2 JANUARY 1932, Page 22


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Mr. Green and others have no difficulty in refuting Miss Pitt's arguments in defence of Field Sports. But this is so precisely because they arc arguments, because she stoops to use the inadequate method of her opponents—the method of dialectical reasoning.

Field sports are not to be tried at the bar of " formal ratio- cination." Smug and abstract theories such as " fox-hunting provides the extra thrill which makes horse-riding adventurous . . ." as merely satisfying " a callous, thoughtless and cruel desire for excitement, degrading to the people concerned," are altogether superficial. Most men hunt simply because they love it, and believe in it. They love it, because a grand day with the Pytchley is " intense living," to use Mr. G. W. Young's description of mountaineering. They believe in it, because they feel instinctively that hunting is an integral part of England. I would urge some of your readers and correspon- dents to read Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man, by Mr. Siegfried Sassoon, himself a radical, and ask themselves whether this country would not be infinitely poorer without such fox- hunting types as Jack Peppermore, Denis Milden, Stephen Colwood and " Gentleman George."

It is a question of values, of temperament and what Mr. George Santayana calls " psychic weather." But I can assure Mr. Millard and others who picture themselves as " thoughtful people" representing our enlightened twentieth century, that the urge satisfied by a great day's hunting is emphatically not the same as that which prompts Mr. Green to slash a bed of nettles with a walking-stick.—I am, Sir, &c., Ochlerlony, J. 0. GAIRDNER, Ashinglon, Northumberland.