xt70gb1xd34n https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt70gb1xd34n/data/mets.xml Webber, Charles Wilkins, 1819-1856. 1852  books b96-18-36620354 English Lippincott, Grambo, : Philadelphia : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Hunting Natural history. Romance of natural history, or, Wild scenes and wild hunters  / by C.W. Webber. text Romance of natural history, or, Wild scenes and wild hunters  / by C.W. Webber. 1852 2002 true xt70gb1xd34n section xt70gb1xd34n 











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           ROMANCE


                 of



NATURAL HISTORY;


                OR,



WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.








      By C W WEBBER,
             &UTaox o'
 A    IN m  ," GOLD HICKS THC GUtIDE,' `CHARLS WLNWmD PAPERS,"
        'G0LXD- Er3 OF THE  0,  ET  TC.









          PIlLADELPHIA:
   LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & CO.
             1852.

 
































          ENTERED according to Act of Congress, In the year 1852, by
                      LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & CO.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvwania.

 






INTRODUCTION.



  Oma name, "WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS," must
tell for itself, in a great measure, for surely it has abundant
significance of its own. "Wild Scenes and Wild Hunters of
the World" certainly seems a rather comprehensive title for
such space as we have here.
  It is to be remembered, however, that all things are
comparative; and that as I had to begin somewhere, it had
a well have been with taking the Flood for granted, in our
"Wild Scenes,"   and accepting Nebuchadnezzar as having
"gone to grass," among our "Wild Hunters !" This being
acknowledged, I may be permitted to say, that, I have chosen
rather to look upon the Wild Scenes and Wild Hunters of the
World from the starting-point of my own life, and within the
sphere of my own and cotemporary experience.
  Beginning with the dawn of sensation in the infant, I have
endeavored to trace the passions of the Hunter-Naturalist,
through their gradual development, up to the stern and
strong individualities of such men as AUDUBON, WILSON,
BOON;, etc.
  The portraits I have given of these men on wood, may
be relied upon as accurate; while in my verbal sketches-
especially in that of the illustrious Audubon,-I have endea-
vored to present the Hunter-Naturalist in plain, unvarnished
guise, amidst Wild Scenes of the Primitive Nature lie lived
in and so loved.
  The beautiful, the grotesque, the perilous and strange
                                               3

 
INTRODUCTION.



extremes to which the all-daring, all-enduring hero of natural
science in the New World was exposed, through the long and
glorious triumphs of a life but just closed, furnish me with
nearly my ideal characteristics of the Hunter-Naturalist.
  Then, commingled as is my whole narrative with personal
reminiscence-after traversing, with the linDgering affection
of a native, nearly the entire ground of magnificent novelty
in the Wild Scenes of our own young world-I have yet,
accompanied always by the hirsute, though unseen shadow
of the Hunter-Naturalist, as monitor and guide, passed over
the great waters to seek sombre and stately contrasts in the
Wild Scenes of the oldest continent of the Old World.
  That I should find these contrasts so generally in favor
of the rough manliness and vast enterprises of our own
country, will not at all astonish those whose experiences
have been, like my own, in the real!
  In a word, I have endeavored to produce a book which,
in its desultory rather than careless manner, will yet be felt
not to be without its aim to instruct and amuse in the legiti-
mate themes of Natural History, outside the straight-laced
mannerism of technical treatment.
  In conclusion, I would express my obligations to Mlessrs.
Woodside and Kramer, artists, and Mr. Rosenthal, litho-
grapher, for their faithful assistance in the illustration of my
work. To Mr. Brightly, wood engraver, I am     especially
indebted for the zeal with which, outside his legitimate
department, he has brought his spontaneous and unexpected
talent for "landscape design" to my aid, in kindly working
out for me the greater number, and among them many of tbe
finest of my designs.



4

 







                  CONTENTS.



                      CHAPTER I.                  PAGE.
Bird, Beast, and Hunter..................             17
                     CHAPTER IL
The Boy Hunter..................                    34
                     CHAPTER III.
The Naturalist Developing............................................     54
                     CHAPTER IV.
The Night Hunt in Recess ............................................     75
                      CHAPTER V.
Audubon-the Hunter-Naturalist-Audubon and Wilson.......87
                     CHAPTER VI.
Audubon and Boone ...............................................        123
                     CHAPTER VII.
The Grave of the Silent Hunter ...................................... 191
                     CHAPTER VIII.
Old Bill Smith-the Silent Hunter ................................. 211
                      CHAPTER IX.
The Hunters of Kentucky-James Harrod of Llarrodsburg..... 231
                      CHAPTER X.
The Fox and Fox HunLI.g in America ............................. 248
                      CHAPTER XI.
The Texan Huntress ...............................................       274
                     CHAPTER XII.
Metaphysics of Bear Hunting ......................................... 343
                     CHAPTER XIII.
Hunting Peccaries in Texas-a Bear-Hunt without the Meta-
    physics...............................................381

 




CONTENTS.



                                                       rAGX
                       CHAPTER XIV.
The Buffalo.............................. .......       394

                       CHAPTER XV.
Panthers, and our other Felines .403
                       CHAPTER XVI.
Captain Dan Henrie; his Adventure with Wolves .425
                      CHAPTER XVII.
The Darkie Fiddler and the Wolves .446

                      CHAPTER XVIII.
Skater Chased by Wolves .454
                       CHAPTER XIX.
The Mustang, or Wild Horse .460
                       CHAPTER XX..
A Bird's-eye View of the Speclater .472
                       CHAPTER XXI.
Trolling in June.                                       482
                      CHAPTER XXII.
A Night-bhunt up the Cungamunck .492
                      CHA PTER XXIII.
Trouting on Jessup's River .503
                      CHAPTER XXIV.
Anecdotes of Moose and Deer Hlunting among the Northern Lakes. 515
                      CHAPTER XXV.
Hunting Elephants in South Africa .536

                      CHAPTER XXVI.
The Giraffe .561
                      CHAPTER XXVII.
South African Lions .572
                     CHAPTER XXVIII.
The Rhinoceros and Hippopotamus .594
                      CHAPTER XXIX.
Buffalo and Antelopes of South Africa......................... 604



6

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A

 




















THE ROMANCE OF SPORTING.



                     CHAPTER I.

               BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.

  THE air is filled with birds that fly, and are pursued by
bird and beast. The earth, with beasts that run, and are
pursued by beast and bird; while man, in a world of pursuers
and pursued, is chief hunter of them all!
  Whatever may have been the case in primeval times, it
certainly seems very natural now that our relations to the living
creatures by which we are surrounded should be mainly those
of hunter and the hunted; and that these relations should be
most immediate to bird and beast seems equally of course,
since they more nearly approach us on the ascending scale
                         2                       17

 

WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



of being. But these most intimate relations to the life below
us express far more than is conveyed in mere consanguinity,
for they are each separate and living types of our compounded
selves.
  Thus we see in the bird the type of our intellect-of the
soul. We feel that they address the imagination, appeal to
what is exulting and exalting in us-to "the aspiration in
our heels !"
  The beast, on the other hand, is the type of our sensuous
life-it appeals to our material and lower impulses. It pre-
figures and embodies individually those purely physical attri-
butes which we find expressed in man the Microcosm. In a
word, quadrupeds are the indices of our passions which belong
to sense; and birds, of our passions which belong to soul.
The bird has wings, and like thought, triumphs over time
and space. It lives in the pure ether, and all its modes and
associations are apparently those of the soul's life.

                ",As birds within the wind
                  As fish within the wave,
                As the thought of man's own mind
                  Floats through all above the grave."

  Even the impulses of the bird are those of cold and clear
intellection.  When it strikes it kills-the quick, fierce,
promptitude of appetite knows no pause. It never dallies
with the prey, to gloat upon its agonies and heat a hunger
on the struggles of fear in the efforts to escape, as do the
felines and many others of the quadrupeds. With it to feel
is to do, and to do quickly.  Veni, vidi, vici ! is the accepted
motto of fiery, keen, victorious thought. They are the vicious
and ignoble sluggards of action that creep to conquer. The
beast is crushed by its grossness, and in its highest moods is
a crawler, with its belly in the dust. Even in the exultings
of its passion, in the murderous bound upon its prey, it must
shake the earth from its claws. It is indeed, " of the earth,



18

 
BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.



earthy," and associated with the baseness and w1.liness of
filth and dirt. However nice it may be, however intact of
the habitual soil it may keep its pelage, yet are its appetites
thirsty for blood like the absorbing earth; its passions linger-
ing, deadly, but sure as the revolving seasons. Birds do not
linger so. When they strike, it is for the death; and then,
with no pause between, they swallow. Sometimes, as with
many of the fishers, they do not even tarry that they may
tear their prey, but deglutate alive.
  As with the higher intellection, alimentation seems with
the bird rather a means than an end. Life has higher blisses
for them, and they eat to live; while the animal but lives to
eat. The joy of wings, of sunshine and of singing, of battle
with the wind and storms, of rocking on the wave of forest-
tops, or swinging with the bound of waters, is with the bird
the nobler purpose; while the beast maust lick its thirsty
chops forever, and with baleful eye glare always the insatiate
lust of ravin through the smiles of peaceful nature !
  With all this we have to confess that as yet the beast
more closely approximates our sympathies, appeals to us
through more numerous traits of consanguinity than the
bird. This, though honest, and sufficiently honorable to us,
is nevertheless most humiliating to a transcendental pride.
  They who would have the human all spiritualized, with
wings, forget that such conditions belong to a remote de-
velopment, or the other life; that, linked as we are here with
the material, it is as brave of us, and as necessary, that we
should be true animals, as that we should be true angels.
Our mingled being can, as yet, be neither one nor the other
wholly, but must wisely compound between the extremes, and
be simply what we are-men ! As men, then, all the vene-
rable past is sacred to our memory, as the cheerful future
is to our hope. The youth of humanity, in which the mate-
rial or passionate life predominated so much over the spiritual,
was just as excellent and as noble as its present condition.



19

 
WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



Our past is as illustrious in its facts as our futurc can ever
be in its hopes. We should as much venerate that antediluvian
era in which our giant progenitors wrestled hand to claw
with their brute antagonists, as this latter one, in which our
science, through chemistry and mechanics, has so entirely
quelled and fully restrained them.
  Although fanatics may regard this proposition as crude
and profane, it is, nevertheless, absolutely true, that begin-
ning with germination, every stage of development to its
highest point, is equally honorable and to be honored. Is
the flower with the sun-light on it more to be regarded than
the first pale leaf which struggles to the air from out the
gloomy fAcdtings of the earth Is the great tree, bending
beneath the ruddy weight of fruitage, more respectable in
God's economy of progress, than the small dark seed from the
entombment of which its proud show is the resurrection
  Struggle, throughout all life, so far as it has been revealed
to us, is the law of ascension, as well as of fixed grades; and
hence we justify all those rude antagonisms between man and
man, which a namby-pamby sentimentalism would convert
into the " piping times of peace." War is a legitimate con-
sequence of the conditions of our race, and all the concomitants
of war, martial games, hunting, &c., are equally legitimate.
It is astonishing that the lymphatic "peace" men should leave
out of view the fact, that when battle and death shall cease,
the whole animal world must be annihilated. In the first
place, even the graminivorous animals live upon the destruction
of some forms of animal life. There is no blade of grass or
leaf plucked by them, upon which myriads of animalcule and
hundreds of insects are not destroyed-they cannot move
upon the surface of the earth without destroying such crea-
tures-every lifting of a hoof leaves crushed and writhing
victims in its track, and when the foot comes down, it is like
Behemoth raging through the thronged cities of men. The
law is, that animal life must be perpetuated through death



20

 

BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.



and decay. The carnivorous animals confessedly live by mu-
tual destruction. How ridiculous is the effort to institute a
scale of sympathy, at the head of which the red-blooded ani-
mals are to be placed as more nearly appealing to our mercy.
They are, to be sure, nearest in fact, for the reason that we
too are red-blooded animals.
  What right have we to suppose that the animalcule or a
caterpillar does not experience the same pangs from sudden
dissolution, that are felt by ourselves, or a stag or a boar
What difference, in this respect, does it make whether the
blood of the slain creature be red, green or white Is not
every vegetable devoured, even by your Grahamite, a micro-
cosm of the world, and like it populous with living things
If then the destruction of animal life be a crime, does He
who marks the fall of every sparrow, regard with less com-
placency this wholesale annihilation of a little world, with all
its joys and passions, by the remorseless jaws of that soft-
hearted vegetable eater Four-fifths of the creatures which
are visible to the naked eye live in our sight upon mutual
destruction-while the remaining fifth live by the destruction
of those creatures of the existence of which the microscope
has taught us! Where will our sickly benevolence stop All
things that live in the grades below man are the fungi of decay,
and all that is material of him is alike so! Death is indeed
so entirely the law of life, that though fed on air you must
do murder with every breath; it is the fuel of all life, except,
perhaps, that of baby ethics, alias, transcendentalism !
  Why, then, give to the red-blooded animals so dispropor-
tionate an amount of sympathy The monadic, vegetable
and insect lives, are as necessary to the economy of God's
World, as he has been pleased to institute it, as our own, or
the lives of any other of the higher animals.
  Indeed, it is a curious fact, entirely left out of view in
modern theories, that even the lustful battles of the animal
tribes among themselves, are necessary to their own integrity



21

 

WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



and perpetuation. In these battles, which always result in
mutilation and death to many, the strong, of course, conquer,
and the weak being killed or driven off, are prevented from
perpetuating their own imbecility, and thus degenerating the
race. All are familiar with the savage contests of the ca-
nines, felines, &c. At such periods, even among the grami-
nivorous tribes, old Spencer tells of

         "As greet a noyse as when in Cymbrian plain
           An heard of bulles whome kindly rage doth sting,
         Doe for the milky mother's want complain,
           And fill the fields with troublous bellowing."

  It is a fact, with regard to the habits of the Mustangs, or
wild horses of our great prairies, which we have frequently
observed personally, that the weaker stallions are invariably,
after desperate contests, either killed or driven into solitary
banishment, from which they never return to the herd, until
their strength and prowess have been so far developed in the
solitude, as to give them some hopes of being able to triumph
in a renewed struggle with their conquerors. The mares, in
the mean time, are passive observers, and surrender without
hesitation, to whichever of the opponents may have demon-
strated the right to approach them legitimately. There is a
still more curious instance, which we have learned from books,
of this stern recognition of the utilitarian principle amongst
the lower animals. The stork, which belongs to the old
world, and is a migrating bird, furnishes this illustration. It
is said, that when the period for their annual journey arrives,
all those storks who neighbor in the district assemble, as do
our martins and swallows, at a given place, for the purpose
of practising their wings, and thoroughly testing their powers
of flight, before they set off on their long pilgrimage towards
the Orient. After several weeks, spent in arial circlings and
evolutions, the stronger storks suddenly fall upon those which
have shown, in this probation, such deficient energy of wing,



'22

 

BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.



as to make it unsafe for them to undertake the projected
flight, without embarrassment to their comrades, and dispatch
them with their long sharp beaks, sending them as quickly
thumping to the earth, as if a rifle-ball had struck them to
the heart. Here is a necessitarian justice, coming out of the
code God himself has instituted for the government of his
natural world, which will no doubt greatly horrify the sickly
word-heroes of the anti-capital punishment and non-resistant
creeds. Although God himself has established these severe
ultimatums, there are those wiser than he, who would substi-
tute their own pale shadows of thought for the nervous sub-
stance of his will !
  I do not deny progress, even in the fanatics' sense of it;
but I assert that war has been one of its greatest physical
agents; that it has convulsed and broken up those stagna-
tions of the moral sense which would have been fatal to it.
Though the necessity for war is gradually giving way to the
higher and more defined development of the spiritual life,
yet it must, for a long time yet, continue to be an important
agent of civilization.
  Do not let us, in the meantime, forget that the vocation of
the soldier and laborer is as honorable in God's sight, and as
necessary to the real progress of humanity, as that of the
intellectualist. And do not let us forget, either, that all
those associations of the past, which link our race more imme-
diately with these under types of passional life, are equally
glorious with that primeval time, when Ham, with the hirsute
strength, and passion for the chase, which gave birth from
him to the stalwart progeny of "mighty hunters before the
Lord," perpetuated those fierce instincts of combat and
destruction, which have made the gloom as well as the glory
of our progress. Brave times, certainly, were those of
                  -" Nimrod, the founder
                  Of empire and chase,
                  Who made the woods wonder,
                    And quake for their race;



23

 

WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



                   When the lion was young,
                   In the pride of his might,
                   Then 'twas sport for the strong
                     To embrace him in fight:
                   To go forth with a pine
                   For a spear 'gainst the mammoth,
                   Or strike through the ravine
                   At the foaming behemoth;
                   While man was in stature
                   As towers in our time-
                   The first-born of nature,
                   And like her. sublime."
  And something of the same rough stupendous cast from
nature's mould, must have been an old Briton of that young
time, when the first Roman came across, as the earliest navi-
gator to civilize-for it is certain, that if the Romans came
as conquerors, they came equally as civilizers. And though
they found the man savagely rude, yet, also, they found that
he had taken one step, at least, towards the investment of
cvnlization. From him Spencer took his famous picture-

           "About his shoulders broad he threw
           An harie hide of some wild beast, whom hee
           In salvage forest by adventure slew,
           And reft the spoyle his ornament to bee,
           Which spreading all his back with dreadful view,
           Made all that him Po horrible did see,
           Think him Alcides with the lyon's skin,
           When the Neamean conquest he did win."

  And now with the knotted club in hand, the round bull's-
hide shield advanced, with the long matted locks, hairy limbs,
and savage eyes, we have a pretty clear outline of the fierce
wild figures which met " with dreadful view" the Roman
gallies in the surf on their descent.
  They were strange times, too-those of the acorn-eating
Druids. The Man was, in fact, but a few degrees removed
above the brute, from which he
           "-Reft the spoyle his ornament to bee,"



24

 
BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.



so far as habits went. But habits are not all the man, and
they were most sublime rites, the incense of which went up
from beneath those truest temples-the sacred forests! At
such a period the strong contrasts are exhibited. The brute-
man literally wrestles with his brute prototype for glory,
"spoyle," and food; while the higher man sits with grey
venerable poll beneath the leafy shadows of his sacred place,
musing beside a rude stone altar; or on the plain, upturns
the white calm of his time-beleagured front towards the stars,
in still communion with their mysteries.
  Then comes that finer union of the animal and spiritual lives,
when the science of Eld Egypt-the God-revealed legislation
of the Hebrew-the magic of the far wondrous East-the
Ionian polish, and the Roman sternness, had, in their gradual
progress towards the West, so greatly modified human devel-
opment, that, out of such combinations, chivalry sprung forth.
This is that most generous balance of the two natures, which
even at the present day more nearly appeals to our nobler
instincts; and
                "In rough magnificence arrayed,
                When ancient chivalry displayed



25

 
WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



                The pomp of her heroic games,
                And crested chiefs and tissued dames
                Assembled at the clarion's call,
                In some proud castle's high arched hall"

-we have the most illustrious period of our race, in which,
through the expansion of the higher virtues, woman emerged
to her true place, and stood forth in light-the angel of the
fireside! Though the feudal age was partial in its immediate
effects, and the masses were still held in rude vassalage, yet
such developments as came to and for the few, were large
and grand. Then came the accession, though it was much
confined to the privileged classes, of that bold individuality
which dared to question any despotism, or hoary precedent
for truth, and out of which emancipation, sprung those liberal
opinions which have so far through blood and " terror" worked
out the modern ideas of liberty and equality. Thence came,
too, those regal impulses-those mild and liberal sentiments,
which in their open-handed dispensations fell like the benedic-
tion of blessed dews from heaven, upon the feverish embittered
struggle of man with man; and which cooled down their heat,
restoring that calm, mutual faith, that is the basis of any



26

 

BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.



attempt at self-government. Thence came as well " the
pomp and circumstance" of tournaments and hunts, in which
" the civil courteseys" of polished intercourse was most deli-
cately defined, even amidst the stern collisions of opposing
forces, and from which all those beautiful amenities, named
politeness by modern civilization, had their truest source.
  Then the human chased the brute, surrounded by all the
regalia of a more exalted state, and the physical was culti-
vated through magnificence. Then " crested chiefs, and
tissued dames," were not above being thoroughly developed
men and women. Animals now arose to a more correct esti-
mation, and under the proper culture, soon became rather the
companions and subjects of our hilarious sports, than abject
slaves and enemies, or objects of alimentive lust. Then the
fleet and fire-eyed barbs were transported from their desert
homes, with all the appointments of a ducal progress, to lend
their game and tireless speed to the ambition of our rural
sports. Then the boar was left to whet his tusks and strength
together in his native and inviolated solitudes, until his savage
energies came to him, and he was fitted to add that hardy
attraction to the chase which danger gives. So was the stag
nourished in those solemn forest haunts where its antlered
pride grew and was matured for the noble struggle of its
chase. Even the falcon, with its steel-hinged wings, and in-
domitable wildness, was brought down from its crag-eyrie to
serve our pastimes; and falconry became the most graceful
of all the sports in which the two sexes elegantly united.
Then came the manly fox hunt, in which sly Reynard's cun-
ning was made to increase the joviality and excitement of
the pursuit, and from which this creature has made itself
associate with the lusty habitudes and ruddy cheeks of the
English gentry.
  But the free and courteous indications thus nourished,
soon opened for the race a new field, as well as novel sur-
roundings, in which their legitimate results would be wrought



27

 
WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



out fairly. The New World was discovered by a bold in-
quisition of science, which the newly released thought-
exulting in its freedom-could only have attempted; and
was conquered by the proud daring of a chivalry, which was
first sublime to undertake and strong enough to accomplish,
all that its fiery dreams had conceived. Then the Matador
knights of Southern Europe, possessed themselves of gold-bear-
ing, gorgeous Mexico; and the cut-and-thrust agility-the fero-
cious cowardice of their national show, "the bull-fight"-has
been well perpetuated in the assassin's skill with the assassin's
blade; and the brutal thirst for blood, wreaking itself the more
mercilessly as the victim is more helpless-which has distin-
guished the modern Mexico of that conquest !
  But another people-from the hardy North of the Old
World, which has always preserved the physical integrity of
its races-went across to possess the, to them, congenial
North of the New.
  The elemental war-the thundering of wind-driven waves
upon "the rock-bound coast"-the white desolation of snows
crowning the cliffs and bowing the gnarled tangles of scrubby
forests, had no formidable terrors to them-whose manhood
had been cultivated amidst the out-door hardships of those
gallant feudal sports to which we have alluded. They had
been cradled by the tempestuous North, and knew how to
match all its moods in self-defence. They could wrench the
fire from dead trees by friction, and even when this resource
failed, knew how to strip the warm skin from the newly slain
beast to wrap around them in their slumbers, and defy the
winter. They were not appalled by the savage red man with
his scalp lock, for they had conquered brutes as savage in
the wild fastnesses of their mutual home. Though certainly
there is a wide difference between the rough boar hunts,
through which some of our pilgrim fathers may be supposed
to have been habituated to "imminent perils by flood and
field"-to which the knights went forth with their peers



28

 
BIRD, BEAST AND HUNTER.



around them, with hundreds of retainers at their heels--and
those stern conflicts in the wide wilderness of our forests to
which the single hunter went forth with his rifle and knife;
and in which he had not only to meet in awful solitudes the
bear, the bison, the panther and the moose, but as well, the
still creeping, deadly subtlety of an Indian foe!
  The latter had all the aid of numbers, and a common pur-
pose, which, even under imperfect discipline, may convert a
physical coward into the hero. The former, shorn of all
these associations, was compelled to push his way alone into
the grim surrounding of the "howling waste," and single-
handed cope with all its dangers. He came with nerves of
steel and heart of rock, to subdue the bleak wilderness, and
he accomplished it-though " dark and bloody grounds" may
have marked each arena of his stern and struggling progress!
His own quick senses, and his prompt right arm were his
only dependences for the preservation of " dear life !" It is
not at all astonishing, then, that from the nurturings of such
scenes and habitudes, that bold and strong individuality, that
untamable self-reliance, which constitutes the basis of self-
government and a free republic, should have come forth
cap-a-pie, to assert its claim to national character, in the
eight, or even had it been necessary, the eighteen years' war
of a revolution. The war of the Revolution, and every one
that has occurred since, proves, that however deficient in
discipline, the North Americans are the best individual sol-
diers that the world has erer known. The remarkable skill in
rifle shooting, and the constant familiarity with dden exi-
gencies of the ruder sports of hunting, which the every-day
habitudes of their wild life has given them, has fitted almost
every common soldier for the station of an officer, so far as
skill, coolness, promptness and self-dependence can go.
  All the impulsion of our national character-all of the
hardy, stern, resolute and generous that may be native, we
take through the noble blood of our hunter ancestors. That



29

 
WILD SCENES AND WILD HUNTERS.



terrible soldiery which devastated Mexico, was composed of
hunters almost to a man; the eagle they carried before them
was a hunting bird-the fierce-eyed king of the winged hunters!
  To me, the wild and peculiar sports of our country, are
as noble and ennobling subjects of curiosity, as I feel our
science should be of jealous accuracy, and philosophy of
liberal breadth. Our physical character has been quite as
much developed by the first, as our intellectual or moral by
the second, and our spiritual by the last.
  Here, the civilized man, the savage and the brute have
been brought into extraordinary relations. Nor is this all.
It is through this remarkable collision, that a more intimate
knowledge of the habits of all the forms of animal life has
been obtained in the New World than has come through
any other source. The savage was the earliest and most
accurate student of their habits, from the necessities of his
condition, which compelled him to familiarize himself with
all their moods, in view of the facilities for capture. which
the want of food and raiment entailed. His familiarity with
such themes was then purely compulsory, while that of
our American pioneers has been nearly quite as much
so. They, too, were bound to be naturalists. They came
to the unbroken solitudes to cope with the savage in the
conditions of his own life. Though they had more science,
and a better architecture, yet were they equally dependant
for subsistence upon personal prowess. They were com-
pelled to learn from their savage antagonist-as they could,
through their manner of taking them-the nature and habits
of the new animal races amongst which they found them-
selves. What they could not acquire from such sources,
their own intelligent observa