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Talbot de Malahide; and the seventh prize—a bronze medal and 200 francs—to the Executors of the late Mr Scott, Balwyllo. The commendations (bronze medals) were awarded to the following exhibitors in the order given—viz. to Mr M'Combie for Bloomer 201 and for two other cows; to Lord Southesk; Mr James Beattie, Dumfries; the Executors of the late Mr R. Scott; Mr A. Bowie ; and Mr James Stewart. Mr. M'Combie's beautiful cow Bloomer 201 stood second in order of merit in the class, but for the reason already explained could not carry off a money prize. On the recommendation of the judges, a special gold medal was awarded to Mr. M'Combie of Tillyfour for the tout ensemble of his collection of polls. The judges, in their official report on the polled cattle at the Exhibition in 1856, say: “The hornless breed, hitherto little known out of England, must have drawn attention in more than one respect. The specimens brought to our notice possessed in fact the following characteristic points: perfect homogenity of race, beauty, richness, and regularity of form, softness of skin, mellowness in handling, the whole united to a muscular system sufficiently developed. They presented, besides, a considerable mass of flesh supported by a comparatively small volume of bone. We are aware, besides, that that breed joined sobriety to a great aptitude to fatten, and that it supplies the butcher's stall with beef of much esteemed quality; that it produces milk in satisfactory quantity, is of sweet temper, and is also endowed with prolific qualities.” Special mention is made in the report of the fine animals shown by Mr. M'Combie, Mr R. Walker, the Earl of Southesk, and others, and this interesting official document concludes by “demanding" a “grand gold medal for Mr William M’Combie as a testimony of particular distinction.” The Exhibition of 1856 was confined to breeding stock, and the French Government, encouraged by its success, resolved to hold at Poissy in 1857 an International Exhibition of fat stock. Prizes were offered for polled cattle in two classes—one for oxen above three years and another for bullocks under that age. In the latter class there were eight oxen, nearly all of the Aberdeen or Angus breed. Four belonged to the late Mr William M'Combie of Tillyfour—one was 33 months old, and weighed (live weight) 17 cwt. and 1 quarter; another, 34 months, and weighed 17 cwt. ; another, 34 months, and weighed 15 cwt. ; and another, age not stated, weighing 18 cwt. In this class Mr. M'Combie won the first prize —a gold medal and 1500 francs—as well as the third prize—consisting of a bronze medal and 1000 francs; the second prize—a silver medal and 1200 francs—going to Mr James Stewart, Aberdeen, for a 35 months old bullock, weighing 15 cwts. The other exhibitors in the young class were Mr William Heath, Norfolk, and Mr J. Knowles, Aberdeen. In the class for oxen over three years old, there were four entries. Here Mr William M’Combie of Tillyfour showed two splendid oxen—one 53 months old, and weighing no less than 25 cwt., and the other 48 months old, and weighing 21 cwt. For these two he obtained the first and second premiums, the first consisting of a gold medal and 1200 francs, and the second of a silver medal and 1000 francs. The third prize—a bronze medal and 900 francs—was awarded to Mr James Stewart for a 49 months polled ox weighing 21 cwt. The other exhibitor in this class was Mr John Balfour of Balbirnie House, Fifeshire, who showed a 48 months ox of the Falkland breed, weighing 18 cwt. Commenting upon the awards at the Poissy exhibition, M. Trehonnais remarks: “Out of six prizes offered for polled oxen, Mr William M'Combie obtained four : viz. two firsts, one second, and one third, amounting in money to 4700 francs, or £178 sterling, with two gold medals, one silver,
and one bronze medal. Never was there in any exhibition the name of any individual exhibitor so intimately associated with a breed of cattle as that of the late lamented Mr. M'Combie on this memorable occasion.” An exhibition of fat stock was held at Paris in 1862, when the polled breed achieved a great victory. At that gathering a polled ox exhibited by Mr M'Combie of Tilly four gained, besides the class prizes, the two great prizes of honour: viz. the great gold medal of France for the best ox in any of the classes of foreign stock, and the Prince Albert 100 guinea cup competed for between the two winners of prizes of honour for foreign and French OXen. That great “crowning victory" of the polled Aberdeen or Angus breed at the Paris International Exhibition in 1878 has been more than once referred to in preceding portions of the work. There were only fifteen polled Aberdeen or Angus cattle shown on that occasion, and yet in this small collection the race was, in regard to general merit, remarkably well represented. The late Mr William M'Combie of Tillyfour exhibited eight; Sir George Macpherson Grant, Bart., of Ballindalloch, M.P., six; and Mr George Bruce, late of Keig, one. As evidence of the high and uniform character of the muster of polls, it may be stated that every one of the fifteen animals was awarded either a prize ticket or an “honourable mention”—distinction not attained by any of the other sixty-four varieties of cattle represented. Then for the two £100 champion prizes—the one for the best group of cattle in the division foreign to France, and the other for the best group of beef producing animals in the exhibition. Mr M'Combie and Sir George Macpherson Grant practically had the contest to themselves. Each group had to consist of at least four females and one bull all bred by the exhibitor. The Tillyfour group was made up of a four-year-old cow, four heifers, and a yearling bull. The cow was Gaily 1793, that obtained an “honourable mention ” in her class; while the heifers were the two-year-old Sybil 2nd 3526, winner of an “honourable mention ” in the cow class; Halt 2nd 3527, first among yearlings; Pride of Aberdeen 9th 3253, and Witch of Endor 3528, on which “honourable mentions” were bestowed in the class for yearlings. Mr M'Combie's bull was Paris 1473, the first prize yearling. The Ballindalloch group comprised the six animals shown from that herd—two cows eleven and seven years old, two yearling heifers, a three-year-old and a yearling bull. The cows were Eisa 977 and Eva 984, both members of the celebrated Erica family, the latter the winner of the third prize, and the former of an “honourable mention.” The heifers were Birthday 3373, and Maid of Aven 2995, to which were awarded respectively the second prize and an “honourable mention.” The bulls were Judge 1150, first in the aged class, and Petrarch 1258, second in the yearling class. These two groups, and a group of Shorthorns belonging to Lady Pigot, were drawn up for the final tussle for the £100 offered in the division foreign to France. The adjudicating bench, numbering 16, first voted as between the “blacks" and the Shorthorns, with the result that the former won by a large majority—14 to 2, we believe. Between the two groups of polled cattle no division actually took place, and the coveted premium was awarded to Mr. M'Combie, whose beautiful young group had, as was evident to the on-lookers, captivated the eye of the Scotch judge, Mr H. D. Adamson, late of Balquharn, Alford, on whom, of course, the responsibility of the decision mainly devolved. A jury of 31 gave the award in the contest for the £100 for the best group of beef producing cattle in the exhibition. Mr M'Combie was declared the victor by a majority of 24 to 7. The minority voted for a group of French shorthorns belonging to Count de Massol of Souhey, Cote d'Or.
The preference of the Tillyfour group over that from Dallindalloch has been the subject of considerable discussion, and still, as at the time it was declared, the writer regards it as a point upon which there is ample room for difference of opinion. The Tillyfour group, as will have been gathered, had the bloom of youth on its side, while it was most skilfully and uniformly. The fine, gay young animals were arranged like steps of stairs, and the even proportions of the lot excited much admiration among the on-lookers. The Ballindalloch, group on the other hand, lost in appearance by the inequality in size of the animals composing it; but closely examined, its intrinsic merit, as representing a breeding herd, could not have been easily excelled.
In the polled cow class at the exhibition referred to Mr George Bruce won the first prize with Bella Mary 1503, a very heavy richly fleshed cow, bred by the late Mr Dingwall Fordyce of Brucklay. Mr M.Combie stood second with the beautiful cow Sybil 1st 3524, bred at Baads. The second prize in the aged bull class fell to Cluny 1283, a three-year-old Erica bull of excel. lent quality.