Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
  Hunting Sketches Anthony Trollope

The Hunting Farmer

Page 1 of 4

Table Of Contents: Hunting Sketches

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

Few hunting men calculate how much they owe to the hunting farmer, or recognize the fact that hunting farmers contribute more than any other class of sportsmen towards the maintenance of the sport. It is hardly too much to say that hunting would be impossible if farmers did not hunt. If they were inimical to hunting, and men so closely concerned must be friends or enemies, there would be no foxes left alive; and no fox, if alive, could be kept above ground. Fences would be impracticable, and damages would be ruinous; and any attempt to maintain the institution of hunting would be a long warfare in which the opposing farmer would certainly be the ultimate conqueror. What right has the hunting man who goes down from London, or across from Manchester, to ride over the ground which he treats as if it were his own, and to which he thinks that free access is his undoubted privilege ? Few men, I fancy, reflect that they have no such right, and no such privilege, or recollect that the very scene and area of their exercise, the land that makes hunting possible to them, is contributed by the farmer. Let any one remember with what tenacity the exclusive right of entering upon their small territories is clutched and maintained by all cultivators in other countries; let him remember the enclosures of France, the vine and olive terraces of Tuscany, or the narrowly-watched fields of Lombardy; the little meadows of Switzerland on which no stranger's foot is allowed to come, or the Dutch pastures, divided by dykes, and made safe from all intrusions. Let him talk to the American farmer of English hunting, and explain to that independent, but somewhat prosaic husbandman, that in England two or three hundred men claim the right of access to every man's land during the whole period of the winter months ! Then, when he thinks of this, will he realize to himself what it is that the English farmer contributes to hunting in England ? The French countryman cannot be made to understand it. You cannot induce him to believe that if he held land in England, looking to make his rent from tender young grass-fields and patches of sprouting corn, he would be powerless to keep out intruders, if those intruders came in the shape of a rushing squadron of cavalry, and called themselves a hunt. To him, in accordance with his existing ideas, rural life under such circumstances would be impossible. A small pan of charcoal, and an honourable death-bed, would give him relief after his first experience of such an invasion.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

Nor would the English farmer put up with the invasion, if the English farmer were not himself a hunting man. Many farmers, doubtless, do not hunt, and they bear it, with more or less grace; but they are inured to it from their infancy, because it is in accordance with the habits and pleasures of their own race. Now and again, in every hunt, some man comes up, who is, indeed, more frequently a small proprietor new to the glories of ownership, than a tenant farmer, who determines to vindicate his rights and oppose the field. He puts up a wire-fence round his domain, thus fortifying himself, as it were, in his citadel, and defies the world around him. It is wonderful how great is the annoyance which one such man may give, and how thoroughly he may destroy the comfort of the coverts in his neighbourhood. But, strong as such an one is in his fortress, there are still the means of fighting him. The farmers around him, if they be hunting men, make the place too hot to hold him. To them he is a thing accursed, a man to be spoken of with all evil language, as one who desires to get more out of his land than Providence, that is, than an English Providence, has intended. Their own wheat is exposed, and it is abominable to them that the wheat of another man should be more sacred than theirs.

Page 1 of 4 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Hunting Sketches
Anthony Trollope

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004