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· CREDAT JUDÆUS.
lated upon; and here it becomes absolute and unqualified brutality - for brutality I always maintain it to be, where, for the sake of winning money, we subject any animal to such treatment. We are frequently told “the mare was pulled up showing very little symptom of distress ;” or “the horse came in quite fresh.” Yes, I know what is meant by not “ showing symptoms of distress :" it means only that no symptoms were shown which indicated that death would ensue; and “ quite fresh” means that the horse walked to his stable without support, which in such exhibitions is not always the case. To propose or undertake any Match against time that it could be supposed any horse, or at all events a particular horse, could perform with common exertion would in no way answer the purpose of those who make a business of such things: money could not be got on sufficient to make it worth their while: but propose some feat that appears almost impossible, and then the pot can be made to boil. It is true it sometimes boils over: may it ever do so, and may its owners be put in it with a stout lid hermetically sealed! However, succeed or not, in performing such Matches it rarely occurs that these unnatural exertions are made, and the animal does come in showing (or at all events feeling) no symptoms of distress. The perpetrators of them justly fear the execration of the public, consequently always maintain they were done with ease. I saw the conclusion of a Match about three years ago. A horse known to be in no condition, a cripple, but thorough-bred, was backed to do a gallop-match of seventeen miles within the hour over one of the most hilly and distressing roads (for a turnpike road) England could produce, two miles of which were at
such thi he purpos common a
that time newly gravelled in the old way. He won, it is true ; but what a win! His shoulders, where he had been chiefly spurred, were in a perfect jelly of blood ; his sinews had given way; the back of his
pastern nearly touched the ground on being pulled · up; and it was only by the support of several men
that he was kept from falling, and thus got into a stable. To the disgrace of my country, be it said, his rider, who was also his owner, was allowed to remain with a whole skin. There is certainly a Society for Preventing Cruelty to Animals ; but their laudable exertions are rendered all but useless by the restrictions our feeling Legislature puts on their power. The owner of this horse might have been fined 40s.! What would he care when he made as many hundred by the Match in bets and the matchmoney? If he could have been fined double his winnings, he would be careful in future how he publicly exercised his brutality. I should like to have had him naked as his horse, tied to the pole of a carriage, made a kind of near-side wheeler of for ten miles. I would have taught him the full effects of a drawingstroke with a double thong, and before I had done with him he should have been a perfect judge of what distress and punishment are to bear.
I had locked up the preceding pages in my desk, intending to add a few lines to them at my leisure, nor for months had I given them a thought, till the recent Bedford Match of execrable notoriety recalled them to my recollection; and, singular enough! I had left off writing after mentioning a Match against time won by the very hero of the Bedford tragedy. I had given my opinion of the Match I had alluded to, and in no very measured terms stated my tender
A MERCIFUL MASTER. wishes towards its perpetrator. I had mentioned no name, hoping he would take a lesson from its result, and by following his trade would in future gain a livelihood by more respectable means than acts of premeditated inhumanity. But, as if “ he meant to show the reed on which I leant" in forming such hopes of him, the Bedford Match has not been the only one by many in which this same Burker of horses has been since engaged, nor is the pony the only one he has killed in his brutal vocation.
It has been brought forward, in extenuation of the cruelty of the late Match, that no whip was allowed to be used during its performance. This only makes the thing worse. So, because (as it turned out) the owner knew that such was the game and generous nature of the little animal, that he would go till exhausted nature could do no more rather than feel the whip, his merciless master could sit behind him, witness his sinking efforts, and only stop him . ... when ? why, when he found it impossible to win the Match. We are told he had said, “if he found the pony was distressed, he would pull up.” He certainly did pull up when he was distressed – distressed enough, for he was virtually dying. But, supposing it could have been thought that, distressed as he was, he could have staggered on so as to have won the Match, will any man believe he would have been pulled up? No, not even those who own the enviable distinction of being classed among Mr. Burke's friends would believe it. There is truly great humanity in stopping, or rather permitting, a wretched animal to stop, when he can go no longer! There is a wide difference between pulling up a horse when he is distressed, and doing it so soon as we find he is so.
FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS.
55 Was this done here ? No: the pony had been pulled along for miles in the severest distress. It is stated that Mr. Burke valued the pony highly, and was much annoyed at his death. I am quite willing to believe he was so: so he would have been had he lost a 50l. note. That he valued the pony highly was doubtless the case : he valued him, because from his extraordinary powers he had been and still was a source of profit to him: how far beyond this he valued him has been clearly shown-he drove him to death! Then Mr. Somebody-a-Vet talked about congestion of the lungs, of overloaded atmosphere, and God knows what: the greatest truism he set forth was the very scientific supposition, that had the pony remained in the stable he would not have died. Let me ask, whether, among the horses that worked the Bedford coach up and down on the same day, any particular mortality took place. I have not heard of any, and rather believe all these horses did their fair day's work, notwithstanding the state of the atmosphere on that day; nor do I believe one case of congestion of the lungs occurred among the (say) forty horses working the coach up and down. It is worse than nonsense bringing forward such attempted excuses for what will admit of no excuse. Mr. Spring's opinion was then given as to how far he considered the pony as being in a state of distress. Now, by his own showing, it appears he has been present at many Matches against time. People are seldom found voluntarily present at exhibitions from which they derive no pleasure: we may therefore fairly conclude that Mr. Spring does derive pleasure from such Matches, consequently becomes one of the clique. If so, his testimony relative to the humanity of the 56
- A BYE-GONE REMINISCENCE.
driver, or the distress of the animal, comes before us in a very questionable shape; for it is just in these matters possible he may allow as great a latitude to his conscience as Mr. Burke himself. I mean no illiberal insinuation against Spring in a general way by this remark: he keeps a very respectable house, conducts it in a very respectable manner, and, “ this present enterprise set off his head," and a participation in similar pursuits, is himself a very respectable man. Thinking thus of him, I would in all good feeling just hint, that attending to his friends and customers, who are always glad to see him, will be to the advantage of them and himself, and attending a little less to Mr. Burke and his pursuits will increase the estimation in which our worthy landlord is held by those who wish him well, or whose estimation is worth having
Reverting to the boast of the pony having been driven without a whip reminds me of an anecdote told of a noted coachman. He was for some reason or other taken off one coach to be put on another : he was told by the late coachman of the latter that no man could get the first team he would have to start with along, or, at all events, “ thrashing in a barn was light work to driving them.” He made no reply, but contrived to get into the stable during the morning, and unobserved locked himself in with the aforesaid team : he then took a broomstick, and belaboured each and all of them, shouting at them at the same time till they would have jumped through the wall, if they could, the moment he spoke to them. This done, he walked quietly out. On the team being put to the coach, they from habit took the thing as coolly as ever; sundry jokes passed on the new coachman ;