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BNGRAYED BY E. HACKER, FROM A PAINTING BY H. WEEKES.
Pheasant shooting in England has become a system rather than a sport ; neither the sagacity of the dog, nor the science of the sportsman, save in a good use of his gun, being necessary to fill a cart, much less a game-bag, with these beautiful birds. Still the thorough sportsman will never be reconciled to the battue, eystem, with all its allurements of good company, good cheer, and, above all, the pleasure of seeing his name in the papers as the merciless destroyer of hundreds of living creatures in the space of a few hours. Previously to the battue system, the addition of the pheasant in his wild state to the various species of game, was a great acquisition to the pleasure derived from shooting. He was considered a prize not always to be gained, and was valued accordingly.; whereas, at present, in his more than half-domesticated condition, he is thought much more of by the keeper and the cook-not forgetting the Lord of the Manor, who now sells him-than by the sportsman.-NIMROD.
It is a fact that more than one writer, upon the science and mystery of sporting speaks of the cruelty of killing the pheasant, because of the beauty of its plumage. This is carrying consideration for outward appearance beyond most modern instances. For our own part to the youthful shooter we say, account fine feathers as little as doth the hawk; indeed, we go further, and counsel him, should the chance offer, rather to enrich his game-bag with some especial dandy of the pheasant tribe, some beau in gold or silver-plumed brocade, than the mere bird of scarlet and, purple, that, in and out of season, forms the festoons of every poultry butcher's shop-window.-CRAVEN.
Many home-bred shooters imagine that pheasant-shooting is the ne plus ultra of sporting. It has something of wealth and luxury associated with it, and it is doubtless, splendid sport. It commences wben the leaves of the forest are tinged with every varying tint; and the old woods never look so noble as in their autumnal garb. The pheasant shooter is often amidst scenery,
“ Where looks the cottage out on a domain
The palace cannot boast of!" The bird arrayed in mail of gold rises in some deep-wooded glen, where the sound of his wings may be compared with ihunder, such is the effect of reverberation in the echoing valleys! The golden plumage glitters in the sun ! the report of the fowling-piece is like that of a small piece of ordnance! The blue neck falls instantly under the burnished wing, the pinions close, and the next moment “ the whirring pheasant,” the pride of the British forest, lies bleeding on the ground. The long rolling echo dies on the valley, and the stillness of Arcady again rains around. Such is pheasant shooting ; but in the opinion of many sportsmen, it is not to be compared with following the grouse on the trackless heather, or the scarcer woodcock in the winter woods. It is the scarcity and difficulty of attainment of the bird that renders the acquisition desirable to the sportsman. He does not estimate the value of a blackcock which he may have the fortune to bag in November by the current prices at Leadenhall. The best time to find pheasants out of cover is the first hour after sunrise, when they are feeding in the adjacent stubble and potato fields. A few stragglers may be found in hedges near the closes in which they feed. At noon when the sun shines bright, they will venture out of the woods and bask under the thick hedges or holly bushes, or amongst brambles, but at no great distance from cover. During a dense fog pheasants venture farthest from the woods ; but while the leaves are on the trees they seldom wander far from the place where they were hatched, or the wood or plantation to which they may be said to belong.-Tom OAKLEIGA.
THE WEALTH IN EQUINE RESOURCES POSSESSED BY
FRANCE IN HER ALGERIAN PROVINCES.
BY R. P.
(Continued.) Knowing, as we do well, that there are certain idiosyncrasies in the disposition of our countrymen, which in some things more or less, but especially in relation to the breeding, rearing, and education of the horse, render them averse to admit of anything in the shape of precept beyond those made familiar by a long adopted routine, which though in some cases successful, yet having no enduring accord with those natural laws and principles of action which are most reliable to ensure a more frequent happy result, bear no fair proportion to the number of failures.
Considered in the light of the utilization to and by which we have for many years past been accustomed to apply and estimate our descendants from the Eastern-Arab horse and the Barb of the last century-that, together with the circumstances of our climate, civilization, and habits of life and thought, have all a natural potency of influence, which must be duly regarded as imperatively shaping most of our modern usages as a people. No man in his senses would dream of anything so incongruous as that of grafting all the usages of the Arab in regard of the equine companion of his tent upon the civilized nations of Europe. We believe, therefore, that the introduction of this part of our subject to some readers will also best recommend itself to their notice by adhering to the modo pursued by the eminent author of a work, as yet but little heard of or known in England, though naturalized already by translation in Spain and Prussia.
In the preliminary chapter to his interesting portraiture of the interior life of the Arab tribes of Algeria, with which, as with the systems pursued by that of all time, specially equestrian people, in their rearing, training, and judgment of horses, with which he made himself so intimately acquainted, under circumstances more favourable han ever yet fell to the lot of any European-presenting it to his
ntrymen, for whose benefit he mostly designed it, he uses the pre
monition: “I by no means assume to say: This is good this is bad; but I simply say: Good or bad, this is what the Arabs do."
In the same spirit we furnish such details from his admirable work as the limits of the present paper will permit, convinced by experience that readers, for the most part, are best left to draw their own inferences and to form their judgments from the facts presented to them; for when men are so far as possible permitted to draw conclusions for themselves, the force of conviction as to the good and imitable is stronger and more enduring than when dogmatically thrust upom them as a theory or practice adaptable in all respects to the circumstances of a different phase of life, customs, and civilization.
Now, as to what the Arabs do, in all those respects, had been before the French conquəst of Algeria, comparatively with other subjects, a sealed book of knowledge for the Christian peoples of Europe. Of what little was anteriorly known, whether of the Nomade Bedouins of the Syrian; Arabian, or Egyptian deserts of the Thebaide, or those of the Barbary States, it had been derived from the frequently conflicting and superficially gathered information of a few modern travellers in the East. By a singular coincidence in respect of the nationality of the best informants in the past, and in the present day, on this subject; we owed to a M. d'Arvieux, who, towards the latter part of the seventeenth century, passed many years in Syria and Palestine in a consular capacity, during which he acquired'a thorough knowledge of the Arab, Turkish, Syrian, and Persian languages, a more accurate knowledge of the interior life and habits of the Nomade Arabs of the East, than had been since contributed by any traveller, up to the publication of the several works of his countryman, General Daumas, on the Algerian Provinces, and their Arab populations in the present day.
In speaking of the work of M. d'Arvieux we used the words—the most accurate knowledge of Arab life. And we are justified in so saying by the result of a comparison we were led to institute between the information imparted by him upwards of two centuries ago and that by General Daumas in recent years.
The Nomade or Scenetic (Tent-dwelling) Arabs of the Eastern Deserts, and their descendants in those of North Africa, differ in little still. Their manners and habits of life are yet as depicted by sacred and profane authors. Respectively they are as immutably as ever what in their language they call themselves, Bedouids (from the word Bedouy, i.e., pastoral dwellers in the Desert*), and pride themselves in being the living representatives of the children of that Ishmael of whom it is written in Genesis,+ when Hagar fled to the wilderness from the wrathful dealing of Sarai, “The angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man, his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his
* Badiat in Arabic signifies a desert or pastoral wilderness; from which word is formed the names Badavi, Bedouy, and Bedevi, inhabitants of the desert, &c.
† Chaps. xvi. and xxi.
bretbren.” Of whom it is further written, when sent away with his mother by Abraham to wander outcasts in the wilderness, "God said to her, Arise, lift up the lad; and hold him in thine hand ; for I will make him a great nation. And God was with the lad ; and he grew, and became an archer, and dwelt in the wilderness of Paran."
The most considerable nations which in the early ages inhabited Arabia-Petræa were the Ishmaelites, the Nabatæi or Nabatheans, the Cedrai or Kedareni, and the Agareni or Hagareni; but of all these the Ishmaelites were the most powerful, if they did not comprehend all the others. It has been thunght by some writers that the Hagareni were not of the same people with them. But according to Kimchi, an Oriental historiam, they must have been nearly related, for he adduces that they were originally the children of Hagar by an Arab after she had left Abraham. In subsequent ages the names of all the nations inhabiting Arabia-Petræa were absorbed in that of Saraceni (Saracens), by which the Ishmaelites are distinguished in the Jerusalem Targum; a name given to them all by reason of their predatory habits.
That these traditional habits of life, subsequently adverted to in the predictions of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, after a lapse then of about 1,200 years, still agree in much with the habits of life of the BedouinArab iribes of the East and those of the African Sabara of the present day, and perfectly accord with the announcement of the angel to Hagar, in regard to her son, Ishmael's descendants, must be regarded as a still-enduring fulfilment of the Divine word !
The study of the Arab horse,” says General Daumas, “which had been the object of my attentive researches, seemed to me to form the complement of my anterior labours. It was also a subject relative to which much uncertainty prevailed, and very many contradictory assertions.
According to some, the Arabs are the first horsemen in the world; others assert that they are nothing but horse-destroyers. Many ascribe to them all the good methods that have obtained amongst us, and elsewhere ; others, again, represent them as understanding neither equitation, hygiène, nor the breeding of horses.
" Which, and what was the truth in all this? What is the real worth of the Arab horse ? What is the nature of the services to be expected from him ? I was desirous to know it: not from hear-say, but from the testimony of my own eyes : not from books, but from men."
In recent times, for thirty years at least of our own recollection, we have at intervals both heard and read opinions similar to the dissents above adverted to by the author on the part of some of his countrymen, maintained by several persons in this country, and of all others in disparagement of the Arab horse of the East and the Barb of North Africa. How far those opinions may have been founded on the personal conviction of the speaker or writer, derived from an intimate knowledge of either race, was not alleged; but, as is usual with utterances of the kind, especially when they point to a presumed superiority of blood and race of home-product, they find ready believers to promulgate them.
“What I have writien,” continues the General, “is therefore the resumé both of my personal observations and conversations with Arabs of all conditions, from the noble of the tent down to the simplest horseman, who, as he himself expresses it in his picturesque language, has no other profession than to live by his spurs.'
"It is to announce that I sought information from those who possess much, and from those who possess little; from those who breed horses, as also from those who only know how to ride them; in fact, from all. The notions I here commit to writing do not therefore emanate from the head of one man alone ; they will be found scattered among all the cavaliers of a great tribe. I have no other merit than that of having collected, combined, and placed in order documents which were widely dispersed and difficult to obtain.
* In truth, great patience and skill even are requisite to a Christian, to draw from Mussulmen information perhaps insignificant in itself, but which a susceptible fanaticism makes them consider very important or dangerous for their religion.”
Having cited the author's admirable premonitory address to his readers, we have thought it advisable, as likely to interest more directly the English reader, to diverge somewhat from the order of subjec pursued by him, and give as much as possible precedence to his communications on “ The Barb Horse," with which our great-grandfathers in the last century were, as we may reasonably suppose, tolerably well acquainted. A further reason for so doing is that we were never disposed to credit the seeming off-hand assertion of a once noted chronicler of Turf matters, that thousands of Eastern horses had been imported into this country from the close of the reign of Charles II. up to the end of the third decennium of the present century. From suoh equine genealogical tables of the last century to which we have had access, we are founded in believing that they were neither so numerous, por, strictly speaking, Eastern horses. But of the number imported, whatever it was, the majority were Barbs. That the importation of these decreased also towards the end of the last century, and was not continued so late as up to the end of the decennium 1830, such researches as we have been enabled to make, indicate. On the showing of a Racing Register of 1762-3, as more intermediate between the two periods, we thought a more approximate judgment might be formed, despite the obscurity that prevailed, and still hangs over the earlier one, when, as usual on the first introduction of novelties, they become known by popular denominations, which, as in the instance of the bird called a Turkey, and many other things we could name, become traditional misnomers.
From the Register adverted to, a somewhat scarce one in the present day, it would seem that either from an acquired predilection for the Barb race as generators, or some other circumstances now no longer to be traced back with any reliance, the Barb was held then in some estimation by the nobility and gentry of this country, who bred, as they were then called," running horses." Although some writers on the subject of the English Race-horse have in chief deduced our most famed coursers on the turf to the present day from the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Stallion, by some called the “Godolphin Arabian, and by others the “ Godolphin Barb,” it may, nevertheless, be reasonably assumed, whatever the number of pure Arabians were introduced, that at least something was contributed by the many designated “famous Barbs” towards the production of that peculiar quality,"