Page images
[ocr errors]

gentleman ought to be familiarly acquainted. Feeding, exercise, docking, and nicking are treated of at large; and the volume concludes with ad'vice and direction with respect to the purchase of a horse; from which we make the following extract as a specimen of the merits and usefulness of the work.


The chicanery and artifice too generally practised by dealers in horses, renders it necessary that unwary as well as unskilful purchasers should have some rules laid down by which they may, in a degree, avoid or guard against such fraudulent and dishonourable practices. Indeed, it is to be lamented that some men who evince a proper regard for moral rectitude in their ordinary transactions, will, when selling a horse, deviate from their true character, by extolling the animal beyond his real merit, or by concealing material faults or latent defects, in direct violation of truth and candour.

We shall now describe the horse in as brief a manner as possible, noticing some of the most material imperfections; and shall also lay down some rules by which the age may be judged of with a tolerable degree of certainty, at least until he arrives at an advanced age.

The purchaser ought first to examine the horse as he stands in the stall, when no person is near him, and observe whether he stands firm and steady on all his legs; if he shifts their position frequently and appears restless, it indicates hard usage or something worse; and, although it may not be a sufficient reason alone, to decline a purchase, the cause ought first to be well inquired into.


Having examined the horse in the stall, let him be brought out of the stable and placed upon level ground (not with his fore feet several inches higher than the hind ones, which is a universal practice among dealers) then minutely examine his limbs, beginning at his breast which should be reasonably broad and a little projecting; as a hollow, small, and contracted breast indicates weakness and an aptness to stumble. Thence examine from his elbows to his knees, which is by some called the fore thighs, and by others the arms. These ought to be fleshy and a little bulging on the out side, but nearly straight within. If, on the contrary, they are lean and slender, it is a sign of weakness. See that he does not tremble or totter, but stand firm upon his knees, which should bear an exact proportion to each other and be stout, lean and sinewy; if they be scared it will at least afford reason to suspect that he is a stumbler if nothing worse.—The legs from the knees to the pasterns, or fetlock joints, should be lean and flat. If, on the inside, hard excrescences or knots are found, they are splents; but if they do not approach too near the knee joint, they seldom or never occasion lameness, and generally go away of themselves as the horse grows in years.

The horse should also stand firm on the pastern joints, which must be of equal size, clean, and well knit, and the pasterns be strong, stout, and almost upright. If, on the contrary, they are long, slender, and bending, or tottering and leaning forward, it indicates weakness as well as hard usage. After examining thus far, stand a few paces before the horse and see that he is not bow-legged, that is, the knees turning outwards and the toes inward; for, this is a defect not only disagreeable to the sight, but a horse thus formed never can be sure footed.


This is a proper time also to examine the hoofs, on which much depends; they should be large, black, smooth, tough and nearly round, not too flat, neither too upright, and the bottom concave. White hoofs are apt to be tender and do not so well bear, or retain the shoe. A hoof that is flat and pumiced on the under side is generally tender, and indicates founder or some other defect. If the hair lie smooth at the edge of the hoof and the flesh even, all is well there, but if the hair is rough and the flesh raised and uneven, a ring, or quittor-bone may be apprehended.


The hinder thighs should be thick, full within, and bulging on the outside, at what is called the stifle or middle joint. Lean and slender thighs are not so agreea

ble to the sight, nor do they promise much service. From the thigh bones to the hock, or what is by some called the gambrel joints, should be pretty long, but from thence to the pasterns or fetlock joints short, and the leg lean, flat and sinewy.

The hock joint should be particularly examined, and to be perfect must not be fleshy, but consist of skin, bone, veins, and sinews only; bending a little rather than too straight If any knots or swellings (either hard or soft) are found in the hollow part, or inside of the legs, just below the joint; beware of spavin; for although the horse may not yet be lame, a little labour will probably make him so. The remarks before made with respect to the pastern, or fetlock joints of the fore legs, also apply to those of the hind. If scabs are found on the inside of the pasterns of the fore or hind legs, it is evident that he cuts or interferes, which is a great objection, particularly if the horse is intended for the saddle. Windgalls are little swellings which are often found just above the fetlock joints. They proceed from hard usage, but seldom occasion lameness unless when they become very large and firm.


The head should be of a medium size, the forehead bulging, and the face from the root of the ears to the nose a little bending outward. A hallow faced horse, with his nose projecting, never can please the eye, though he may not be the worse for service.

The countenance should be cheerful, the ears sharp, well pricked, set high and moving, which indicates life and activity; while on the contrary, thick, leering, wide set and unmoving ears, are signs of dulness and bad temper. The cheeks should be wide and thin, and the space between the jaws also wide, and without knots or kernels, and the windpipe very large; which are all signs of good wind as well as courage. But if the jaws are fat and thick, and the space between them fleshy and nearly closed up, the horse must necessarily breathe with difficulty. The head should be of a gradual taper, rather small just above the mouth, which should be large, as a horse with a small mouth never carries or bears the bit well. The nostrils should be wide, and when the horse is in motion, a redness should appear within, which indi cates free breathing.


These organs ought to be most minutely examined, and in a situation where the glare of light is not too strong; the middle sized eyes are to be preferred. It is better, however, that they should be rather large than small. They should be round, lively, dark coloured (but not entirely black) and so clear and shining that you can see far into them, and when the horse is moving, but little of the white should appear.Eyes that are very black or cloudy, ought to be avoided, as they are generally prone to disease. Most dealers in horses are prepared to account (and sometimes with great adroitness) for every defect that an observing purchaser may happen to discover or point out, and particularly as respects the eyes, which they studiously endeavour to make appear as trivial, or of no consequence at all. The purchaser, however, should be aware of such sophistry, and not rely too implicitly upon it; but rather trust to his own judgment, or that of some disinterested friend.


The neck should be long, and small at the setting on of the head, growing deeper from thence to the shoulders. The upper edge should be thin and rising a little semi-circular from the shoulders to the head; the mane thin and strong, as a heavy, thick mane, bull neck, or a very lean and slender neck, are never pleasing to the sight. The shoulders should be thin, and lie well back; but to judge correctly of them, the horse should stand upon level ground. If the shoulders are thick and upright, he will not answer well for the saddle, as too much weight will necessarily be thrown upon his fore legs, which will make it unpleasant, as well as unsafe for the rider. For a draught horse, however, thick and upright shoulders are rather a recommendation than otherwise. Beware of swellings on the top of the head, or on the withers, as the former may result in the poll-evil and the latter in the fistula.


The back should be short, and the chine broad or thick, and moderately curved, but if too much bending, or what is called saddle backed, it is never strong. A horse with a high or roach back is very objectionable, as he never can be used under the saddle with satisfaction to the rider. If the chine be thin the saddle will not

sit well. A horse with a high back, or thin chine, is, however not the worse for harness.

The ribs should not be flat, but bend well outward, the last rib should approach the hip or huckle bone within about four or five inches, and the belly be moderately let down, but not to swag.

A flat ribbed horse with a gaunt or clung up belly, can never perform much labour. The buttocks should be round, full, and the rump nearly on a level with the back, and the tail set high. Thin, contracted, or steep buttocks, are always offensive to the eye, though probably do not injure the animal for actual service.

It is a good sign when a horse is deep in the girthing place; but if, on the contrary, he is there slender, it indicates weakness.


After having attentively examined the horse standing, let him be rode in your presence on hard level ground, fifteen or twenty rods backward and forward frequently, first in a walk, then alternately in his other gaits. Observe his mouth that he bears steady and fair on the bit, his head well up, but his nose not much projecting, as this is a great fault, especially for a riding horse. Stand occasionally before as well as behind him, and see that his toes neither turn inward or outward, and that he goes rather narrower before than behind, as no horse can move well on his legs unless he does. If he goes too close there is reason to believe he will cut. His action should be lively, and when in a trot his fore legs well thrown forward, though even and regular, and not clambering. Observe that he treads firm on the hardest ground, otherwise you may be assured he is tender footed, which is a great fault and diminishes his value much. His hind legs when in a trot should move even, bending a little outward at the hock, and be thrown well under him, though never to strike the fore shoes, which is called forging, and is very objectionable. If he takes up his feet slovenly, throws them outward, steps irregular, or clambers, have nothing to do with him for any active service; as he is only fit for the heavy draught.


After a minute examination, such as before recommended, should you be of opinion that the horse is likely to answer your purpose, mount yourself and ride him a few miles alone, otherwise you cannot judge correctly of his gaits or spirits, as most horses go much freer and better in company than they do alone. This is a proper time also to observe his wind. Such trial is the more necessary as it is not uncommon to meet with horses whose gaits and actions are pleasing to the eye; yet, when mounted, are intolerably rough and unpleasant to the rider, and often addicted to start and stumble.

Do not permit yourself to be hurried into the purchase of a horse because he is a beautiful figure, or otherwise fascinating in his external appearance, but always examine more than once before you purchase; otherwise, it is highly probable that some material defects will escape your notice; especially, if you are not a critical judge. This caution is the more necessary because your morals as well as pecuniary interest may both suffer. For, should it so happen that by making a hasty purchase, you get a horse defective in some essential points, that will by no means answer the intended purpose, you may possibly be induced to commence the jockey, to get him off your hands; and, in order to do this with the least loss to yourself, you may not consider it indispensably necessary to acquaint the purchaser (perhaps as unwary as yourself) with the whole truth respecting the defective animal; in which case your morals will most certainly be implicated.

It is also necessary to have particular regard to the kind of service for which the horse is intended. If for the saddle or any active service, the middle size, say about fifteen hands high, well formed as before described, is to be preferred; but, if for a slow and heavy draught, the larger and stronger the better.

Small horses answer equally well for the purposes of agriculture, as well as for many other employments to which their strength are adequate.

All the extraordinary qualities and exact symmetry, before described, will seldom or never be met with in any one horse; the purchaser, however, will, no doubt, give a preference to those that approach them the nearest.

We cannot take leave of this little volume without most heartily recommending it to the perusal of every person in the United States, who either is or expects to be in possession of a horse. The general dissemination of

the information and instructions it contains, would, we are persuaded, be productive of the most beneficial effects, not only to the excellent and most useful class of animals it describes, but would check a thousand impositions which are daily practised in the transfer of horses, and all the numberless inconveniences, losses, and vexations which are the necessary consequences of such deceptions.

The volume is also illustrated by three well executed quarto plates; one exhibiting the muscular system of the horse; another the asteology or complete skeleton; and a third displaying the elegance and majesty of this noble animal in two fine figures of the celebrated race horse Royalist, and the hunter Sky Lark.


Code de la Conscription, ou Recueil Chronologique des Lois et des Arrêtes du Gouvernement, des Décrets Imperiaux relatives à la Levée des Conscrits, à leur remplacement, aux dispenses de service, &c. depuis l'an VI. jusques et compris l'an XIV. Avec Tables, &c. 8vo. pp. 270. Paris, 1806.

WE hate war, and we detest despotism; and wish earnestly that there were no occasion to study the organization of the one, or the resources of the other. But when war is inevitable, and despotism overbearing, and when both together are darkening the whole horizon of the civilized world, it becomes, of all things, the most necessary to inquire, how they have been united, and in what manner their combination has contributed to their success. It is now our indispensable duty, we think, to make ourselves acquainted with the structure of that military establishment which has triumphed so fatally over every other to which it has yet been opposed,-to ascertain how far its excellences may be copied among a free people,-and to determine to what extent its efficacy or permanence may be rendered precarious by the oppressions which it entails on those who are subject to it.

The perusal of the work before us, which has been recently transmitted from France, with a full commentary of facts, by a diligent and judicious observer, has enabled us to lay before our readers some materials for such an inquiry; and to direct the attention of our countrymen to the internal organization of a power, which must be understood before it can be resisted; and with which we can neither be at peace nor at war in safety, till we comprehend, in some measure, the nature of the foundations on which it rests. The book is entitled "Code de la Conscription," and contains a chronological series of laws enacted since the year 1798, on the subject of the military conscription of France. It should be remarked, that the new French jurisprudence has been promulgated under the various titles of the Civil, Rural, Commercial, and Criminal Codes-and this, the "Code de la Conscription;" which, no doubt, is, of the whole Napoleon Corpus Juris, most dear to the modern Justinian, and most odious to his "great and good subjects."

Tacitus somewhere observes of Tiberius, that his speeches to the senate, by the "involutions" of the style, at once betrayed the character of their author, and seemed to shadow out the picture of his cautious, dark, and crooked policy. This volume, consisting of two hundred and seventy close printed pages, obscure and even unintelligible in all its clauses of lenity, and clear only in its provisions of rigour, might suggest a similar observation, and be traced to the ruminations of an ambitious and sanguinary despotism.


M m

In fact, the extreme difficulty which we (with no vulgar helps) have experienced in collecting the scope and import of this extraordinary volume, convinces us that. to the great majority of Frenchmen, the whole must be as incomprehensible as the mysteries of Eleusis, or the traditions of the Cabala. There is an oracle at hand, indeed, which will readily expound one half of the mystery. The military tribunals will soon make them understand the penalties annexed to disobedience; but they have, and can have no instruction as to their immunities. For it is a remarkable and most instructive fact, that notwithstanding the voluminous annotations daily issuing from the French press on every other branch of the imperial jurisprudence, no one has yet been bold enough to publish a single word to elucidate the text, or blazon the moderation of the Code de la Conscription.

It is impossible even to glance at this volume, without being struck with the extreme anxiety which these statutes betray, to enforce conformity, both in the executioner and the victim. The enumeration of cases is so complete as to preclude the possibility of evasion. The publick functionaries have their respective provinces most accurately marked out; and are furnished with distinct formula for every act of office. The severest and most unrelenting punishment is inflicted upon all who, from negligence, or corruption, or pity, give countenance to the slightest relaxation. The diseases which give right to exemption are detailed with a jealous and disgusting minuteness. Precautions are multiplied without number to secure the persons of the conscripts; and, while they are decorated with the title of "Defenseurs de la Patrie," the uniform tenour of these laws, and the tone of bitter reproof which pervades them, afford conclusive evidence of a general aversion for the trade of war; and serve to convince us, that these Achilleses are not easily roused to arms, whatever enthusiasm they may afterwards display in the field. Some few provisions are introduced on the subject of voluntary enlistments; but, as no bounty is allowed, it is evident that they do not enter into the serious consideration of the government. The old compromise between the military exigencies and civil constitution of the state, between the effeminacy of the rich and the wants of the poor,-between the ambition of the sovereign and the rights of the subject, is rejected with disdain by the imperial republick; and the student is dragged relentlessly from his closet, and the peasant from his hiding place, by an indiscriminating and unqualified coercion. But habit soon renders submission, if not cheerful, at least easy; rapine furnishes sources of munificence and conciliation; courage becomes a virtue of necessity; strength is acquired by discipline; military ardour kindles with competition; and experience too fatally proves, that, from such elements, armies may be compounded, alike formidable for discipline and valour.

We shall now proceed to lay before our readers a connected view of the law of the conscription as it is now enforced, and to interweave with those statements such illustrations of the present state of the French empire, as may be necessary to develop the whole organization of conquest. No subject, at the present moment, can claim so terrible an importance. The levies of those continental nations, which still preserve the forms of independence, are, it is said, to be moulded upon the same model; and the conscription is, undoubtedly, the vis motrix of that great engine to which France owes her aggrandizement, and on which she relies, for the future increase of her dominion. Her politicians exultingly apply to it the language of Vegetius concerning the legion, that it seems rather an inspiration of divine wisdom, than the offspring of human invention. The plan of universal conquest, imputed originally to Louvois, and with more truth, perhaps, ascribed by

« PreviousContinue »