Slike strani

thrown upon

it. If people came at night | unfortunate men, he could not look upon to kill ganie, means should be taken to those with complacency who trafficked prevent them from disturbing their neigh- for boroughs, and purchased seats in the bours by pursuing game at improper House of Commons. He could not perhours. There were many exceptionable secute the poor poacher with indignant parts in the bill, but he was friendly to its rage, without manifesting his detestation general principle.

at the conduct of many of his superiors. Mr. For said, that he was a very warm To prevent the evil, the remedy, he friend to the principle of this measure, maintained, was in the principle of the though some of the clauses of the bill bill; for he insisted that, conformably to might be thought exceptionable. He the doctrine of the most eminent writers wished to abstain from general arguments; on the criminal jurisprudence of this he hoped, however, the House would con- country, the game laws were not only insider what the hon. baronet had advanced effectual, but disgraceful to the nation. with regard to the German laws, as to- It was shocking that a penal law should tally inapplicable to the question. What, exist which was daily broken, and with he asked, was there in the British code out the possibility of being evforced. to resemble in the least the laws of Ger. And what was the consequence? The conmany ? He was surprised to hear any sequence was obvious ; it increased the thing like the introduction of them into number of persons acting against law, this kingdom. The arguments, however, who were, from their bad habits, the of the hon. baronet, as far as they were more liable to fall into other offences. right, most assuredly went to the funda Take away, therefore, the corner stone mental repeal of the game laws. He said, of these crimes, the temptation to the that in Germany (and he recommended private sale of game; for in proportion as the same regulation to be adopted here), the laws were infringed with impunity, game could be bought and sold at the so did crimes invariably increase. This public market by those who were quali- law so often broken, added considerably fied. How then did the matter stand ? to the melancholy catalogue of criminals. The lord of the manor might employ a If he were asked, would he repeal the game-keeper to kill his game; but the game laws without any substitution ? he lord of the manor must sell it.

would answer, certainly, rather than they firmly persuaded, that to give the land should exist, without any amendment. holder his just right over the game on the But the substitute was provided by the grounds which he occupied, would be the bill, by making game private property, best means of preserving the game. The A reciprocal desire to oblige prevailed land-holder had an indisputable right to throughout this country between the tethe game on his ground, and mụch more nant and landlord; and if the present bill, 80, assuredly, than the man who obtains properly amended, was passed, gentlemen a fictitious right to kill game, by taking would not find themselves more restrained out his qualification. With regard to

With regard to than they were at present in their amusepoaching, he confessed he was no friend ment. He again pressed the House, if to it, but he would not go so far as the the preservation of game was its object, worthy baronet, and say, that he would to give the land-holder an interest in its have no mercy for poachers. But, if the protection, and he called on the right hon. worthy baronet entertained such an idea gentleman (Mr. Windham), whether in of the criminality of a poacher, a person the great sporting county where he occawhose situation might be some alleviation sionally resided, it was usual for farmers of his guilt, what did he say to those by to warn gentlemen off their grounds ? The whom he was employed ? Were they not, reverse, he believed, was the fact. Thus in a moral point of view, equally, if not was the game, he insisted, diminished in more culpable in inciting him to the vio- consequence of the acts passed by our lation of the laws of his country? He ancestors for its protection, as the farmers never could look upon the breach of the were indifferent as to the persons by whom laws with more horror, as far as related it was destroyed. He would vote for the to the poor, than he did with respect to second reading of the bill, which might the rich, who in many instances, conceived be amended in the committee, and lie that they were free from guilt, as long as over to another session. they escaped with impunity. When gen- Mr. Pitt said, that a considerable differ. tlemen called for vengeance against these ence of opinion seemed to prevail both [VOL. XXXII.]

[3 I]

He was

with respect to the principle of the bill, of the proprietor, and giving them an opand the means by which its provisions portunity of pursuing the sports of the should be enforced. The preservation of field, not as an amusement, but as a livegame seemed generally to be admitted on lihood ? Such a law, in his opinion, a real and solid ground of policy; and would hold out an act of indemnity to for his own part, he considered it in a poachers, who, for their own sake, and more serious point of view and as produc- for the sake of society, should not be entive of more beneficial effects than it ap- couraged to engage in such diversions.peared to be considered by some gentle. If game was to be made saleable, the men, especially from its tendency to in- poacher would be better able to supply the duce gentlemen to live in the country, market, than any persons whom the law, where the hunting and killing of game af- or the proprietors of game, might permit forded them an innocent amusement. It or employ to kill it. The selling and carmight, therefore, be laid down as a prin- riage of game, though prohibited, were ciple, that the preservation of game nevertheless daily practised; but if it was should be maintained, not by means op- made free to be brought to market, the pressive and arbitrary, but by some regu- more there was sold, the more would sation coercive and efficient. In viewing there be destroyed. The poacher could the degrees of right to kill game, as en. procure it cheaper, and with much more joyed by different orders of men in so- ease, in consequence of having made it ciety, it was not from partiality, but from a study and a trade; he would, therefore, reason and reflection, that he would in- undersell the occupier of the land, or any dulge that privilege in a superior degree other privileged person. The farmer also, to the higher orders of the state. From if let into a share of the amusement of their situation and habits in life, it was an killing game, would, without very forcible amusement better suited than to others, restrictions, be tempted to make a lucra. and their gratification claimed, be thought, tive employment of that which was granted the first att tion. The second class, to only as a limited amusement. Upon the whom a participation of this right might whole, therefore, he would advise the properly be given, were the occupiers of measure to be put off, for the purpose of land, but in a more limited degree, and more mature examination. only on their own grounds ; lest, by too Mr. Francis was of opinion, that every liberal an indulgence in this amusement, possible encouragement should be given they might be diverted from more serious for the preservation of game. But he and useful occupations. They ought 10 was also of opinion, that the moment the enjoy this privilege, however, merely as an law gave a property in the land to amusement, and by no means on the no- the tenant, the same moment gave him tion of property ; for property was a mere a property in the game fed on that creature of the law, and though the law land. They might as well take away all gave the farmer a profit in the ground his corn, and the produce of his industry, under a leasc, yet it granted him the right which was fairly his property, as allow only of deriving from it such advantages birds and other creatures to come and as the labours of agriculture might fairly devour it, without his having the permisproduce. This was not the law of Eng- sion to destroy them. He could not land only, but of almost all countries. agree with the right hon. gentleman in Nor was it on any general principle of thinking that the greater the quantity of property that the farmer was to enjoy this game killed, the less would be the quanright, but only in a certain limiteà degree tity of game on the whole. The confor relaxation and amusement, and as some trary, in his opinion, would be the case ; encouragement to preserve the game, in for if the farmer enjoyed the privilege of the use and enjoyment of which he should shooting and consuming game, he would participate to a certain extent. There feel an anxiety to take care of the eggs, was another class of men, he meant those and to promote the propagation of game, qualified for the sport, concerning whom which, in the present system, from his there would, he believed, be no difference indignation at the treatment he received, of opinion. Yet, among other principles he was rather tempted to extinguish. He of the bill, there was one which went to agreed that game might be made lawfully enable such persons to avail themselves of saleable; nor did he see any difference this privilege. But was not this enabling between the man who killed it, and the them to poach and trespass on the lands citizen who was supplied with it, only that the countryman was more eager to all. And this stands good in many analokill it, and the alderman more disposed to gies to the game laws; for instance, in enjoy the luxury of feasting upon it. the discovery of a mine, which undoubt

Mr. Sheridan was a decided enemy to edly does not become the property of the game laws as they stood at present, the farmer. He had no objection to some considering them a code highly partial, mitigation of the game laws, or to giving unjust, and tyrannical. He agreed, that farmers the right of sporting on their property was the creature of law; but own land; but he could never agree to surely it would be conceded to him, that give them permission to sell the game. the law ought to follow up its own prin- Were they restricted in that respect they ciple and afford protection to what it might share in the amusement without any created. Was it consistent with law, or temptation to convert their right into an common sense, to make it criminal in any abuse. man to kill the hare that fed upon his Sir J. Rous said, he had conversed with young corn? Was it criminal to remove many farmers on the subject, who all cone that animal which eat the produce of his curred in disapproving of the regulations land, because it was necessary to the proposed, as opening a source for contiamusement of classes above him? He nual contentions and disputes. could not agree, that if game were made Mr. Cocks was adverse to the bill, on property, it would be more generally de- the ground of its attempting to introduce stroyed. In fact, the lower orders would, a change in the whole system of laws and in that case, feel a greater interest in its government, which our ancestors had so preservation. He wished the subject to wisely established and sealed with their lie over to another session.

blood: of that system, the game laws were Mr. Jenkinson professed himself a stre- a part, and if some of them were objecnuous advocate for the preservation of tionable, they might be amended. game, as affording a strong inducement The question being put, That the word for gentlemen to live in the country,

“now" stand part of the question, the from which greater benefits were derived House divided : to the nation at large, than seemed to be

Tellers. generally imagined. Many of the evils

Mr. Christian Curwen that existed in a neighbouring nation, Yeas


Mr. Crewe were, in a great degree, occasioned by gentlemen not residing on their estates, Noes {Capsumber

Captain Berkely

:} 65 and, by their absence, losing all influence over those who cultivated their lands. The bill was then ordered to be read a The making of game property would not second time upon that day three months tend to increase that property, but rather to destroy the diversion. As things stood Debate on the Earl of Lauderdale's at present, the farmer had a right to order Motion respecting the four and a Half off any gentleman who came to hunt on per Cent Duties.] March 4. The Earl his farm; a right which he was never in- of Lauderdale moved, that the clerk clined to avail himself of, when he saw no should read various extracts from the damage would ensue to him. If the Journals of the House of Commons in farmer was to share in the game, and re- 1701, the act of the 10th of William c. 3, gard it as his property, then, indeed, and the clause of the act lst of queen would he order him off; seeing otherwise Anne, c. 7, settling the civil establishthat his property and profit would be in- ment. The same having been read, jured ; and in most parts of the country,

The Earl of Lauderdale began with deif gentlemen were confined to their own claring, that he would avoid canvassing estates, they would not highly estimate the conduct of a particular person whom the amusement. As to what was said by it might have been imagined he should an hon. gentleman, that property once

have adverted to in consequence of a given, all the consequences of property recent publication.* No man could more should follow, no notion could be more admire that gentleman's genius, wit, and erroneous. In the case of a farmer and

* The noble earl alluded to Mr. Burke's landholder, the law gave them that proLetter to a Noble Lord on the attacks madle perty but conditionally. The farmer had upon him and his pension in the House of the land for other uses, and for other Lords, by the duke of Bedford and the earl sources of profit, not indiscriminately for of Lauderdale,

talents, nor could any man more sin consequence of an instruction from a comcerely regret the manner in which they mittee of the House, an address was had been degraded on a late occasion. moved to request her majesty to give But nothing should lead him aside from orders to have the produce of the fund the broad line of his public duty and the appropriated to the original purposes ; consideration of a subject which he re- an answer was received from Mr. secregarded as of extreme importance. It re- tary Vernon approving of the design, and lated to the application of a fund which an act was at length passed, placing the their ancestors had carefully dedicated to fund upon its proper footing, and limiting approprite purposes, and that at a period it to its proper objects. The point thus when the state of the country, and of its solemnly established, was confirmed by finances, demanded the utnost circum- the practice of many years. It would be spection. Such was its importance, that found that no pension had been settled lord Clarendon, in the articles against upon this fund till that of lord Chatham. whom the misapplication of this very fund It had begun with the example of a very formed a part, declared, in answer to the great man, and he hoped that the present tenth article of his impeachment, that distinguished character (Mr. Burke) the restoration of the prosperity of the would be the last on whom grants from country was, in a great measure, owing this fund would be conferred. It would to the operation of this fund. He was not be stated in excuse, that the remainwell aware, that he laboured under a pe- | ing funds were sufficient for the defence culiar disadvantage in bringing this sub- of the islands. He had discovered that ject before the House at the present pe- there had been an intention to provide riod. Such was the profusion to which out of that fund for a poble lord (Aucktheir lordships were accustomed, that a land) who had on a former day given an misapplication of a smaller kind would account of the transaction himself; he probably attract but little regard. Those had traced the grant to the last stage, and who were in the habit of making such found that the great seal had never been enormous grants, might deem the fund af£xed to it. This could only have arisen to which he now called their attention, from a conviction that it would have been to be of comparatively small importance. inconsistent with the object of the fund. He was emboldened, however, by the re- Though they were then startled with the flection, that reform was only to be ef- impropriety of fixing any, pension upon fected by a minute display of the abuses this fund, their scruples had since been that existed. The noble earl here entered overcome. They could now boldly stand into a history of the 41 per cent fund. forward and refuse all inquiry, though The Leeward islands, from whence that told that the revenues of the state were fund proceeded, had been first granted to embarrassed and anticipated. He defied an earl of Marlborough, and they had any noble lord to say that this was a fair afterwards become the property of a lord transaction. He would remind the House, Carlisle. After passing through some that in 1785 a message had been carried other hands, and during the confusions down to the House of Commons, reprewhich prevailed in the last century, a lord senting that this fund was greatly bur. Willoughby had obtained leave to go out thened. It was stated by the finance miwith settlers upon payment to lord Car- nister of that day, that there was a debt lisle of one-half of any profit that might upon this fund of 53,000l. and he likebe made. They came at last back into wise proposed to parliament to pay off the possession of the crown, in consequence this debt, and to transfer the allowance of of a resignation from lord Kinnoul, a the duke of Gloucester, of 9,0001. a year, successor of lord C isle So early as from this fund to the general fund, both 1663, certain duties of 41 per cent were of which were complied with. If there granted by the assemblies of inhabitants, existed any abuse in the management of for the first time, for the defence and for this fund, it was the duty of parliament tification of the islands. In 1701, an in- to introduce such regulations as should quiry took place in the House of Com- seem proper for its security. Whenever mons on the subject of the misapplication this fund was burdened, the public were of the produce of that fund, grounded on called upon to discharge the arrear; but a petition presented from the merchants when there was an overflowing, it was made and planters of Barbadoes, and connected the pretence for filling the pockets of the with the other islands in question, and in sovereign, by clandestinely relieving the civil list. In the instance alluded to, the / to claims and inheritance, under the money was not only applied to the king's usurped authority, by encroachments use without the knowledge or consent of upon private property, and the property parliament, but it was never brought for- of the crown, which afterwards became ward, and was only discovered upon an subjects of litigation, and were brought incidental motion. Ministers might ima- before the crown for decision; when it gine they were doing their duty, while was determined, after such a complication they were thus violating the laws of their of claims as were produced, that though country: it could only, however, be upon they were forfeited to the crown, it was the principle of a fraudulent trader, not competent for the crowu to grant who never imagines that he has swerved and devise them away; and it was well from honesty so long as he is able to held by lord Clarendon, that it was not escape detection.

His lordship then compatible with the interests or dignity moved, “ That an Address be presented of the crown, to dispossess the settlers, to his Majesty praying that he would be nor to deprive the descendants of the prograciously pleased to give orders that the prietors, to whom the grant had been duty or imposts of 41 per centum, arising originally made, of their legal inheritance. in Barbadoes and the Leeward islands, be Accordingly, an agreement was made applied for the repairing and erecting such with the representatives of the earl of Carfortifications and other public uses, forlisle, to consign their claim to the crown for the safety of the said islands, as his Ma- a legal consideration ; and as the duties jesty shall direct."

which had been formerly levied, were very Lord Grenville said, he was glad to find heavy upon the settlers, the crown agreed that the noble earl had avoided any allu- with the settlers to renounce all farther sion to a particular individual' (Mr. claim to the levying of those duties, upon Burke); had he, however, chosen to the consideration of receiving annually in introduce that topic, he was fully pre-lieu thereof 4 per cent on the possespared to vindicate what had been granted sions. By this agreement all parties to that individual, on grounds equally were accommodated.--Lord Grenville honourable to his character, and to the produced five acts relative to this exconduct of administration. In opposing change, and read parts of them, upon the motion of the noble earl, he would not which he insisted a doubt could not exist, avail himself of the argument to be drawn that a free surrender of the per-centage from the novelty of the proceeding, in call- was made for the use of the crown. So ing upon that House to come to a resolu- much, therefore, for the original claim. tion with respect to the disposal of public in regard to the appropriation of these®remoney; he would take up the subject ex- sources, the original appropriation act exactly as it had been stated by the noble pired in the latter end of the reign of king earl. His lordship then entered into an William, and two or three years passed examination of the right and propriety of without any notice being taken of the exappropriating the revenues of the islands piration, or the purposes to which the reto the civil list establishment. The is. venues were applied. It was afterwards lands were, he said, bought by the crown resolved, however, that they should be for a pecuniary consideration, of the appropriated to local purposes, to the imrepresentatives of the earl of Carlisle. provement of the islands themselves, to Antecedent to this purchase, the proprie- the safety and defence of them, or to tor had granted certain privileges, in the grants to persons for protecting them. . manner of quit rents, to those persons It was unnecessary to refer to the history who cultivated the land and became set. of those times, to show that the period in tlers, while certain duties were levied upon which such men as lord Somers and lord them by the proprietor, which, as master Halifax were impeached, could not be the of the island, he had a right to do; and brightest æra of our annals, because it these duties he levied without doubt or was well known that the House of Com, question as appeared by the formal mons of that day was not the purest that avowal of the assembly itself, which con- ever sat. It was at that period, then, and sidered them as his clear and indisputable after the demise of the crown, that agents rights. During the civil wars, the islands arrived from Barbadoes, to petition parfell into other hands, who brought them, liament for an act of local appropriation. by care and cultivation, to yield a consi. This petition was referred to a committee derable profit, and thus titles were made of supply, who prayed the queen to make

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