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and to what genus, and species, and order, it belongs, the mere name matters little.
of the Partridge there are but two varieties in Europe—or, as far as known, in Africa—the grey, or English, and the redlegged; and both these are by Linnæus styled Tetrao—the one perdix, the other rufus. The term ortyx is not used by him, and is—as I have shown above—an absurd term to use in opposition to coturnix, as distinguishing partridge from quail.
The truth is, that in the common phraseology of this country the nomenclature of game has been sadly confused; by the fact that the original settlers named the birds they found here, after fancied similitudes to the birds they remembered at home; and that their errors have been handed down from age to age, till they are now almost ineradicable. Hence the quail is called a partridge in the South-while no less erroneously the ruffed grouse is termed a partridge in the Eastern and Middle, and a pheasant in the Southern States; and will so be termed till the world's end by all but book-read ornithologists, students of Buffon and Linnæus, at whom J. Cypress, Jr.-commend me to him when you meet-sneers so unmercifully and, me judice, unwisely.
Thine to command,
To the Editor of the “ American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine."
My Dear Turf: I perceive that some, doubtless, very clever gentleman has been doing the amiable for me, in the Irish fashion, in the sod you have just cut out and registered. He is pleased to assure you that the unpretending author of a few observations concerning quail, copied by your Magazine from a publication made some years since, "proves himself entirely ignorant of ornithology, by his bluuders in nomenclature.” He sneers at “all his Latin acquirements," and charges that “ he has not even consulted his dictionary honestly." But, worse and worse, he insists that although Mr. C. alludes to Audubon, yet that he-the aforesaid clever gentleman-is certain that Mr. C. “ has never consulted his works, nor Bonaparte's nor 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.” Then follows some fun about the New York Mirror, which I do not understand. General Morris can take care of himself. Perhaps he had better order out one of his regiments, and plant a park of artillery before his office, for his better defence. Though, on second thought, the admission made in the last paragraph of the “Corrigenda” we are referring to, that the “article is written in sport,” may induce composure and confidence among the office imps, and there will be no necessity for extra Cannon.
But as to myself. Permit me to defend variously. I desire to take issue on part of the charges against me.
I want to confess in part, and let part go by default; or give a cognovit for the amount of damages. I admit that my
assertion “ unwhiskered.” I admit it with grief. I ask leave to amend—as the lawyers say—"on payment of costs ;" and I will presently re-present the assertion full “whiskered,” if my learned commentator will have it so, with the mature hair of judgment of ornithologists who, now, have no more books to sell.
Next as to my "utter ignorance of ornithology," and my
"blunders in nomenclature," I plead not guilty. I, at the same time, admit that I am no professed bird-philosopher, nor herald of the honors, orders, distinctions, and relationships of the feathered race, But I have long known many of them, intimately, and loved them with the love of a sportsman, and a lover of nature ; and have read the history of them and their kin in many books, and have talked to them, and heard them talk, and I know what names to call them, and if I“ blunder," I know where to go to get corrected; and if I hear some other devotee-even though he be a master-miscall them, I have assurance enough, when I can prove it, to point out his kakology. I am no carpenter, yet I live in a house. I have written no book, yet I have read some, and consulted many. Shall I be enjoined from the expression of my opinion as to the construction of either, because I have not builded nor written? I shall insist, on this head, under my forthcoming proofs, that I am not “utterly ignorant," &c., but, at the very furthest, only very considerably “ignorant.”
Next, as to the insinuation about my " Latin acquirements," which, I suppose, of course is intended to signify want of them; if it will do Mr. H. any good, he may take judgment against me by default.
Touching the last grave charge, that I have not "consulted" either Audubon or Bonaparte, I am bound to take issue ; for this accusation, if true, involves me in the crime of a falsehood—a falsehood that could have been concocted only by the most barefaced affectation of knowledge, and the most extraordinary good luck of a rambling fancy. I will consider this matter further, presently; when I will also endeavor to prove that I have consulted my“ dictionary honestly.” Mean time, I will persist in declaring that although the hard necessities of impecuniosity have denied to me the delight of enshrining Audubon among my household divinities—he being a dear God,-yet I have “consulted” him, where I have consulted Pliny, Linnæus, Buffon, and other gentlemen, whose company Mr.“ H.” need not stick up his nose at, in a place which it is not necessary Mr. H. should know. Nevertheless, my good Turf, if your etymological-fact-hunting correspondent, who delicately intimates to you, that you “of course know the importance of truth—although you are an Editor,”has the control of any extra copies of Mr. Audubon, not immediately called for, and will leave a set for me at your office, I will promise to study as well as “consult” him, and will give up, or lease, grant, bargain, sell, assign, transfer, and set over to him, all my right and title to call Quail “ Coturnix," to have and to hold to him and his heirs forever.
But let us look into the case, and the evidence of my alleged guilt. In the spirit of a modest sportsman, who does not pretend to talk to Princes of bird craft, I wrote some time since, some humble, melancholy, “ Observations Concerning Quail,” not to exalt my reputation as a naturalist, but to plead to the sympathies of the true sportsman, and to notify the poachers of the terrors of the new law most mercifully passed by our Legislature, for the protection and salvation of my sweetheart's favorite bird. I was indiscreet enough to add to my discourse a note in the following words, to wit:
I am not unaware that Audubon describes the quail as migratory at the West, and that he says the shores of the 'Ohio, in the Fall, are covered with “ flocks.” Nor am I ignorant that Wilson says he has heard that the bird is migratory in Nova Scotia. It may be so; but our quails are better brought up. Nevertheless, I do not care to believe everything that stu. dents of Linnæus and Buffon say, who talk of flocks of partridges, and Inean bevies of quail. By-the-by, what is the reason that the whole race of ornithologists call the partridge tetrao ? which is latin for a bustard and a wild turkey. It is not the less to be admired that they call the -quail perdix Virginiana. If they had supped with Horace and Catullus, and all that set, as Colonel Hawker and I have done--in the spirit--they would have found out that the true title was coturnix.-[Vide Hawker on Shooting.]
Hinc ille lachryme! Hence the ululation of Mr. H., and his “ Corrigenda."
Now let us dissect the note.
I. Cypress.—“ I am not unaware that Audubon describes the quail as migratory at the West, and that he says that the shores of the Ohio, in the Fall, are covered with FLOCKS. FLOCKS!
Mr. H.-comment ing.-Mr. C. alludes to Audubon, but I am certain he has never consulted his works.
Permit me to ask, then-if Mr. H. be correct,-how I found out that Audubon called bevies of quail 6 flocks of partridge." Yet he does do so, and commits a high and heavy sin. Even admitting that he may be right in calling them “partridges,” he had no authority to speak of their "greges," but as "covies." It is unpardonable in a naturalist to talk of " flocks of partridges.” He does also say that the quail is migratory at the West. Did I dream these two distinct facts ?
Is this the way “ Mr. H.” writes " in sport ?" Or must I, by silence submit to an imputation of pedantry and falsehood ? Or is it because I casually alluded to the fault of Audubon-which he copied from Wilson--that his friend writes so fiercely “in sport."
II. My next sentence refers to the fact that Wilson said he had heard the “Partridge or Quail,” as he calls it, was migratory in Nova Scotia. Wilson is not to be blamed, for he refers only to hearsay as to the travelling story; and for aught I know, he is correct. Quails have different habits in different countries. But Mr. H., doubtless, thinks him in error because he calls the bird quail or partridge. Hence he gives a Aling at him, for “many errors," all of which, he assures us,