The common people of England have been stigmatized (and perhaps
too justly) for their love of bloody sports and cruel diversions;
cock-fighting, bull-baiting, boxing, and the crowded attendance
on executions, are but too many proofs of this sanguinary turn.
But why the imputation should lie at the door of the vulgar alone
may well be questioned; for while the star of nobility and
dignified distinction was seen to glitter at a cock-match or on a
boxing-stage, or near the 'Ring'--where its proprietor was liable
to be elbowed by their highnesses of grease and soot, and to be
hemmed in by knights of the post and canditates for Tyburn tree--
when this motley group alike were fixed in eager attention, alike
betted on and enjoyed each blood-drawing stroke of the artificial
spur, or blow of the fist well laid in--what distinction was to
be made between peer and plebeian, except in derogation of the
The race-course at Newmarket always presented a rare assemblage
of grooms, gamblers, and greatness.
'See, side by side, the jockey and Sir John
Discuss the important point of six to one;
For, O my Muse! the deep-felt bliss how dear--
How great the pride to gain a jockey's ear!'
 Wharton's Newmarket.