Oscar Wilde.

Lady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest online

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He seems to dej^end upon Mr. Morden, at one time the owner of
the horse, as the som-ce of his information. "Dick" says the sire
of Tippoo was imported into New York in 1811, and was called
FleetAvood. Why did he not tell us by whom the horse Fleet-
wood was imported? If there was a man in New York in 1811 so
big a fool as to import an English stallion at great expense, and
then send him up to the wilderness of Canada where there was
neither money nor mares, his name should be handed down as a
historical curiosity. The whole story is a "fake."

In January, 1883, I received from the Hon. J. P. Wiser, of
Prescott, Ontario, the following letter, which he had just re-
ceived from the writer:

Wellington, December 27, 1882.

As the origin of the Tippoo horses seems to be a mystery to you I will tell
you. Erastus Howard was a traveling preacher in those days, and he traveled
on horseback. He bought in Kingston a dark chestnut mare and bred her to a
horse called "The Scape Goat," brought from Narragansett Bay, in Rhode
Island. The horse was a large brown horse, wnd could rack (pace) faster than
he could run. The colt was coal black and large, and was sold to Mr. Wilcox,
who named him Tippoo Sultan. His gait was like the " Scape " some, but
soon squared oflf to a trot, and the way he could go was dreadful. In June,.
1836, he broke his leg and was lost. Wilson Serls.



148 THE HOUSE OF AMERICA.

This short letter was a great surprise, for never before had I
lieard of Mr. Serls. Through the kindness of Mr. Wiser he had
entered the discussion, evidently without knowing anything
about what representations had been made by others. His short,
crisp sentences seemed to be an epitome of a history of 4;his horse,
Avhich he might be able to give. It will be observed that the
traveling preacher, Erastus Howard, is still in the foreground,
and that Mr. Leavens' "Escape" and Mr. Serls' "Scape Goat"
are- evidently one and the same horse, and thus these two men
practically confirm each other, so far as the identity of the horse
is concerned. No time was lost in preparing a series of questions
to be submitted to Mr. Serls, embracing the sources of his in-
formation, for although well advanced in years he certainly could
not have had personal knowledge of what he testified. These
questions not only covered the minute points in the history of
t*he matter, but they were so framed as to test the accuracy and
honesty of his memory. In due time they came back fully and
satisfactorily answered, and as these answers embrace many things
that my readers care nothing about I will condense them into
narrative form.

Mr. Serls derived his information from his uncle, Stephen
Niles, the brother of his mother. In 1798 Stephen Niles took a
band of horses to Prince Edward County, and stopped with an
uncle of his who was then a member of the provincial parliament,
living on the Bay of Quinte. His uncle prevailed upon him to settle
there. In 1800 he was married, and bought a farm of two hun-
dred acres four miles west of Wellington, where he lived many
years, and the place is still known as Niles' Corners. He was an
orthodox Quaker in his religious belief, and for a number of years
he was one of the bench of magistrates for Prince Edward
County. When the War of 1812 broke out he was employed by
the British forces in procuring hay and grain for the mounted
troops. In 1858 he died, leaving an honorable name behind him.

At the close of the war the military authorities sold off a large
number of horses to the highest bidder, and Mr. Niles was pres-
ent when the traveling preacher, Erastus Howard, bid off a dark
chestnut mare for ninety-three dollars, at Kingston. This mare
afterward became the dam of the famous Tippoo, and as a matter
of course nothing can ever be known of her breeding. In 1816 a
man from Khode Island, whose name is not definitely remem-
bered, but believed to be Williams, traveled the horse Scape Goat



EARLY HORSE HISTORY — CAXADA. 149

through Prince Edward County, and he stopped one day and
night in each week at the house of Stephen Niles, and during
that season Mr. Howard bred his chestnut mare to this iiorse,
and, as already said, the produce was Tippoo. This black colt
passed into the hands of Mr. Wilcox, who gave him his name,
and he afterward passed through several other hands before he
reached Mr. Morden about 18:^6, and he died ten years later from
the effects of a kick. As the horse Scape Goat was brought from
Narragansett Bay, and as he was a remarkably fast pacer, there
can be no mistake in calling him a "Narragansett Pacer." He
was considerably larger than the average of that tribe, but this
does not vitiate his title to a place in that family. It seems he
was only kept in Prince Edward County the one season, and his
owner, not being satisfied with the extent of his earnings, took
him back to Rhode Island. Thus, the horse that has been
proudly designated as "Canada's Messenger," was the son of a
Narragansett pacer. In his younger days, Tippoo paced like his
sire, but as he grew older the trotting gait was more fully
developed.

It is safe to say that the immediate progeny of Tippoo were
numerous, and it is safe to say that some of them, either as trot-
ters or pacers, were fast for their day, but it must be confessed
that we know very little about the way they were bred. One son
was called Sportsman, but nothing is known of his dam and very
little of the horse himself beyond the fact that he Avas the sire of
the roan gelding Tacony, that trotted some great races about
1853, and made a record of 2:27. This horse had a son called
Young Sportsman, that was more widely known as "the Sager
Horse," and his horse became the sire of the trotting mare
Clara, or Crazy Jane, as she was at one time called, that made a
record of 2:27 in 18G7. Beyond these two representatives of the
Sportsman line, I have not been able to go. It has been claimed
that another son of Tippoo, called Wild Deer, was the sire of the
Sager Horse, but it does not seem to be well sustained. There
was a son called Wild Deer, and several others that have been
mentioned by turf writers, but no particulars of any value have
been given.

Warrior, or Black AVarrior, as he is sometimes called, was a
brown horse and not a black, as his latter name would imply.
He was a son of old Tippoo and his dam was a black mare OAvned
and ridden by an officer in an English regiment, known as the



150 THE HOESE OF AMERICA.

Pirst Royals. She was a black mare and after she was sold out
of the service she was called "Black Warrior," and this name
was transmitted to her son. This mare was for a long time repre-
sented as the dam of Royal George, but she was the dam of his
sire. This horse was bred at Belleville, Ontario, and .about 1840
a certain Mr. Johnston was moving from Belleville to Michigan.
He had this horse with him, which, becoming lame on the way,
he traded to a Mr. Barnes, living about twenty miles south of
London, Ontario. He was a valuable horse and left many very
useful animals. Many of his get were pacers, and he was kept by
Mr. Barnes till he died.

Royal George was a brown-bay horse, foaled about 1842, and
was got by Warrior, son of Tippoo. His dam was the off one of
-a pair of bay mares taken to that vicinity from Middlebury, Ver-
mont, by a Mr. Billington. This mare got her foot in a log
bridge and the injury made her a comparative cripple for life.
Being thus unfitted for road work, Mr. Billington sold or traded
her to Mr. Barnes. She was bred to Warrior and produced Royal
George. It is said by those who knew both animals, that this
mare was a better trotter than Warrior, and from this springs the
argument tliat Royal George had a trotting inheritance from his
dam as well as from his sire. To learn whence this inheritance
came, I have labored assiduously for years without being able to
technically determine it. The single fact that her sire in Ver-
mont was knoAvnas "the*Bristol Horse," is beyond all doubt, but
-as Mr. Billington was not living when this search was commenced,
it has not been possible to determine just what horse is meant by
''Bristol Horse." At one time Harris' Hambletonian was known
very widely as "Bristol Grey" or "Bristol Horse," and this is the
only horse in the records so designated. It may, therefore, be
assumed as more than a probability that this was the sire of the
dam of Ro3^al George,

When three or four years old he was sold by Mr. Barnes to
James Forshee, and he was known as "the Forshee Horse" for
several years. He Avas sixteen hands high, not very handsome,
but well formed, with plenty of substance and stamina, good
action, and a first class "business" horse for anything that was
wanted of him. In the stud, at low prices, he was largely
patronized, and during the other months of the year he was em-
ployed in all kinds of drudgery. From Forshee he passed to
T'rank Munger, and from Munger to Mr. Doherty, of St. Gather-



EARLY HORSE HISTORY — CANADA. 151

Ines, for four hundred dollars, and he gave him the name of
Eoyal George, and kept him many years. In 1858 W. H. Ash-
ford, of Lewiston, New York, bought him and kept him two or
three years there and at Buffalo. He seems to have passed into
Doherty's hands again, and died at St. Catherine's, December,
1862. It is not known that he ever had any training as a trotter
except what he got from his owner on the road, and there is no
tradition of his ever having been in a race but once, and that was
•on the ice at Hamilton, about 1852, against the famous State of
Maine, for a considerable wager. In this contest he was the
winner. His highest rate of sj)eed was about 2:50 under the
saddle. He was strongly disposed to pace, but when he got
down to his work his gait was a square, mechanical trot. He
left a numerous progeny with a heavy sprinkling of pacers among
them; they were generally of fine size and very useful animals.
Many of his sons were kept entire and that Avhole region of On-
tario was filled up with Eoyal Georges, to say nothing of the
large numbers that were brought across the border. He left one
representative in the 2:30 list, and five sons that became sires of
performers.

Toronto Chief was the best son of Eoyal George, according to
the records. He was a brown horse, foaled 1850, and was bred by
George Larue, of Middlesex County, Ontario. His dam was a
small bay mare by a horse called Blackwood, and his grandam
■was by Prospect. The horse Blackwbod *'was bought of a
frenchman below Montreal in 1837," and that is all that can be
said of his blood. He was a horse of fine size and went Avith
great courage. Toronto Chief passed through several hands be-
fore he reached his owner, A. Bathgate, of New York. He was a
horse of great speed for his day, having a record of 2:31 in harness
and 2:24:5 under saddle. He lefttliree representatives in the 2:30
list, and among them the famous Thomas Jefferson, 2:23, with
thirty-nine heats to his credit. Six of his sons became sires of
trotters, and five of his daughters producers. Like all the other
minor families, the Eoyal George family is surely being absorbed
or submerged in trotting strains of more positive and uniform
IJrepotency.

It is probably true that Old Columbus and Old St. Lawrence
■were both descended from the Tippoo family, as they were both
Ijred in Canada and seemed to possess and transmit the same
characteristics as the Eoyal Georges possessed, in conformation



153 THE HOESE OF AMERICA.

and gait. Their descendants were not numerous, but so many of
them were able to show such a rate of speed, either at the lateral
or diagonal gait, that they left a distinct trace on the trotting
stock of the United States. Old Pacing Pilot has always been
classed as a Canadian, but no trace of his origin ha.s ever been
secured, and it is impossible at this day to give any definite in-
formation as to whether he was brought from Canada or not.
Some forty or fifty years ago the "Canadian pacers" were sO'
highly esteemed for their speed that very many horses were called
"Canadians" that never saw Canada. The original Tom Hal waa
purchased in Philadelphia as early as 1838, and was always called
a Canadian. He was the progenitor of the great pacing family
still bearing his name, that is doubtless the most noted pacing
family now in existence. Sam Hazzard, it is said, was brought
from Canada about 1844, and left some noted descendants. Many
others might be named, but as they never gained great celebrity,
and as their origin is not fully established, I will leave the-
Canadians for future investigators.

The rich province of Ontario has always been, in all its ways,
the most English section of the Canadian Confederation, and in
nothing more than in horsemanship. True, it is now a great
trotting region, but running is and always has been the sport of
the rich and fashionable, and almost all the English horses im-
ported in Canada have gone to Western Ontario. On the other
hand, in the Maritime Provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,^
and Prince Edward Island — running races liave never been
popular, except at Halifax, which is a great military station and
socially and otherwise much influenced by its English army and
navy residents. It is the only point in the provin .es where run-
ning meetings are given or where the running horse is at all
cherished. For generations the principal sport of the people of
these provinces has been trotting and pacing races, winter and
summer, for ice racing is very general and very popular, through
Maritime as well as Western Canada, the numbers of great bays
and wide rivers affording ample courses, everywhere, throughout
the long winters. Though there is, through these provinces, a
generous sprinkling of horses called French Canadian, it is a fact
that when we write the horse history of Maine we have written
that of the Maritime Canadian provinces. The best of the early
trotting stock of these provinces came from Maine, and the most
and the best of the old-time trotters of Nevv Brunswick, Nova



EARLY HORSE HISTORY — CANADA. 153

Scotia, and Prince Edward Island were of tribes loosely described
as Maine Messengers. For this tliere are ample geographical and
natural reasons. That part of Quebec nearest them has never
been rich in horses nor in anything else which the Provincials
want, or in which they trade. The peojile of eastern New Eng-
land are their natural trading neighbors, and the city of St. John,
New Brunswick, especially in the past, the common market
place; and almost all the earlier Maritime trotting sires trace
through St. John to Maine, or some of the other New England
States. It is a fact, too, that for generations enterprising horse-
men, in the lower provinces, have been importing American trot-
ting stallions for service, and to-day the trotting stock of these
provinces is very thoroughly Americanized. While the exporta-
tion of horses, principally to Boston and Bangor, is one of the in-
dustries of Nova Scotia and of Prince Edward Island especially,
almost without exception trotting and pacing stallions in use
there are imported American horses, or the descendants of
American trotting sires; while, as we have noted, the foundation
stock came chiefly from Maine, and in very small degree from
Ontario or Quebec. In either of the Maritime provinces it is a
rarity to find a trotting horse that has not more or less of Ameri-
can blood.



CHAPTER Xill.

ANTIQUITY AN'D HISTORY OF THE PACING HORSE.

The mechanism of the different gaits — The Elgin Marbles — Britain becomes a
Roman province — Pacers in the time of the Romans — Bronze horses of
Venice — Fitz Stephen, the Monk of Canterbury — Evidence of the Great
Seals — What Blundevillesays — What Gervaise Markham says — What the
Duke of Newcastle says — The amble and the pace one and the same — At
the close of Elizabeth's reign — The Galloways and Hobbies — Extinction of
the pacer — The original pacer probaldy from the North — Polydore Virgil's
evidence — Samuel Purchas' evidence — The process of wiping out the
pacer — King James set the fashion — All foreign horses called " Arabians "
— The foreigners larger and handsomer — Good roads and wheeled vehicles
dispensed with the pacer — Result of prompting Mr. Euren — Mr. Youatt's
blunder — Other English gentlemen not convinced there ever vere any
pacers.

In considering the antiquity and history of the pacing horse, it
seems to be necessary that we should have a clear perception of
the mechanism of the gait from which he takes his distinctive
name and the relation which that mechanism bears to other gaits
or means of progression. In the study of this mechanism we
learn the combination by which we unlock the mystery that has
l^uzzled so many breeders of the past and present generations.
Some have maintained that the pace is a combination of the trot
and the gallop, while a smaller number have maintained that the
fast trot was a combination of the pace and the gallop. It is
quite evident, as I will be able to show, that neither of these
parties has ever given any careful attention and study to the
mechanism of the different gaits. The most simple and least-
complicated method of illustrating this mechanism of movement
is furnished in the human means of progression. At the walk, a
man steps off with his left foot and the heel of that foot strikes
the ground before the toe of the right foot leaves it. Then the
right foot advances and strikes the ground before the toe of the
left foot leaves it. This is the natural "heel and toe" walk, and
the speed may be increased by quickening the step and extending
tho stride, so far as physical conformation will permit. Still




:^



K 1

I-, SB

o s



ANTIQUITY AXD HISTORY OF THE PACING HORSE. 155

greater speed becomes a succession of bounds, the propelling foot
leaving the ground before the advanced foot strikes it. This is
running, the highest rate of speed attainable, and in every revo-
lution, for a space, the whole body is in the air. In the action
of the horse, with four legs, we find greater complication, which
I will try to make clear.

First, all horses walk, all horses pace or trot, and all horses
gallop. The walk is easily analyzed, for it is slow and the move-
ment of each limb can be followed by the eye. Each foot makes
its own stroke upon the ground, and we count one, two, three,
four in the revolution.

Second, at the gallop, which is a succession of leaps, each
limb, as shown by the instantaneous photograph, performs its
own function, whether in rising from the ground, flying through
the air, or in striking the ground again. There is harmony in
all, but there is no unity in any two or more of them, and when
they strike the ground again you hear the impacts, one, two,
three, four, in a cluster. The conventional drawing of the run-
ning horse in action is impossible in nature, and a wretched car-
icature of the action as it is. As in the walk, so in tlie run, Ave
count four impacts in the revolution.

Third, at the pace the horse advances the two feet, on the
same side, at the same time, and when they reach the ground
again there is but one impact; then the two feet on the other side
are advanced and strike in the same way. Thus, the rhythm of
the action strikes the ear as that of the movement .of an animal
with two feet instead of four. In this there can be no mechani-
cal mistake, for \\ the revolution of the four-legged pacing horse
we count one, two, and in the revolution of the two-legged man
we count one, two. The conclusion, therefore, seems to be in-
evitable that the two legs on the same side of the pacing horse
act in perfect unison in performing the functions of one leg. At
the trot the horse advances the two diagonal feet at the same
time, and when they reach the ground again there is but one im-
pact; then the two other diagonal feet are advanced and strike
in the same way. Thus, the rhythm of the action strikes the
ear as that of the movement of an animal with two feet instead
of four. In this there can be no mechanical mistake, for in the
revolution of the four-legged trotting horse we count one, two,
and in the revolution of the two-legged man we count one, two.
The conclusion, therefore, seems to be inevitable that the two^



156 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

diagonal legs of the trotting horse act in perfect unison in per-
forming the function of one leg. In the mechanism of the gait
then that is midway between the walk and the gallop there is no
difference in results, nor distinction in the economy of motion,
except that the pacer uses the lateral legs as one, and the trotter
the diagonal legs as one. In use, there is a vertical distinction,
if that term should he allowed, between the gait of the pacer and
the trotter. The action of the pacer is lower and more gliding
which fits him for the saddle, while the action of the trotter is
higher and more bounding which makes him more desirable as a
harness horse. In the processes of inter-breeding to the fastest,
this distinction, if it be a distinction, seems to be coming less
real, or at least less observable.

While the essential oneness of the pace and the trot is indi-
cated above from the mechanism and unity of the two gaits,
there is a great mountain of evidence to be developed when we
reach the consideration of breeding subjects, in which we will
meet multitudes of fast trotters getting fast pacers, and fast
pacers getting fast trotters; fast pacers changed over to fast trot-
ters and fast trotters changed over to fast pacers, and the final evi-
dence that speed at the one gait means speed at the other. Hav-
ing briefly explained what a pacer is, it is now in order to take
up the question of whence he came.

On the summit of the Acropolis, in Athens, stand the ruins of
the Parthenon, a magnificent temple erected to the goddess
Minerva. The building was commenced in the year B.C. 437,
and was completed five years afterward. All the statuary was
the work of the famous Phidias and his scholars, made from
Pentelic marble. This noted building resisted all the ravages
of time, and had, in turn, been converted into a Christian temple
and a Turkish mosque. In 1676 it was still entire, but in 1687
Athens was besieged by the Venetians, and the Parthenon was
hopelessly wrecked. As a ruin it became the prey of the Turks
and all other devastators, and in order to save something of what
remained of its precious works of art. Lord Elgin, about the year
1800, brought home to England some portions of the frieze of
the temple, with other works of Phidias, in marble, sold them to
the government, and they are preserved in the British Museum.
This frieze is a most interesting subject to study, not only as a
specimen of Greek art of the period of Pericles, but as a historic
record of the type and action of the Greek horses of that day.



ANTIQUITY AND HISTORY OF THE PACING HOKSE. 157'

It consists of a series of white marble slabs, something over four
feet wide, upon which are sculptured, in high relief, the heroes
and defenders of Athens, mounted on horses, and some of these
horses are pacing, while others are trotting and cantering. This
is the first undoubted record we have of the pacer, and it is now
over two thousand three hundred and thirty years old.

Britain became a Roman province in the reign of Claudius, in
the first part of the first century of the Christian era, and it con-
tinued under the Eoman yoke until a.d. 426, when the troops
were withdrawn to help Yalentinian against the Huns, and never
returned. When Julius Caesar first invaded Britain, in the year
B.C. 55, he found the inhabitants fierce and warlike and abun-
dantly supplied with horses and war chariots. These chariots
were driven with great daring and skill, and the fact was thus
demonstrated that this kind of warfare was not a new thing to
the Britons, and that they were not to be easily subdued. The
next year he returned again, but the second seems to have been
no more successful than the first expedition. But little is known
of the extent of territory overrun or the result of these invasions
beyond the fact that no setttlement was made then, and none till
about ninety years afterward, when under the reign of Claudius,
a strong military colony was planted there and Britain became a
Roman province. During these centuries of bondage we know
practically nothing of the lives of the slaves and but little of
their masters, except the remnants of military works for aggression
and defence, and the magnificent roads they constructed where-



Online LibraryOscar WildeLady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest → online text (page 17 of 61)