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cedar-bush ; and there, upon the yet warm bed of oak leaves, and thick matted spear grass, composed their chilled limbs in the usual circle, and went to sleep. To sleep? ay, to sleep forever! No morning came to them. No opportunity had they to regret unsaid prayers. A late morning came to the world above, and a cold sun shone on their shroud-their beautiful shroud of snow! Almost "seven fathoms deep!” buried in their winding-sheet! No resurrection for ye, poor birds ! Did they think it never would be light? Yes, they fell asleep there in their beds, and died of too much covering! The spring came, and the early ploughman dug up a furrow near their wasted corses. There they lay, side by side, as they committed themselves to sleep, undivided in death, as they were beautiful and without reproach in life!
Beethoven must have written his exquisite song of the “Quail,” after a hard winter. I never heard Catalani sing it, but I will be sworn it is a solemn anthem.
The quail receives in many countries the most studious and devout protection. In China they domesticate him, and train him for the cock-pit. In some states on the continent of Europe they almost worship him. The German has a beautiful superstition, that his note expresses the words, “ Furchten Gott."* England is too damp and smoky for him. He cannot acclimate. The lord, who, by the assistance of his gamekeeper, has an oath made that he killed a quail, is gazetted through the three kingdoms.
The quail is our bird-our own American bird. Shall we not protect him and his household ? If all the powers of destruction are let loose to play upon him, how shall he be saved ? Even now, his fate seems to be inevitable, like the Indians. But a few years since, he was proud nationa * " Fear God." Let poachers think of this when they whistle.
green bay tree, If we look not sharply, we soon may say,
seges est, ubi Troja fuit.” That he is not now utterly annihilated, and flying in the Elysian fields, with his relative, tetrao cupido,* is owing to the good hearts of a very small few of his former fellow-citizens, who snatched him from the snow-bank, and housed, and fed him during the winter, and gave him to liberty in the spring, and to some other few, who sent to his people at the south, and renewed his the faces of his brethren. Even some of these, representatives of a ruined nation, have been sacrificed in brutal moments, to adorn the reeking cellars of reckless paunch-providers, and to furnish August—very August-suppers for raw counter-jumpers, who have heard of his glory.
A few words, by way of application of the subject. The legislature of the state of New York, considering all the dangers and necessities of one of the most worthy families of the state, have, in no wretched spirit of monopoly, but in the true spirit of “equal protection to all,” enacted a statute for his preservation, and have taken the dear bird under their sheltering wing. No man, nor boy, nor fool, may kill a quail except between the twenty-fifth of October and the fifth of January, nor compass, nor procure his death, nor have his murdered corpse in his possession, out of the specified period, in either of the humane counties of York, Kings, Queens, or Westchester! O, Suffolk ! how art thou disgraced, not being named! Fiat lex! Tom Tucker and Jem Valentine, chief
* The pinnated grouse, or heath-hen, formerly, alas! found on LongIsland; but,--perhaps leading the way, for the quail,--now utterly extinct. Doctor Samuel L. Mitchill foretold his annihilation in 1810. The following is an extract from a letter of his to Wilson, which I doubt not the old man wrote with tears in his eyes ; « Their numbers are gradually diminishing; and assailed as they are on all sides, almost without cessation, their scarcity may be viewed as foreboding their eventual extermination." Oh! prophecy too sadly true !
advocates, immortalized themselves! The partridge, too, and Master Scolopax, in his season, have their passports. Beware of the heavy penalty.
Finally, this matter recommendeth itself to the serious attention of all transgressors. The sin hath already stung divers poachers, and accessories, before and after the fact. It hath been distinctly proved before a justice of the peace, that eight times five make forty dollars. Just judgment ! Dear feed! Worse than sour grapes! The Marine Court hath visited other transgressions with swift judgment. Even men who have received presents
game from places where it was lawfully killed, and where it might have been virtuously manducated, have been sorely mulcted. They have learned, too late, the awful fate of Hercules. They have discovered, after they have been impregnated with the poison, that they must know the giver before they accept a shirt. They study Ovid, now, and have learned by heart
“Dona det illa viro, mandat, capit inscius hero," and the whole of that chief case in point. Penitent sinners, I weep
for them! Doubt it, and touch the forbidden fruit if ye dare, and say, "tell that to the marines !"
Lastly_true sportsmen ought to examine themselves, and take care that they have no disposition for blood in the skirts of their shooting-jackets, except in the allowed days of October, November, and December. If the honorable and the true-hearted submit to temptation, what can we expect from the other people.
To conclude ; we are all called upon to be careful, and keep our fore-finger on the trigger of our watchfulness. May I
I not remind my fair readers that many a quail dies for them, and that intempestive collineation hath been too often perpe
trated for their dear sakes. Restrain, O, ye Helens ! and Joans! the ardor of your sacrificing worshippers. Let them not kill too many. Six, now-a-days, are a sportsman's fortune. Remember them of the base Jews, who gathered more quail than were sufficient for immediate consumption, disobeying Moses, and then rejected the rotting victims, and sighed for the fleshpots of Egyptian leeks and onions. And do thou, best Mary! ever, when thou dippest a minute breast-piece, almost, into the fading bubble of the sherry at my dexter, playfully, as thou art wont, be sure thou ask me—“Love, was this bird killed in season ?"
OR, THE ERRORS OF
CYPRESS CONCERNING QUAIL."
MARIETTA, Pa., Nov. 13, 1840. Mr. Editor ; You of course know the importance of truth-though you are an editor—and will therefore wish to see any errors corrected which may have crept into your pages; I accordingly make a few remarks
very good article on “ Quail” in your
October number. The writer proves himself entirely ignorant of ornithology, by his blunders in nomenclature. Thus, he is writing about the Perdix virginiana–Virginian partridge—and not about the Perdix coturnix-European quail.—The first is a true partridge, belonging to the same subgenus with the Euro. pean partridge, viz., Ortyx; whilst the quail belongs to the subgenus Coturnix.' In Pennsylvania and Southward, and in
English books, our bird is called—and correctly-partidge. To judge from Mr. C.'s remarks upon Coturnix, he believes the same species to inhabit on both sides of the Atlantic, which is not the fact. Both these birds differ again, from the genus Tetrao, to two species of which he refers by their proper names, viz., T. umbellus-ruffed grouse-and T. cupido-pinnated grouse. Though Mr. C. does not care to believe every thing the students of Linnæus and Buffon say,” I think with all his Latin acquirements, he would have some difficulty in determining to what birds now known to us, certain names were applied by the Romans ; for a reference to a dictionary will not decide the question, so that there is nothing gained by finding fault at this point. Mr. C., however, has not even consulted his dictionary honestly, or mine is a different edition, and contains the following definitions ; Tetrao, grouse; Perdix, partridge ; Coturnix, quail; and Otis, bustard ; and naturalists do not use any of these in a different sense.
That the first is Latin for turkey may be doubted, as the Romans would have been under the necessity of visiting America to make their acquaintance.
Wilson, the pioneer of American Ornithology, committed many errors in nomenclature which were then unavoidable ; but these have been corrected, long since, by Bonaparte, who wrote a continuation of Wilson's work ; so that there is no excuse for the blunders of any one who writes on this-or any other-subject, without first making himself acquainted with it. Mr. C. alludes to Audubon, but I am certain he has never consulted his works, or Bonaparte's or those of any modern author since the time of Wilson, or he would not have made the unwhiskered assertion that “ the whole race of ornithologists call the partridge tetrao. Possibly by partridge he means grouse. This errour-as the New York