Part I: The introduction of Archery, and high consequence of the art to the early hunter and warrior
the great security and bulwark of our Ancestors, naturally occupies a place of great interest in the minds of Englishmen, and for the services which the Bow has rendered to this Country, it must ever be held in grateful remembrance.
The Bow, is of remote antiquity, and hath been the most common of all Weapons. It is uniformly mentioned in the Sacred Volume as an Instrument generally used by the Jews in their Wars and Conflicts. It not only afforded protection, from an invading foe, and in predatory warfare, but was the chief means by which both food and raiment were procured. By this Weapon, the greatest conquests and victories have been achieved, and through its particular assistance, the less numerous have often been enabled to withstand the utmost force of the mightiest Empires.
Antique Sculpture, and the fables of the Greeks testify, that the Bow was held in high regard by that people.
Among the Persians, and the more eastern Nations, this instrument was, for a series of years quite revered, and even to this day, notwithstanding the introduction of fire-arms, it is greatly prized.
Moseley, in his excellent work on Archery, records, that in the East, the bow gained a hieroglyphical figure, and was represented as a King, and the arrow as an Ambassador.
War, always was, (and it still continues to be,) the chief art cultivated, among even the most civilized nations. It was therefore natural, that the bow, which, in its effects, was found useful in the constant war which man waged against the beasts of the field, should afterwards be turned to the destruction of the human race.
Its first use gained for it an universal reception and confidence, its latter, assigned it the chief place among implements of war, long after the introduction of gun-powder.
The various accounts which we have of the effects of the English Long-Bow in battle, are quite surprising; and, but for their being so well authenticated, we should at this day, be inclined to treat them with a smile of unbelief, as "Long-bow stories," because we have no adequate means of forming a just estimation of them.
The victories obtained by the ancient English Archers over their enemies, were many and glorious, they are their best Eulogies, and stand upon record in the histories of this country, for the perusal and for the admiration of posterity.
The Bow, that "ancient Weapon of renown," has completed for us the task it was destined to accomplish, and we have now, to look upon it only as an Instrument capable of affording much excellent amusement.
To those who are partial to the art of Archery, and who pursue it with that animation which it deserves, the Bow readily proves a source of health and strength, and consequently a helpmate to all the enjoyments of life.