John Bell.

Baily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 17 online

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Mr. Horatio Ross : a Biography, i .

Decision of the Committee of Masters of Foxhounds in the ca&e of the

Grafton and Old Berkeley Countries, 4.
How we spoiled the Egyptians, 5.
Muzzles and Mad Dogs, xo.
Types of Horses, past and present, which may prefigure the future of the

English Hoise, 14.
Cricket, 18, 87-

The Run of the Season. By B. T. C, 27.
Turf Reform, 28.
Out-door Servants. — No. iv. The Earthstoppcr and some Outsiders, By

the ' Gentleman in Black,' 32.
Yachting and Rowing, 36, 102, 152, 213.
Paris Spoit and Paris Life, 41.
*Our Van,' 44, 107, 157, ai4> ^70, 320, 372.
Mr. Gerard Sturt, M.P. : a Biography^ 55.
Au Reroir, 58.
The Award of the Stewards of the M. F. H. Committee on the matter

referred to them by Earl Fitzwilliam — The Sandbcck and the

Badsworth Hunts, 60.
The Chronicles of Heatherthorp, 66, 299.
Hunting a Bagman, 77.
A Chapter on Speculation, 83.
Who is to ride him ? By Old Calabar, 96^ 142.
Lord Royston : a Biography, 117.
The Bonnet of Blue, 118.
The Stubbles, 119.

Rabies and Hydiophobia. By Dr. Shorthoubc, 125.
A Blank Day. By B. T. C, 132.
The Pleasures of Cub-hunting, 136.
Reviews, 148.
Oxford and Harvard, 150.
The Duke of Roxburghe : a liiography, 171.

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Leaves from the Journal of our Life at Doncaster, 17*.

Puntcrstown Steeple-chases, 179.

The Gal way Salmon Fishery. By Old Calabar, 184.

The Sires of the Period, 188, 243, 294.

October Sports, 192.

The Leash, 200.

A Visit to Elvedon Hall, the Seat of the Maharajah Duleep Singh, 204.

Cricket.— The Close of the Season, ao6.

Our Yachts, 209.

Lord Henry Paget : a Biography, 225.

Lord Derby. By Amphion, a 2 7.

The late Earl of Derby, 229.

The Heath: a Sketch, 237.

Barnet Fair, 246.

The Reunion at Melton, 248, 285.

Out-door Servants. — No. v. The Stud Groom. By the * Gentleinan in

Black,' 257.
The Wild West, 262.
Cricket. — The School Averages, 267, 314.
Lord Roscbery : a Biography, 279.
At Home. By Amphion, 280.
A Quiet Bit of Schooling, 310.
Rowing, 318.

H. R. H. The Due de Chartres, 333.
Suburban Specs, 335.

The Coverside Phantom. By R. E. Egcrton-Warburton, 340.
The Surrey Staghounds, 343.
A Little Uor?e Talk, 351.
A Review. By * The Gentleman in Black,* 360.
The Christmas Amusements, 369.


Mr. Horatio Ross .... i
Mr. Gerard Sturt, M.P. . . 55
Lord Royston 117


Title-page — Harry King.

The Duke of Roxbui^he . . 171
Lord Henry Paget .... 225
Lord Rosebery 279

The Due de Chartres , , . 333

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The various qualities that illustrate and adorn the character of the
true sportsman are so happily combined in the subject of our present
uotice that there is n^ difficulty in assigning the nrst place amongst
living sportsmen to Mr.. Horatio Ross^ and it is a high distinction,
for it necessarily implies the possession of some of the most coveted
gifts of nature. The sure hand, the keen eye, the strong frame,
the resolute will, nerves strung by health and braced by exercise, a
swift insight into the habits of animals, a sympathy with every living
thing, and, above all, the fancy that kindles with the enthusiasm of
sport, and glows with a love of nature — these attributes, forbidden
to the many who simulate them, are the attributes of the sportsman,
and they are possessed in a very high degree by him of whom we

Mr. Horatio Ross was born at Rossie Castle, Forfarshire, his
father's property, in l8oi, and was christened Horatio after the great
Lord Nelson, who was his godfather. He was an onlv son, and was
educated at home. In his eighteenth year, having lost his father,
he entered the army as cornet in a dragoon regiment ; but home
service in a barrack-yard did not suit his habits, and he left the army
in the course of a few years. Taking almost from his boyhood a
vivid interest in a wide 'range of sports, he soon became distin-
guished. At Melton Mowbray, in early youth, with that phalanx
of hard riders Maxsc, and White, and Neville, Sir Harry Goodriche,

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lyord Plymouth, and Campbell, he held no second place. The
steeple-chase he rode and won on Clinker, against Captain Douglas
on Radical, over Leicestershire, is the first steeple-chase we have on
record. Against that grand horseman George Osbaldeston he sub^
sequently rode two steeple-chases over the same country, and was
beaten in both ; but against the same vigorous antagonist he tried the
oar, and in a memorable contest, some forty years ago, over the long
course from Vauxhall Bridge to Hammersmith, seven miles, Mr. Ross
was the victor. Nothing seemed to come amiss to him. With the
yachtsmen of the time we find him equipping a cutter at Southampton,
and winning a hardly-contested sailing-match in the waters of the
Solent, for a cup presented by the Duchess of Kent It was, how-
ever, with the fowling-piece, the rifle, and the pistol that his unri-
valled skill and excellence were shown. Here lay his peculiar gifts,
and it is beyond all doubt that with the pistol he never met his
match. At the pigeon from the trap at the Red House it was in
vain to handicap him. In England he was matched against all
comers as a game shot, and in Scotland he was, and still is, known
par excellence as * the Deer-Stalker.' Indeed few were the meetings
for genuine sport in the country in which he did not bear a part, and
those were times when sport had not stooped to the battue, nor been
tarnished by the disgraces of the Turf and the Ring. In a match
with Lord Macdonald Mr. Ross killed 52 pigeons out of 53 shots,
with traps 30 and 35 yards from the shooter. And again, in a match
amongst the members of the Red House Club, in 1828 — a Club
possessing all the best shots in the kingdom — Mr. Ross won the
cup with shooting that has no parallel either before or since. It
was a four days' match — 20 shots a day, traps 5 in number, 30 yards
rise. Out of his 80 birds he scored 76 ; 3 others were killed, though
not scored ; and but i bird escaped, by reason of his gun snapping.
And again, with a duelling-pistol he killed 20 swallows before break-
fast, most of them on the wing. Some of his athletic feats were no
less remarkable, as when he walked as umpire with the late Lord
Kennedy, Sir Andrew Leith Hay, and others, from the river Dee to
Inverness, a distance of ninety-seven miles, without stopping, and was
the only one who reached the goal unassisted j and again in the match
he shot with Colonel Anson at partridges in Norfolk, when the
latter retired from sheer exhaustion, Mr. Ross was so fresh that he
challenged any of the bystanders to walk to London, a distance of
seventy miles. These were some of the exploits of his youth and
early manhood, and they stamped him as the foremost man amongst
the athletes of his day. In briefly alluding to the early career of
this now veteran sportsman there is one fact which must not be
overlooked. The best pistol shot in Europe, and at a period when
most trivial causes often led to hostile and fatal meetings, he so
studiously avoided saying or doing anything to wound the feelings
of others, that he never had a serious quarrel with any one. He set
his face sternly against duelling; and acting no less than sixteen

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1869.] A BIOGRAPHY. 3

dines as a friend, by tact and good temper he in every case managed
to effect a reconciliation without resort to the ultima rath. There is
nothing to which he must now look back with greater satisfaction
than to his success as a peace-maker. On these laurels he might well
have rested, but his intellectual and physical activity induced him to
canvass for a seat in the House of Commons, and in 18^1 he entered
Parliament as the representative for the Aberdeen, Montrose, and
Arbroath boroughs. The ease with which he spoke and wrote might
have gained him distinction in the senate ; but he disliked the con-
finement of the life, and after two parliaments he emancipated himself
from it, and retired to the grand scenery of the Highlands, where he
devoted himself to the rod, the rifle, and the gun, and by his writings
became the authority on all subjects connected with the wild sports
of the hills. At the very outset of the Volunteer movement he was
amongst the first to recognise its extreme national importance. His
knowledge of the rifle gave him a right to speak on it, and he threw
himself into the movement with a zeal that largely assisted in popu-
larising the use of the weapon, and in concert with his sons he
stimulated in the youth of England the love of rifle-shooting until it
assumed the large dimensions it has attained at the present day. The
prizes he has won with the rifle are numberless, and amongst them
are some of the very first. The Wimbledon Cup — that is only com-
peted for by winners — the Association Cup, and the Duke of Cam-
bridge's Cup; and in 1 867 he achieved the crowning victory of the
Cambridge Cup, shot for at Cambridge, where in two long days,
shooting at 900, 1000, and iioo yards, fifteen shots at each range
each day, he met and vanquished some thirty of the best rifle-shots
in the kingdom.

He married Miss Macrae, a Highland lady, and his sons, nurtured
in refinement and not unacquainted with art, have inherited from
both parents a love of nature that grew with their growth amid the
solitudes of their mountain home, a splendid school for riflemen.
Mr. Edward Ross has won the Queen's Prize, and alone holds the

fold and silver medals of the National Rifle Association. Mr.
lercules Ross has won the Cambridge Cup, and in three suc-
cessive years has become the champion shot of India, while in 1863
Mr. Ross and his sons — Hercules, Colin, and Edward — ^were four of
the Scotch eight who contested with the English eight for the inter-
national trophy ' the Eicho Shield/ This is the brief outline of an
active and not uneventful life passed in the excitements of sport,
and withal with a temperance so rare and a judgment so wise, that
be escaped the snares and pitfalls which have embittered, and in some
cases sullied, the careers of so many sportsmen *, and Dr. Johnson's
saying of Goldsmith as to literature —

' Omne fere scribendi genus teti^it.
Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit/

may well be applied to Mr. Ross as to sport. He has essayed everv
kind of sport and pastime, and all that he has essayed he has adorned,

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SO chat now in ripe age, with a large capacity for enjoyment, which
we trust may long be preserved to him, ^ a man of hope and forward-
^ looking mind,' he is surrounded by his children's children, who
will carry down the feme of his exploits to a further generation, and,
while sport is dear to Englishmen, always with a veneration for his


This was a claim made by the Committee of the Old Berkeley
Hunt to the right of drawing a small cover on the Potash form, in
the parish of Puttenham, which had hitherto been hunted as a portion
of the Grafton country by Mr. Selby Lowndes's (The Whaddon
Chase) hounds. The Potash farm lies on the south side of the
Rowsham brook, which the Old Berkeley Hunt sought to establish
as the boundary of the two countries. It was contended, on the
other hand, that the Old Berkeley hounds had never hunted below
the range of the Chiltern Hills, at the foot of which the canal runs
from Tring to Wendover ; the extreme covers drawn by the Old
Berkeley hounds beii^ Tring Park, Haltoh Wood, and The Box.
The evidence of Mr. Fitz Oldaker, Mr. Henry Oldaker, Mr. George
Beers, Mr. Richard Simpson, Mr. Charles Ward, and others, em-
bracing a period from the year 1815 up to the present time, was laid
before the Committee of Masters of Foxhounds, at Boodle's Club,
who on Wednesday, June 23, came to the following decision : —

June 33, 1869.

Lord Dacre.


J. Anstruther Thompson, Esq,
H. F. Meynbll Ingram, Esq.

The Committee met to consider the question between Mr. Selby
Lowndes and the Old Berkeley Hunt.

' Having carefully considered the case, the Committee are of
^ opinion there is no evidence to show that the Old Berkeley hounds

* have ever drawn any coverts to the north of Halton Wood, Tring

* Park, and The Box.

* They therefore decide, that the covert in question on the Potash
^ farm belongs to the Old Grafton country, and ought to be drawn

* exclusively by Mr. Selby Lowndes.

(Signed) < Dacre.


* J. Anstruther Thompson.

* Hugo Meynell Ingram.'

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' Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.'

Early in November, last year, three horses landed at Malta for a
rich Maltese, who was determined to carry off all the prizes that
were advertised to be run for at the so-called Malta Autumn Meeting,
which was to come ofF about the middle of December. There was
Spanish Fly, a four-year old, by Porto Rico, which had run badly in
Ireland ; another four-year old, by Artillery, and Standard Bearer, by
Artillery, who had performed across country a few times, all of them
bad ones, but still good enough to be certainties for all the events
that were open to English horses, whether on the flat or across

country. Captain F , of the — th, a brother officer of mine,

who was just exchanging to half-pay, Captain B , of the — st,

and 1, put our heads together, and came to the conclusion that it
would never do for us all to be beaten by the natives, and for them
to win all our money; and although there was very little time.

Captain F , who had just received a telegram to say he was in

the ^ Gazette,' started off, via Marseilles, with a commission to buy
a flat racer and a jumper that could beat the new arrivals. His
journey is a history in itself; how in twenty days after he left Malta
he landed there again with old Ambition (formerly in Cliff's stable),
and the Scout (from McDonough's), both fit to run, with not a
scratch on them, is certainly a feat unparalleled by anything I have
ever read of, considering that he had to look for his horses, go to
Ireland for one of them, and bring them back through France, part
of the way, through necessity, in a cattle truck ; however, it is not
my intention to describe his adventures, nor our races at Malta,
wnere we carried off everything we could enter for, both flat and
jump races. About a week after our meeting we heard that there
were some races coming off in a short time, either at Alexandria or
Cairo, so we telegraphed to the former place, and found that the
entries were closed for all the events except the English Cup, and
that the 15th and i6th January were the days of running. This
was the 4th of that month, and we thought the races were at Alex-
andria ; we had not much time, but we telegraphed back to enter
Ambition (or rather Grisette late Ambition, for we changed her
name) for the only race open, got our leave, and on the 6th, at
midnight, the following party started in the P. and O. steamer,

* Syria,* for the campaign in Egypt. Captains B and G of

the — st, Captains F and J ^ Grisette, with the boy, by name,

Andrew, who came from England with her, and an old white gelding of
mine, by Faugh-a-ballagh, called Bobby, that I thought might pay his
way in hack or hurdle races, if they would not allow us to enter for
other events, and a Chinese boy, called Quincey, to look after him.
What with three sacks of English oats, two or three bundles of good
hay, saddles, bridles, weight-cloths, &c. &c., we had lots of baggage,

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but the ship not being full, we managed to stow away our things
without difficulty. After a rather slow and uneventful passage, but,
luckily for the horses, without much knocking about, we arrived in
Alexandria harbour on Monday morning the nth of January. Of
course the first question we asked of the people who came on board
was as to where the racecourse was, and, to our horror, we dis-
covered that the races were at Cairo ; here was a nice look out I
130 miles by rail, and a doubt whether we should find stabling at the

end. OfF go B and F on shore to find out about the trains,

and to telegraph to Zech, of Shepheard's Hotel, to engage stabling
for us. About twelve o'clock they return, and finding we have not
a moment to lose, we get the horses into the pontoon alongside as
quick as possible, get them towed to the P. and O. landing-place, and

while B and F go off again to the station to make arrangements

about the tickets and horse-box, G and I are left to learn our first

experiences of Egyptian life. We managed to land our horses safe
and sound, but then had to pass them through the Douane ; they
told us that we had to pay eight per cent, on their value, and sent a
valuer who wanted to fix their price at 500/. a-piece, but every-
thing in Egypt is done by a little judicious bakshish, so by leaving
the matter in the hands of the native P. and O. official, and giving
him carte-blanche to bribe any one he liked, we got off by paying
about 8/, 10^. altogether ; but, during the negotiations, precious
moments were slipping away, and by the time we got out into \the
street it was within twenty minutes of the hour the train started, and
about a mile to go to get to the station. On to one of the long low
flat carts we heaped our sacks of oats and other heavy baggage, on
to the back of one of the numerous donkeys which were thronging

us on every side jumped G , on to one side of Bobby's head

I clung (for he was beginning to get rather fractious), on to the
other held Quincey, through donkeys, dragomen, carriages, beggars,
camels without end, and dust so thick that you could hardly see
your way, after the English consul's janissary on a donkey, with his

curved sword banging, after G on his donkey, after Grisette and

Andrew we came trotting along, with every now and then a lash out
as some camel came trudging solemnly along tingling his bell, or
some donkey boy made a more unearthly noise than usual ; now
and then a regular block and stoppage, then the janissary came into
play, ofF his ^ moke ' in a moment, cuffing this man, pulling this
horse's head round, beating that driver over his head with his scab-
bard, objurgating that camel driver in the choicest Arabic — such a
jabber, such a row, and such a dust ! Well, somehow or other we
get to the station just in time, covered inches deep with dust, hot
and nearly blown, shove the horses into the box, heave the baggage in.

B seizes the boys, each by an arm, drags them to a carriage, — a

whistle, and we are off. * Won by a head,' say I, as I look out of the

window and see the dragoman who accompanied B and F to

the station, now gesticulating furiously, and now moved almost to tears,
because he has only got paid a large handful of silver in the hurry of

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?tting off — only about three times as much as he was entitled to.
here is nothing to describe about the journey to Cairo, flat and
uninteresting ; we got something to eat at the station half-way, and
it was quite dark when we arrived at our destination. On the plat-
form we found a man in the universal tarboosh, who said he had
come from the hotel to meet us and show us the way. To all our
inquiries he gave evasive answers, and, like all the inhabitants, was so
confoundedly slow that we were very nearly pitching into him several

times. B and F went off to the hotel to arrange matters,

and G and I, after a great deal of trouble with our dilatory friend,

got our luggage heaped up on two carriages, and started off to walk
with our horses over a road which was neither too good nor too
light ; our guide, however, had a lantern, and we followed him for
about a quarter of an hour until he suddenly stopped at a door lighted
dimly with an oil lamp, and said, ^ There is the stable.' I entered, and
found myself in a large vaulted room badly paved, the centre partly
occupied with old traps of different descriptions, while round the
sides were ranged, as well as I could see, about twenty Rosinantes
divided from each other simply by a swinging bar, and without a
vestige of bedding \ two of the unoccupied spaces were pointed out
by our bright friend as the spots where we were to put our two
poor horses, who had not lain down for five days, and who had to
run in three or four days more. I should be sorry to repeat some of

Online LibraryJohn BellBaily's Magazine of sports and pastimes, Volume 17 → online text (page 1 of 51)