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Two rosy lips with innocent worship part;
Thou must have ears:
Doth it not noiseless ope
Who, with strong hope,
Her sweet task ne'er forgot
Forget them not!
From many a festive hall
Soft voices call
On the light-hearted throngs,
Amid the songs,
The merry laugh, the jest,
Before her rest,
That single infant's prayer;
And kneeling there
With quivering lip and sigh,
The baubles by;
Nor doth she thoughtlesss dare
Then comes the prayer-
The warrior on the field,
Scorns not to yield
The statesman gray,
Of earthly luxuries, the farmer's rest;
Thus hear him pray:
BY THE EDITOR.
Very much afraid are we, that the caption of our present article may scandalize moral readers, or encourage those of another class to expect in it what they will not be able to find. Let no one prejudge us. Perhaps our course may lead us somewhat into the moral, somewhat into the historical, and perhaps even we may somewhat strike right and left before we get through. At all events, we shall get the reader into no trouble; and with this as. surance we invite him to read on.
Cock-fighting is an old-we were about to say amusement, but we have a better word-barbarity! This word suggests to us at once, that its origin must have been heathen, and so it really was. It seems to have been practiced among the ancient Greeks and Ro. mans; and from this latter nation, it was learned by the English. From England it was introduced into this country before the Revolutionary war, and was first principally practiced in Virginia, but later also in Maryland. A more Christian civilization has, during the last several decades, to a great extent, banished it from Maryland, and even Virginia. It is not now much practiced, except in the East Indies and Spanish America.
Tbat any one could ever bave found amusement in this cruel barbarity excites wonder. “In this sport,” says one, “the plumage is trimmed, to make the foul lighter and more active and give its antagonist less hold upon it; the legs are armed with an artificial steel spur, or gafle, capable of inflicting a speedily fatal wound. The combatants stand opposite each other with bristling plumes, the head low and the neck extended ; after observing each other in silence, with angry looks, one makes a movement, when both erect themselves and dart upon each other; these manoeuvres are repeated until one has torn the comb of the other, driven him off the field by beating him with his wings, or pierced him with his
And with this cruel sight the spectators are delighted! Large bets are made, and fortunes lost in risks upon the issue. The owners of the fowls procure them by large sums, and bestow on them more attention than they do upon their own children.
The Marquis De Chastellux, in his travels in this country in 1780–1782, describes these cock-fights as they were then common in eastern Virginia. He arrived at a tavern, or ordinary, as public houses in Virginia were called. “This consisted of a little bouse placed in a solitary situation in the middle of the woods, notwithstanding which we there found a great deal of company. As soon as I alighted, I inquired what might be the reason of the numerous assembly, and was informed it was a cock-match. This diversiun is much in fashion in Virginia, where tbe English customs are more prevalent than in the rest of America. When the principal promoters of this diversion propose to match their champions, they take great care to announce it to the public; and although there are neither posts, nor regular conveyances, this important news spreads with such facility that the planters for thirty or forty miles round attend, some with cocks; but all with money for betting, wbich is sometimes very considerable. They are obliged to bring their own provisions, as so many people with good appetites could not possibly be supplied with them at the inn. As for lodging, one large room for the whole company, with a blanket for each indi. vidual, is sufficient for such hearty countrymen, who are not more delicate about the conveniences of life, than the choice of their amusements (!)”
Spirits of chivalry! This good French Marquis seems to cast a shadow upon the ancient glory of the race. But be, and not we, is responsible for what he has dared to say. “ We tell the tale as it is told us.” But what a peep does this description allow us in upon the social taste of those times! Wbat must have been the moral tastes of "the planters," when such a scene of barbarity could draw them together from a distance of "forty miles,” to be. hold innocent fowls, by their arts excited, and by them provided with weapons of steel, inflict upon each other mortal wounds for the amusement of the gaping crowd. O times ! O manners!
Our traveller proceeds: “ Whilst our horses were feeding, we had an opportunity of seeing a battle. The preparations took up a great deal of time; they arm their cocks with long steel spurs, very sharp, and cut off a part of their feathers, as if they meant to deprive them of their armor. The stakes were very considerable, the money of the parties was deposited in the hands of one of the principal persons. I know not which is most astonishing, the insipidi. ty of such diversion, or the stupid interest with which it animates the parties. This passion appears almost innate amongst the En. glish, for Virginians are yet English in many respects. Whilst the interested parties animated the cocks to battle, a child of fifteen, who was near me, kept leaping for joy, and crying, Oh! it is a charming diversion."
In a note in another part of these Travels, the translator of the work, says : “The indolence and dissipation of the middling and lower classes of white inhabitants of Virginia, are such as to give pain to every reflecting mind. Horse-racing, cock-fighting, and boxing-matches, are standing amusements, for wbich they neglect all business; and in the latter of which, they conduct themselves with a barbarity worthy of their savage neighbors. The ferocious practice of stage-boxing in England, is urbanity compared with the Virginian mode of fighting. In their combats, unless specially precluded, they are admitted (to use their own term) 'to bite and gouge,' which operations, when the first onset with fists is over, consists in fastening on the nose or ears of their adversaries with their teeth, seizing on some delicate or vital organ, and dexetrously scooping out an eye ; on which account it is no uncommon circumstances to meet men in the prime of youth, deprived of one of those organs. This is no traveller's exaggeration. I speak from knowl. edge and observation. In the summer months, it is very common to make a party on horse-back to a limestone spring, near which there is usually some little but with spirituous liquors, if the party are not themselves provided, where their debauch frequently terminates in a boxing-match, a horse race, or perhaps both. During a day's residence at Leesburg, I was myself accidentally drawn into one of these parties, where I soon experienced the strength of the liquor, which was concealed by the refreshing coolness of the water While we were seated round the spring, at the edge of a delightful wood, four or five countrymen arrived, headed by a veteran cyclops, the terror of the neighborhood, ready on every occasion to risk his remaining eye. We soon found ourselves un. der the necessity of relinquishing our posts, and making our escape from these fellows, who evidently sought to provoke a quarrel.”
By this kind of life, indolence, ignorance, rudeness, and all kinds of demoralization were cultivated. Even the rich, and those who claim to be of the best blood, by their universal gaming propensities, in numerous instances lost their fortunes, compromised their dignity, and sunk to the level of the general barbaric tastes, which found delight in every kind of rude and cruel diversion, to the neglect of all higher social, intellectual and religious interests.
Witbin our own recollection, cock-fighting was still a popular institution in Maryland, and especially at lagerstown. It came from Virginia, and stood connected with that State as its source. The occasion of these fights—with which horse-racing was also connected-brought together large crowds from great distances. Gamblers and cock-fighters from Baltimore used to attend thero.
We remember well, how the fame of these great events sounded out for weeks before they came off, and how our boyish ambition was wrought upon by the wonder. But, thanks to a judicious father, we boys were never allowed to be present. Our father firmly held, that there were some things in the world that boys need not see ; and tbough we could not fully comprehend his reasons at the time, we have since learned to be of his opinion by full and free conviction. Parents ought to know more than their children, as they are older, and have had a longer time to learn both by study and experience. How well in harmony is this fact with the requirements of the fifth commandment.
We lived twelve miles from Hagerstown on the road toward Baltimore. Did we not see the Baltimoreans pass our house the week before the race and cock-fights with "their stock," on their way to the grand rendevous ?
It was about the year 1832. The great week at Hagerstowo had just closed. We were all sitting on the porcb in front of our house, on Sunday afternoon-having just finished a late dinner after our return from the village church. A tall, well-dressed, genteel looking man came walking up the road. His gait was that of a tired man, unaccustomed to walking much. His boots and pants were covered with dust, and his face had the appearance of one, who had lived very severely, or freely, for some daysthough he seemed sober at that time. He turned in at our gate, and was invited to a seat with us on the porch.
The dress and manners of the stranger at once indicated that he might be some wealthy man from some city. So it also turned out. He told us that he was from Baltimore-that he had been at the cock-fight and races in Hagerstown-tbat he had gone there with a pair of fine horses in his carriage, with $5000 in his pocket -that luck had gone against him—that he had lost all he had, and there was no alternative left him but to find his way back on foot, and to beg his way! Ile manifested some considerable sense of shame and penitence, but did not hesitate to make a clean breast of it. Walking twelve miles, unused as he had been to such exercise, had made him hungry, and be asked the favor of something to eat. One of my sisters made him a dinner, after which he rested yet a while, and then with many thanks, and giving my sister a new empty pocket book, he went on his way–we cannot say—rejoicing!
This may answer as a single specimen of the operations of these cock-fights and races. Were the facts all known, no doubt hundreds of similar instances would appear, as the ruinous result of these scenes of barbarian diversion. If the reader will refer back to Vol. IV pp. 161-161, of the “Guardian," he will find an Article entitled "Ten miles with the Driver,” in which we have given au account of one of the victims of cock fights and races-who at the age of sixty related to us how his father was ruined, and he, temporally at least, with him, by those same Hagerstown races.
We hope that none of our readers, who may live in other States, will unduly chuckle over these Maryland and Virginia follies of former years, and “thank God that they are not as other men.” Analogous sins in other States have been prevalent. They may mave been different in kind, but just as disastrous in quality. We could also "a tale deliver,” yea, more than one, of the oldtime Fairs in Pennsylvania-and exbibit scenes connected with them, where at least an equal amount of ignorance, rudeness and vulgari. ty revelled together, to bring the blush of shame upon the cheek