The History of Gambling in England

The History of Gambling in England

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This is a history of different types of gambling over the centuries in England, from cards to horse races. From the intro: "Gaming is derived from the Saxon word Gamen, meaning joy, pleasure, sports, or gaming-and is so interpreted by Bailey, in his Dictionary of 1736; whilst Johnson gives Gamble-to play extravagantly for money, and this distinction is to be borne in mind in the perusal of this book; although the older term was in use until the invention of the later-as we see in Cotton's Compleat Gamester (1674), in which he gives the following excellent definition of the word: -"Gaming is an enchanting witchery, gotten between Idleness and Avarice: an itching disease, that makes some scratch the head, whilst others, as if they were bitten by a Tarantula, are laughing themselves to death; or, lastly, it is a paralytical distemper, which, seizing the arm, the man cannot chuse but shake his elbow. It hath this ill property above all other Vices, that it renders a man incapable of prosecuting any serious action, and makes him always unsatisfied with his own condition; he is either lifted up to the top of mad joy with success, or plung'd to the bottom of despair by misfortune, always in extreams, always in a storm; this minute the Gamester's countenance is so serene and calm, that one would think nothing could disturb it, and the next minute, so stormy and tempestuous that it threatens destruction to itself and others; and, as he is transported with joy when he wins, so, losing, is he tost upon the billows of a high swelling passion, till he hath lost sight, both of sense and reason." Gambling, as distinguished from Gaming, or playing, I take to mean an indulgence in those games, or exercises, in which chance assumes a more important character; and my object is to draw attention to the fact, that the money motive increases, as chance predominates over skill. It is taken up as a quicker road to wealth than by pursuing honest industry, and everyone engaged in it, be it dabbling on the Stock Exchange, Betting on Horse Racing, or otherwise, hopes to win, for it is clear that if he knew he should lose, no fool would embark in it. The direct appropriation of other people's property to one's own use, is, undoubtedly, the more simple, but it has the disadvantage of being both vulgar and dangerous; so we either appropriate our neighbour's goods, or he does ours, by gambling with him, for it is certain that if one gains, the other loses. The winner is not reverenced, and the loser is not pitied. But it is a disease that is most contagious, and if a man is known to have made a lucky coup, say, on the Stock Exchange, hundreds rush in to follow his example, as they would were a successful gold field discovered-the warning of those that perish by the way is unheeded.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 10mm | 259g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508650292
  • 9781508650294