The amusements of Merry Old England

Fox Hunt – The Montreal Gazette May 5, 1828

To those who have enjoyed the chase, in the Mother Country, either by participating in its pleasures, or who have been calm spectators, we need hardly allude to the joyous moments, and the delightful exhilaration, which the sportsman enjoys in this truly manly amusement. The winding of the mellow horn, the animating soul-stirring music, and the ardent intense longing of the hounds; the pleasure which the horses seem to feel in the sport, the cries of the huntsman, all tend to cause an inward glow, and hope and joy to beam on the countenances of those who are devoted to this amusement.

On Saturday morning, pursuant to notice, a number of gentlemen assembled at the Bridge erected at the intersection of Lower Lachine road by the Canal, to enjoy the pleasures of a fox hunt, a sport hitherto unknown in this Province. Many fine horses were exhibited, and many of the riders seemed to pant with eagerness for the unbagging of poor Reynard. The fox was allowed to go off in the fields between the Canal and the River, and began to run towards the Nun’s Farm after he and began with “good law.” The hounds, trusty and true, were put upon “the drag,” and very soon “gave tongue,” proceeding in full cry. The riders kept on the Lachine road, and turned down the lane, which leads to the Nun’s house opposite Nun’s Island.

Here Reynard turned, and was proceeding on this former track, when the hound caused him to take a course across Lachine road. The fox passed within 50 yards of the sportsmen on the Lachine road and made along the Canal towards the woods. The hounds continued in full cry; and the equestrians exerted themselves very creditably for a first attempt, in their leaps over the fences and ditches, that impeded their progress.

The fox soon stole away to the woods, and after some time, was found to have holed himself in a hollow stump on the farm of Mr. Bourgeois, in rear of Woodlands, the property of George Gregory, Esq. Here Reynard was taken, bagged, and is in custody to afford sport of Wednesay next, to those who wish to follow the amusements of merry Old England.

The hounds on this occasion were not numerous, and though young, exceeded the expectations of their masters. No accident and few unsportmanlike misfortunes occurred during the whole chase, and on the whole, the sport was maintained in a manner that did credit to those engaged in it. The country people thought the inhabitants of Montreal were mad, or that something had occurred to disturb their mental faculties, when a poor unoffending fox should be thus pursued over fence and ditch, by men, horses, and dogs, and for no other purpose than to keep him in a bag to be chased some other day. “Comme ces Anglois sont droles” was a common expression. We however are pleased to view this introduction of one of the fine sports of England into this country, and hope it may be continued.

It is requested, as a matter or courtesy to the tenants of the grounds, as well as giving fair play to the dogs, that the sportsmen who may attend on Wednesday next, do not enter the fields on the east side of the road, where the fox is turned out. Other dogs than those engaged in the chase, should not be brought upon the ground.