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TO THE CRICKETING WORLD AT LARGE.
N this pamphleteering, magazining, bookmaking age, I venture somewhat boldly to intrude upon your notice this little volume.
Properly speaking, it ought to have ema
nated from a professional cricketer; by whom, most likely, it would have been more scientifically
"handled” than by the humble individual who thus abruptly presents himself. Time not seeming to improve the probabilities of the appearance of a work wherein to look for directions how to wield this mighty sceptre of delight, I trust I shall not be
I accused of any unwarrantable vanity in supposing myself so far qualified by experience as to be able to convey a few hints, which,
in the prosecution of an ardent desire to excel in the practice of this noble pastime, the young, as well as the more advanced practitioner, may find of some little value. My great aim is to discover whether this splendid game is or is not so connected with some of the beautiful laws of motion as to deserve the appellation of a science; and, if so, to institute a few inquiries, to ascertain what are the laws that regulate such honourable appellation. That
it is not wholly unconnected with some of the high and honour-stirring principles of Moral Philosophy, is a suggestion which may hazard the contempt of the self-sufficient; nevertheless, we are prepared with good evidence in favour of our statement. First, our affirmation is well attested by the paradox, that “whilst in war we are most in peace;” at least, we have a right to presume that the contest for victory in any
honourable pastime presupposes the absence of all animosity. In further proof of this, we have only to consider how delightfully flows the game when it claims allegiance to the sovereignty of these temporizing attributes, viz. laudable ambition, where the want of all angry feeling secures moral approbation; cheerfulness, which pervades the contest, giving spirit and activity to the body; courage, boldly to face, or prudently to yield to the extremities of Fortune—who takes a lively interest in the sport notwithstanding all our assumed proficiency; judgment, to apply experience upon which physical knowledge is founded; justice, in dealing fairly one by another; “moderation in all things;" “ order, Heaven's first law;" and the true value and modest acknowledgment of praise and reputation. Petty differences, in spite of the most watchful restraint, will occasionally offer themselves; but, with few exceptions, the struggle is not so much to enforce the strict letter of the law, where it would interfere with the comfort of the individual or the good feeling of the assembled armies, but who should be the first to yield. Some stern-thinking philosophers may exclaim, “What has science to do with sport ?” As well may they ask what had the falling of an apple to do with the laws of gravitation. The reply to this would be, Let them try to explain (without having recourse to scientific investigation) the practice of any game which calls forth man's physical energies to compete with the theory of motion. No figure on earth so beautiful as a sphere, and no inquiry on the laws of motion so delightful as that which is connected with its movements and changes consequent upon certain impulses. Descending, if you please, to the motion of a cricket-ball: according as the axis of rotation during its flight from the bowler is horizontal or oblique, so will it have, upon reaching the ground, the bias, or “twist,” as it is called : and it is a scientific inquiry, and a very satisfactory acquirement, to be able,