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Art. IV.-1. The Diary of Colonel Peter Hawker (1802–1853).
With an Introduction by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey, Bart.
2 vols. London, 1893. 2. Instructions to Young Sportsmen in all that relates to Guns
and Shooting. By Colonel Peter Hawker. Ninth Edition. London, 1844.
wo books have recently been published which are T'espectively hvery typical of sport pat tie beginning and the end of the present century. We refer to the Diary of Colonel Peter Hawker' and the “Big Game' volumes of the Badminton Library. The mention of the Badminton Library at once brings into prominence the extended signification of the word 'sport,' which nowadays is used to include all those pursuits of amateurs that involve a contest with an antagonist, whether that antagonist be the human or other animal, or Nature herself, At the beginning of the eighteenth century * The Compleat Sportsman' was fully furnished with information by Giles Jacob in 150 small octavo pages, which deal with shooting, netting and snaring birds, hunting, coursing, ferreting, and fishing. A hundred years later in Hawker's day, that is), Needham's Compleat Sportsman' consisted of some 300 pages, treating of much the same subjects. Now we have the Badminton Library, already extending to some twenty-five volumes, containing on an average 400 pages apiece, with more to follow. Not that the older sporting writers themselves confined their attentions exclusively to the pursuit of wild animals. Numerous examples might be quoted. Thus, for instance, The Countryman's Treasure of James Lambert, published in 1676, adds to the usual matter The Noble Recreation of Ringing'; so, too, the • Profit and Pleasure' of J. S., published in 1684, includes the art of making fireworks.' It was, we may observe, from the Liber Ignium of Marcus Græcus that Bacon was supposed to have derived his knowledge of the composition of gunpowder, so that the subject is perhaps more germane than it sounds, and Mr. Greener tells us that pyrotechnical hand-weapons were in use among the Arabs in the fifteenth century. The prolific Gervase Markham, again, who began to write in the spacious times' of Elizabeth, and who was perhaps the earliest professional English author, includes the ordering of singing birds’ in his • Young Sportsman's Instructor'; and the . Boke of St. Alban's 'itself combines • that heroicall and excellent studie of armorie' with the arts of Hawking, Hunting, and · Fysshynge with an angle.'
Undoubtedly, if we go back to the beginnings of things, panis
comes before Circenses; and the genesis of the hunter must have preceded that of the athlete, however primeval. But, although the hunter, competing with his fellows in those accomplishments and feats which were a necessary part of his calling, soon found out that he was an athlete, the connection does not seem to have been reciprocal; and it is rather in the athlete's capacity of soldier that we find his affinity to the sportsman. This connection between war and the chase is emphasized by the long list of soldier-sportsmen that could be enumerated. A very typical example is Sir Thomas Cockaine. Speaking of himself, he says that he has hunted for fiftie-two yeres, during which time I have hunted the Bucke in Summer and the Hare in Winter, two yeares onely excepted. In the one having King Henry the VIII. his letters to serve in his warres in Scotland before his Maiesties going to Balleine, and in the other King Edward the VI. his letters to serve under Francis the Earle of Shrewsburie, his Grace's Lieutenant, to rescue the siege at Haddington, which Towne was then kept by that valiant gentleman Sir James Wilford Knight. God send England many such captains when it shall have neede of them.'
To the present day, the mantle has descended upon soldier after soldier, and it is curious with what Transatlantic frequency the rank of Colonel' is represented in the muster-roll of notable sportsmen. Cockaine, specifying the Earl of Cumberland as a conspicuous example, points out how Hunters by their continuall travaile, painfull labour, often watching, and enduring of hunger, of heate, and of cold, are much enabled above others to the service of their Prince and country in the warres'; and, indeed, from Xenophon onwards, sporting writers, with scarcely an exception, have insisted upon the value of the chase as a military training. But the athlete by no means meets with such universal approval. Sir. Thomas Elyote, for instance, in * The Governour,' written some forty years before Cockaine, says: "Tenis, seldom used and for a little space, is a good exercise for young men, but it is more violent than shooting, by reason that two men do play,' and 'football is nothing but beastly fury and extreme violence, whereof proceedeth hurt, and consequently rancour and malice do remaine with them that be wounded, wherefore it is to be put in perpetual silence.'
The Badminton Library includes yet another development of the sportsman-the explorer; but the limits of a single paper will not permit of our following, so far afield, nor is it necessary to do so in order to arrive at a just estimate of Hawker and his proper place among sportsmen. The sportsman then, as we propose to deal with him, is one
who engages in a contest, where he has for his opponent neither inanimate nature nor his fellow-man, but a wild animal ; where his reasoning intelligence (aided on occasion by natural enemies) finds itself pitted against the resources of instinct; where his skill, endurance, or ingenuity have to cope with powers and capabilities of a different order to or wider limits than his own, and supplemented, it may be, by some designed or accidental advantage, such as protective resemblance and the like; but nevertheless, always one where the attacking player (though often, it is true, playing the game under restrictions of his own imposing) stakes only his amusement, or the gratification of his vanity, or at the most his dinner, while the defender usually not only cannot decline the contest, but is fighting for his life.
Broadly speaking, one of the chief differences of development between the sportsman and the athlete is this: the amateur hunter has been begotten of the professional, while the amateur athlete is the parent of his professional antagonist. Another marked feature is the composite pedigree of the sportsman. While Venator, Piscator, and Auceps were still professionals
, they were distinct personages: one result of the advent of the amateur was to amalgamate them. We first make the acquaintance of these worthies in boyhood. Ælfric, writing in the tenth century, tells us how the three lads came to • Præceptor' and asked him to teach them to talk Latin. Præceptor proceeds to question them as to their pursuits :
• Q. Quid dicis tu, Auceps ? quomodo decipis aves ?
·X. Multis modis decipio aves : aliquando retibus, aliquando lacqueis, aliquando glutino, aliquando sibilo, aliquando accipitre, aliquando decipulâ.'
Venator, in response to a similar question, says that his method is to make nets and drive the quarry into them by means of his dogs, et ego jugulo eos in retibus. In this way he kills, he says, stags, boars, deer, goats, and hares. “Fuisti hodie in venatione ?' asks the crafty Præceptor. Non fui, quia Dominicus est dies,' is the lad's wary reply. Piscator fishes with nets from a boat in the river, ascendo navem et pono
retia mea in amne et hamum projicio et sportas.'
* Translated by Professor Skeat as 'rods,' but why not baskets, as in Juvenal? In a book of engravings of Antonio Tempesta is an excellent representation of carp being taken both on lines and in baskets; and the following distich is appended:
* Sic variis cordâ depensis fallitur hamis,
Q. Where do
sell your fish ?
A. In the city.
'Q. Who buys them ?
capere quot possum vendere."
And be furnishes the catechiser with a goodly list of the various fish that he takes both in the river and in the sea, including among the former 'tructos,' and among the latter ‘isiscios, this last-named being rendered by the Anglo-Saxon interlineator as leax,' which is, of course, salmon.
All three lads, let us observe, represent themselves as professionals ; Venator, indeed, says that he is the king's huntsman, being paid in kind : and it is also worthy of remark that not one of the three includes a missile of any kind in his category of plant, while all the three make use of the net. Nets, by the way, we imagine to have been the oldest form of appliance used by man in his efforts to capture fish, flesh, and fowl alike, although slings and boomerangs, as well as hooks, are also prehistoric. But perhaps the most remarkable point is that, of all the methods mentioned, Piscator's hook alone has descended to the sportsman of these days; and even that is used by the lastnamed in a manner hardly more akin to that indicated by the words · hamum projicio,' than the modern landing-net is to the retia.' Auceps, it is true, speaks of hawks. But in spite of the efforts of many enthusiasts, falconry had not in Hawker's day, nor has it since, sufficiently regained its place in the purview of the sportsman to be entitled to higher rank than that
Auceps is of course the more especial prototype of Hawker, though naturally sounadulterated a sportsman could not consider any branch of hunting as beyond his craft. Here, for example, is an entry in his Diary :
* 1828. September 29.-It blew a hurricane all the morning. I first bagged ten partridges, then had a spree with the harriers, which I fell in with while shooting, and, by way of a wind up, I got my rod and killed six brace of very fine trout for dinner.'
To his mechanical aptitude and ingenuity, shooting presented attractions which other forms of sport could not afford ; and seeing that it has been at least as much affected as they have been by agricultural reform, facilitated communication, legislation, acclimatization, and the other many and heterogeneous influences which have been so busily at work since Hawker's day, it naturally raises most of the points which we shall have to consider. Hawker's great success with the trout-rod, indeed,
of a hobby.
the shrewd and sage counsel contained in the • Instructions to Young Sportsmen,' point to his being no unworthy descendant of Piscator; but it does not require much moral philosophy to recognize in the man that is a being of a higher order than the man that talks, or even the man that does, whatever be the quality concerned ; and no reader of the Diary can resist the conviction that Hawker was something more than either an expounder or an exponent of fowling: he was a fowler.
His unquestionable claim to a place in the front rank of sporting authorities the world at once acknowledged and has always continued to accept; and the Diary which Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey has given the present generation to read, is what was needed to show the practitioner in the place of the professor. But it does more than this. It shows an amount of self-repression which lends to his written words of instruction the weight of recorded personal experience. Although it was to his ingenuity and love of experiment, no less than to his perseverance, his accurate eye, and, let us add, his critical ear, that Hawker owed his success, he is of all men the least open the charge of being an empiric. Let us imagine him in the place of Ælfric's catechumen : Multis modis decipio aves,' would certainly have been his truthful reply, but the six
aliquandos' would have been all summed up in the words * powder and shot'; and powder and shot' would still be the reply of Lord Walsingham or Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey himself to a similar question. And here we have our attention markedly called to one effect of the rise of the amateur, who, by uniting the qualifications and attributes of the hunter with those of the athlete, largely contributed to the establishment of the principal characteristic which distinguishes the sportsmen of to-day from his analogous ancestor, be he Piscator, Venator, or Auceps. The fact is that the word decipio is no longer the right one to use: the trapper has made way for the marksman. Formerly wild animals were captured by wiles ; now they are taken by skill. Nowadays, not only have the horsehair and the bird-lime disappeared, so far as the sportsman is concerned, but the net also may be said to have followed, save a by no means indispensable accessory, Formerly, too, the hunter freely availed himself of the aid of natural enemies; nowadays, the sportsman relies to a far greater extent on himself and his buman companions. Even where the assistance of animals is still called in, it is usually for the performance of duties to which they are trained, rather than for the exercise of instincts and qualities with which they are