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interest in land might legally obtain amusement in sports of the field, and by this means one of the principal objections to the Game Laws would be avoided, without any probability of the quantity of game being diminished; for the occupier finding pleasure and profit thus incident to game would adopt all possible means to keep up the breeding stock, and renew his annual profit or pleasure.
2dly, With respect to the power to sell game: for the reasons before suggested, it may be expedient to enable the licensed owner and occupier of land to sell game, either to an immediate consumer, or to a poulterer, or innkeeper licensed by magistrates to sell game, as already proposed, and regulations might be introduced, so that evidence of the game coming from and with the authority of a qualified killer, might accompany it on its lawful passage to the consumer; and all other game, not so documented, should be liable to seizure, and penalties attach, as in the case of an illegal exposing to sale. The licence for the qualified killer of game to sell it, might be obtained and registered, as in the case of game certificates, under the provision of the assexed tax act, 52 Geo. 8. But for the reasons before suggested, the poulterer and innkeeper should obtain this licence to sell by retail from the neighbouring magistrates, as in the case of alehouse licences.
There should be a larger penalty than £5 on any unlicensed person, whether qualified or not, selling game, as under the present regulations; and the penalty should increase and become punishable criminally for repetition of offences; and gamekeepers selling or fraudulently disposing of game, without the leave of their employer, should forfeit double penalties, and be liable to severer punishment, on account of the breach of trust. Though the tax on the licence may seem to have an object of revenue in view, yet the circumstance of there being a public register of the persons who profess to sell game, would afford a wholesome
check against evasion of the restraint upon sale, and against poachers.
3dly, It is highly important to regulate the purchase of game, as well as the sale of it. All persons, whether qualified or not, should be authorized to buy game of a licensed owner, or occupier of land, or of a licensed innkeeper or poulterer. But in order the more effectually to prevent the purchase, either from poachers, higglers, carriers, or other unauthorized persons, there should be a considerable penalty imposed on any person for purchasing game of any unauthorized persons, with an increase of penalty, and even punishment for a repetition of the offence. This enactment would effectually put an end to the daily encouragement afforded to poachers, &c. by persons secretly buying game of them, and it would be proper to make it incumbent on every party in case of prosecution to prove a legitimate mode of coming to the possession of the game.
4thly, The more effectually to prevent the continual disputes, occasioned by trespasses committed in the day time, in the pursuit of game, and to afford a more immediate, more certain, and less expensive compensation to the party aggrieved, it may be expedient to subject every person, whether qualified or not, to a penalty of £ 10., to be paid to the occupier for each head of game taken, or £ 10. for attempting to take it after notice, in any preserve, wood or inclosed grounds, recoverable with costs before a Justice of the Peace, or by action.
5thly, Nocturnal trespasses in pursuit of game should be punished in the manner before suggested. ' The introduction of these regulations would tend very materially to the prevention of crime in its incipient state. The offender by his misconduct under the existing law only subjects himself to the payment of what may be termed a
Ante 197 to 199.
debt, but by introducing the proposed regulations, and subjecting the offender to punishment, as for a crime, his misconduct would be placed in its true light, and the certainty of punishment would operate powerfully against the commission of similar offences.
6thly, An increase of game, or at least less necessity for destroying it, might be effected by authorizing the importation of game from the continent. Whereas several instances have of late occurred of seizures of imported game, and penalties enforced against persons who had brought them into this country. Encouragements might also be held out to licensed breeders of game.
I submit these cursory observations to the public, and more particularly to the legislative body, in the hopes that some gentleman may be induced to bring forward some modified changes in the laws relative to the game.
FRIEND IN DEVONSHIRE,
Present Situation of the Country.
BY A. H. HOLDSWORTH, ESQ.
M. P. FOR DARTMOUTH.
London, March 23, 1816.
My Letter to you of the 2d inst. I am glad to find, gave more satisfaction to you than to many of its readers, who are disappointed that it did not point out a remedy for the evils daily increasing around us; but you judged of it correctly, when you said, it professed only to seek into the causes of our calamities; not to cure them. My only object was to trace, as far as I was able, the real root of the evil.
Not content to view it only as the natural result of a change of situation from war to peace, I would endeavour to find out why we are so affected by the change, in the hope that we may be able to recover ourselves, at least as far as our local situation will permit.
The evil complained of by the Agriculturist is the want of a market for his corn. Will that revive the sinking tradesman; restore business to the import merchant; support the present taxes; and ultimately pay to the public creditor his dividend? A regular market at any price will set the agriculturist at work; and that is all that is necessary as between him and his landlord; and in proportion as the prices in that market are high or low, will he be able