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vegetables, were once rarities and expensive luxuries, which were coveted with an avidity, and enjoyed with a delight, commensurate with their cost and scarcity. Most of these, except to the abjectly poor, are now within reach of at least occasional procurement, and their great attraction has vanished since they ceased to be dainties of rare occurrence.

If our humbler classes be incalculably superior to their predecessors in the essential comforts of food, clothing, fuel, and lodging, their advantages are still more distinctly marked with reference to intellectual gratifications. Theatres, reading-rooms, newspapers, magazines, reviews, novels, and mechanics' institutions, which the diffusion of education enables all ranks to enjoy, have substituted for occasional fooleries and mummeries, and stated periods of public revelry, domestic habitual fireside recreations of an infinitely higher order, and not less delightful, because they are not periodically obtruded upon our attention. The industrious operative, who can now command these every-day comforts as a right, earned by his honest exertions, wants not the frantic extravagance of the carnival, and scorns to depend for his enjoyments either upon gratuitous holydays, or eleemosynary feastings. A fortnight's frolic he would disdain to accept with a twelvemonth's subjection. He knows that he is no longer a vassal or a serf; and this very feeling of independence is a perpetual feast to his heart, worth all that were ever celebrated or registered even in the overloaded calendar of the Romanists

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FIELD sports are, perhaps, the most ancient of all bodily exercises. Upon this point the holy Scripture agrees with the fabulous traditions of the poets, for it tells us that Nimrod was a "mighty hunter before the Lord," and it is wor thy of remark, that he was the first who oppressed an enslaved his own species. Hunting, proscribed in the bo of Moses, is apotheosised in the Pagan theology, under the special patronage of Diana. In the early ages of the world, it was a necessary labour of self-defence, rather than a pastime. To protect the flocks, herds, and crops from the ravages of those beasts which were in a state of natural hostility to man was a measure of the first urgency. Some of these wild animals supplied a wholesome food, the skins of nearly all were valuable for clothing, and thus interest soon began to add new incentives to the task of hunting By the law of their nature the different species destroyed one another, and man destroyed them all, availing himself for this purpose of the advantages ensured to him by the possession of reason, and calling to his assistance all the resources of art. Every nation has practised hunting; but it has invariably been addicted to it in exact proportion to the want of civilization. With barbarians it is a business.

on which they often depend for food and necessaries ; in a more advanced state of society, when this excuse no longer exists, and when it is solely directed against inoffensive creatures it becomes a wanton cruelty.

Among the ancients, whose paramount object was to adapt themselves to the violent times in which they lived, by all such pursuits as might accustom them to the fatigues and the stratagems of war, field sports were deemed an honourable and i'seful exercise. Xenophon, not less distinguished as a soldier than as a philosopher, has not thought it beneath him to write a minute treatise on this subject, in which he enlarges upon its advantages in promoting courage, strength, and swiftness, in inuring the body to hardships and privations, while it habituates the mind to perseverance, and the final conquest of all difficulties and impediments. Opinions, however, upon this subject varied at different epochs, both with the Greeks and Romans. In the time of Sallust hunting was held in sovereign contempt, and his martial countrymen, so far from thinking it of an ennobling and warlike nature, and therefore fit to be restricted to the aristocracy, abandoned the pursuit to their slaves.

According to natural right, all men are equally entitled to participate in field sports, in acknowledgment of which inherent right it seems to have been an established maxim in the early ages of the world, that the property of such things as had no masters, such as beasts, birds, and fishes, was vested in those who could first secure them. The civil right of each nation to modify the law of nature imposed certain restrictions on this unlimited privilege. Solon forbade hunting to the Athenians, because it enticed them away from more useful pursuits ; but this enactment was subsequently abrogated. By the Roman law game was never deemed an exclusive property ; every man might sport, either over his own land or his neighbour's, but in the latter case it was necessary to obtain permission.

When the Roman empire was overrun by the Goths and Vandals, these illiterate barbarians, bringing with them a stronger taste for field sports, and having no other resource to beguile the tedium of peace and inoccupation, after they had secured their conquests, began to appropriate the privilege of hunting to their own chiefs and leaders, and, instead of a natural right, to make it a royal one.

Thus it con

tinues to this day, the right of hunting belonging only to the king and those who derive it from him. That this monstrous usurpation and the ruthless regulations by which it is supported should originate with barbarians need excite little surprise ; that so sanguinary an oppression should be retained in an era claiming to be enlightened, and by people professing to be Christians, is an anomaly that proves how completely some of our antiquated Gothic institutions are at variance with the spirit of the age, and the general state of civilization.

Hunting constituted an essential part of the education of à young English nobleman so early as the ninth century, and probably long before it. Although it had not been thought necessary to teach Alfred the Great his letters be-. fore he was twelve years of age, we learn from his biographer that he was already“ a most expert and active hunter, and excelled in all the branches of that most noble art. When his grandson, Athelstan, had obtained a signal victory over Constantine, King of Wales, he imposed upon him a yearly tribute of gold, silver, and cattle, to which was added a certain number of hawks, “and sharp-scented dogs fit for hunting of wild beasts.” Deriving their origin from the same source as the Saxons, the Danes evinced a similar predilection for the pleasures of the chase; and Canute imposed several restrictions upon the pursuit of game, which were equally severe and unprecedented. During the short restoration of the Saxóns, field sports maintained their ascendency. Edward the Confessor, though he was more of a monk than a monarch, “ took the greatest delight to follow a pack of swift hounds in pursuit of game, and to cheer them with his voice."* equally pleased with hawking, and every day after Divine service he spent his time in one or other of these favourite pastimes. Harold, his successor, rarely travelled without his hawk and his hounds, which, indeed, were the usual companions of a nobleman at this period.

But it was during the tyrannical government of William the Norman and his immediate successors that the gamelaws assumed their most oppressive and cruel character.

He was

* Will Malmsbury, cap. xiii. as cited in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, page 4.

Under the pretext of hindering the destruction of the game, but in reality to prevent popular resistance to the new government, they disarmed the people ; while they reserved the exclusive right of hunting and sporting to the king, and to those on whom he should bestow it, who were only his barons, chiefs, and feudatories. This was part and parcel of the feudal system,* exercised over a conquered nation, and well adapted, perhaps, to the ferocious and ignorant victors who delighted in a sport which, by its pursuit and slaughter, bore some resemblance to war. In all feudal constitutions, the commonalty are forbidden from carrying arms, as well as from using dogs, nets, snares, or other engines for destroying the game. A law so unnatural, and one which there was such constant temptation to infringe, could only be enforced by the most sanguinary and inhuman edicts; and we find, therefore, that the Norman conqueror exercised the most horrid tyrannies, not only in the ancient forests, but in the new ones which he made by overthrowing churches and villages and depopulating whole tracts of country. To destroy any of the beasts of chase within the wide limits of these royal hunting grounds was as pena! as the death of a man; a stag, indeed, although only kept co be killed for pastime, was deemed a much more valuable life than that of a peasant; and even the dogs of the poor obtained more lenient treatment than their owners. AII those found in the royal chases, except such as belonged to privileged persons, were simply subject to be maimed, by having the left claw cut from their feet, unless they were redeemed by a fine. In extension of this usurped right of royalty, King John laid a total interdict upon the winged as well as the four-footed creatures: capturam avium par totam Angliam interdixit, says Matthew Paris. By the charters extorted from this odious tyrant, many of the royal enclosures were disafforested or stripped of their oppressive privileges, while the general regulations touching the fera naturæ were considerably modified in their severity. Such was the worthy origin of our game-laws, whereof enough still remains to make them a demoralizing curse to the ommonalty, and a crying shame to the legislature.

Some of the tenants held their lands upon condition of finding men to beat the country, and attend the lord when he went out on a hunting excursion.

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