The Pleasures of the chase.
Lion hunting is a favorite pastime only with the boldest and most adventurous spirits, the hunting of such game as possesses not lionize qualities is more popular and universal.
There is nothing more exciting and agreeable to human nature than the chase of such animals as stand not at bay. Even the cockneys of London
, than whom a more harmless folk in general dwell not upon the globe, delight to disport themselves in the pursuit of small birds, and array themselves for that purpose in the garb of mighty Nimrode.
One of the most editing traits in the character of man is his peculiar valor and ferocity towards the weak and defenceless. --Nothing so invigorates his bump of destructiveness as the pursuit of any creature which tempts his appetite, and can at the same time do him no harm.
Among the most exciting amusements of this kind, not beneath the dignity even of members of Congress, (who are known to be the most dignified, intelligent, and exemplary of the human species,) is the chase of that description of bipeds known as Government clerks.
The game combines all the qualities that are requisite to arouse the energies of true sportsmen.
Is destruction affords pasturage for the hunter's friends, and it has absolutely no powers of resistance.
Under the old U. States Government the hue and cry against Government clerks were as fierce and universal as the Yankee
nation, but under that regime they had the advantage of being defended by the party which put them in power, and which made their cause its own. This draw back upon the zest of clerk hunting does not exist in the Confederate States
They were put in their places without reference to party, and, indeed, there are no parties yet in the Confederacy
except the pursuers and the pursued.
Without friends, and helpless as partridges and snow-birds, they present the most tempting target that ever drew a cockney's fire.
Nothing so strikingly illustrates the passion of man for sport as the eagerness to pursue animals whose flesh is not good for food and whose plumage is not attractive to the eye. The Government clerks have in general but little meat on their bones, and their raiment is by no means purple and fine linen.
The fifteen hundred of Mr. Memminger
's assignat which they annually receive scarcely furnishes them even with the most meager diet, whilst their clothing is but the faded and lettered remnants of other days.
Not a few of them are old men, refugees from
homes once the abodes of comfort and hospitality; others disabled soldiers, and many having wives and children, whose sufferings from hunger and cold must add the keenest relish to the excitement of the hunt.
Some are scholars — men of learning; of eloquence, and of other intellectual gifts, which might add lustre even to the splendor of Congressional intellects.
We do not mean to intimate that many of them could ever have been elected members of Congress.
With the exception of that small minority of their number which exempts itself from performing military duty, imbibes strychnine whiskey and dallies with the tiger in his jungle, there is not one of them qualified for a national legislator.
But scholars, authors, and men of genius, are not wanting among them, and it is pleasant to see such pulled down and degraded, their keen sensibilities lacerated, and the fangs of poverty and the world's scorn fixed in their vitals, and a whole angry pack of hounds and huntsmen yelping and yelling for their blood.
Therefore, hunt them down, ye merry Nimrods, with hound and horn!
Let there be a generous rivalry which of you will be first at the death.
Because there are unworthy persons among them; because there are some skulks, and loafers and drones among them, exceptions unknown in Congressional bodies, give no quarter to any of them.
Rob them of a decent support, starve and freeze their wives and children, and plunder them of their good names.
They are only clerks, and cannot resist.
The little plank they hang to, swaying with every wind and tossed with every wave, is the only plank between them and the deep ocean.--They cannot leave it to fight you. Pelt
them with stones, and pour furious broadsides into them from your Congressional three-deckers.
And when they sink at last, as sink they must, retire to your honest couches, and thank God that you are so magnanimous, and merciful and just.