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are little calculated to find favour in the eyes of one portion of those whom they concern. On the fifth of December last an attempt to “gag” them was compassed by a process of dastardly Thuggee that I could not have supposed an Englishman of any condition would have condescended to. The “ stabber in the dark” wrote himself “A Subscriber of 20 Years.” It was not necessary to a right understanding of his occupation that he should denounce my "dull stereotyped howls about betting lists." Hinc illæ lachrymæ...... It did not requireto illustrate the style of the correspondent—that he should deprecate those“ howls” in phaze such as this : "he ought to keep his dirty linen to wash at home." The measure of contempt which a gentleman .metes to coarse cowardice, is regulated by the standard which Sheridan propounds for the sterling quality of its manly antithesis...... “ Let your courage be as keen and, at the same time, as polished as your
I do not know whether the line of reasoning I have long pursued in treating the anomalous position of the turf calls for any explanation, still less for any apology. I am not aware that it is requisite I should point out especial causes for it, beyond, and unconnected with, an anxious desire to mitigate its infinite abuses. Nevertheless, as it may aid in promoting my object, I crave permission-here on the threshold of a new year—to offer a few brief words upon that point. In a country proverbial for its “sporting" —no other language has even an equivalent for the expression-it is perfectly inexplicable that so much popular ignorance should exist upon the principle of horse-racing. Good, bad, , or indifferent, as the practice of betting may be, there it is – a gigantic system of national speculation, or, if you will
, gambling. It is a great social fact, of one sort or other ; and in this, the most ultra-practical spot of earth beneath the moon, how it comes to be so lamely and impotently concluded passes peradventure. This slovenly disposition, moreover, is not confined to the confusion and confounding of gobes mouches merely, but we find it even in the columns of the Times. A writer in that journal of the 9th ult., had a letter of lamentation on the ruin wrought by lotteries and lists, quoting in confirmation that eminent scape-goat the Alleyne rig. After a lengthened lashing administered to that malefaction, it winds up the climax thus...... ~ The turf has its own code of morality” (a curious sequitur, by the way, considering the antecedents) “a sliding-scale of roguery which has no limit but the occasion. Hawk” (the generic ideal for a race-horse) “may be lame, nay, dead—the more zealously does his owner lay against him." Here is a philosopher descanting upon Olympic ethics, ignorant of the first essential condition of a wager or a race, namely, that at the time it is made, there shall be a possibility for either of the parties to it to win...... Turning from the theory to the practice of our great national sport, do we find the mission of the schoolmaster complete ? For a light upon this part of our subject, we will anticipate the Doncaster Cup case : infandum renovare dolorem—but there's no help for it.
I waive all allusion to the bitter bad feelings to which it gave exis. tence.
According to an ancient axiom, when you are in Rome you must follow the fashion-a proverb haply more politic than prudent...... For the issue then, aforesaid, two animals were entered by, or for
How it may
Sir Joseph Hawley. These were The Ban and Vatican. With the former he ran first, beating The Black Doctor and a field of others, among them Vatican, purchased by Mr. Morris-of course, for good reasons--about a quarter of an hour before the race. It don't affect the fact we have in hand a bean, whether he gave a long price for the horse, or got him for an old song; or whether he bought him a quarter of an hour, or a quarter of a century before the start. influence the interests of the turf, by means of what followed, remains to be seen. The owner of the second claimed the Cup, on the ground that Sir Joseph Hawley had raced two nominations for it, contrary to the laws appertaining to plates. Sir Joseph pledged his honour that he had done no such thing, and got the Cup. In consequence, however, of some irregularity at Doncaster, the question was transferred for discussion and decision to the Stewards of the Jockey Club at Newmarket. Before that tribunal Sir Joseph Hawley, Mr. Morris, Mr. Henry Stebbings (trainer to the latter), Mr. William Stebbings—a “miscellaneous" witness-Mr. Taylor (trainer to Sir Joseph), and Job Marson (the baronet's jockey), were examined. Sir Joseph, in his evidence, stated that until his jockey had weighed for Vatican, he, Sir Joseph, was ignorant of the rule limiting the number of horses the same proprietor might run for a "plate.
Examination of Mr. William Stebbings “ Did you personally engage Marson to ride Vatican for the Doncaster Cup ?” “ Yes I did, Sir!"
Examination of Job Marson :-
The judgment, as an opinion in equity emanating from an equestrian court, claims record in extenso :
"We, the Stewards of the Jockey Club, having considered the case referred to us by the Stewards of Doncaster Races, in relation to the objectior. made by Mr. Saxon to the qualification of The Ban to win the cup, on the ground that another horse, still the property of Sir Joseph Hawley, had started contrary to rule 40 concerning horse racing in general, and having heard the evidence produced by Mr. Saxon in support of his objection, are satisfied that a bona fide sale of Vatican to Mr. Morris took place previous to the race.
“We are, nevertheless, of opinion that the Stewards of Doncaster races committed an error in allowing Vatican to run, he having been entered in Sir Joseph Hawley's.name, and that, if he had come in first, Mr. Morris would not have been entitled to the cup; but the horse having started with the sanction of the stewards as Mr. Morris's property, we do not think that any objection to The Ban can be sustained on that ground; and, therefore, decide that The Ban is the winner of the Doncaster Cup.
“As, however, considerable doubt may exist as to the right of Vatican to start, the Stewards of the Jockey Club will take an early opportunity of submitting this point to the meinbers of the club, in order to obtain eir opinion, and have the wording of rule 40 made more explicit in this respect.
“ H. LOWTHER.” The position being granted that Sir Joseph Hawley did not "enter and run either in his own name or in the name of any other person two
horses of which he was wholly or in part the owner," for this “plate',"' it follows, the text of Rule 40 having been recognised as the law affecting the issue, that a horse belonging to Sir Joseph Ilawley passing the post first, and bringing his weight to scale afterwards, must be pronounced the winner of it...... I assume that the “Rules concerning Horse Racing in general," being framed for carrying out a code of honour, and providing for that of which the statute law did not tako cognizance, were meant to be interpreted in the spirit. Rule 40, unless its framers were ignorant of the English grammar, was never intended to make provision for two distinct contingencies. The sentence-.“ It being an established rule that no person can entego and run (these words are printed in italics in the Book Calendars) either in his own name, or in the name of any other person, two horses, of which he is wholly or in part the owner, for any plate"means, as it was obviously designed to mean, that “no person can enter, and run, two horses for any plate,” &c. Had the limitation been intended to apply both to the entry and to the starting, the declaration wou'd have set out that it was incompetent for any one either to enter or to run two horses, wholly or in part his property, for any plate...... This is the right reading, and was undoubtedly the original intent and purpose of the rule. The restriction relates to the number that may be brought to the post, and not to the entrance. The colloquial tone of racing legislation implies a conventional understanding that it is to be construed in the spirit, and not in the letter. If this vexed enactment were submitted for the opinion of a special pleader, most probably the constructive inference he would draw from it would be that it was framed with a view especially to guard against any one individual running two horses for any plate. The law has only to deal with the fact. It is here recited, that “no person can enter and run two horses for any plate ; but he may enter and run three horses, or thirty, or three hundred, anything to the contrary notwithstanding. On the other hand, perhaps, it is objected that any person who starts four horses, belongiug to himself, for a plate, does ipso facto and of necessity start tuo. Now hear the special pleader in rejoinder—" I must take leave to differ altogether from the deduction of my learned friend. When we say two, we adopt the monosyllable in its abstract application. When my learned friend says, “Yesterday I drank four glasses of port after dinner,' are we to infer that they formed a portion of four bottles which he had discussed ? Should I state to-morrow morning in open court that the previous evening I met my learned friend in Piccadilly in his shirt, would my lords understand it to imply that he was attired in his customary suit of black-and yet does my learned friend ever perambulate Piccadilly or any other thoroughfare of the metropolis without his shirt ?"
“ Solvuntur risu tabulæ : tu missus abibig." The subjoined is the opinion of a high authority......
“As the decision of the stewards of the Jockey Club on this simple case has left the public in total ignorance of the state of the racing law, and has mystified every person who has read their award, I am induced to occupy a place in your columns to explain the discrepancies of the verdict. The owner of Black Doctor objected to The Ban receiving the cup on the plea that he was disqualified by Sir J. Hawley entering and running two horses
in the race in violation of the 40th rule. With regard to entering two or more horses, it was decided by the Jockey Club in 1793 (vide Case V.Racing Calendar) that a person may enter a plurality of horses, but can only start one. This custom is universally acknowledged and constantly acted upon, therefore the question solely turned on this fact :-Did Sir J. Hawley start two horses for this cup of which he was wholly or in part the owner ? As Sir J. Hawley gave his word of honour that he sold Vatican to Mr. Morris before the race, the question was answered, and this case ought to have been decided instanter' by the Doncaster stewards. Unfortunately it was transferred to the stewards of the Jockey Club, who, instead of confining themselves to the charge, express an opinion that the Doncaster stewards were in error in allowing Vatican to start, and that Mr. Morris would not have been entitled to the cup if his horse had won. At the same time they acknowledge that considerable doubt may exist as to the right of Vatican to start; and we are informed that they will take an early opportunity of submitting the point to the Jockey Club. It has been argued very naturally that if Vatican was disqualified à fortiori The Ban was disqualified. I deny both the premises and the inferences. I cannot discover a precedent or any rule which would have sanctioned the Doncaster stewards to forbid Vatican to start, or which could have deprived him of the cup if he had come in first. In some instances a corporation names horses, and may nominate any number of horses in a plate. They are all eligible to start and ivin, provided no two of them belong to the same individual. But supposing. for the sake of argument, that Vatican illegally started, it could not affect The Ban. Sir J. Hawley had no power over the horse after he was sold. Sir J. Hawley could not suffer by an error committed by Mr. Morris; but the steivards having admitted their doubt, Mr. Morris is entitled to the benefit of it. Previous to 1849 any number of horses belonging to the same person might run for the Doncaster Cup. It was, therefore, not extraordinary that Sir J. H. was not aware, until a short time before the race, that he could not start two horses; and it was still more curious that very few persons on the Doncaster Race Course were cognisant of it until it was publicly stated that Sir J. H. had sold Vatican to Mr. Morris; then it was recollected that the cup, being a donation from the corporation, with the old sweepstakes omitted, it was placed on the footing of a plate. At Goodwood, the Duke of Richmond's Plate is open to any number of horses belonging to the same person, and the Doncaster corporation may insert the same clause if they think proper. I mention this to prevent the uninitiated from being misled by Mr. Saxon's remark, “That the 40th rule was made to prevent one horse assisting another in the race, the plate being given to allow every owner of a horse a separate chance.' No man knows better than Mr. Saxon that, in races of unusual interest, horses may always be procured to assist a favourite, or are sacrificed to make running for a particular horse. This system is perfectly understood, and is considered fair play. Add to these facts that the rules conce
cerning plates contemplated the best of heats, not a simple race. With respect to the evidence which has been published (to my belief) for the first time in the annals of the J.C., I am at a loss to know what the orders given to the jockey, the particulars relative to saddling, or to Vatican going back temporarily to his former stable, have to do with the real question. Mr. Morris, of course, bought Vatican to assist The Ban in the race-it suited his book; it was publicly known, before the ring assembled to bet on the race. Then, again, the bet alluded to of 900 to 300 against the lot-used as an argument, all that can be said is, that it was not so good a speculation as the person who laid it was in the habit of making. Nothing is so offensive to the mind of a gentleman as the idea that even justice is not administered between parties, one of whom may be in a more humble situation of life than the other. This amicable sentiment must have induced the stewards of the J.C. to prolong this examination without taking into consideration that a gentleman's word of honour and character were at stake. Under the circumstances I am not surprised at Sir J Hawley's retirement from the Turf.
“H. J. Rous."
Once lapsed into" our old lunes—digression,” it is the most difficult thing in the world to settle down to regular work ; so we may as well take a turn at the new element of the turf- the list houses.
" Since Pindar sung horse races,” no such frenzy has fallen upon the course. A writer in the Times, struck with dismay-almost in despair, referred some short time ago to “ the columns of the Sunday papers occupied every week by their advertisements ;” and he asked, " What next ?" Did he suppose it would stop there? Some three or four years ago racing “ lotteries” became popular, and made a scandal. The authorities then moved a little in the matter, and there was a sort of conventional expression against them, and they died out. Then came betting " lists,” stuck up in the windows of gin-palaces and licensed victuallers' bars. They grew and prospered exceedingly. How, indeed, could they fail of success; seeing that, as we read daily in the sporting journals, their plan was always to receive and never to pay? The consequence was, that from the casements of Tom-and-Jerry shops they were removed to substantial tenements ; and every street of the metropolis, and of every town of any pretensions in the kingdom, had at least one “ Jist house, and some of them half-a-score. It is not requisite or necessary to enlarge upon the results of these premises. No bill, indeed, announces that " you ng men are taken in here and done for ;'' but, as Doctor Pangloss says—“On their own merits modest men
are dumb." The business is not the less effectively executed because nothing is said about it. Well, experienced people thought this a climax. Halfa-million on the Derby and a couple of hundred thousand pounds upon the Chester Cup was considered a handsome average. Where there used to be one meeting in the year there are now three : where a guinea was laid in 1841, in '51 it was “ a monkey:" where the county-town was wont to support the races, they were patronized by the town and the county too.
My own impression was that the margin was quite full—that there was no more room for enterprise ; and I sat down to breakfast this morning, December the 21st, 185), to learn that the system was still in its swaddling-clothes ! Yes, I am made aware that it will begin to walk the premier pas in earnest to-morrow, in process of time to lounge into the penetralia of “the parlour” in Threadneedle-street, and thence to stroll into the Budyet......But, as I was saying, this morning to the accompaniment of incense-breathing prawns and a tea-custard (rightly to enjoy “ tlie Chinese nymph—Bohea”—to a pint of the fragrant leaf add the same quantity of water screeching from the fire, and a pound of cream of the consistence of India-rubber), I gleaned the contents of certain London letters that reclined upon the napkin. One of these, from a fellow with a pestilent fist, was to the following purpose...
Saturday, December 20. Dear C. By the Sunday papers of to-day I am instructed of a flare-up in the list line, something like a volcano! It is to be presented to public notice on Monday next, as it sets forth in a prospectus, " under the title of The Imperial Club.” Why couldn't they come the Celestial at once ? The notion has the merit of novelty to recommend it: the project is based on sheer philanthropy. “ The daily increase”—breeding like