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should preserve a great head of game on their land, the evils being that the pheasants and hares cat corn and grass paid for by the tenant farmer, causing a loss to him, diminishing the food meant for the sustenance of man, and, in addition to this, holding out a temptation to the poor man to poach, thereby ensuring his imprisonment and ruin.

It is remarkable that these accusations are generally made by radicals (we use the names in no offensive sense), free-traders, political economists, and their followers.

Of course they approved of the abolition of the corn-laws. Do they know the principle on which those laws were repealed ? It was because they restricted the rights of property ; it was because they limited the powers of skill and industry, which, although in a different form, are quite as much property as land ; and it is precisely on this same principle, the principle on which we abolished the corn laws, that we should maintain the game laws. To impose a law which limits, or repeal a law which protects, equally inflicts injuries on rights. We beg these gentlemen to remember, what they seem to overlook, that tliere is a distinction between duties created by positive law, and duties merely moral. For instance, each ought " to do his duty in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call him;" but many things are included in this comprehensive injunction that no legislation could enforce. It is the duty of country gentlemen to set a good example to the inferior classes in their neighbourhood, to be friendly, temperate, not given to brawling ; it is the duty of all men, and more particularly of Friends, to show kindness, humility, charity, and love towards all ; these are moral duties very proper to be enforced by sermons and advice, but no Act of Parliament can compel them to be observed; and so long as Mr. Grantley Berkeley does not quarrel with his brother or his tailor, and wbilst Mr. Bright stops short of libel, neither can be punished, neither can be restrained from indulging in their favourite pursuits, by the interference of law. The inviolability of property is the keystone of civilization. The increase of game may be an evil, but to attempt to check that increase by unjust means would be a much greater evil. You say • much food is consumed by game, which would otherwise go to feed men.” No doubt it is true, but the owner of the game is minus so much money in consequence. He would not give away the corn in case his game was gone ; he would sell it, and if he chooses to pay a certain price, viz., the value of the food that is now used by his pheasants for his pleasure, on what principle would you interfere with the landowner's right to do so? Everything that is not absolutely necessary is a luxury. All luxuries, in a strictly utilitarian sense, detract something from the general good ; and if game is to be destroyed because it is a useless luxury, pictures, books, music, all that grace and ornament existence, all the fruits of, in the langnage of political economy, “non-productive” labour, should, on the same principle, share the same fate. Certainly, if this argument is to prevail, Lord Derby, and the proprietors of our Zoological Gardens, had better sell their birds and beasts whilst they can command a price, before a panic is in the “ non-productive” market. But if game is to be extirpated because it consumes food meant for the use of man, why not go a little further? Why not carry out your principle to its full extent? All the game in England does not consume so much produce as is lost by bad farming, by growing barley where carrots would grow better, and stunted oak trees where firs would flourish. The reason you do not go so far is, that though men may make mistakes, and may be stupid in particular cases, and may suffer loss through their own folly, yet ninety-nine times out of a hundred they understand their own interest much better than they can be taught it by any Board or Commission. And so it is as regards the loss sustained by the landowners from game, as I shall show by-and-bye.

The second objection is, that game causes a loss to the tenant-farmer. This is a favourite grievance for wandering lecturers to declaim upon; and they have done it so zealously and unremittingly, that honest Hlodge, and indeed superior men, farmers of education and intelligence, really begin to believe it. Some enthusiastic patriots even discover a double loss-one to the landowner, the other to the tenant. First, the landowner is compelled to ask a diminished rent for his farms on account of the game ; secondly, by some odd process, the tenant who pays the diminished rent sustains a loss. Game never causes a loss to the tenants; it, in fact, is profitable to them. One would suppose, from the accounts of certain newspapers and the groans of various philanthropists, that the innocent farmers never saw a hare, or, at least, did not know its food was vegetable till within the last four years. They take their farms, they pay the highest rent, and lo! their crops devastated by marauding pussies show a diminution of twenty per cent. in the estimated amount of produce. Is such stuff to go down with the public? 0, Mr. Bright! 0, ye cockneys! O, ye members of Mechanics’ Institutes ! and 0, ye “ middling classes !” do ye in sober truth and verity deem this generation of farmers to be so innocently unwise? The farmers, where there is a good head of game, get the land ten per cent. cheaper than they ought, so tremblingly fearful are shooting squires of offering the least temptation to the farmers to poach, so scrupulously do they avoid putting the premium of even a grain of corn on the death of a pheasant. There is but one answer to this lamentation over “ Destruction of Crops by Game-Awful loss to the Tenant Farmers,and that answer is one word, perhaps not very elegant, but it has the merit of brevity, being a monosyllable, and that is--Fudge ! The loss falls exclusively on the landlord, and they have a right to incur the loss if they choose, just as much as Mr. Bright has to wear a thirty-shilling beaver instead of a four-and-ninepenny silk hat. It may be urged that farms may be let on lease, and the rent may be fixed whilst the game increases--and the game may also diminish. But, if proper agreements are entered into, there can be no difficulty about making a fair allowance to the tenant, and in point of fact there never is any ; it is notorious that landowners are liberal to excess in allowing deductions from rent and making payments out of pocket to tenants whose crops have suffered from game. But even if it is true that farmers suffer great losses from game, it is their own fault ; the existence of game is no seeret : it did not come like the Sennacherib destruetion of the potato-suddenly in two years; it is an obvious element that should be taken into caleulation before the rent is fixed, just as the loss by worms and birds (wire-worms and crows, Mr. Berkeley :) is allowed for; and if a farmer omits it, all that can be said is that he is a simpleton, and deserves to suffer like all people who make foolish bargains.

The next argument against the preservation of game is, that it tempts the peasantry to poach, that poaching is a certain introduction to the treadmill, and that he who has entered the treadmill never is honest again. It is true that if there were no pheasants, clowns could not steal them ; it is undeniable that if there was no punishment for stealing game, the thief could not for poaching be demoralized by the inhabitants of the treadmill. But if the landowner has a right to preserve his game, if he possesses a definite and distinct, clear and tangible property in it, then no amount of ruin to the peasantry, no number of criminals, not crowded jails, and poor-rates doubled, could justify us in exempting game from the protection of law. The evils of excessive game-preserving are great and manifold ; there is the positive loss to the preserver, of the food they consume ; there is the great expense of a staff of keepers and watchers ; there is odium and unpopularity attached to it in his own neighbourhood ; and twice a year, at least, his name goes the round of the papers, coupled with some deed of cruelty, some tale of ruin, which is to cause him to be execrated throughout the land. This it is impossible to deny. This is a very proper subject for remonstrance and advice, but it brings its own punishment with it, and is out of the province of the legislature to correct. That game is property, even valuable property, no one can dispute : in some places it may be of less value than the crops the land can produce; in others it is of greater value, but at least it is worth as much as fowls or geese anywhere. That being so, it is alleged that so strong is the temptation to steal it, so easy is the commission of the crime, so ineffectual are laws to inhibit poaching, that the only cure for the evil is to remove the temptation by destroying the game. An odd remedy, truly, and one that, if proposed to be applied to any other crime, would be scouted; the man who propounded it would be treated as a maniac. Those who have studied the statistics of crime know they are epidemic; they know that crimes of every species, from the deepest to the lightest dye, prevail in excess over others for years, and then the balance changes.



table of convictions for twenty years, and the truth of this will be proved. When a crime prevails in spite of laws, in spite of punishment, the remedy one would suppose would be to change the punishment—to make it heavier or lighter. “ Not so," says, or rather said, Mr. Bright and his followers: “we will make it impossible to poach ; it shall no longer be poaching; the act we called criminal shall be legalized !" And this is the advocate of the rights of industry and freedom of trade, to let loose a gang of marauders on the pheasants and hares in which landowners have invested capital !

It may be difficult to account for an increase in such crimes as picking pockets, &c., but there is no difficulty in accounting for the increase of poaching ; to this we may allude presently ; it is enough now to remark that to sympathize with poachers, and pay them money for having committed the crime, is not the best or the most obvious mode of checking it.

Without wearying our readers with an examination of the statutes in existence, we will only observe that if a crime prevails in spite of severe laws against it, the probability is that there is an uncertainty in the infliction of the punishment, owing to the disinclination of juries to find verdicts of guilty when the punishment seems disproportioned to the offence. The remedy in this

case is to lighten the punishment, and thereby make it certain. Then the tenant-farmers of Buckingham

shire, whom he so energetically harangued, will, if half he said to them is true, have small reason to be grateful to him. Is it Mr. Bright's ubject to preserve game more effectually? Will his Bill be entitled one " for the more effectual preservation of game?” His object must be one of two things--either to increase the efficacy of the present laws, or to sweep them away after the corn-laws. Mr. Bright is too bold a man to adopt a tricking middling course. If the first be his object, he will have deluded his intelligent audience in the most intelligent county of England (Bucks), and will lose his popularity with the poachers, and worse, the hares and pheasants they might send hin; for poachers we know, from Sir Walter Scott's anecdote about the one he defended, are not ungrateful fellows. It must be their abolition he intends; and this because he believes the evil to be without a cure-because he thinks that game is the only property that cannot be protected by law. If game be the first species of property the legislature says it cannot protect, it will not be the only kind ; it may be the first, but not the last-not the alpha and omega-it will be the beginning of the end. Once admit that a desperate, determined, continued crusade in crime will procure impunity, and at how many years' purchase could Mr. Bright sell his “mill” or “ factory," whichever it is? Is the temptation to steal game great? Of course it is when the thief is regarded as a martyr; when his name is mentioned with applause in the House of Commons; when his landlord or the committing magistrate is maligned and slandered on his account; when, to reach the climax of folly, a party presents the thief with a sum which to him is a fortune.

Is the commission of the crime easy ? Not easier than to set fire to a mill, which I apprehend will be immediately done when the Duke of Buckingham takes it into his head to praise and pay incendiaries, as some praise and pay poachers. Now, we all know how demoralizing the factory system is-ruinous to the mind and body, &c. ; really the Duke of Buckingham would have good arguments to justify retaliation. It is nonsense to talk of the temptation the poor are exposed to, and the facilities of poaching. Everybody, who knows the habits of game, is aware that all the tales one sees in the Sunday papers about honest ploughmen with hares in their pockets, which jumped in despite Hodge's resistance, and, as the phrase runs, a poor but honest” carter receiving a pheasant in his bosom which obligingly fell down dead as he passed under it, and of ruthless keepers pouncing on them just at the moment, dukes, the rev, magistrates, clerks, fines, fees, treadmill, &c., are absolutely false. Every one, acquainted with the dense stupidity of the peasantry, is aware that only long practice and the sharpness that vice engenders or acquires will enable them to kill a hare or pheasant. We have seen a Welsh peasant employed as a watcher on an extensive preserved estate, who did not know what a woodcock was when it sprang up before his nose, and yet he must have seen more woodcocks than soldiers or policemen in his life. Solitary poachers, with rare exceptions, never destroy game.

Wires are their most fatal engines of destruction, but these are uncertain in operation, and easily detected. The temptation to poach, apart from the odd patronage it now receives, is not great; and it is, in fact, one of the crimes most difficult of commission. Netting partridges and killing pheasants are the only branches of poaching that pay; the latter is the most com


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mon ; the first is absolutely unknown in many parts of the country, and never practised except by those“ martyrs” who obtain their living in the country, but possess themselves a town residence. The greatest and the worst poachers are those who reside in the neighbourhood of our large manufacturing towns. Manchester is full of them. proved at the recent assizes, on a trial of some men for burglary, that three broke into the house early in the morning, whilst others breathed their greyhounds and amused themselves by coursing the hares return. ing from feed on a pleasant neighbouring brow, which, overlooking the scene of the more serious labours of their companions, they were able to watch and guard against any interruption--thus combining early hours and health with pleasure and profit.

"Most glorious night, thou wast not made for slumber !" Some old women seem to suppose a spirit of wild adventure, the fierce delights of danger, hunting, &c., possesses poachers, and that therefore they should be pardoned-faugh! Such passions are felt by poachers in novels, and we know very strange things happen in novels ; we see horses very often, yet we never hear horses scream with agony ; but in all regular novels of the chivalrous age, horses scream in every chapter -so it is with poachers in novels, and poachers in real life ; as often as the reader has heard a horse scream, so often as he seen a poacher who does it for the fun of the thing.

They do it for profit-pounds, shillings, and pence—and nothing else. - Pleasure forsooth !

“ There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,” but not when cold, and wet, and

weary, and hungry, and frightened, on a misty morning, with the rain drops clustering on the black thorns and the tangled briars, the startled blackbirds waking the woods around, the grinning dogs and resolute keepers in front, the cottage with the wife and children in the mind's eye, and sometimes murder and the gallows not remote. But even suppose pleasure is the motive to the crime, should this be an excuse ? Are no other crimes committed for pleasure? If a brutal peasant knocks down a girl, and violates her person, is it an excuse that he did not expect money gain by the transaction ? If Mr. Bright has read the German Trials for Remarkable Crimes, he would know that poisoning has been a source of pleasure to some, and that the eyes

of a murderess have glistened with as wild delight at the sight of arsenic, as ever did the eye

of a sportsman at the first woodcock of the season flushed, or the first fox that rings a “tallyho” from his lips. Game is considered much in the same light now that cattle was on the borders of England and Scotland in the reigns of Elizabeth and James. It was thought pardonable, if not laudable, to steal cows, sheep, and horses then. Did the Howards, Carys, and Hunsdons argue as Mr. Bright does now? Did they say, The evil is incurable ; let us place the border property under ban and proscription"? Did they let rapine and licentiousness loose on the border ? No: they hanged some gentle thieves, imprisoned others, whilst a few were roasted in their own houses ; and this seasonable severity threw a shade on robbery ; it was no longer thought a fit pursuit for a gentleman. And if this weeping and wailing over poachers were at an end ; if sharp correction, not puling sympathy, were applied to them, the poor but honest, &c.,” miglit deserve the whole of the

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