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paid on conviction, or committed for one any other qualified person, except in the month to the house of correction for the case of a free warren. If the bill were first offence, and six months for every sub brought in, he should wish it to be printed sequent one. Simple as this plan is, it and the discussion of it to stand over to would answer every purpose. "It is not another session. one of the least beneficial effects likely to Mr. Francis said, he had no scruple to follow the plan I propose, that it will put confess that he was not much acquainted an end to the frequent disagreements that with the subject, but as he considered it of are occasioned by game, and leave every great importance, he begged leave to make person to pursue his sports without mo. a few observations; and if he was not so lestation. I move, Sir, " that the acts of well qualified as others to speak, perhaps 22nd and 23rd of Charles 2nd; the 1st from having no interest to support, he of James Ist; the 4th and 5th of William might not be the less impartial. He could and Mary; the 5th and 9th of Ann; and not conceive how the hon. gentleman who the 28th of George 2nd be read.”—The spoke last could entertain an idea of maksame being accordingly read, Mr. Curwen ing game private property, and not make next moved, “ That leave be given to the penalty attending on an infringement bring in a Bill to repeal the said Acts, or of the law, the same that he would make a such parts thereof to be particularly spe- penalty for the violation of any other cified, as relate to the Preservation of kind of property. There was one princiGame, and for substituting other Provi- ple which the legislature ought always to sions in lieu thereof."
keep in view in their deliberations, and Mr. Buxton said, that the game laws which he rose principally for the purpose ought not to exist in this country, but of stating. Though no sportsman himself, he could not entirely agree with the hon. he wished that the game should be pregentleman, as to the mode to be adopted served for the sake of sportsmen. To disfor the repeal of them. His idea was to courage poachers therefore was certainly make game private property. Every gen- important. The reason why he was partitleman must be aware, that it was the cularly desirous for the preservation of right of every individual to protect his game was, that while the capital presented property; and game appeared to him part so many attractions as it did at present to of the growth of, and belonging to the country gentlemen, and while it was at the landed property of this country. He same time of so much consequence to the wished the hon. gentleman had gone a country that they should reside for some little higher in his history of the game time on their estates, he was anxious that laws. If he had, he would have found, that the country should present as many atbefore the Norman Conquest, game was tractions as possible, to render a return to private property, and that it was recog- their rural residence desirable. He hoped nized as such by the Roman law, which therefore, as shooting was a favourite provided, that no man has a right to kill amusement with many gentlemen, that his game on the land of another without his hon. friend who made the motion would permission. Every law which did not provide that their sport should not be inequally affect the rich and the poor, could terrupted. He was induced to mention not be considered as a just law; and, in this in consequence of its having been this view, he reprobated the game laws; suggested to him, that if his hon. friend's for it was notorious, that a poor man was plan were carried into effect, that prooftener fined 51. for killing a partridge than perty would be so dispersed and intera rich man twenty shillings for killing a spersed, that there would be no sporting hare. He would be understood, however, at all. as not wishing to increase the penalty, but Mr. Henniker Major thought, that the merely to equalize the operations of the consideration of the game laws had better law. He would not make it felony to kill be referred to a committee of the whole game, for that would be worse than the House. law stood at present ; but he would make Mr. Jolliffe could not consentto the des. it a misdemeanor. By the decisions of truction of the whole fabric of the game courts of justice the right of the lord of laws, unless some specific remedy was the manor was weak enough, and there substituted in its place. He thought the was no occasion to diminish it; it had been total ruin of the game would be the result decided, that he had no right to kill on of so improvident a measure. any other ground than his own, more than Mr. Powys agreed with the hon. mover 'n most of his sentiments on the subject ; | think of objecting. Indeed, there were but thought the motion was not calculated very few institutions that were not necesto obtain the object in view. He did not sarily clogged with qualifications of one approve of repealing the statutes, without kind or other. The objection, on the score substituting others of a salutary nature in of right therefore was mere fanciful, imagitheir room.
nary language ; for supposing, as in the case Mr. Windham said, that being no sports- of game, a property, which without restrainman, he had no interest in the game laws, ing laws, could not be preserved—there as they touched the mere butchery of par- then was a right to make provisions, or tridges. He was, however, no friend to the else the object would be lost. The genespirit of those laws, and to a general in- ral interest warranted the particular priquiry into them he would have no objec. vation of right. In the case of air or tion. Though even on an inquiry he water, of which there can be no fear of would wish for more time to see what extinction, no laws were necessary; and they should substitute for those parts they therefore to make them property would might prune away. The objections he be wrong; but if the object was subhad ever heard made to those laws were, ject to extinction, it must be guarded that they were an invidious code--a sys. by laws, taking care that the right tem made for one class alone, and for the parted with, and the penalty did not protection of amusement. These conside- exceed the value of the object prerations produced a feeling which induced served. With regard to the other principeople to consider a breach of those laws ple laid down, that it was a violation of by no means equally criminal as a viola- the rights of those wealthy men, who, tion of others. The consequence was, from the nature of their property were exthat men were more apt to break them, cluded from the use of game, he had the and that habit led them to violate others ; same objection ; he had often heard it, the practice of poaching insensibly led to and always thought it a weak objection ; crimes, which were greatly injurious to as well might it be said that strength the public, and often fatal to the trans, gave a right to wealth, as that wealth gressors themselves. Perhapsthere was no gave a right to use game. He wished effectual means of preventing poaching for a modification of the game laws, but by repealing the game laws; but it was but upon all general principles he felt a to be first well considered, whether the very great repugnance to accede to any repeal would remedy the evils complained sudden change in any ancient system. of without going farther. If a penalty Mr. Fox said, he hoped that no effectual was annexed, men would still act on the opposition would be made to the motion same feelings, and be as unwilling to en- of his hon. friend which was only for leave force it. If no penalty was annexed, the to bring in a bill, hereafter to be discussed. question was, whether it would not go to He sliould not offend the right hon. genextinguish the whole game of the country. tleman who spoke last by saying ang Perhaps that would be no great evil; thing upon the doctrine of natural rights. but the observation of his hon. friend (Mr. But although, on the principle of property Francis) was an important point of consi- it might not be absolutely unjust to make deration, namely, the propriety of pre- a distinction between the qualification to serving an inducement to men of fortune kill game and any other qualification, yet, to make their estates in the country their on the principle of congruity and of policy, places of residence; and this single cir- the game laws were indefensible, for by cumstance might instruct gentlemen, who them, it appeared, that a great number of were fond of changing laws, in how many the most opulent part of the people of this unforeseen collateral points society might country were not permitted to enjoy the be affected by a change, in its direct view, luxury of sporting with game.
This was simple and salutary. He wished that no obviously incongruous ; it would be so in sudden or sweeping change should be any state, and therefore improper, but adopted. On the point of invasion of much more so in that state under which rights, he could not agree with what had we had the happiness to live. So much been stated as an encroachment. The for the consistency of these laws. Was it simple fact of establishing qualifications iu not true that these laws were ineffectual ? this instance was no more an encroach- That they were almost universally broken? ment on right, than many other institutions That there was no place whatever where and qualifications to which no man would game was not, or might not be purchased, contrary to these laws? What was the that the laws should remain as they are, use of laws to prohibit the sale of game? be totally repealed, and nothing else, or As long as rich men wanted game, poor that game be made private property, he men would procure game. Was not that should certainly say, “ make game prithe result of the game laws. Did not that vate property. If, however, he was call for a repeal of the game laws ? He compelled to choose between two queswould not say that he would never agree tions, whether these laws should remain to a proposition that made that criminal as they were, or be totally repealed, and by law which was not morally considered nothing else, he should have no difficulty criminal; yet it was certainly clear that in saying, that they should be all repealed that law was best kept which declared that without anything being substituted in to be criminal, which the general feeling their stead. The greater part of these and sentiment of mankind regarded as laws were so arbitrary, the principle which morally criminal. That law would thrive. ran through them all was so impregnated It would be generally obeyed. It always with tyranny, that they were entirely had been, it always would be, otherwise unfit to exist as laws in a free state. with a law which prohibited that which Such was their principle. The practice was not considered to involve any nioral | arising out of them was equally liable to guilt, and therefore it was to be altered and objection; for the penalties sued for must avoided, and always would be altered and be solicited by parties who were generally avoided, as much as possible, by every too much affected by animosity to the 'wise legislature. The question here was, party against which they sued. Nor was whether the good (if there was any) it always quite a clear case that the mawhich was gained by these game laws, gistrate who pronounced the conviction was so much as to overbalance the evil was strictly impartial. The whole of the they were the cause of? It was urged system was, in fact, a mass of insufferable that gentlemen should have great induce- tyranny, which no gentleman had ever ments to live in the country. Certainly ventured to defend in a direct way. If they should; it was proper and benefi- gentlemen thought proper to assert that cial; men of high situation in life and of the game laws tended to protect the large fortunes, were, undoubtedly, fit ob game, he would answer them directly, jects of the attention of the legislature in that they did no such thing. He would every point of view. He was willing to ask any person conversant with the subgrant that care should be taken to pro- \ject, whether, in point of fact, where game tect them in the enjoyment even of their was preserved, it was not from the law of amusements. Be it so. It was, however, property, and not from the game laws ? his opinion, that the repeal of the game He was sure it was owing to the law of laws would not tend to the diminution of property, solely, that game' was prethat object; and that ought to go a great served." Where had game
preway, towards the repeal of those laws. served, except where the holder of the He could not say, like his hon. friend, land was the proprietor of it, and had that he was quite impartial on the sub- the right by law to kill game? Had it ject, because certainly he indulged in the been so where the holder of the land was amusements of sporting as much as his not the proprietor, and had not the leisure would allow. So did the hon. right to kill game ?-He would say again, gentleman who made the present motion. that the preservation of the game was That could not render either of them, entirely owing to the proprietors of land, from the part they took in this case, the and not to the game laws, and therefore more liable to distrust by those who it was the principle of property which wanted to protect the game. With re- protected the game. He spoke confispect to the game laws, his opinion was, dently upon this subject, and he was glad that there might easily be found a much he spoke in the hearing of many who better system than they were for the pro. knew the matter better than he did. But tection of the game, supposing the House what was the proposition of his hoq. to have nothing else in view upon the friend? Only that a penalty of 51. be imsubject. He thought that the better way posed on a person who should, after ndwould be for the House to adopt the idea tice, trespass on the land of another, and of an hon. gentleman, and make game kill game there.
there. He thought that game private property. If he was bound to should be made private property. That take his choice out of three cases, either was his opinion. He knew that the pre
judices of men were a long time in wear. | plying a remedy, the House must have ing out, and that was a point that was some regard to long existing prejudices. much to be considered, and great care to He should prefer submitting the subject be taken of it ; for would it be an easy to the consideration of a committee; but thing to make the public regard game in if it came to a question, he would give a field, in the same light as any other his vote in favour of the motion. property? To conquer that prejudice Mr. Jenkinson, although he considered would require time, and the House might the game laws in an objectionable point of consider of that hereafter. The question, view, was averse to any alteration in a however, here was, whether the House system so long established, especially at would not agree to bring in a bill, to re- a time, when every deviation from legal peal laws which no man in the House de custom ought scrupulously to be guarded fended in principle? Why not agree, against. He did not see what advantage then, to the introduction of the bill, and could be derived from making game priwhen it went into a committee, propose vate property, as the same temptation some substitutions for the laws? But al- to poachers as now existed would still conthough this was his opinion, yet the tinue. Unless it was proved to him that question, he was willing to confess, was grievances existed under the present code, pot so pressing or so urgent that the he should oppose any change taking House should not take time to consider place in them; and even if abuses could
That the game laws were really be pointed out, he would not vote for a mischievous and created crimes; that repeal of the present regulations, unless they increased the number of offenders he found a practical and specific remedy against themselves, and thereby in proposed for them. He admitted that creased the number of persons who the principle of the laws was somewhat were ready to commit other crimes, oppressive, but he believed that they had could not possibly admit of any doubt. been followed up in practice with as much He should hope, therefore, that the bill lenity as such a system was capable of would be permitted to be brought in and admiting. Wishing, therefore, that the
He was perfectly sure, game should not only be preserved, but that the game laws were not good for be preserved expressly for gentlemen, the preservation of game.
It seemed to that their inducements to residence in the be agreed that they were bad for that pur country might not be diminished; and pose: they could, therefore, be kept only being conscious that the objects in view (if they were to be kept) for the sake of could only be accomplished by a total the invidious distinction which they esta- | abolition, in order to get rid of the quesblished.
tion, he would move, “ That the House Mr. Ryder opposed the motion, on the do now adjourn.” ground that without allowing opportunity The question being put, “ That the for due discussion, it went to repeal an House do now adjourn,” the House diancient system of laws, without proposing vided : any substitutes. Respect to our
Tellers. cestors demanded more deliberation, than at once to abolish a system established Yeas
. and long acted upon. Mr. Grey was much obliged to his hon.
ŞMr. Christian Curwen friend for submitting the motion to the House. The length of time during which Mr. Curwen then withdrew his motion, the nation had groaned under such vexa- and moved, “ That this House will, upon tious and tyrannical institutions, was with the 11th instant, resolve itself into a him a reason why they should exist no committee of the whole House, to take longer, and he wished Mr. Curwen to the said acts into consideration;" which move for a committee to inquire into the was agreed to. state of the game laws.
Mr. Wilberforce said, that the system March 11. The House resolved itself of the game laws had long been held by into the said committee, and Mr. Curwen him in the utmost abhorrence. Sooner obtained leave to bring in a bill for the than let them remain in their present Repeal of certain laws made for the Prestate, he would readily vote, even for servation of Game. The bill was brought their unqualified abolition. But in ap- in and read a first time, on the 17th; and.
ordered to be read a second time on the or killed, should be allowed to seek re29th of April.
dress at the quarter sessions.
pealed to the House, whether the bill April 29. The order of the day being was such as could be sent to a committee, read for the second reading of the bill, and he would therefore move, to leave out
Mr. Curwen said, that the general and the word “now," and to add the words leading principle of the bill he conceived “ upon this day three months." no gentleman would dispute, viz. that of Sir Richard Sutton thought that much every land holder having the privilege of contention among individuals, and great killing game on his own ground. This destruction to the game, would arise from would, in a great degree, prevent the a permission to every landholder to kill practice of poaching, which led to the game on his own grounds, and to pursue commission of greater crimes, and be, at it after it was started.
The little prothe same time, the best method that could prietor would lay snares round every be devised of preserving the game. He hedge, and as property was often interthen moved, " That the bill be now read sected, it would be impossible for a man a second time.”
to pursue game
without danger of exposCaptain Berkeley said, that when a billing himself to a law-suit. He stated, that was proposed to abolish the whole system in Germany, there were three classes of of the existing game laws, he expected it game subject to particular regulations. would have contained some grounds on
He never heard that arrangements like which the propriety ofsuchameasure could those proposed existed in any other counbefairly discussed. The essence of it seem- try. In these tiines of democratical doced to be comprehended in the clause that trines, he did not hesitate to utter the allowed land-holders to kill game on their aristocratical opinion that the game laws own grounds; and that was followed by of this country were founded on good a clause which would destroy the whole, principles, and secured to the landed proas it would arm every cottager, who had prietors that superiority of privilege and a cabbage garden of half a rood, with a of enjoyment which they could best exerright to pursue game into gentlemen's cise without injuring themselves, or intergrounds, on pretence that he had started fering with any other pursuits. They the game on his own premises. This likewise afforded to country gentlemen would occasion the utmost confusion, by an inducement to live in the country; taking away the privileges of landed pro- which was no mean object. He wished, perty, and reducing all distinctions that however, that game should be brought usually resulted from it. One clause re- openly to market, and exposed to sale. served the right of the lords of the ma. It was well known that rich merchants and nor, &c.; but while the bill extended the citizens, who had no game of their own, privilege of killing game to every land- were extremely desirous of this luxury, holder, and allowed him to pursue game and fell upon means of obtaining it. He where he thought proper, after he had was of opinion, that those who were prostarted it, he did not think that the lord perly qualified should be at liberty to sell of the manor would find any account in what they killed, and in this way the having a game-keeper for the protection market would be supplied. With regard of his game, or that he would at all be to poaching, he would increase the penalable to preserve it. Another clause al. ties to which the offence was liable, and lowed any person to stop those whom they put a stop to a violation of the law that found carrying a gun for the destruction was attended with such pernicious conseof game between sun-set aud sun-rise, quences. and to take the gun from him. This was Mr. Buxton thought, that every man followed by a clause, that provided, if should be equally entitled to enjoy what any resistance was made, the person at.. was upon his property; and, though no tempting to apprehend the person trans- friend to equality in general, here he gressing, should be entitled to repel force thought it was proper. As to the laws of by force, should he meet with resistance, Germany, God forbid that they should and even to maim, kill, &c. A clause ever be introduced in this country! If all followed which indicated that it was framed landholders had a right to kill game, the rather to the West of the Isle of Man. market would be better supplied. With It was, that the person who thought him- regard to the latter part of the bill, he self aggrieved by being thus hurt, maimed did not think it liable to the ridicule