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Cock-Fighting

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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Cock-Fighting

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To quote from Pegge once more:--What aggravates the reproach and
disgrace upon us Englishmen, are those species of fighting which
are called--"the battle royal and the Welsh main"--known nowhere
in the world, as I think, but here; neither in China, nor in
Persia, nor in Malacca, nor among the savage tribes of America.
These are scenes so bloody as almost to be too shocking to
relate; and yet as many may not be acquainted with the horrible
nature of them, it may be proper, for the excitement of our
aversion and detestation, to describe them in a few words.

'In the battle royal, an unlimited number of fowls are pitted;
and after they have slaughtered one another, for the diversion
(dii boni!) of the otherwise generous and humane Englishman, the
single surviving bird is to be esteemed the victor, and carries
away the prize. The Welsh main consists, we will suppose, of
sixteen pairs of cocks; of these the sixteen conquerors are
pitted a second time; and, lastly, the two conquerors of these
are pitted a fifth time; so that (incredible barbarity!)
thirty-one cocks are sure to be most inhumanly murdered for the
sport and pleasure, the noise and nonsense, nay, I may say the
profane cursing and swearing, of those who have the effrontery to
call themselves, with all these bloody doings, and with all this
impiety about them--Christians!' Moreover, this ungenerous
diversion was the bane and destruction of thousands, who thus
dissipated their patrimonial fortunes. That its attractions were
irresistible is evident from the difficulty experienced in
suppressing the practice. Down to a very recent date cock-
fighting was carried on in secret,--the police now and then
breaking into the secret pits, dispersing and chasing a motley
crew of noblemen, gentlemen, and 'the scum of rascaldom.'

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