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GAME LAWS. (EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1823.) | again. We have got game this season as low as half-a.
crown a brace (birds), and pheasant as low as 78. a brace. A Letter to the Chairman of the Committee of the House of It is so plentiful, there has been no end to spoiling it this
Commons, on the Game Laws. By the Hon and Rev. Wil season. It is so plentiful, it is of no use. In war time it is lain Herbert. Ridgway, 1823.
worth having ; then they fetched 78. and 88. a brace.' -- ReABOUT the time of the publication of this little port, p. 33. phamphlet of Mr. Herbert, a committee of the House All the poulterers, too, even the most respectable, of Commons published a Report on the Game Laws, state, that it is absolutely necessary they should containing a great deal of very curious information carry on this illegal traffic in the present state of the respecting the sale of game, an epitome of which we game laws ; because their regular customers for shall now lay before our readers. The country hig- poultry would intallibly leave any poulterer's shop glers who collect poultry, gather up the game from from whence they could not be supplied with game. the depots of the poachers, and transmit it in the same manner as poultry, and in the same packages, to the I have no doubt that it is the general wish at present of London poulterers, by whom it is dis.ributed to the the trade not to deal in the article; but they are all, of public; and this traffic is carried on (as far as game course, compelled from their connections. If they cannot is concerned) even from the distance of Scotland.- get game from one person, they can from another The same business is carried on by the porters of
Do you believe that poulterers are not to be found who stage coaches; and a great deal of game is sold clan
would take out licenses, and would deal with those very
persons, for the purposes of obtaining a greater profit than destinely by lords of manors, or by gamekeepers, they would have dealing as you would do? I think the without the knowledge of lords of manors ; and prin poulterers in general are a respectable set of men, and cipally, as the evidence states, from Norfolk and Suf-would not countenance such a thing ; they feel now that folk, the great schools of steel traps and spring guns. they are driven into a corner; that there may be men who The supply of game, too, is proved to be quite as reg. would countenance irregular proceedings, I have no doubt. ular as the supply of poultry ; the puinber of hares
-Would it be their interest to do so, considering the penal
ty? No, I think not. The poulterers are perfectly well and partridges supplied rather exceeds that of pheas
aware that they are committing a breach of the law at preants ; but any description of game may be had to any sent.--Do you suppose that those persons, respectable as amount. Here is part of the evidence.
they are, who are now committing a breach oi the law,
would not equally commit that breach it the law were alCan you at any time procure any quantity of game? I
tered ? No, certainly not; at present it is so connected have no doubt of it.-If you were to receive almost an un
with their business that they cannot help it. You said just Limited order, could you execute it? Yes, I would supply
now, that they were driven into a corner; what did you the whole city of London, any fixed day once a week, all
mean by that? We are obliged to aid and abet those men the year through, so that every individual inhabitant should
who commit those depredations, because of the constant dehare game for his table.-Do you think you could procure
mand for game, from different customers whom we supply a thousand pheasants? Yes, I would be bound to produce
with poultry --Could you carry on your business as a joulten thousand a week.-You would be bound to provide every family in London with a dish of game?
terer, if you refused to supply game? By no means ; beYes; a partridge,
e, cause some of the first people in the land require it of me.' or a pheasant, or a hare, or a grouse, or something or other, How would you set about doing it? I should, of course,
--Report, p. 15. request the persons with whom I am in the habit of dealing, When that worthy errorist, Mr. Bankes, brought in to use their influence to bring me what they could by a cer- bis bill of additional severities against poachers, tain day; I should speak to the dealers and the mail-guards,
there was no man of sense and reflection who did not and coachmen, to produce a quantity; and I should send to my own connections in one or two manors where I have
the follow consequences of the measure. the privilege of selling for those gentlemen; and should
Do you find that less game has been sold in consequence send to Scotland to say, that every week the largest quantity of the bill rendering it penal to sell game? Uron my word, they could produce was to be sent. Being but a petty sales.
it did not make the slightest dillerence in the world.- Not man, I sell a very small quantity; but I have had about immediately after it was made? No: I do no 4000 head direct from one man.-Can you state the quantity
made the slightest difference.-It did not make the slightest of game which has been sent to you during the year? No;
sensation ? No, I never sold a bird less -- Was not there a I may say, perhaps, 10,000 head; mine is a limited trade; I
resolution of the poulterers not to sell game? I was secrespeak comparatively to that of others; I only supply pri
tary to that committee.- What was the consequence of that Fate families,'--Report, p. 20.
resolution ? A great deal of ill blood in the trade. One Poachers who go out at night cannot. of course, like I gentleman who just left the room did not come into my
ideas. I never had a head of game in my house: all my regular tradesmen, proportion the supply to the de.
neighbours sold it, and as we had people on the watch, mand, but having once made a contract, they kili all
who were ready to watch it into the houses, it came to this, they can ; and hence it happens that the game market we were prepared to bring our actions against certain indi
s sometimes very much overstocked, and great quan.viduals, after sitting, perhaps, from three to four months tities of game either thrown away, or disposed of by every week, which we did at the Crown and Anchor in the Irish hawkers to the common people at very inferior
Strand, but we did not proceed with our actions to prevent
ill blood in the trade. We regulariy met, and, as we conprices.
ceived at the time, formed a committee of the most respect. Does it ever happen to you to be obliged to dispose of able of the trade. I was secretary of that committee. The poultry at the same low prices you are obliged to dispose of game was sold in the city, in the vicinity of the Royal Exgame? It depends upon the weather; often, when there is change, cheaper than ever was known, because the people a considerable quantity on hand, and owing to the weather. at our end of the town were afraid. I, as a point of honit will not keep till the following day. I am obliged to take our, never had it in my house. I never had a head of any price that is offered; but we can always turn either game in my house that season.-- What was the consepoultry or game into some price or other; and if it was not quence? I lost my trade, and gave offence to a gentleman; for the Irish hawkers, hundreds and hundreds of heads of a nobleman's steward, or butler, or cook, treated it as congame would be spoiled and thrown away. It is out of the tumely ; “ Good God, what is the use of your running your power of any person to conceive for one moment the quan. head against the wall ?"-You were obliged to begin the tity of game that is hawked in the strects. I have had trade again ? Yes, and sold more than ever.- Report, p. 18. opportunity more than other persons of knowing this ; for These consecuences are confirmed by the evidence I have sold, I may say, more game than any other person in the city; and we serve hawkers indiscriminately, persons
of every person before the committee. who come and purchase probably six fowls or turkeys and All the evidence is very strong as to the fact, that geese, and they will buy heads of game with them.'-Re- dealing in game is not discreditable ; that there are a port, p. 22.
great number of respectable persons, and, among the Live birds are sent up as well as dead; eggs as knowing it to have been illegally procured, but who
rest, the first poulterers in London, who buy game well as birds. The price of pheasants' eggs last year would never dream of purchasing any other article was ds. per dozen; of partridges' eggs, 2s. The price of hares was from 38. to 3s. 6d.; of partridges, from
procured by dishonesty. 13. 60. to 28. 6d.; of pheasants, from 58. to 58. 6d. each, "Are there not, to your knowledge, a great many people and sometimes as low as 1s. 6d.
in this town who deal in game, by buying or selling it, that
would not on any account buy or sell stolen property•What have you given for game this year? It is very low certainly; there are many capital tradesmen, poulterers, indeed I am sick of it ; I do not think I shall ever deal'who deal in game, that would have nothing to do with stolen
property ; and yet I do not think there is a poulterer's shop break into a house, or to rob a person, or to steal his in London where they could not get game, if they wanted poultry, or his sheep, they are committing a crime it.-Do you think any discredit attaches to any man in this
! against that man's property; but I think with respect town for buying or selling game? I think none at all : and
"I to the game, they do not feel that they are doing any I do not think that the men to whom I have just referred, would have any thing to do with stolen goods.-Would it thing which is wrong ; but think they have commii. not, in the opinion of the inhabitants of London, be con ted no crime when they have done the thing, and their sidered a very different thing dealing in stolen game, or sto- only anxiety is to escape detection. In addition, Mr. len poultry ? Certainly.-The one would be considered dis- Statford states that he remembers not one si con. graceful, and the other not? Certainly; they think nothing viction under Mr. Bankes's Act against buying game ; of dealing in game; and the farmers in the country will not and not one conviction for buying or selling game give information ; they will have a hare or two of the very
| within the last year has been made at Bow Street. men who work for them, and they are afraid to give us information.-Report, p. 31.
The inferences from these facts are exactly as we
predicted, and as every man of common sense must The evidence of Daniel Bishop, one of the Bow I have predicted--that to prevent the sale of game is ab street officers, who has been a good deal employed in solutely impossible. If game is plentiful, and cannot the apprehension of poachers, is curious and impor. be obtained at any lawful market, an illicit trade will tant, as it shows the enormous extent of the evil, and be established, which it is utterly impossible to pre. the ferocious spirit which the game laws engender in vent by
$ engender invent by any increased severity of the laws. There the common people. "The poachers,' he says, never was a more striking illustration of the necessity
came sixteen iniles. The whole of the village from of attending to public opinion in all pedal enactments. which they were taken were poachers ; the constable Mr. Bankes (a perfect representation of all the ordina. of the village, and the shoemaker, and other inhabi. ry notions about forcing mankind by pains and penaltants of the village. I fetched one man twenty-two ties) took the floor. To buy a partridge (though still miles. There was the son of a respectable gardener; considered as inferior to murder) was visited with the one of these was a sawyer, and another a baker, who very heaviest infliction of the law; and yet, though kept a good shop there. If the village had been game is sold as openly in London as apples and oranalarmed, we should have had some mischief; but wel ges.
ischief; but we ges, though three years have elapsed since this legi. were all prepared with fire-arms. If poachers have a slative mistake, the officers can hardly recollect a spite with the gamekeeper, that would induce them single instance where the information has been laid, to go out in numbers to resist him. This party I or the penalty levied : and why? because every man's speak of had something in their hats to distinguish teelings and every man's understanding tell him, that them. They take a delight in setting to with the lit is a me
light in setting to with the lit is a most absurd and ridiculous tyrann gamekeepers; and talk it over afterwards how they one man, who has more game than he wants, from exserved so and so. They fought with the butt-ends of changing it with another man, who has more money their guns at Lord Howe's; they beat the game than he wants-because magistrates will not (if they keepers shockingly.' Does it occur to you (Bishop I can avoid it) inflict such absurd penalties is asked to have had more
o have even common informers know enough of the honest detected more persons this season than in any former indignation of mankind, and are too well aware of the one? Yes: I think within four months there have coldness of pump and pond to act under the bill of the been twenty-one transported that I have been at the Lycurgus of Corfe Castle. taking of, and through one man turning evidence in
ng evidence in "The plan now proposed is, to undersell the poacher,
T each case, and without that they could not have been which may be successful or unsuccessful; but the identified ; the gamekeepers could not, or would not, threat is, if you attempt this plan there will be no identify them. The poachers go to the public house game-and if there is no game there will be no counand spend their money; if they have a good night's try gentlemen. We deny every part of this enthywor will go and get drunk with the money
oney. meme--the last proposition as well as the first. We The gangs are connected together at different public really cannot believe that all our rural mansions would houses, just like a club at a public house ; they are be deserted, although no game was to be found in their sworn together. If the keeper took one of them, they neighbourhood. Some come into the country for would go and attack him for so doing.'
health, some for quiet, for agriculture, for economy, Mr. Stafford, chief clerk of Bow Street, says, ' All from attachment to family estates, from love of rethe offences against the game laws which are of an tirement, from the necessity of keeping up provincial atrocious description I think are generally reported to interests, and from a vast variety of causes. Patridg. the public office in Bow Street, more especially in ca. es and pheasants, though they form nine-tenths of hu
rs have either been killed, or dan man motives, still leave a small residue, which may gerously wounded, and the assistance of an officer be classed under some other head. Neither is a great from Bow Street is required. The applications have proportion of those whom the love of shooting brings been much more numerous of late years* than they into the country of the smallest value or importance were formerly. Some of them have been cases of to the country. A colonel of the Guards, the second murder; but I do not think many have amounted to son just entered at Oxford, three diners out from murder. There are many instances in which keepers Piccadilly-Major Rock, Lord John, Lord Charles, have been very ill treated-they have been wounded, the colonel of the regiment quartered at the neigh. skulls have been fractured, and bones broken ; and bouring town, two Irish peers, and a German barun; they have been shot at. A man takes an hare, or a
e, or a -it' all this honourable company proceed with fustian pheasant, with a very different feeling from that with jackets, dog.whistles, and chemical inventions, to a which he would take a pigeon or a fowl out of a farm- solemn destruction of pheasants, how is the country yard. The number of persons that assembled togeth- benefited by their presence? or how would earth, air, er is more for the purpose of protecting themselves or sea, be injured by their annihilation? There are against those that may apprehend them, than from certainly many valuable men brought into the country any idea that they are actually committing depreda- by a love of shooting, who, coming there for that purtion upon the property of another person ; they do not pose, are useful for many better purposes; but a vart consider it as property. I think there is a sense of multitude of shooters are of no more service to the morality and a distinction of crime existing in the co men's ininds, although they are mistaken about it. or the barrel which contains it. We do not deny that Men feel that if they go in a great body together, to the annihilation of the game laws would thin the aris.
tocratical population of the country; but it would not * It is only of late years that men have been transported thin that population so much as is contended; and the for shooting at night. There are instances of men who llocs of mani
instances of men who loss of many of the persons so banished would be a have been transported at the Sessions for night poaching, good rather than a misfortune. At all events, we who made no resistance at all when taken ; but then their characters as old poachers weighed against them-characters
cannot at all comprehend the policy of alluring the bel. estimated probably by the very lords of manors who had ter classes of society into the country, by the tempta. lost their game. This disgraceful law is the occasion of all tion of petty tyranny and injustice, or of monopoly in the murders committed for game.
sports. How absurd it would be to offer to the higher
orders the exclusive use of peaches, nectarines, and And yet, never was so much game sold, or such a spi. apricots, as the premium of rusticationto put vast rit of ferocious resistance excited to the laws. One. men into prison :
ot I fourth of all the commitments in Great Britain are for buyers, and apricot sellers-to appoint a regular day | offences against the game laws. There is a general for beginning to eat, and another for leaving off-to feeling that some alteration must take place-a feel. have a lord of the manor for green gages-and to rage ing not only among Reviewers, who never see nor eat with a penalty of five pounds against the unqualified game, but among the double-barrelled, shot-belied eater of the gage! And yet the privilege of shooting members of the House of Commons, who are either a set of wild poultry is stated to be the bonus for the alarmed or disgusted by the vice and misery which residence of country gentlemen. As far as this im. their cruel laws and childish passion for amusement mense advantage can be obtained without the sacrifice are spreading among the lower orders of mankind. of justice and reason, well and good--but we would It is said, In spite of all the game sold, there is not oppress any order of society, or violate right and game enough left; let the laws therefore remain as wrong, to obtain any population of squires, however they are;' and so it was said formerly," There is su. dense. The law is absurd and unjust; but it must not gar enough ; let the slave trade remain as it is. But be altered, because the alteration would drive men at what expense of human happiness is this quantity out of the country! It gentlemen cannot breathe of game or of sugar, and this state of poacher law and fresh air without injustice, let them putrety in Cran. slave law, to remain' The first object of a good goborne Alley. Make just laws, and let squires live and vernment is not that rich men should have their plea. die where they please.
sures in perfection, but that all orders of men should The evidence collected in the House of Commons be good and happy; and it crowded covies and chuck. respecting the Game Laws is so striking and so deci- ling cock-pheasants are only to be procured by encour. sire against the gentlemen of the trigger, that their aging the common people in vice, and leading them only resource is to represent it as not worthy of belief. into cruel and disproportionate punishment, it is the But why not worthy of belief? It is not stated what duty of the government to restrain the cruelties which part of it is incredible. Is it the plenty of' game in the country members, in reward for their assiduous
for sale ? the unfrequency of convictions ? the loyalty, have been allowed to introduce into the game occasional but frequent excess of supply above de- laws. mand in an article supplied by stealing? or its de. The plan of the new bill (long since anticipated, in struction when the sale is not without risk, and the all its i rovisions, by the acute author of the pamphlet price extremely low? or the readiness of grandees to before us,) is, that the public at large should be suptum the excess of their game into fish or poultry ?plied by persons licensed by mag istrates, and that all All these circumstances appear to us so natural and qualified persons should be permitted to sell their game so likely, that we should, without any evidence, have to these licensed distributors; and there seems a fair but little doubt of their existence. There are a few chance that such a plan would succeed. The questions absurdities in the evidence of one of the poulterers ; are, Would sufficient game come into the hands of the but, with this exception, we
ion, we see no reason whatever licensed salesman? Would the licensed salesman con. for impugning the credibility ind exactness of the fine himself to the purchase of game from qualified per. mass of testimony prepared by the committee
sons? Would buyers of game purchase elsewhere than It is utterly impossible to teach the common people from the licensed salesman? Would the poacher be un. to respec property in animals bred the possessor dersold by the honest dealer ? Would game remain in knows not where, which he cannot recognise by any the same plenty as before? It is understood that the mark, which may leave him the next moment, which game laws are to remain as they are; with this only are kept, not for profit, but for amusement. Opinion difference, that the qualified man can sell to the li. never will be in favour of such property; if the animus censed man, and the licentiate to the public. furandi exists, the propensity will be gratified by It seems probable to us, that vast quantities of game poaching. It is in vain to increase the severity of the would after a little time, find their way into the hands protecting laws. They make the case weaker, in- of licensed poulterers. Great people are often half stead of stronger; and are more resisted and worse eaten up by their establishments. The quantity of executed, exactly in proportion as they are contrary to game killed in a large shooting party is very great ; public opinion :--the case of the game laws is a me. to eat it is impossible, and to dispose of it in presents morable lesson upon the philosophy of legislation. If very troublesome. The preservation of game is very a certain degree of punishment does not cure the of- expensive; and, when it could be bought, it would be fence, it is supposed, by the Bankes' School, that no more a compliment to send it as a present than it there is nothing to be done but to multiply this pun. would be to send geese and fowls. If game were sold, ishment by two, and then again and again, till the ob- very large shooting establishments might be made to ject is accomplished. The efficient maximum of pun pay their own expenses. The shame is made by the ishment, however, is not what the legislature chooses law; there is a disgrace in being detected and fined. to enact, but what the great mass of mankind think the If that barrier were removed, superfluous partridges marimum ought to be. The moment the punishment would go to the poulterers as readily as superfluous passes this Rubicon, it becomes less and less, instead venison does to the venison butcher-or as a gentle. of greater and greater Juries and magistrates will man sells the corn and mutton off his farm which he not commit-intormers* are afraid of public indigna. cannot consume. For these reasons, we do not doubt tion-poachers will not submit to be sent to Bolany that the shops of licensed poulterers would be full of Bay without a battle-blood is shed for pheasants- game in the season ; and this part of the argument, we the public attention is called to this preposterous think, the arch enemy, Sir John Shelley, himself would state of the law-and even ministers_(whom nothing concede to us. pesters so much as the interests of humanity) are at The next question is, From whence would they proleast compelled to come forward and do what is right. cure it? A license for selling game, granted by counApply this to the game laws. It was before penal to try magistrates, would from their jealousy upon these sell game : within these few years, it has been made subjects, be granted only to persons of sume respectapenal to buy it. From the scandalous cruelty of the bility and property. The purchase of game from un. law, night poachers are transported for seven years. qualified persons would, of course, be guarded against
by very heavy penalties, both personal and pecuniary; # There is a remarkable instance of this in the new Turn
and these penalties would be inflicted, because opinion pike Act. The penalty for taking more than the legal num would go with them. Here is a respectable trades. ber of outside passengers is ten pounds per head, if the coach- / man,' it would be said, ' who might have bought as man is in part or wholly the owner. This will rarely be levi- much game as he pleased in a lawful manner, but who, ed; because it is too much. A penalty of 1001. would produce in order to increase his profits by buying it a little perfect impunity. The maximum of practical severity would have been about five pounds. Any magistrate would cheer
cheaper, has encouraged a poacher to steal it.' Public fully levy this sum; while doubling it will produce reluctance
opinion, therefore, would certainly be in favour of a in the judge, resistance in the culprit, and unwillingness in very strong punishment ; and a licensed vender of the informer.
game, who exposed himself to these risks, would ex
pose himselt to the loss of liberty, property, character, i game, which the love of gain does in the farmer to and license. The persons interested to put a stop to multiply poultry. Many gentlemen of small fortune such a practice, would not be the paid agents of go- will remember, that they cannot enjoy to any extent verninent, as in cases of smuggling ; but all the gentle. this pleasure without this resource ; that the legal men of the country, the customers of the tradesman sale of poultry will discountenance poaching; and for fish, poultry, or whatever else he dealt in, would they will open an account with the poulterer, not to have an interest in putting down the practice. In get richer, but to enjoy a great pleasure without an all probability, the practice would become disrepu. expense, in which, upon other terms, they could not table, like the purchase of stolen poultry; and this honourably and conscientiously indulge. If country would be a stronger barrier than the strongest laws. A gentlemen of moderate fortune will do this (and we few shabby people would, for the chance of gaining ihink after a little time they will do it), game may sixperce, incur the risk of ruin and disgrace ; but it is be multiplied and legally supplied to any extent. probable that the general practice would be otherwise. Another keeper, and another bean-stack, will produce
For the same reasons, the consumers of game would their proportionable supply of pheasants. The only rather give a little more for it to a licensed poulterer, reason why the great lord has more game per acre than expose themselves to severe penalties by purcha. than the little squire is, that he spends more money sing from a poacher. The great mass of London con- per acre to preserve it. sumers are supplied now, not from shabby people, in For these reasons, we think the experiment of lega. whom they can have no confidence-not from hawkers lizing the sale of game ought to be tried. The game and porters, but from respectable tradesmen, in whose laws have been carried to a pitch of oppression which probity they have the most perfect confidence. Men is a disgrace to the country. The prisons are half will brave the law for pheasants, bnt not for sixpence filled with peasants, shut up for the irregular slaughter or a shilling ; and the law itselt is much more difficult ot' rabbits and birds-a sufficient reason for killing a to be braved, when it allows pheasants to be bought weasel, but not for imprisoning a man. Something at some price, than when it endeavours to render them should be done ; it is disgraceful to a government to utterly inaccessible to wealth. All the licensed sales stand by, and see such enormous evils without intermen, too, would have a direct interest in stopping the ference. It is true, they are not connected with the contraband trade of game. They would lose no cha struggles of party'; but still, the happiness of the racter in doing so; iheir informations would be rea- common people, whatever gentlemen may say, ought sonable and respectable.
| every uow and then to be considered. If all this is true, the poacher would have to com. pete with a great mass of game fairly and honestly poured into the market. He would be selling with a rope about his neck, to a person who bought with a
CRUEL TREATMENT OF UNTRIED PRISON. rope about his neck; his description of customers
ERS. (EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1824.) would be much the same as the customers for stolen poultry, and his profits would be very materially 1. Letter to the Right Honourable Robert Peel, one of his abridged. At present, the poacher is in the same
Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, &c. &c. &c. OE situation as the smuggler would be, if rum and brandy
Prison Labour. By John Headlam, M. A., Chairman of
the Quarter Sessions for the North Riding of the County of could not be purchased of any fair trader. The great
York. London. Hatchard & Son, 1823. check to the profits of the smuggler are, that, if you
| 2. Information and Observations, respecting the proposed want his commodities, and will pay an higher price,
Improvements at York Castle. Printed by Order of the you may have them elsewhere without risk or dis.
Committee of Magistrates. September, 1823. grace. But forbid the purchase of these luxuries at any price. Sbut up the shop of the brandy merchant, It has been the practice, all over England, for these and you render the trade of the smuggler of incalcu- last fifty years,* not to compel prisoners to work be. able value. The object of the intended bill is, to raise tore guilt was proved. Within these last three or four up precisely the same competition to the trade of the years, however, the magistrates of the North Riding poacher, by giving the public an opportunity of buy. of Yorkshire, considering it improper to support any ing lawfully and honestly the tempting articles in idle person at the county expense, have resolved, that which he now deals exclusively. Such an improve. prisoners committed to the house of correction for nent would not, perhaps, altogether annihilate his trial, and requiring county support, should work for trade; but it would, in all probability, act as a very their livelihood ; and no sooner was the treadmill material check upon it.
brought into fashion, than that machine was adopted The predominant argument against all this is, that in the North Riding as the species of labour by which the existing prohibition against buying game, though such prisoners were to earn their maintenance. If partially violated, does deter many persons from com- these magistrates did not consider themselves empow. ing into the market ; that if this prohibition were re-ered to burden the county rates for the support of pri. moved, the demand for game woud be increased, the soners before trial, who would not contribute to support legal supply would be insufficient, and the residue themselves, it does not appear, from the publication would, and must be, supplied by the poacher, whose of the reverend chairman of the sessions, that any trade would, for these reasons, be as lucrative and opinions of counsel were taken as to the legality of so flourishing as before. But it is only a few years since putting prisoners to work, or of refusing them maintethe purchase of game has been made illegal; and the nance if they choose to be idle; but them market does not appear to have been at all narrowed themselves decided that such was the law of the land. by the prohibition ; not one head of game the less has Thirty miles off, however, the law of the land was dif. been sold by the poulterers ; and scarcely one single ferently interpreted ; and in the Castle of York large conviction has taken place under that law. How, sums were annually expended in the maintenance of then, would the removal of the prohibition, and the idle pr
oval of the prohibition, and the idle prisoners before trial, and paid by the different alteration of the law, extend the market, and increase Ridings, without remonstrance or resistance.f the demand, when the enactment of the prohibition! Such was the state of affairs in the county of York has had no effect in narrowing it? But if the demand before the enactment of the recent prison bill. After increases, why not the legal supply also ? Game is that period, enlargements and alterations were neces. increase n an esta
them in w
winter. /sary in the county jail ; and it was necessary also for by making some abatement to the tenants for guard these arrangements, that the magistrates should know ing against depredations, by a large apparatus of whether or not they were authorized to maintain such gamekeepers and spies-in short, by expense. But if this pleasure of shooting, so natural to country gentle.
Headlam, p. 6. men, is made to pay its own expenses, by sending
+ We mention the cases of the North Riding, to convince our superfluous game to market, more men, it is reason.
readers that the practice of condemning prisoners to work
before trial has existed in some parts of England; for in quesable to suppose, will thus preserve and augment their tions like this we have always found it more difficult to prove name. The love of pleasure and amusement will pro- the existence of the facts, than to prove that they were misduce in the owners of game that desire to inultiply Ichievous and unjust.
prisoners at the expense of the county, as, being ac. | compel an untried prisoner to a species of labour which would counted able and unwilling to work, still claimed the disgrace him in his own mind, and in that of the public. county allowance To questions proposed upon these 'York, August 27th, 104.'
S. W. NICOLL. points to three barristers the following answers were In consequence, we believe, of these opinions, the returned:
North Riding magistrates, on the 13th of October (the
new bill commencing on the lst ot' September), passed 2dly, I am of opinion, that the magistrates are empowered, and are compelled to maintain, at the expense of the county,
the following resolution :- That persons committed such prisoners before trial as are able to work, unable to main
for trial, who are able to work, and have the means of tain themselves, and not willing to work; and that they have
employment offered them by the visiting magistrates, not the power of compelling such prisoners to work, either at by which they may earn their support, but who obsti. the treadmill, or any other species of labour.
nately refuse to work, shall be allowed bread and wa.
J. GURNEY. ter only. Lincoln's Inn Fields, 20 September, 1823.'
By this resolution they admit, of course, that the
counsel are right in their interpretation of the present I think the magistrates are empowered, under the tenth section (explained by the 37th and 30th), to maintain prisoners
law; and that magistrates are forced to maintain pris. before trial, who are able to work, unable to maintain them.oners before trial who do not choose to work. The selves by their own means, or by employment which they | magistrates say, however, by their resolution, that themselves can procure, and not willing to work; and I think the food shall be of the plainest and humblest kind,also, that the words "shall be lawful," in that section, do not bread and water; mea of course, that such leave them a discretion on the subject, but are compulsory. I soners should have a sufficient quantity of bread and Such prisoners can only be employed in prison labour with
water, or otherwise the evasion of the law would be their own consent; and it cannot be intended that the justices may force such consent, by withholding from them the neces
in the highest degree mean and reprehensible. But saries of life, if they do not give it. Even those who are con
| it is impossible to suppose any such thing to be intenvicted cannot be employed at the treadmill, which I consider ded by gentlemen so highly respectable. Their intenas a species of severe labour.
tion is not that idle persons before trial shall starve, September 4th, 1893.'
but that they shall have barely enough of the plainest
food for the support of life and health. Adly, As to the point of compelling prisoners confined on
Mr. Headlam has written a hlet to show that criminal charges, and receiving relief from the magistrates, to reasonable labour; to that of the treadmill for instance, in
the old law was very reasonable and proper; that it is which, when properly conducted, there is nothing severe or quite right that prisoners before trial, who are able to unreasonable; had the question arisen prior to the act, I should support themselves, but unwilling to work, should be with confidence have said, I thought the magistrates had a compelled to work, and at the treadmill, or that ail compulsory power in this respect. Those who cannot live support should be refused them. We are entirely of without relief in a jail, cannot live without labour out of it.
I an opposite opinion ; and maintain that it is neither Labour then is their avocation. Nothing is so injurious to the legal nor expedient to com pel prisoners before trial to morals and habits of the prisoner as the indolence prevalent in work at the treadmill, or at any species of labour, prisons, nothing so injurious to good order in the prison. The analogy between this and other cases of public support is ex
and that those who refuse to work should be support ceedingly strong: one may almost consider it a general prin- ed upon a plain healthy diet. We impute no sort of ciple, that those who live at the charge of the community shall, blame to the magistrates of the North Riding, or to as far as they are able, give the community a compensation | Mr. Headlam, their chairman. We have no doubt but through their labor. But the question does not depend on that they thought their measures the wisest and the mere abstract reasoning. The stat. 19 Ch.2, c. 4, sec. 1, enti- | best for correcting evil and that they adopted t
| best for correcting evil, and that they adopted them tled "An act for Relief of poor Prisoners, and setting them on
in pursuance of what they thought to be their duty.work," speaks of persons committed for felony and other misdemeanours to the common jail, who many times perish before
Nor do we enter into any discussion with Mr. Head. trial; and then proceeds as to setting poor prisoners on work.
lam, as chairman of a Quarter Sessions, but as the Then stat. 31 G. 3, c. 46, sec. 13, orders money to be raised for writer of a pamphlet. It is only in his capacity of such prisoners of every description, as being contined within author that we have any thing to do with him. In the said jails, or other places of confinement, are not able to answering the arguments of Mr. Headlam, we shall sork. A late stat. (52 G. 2, c. 160) orders parish relief to such notice, at the same time, a few other observations debtors on merne process in jails not county jails, as are not
commonly resorted to in defence of a system which able to support themselves; but says nothing of finding or compelling work. Could it be doubted, that if the justices
we believe to be extremely pernicious, and pregnant were to provide work, and the prisoner refused it, such
with the worst consequences; and so thinking, we debtors might, like any other purish paupers, be refused the contend against it, and in support of the law as it now relief mentioned by the statute? In all the above cases, the stands. authority to insist on the prisoner's labour, as the condition and We will not dispute with Mr. Headlam, whether consideration of relief granted him, is, I think, either expressed his exposition of the old law is right or wrong; b. or necessarily implied, and thus, viewing the subject, I think
cause time cannot be more unprofitably employt! it was in the power of magistrates, prior to the late statute, to compel prisoners, subsisting in all or in part on public relief,
than in hearing gentlemen who are not lawyers disto work at the treadmill. The objection commonly made is, that
cuss points of law. We dare to say Mr. Headlam prisoners, prior to trial, are to be accounted innocent, and to be knows as much of the laws of his country as magis. detained, merely that they may be secured for trial; to this the trates in general do; but he will pardon us for answer is obvious, that the labour is neithre meant as a punish- believing, that for the moderate sum of three guineas ment or a disgrace, but simply as a compensation for the relief, a much better opinion of what the law is now, or was at their own request, afforded them. Under the present statute, then
then, can be purchased, than it is in the power of Mr. I, however, have no doubt, that poor prisoners are entitled to public support, and that there can be no compulsory labour
Headlam or of any county magistrate, to give for no.
It is conprior to trial. The two statutes adverted to (19 Ch. 2. c. 4, thing --Cuilibet in arte sua credendum est. and 31 G. 3) are, as far as the subject is concerned, expressly | cerning the expediency of such laws, and upon that repealed. The legislature then had in contemplation the point alone, that we are at issue with Mr. Headlain ; existing power of magistrates to order labour before trial, and and do not let this gentleman suppose it to be any anhaving it in contemplation, repeals it ; substituting (sec. 38) a swer to our remarks to state what is done in the prison power of setting to labour, only sentenced persons. The 13th
in which he is concerned, now the law is altered. The rule, too, (p. 177) speaks of labour as connected with convicted prisoners, and sec. 37 speaks in general terms of persons com
question is, whether he is right or wrong in his reamitted for trial, as labouring with their own consent. In op-soming upon what the law ought to be ; we wis
soning upon what the law ought to be ; we wish to position to these clauses, I think it impossible to speak of im- hold out such reasoning to public notice, and think it plied power, or power founded on general reasoning or ana- | important it should be refuted-doubly important. logy. So strong, however, are the arguments in favour of a when it comes from an author, the leader of the quo. more extended authority in justices of the peace, that it is rum, who may say with the pious Æneas, scarcely to be doubted, that Parliament, on a calm revision of the subject, would be willing to restore, in a more distinct
- Quæque ipse miserrima vidi, manner than it has hitherto been enacted, a general discretion
Et quorum pars magna fui. on the subject. Were this done, there is one observation I will venture to make, which is, that should some unfortunate asso
If, in this discussion, we are forced to insist upon ciation of ideas render the treadmill a matter of ignominy to the plainest and most elementary truths, the fault is Connon feelings, an enlightened magistracy would scarcely not with us, but with those who torget them; and