The way in which he managed is said to have been as follows: His huntsman, who acted as servant of all work, and held no sinecure in his office, rose at four every morning, and after milking the cows, prepared breakfast for his master and any friends that might happen to be staying at the house. He then donned a green coat, saddled the horses, and got out the hounds, and the whole party started for the chase. After the day's 'run' was over, he would return to the stables, rub down the horses as quickly as possible, and then hurry into the house to lay the cloth and wait at dinner. After this, he would betake himself again to his outdoor duties, feed the horses and dogs, litter them down for the night, and milk the cows. Such multifarious avocations would seem almost to have required the hands of a Briareus, and yet Elwes used to call his huntsman an idle dog, that wanted to be paid for doing nothing. Probably the man received occasional assistance in the performance of his duties from his master's tenants, with whom the dogs were hoarded during the summer months, as it is almost incredible otherwise that he could have accomplished the herculean task laid on his shoulders.
The other instance of adroit management which we shall quote, is that of Mr. Osbaldeston not the celebrated master of the Quorn hounds of that name, but the younger son of a gentleman of good family in the north of England, who, in consequence of having contracted an imprudent marriage, was turned by his father out of doors, and obliged to support himself by acting as clerk to an attorney in London. His salary amounted only to £60 per annum; and yet on this slender income he contrived not only to maintain himself and large family without running into debt, but also to keep two hunters and a dozen of hounds. This he managed to accomplish by the following method. After business hours, he acted as accountant to the butchers of Clare Market, who paid him in pieces of meat and offal. With the first he fed himself and family, with the last his hounds, which he kept in the garret of his house. His horses were stabled in the cellar, and fed with grain from an adjoining brewery, and damaged corn from a corn chandler, to the keeping of whose books Mr. Osbaldeston devoted one or two evenings in the week.
Serving either an indulgent master, or enabled by circumstances to make arrangements to that effect, he contrived, during the hunting season, to obtain such leave of absence as permitted him to enjoy his favourite sport.
The enthusiasm for fox hunting has not always been confined to those whose means enabled them to mount on horseback. A tailor of Cheltenham used to be well known for his pedestrian activity in following Lord Segrave's hounds. Such was his fleetness of foot and knowledge of the country, that, after following the hounds from kennel to cover, he would continue his progress on foot after the fox had been started, and contrived almost always to make his appearance at the death. He would. hunt thus five days a week on foot with Lord Segrave, and meet the Duke of Beaufort's hounds on the sixth. On one occasion he walked from Cheltenham to Berkeley, a distance of twenty six miles, found that the hounds had gone to Haywood, ten miles further off, proceeded thither, and, though rather late, witnessed a splendid run. Lord Segrave, it is said, once offered him a good situation as earth stopper; but his characteristic answer was, that he could not stop earths a nights and hunt a days too. Another pedestrian fox hunter has been known to travel on foot sixty miles a day.
The reader of the Spectator may recollect Sir Roger de Coverley declining, with thanks, a hound which had been sent him as a present, informing the sender with all courtesy that the dog in question was an excellent bass, but that at present he wanted only a counter tenor. Fox hunters dilate with rapture on the cry of a pack of hounds, more grateful, doubtless, to their ears than the most ethereal warblings of a Lind or a Grisi. A whimsical anecdote is often related of the Cockney, who, when the ardent fox hunter exclaimed, in reference to the baying of the pack: 'What glorious music! don't you hear it?' replied: Music! I can hear nothing of it for the yelping of these confounded clogs!'
Till the end of the seventeenth century, fox hunting can scarcely be said to have existed as a sport, the stag, the buck, and the hare taking the precedence with our ancestors as objects of the chase, which, at an earlier period, included the wolf and the boar. The county of Leicester, at the present day, constitutes the head quarters of the sport; a pre eminence which it owes partly to the nature of the ground, more pastoral than arable, partly to the circumstance of the covers being separated by considerable intervals, preventing the fox from readily getting to earth, and thus securing a good run. The town of Melton Mowbray, which may be regarded as the fox hunting metropolis, is thronged during the season by sporting visitors, who benefit the place to the extent, it is said, of £50,000 a year, and indeed form its main support. The vicinity is the country of the celebrated Quorn or Quorndon pack of hounds, so called from Quorndon Hall, the residence of the great hunter, Mr. Meynell, and subsequently of the successive masters of the Quorn, which takes the first place amid the fox hunting associations of the United Kingdom.
JOHN DOE AND RICHARD ROE
The 24th of October 1852, witnessed the deaths of two individuals who, though personally unknown to any one, enjoyed, nevertheless, like Mrs. Gamp's Mrs. Harris, a most extensive reputation by report. Through the whole length and breadth of England, no persons were more frequently referred to (in legal documents) than John Doe and Richard Roe. Their connections with the landed property of the kingdom appeared to be both universal and multi form. In every process of ejectment, instead of the real parties to the suit being named, John Doe, plaintiff, sued. Richard Roe, defendant. Their names were also inserted in criminal proceedings as pledges to prosecute.
This well known fiction appears to have been introduced into English legal practice about the time of Edward III, in consequence, it is said, of a provision of Magna Charta which requires the production of witnesses before every criminal trial. John Doe and Richard Roe were thenceforth inserted as the names of the alleged witnesses. By act 15 and 16 Vic. cap. 76, passed in 1852, sentence of death, to take effect on 24th October of that year, is passed on the two illustrious person ages just mentioned, and it is ordered that instead of the present proceeding by ejectment, a writ shall be issued, directed to the persons in possession of the property claimed, which property shall be described in the writ with reasonable certainty.