This is background material to two of the Arscott’s mentioned in the post.
The first is a verbatim extract of a letter from the Sporting Magazine 1826:
To the Editor of the Sporting Magazine.
Although you do not publish all I do myself the honour to write to you, yet I am almost certain sure you will be happy to insert in your valuable Magazine the following poetry, written by that celebrated sportsman, George Templer, Esq. on the blank leaf next to that on which Mr Arscott had described his, perhaps, last hunt in the Journal de la Chasse.
Mr Arscott was a great sportsman; he hunted both the fox and the stag in this county. His hounds were bred from those of the Duke of Rutland, Mr Loder, and others, the most celebrated kennels of his day. His excessive hospitality still lives fresh in the minds of those who have felt its cheering influence. But few of his contemporaries are now in this land of the living; from one of them I have this character of him: – that he well knew how to enjoy the sweet feelings which spring from charity; that his hearth and heart were always glowing with the fire of hospitality; that he was an excellent natural philosopher, an exemplary Christian, and at the same time a man of the world and a polished gentleman. He was much looked up to in this county; had great influence in the election of Members of Parliament; and, to use a hackneyed phrase, he lived beloved, and he died regretted by all who knew him.
I myself have heard two of his old servants express a wish that when they died they might be buried as near as possible to their old master. Since that wish has been poured forth, they have both, well-stricken in years, gone away from this world, and are now, in peace, placed as near as possible to their benefactor.
I cannot finish this without setting you right as to two circumstances. In your Racing Calendar, you have stated, (at Tavistock, I believe,) that a gelding called Dotty, aged, is by Gainsborough. I know Dotty to be old enough to pass for Gainsborough’s great grandsire. None of Gainsborough’s get are older than five years.
In your Sporting Calendar you state that Captain Gilbert, of the Royal Navy, broke his neck in a chase, somewhere in Cornwall; I am happy to say that the whole of that communication, wherever you procured it, is totally void of foundation, and Captain Gilbert is now in the land of the living, sound in wind and limb.
Whatever you may think of my notes to you, so that you do not publish all I write, you may depend on this, that what I put down as fact “shall be the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
A Fox-hunter Rough and Ready
The second is an extract about Thomas Arscott from the Royal Naval Biography; Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers:
THOMAS ARSCOTT, Esq.
Thomas Arscott, born Aug. 24th, 1779, was the son of Thomas Arscott, M. D., of Teignmouth. He entered the Royal Navy in June 1796 as midshipman on board the Mercury 28, commanded by Viscount Torrington. He sailed for Newfoundland, where he did duty on shore with the garrison during the blockade of St. John’s harbour by a French squadron under Rear-Admiral Richery.
He subsequently served on a number of ships but it doesn’t appear that he had a particularly glittering naval career. By 1804 he was serving as lieutenant of the frigate Indefatigable under Captain (later Sir Graham) Moore, at the capture and destruction of four Spanish treasure-ships. He also assisted in cutting out the French national brig le Caesar, from the river Gironde, July 16th, 1806, on which occasion he was slightly wounded.
At the beginning of 1812, he was appointed first officer of the Chatham 74, a new ship just commissioned by Captain Moore. On Moore’s promotion to Rear-Admiral, Arscott accompanied him to the Baltic, as his flag-lieutenant in the Warrior 74. He obtained a commander’s commission on the 7th June, 1814; spent the remainder of his days in retirement and died at Chudleigh, Devon, in June 1827.
His brother James also served in the Royal Navy and died in Teignmouth in 1816.