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I AM told that I should have a Preface or Introduction to my book. My adviser being one of known taste and judgment, I am determined that one part of this work shall show both good taste and good judgment in its Author. That part, and possibly the only part that will do so, is the taking such advice. Conscience whispers that an apology for offering it to public notice is still more necessary. This I was not told: politeness alone probably prevented my being so; let me therefore hope the public will consider what I now offer as Preface, Introduction, and Apology.
I have read prefaces in which the Author assures his reader, if the book is found to beguile a vacant hour of his time that its end and aim will have been fully accomplished. That such philanthropic feelings may actuate such authors, it would ill become me to dispute: where they do, I conceive they must emanate either from men of such transcendent abilities that composing a work gives them no trouble, or from those of such fortunes that pecuniary advantage was quite beneath their consideration.
That I am not one of the former class I am perfectly satisfied; that I am not now one of the latter I am as perfectly convinced, though by no means satisfied.
iv. - PREFACE.
Prior to commencing the fugitive papers of which this work is a corrected portion, I was enjoying that much-coveted “Dolce far niente.” Now, so far as the “dolce” is concerned, no matter in what shape it comes, I can enjoy it with as much “gusto” as any man breathing, and am grateful enough to say I have had my full share of it in various ways. The “far niente” with a very good income does extremely well, and is very pleasant; but when we begin to anticipate its continuance might bring the “niente” in contact with the purse, it does not do at all, and is not pleasant, but is I trust an apology for this work.
In soliciting indulgence for the many failings that will be found in the Author as a writer, I may I trust be permitted to observe, that the fugitive thoughts, hints, and opinions he ventures to publish are not those of the theorist, but of one who from a mere child has mixed in and enjoyed every sporting pursuit alluded to in the work, is engaged in some of them now, and trusts ere long to enjoy on a limited scale all again. If so, and the ideas contained in the work should be considered by the Sporting World to be (taken as a whole) tolerably correct, his happiness
will be complete.
It has been, I believe, a generally received opinion in this country, when a man has purchased any kind of property, paid for it, and it has been delivered to him, that the property becomes his, and, provided he does nothing with it to infringe the laws of his country, he has an undisputed right to do what he pleases with it; as this right would be allowed, whether he bought an estate, a house, or ten hunters that should cost him a thousand pounds, or any given sum. —Any one might naturally suppose, if a man chose to give a thousand pounds for a race-horse, that he would be allowed the same freedom of will in what he might please to do with him. I should have thought the same thing when I was fifteen, but I knew better before I was twenty. Now, so far from being considered at liberty to do what he pleases with such a horse, he will very coolly be told what is tantamount to this, that he is not his property: on the VOL. I. B