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History of Betting on Horse Racing

Another gruesome episode of the Turf was the suicide of Mr Roger Brograve early in June 1813, owing to losses by betting. He was the brother of Sir George Brograve, and had been a captain in the 2nd Dragoons, and for some years had betted heavily. Originally, he had a competent, if not a splendid fortune, but, at the previous Newmarket meeting, he had lost heavily, and he was known to have lost £10,000 on the Derby. This he could not meet, and he shot himself. Hundreds of similar cases might be given, but this one must serve as an example. That large sums were wagered and lost and won at this time we may learn from the fact that in 1816 no less a sum than £300,000 is said to have been paid and received at Tattersall's in the betting settlement on that year's Epsom races.

Of the origin of bookmaking, Mr Dixon (The Druid) has written so well in The Post and the Paddock, that I cannot do better than copy him verbatim :

“Betting between one and the field was the fashion which Turf speculation assumed in the days of powder and periwigs, and Ogden (the only betting man who was ever admitted to the Club at Newmarket), Davies, Holland, Deavden, Kettle, Bickham, and Watts, ruled on the Turf ‘Change. With Jem Bland, Jerry Cloves, Myers (an ex-butler), Richard (the Leicester Stockinger), Mat Milton, Tommy Swan of Bedale (who never took or laid but one bet on a Sunday), Highton, Holliday, Gully, Justice, Crockford, Briscoe, Crutch Robinson, Ridsdale, Frank Richardson, and Bob Steward, etc., the art of bookmaking arose, and, henceforward, what had been more of a pastime among owners, who would back their horses for a rattler when the humour took them, and not shrink from having £5000 to £6000 on a single match, degenerated into a science. All the above, with the exception of two, have passed away, like the Mastodons, never to return. Nature must have broken the mould in which she formed the crafty Robinson, as he leant on his crutch, with his back against the outer wall of the Newmarket Betting Rooms, and, with his knowing, quiet leer, and one hand in his pocket, offered to ‘lay agin Plenipo.'

“The two Blands, Joe and ‘Facetious Jemmy,' were equally odd hands. Epsom had fired up the latter's desire to come on to the turf, and he descended from his coachman's box at Hedley for that purpose, and sported his ‘noble lord' hat, white cords, deep bass voice, and vulgar dialect, on it, for the first time, about 1812. He did not trouble it much after he had ‘dropped his sugar' on Shillelah, though that contretemps  did not completely knock him out of time. His acute rough expressions, such as ‘never coomed anigh,' and so on, as well as his long nose, and white, flabby cheeks, made him a man of mark, even before he got enough, by laying all round, to set up a mansion in Piccadilly. Joe, his brother, had, originally, been a post boy, and rose from thence to be a stable keeper in Great Wardour Street; but, the great hit of his life was his successful farming of turnpike gates, at which he was supposed to have made about £25,000. ‘Ludlow Bond' was not so coarse in his style as this par nobile, but ambitious and vain to the last degree. It was the knowledge of this latter quality, on the part of Ludlow's real owners, ‘the Yorkshire Blacksmith & Co.,' which induced them to put him forward as the ostensible owner of the horse, as no one would back a horse which was known to be theirs. Bond liked the notoriety which this nominal ownership conferred on him, and was, no doubt, a mere puppet, without exactly knowing who pulled the strings. Discreditable as the affair was, he always gloried in it; in fact he was so determined not to let the memory of it die out, that he christened a yearling which he bought from the Duke of Grafton, ‘Ludlow Junior.' At times he appeared on the heath on a grey hack, and went by the nickname of ‘Death on the Pale Horse ' and, shortly after the Doncaster outburst, he came on in a handsome travelling carriage, with two servants in livery in the rumble.

“Mr Gully, although he did great execution at the Corner in Andover's year, may be styled a mere fancy bettor now, and, as a judge of racing and the points of a horse combined, he has scarcely a peer among his own, or the younger generation of turfites. His fame at the Corner was at its zenith a quarter of a century ago, when he was a betting partner with Ridsdale. Rumour averred that they won £35,000 on Margrave for the St Leger (1832), and £50,000 on St Giles for the Derby; and it was in consequence of a dispute as to the Margrave winnings, that the Siamese link between them was so abruptly dissolved. Their joint books also showed a balance of £80,000 if Red Rover could only have brought Priam to grief for the Derby. There was a joke too, soon after this time, that Mr Gully and his friend Justice descended on to Cheltenham, and so completely cleaned out the local ring there, that the two did not even think it worth while stopping for the second race day. One of the lesser lights was found wandering moodily about the ring on that day, and remarked to a sympathiser that he was ‘looking for the few half crowns that Gully and Justice had condescended to leave.'”

In the second quarter of this century the Turf was getting in a scandalous condition. A fair race was hardly known for the St Leger, and, in 1827, Mameluke was got rid of by a series of false starts. In 1832 was the Ludlow scandal, just alluded to. This horse was the property of a man named Beardsworth, who was such a rogue that no one would bet on or against his horse, so it was apparently purchased by Ephraim Bond, the keeper of a gambling house, called the Athenæum Club, in St James's Street. In reality it was owned by four people, Beardsworth, Bond and his brother, and a mysterious fourth party, whose name was not divulged. Ludlow was beaten by Margrave, a horse owned by Gully, the ex-prize fighter, who boldly accused Squire Osbaldistone of being the unknown fourth owner of Ludlow. The consequence was a duel, in which both combatants had very narrow escapes; Gully especially, for his opponent's bullet went through his hat and ploughed a furrow in his hair.

In 1834 Plenipotentiary, or as it was called for brevity, Plenipo, the favourite for the St Leger, was undoubtedly “nobbled,” either by his owner, Batson, or his trainer, George Paine, either of which were capable of any dishonourable conduct.

There were, afterwards, many minor Turf scandals, but they culminated in the Derby of 1844 which is known as Running Rein's Derby, which ran as a three-year-old, being in reality four years. As this fraud was the subject of an action, its story may be well told in the following synopsis of the trial.

In the Exchequer.

July 1.

Before Mr Baron Alderson.

Wood  v. Peel.

This action, which excited the most lively interest in the Sporting World, arose out of the late Derby race at Epsom, in which a horse belonging to the plaintiff, called Running Rein, had come in first. It was alleged, however, that this horse had not been truly described, that he was not of the age which qualified him to run for the Derby, and that he ought not, therefore, to be deemed the winner of the race. Colonel Peel, the owner of Orlando, the second horse, had claimed the stakes, on the ground that Running Rein was not the horse represented; and Mr Wood, the owner of Running Rein, brought this action against the Colonel.

Mr Cockburn, who conducted the plaintiff's case, gave the pedigree of Running Rein, and his whole history. Among other things, Mr Cockburn mentioned that, in October 1843, Running Rein won a race at Newmarket; that he was objected to on the score of age, but, eventually, the stewards had decided in his favour. The horse was, originally, the property of Mr Goodman; and, Mr Cockburn said, it was because suspicion attached to some transactions of Goodman, and because certain parties had betted heavily against Running Rein, that opposition was raised against Mr Woodreceiving the stakes. He made a severe attack on Lord George Bentinck, who, he asserted, was the real party in the cause. Witnesses for the plaintiff described the horse at various periods of its career: it was of a bay colour, with black legs, and a little white on the forehead; its heels were cracked, and in 1842 it broke the skin on one leg, which left a scar. George Hitchcock, a breaker of colts, employed to break Running Rein in October 1842, was cross-examined to this effect:

“I know George Dockeray, the trainer. I never said to him, ‘Damn it, this colt has been broken before; here is the mark of the pad on his back.' I showed him the mark, but I never said those words, or any words to that effect. I don't know why I showed him the mark. It was not big enough for the mark of a pad, and it was not the place for the saddle to make it. I told Lord George Bentinck the same. The mark of the pad never wears out. I recollect being asked, in the presence of Mr Smith, what had I there? and I recollect answering, a four years' old. I have not the slightest doubt of it. Mr Smith struck me for it. I did not say afterwards that I had forgotten all about the horse whipping, and that the marks of the pad had worn out. I never said, either, that somebody had behaved very well to me.”

At an early period of the examination of witnesses, Mr Baron Alderson expressed a wish that he and the jury should see the horse; and Mr Cockburn said he had no objection. On the cross-examination of William Smith, a training groom residing at Epsom, it came out that the horse had been smuggled out of the way, that it might not be seen by the defendant's agents. The Judge, animadverting on this, and on the evident perjury of the witness, said it would be better that the horse should be seen by him and other parties. The Solicitor-General, who appeared for the defendant, was anxious that the horse should be seen by veterinary surgeons. To which the other side objected, maintaining that the mark of mouth, by which alone these surgeons could judge of the age of a horse, was a fallible criterion.

On the conclusion of the evidence for the plaintiff, the Solicitor-General, in addressing the jury for the defence, denounced the case as a gross and scandalous fraud on the part of the plaintiff. The case of the defendant was, that the horse was not Running Rein at all, but a colt by Gladiator, out of a dam belonging originally to Sir Charles Ibbotson; and that it had the name Running Rein imposed upon it, being originally called Maccabeus, and having been entered for certain stakes under that designation. But his allegations were against Goodman, not against Mr Wood: the former had entered into a conspiracy with other persons to run horses above the proper age. The Gladiator colt had been entered for races, under the name of Maccabeus, before Goodman purchased him; and to run these races while the colt was in training for the Derby, for which he was entered as Running Rein, Goodman hired an Irish horse, which he disguised as Maccabeus, though a year older than that horse. The Gladiator colt, the soi distant  Running Rein, when he ran for the Derby in 1844, was four years old, the race being for three-year-old horses. After hearing some evidence in support of these statements, the case was adjourned till the following day.

The next day, when Mr Baron Alderson took his seat on the Bench, a conversation ensued between Mr Cockburn and the Judge, respecting the production of the horse. Mr Cockburn asserted that it had been taken away without Mr Wood's knowledge, and thus it was out of his power to produce it; he felt it would be vain to strive against the effect which must be produced by the non-production of the horse, after the remarks of the learned judge on that point. After some more conversation, however, the case proceeded, and two witnesses for the defence were examined, whose evidence went to prove that Running Rein was, in fact, the Gladiator colt. Mr George Odell, a horse dealer at Northampton, said he could swear to that fact; the colt had two marks on one leg.

Mr Baron Alderson remarked—“Now, if we could see the horse, that would prove the case. Who keeps him away? It is quite childish to act in this manner.”

Mr Cockburn now stated that Mr Wood was convinced that he had been deceived, and gave up the case.

Mr Baron Alderson then briefly addressed the jury with much warmth, and in a most emphatic manner; directing them to find a verdict for the defendant, observing:

“Since the opening of the case, a most atrocious fraud has been proved to have been practised; and I have seen, with great regret, gentlemen associating themselves with persons much below themselves in station. If gentlemen would associate with gentlemen, and race with gentlemen, we should have no such practises. But, if gentlemen will condescend to race with blackguards, they must expect to be cheated.”

The jury found for the defendant, and the effect of their verdict was that the Derby Stakes went to Orlando, and that Crenoline should be considered the winner of the Two-Year-Old Plate at Newmarket, run the previous year.

This ought to have been sufficient roguery, one would think, for one race, but it was not. A horse named Ratan was so evidently “nobbled,” that two men connected with it, Rogers and Braham, were warned off all the Jockey Club's premises.

And yet another case. A horse named Leander ran in this race, and so injured its leg that it was shot. Shortly afterwards, it was suspected that it was four instead of three years old, and on its being exhumed, the lower jaw was missing. The resurrectionists, however, cut off the head, and veterinary experts confirmed the previous suspicions. For this, the owners, Messrs Lichtwald, were for ever disqualified from racing. This case occupied much time before the Select Committee of the House of Lords.

The Select Committee on Gaming in the Commons in 1844 report that “Your Committee have some evidence to show that frauds are, occasionally, committed in Horse racing, and in Betting on the Turf; but they feel difficulty in suggesting any remedy for this evil, more stringent, or more likely to be effectual, than those already in existence.”

The House of Lords reported in similar terms, but they added: “The Committee have inquired into certain transactions which have, lately, been brought before the Courts of Law, arising from the fraudulent practices of Individuals substituting other horses for those named in stakes which are limited to horses of a certain age, and thus obtaining the advantages arising from running, at even weights, Three-year-olds against Two-year-olds, and Four-year-olds against Three-year-olds. The success, however, which has attended the prosecutions instituted for the Recovery of the Stakes thus unjustly won, and the rules which the Committee are led to believe will be, hereafter, strictly attended to, as to the examination, by competent persons, of all horses which may be objected to, render it unnecessary for them to make any further comment upon this part of their inquiry.”

But the Commons Committee reported on another subject, the Gaming-houses in race towns, and the Gaming-booths on the courses.

“The suppression of Gaming-houses in race towns, and in other places out of the Metropolitan Police District, is to be effected under the common law, and under the enactment of Statutes different from the Metropolitan Police Act. Much laxity and neglect have, hitherto, prevailed in this respect; and your Committee think that the attention of Magistrates might, usefully, be directed to this matter. But, if it should be found that the powers given by the existing law are insufficient, your Committee would recommend that additional powers should be conferred.

“Your Committee have found that it is the practice on some race courses to let out ground for the erection of Gaming-booths, during the races, in order that the high rents paid by the keepers of these booths may be added to the fund from whence prizes to be run for are to be given; and some of the witnesses examined have stated that certain race meetings, which they have named, could not be kept up, if this practice were to be discontinued.”

[Most] betting is harmless compared to that curse of the England of our time, betting upon horse racing, which can be compared to nothing but a social cancer, eating into the very vitals of the nation; and it is especially a pity that so noble an animal as the horse should be made the unconscious medium of such a degrading passion as gambling—still, the fact exists, and horse racing from its commencement must be treated in a history of gambling in England.

Horses must have been introduced into this country at a very early age, for, when Cæsar invaded Britain, he was opposed by vast numbers of horsemen, and many centuries had not elapsed before there was competition, as to speed, among the animals. William of Malmesbury tells us that running horses were sent from France by Stugh, the founder of the house of Capet, as a present to King Athelstan. We never hear of any races being run, and Fitzstephen, who was secretary to Sir Thomas à Becket, and lived in the reign of Henry II., scarcely describes what we should term a horse race. Speaking of a certain Smoothfield, outside London (Smithfield), he says:

“There, every Friday, unless it be one of the more solemn festivals, is a noted show of well bred horses for sale. The earls, barons and knights, who are, at the time resident in the City, as well as most of the Citizens, flock thither, either to look on, or buy. It is pleasant to see the nags, with their sleek and shining coats, smoothly ambling along, raising and setting down, alternatively, as it were, their feet on either side: in one part are horses better adapted to esquires; these, whose pace is rougher, but yet expeditious, lift up and set down, as it were, the two opposite fore and hind feet together: in another, the young blood colts not yet accustomed to the bridle. In a third, are the horses for burden, strong and stout limbed; and, in a fourth, the more valuable chargers, of an elegant shape and noble height, with nimbly moving ears, erect necks, and plump haunches. In the movement of these, the purchasers observe, first, their easy pace, and, then, their gallop, which is when their fore feet are raised from the ground, and set down together, and the hind ones in like manner alternately. When a race is to be run by such horses as these, and, perhaps, by others, which, in like manner, according to their breed, are strong for carriage and vigorous for the course, the people raise a shout, and order the common horses to be withdrawn to another part of the field. The jockeys, who are boys expert in the management of horses, which they regulate by means of curb bridles, sometimes by threes, and sometimes by twos, according as the match is made, prepare themselves for the Contest. Their chief aim is to prevent a competitor getting before them. The horses, too, after their manner, are eager for the race; their limbs tremble, and, impatient of delay, they cannot stand still; upon the signal being given, they stretch out their limbs, hurry over the course, and are borne along with unremitting speed. The riders, inspired with the love of praise, and the hope of victory, clap spurs to their flying horses, lashing them with their whips, and inciting them with their shouts.”

In a metrical romance of the thirteenth century, “Syr Beuys of Hampton,” printed by W. Copland in 1550, there is mention of a race

“In somer in whitsontyde
whan knights most on horsbacke ride
a cours let they make on a daye
Stedes and palfraye for to assaye
whiche horse that best may ren
thre myles the cours was then
who that might ryd should
have £ LI. of redy golde.”

Edward III. bought some running horses at £13, 6s. 8d. each; and in the ninth year of his reign the King of Navarre made him a present of two running horses. Still, very little is heard of race horses until the time of Elizabeth and James I. Bishop Hall, of Exeter and Norwich, in one of his Satires, writes:

“Dost thou prize

Thy brute beasts' worth by their dam's qualities?
Say'st thou, this colt shall prove a swift-paced steed,
Only because a jennet did him breed?
Or say'st thou, this same horse shall win the prize,
Because his dam was swiftest Trunchifice,[1]
Or Runcevall his syre; himself a galloway?
While, like a tireling jade, he lags half way.”

In 1599, private matches by gentlemen, who were their own riders, were very common, and, in the reign of James I., public races were established at various places, where the discipline and mode of preparing the horses for running, etc., were much the same as they are now. The most celebrated races of that time were called the “Bell Courses,” the prize of the winner being a bell—hence the saying of “to bear the bell”; and a tradition of it still remains in the couplet with which children's races are started.

“Bell horses! Bell horses! what time of day?
One o'clock, two o'clock, three, and away!”

Perhaps the oldest record that we have of these silver bells is those of Paisley, which date from 1620, or 1608, as on that date there is an entry in the town books showing the purchase of a silver bell. The silver bells are now run for, but there are 100 guineas attached to them. Silver bells were also run for in this reign, at Gatherly, in Yorkshire, Croydon, Chester, and Theobalds, the King's hunting lodge. Mr J. C. Whyte, in his History of the British Turf, says that in Harl. MS. 2150, fol. 235, is an account of a ceremony performed with the race for a bell at Chester, in the presence of the Mayor, at the Cross, in the Rodhi, or Roody, an open place near the City. I have examined the MS. but cannot find the passage, so extract from his work the following:

“A silver bell, valued at about three shillings and sixpence, placed on the point of a lance, shall be given to him, who shall run the best and furthest on horseback before them on Shrove Tuesday. These bells went by the name of St George's bells, and the younger Randel Holme tells us that, in the last year of this reign (1624) John Brereton, innkeeper, Mayor of Chester, first caused the horses entered for this race, then called St George's Race, to start from the point beyond the new Tower, and appointed them to run five times round the Roody; and, he continues, he, who won the last course, or trayne, received the bell, of a good value, £8 or £10, and to have it for ever, which moneyes were collected of the citizens for that purpose. By the use of the term, for ever, it would appear that the bell had been used, formerly, as a mark of temporary distinction only, by the successful horsemen, and, afterwards, returned to the Corporation.”

On fol. 354 of this MS. we find “What y e  companys gave toward S. George's Rase for the contynuance of a bell or cup.” To this there is no date, but it amounted to £36, 8s. 4d. The 3s. 6d. silver bell was substituted for a wooden ball, which used to be raced for, as a prize, in the 31st year of King Henry VIII.

We see how simple, and for what small prizes they ran in the early days of horse racing in England—it is sad to record that betting, almost immediately, attended the popularity of the sport. This we see in Shirley's play of Hide Parke, acted at Drury Lane in 1637.

Confused noyse of betting within, after that a shoute.

Mistress Caroll. They are started.

Enter Bonvile, Rider, Bonavent, Tryer, Fairefield.

Rider. Twenty pounds to fifteene.
Lord Bonvile. ‘Tis done we'e.
Fairefield. Forty pounds to thirty.
Lord Bonvile. Done, done. Ile take all oddes.
Tryer. My Lord, I hold as much.
Lord Bonvile. Not so.
Tryer. Forty pounds to twenty.
Lord Bonvile. Done, done.
Mistress Bonavent. You ha lost all, my Lord, and it were a Million.
Lord Bonvile. In your imagination, who can helpe it?
Mistress Bonavent. Venture  hath the start and keepes it.
Lord Bonvile. Gentlemen, you have a fine time to triumph,
‘Tis not your oddes that makes you win.
Within. Venture! Venture!

[Exeunt Men.

Julietta. Shall we venture nothing o' th' horses?
What oddes against my Lord?

Mistress Caroll. Silke stockings.

Julietta. To a paire of perfum'd gloves I take it.

Mistress Caroll. Done!

Mistress Bonavent. And I as much.

Julietta. Done with you both.

Mistress Caroll. Ile have ‘em Spanish sent.

Julietta. The Stockings shal be Scarlet: if you choose
Your sent, Ile choose my colour.

Mistress Caroll. ‘Tis done; if Venture
Knew but my lay, it would halfe breake his necke now,
And crying a Jockey  hay.

[A shoute within.

Julietta. Is the wind in that coast? harke the noyse.
Is Jockey  now?

Mistress Caroll. ‘Tis but a paire of gloves.

[Enter my Lord.

Julietta. Still it holds.
How ha you sped, my Lord?

Lord Bonvile. Won! won! I knew by instinct,
The mare would put some tricke upon him.

Mistress Bonavent. Then we ha lost; but, good my Lord, the circumstance.

Lord Bonvile. Great John  at all adventure, and grave Jockey
Mounted their severall Mares, I sha' not tell
The story out for laughing, ha! ha! ha!
But this in briefe, Jockey  was left behind,
The pitty and the scorne of all the oddes,
Plaid ‘bout my eares like Cannon, but lesse dangerous.
I tooke all, still; the acclamation was
For Venture, whose disdainefull Mare threw durt
In my old Jockey's  face, all hopes forsaking us;
Two hundred pieces desperate, and two thousand
Oathes sent after them; upon the suddaine,
When we expected no such tricke, we saw
My rider, that was domineering ripe,
Vault ore his Mare into a tender slough.
Where he was much beholding to one shoulder,
For saving of his necke, his beast recovered,
And he, by this time, somewhat mortified,
Besides mortified, hath left the triumph
To his Olympick Adversary, who shall
Ride hither in full pompe on his Bucephalus,
With his victorious bagpipe.”

Newmarket, hitherto, a royal hunting place, was made into a race course in 1640, and we get a peep of what it was like in an old ballad (said to be of about this time) called “Newmarket,” published by D'Urfey, in his Pills to purge Melancholy.

“Let cullies that lose at a race,
Go venture at hazard to win,
Or he, that is bubbl'd at dice,
Recover at cocking again.
Let jades that are foundered, be brought;
Let jockeys play crimp to make sport;
Another makes racing a trade,
And dreams of his projects to come,
And many a crimp match has made
By bubbing[2] another man's groom.”

Oliver Cromwell kept “running horses,” but there is no mention of his having used them in racing: It is more probable that he bred from them. With the Restoration, horse racing was revived, and was much encouraged by Charles II. who appointed races for his own amusement at Datchet Mead, when he resided at Windsor. Newmarket, however, became the principal locality for this sport, and the round course was made in 1666. The King attended the races in person, established a house for his own accommodation, and kept and entered horses in his own name. Instead of bells, he gave a silver bowl or cup, value 100 guineas, on which prize the exploits and pedigree of the successful horse were generally engraved.

The times of James II. were too troubled for him to amuse himself with horse racing, and William III. had no leisure for the sport, although he added to the plates, and founded an academy for riding, but, under Anne, the turf was again under royal patronage.

The Queen was fond of racing, and gave £100 gold cups to be raced for; nay, more, she not only kept race horses, but ran them in her own name. Her six year old grey gelding Pepper, ran for her gold cup, at York (over Clifton and Rawcliffe Ing's), on July 28, 1712. Over the same course, and for the same stake, on Aug. 3, 1714, ran her grey horse Mustard, which in 1714 was entered to run in Whitsun Week, at Guildford, in Surrey, for the £50 plate; and, sad to tell, her brown horse Star, ran at York, for a plate value £14, and won it, on July 30, 1714, the very day on which the Queen was struck with apoplexy, expiring the next day.

She paid a visit to Newmarket, in April 1705, going to Cambridge once or twice during her stay. Narcissus Luttrell tells us: “Aprill 26, 1705. The queen has ordered her house at Newmarket to be rebuilt, and gave a thousand pounds towards paving the town; and bought a running horse of Mr Holloway, which cost a 1000 guineas, and gave it to the Prince.” Prince George of Denmark shared his royal consort's love of horse racing, and gave, at least, two gold plates to be raced for, worth 100 guineas each. This seems to have been a very horsey year for the Queen, for Luttrell tells us that “the queen has appointed horse races to be at Datchet, after her return from Winchester to Windsor.”

A few racing mems of this time will illustrate to what an extent the passion for the turf was carried. 1702: “They write from Newmarket, That the Lord Godolphin's and Mr Harvy's Horses ran for £3000. His Lordship won: As, also, the Earl of Argile, and the Duke of Devonshire's; the latter's Horse won, by which Mr Pheasant got a considerable sum.” 1703: “The great horse race at Newmarket, run for 1000 guineas between the Lord Treasurer and the Duke of Argyle, was won by the latter.” Perhaps the earliest Sporting Paper is “News from Newmarket, or, An Account of the Horses Match'd to Run there in MarchApril, and May, 1704. The Weight, Miles, Wagers and Forfeits. Printed for John Nutt  near Stationer's Hall, price 2d.” 1707: “Last Monday was a horse race at Newmarket, between Lord Granby's Grantham, and Mr Young's Blundel, for £3000—the latter won.” On April 10, 1708, at Newmarket, the Duke of Bedford's bay horse (9 stone) had a match with Mr Minchall's bay colt (8-1/2 stone) for 1000 guineas, but there is no record of which won. These were the highest stakes mentioned during the reign: they were, generally, for 200 or 300 guineas.

The first mention I can find of Epsom Races, is in this reign, and is in the London Gazette, April and May 26/3, 1703, when three small plates were to be run for, of £30, £10 and £5 value. On May 25, 1704, there was only one to be competed for, and that for £20. They had very early “Epsom Spring Meetings”; for, in the Daily Courant, Feb. 15, 1709, it says: “On Epsom Downes, in Surrey, on the first Monday after the Frost, a plate of £20 will be run for,” &c. Races on these downs have been held continuously since 1730.

The most famous sporting man of his time was Tregonwell Frampton, Esq. of Moreton, Dorsetshire, “The Father of the Turf,” who was keeper of her Majesty's running horses at Newmarket—a post which he had filled in the time of William III., and which he continued to hold under Georges I. and II. He is described as being “the oldest, and as they say, the cunningest jockey in England: one day he lost 1000 guineas, the next he won 2000, and so, alternately. He made as light of throwing away £500 or £1000, at a time, as other men do of their pocket money, and was perfectly calm, cheerful and unconcerned when he lost a thousand pounds, as when he won it.”

George I. is said to have been at Newmarket in 1716, 1717, and 1718, but neither he nor his successor cared for horse racing, although they still kept “running horses.” George III. used to attend Ascot Races, and his uncle the “butcher,” Duke of Cumberland, was a great patron of the turf, and was the breeder of the celebrated horse Eclipse. As Walpole says of him, 29th Dec. 1763: “The beginning of October, one is certain that everybody will be at Newmarket, and the Duke of Cumberland will lose, and Shafto[3] win, two or three thousand pounds.” It was about this time that the betting ring started, and roguery was not uncommon, as we may see by the following:

At the Kingston Lent Assizes, 1767, a case was tried between an unnamed gentleman, as plaintiff, and Mr Wm. Courtney, defendant; the action was upon a wager of 100 guineas, which was reduced to writing, that plaintiff procured three horses that should go ninety miles in three hours, which defendant laid he did not. The plaintiff proved his case very well; but, it appearing to the court and jury that it was an unfair bet, the jury gave a verdict for the defendant. It seems that the way in which the plaintiff performed his undertaking, was by starting all the three horses together, so that they had but thirty miles apiece to run in the three hours, which, of course, was easily done.

In chronological order comes a story of a duel in which the notorious black leg, Dick England, was concerned.

“Mr Richard England was put to the Bar, at the Old Bailey (1796) charged with the ‘wilful murder' of Mr Rowlls, brewer, of Kingston, in a duel at Crauford Bridge, June 18, 1784.

“Lord Derby, the first witness, gave evidence that he was present at Ascot races. When in the stand upon the race course, he heard Mr England cautioning the gentlemen present not to bet with the deceased, as he neither paid what he lost, nor what he borrowed. On which Mr Rowlls went up to him, called him rascal, or scoundrel, and offered to strike him; when Mr England bid him stand off, or he would be obliged to knock him down; saying, at the same time—‘We have interrupted the company sufficiently here, and, if you have anything further to say to me, you know where I am to be found.' A further altercation ensued; but his Lordship, being at the other end of the stand, did not distinctly hear it, and, then, the parties retired.

“Lord Dartrey, afterwards Lord Cremorne, and his lady, with a gentleman, were at the inn at the time when the duel was fought. They went into the garden, and endeavoured to prevent the duel; Mr Rowlls desired his Lordship and others not to interfere; and, on a second attempt of his Lordship to make peace, Mr Rowlls said, if they did not retire, he must, though reluctantly, call them impertinent. Mr England, at the same time, stepped forward, and took off his hat; he said—‘Gentlemen, I have been cruelly treated; I have been injured in my honour and character; let reparation be made, and I am ready to have done this moment.' Lady Dartrey retired. His Lordship stood in the bower of the garden until he saw Mr Rowlls fall. One, or two, witnesses were called, who proved nothing material. A paper, containing the prisoner's defence, being read, the Earl of Derbythe Marquis of HertfordMr Whitbread, jun.Col. Bishopp, and other gentlemen, were called to his character. They all spoke of him as a man of decent, gentlemanly deportment, who, instead of seeking quarrels, was studious to avoid them. He had been friendly to Englishmen while abroad, and had rendered some service to the military at the siege of Newport.

“Mr Justice Rooke summed up the evidence; after which, the jury retired for about three-quarters of an hour, when they returned a verdict of Manslaughter.

“The prisoner, having fled from the laws of his country for twelve years, the Court was disposed to show no lenity. He was, therefore, sentenced to pay a fine of one shilling, and be imprisoned in Newgate for twelve months.”

We have a terrible instance in a man, otherwise amiable in all relations of life, of the infatuation for the Turf. Lord Foley, who died July 2, 1793, entered upon the Turf with an estate of £18,000 a year, and £100,000 ready money. He left it with a ruined constitution, an incumbered estate, and not a shilling of ready money!

Here are three paragraphs from the Times  about this date relative to racing:

17th April 1794. “Poor Newmarket  is completely done up! The Spring meeting boasts so few bets in the calendar of gambling, that the chance will not pay post chaise hire to the black legs. Thus falls the destructive sport of the Turf—and, as that is the case, it would do honour to his Majesty to change the Kings Plates  into rewards for the improvement of Agriculture.” This suggestion has been carried out in the present reign.

25th May 1795. “The Duke of Queensberry was a principal loser at Epsom Races. The noble Duke had his vis-a-vis, and six horses, driving about the course, with two very pretty emigrées  in it. The Duke was in his cabriolet. The Duke of Bedford, Lords Egremont and Derby were, also, on the course. Several carriages were broken to pieces; and one Lady had her arm broken.

“There was much private business done in the swindling way  at the last Epsom Races. One black legged fellow cleared near a thousand pounds by the old trick of an E.O. Table. Another had a faro table, and was on the eve of doing business, when he was detected with a palmed card : almost the whole of what may be justly styled the ‘vagabond gamblers' of London were present.

“Mr Bowes, half brother of the Earl of Strathmore, was robbed of a gold watch, and a purse containing 30 guineas, at Epsom races, on Thursday last. Many other persons shared a similar fate, both on the same evening, and Friday. Upwards of 30 carriages were robbed, coming from the races.”

8th Sep. 1797. “Never, since racing  was patronised by the Merry Monarch, has the Turf been so much on the decline as at this period. His Grace of Bedford is the only person who retains a considerable stud. Lord Grosvenor has disposed of nearly the whole of his, with the reserve of two, or three, capital horses, and some few brood mares.”

[1]Truncifer is a famous horse mentioned in the metrical romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton.


[3]Robert Shafto, Esq., of Whitworth, M.P. for Durham, well known on the Turf.

This  system of gambling on race courses began the previous century. In Canto I. of The Gambler's, A Poem, Lon. 1777, we read:

“But, chief, we see a bricking, sharping sort,
Span farthingHustle Cap, their joy and sport;
The sport of infancy! ‘till riper age
Mature the man, and call him to the stage.
In each shoot forth the dawning seeds of vice,
The growing Jockey, or the man of Dice.
Some prick the Belt, self tutor'd, young in sin,
Anxious to take their wond'ring fellows in.
Here, a surrounding groupe of little Squires,
As chink the brazen belts, Chuck farthing fires:
While Sçavoir-vivres  early signs betray
Of bold adventures, and the rage of play.
These, haply shall some future bard engage,
The hopeful Kelly's [1] of the rising age.
But, when maturer years confirm the sin,
And opening minds suck the dear poison in,
Adieu, Span farthing Hustle Cap, farewell!
With nobler passions, nobler views, they swell:
Dice, tennis, Cards, inferior sports succeed,
And the gay triumph of the High bred Steed.”

Complaints of racecourse gambling began early in the present century. In the Gentleman's Magazine  for 1801 (p. 327) we read: “Mr Urban—As the quarter sessions will take place in most parts of England in the course of the present month, I wish, through the medium of your extensively circulated Magazine, to submit to the serious consideration of the County Magistrates, the absolute necessity for adopting some vigorous measures, in order to check the career of those infamous swindlers, who are in the constant habit of attending our fairs and races with E.O. tables, &c. It is an alarming fact that there is scarcely a fair, or a race, of the least celebrity, which is not infested with these villains, many of whom clear £500 annually by plundering the unsuspecting rustics, who attend such places, of their property.”

Goldsmith, in his life of Beau Nash, tells us that E.O. was first set up at Tunbridge, in the reign of George I., and was introduced into Bath by Nash: and, as the game was a very popular one, I give the following description of it, as found in Rice's History of the British Turf :

“The E.O. table was circular in form, and, though made in various sizes, was, commonly, four feet in diameter. The outside edge formed the counter, or depôt, on which the stakes were placed, and was marked all round with the letters E.O. from which the game took its name. The interior of the table consisted of a stationary gallery, in which the ball rolled, and an independent round table, moving on an axis, by means of handles. The ball was started in one direction, and this rotary table turned in the other. This part was divided into forty compartments of equal size, twenty of which were marked E. and twenty O. The principle was pretty much as that of roulette without a zero; but the ingenuity of the proprietors appears, at an early date in the history of these tables, to have supplied this defect. At first the game was played on the same terms as hazard then was, viz., whoever won, or threw in three times successively, paid, when gold was played for, half a guinea to the proprietors of the table. This, however, as might have been expected, was too simple and unsophisticated a method of procedure to last. The game was too fair; but, as it was very popular, it must be made profitable to the man of business, who could not be expected to travel from race meeting to race meeting all over the country, for half guineas in cases of exceptional luck. Accordingly, he became obliged to take all bets offered either for E. or for O., and made two of his forty spaces into ‘bar holes.' The name sufficiently explains the utility of the device to the keeper of the table. If the ball fell into either of these ‘bar holes,' he won all the bets on the opposite letter, and did not pay to that on which it fell. Unfair tables, having the compartments of one letter larger than another, abounded; but there seems to have been little necessity to cheat at the game, as, with a proportion of two in forty, or five per cent., in his favour, the keeper should have reaped a heavy harvest of profit from his venture. The gentlemen who had played the game at the time when the occasional half guinea was thought enough to remunerate the proprietor, could hardly have liked the innovation, regarding the five per cent. ‘pull' against them as ‘a circumstance which, in the long run, would infallibly exhaust the Exchequer ' much more than the breeches pockets of the young squires.

The booths at Ascot Heath, and the taverns in Windsor, were, at race time, great haunts for the keepers of the E.O. tables, some of whom were respectable men in their calling, and might be trusted to give twenty, or even more, shillings for a guinea; but the majority, gambling for twopenny pieces and sixpences, were little, if anything, better than the thimble-rig and prick-the-garter gentry of that, or the three-card practitioners of our own, time. Ascot, indeed, was, then, a race meeting of the first importance, and the week was a fair of the most attractive character to the Berkshire landlords and their tenantry. The Oatlands Stakes was transferred to Newmarket from Ascot, after a memorable race, when a hundred thousand pounds changed hands; and we read that the Turf was a barren and dreary prospect—for the losers. ‘Horses are daily thrown out of training, jockeys are going into mourning, grooms are becomingE.O. merchants, and strappers are going on the highway.'”

In the Quarterly Review  for 1834, a description is given of gambling at races, as it then was. “Doncaster, Epsom, Ascot, Warwick, and most of our numerous race grounds and race towns are scenes of destructive and universal gambling among the lower orders, which our absurdly lax police never attempt to suppress; and yet, without the slightest approach to an improperly harsh interference with the pleasures of the people, the roulette and E.O. tables which plunder the peasantry at these places, for the benefit of travelling sharpers (certainly equally respectable with some bipeds of prey who drive coroneted cabs near St James's), might be put down by any watchful magistrate.”

The Commons Select Committee on Gaming in 1844 tells us a great deal about the gambling at Doncaster, during race meetings. A Mr Richard Baxter was the witness, and he said:

“The extent to which gambling has been carried on, both upon the course, and in the town of Doncaster, has varied at different periods. Twenty years ago, in 1824, was my first acquaintance with the matter: I went, as a stranger, to live in Doncaster, and I found that there were 40 or 50 houses, and men stationed at the doors, and passing up and down the streets, not only, by word, inviting the passers by to go into those houses, but putting into their hands cards (one of which I have here)—

To Noblemen and Gentlemen.


Bank. £1000.

At Mason's (the Tailor), Scott Lane.

—explanatory of the game that was going on there, and, without any secrecy, or reserve, stating the name of the party at whose house the game was carried on.

“Being a stranger in the town, I went into almost all the houses, and found them playing, in some with dice, and in some with balls, at the different games, the names of all of which I do not know: but gambling was going on to this extent, and no check to it, whatever, was put by the local authorities. At the same time, upon the race course, the thimble men were in hundreds, with their tables, as well as by the roadsides on every approach to Doncaster, playing, and cheating the people out of their money, as fast as they could induce them to play. As I was a stranger in the place, I did not think it becoming in me, at that time, to interfere; and, for two years following, I did no more than speak upon the subject to the mayor and the magistrates, and the gentlemen of the town, urging them to take some means to repress this systematic gambling; but, in the year 1827, which was the third year, finding that the authorities would take no notice of it, I laid an information against one of the gambling houses, against Henry Oldfield, who is a very noted character in gambling. I brought the owner of the house, who is a very respectable tradesman in the town; I brought the sister of the owner and his servants; I brought the man who attended at the door, and invited people publicly, ‘Roulette and Hazard going on upstairs'; I brought a gentleman, a respectable surgeon of the town, who had been in the room, and played there. Those parties I brought before the magistrates, they were examined upon oath. The owner of the house denied all knowledge of the object for which the room was let; the gentleman, who had been present, owned that he had played, but denied his knowledge of the name of the game at which he played; and, the result was, that the magistrates refused to convict. No further step was taken in that year; but, in the following year, without again speaking to the authorities, I represented the matter to the neighbouring gentry, and the present Lord Fitzwilliam, Mr Beckett Denison, one of the Members for the West Riding; Mr Childers, the Member for Malton; and, perhaps, 20 or 30 other gentlemen, in the neighbourhood, and in the town, joined in an association, professedly, to repress gambling in the town. The rules of the association were, that application should be made to the local authorities, and such legal means taken, as could be made available to induce the authorities to repress gambling. This was most respectably supported and published. The consequence was, that we had an émeute  in the town: the inhabitants assembled at a public meeting, a gentleman, who is, now, one of the Borough Magistrates, was put into the chair, and a regular set of speeches made against the Anti-Gambling Association, and all parties concerned. I thought it my duty to go to the meeting; and, of course, you may suppose, was very warmly received. I told them, very candidly and freely, my mind upon the subject. They heard me for a certain length of time; but, finding the chairman refused to let me go on, I left the meeting, and had the honour of being pelted down the street on my way home, as a recompense for the advice I had taken the liberty of tendering them. The consequence of this émeute  was, that our association fell to pieces. I am sorry to say, that the members who composed it did not choose, in the face of the unpopularity which it occasioned, to take any further step in it.


“The extent of gambling in Doncaster for the last two or three years has been from six to twelve of the lower gambling houses and three of the higher gambling houses. The distinction between the one class and the other consists in this: that the lower gambling houses are kept by men who hire a little front shop, open to the street, for the purpose of taking mere passers-by; the higher gambling houses, many of them houses of their own, which they have built in Doncaster, for the purpose of gaming; a third class hire rooms of respectable tradesmen in the town, and occupy them; and thepopular opinion is, that there are clubs, and knots of gentlemen attached to each of those houses, who regularly go and play there. Oldfield, against whom the information was laid in 1827, was the keeper of one of the higher gambling houses, and I need scarcely state to the Committee that, popular as gambling is in the town, very strong remarks are made and a very strong feeling exists in the place, that, if the lower gambling houses are suppressed, it is unfair to the common people that the higher gambling houses should be permitted to continue; and, when an information is laid against the low gambling houses, it is always matter of crimination; ‘Why did you not lay it against the gentlemen's houses? you are laying it against the houses of the poor people, but you will not lay it against the houses of the gentlemen.' Another circumstance connected with the races I may mention as a great public nuisance is, that the betting room, which is a building erected simply for the purpose of betting, is open on a Sunday, to the public, as on any other day, and during the time of Divine service in the evening more people, I am sorry to say, are assembled at the betting rooms than at church; and there is a continual crowd filling half the street in front of the betting rooms the whole of the Sunday evening. A representation on the subject was made to the Chief Magistrate at the time, and the only answer we got to the representation to him was that he would communicate with the parties and endeavour to have it closed: it was closed during the morning and afternoon services, but it was open to the public, as before, during the evening service, and hundreds of those who are called gentlemen were assembled there betting, and all the affairs of the races going on quite as publicly as on any other evening of the week.

“1024.—With regard to gambling on the race course, whether by thimble-riggers, or by roulette, or any other kind of gambling, whether in booths or not, are the Committee to understand that that has of late years entirely ceased to exist?—That has been suppressed.

“1025.—By the interference of the police?—Yes.”

A Mr John Rushbridger, who had charge of the ground at Goodwood, on which the races were held, was examined, and he deposed that there were only two gambling booths on the course, which paid £125 each for the privilege; whilst refreshment booths were only charged 10s. or 15s. They endeavoured, as far as possible, to keep thimble-riggers off the course.

The Clerk of the Course at Egham said there used to be eighteen gambling booths on the course, but now there were only fourteen, which produced a rental of £240; but a portion of the grand stand was let for gambling purposes, and that brought in a further sum. The thimble-rigmen were allowed on the course, as far as the distance-post, and formerly used to pay for the permission.

A Timothy Barnard was examined, and said he speculated in race courses. At Egham he paid the Lord of the Manor £300 for the race course, and cleared £240 by the gambling booths. He gave £600 for Epsom course, but could not give £300 if he were deprived of the privilege of letting gaming booths, because they were the mainstay of the other booths, such as the publicans' booths; many having their liquors and wines of them, and therefore the publicans would not give near as much for the ground, except for those booths. They made the thimble-riggers pay 5s. or 10s. to be allowed on the course; they were given a little ticket which they were obliged to wear in their hats, or their tables would be taken from them.

In Bentley's Magazine  for 1846 we get a good account of the working of the betting rooms at Doncaster. The subscription was a guinea, and the number of subscribers was from 1000 to 1200. “The rent paid by the proprietary for the premises is said to be £500 per an.; but this is reduced in its amount by the circumstance of the rooms being let off for trading, or warehouse purposes, during ten months of the year; and taking this reduction at the reasonable sum of £150, it would leave £350 as the rent from the estimated subscriptions of £1050, which would give a clear surplus of £700 per an., which alone would be a large return of profit. But other sources of income and annual return are open to the proprietary, by the sale of wine, spirits, soda water, and divers refreshments, which are in almost constant demand in the great room throughout each evening, and partially so in the day. The prices at which these articles are sold are by no means so moderate as they might be, even to secure a fair and liberal compensation for their outlay, and must, on the most moderate calculation, yield £100 clear at least in the week.

“But the El Dorado  or grand source of income and wealth to the proprietors arises from the prolific revenue of the play or gaming tables, of which there are usually six in constant nightly operation during the racing week. The proprietors of the Subscription Betting Rooms are not ostensibly connected in the co-partnership of the banks, or in the business of the tables, but they are nevertheless largely interested in the successful issue of the week, as will be shown. In the first instance it should be stated that the sum of £350 or £400 is paid down  to them by the party contracting for the tables and for the privilege of putting down the banks. This is all clear profit, paid in advance and without any contingency; and in addition to this apparently large sum, so paid for the mere privilege of finding capital, there is a stipulation also on the part of the proprietors of the rooms that they shall receive a considerable part or share of the whole clear profits, or gains, of the week accruing from the tables, and this without the risk of a single shilling by them under any unlooked-for reverse of fortune.


“The play tables at the Betting Rooms, are, as before noted, six, or seven, in number, and of variety in the games played thereat. The roulette tables attract the crowd, as well as for the reason that the game opens to the player many modes of proportionate risk, as that it affords him opportunity to play smaller sums on any one event, than he can at hazard. At the former game, the lowest stake is half a crown; at the latter, nothing less than the regal coin of a sovereign is permitted. The pull, or percentage, of roulette against the player, being, however, nearly five times that of hazard, the small stakes played realise as large a result to the bankers. It requires all the vigilance of a player to guard his interests at this game; for, generally speaking, there is much confusion in the distribution of money staked by the many adventurers, on the numbers, and other points of speculation attaching to the game; and dispute, not infrequently, arises between two or three different claimants for the produce of some fortunate, or winning result. These contested claims often arise from inattention in the player to the exact position of his money on the board, but are, sometimes, occasioned by the attempt of some sharping knave to possess himself of something which does not belong to him. The officials at the table, too, are most dexterous in their practical avocations,—more particularly so in the principle of drawing the money from the losing points of the game, immediately the winning number, &c., is called. The rapidity with which this operation is performed, is most remarkable, and gives immense additional advantage to the bank; for, it very often happens that, in the general sweep, the adroit croupiers rake off much more than they are entitled to; while, on the other hand, they can never, under any circumstances, be called upon to pay more than the loss attaching to the event.”

Doncaster is now, I believe, very much purified, but Sir George Chetwynd describes the gambling that went on there in 1869. “How changed is Doncaster now, from what it was in those days! Then, after dinner, you would go to the subscription rooms and back horses for the Cesarewitch and Cambridgeshire at 100 to 1 to win large stakes, and even small bookmakers thought nothing of starting £20,000 books. After making their bets, people used to go into an inner room where hazard was being played. Hour after hour the game continued in full swing at a table crowded with punters, with green, black, red and white ivory counters before them denoting £10, £5, £25, and £1. There was an impressive stillness in the room, only broken by the voice of Mr F. Hall, one of the croupiers, who, rake in hand, gave vent to such utterances as, ‘The Castor is backing in at seven, gentlemen. I'll take on the nick.' Then came the rattle of the dice, the bang on the table of the box, the quick announcement of the point, and the raking in of the counters on the losing columns, by the two croupiers, one of whom looked like a respectable tradesman, or a magistrate's clerk. Behind the players stood the proprietor, a tall, handsome man, with carefully trimmed white beard and moustache, more like a general than the keeper of a hell; his countenance immovable, except when it relaxed, as he replied courteously to any one who addressed him.

“He is dead, so is one of the croupiers, so are half the players, old and young, whom I first saw at the table twenty years ago, when, for the first time, I was initiated into the mysteries of hazard, how to dash down a ten, or dribble a four, as if, really, there was skill about a game which consists in rattling two dice in a box, and winning, or losing by the points they declare when rolled out on the table.”

We have seen how disreputable the Turf had become in 1844. If anything, it became worse. A class of men sprung up, called “tipsters,” men who pretended to have exclusive and particular stable information which they were willing to impart to their dupes, say (to quote the advertisement of one of the fraternity), Single events, 3s. 6d. Derby or Oaks, 5s. each: yearly subscription, 21s.; half yearly, 10s. 6d. That these men made a profitable business of it, there can be no doubt, for the sporting papers were full of their advertisements, some of them of great length: and, then, also began that curse attending horse racing, the betting shop—which afforded a fatal facility to all classes, to gamble, and which led to crime, and its attendant punishment.

In 1852, these houses had become such a crying scandal, that a public meeting was held on 18th June, at the Literary and Scientific Institution in Aldersgate Street, over which Sir Peter Laurie presided, to adopt measures for the suppression of betting houses in the City of London, and a resolution was moved, and carried unanimously, that a petition be presented to Parliament for their suppression. In the same year, at a meeting of the Aldermen at the Guildhall, the foreman of the Inquest of Farringdon Ward Without, handed in a presentment, which he said related to a subject of great importance in the City of London; the gambling and betting houses in the Ward, by which great mischief was done. Facilities were given at these houses, of which there were a great number in the Ward, for betting, from sums of threepence, or fourpence upwards; and by these means, many servants and boys, who certainly had no money of their own to bet with, were induced to lay wagers that too often led them into a career of crime.

The Druid  says: “The great list era, and all its attendant Ripe-for-a-jails, as Punch termed them, began with Messrs Drummond and Greville, who ‘kept an account at the Westminster Bank' in 1847. Up to that time ‘sweeps,' where every subscriber drew a horse for his ticket, had been amply sufficient to satisfy the popular thirst for speculation on a Derby, or St Leger eve; and, although, in one instance, we ascertained that our ticket horse was a leader in a Shrewsbury coach, instead of being ‘prepared,' it was satisfactory to know that there was, at least, fair play. Stimulated by the example of D. and G., the licensed victuallers took it up—and a nice mess they made of it—till the licensing magistrates stepped sternly in. From 1850 to the end of 1853, the listers were in their glory; and, at one period, about four hundred betting houses were open in London alone, of which, perhaps, ten were solvent.”

[1]Capt. Kelly, owner of Eclipse.