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and hunted the dog; the girl watched the net at the gate, and killed the hares when entangled.
Having thus shown the changes, both in the legal and illegal methods of taking game, we may cast a glance over the effects.
The new law has its friends and its enemies. Those who wished to see the fair admission and extension of three great and leading principles, are satisfied in the sanction it affords. First, to the right of property; that is to say, every proprietor of land, whether of ten acres or ten thousand, has the absolute right of property in the game upon the land; he can protect it from the incursions of others, by a simple and summary process; he can transfer his right to follow it; he can sell it, dead or alive. Secondly, the public is supplied with game at a very cheap rate, and no excuse remains for the encouragement of crime, by its purchase from those who capture it illegally. Thirdly, every man who can obtain permission, may follow the diversion, subject to no other impeachment than the tax which Government fairly enough exacts from those who have the fortune to enjoy this somewhat expensive recreation.
The enemies of the new law are those who wished to retain the feudal privilege in all its exclusion, and those who say that poaching is encouraged by the facilities afforded for the sale of game, which will soon be annihilated under its provisions.
There are few sober-minded men who will not admit that, in the particulars above recited, the Game Act has removed a world of evil, while it must be allowed that the good has not yet been carried far enough. Those who assert that poaching has increased, have not, I think, sufficiently considered the fact, that if even only the same quantity of poached game comes into the market, there must be a new demand created, to the entire amount of the quantities brought in by the legal proprietor. Now I am sure I am right in pronouncing, that the relation of the latter to the former is so infinitely greater, as to bear no proportion, and to admit of no adequate solution of its sale, but by the fact, that the quantity of poached game is lessened. And when it is remembered how enormously the price of game has fallen, and the consequently low rate of remuneration to the poacher, how few temptations there can be to buying of poachers, how little the dealer can possibly gain, and how much he hazards *, it seems beyond a doubt that the illegal vender
* The evidence before the Committee of the House of Lords goes to prove this fact. Mr. A. B. (initials adopted to conceal the name of the individual) thus answers :-" Then your opinion is, that if there was a legal sale of game, no salesman would knowingly sell that which was poached or stolen ?"-" I believe they would not; and as for their being in any ignorance upon the subject, it is matter of impossibility that a salesman could be ignorant, whether he had sold improper game or not, because he would know the person from whom he received it. If I had a license given to me, and were obliged to enter into recognizunce before a magis. trate, which I should be willing to do to any amount, I should not take in game from a stranger, but it would come consigned to me will a bill of parcels, saying, I have sent you so much game with the name upon it, and a direction where the money is to be paid."
Mr. C. D. says, “ If there was an enactment that the game should be sold in a particular manner, and in no other manner, we should then feel that we were protecting ourselves, by preventing its being sold in any other manner. There is now a great deal of game sold by persons hawking it about the streets ; we would take care that that should not be the case."
must eventually be driven out of the market. The law has not, however, been framed with sufficient caution in regard to the licenses to vend. The grand cure must certainly be found in the competition, but it would very much assist to put down poaching, were the tax for the license higher-say five, instead of two pounds,—and were the game-seller made to give sur for his not buying of any but those who have a legal right to sell. Every game-proprietor should be compelled to send a regular invoice, authenticated by his signature; and the game-seller should register each purchase in his books, and retain the voucher. Power should also be vested in the magistracy to issue warrants for the seizure of any game in transitu, conveyed by carriers or other persons not having such invoices from a legal proprietor. A heavy penalty should also attach to every one buying of a person not legally authorized to sell; viz., or an owner of land, or a tenant having a title to the game upon the manor or lands hired by him. Perhaps, also, the penalty for trespass (two pounds), is not sufficiently high. These provisions would preclude persons taking licenses who have no chance of obtaining game by their regular connexions, or through respectable channels. Instances, more than one, in one large town, are within my cognizance, of licensed dealers not only dealing with poachers, but despatching men every night as a part of the establishment. It is by such that the illegal trade is kept up.
But why advocate new severities? For many substantial reasons : first, to preclude as far as possible the practice of an offence which most besets the rural labourer, and converts him the more certainly into the criminal of larger growth. This is all-important. But the expense to the country of criminal prosecutions may be said to be almost commensurate with the practice and final operation of poaching.
Nor can I be brought to think that any circumstance which tends to weaken the attachment of the country gentleman to his estate, to alienate him from residence, and to direct his tastes into other and foreign directions, can be without some injury to rural society. Maxims of allowed truth in the theory of political science are often found to be at variance with practical benefit. Such is the theory of absenteeism. Even Mr. Senior's case *, built upon Mr. Macculloch's reasoning, can be easily shown to proceed upon a fallacy; but were this not so, there is no compensation in any mere barter, equivalent to the want of the superintending regard, connexion, and influence of a country gentleman upon his own estate. His own interests will always suffer in à degree, but the morals and respectability of his dependents infinitely more from any delegation of that duty, which is the condition, as it were, upon which Providence has granted him afluence and power. If, then, there be any justice in the universally-acknowleged fact, that field sports are the attraction to residence, and the diversion of a country life, they must be considered as forming the counteracting force against the already too powerful allurements of the luxuries, the expenses, and the vices of the metropolis, the watering-place, and, that last resort of ruined fortune and ruined character, no less than the legitimate source of extended knowledge, liberal sentiment, and cosmopolitan mannersa retreat to the Continent. In this sense, they are eminently worthy the best consideration of the Legislature. One main question is now raised,
-namely, whether the game will * See his Lectures on Wages.
not be totally destroyed by the operation of the new law, increasing the facility for its caption and its sale? Up to the passing of the Bill there can be little doubt that the rage for preservation, and the consequently better understood means, had, within the last fifty years, greatly and indefinitely increased the quantity generally, and particularly upon estates belonging to proprietors of extensive manors. The vast additions to the artificial plantations augmented proportionally the number of pheasants, hares, and rabbits. It is also believed that inclosures, by bringing the lands under the direct observation of game preservers, and securing them from being run over at pleasure by villagers and strollers of all descriptions, have been favourable to the breed of partridges; though high cultivation, by keeping the fields clear of weeds, thistles", and foul fences, has tended to the contrary. Not long since, when shooting with a strict preserver, I observed to the keeper how many partridges he had reared on a certain spot; yes, Sir," said he; “ but if you come here four years hence, you will not find half so many."
Why?” “ Because we have got a new tenant, who is a good farmer, and he will clean up all the fences, and destroy the harbour." The same keeper maintains an equality in the breed, when deficient, by removing a portion of the eggs from the nests on the thick side of the manor, those on the thin, during the laying season. But the increase or diminution will depend upon the demand. If gentlemen still continue to require the same excess of sport—if the abridgment of the exclusive privileges do not disgust them, the game will probably increase, because every possessor, even of ten acres, has a direct interest in its production. The farmer who wishes to sell it will not suffer its extinction, much less if he like shooting, and be permitted to shoot. The extreme reduction of price will, perhaps, do more towards its destruction than anything else, because so low a rate can never repay the cost of rearing and protecting. On the other hand, poaching will decrease with diminution of price. It is also said that the facilities of sale co-operating with their hatred of game as the devourers of their crops, have already induced small farmers to buy nets and become night-poachers, and perhaps this is true in a measure. But, after all, the protection of the game must reside with the great proprietors. So long as it is a cherished object with them, so long will their power and influence ensure its reproduction. If field-sports lose their charm, partridges, like poultry, will be merely considered in the light of eatables, and articles of profit or loss. To a profit they can never be raised. It would become a matter of national regret, should the diversions proper to rural life decline and pass away. Something for old custom's sake, but more for the health, cheerfulness, and manly character they infuse and inspire. I do not mean to go the length of asserting, that if field-sports lost their attraction, the country would be absolutely deserted by the owners of estates; but I cannot help believing, that one strong link which binds gentlemen to the personal observation of rural affairs, and their immediate connexions, would be severed, to the incalculable injury of the society, friendship, and good fellowship of the provinces. Country gentlemen would be still further removed from their natural affections, habits, and especial duties.
* Charles Fox, who was passionately fond of shooting, on going over some very | foul lands, said, " This is the farmer for me! Don't tell me of corn. Thistles! thistles !"
MY OPERA BOX.
My opera-box ! my opera-box !
And one among them, Mr. Coxe,
I always count my opera-box.
Admitting every beau that knocks
At thy closed door, my opera-box!
And mine to ope your coffer's locks,
And with strong-box buy opera-box.
Then be obedient, Mr. Coxe,
T. H. B,
SKETCHES ON IRISH HIGHWAYS.
A Blunder! a palpable blunder! my readers may exclaim. What? are Irish servants picked up on Irish highways ? do they grow rife as blackberries upon the bushes? do they wander forth at noon and eventide, and roost in the hedges or by the way-side? Gentle English reader, they do; the instant the sound of carriage-wheels or the high trotting of a horse is heard within the precincts of a mansion or farmhouse, the cooking, washing, scouring, cleaning-all, all is neglectedleft to do its own work—and every domestic, from the lady's maid, rich in many coloured ribands and“ lashins of lace," down to the scullion, who exults in bare-foot freedom, all“ step out" to see the quality."
Every village in the world has its appointed spot " where maids do congregate.” In France it is under the great chestnut or apple-tree of the district ; in England, round the pump; and in Ireland, at the cross-roads. You never pass cross-roads in the vicinity of gentlemen's houses without seeing a group of servants hard and fast at a gossip, particularly if the time be after six, and the evening fine. There they stand-one arm a-kimbo—the broad borders of their caps floating on the breeze-one foot resting on the instep of the other—and thrice happy if a mound of stones, commonly called a ditch, skirt the highway. Against this they lean, while others sit in the "gripe" of the ditch after a peculiar fashion which I never could comprehend, seeing that they manage to support themselves on their heels, while their drapery appears fixed round them like what little children call “ a cheese." It is amusing enough to note such a small company, high in debate or retailing the news, and sitting in judgment on the concerns of their masters and mistresses ; but in the matter of judging, I confess the decided superiority of an Irish servan: over an English one. The Irish servant cares little how he is debased provided his master is exalted. Maybe I'm low, mane, and ungenteel myself,” said an officer's Irish tiger one day to a poor tradesman who had been “ abusive.” “Maybe I'm, and maybe I'm not, that's neither here nor there; but as for my master, who has the heart's blood of a gentleman in him, even if he does owe you a dirty trifle—if you dare to turn yer breath agin him, by the powers! I'll make ye sup sorrow in the horse-pond for yer breakfast.”
Pat, it is easily perceived, had no ambition beyond what small portion of credit and respectability his master reflected upon him-no wish to be honoured on his own account. “ His master” is his lord, and while in his service he is bound to consider himself his thrall. “ If you call me a rascal,” exclaimed an English seryant similarly circumstanced, " I'll take the law of you. If my master owes you money, let bim pas it-I'm not bound for him-nor I'll not be called rascal for nothing nor inobody.”
I do not consider this an advantage as far as Irish servants are concerned, but rather a proof of how little independence exists in the country amongst that class of people. “ Look up to the gentry and demane yourself to them properly," is the advice of an Irish parent to a child going to service; but the spirit of admonition from a good English