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best and most popular of our masters of hounds; on the turf we sce the plain country gentleman amongst the most active and able of all the members of the Jockey Club; with the leash, the crowned "king among 'em 'a' has no other assistant title to help out that sovereignty he has so well earned as a sportsman; and with the trigger, the yacht, the bat, and every other pastime national and natural, we have the palm and popularity awarded fairly to him alone who has fairly deserved them. For the Spaniard, the German, the Frenchman, or "anything of that sort" (as the Duke of Norfolk said the other day), using his string of titles as observedly as his string of beads, the eternal don, baron, or count may be an absolute requisite; but for an Englishman, a gentleman, a good fellow, and a good sportsman, such titles are unnecessary.
Some of our readers may, perhaps, be apt to term these "democratical" premises, at the same time they must feel them to be very true ones; our object, however, in making them in this place will, we trust, quickly dissipate any idea that we were touching on party ground or political purpose. The last portrait of a sportsman, it will be remembered, with which we had the gratification of enriching our pages was that of one chosen from the highest rank of Britain's nobles; of a man who, in every other relation of public and private life, was as fully entitled to that distinction and respect we claimed for him in the character of a sportsman-this was his Grace the Duke of Richmond, whose position was and is amongst the least of his recommendations, and whose recreations are conducted on a principle and supported by services that rendered him, in our opinion, a very excellent pattern to go by. We require, then, some one who may, can, or will not merely lend his name to a racemeeting or hunt-subscription list, but give good assistance as an acting steward or qualified adviser; not simply one whose success shall stand as the truest test of his merits, but who has pluck to keep on, though for the time others may be carrying off, those prizes he has been the most zealous and persevering to establish. Some one who yet, with all this innate spirit of a sportsman, still neglects none of those other social duties his station and abilities lead us to expect may be well dependant on him-of a man, in short, whose amusements do injury to neither himself nor others, while his graver occupations tend to the benefit of all in any degree effected by them. And such, in full sincerity, we believe to be Mr. R. M. Jaques, of Easby Abbey, Yorkshire; a man who needs no other title than that which his station as a country gentleman, an able agriculturist, and a true sportsman afford him to stand comparison with any other, noble or simple, who unites those pursuits, or to warrant us in introducing his portrait to the subscribers of this magazine. The prominent features, indeed, in the present habits and pursuits of Mr. Jaques bear altogether a very striking resemblance to those of the noble duke with whom we have thus associated him; a grateful comparison that might be carried even still further in paying that tribute to the many domestic virtues of Mrs. Jaques, on the possession of which we had the honour to compliment the Duchess of Richmond.
We have already hinted that Mr. Jaques's career on the turf, of
late, has not been remarkably successful; his exertions, however, in this sphere have not been confined to his own individual interests or gratification, he having within the last four years filled the office of steward at different meetings, perhaps more frequently than any other racing or non-racing man who has within that period ever accepted such an appointment: and in undertaking and working out the honorary services of this too frequently considered merely nominal duty, Mr. Jaques appears to us just the man a committee should endeavour to have on their list. With not only weight, fortune, character, a taste for racing, and a spirit to indulge it, he brings to the office activity and earnestness in doing everything to increase and establish sport at those places he has been chosen to preside over. In confirmation of this we need but add that about the latest stewardship he has entered on is for the Catterick Bridge Meeting of the ensuing spring, for which he also figures on the programme as volunteer and acting secretary; a further assistance, which promises more for reinstating Catterick in its former importance as a Spring Meeting than anything that has been talked of or done on its behalf for some time.* "The memoirs of utilitarians," it has been well observed, "are seldom written;" we still may here, though, call attention to a truly sporting utilitarian, who, if he has never yet won or bred a Derby or a St. Leger winner, has for all that accomplished a vast deal more for racing itself than many who in their time have had the fortune to own to doing both.
For nearly the last half century we find the brown and yellow livery of the Jaques family occupying an uninterrupted and never since vacated place in turf history, more especially in that which preserves the returns from the north or home circuit-one that, until within the last fifteen or twenty years, be it recollected, was decidedly the head quarters of this amusement. To take anything like a fair review of so long a period would require far more time and space than we could well spare, and we must consequently content ourselves with giving the names of some of the horses which ran under those colours, and from which any of our readers with a turn for racing may easily gather some idea of their efforts and fortune's favours in this line. In 1811 we have the opening day with Merryfield, by Cockfighter, out of the Star mare; and then running on, as we now do, with Harry Dawson, Agatha, Dardanus, Masker, Bronti, Comedy, Shadow, Elvira, Progue, Brother to Dardanus, Speculation, Crab, Ringlet, Skipping Fanny, Lovelock (Brother to Ringlet), Barytes, Galen, Mystery (Sister to Ringlet), The Gift, Hibernian, Valentine, Talleyrand, Serena, Golden Pippin (afterwards Mavis), Ossian, Margaret, Pantomime, Jemima, Burletta, Shirk (afterwards
* "Yorkshire was not supine, as contemporaneously with the Meeting just adverted to Catterick Bridge spread out two days' good feasting for the tykes, whilst a disposition was evinced to do still better for the future, by the subscriptions entered into and arrangements made, in which Mr. Jaques the co-steward took the warmest interest. When he puts his shoulder to the wheel, like our southern noble reformer, it is no trifle that can daunt him; whilst he spares neither his purse nor his person. The whole of the sporting community will bear me out in this eulogy. I rest quite confident, nor attribute it to private partiality."-Extract from VATES' Review of the Racing Season, November 30th, 1845.
Billy Boy), St. Martin, Malvolio, Opera, Interlude, Galen, Playfellow, Colocynth, Semiseria, Misconception, Advice, King Dick, A British Yeoman, Extravaganza, Playmate, Spur, and many others who appeared without names.
Of these Agatha, Masker, Comedy, Progue, Ringlet, Lovelock, Mystery, and Hibernian were out of the Star mare, Merryfield's dam, that produced in all seventeen foals, almost every one of which Her will be found amongst "the winning horses" of their years. daughter Comedy, while in Mr. Jaques's stud, threw fifteen foals, including Barytes, Galena, Pantomime, Burletta, Opera, Malvolio, Interlude, and, last of all, Semiseria. Her daughter, again, Galena, still alive and in the family, is the dam of Margaret, St. Martin, Playfellow, Galen, Advice, and Playmate. It will be observed from this that Mr. Jaques, up to the present hour traces the majority of his thorough-bred stock back to one mare-by Star, dam by Young Marske, out of Emma by Telemachus-and we only wish Semiseria, that might have been about the best of her descendants, would regulate her performances according to her own capabilities and her owner's merits. Mr. Jaques's horses are and have been for some time in the hands of John Scott, with whose aid, if they do not soon contrive to carry off a Derby amongst them, it will certainly not be from any want of talent on the part of our friend the Squire, who breeds them for amusement, engages them with judgment, backs them with spirit, and runs them to win.
If such conduct as this does not tend to the palmam qui meruit, we are at a loss to define what does.
As a postscript proverbially contains the pith of that which it serves to sum up, so most characteristically we close this notice with allusion to Mr. Jaques's connexion with York Races. When they had reached all but the climax of ruin he took them in hand. In 1843 he prevailed by his personal influence upon the public to contribute £1,000 towards the Stakes, and £500 for the improvement of the course on Knavesmire; and now has placed the olympics of old Ebor on the footing they once enjoyed, and from which they ought never to have fallen.
THE NORTH DEVON MEETING.
The late meeting in the North of Devon has been highly satisfactory-in fact unexceptionable. A fortnight devoted to the charms of Dian has tested the stamina of hounds, horses, and men; and foxes (a goodly list) have garnished the obituary of the "Sporting RegisIn the provincial world this meeting stands pre-eminent for the character of its workmen and the extraordinary stout foxes which
the country has ever produced. On the 17th of November three packs of foxhounds, of undeniable descent and quality, met in the neighbourhood of South Molton, and rarely has it been our lot to record such sport as they met with on the several days of their appointment. The very aspect of the country is enough to make a man run wild, much more a fox; and here the wily animal is found in perfection, or, as Mr. Trelawny says, "it is the real article indeed." Find him where you will, if he has a chance, he sets his nose boldly to the moor, and goes for a point over an open, wild, and practicable country, holding light the blood, mettle, and condition which are waiting on his rear; too often, however, "his policy serves him not a rush," and though he strain every nerve optatam contingere metam, he succeeds only in gaining a Pisgah view of it, and dies in the wilderness.
Eheu! fugaces; postume, postume; labuntur anni. There was a time when the Chumleigh Club (in the north of Devon) sang second to none; above twenty years ago its praises were sounded and immortalized by the happy numbers of a man who contributed mainly to the sport and pastime of the meeting. The verse is still fresh and vigorous, but the author of it occupies the silent chamber of death; the club, too, waned for years; and then total dissolution ensued. From its ashes, however, has sprung another, which, with the prospect of a longer life (if the militia be not called out), bids fair to equal its predecessor in every other particular. The following are a few of the members that form the new club:-Lord Cranstoun; Sir Walter Carew, Bart.; Sir Henry Seale, Bart.; Charles Trelawny, Esq.; W. B. Fortescue, Esq.; W. and H. Rayer, Esqs.; - Leigh, Esq.; Henry Carew, Esq.; T. Carew, Esq., Colly priest; John King, Esq., "the king of the west," late master of the Hambledon.
MONDAY, NOV. 17.-The Tiverton hounds, with old Beale at their head: they looked somewhat fleshy; but Beale said, "See them work first, sir, and you won't say so at the end of the day, especially if it is a long one." Met at Cruys Morchard, and found directly in a plantation; went away to Calverley and Worth, into the commencement of the Studely covers; then turning short as though he had been beheaded, the fox went to ground in a rabbit burrow, but was bolted at once, and broken up. The hounds did their work well, and deserved their game.
TUESDAY, 18.-Mr. Trelawney's hounds. "Look at that bitch," said a stranger, pointing to a hound that was everything she ought to be. "What is she called?" "Beatrice." "A perfect beauty. And those black and white hounds, so long in the neck and light in the shoulder, how are they bred?" "From the Grafton stock; "Excuse me,' models, all of them, of what hounds ought to be." said a Fadladeen from the neighbourhood of Exeter, "don't you think them looking like Swaffham a leetle too fine drawn?" A murmur of assent seemed to justify the critic's observation; but, to descend to a homely phrase, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating," and it will be seen by the sequel that the kennel management turned out to be in every respect highly judicious. Met at Heasley Mills; found in Long Wood; ran him over the inner part of the
moor; and, after a good deal of hard work, killed in Baddesley Wood. A stormy day.
WEDNESDAY, 19.-North Devon Hounds, with their scientific and experienced master in command. The bloom of this pack attracted universal admiration, with every appearance of health, muscle, and condition; they seemed business-like, and up to any work that might be cut out for them. Met at Kensford Water; found in a patch of for gorse near Yard Gate, and went away immediately over the open Simon's Bath, and thence to Ferny-ball, where he was run into in one hour and forty-four minutes, computed distance about eighteen miles. The best part of Ascot Heath does not present finer galloping ground than the eighteen miles chosen by this wild and gallant animal: during the first burst of the chase the field carried a good head,
"Abreast, like horses of the sun,
O'er heath and sedge they fly;
But the tailing soon came, and a woful one it was; and sorely did the steeds of the leading men sob as, towards the close of it, they struggled to keep on good terms with the killing pack: Messrs. Knight, Trelawny, W. Fortescue. Henry Carew, Leigh and Tyrrell went well, and were there or thereabouts at the finish.
THURSDAY, 20.-Tiverton Hounds. White Post, Molland Common. Found in the Molland Covers, and after an hour and a half's work ran into him; drew a few more covers, but the rain compelled an early chant of "dulce domum."
FRIDAY, 21.-Mr. Trelawny's Hounds. Yard Gate. Found in a gorse cover to the left of the down, and ran him brilliantly over the open to Simon's Bath, in twenty-four minutes. Here, during a slight check, a fresh fox raked up before the hounds, while our beaten fox stole back among the rocks. One of Mr. Knight's foresters witnessed the change; but being on the other side of a brawling river, could neither stop the hounds nor make the field understand what mischief was a-foot: however, the fresh fox came in for a burster of an hour and eight minutes, and only saved his life by the intervention of a rattling storm of rain as he reached the inclosures. An out-and-out good day.
SATURDAY, 22.-North Devon Hounds. Bray Ford. Did not. find till a quarter past three: but a clipping fox he proved to be. After one ring in cover, he broke away over the moor, and seemed to say, "Little I value you all." Ran him for one hour and forty minutes without a check; the pace, however, was not first-rate, but over as beautiful a country as ever was seen-moors that are all fit for race-courses. Mother Nox compelled us to stop the hounds.
The same day, the Tiverton Hounds met at Exeford. Found; and after an hour and ten minutes killed. Found again; and had a burster over the finest part of the moor, and put him to ground near Launacre: time, an hour and a half. Nothing could exceed the style of this last run; the pace first-rate, the country magnificent.