British Heritage: DECEMBER 1999/JANUARY 2000 Letters


Riding to hounds started in England in about the mid 1700s and has developed into a sporting event practised nationally. It is not only very popular among the aristocracy but also has been a part of many families’ heritage for generations. The rationale justifying the sport involves issues of pest control, recreation, and tradition. The hunt also provides an occasion for friends to get together on a regular basis. However, polls indicate that the popularity of fox hunting is declining and that most English do not approve of it today. In addition, I strongly disagree with anti-fox hunting organizations using violence to sabotage events, intimidate participants, and destroy property. This is nothing less than terrorism, and perpetrators should experience the full consequences of the law.

It is relevant to continue our traditions because they are a significant part of what has made our heritage and England great. The integrity upon which our culture was founded must never be compromised or surrendered. However, just as the changing of the guard is necessary to accomplish the next step in the process, it is important that our regard for animals proceed to include compassion for all of them.

Our history records positive attitude changes towards animals. For example, during the 1200s the English originally raised bulldogs to fight in tournaments, but as people’s fondness for the dogs developed through the centuries, the exhibitions were eventually eliminated.

Today, the English have a reputation for being very loving and caring of their pets. Horses are typically put out to pasture when they grow old, instead of being put to sleep. Several movements and worldwide projects to assist and protect animals started in Britain.

Although it is not likely that the fox will become England’s next favourite pet, it is time for us to reconsider our values about them and initiate humane alternatives for resolving problems they are causing.

Lewis Hales
Milner, Georgia


By chance I came across a copy of your singularly enjoyable magazine, and read with much interest Mr. Barrett’s article (April/May 1998, page 22) on historic Greenwich in connection with the dawn of the third Millennium.

It is clear from the article that Mr. Barrett honestly expects the next Millennium to commence with the first day of the year 2000, not of 2001, as our dating system would suggest.

Unfortunately, he is not alone. I wince every time some well-groomed television personality confuses the purely technical "Y2K" computer problem with the advent of the new Millennium. I have lived in the United States for 50 years now–far too long to expect scrupulously correct reporting from the news media. But for goodness sake, your article was about Greenwich!

Tibor Osváth-Edmond,
Lexington, Virginia

Editor’s note: We continue to receive many letters from readers on the subject of when the new Millennium begins. Some contain persuasive justifications for a particular viewpoint, while others simply express the writer’s confusion. Rather than attempt to reconcile the issue ourselves, we advise readers to visit, the official website of the Greenwich 2000 celebrations. The site addresses the official timing of the Millennium’s arrival (2001), and why celebrations are nonetheless set to begin in 2000.


I want to express belated congratulations and thanks for your article on my favourite painter, John Singer Sargent (April/May 1999, page 24). I have just reurned from Boston where I was fortunate enough to visit the exhibition twice. Your article was the deciding factor for me in making the trip.

I have long admired Mr. Sargent’s work and am so pleased that I have finally gotten to see so many pieces in person. The exhibition was stunning. Now I can hardly wait to visit London again and go back to the Tate.

Tom Johnson,
Pasadena, California


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