« AnteriorContinuar »
your acceptance. It is the first, of a purely sporting character, ever published in the United States; and should it be deemed worthy of those for whose instruction and amusement I have compiled it, I shall feel amply repaid for the labour expended
And here permit me, Sir, gratefully to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Audubon and to Mr. Giraud, the ornithologists, for several of the most instructive, and at the same time most entertaining chapters in this work. To Dr. Lewis, also, I am under many obligations, for original essays on the Pointer and the Setter; he is now engaged in editing, for the publishers of this volume, Mr. YouAtt's celebrated treatise on “ The Dog," a companion to Mr. Y.'s excellent works on “ The Horse,” on “Cattle," etc.: it could not be in better hands. To my friends, “FRANK FORESTER," THORPE, KENDALL, SIBLEY, and others, acknowledgments have been made in their appropriate places; if I have not extended them to all, as I intended, I hope they will “ take the will for the deed."
In the hope that, like your father, you may distinguish yourself as much in Society as on the Turf and in the Field,—that your reputation as a practical planter may be as widely spread as the fame of your exploits as a horseman and a shot, I beg to subscribe myself, my dear Hampton,
Your friend and servant,
W. T. PORTER.
New York, Oct., 1846.
PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.
The original edition, which led to the publication of the following pages, was hastily written, and printed in the year 1814, at the particular request of some sporting friends of the author, who had recourse to the press, in order to present each of them with a legible copy. A few supplementary impressions also were provided, for the amusement and instruction of the inexperienced sportsman, to whom alone he still presumes to offer so humble a production.
To prevent enlarging this work to an expensive publication, all needless embellishments have been avoided. By thus omitting ornamental plates on the worn-out subjects of common shooting, useless anecdotes, and other extraneous matter, there is a saving of time to many, who would be better employed than in reading superfluous volumes on a mere subject of recreation; as well as of expense to those who could not conveniently afford to purchase them.
Every thing here asserted has been the result of many years' trial and experience; and, therefore, all reference to other publications has been as much declined, as have statements from report; and it has been attempted to dilate most, on what has been the least explained by other authors.
So much, indeed, has been published, by more able writers, on field sports of every description, that little remains to be said on the subject. The pursuit of game is already too well known to require much instruction. The author has, therefore, thought it far better, instead of treating too copiously on that head, to give particular directions for (what gentlemen least understand) getting access to wild birds of every description.
With regard also to guns, and the various other subjects that form the remainder of the book, he has taken up his pen with the determination of neither borrowing, without proper acknowledgment, from other works, nor trusting to any thing from the experiments of other persons.
From having thus declined all assistance and wholly confined himself to the limits of his own humble experience, he will have to apologize perhaps for some errors, and no doubt for many deficiencies. But even this, it is hoped, will make the work less objectionable than swelling its dimensions to an unreasonable size, by relating incidents that possibly never occurred, or commencing a system of piracy on other authors, which nothing should induce him to do, after the very flattering manner in which his former editions have been received by the reviewers and the public.
He now offers to their notice the ninth edition of this work, which has of late been in many parts materially altered and enlarged. The improvements here added have been the result of still further experience, and therefore may be considered, in some degree, as finishing lessons to those young sportsmen, who have before done him the honour to attend to his earlier instructions.
The original matter, however, on which no improvement happened to present itself, will of course remain as before, for the benefit of younger pupils in shooting. But every thing that can be improved, up to the present year, is introduced on a different, and, he trusts, a more perfect system.
All the new directions wbich this work contains, have been first experimentally tried, and taken down, from time to time, in a pocket-book; then detailed, as soon after as possible, in the most specific manner; and, before they were entered among these pages, abridged to about a tenth part of their original bulk, through consideration for the patience of the reader.
Some apology may perhaps be requisite, for the abrupt style which this very abridgment occasions, as well as for the author having been so generally obliged to write in the first person. Dictatorial, however, as may appear the one, and egotistical as may be thought the other, yet it is presumed that his colloquial style may not be objected to, when all circumstances are consi.
dered, by those persons who are most able to criticise, and who are invariably the most liberal judges.
Some apology too may be necessary, for neglect of that ceremony which the public have a right to expect from every author. But, while occupied in forming this work, it must candidly be confessed, that the writer could not divest himself of feeling rather as one conversing, without reserve, among his brothersportsmen, than as an author whose work was going before a public tribunal.
The summit of his ambition, therefore, will be to give some little additional knowledge to those for whom the work is intended; and his earnest hopes are, that these his further, and probably his last, efforts on the subject, will meet with that indulgence which he has experienced on all former occasions.