« ПредишнаНапред »
unpleasant obstructions given to the younger branches of the most wealthy and respectable. Education begets knowledge, and “ knowledge is power ;” and that power was carried to a great extent in some of the southern counties. Then came strife between the qualified and non-qualified — the possessor of landed property, value ninety-nine pounds per annum, and those who could add the other pound to make a qualification. A man's title-deeds were frequently and vexatiously hauled forth with as much solemnity, and scrutinized as rigidly, as if he had been laying claim to one of the largest estates in the kingdom !
The informations which were latterly and continually being laid against the younger branches of Nobility and Gentry at last led to the law which has given to every man, whether of great or small estate, a decided right to “ do as he likes with his own ”-subject to duty. The new law, as far as religious and moral feeling is concerned, has benefited society, by not holding out any inducement to the common informer, which the old law did. The cat’s-paw informer was too frequently employed by those “ hid behind the arras,” who were ashamed to come forward and do the dirty work themselves. Sometimes they would bestow pity on the unfortunate with words-words sweet as oil : Very sorry! but, as the informer claims half the penalty, the law must take its course !!”
Can your Greta Bridge Correspondent think the present Game Laws too lenient, when the present law of trespass with a certificate imposes £2 for each offence, and whatever game the intruder is in possession of, whether killed on the grounds on which he is caught, or killed on his own property, may be taken away from him with impunity? and if not possessing a certificate, trespass £5, and liable to a surcharge of £7 7s. as double duty ? If this be not severe enough to protect the winged bipeds, and those destructive quadrupeds, hares and rabbits, in the name of all moral law let them be extirpated. Then your Greta Bridge friend will be a prophet! Prophecy would always astound most if a date were given. I guess and hope it will turn out something like Nixon's, the Cheshire prophet, who said man would be so scarce (no date) in the land of cheese, that a damsel would say, after her morning's walk, “ Mother, I have seen a man to-day!” Only fancy a widowed partridge and her only daughter--pretty little plump dear !-crying out in ecstacy, “ Mother, I have seen a male to-day !" and then some sly poacher, perhaps ChristOPHER Sly, or some other of your shooting friends, whose gun had been loaded five or six months in consequence of not finding anything to shoot at, being capped with one of Eley's waterproof-inevitably-would-go-he, Sly, or, &c., being attracted by the novelty of the call......the tragic result I will not relate !
The certificated Sportsmen, according to the present law, has a right to sell the game he shoots. This is to make the salesman recognisable. The price of a certificate makes the existing law very exclusive : £3 13s. 6d. and ls. the collector, makes £3 14s. 6d.; shot, powder, and dog duty (14s. each) may be safely laid at £4 more. Now for these sums united I could buy eight brace of pheasants, thirty-two brace of partridges, and five or six hares. I do believe that there is not one man in a hundred of those without landed property that sell game or have at their own disposal one half of the quantity spoken of above.
I have little doubt but the revenue would profit if the certificate were lowered to £2, as many do now evade the duty—those who have only a few days in the season, or school-boys. It would be a heavy tax on a father who wished to indulge his half dozen sons with a little shooting during the Christmas holidays.
A boy aged thirteen, the son of a respectable man of small landed property adjoining a boggy waste, found a jack snipe there, which jack afforded the lad a succession of sport, that is, he fired away until the ammunition began to grow scanty. The vapourer—from his short flights one would think he was quite amused by such tender harassing-always went down a little distance from his pursuer, which led the boy on to repeated “bangs, often and frequently flirting up under his very nose. Jack rose for the thirteenth and last (the old women say an unlucky number) time; his unfortunate pinion came in contact with one of the outside shot, and own he fell, to the great delight of the juvenile ; but, as Sancho says, 66 after sweets comes sour sauce ;" the boy not being aware that a law was in being to protect this morsel-a law more rigid than to protect things of greater import
The clamor of this Sportman's gun brought to his acquaintance a game-keeper, who expected to have found a delinquent with thirteen pheasants, he having notched on a stick the unfortunate number of shots the boy had. Poor jack lay prostrate, like a humble bee beaten down by a heavy shower of rain, turning up his beautiful mild dark eye as if no injury had been done to his poor pinion. How different the keeper's ! his was “ in a fine phrenzy rolling :” he seized the boy's gun, picked up and pocketed poor Jack, and away with the trespasser; but the worthy Magistrate before whom he was taken would not convict, and really laughed aloud when the Jack-a’-Becket was with solemn ludicrous importance unfobbed and put in evidence against a poor little sinning stripling, who fortunately had a mild taste of the Game Laws more owing to the mercy of a worthy man than to the leniency of even the present law, which does still hold these poor insignificant birds as being worthy of protection. The law of trespass surely would have been enough!
During the existence of the old Game Laws, if a stranger was seen in some neighbourhoods with a gun, it excited as much astonishment as did the man's nose at Strasburg in his way to Crim Tartary. After disturbing the minds of superiors, it then was watched by the keeper, the keeper's son, the keeper's daughter, and, last, the keeper's wife; and as they had different ideas of the stranger's gun, she vowed she would touch it. All were as much disordered as the Abbess of Quedlingberg or the Nuns of Mount Calvary, &c.; and some of the disturbed were as sleepless as the Nuns of Saint Ursula!
I in no way wish to vindicate the poacher, particularly the night marauder. Poaching has certainly increased with want of employment, and of course distress in a certain class of society. But it may be asked, does not the law as it now is protect game more rigidly than it does the person? Thousands of cases may be produced to shew the severity of the former. A case in point was lately heard in one of the shires. A keeper saw defendant in the act either of taking up or setting a gate-net. "Well, Michael, I'm glad I've met with thee; I
have been looking for thee for some time," said the keeper, taking poor Mich, lurcher, gate-net (but no game), into his custody. Mich was sentenced to be imprisoned in the House of Correction and kept to hard labor for two calendar months, and at the expiration of that period to enter into recognisances, himself in £10, and one surety in £10, or two sureties of £5 each, for his not offending in like manner for twelve calendar months, and to be further imprisoned until such sureties be found.
Cases like the following, or equally as violent, are continually before the London Magistrates. W. Conolly and Mary his wife threw their child from a first floor window, its life being only saved by a policeman, whom the father attacked with a knife, to the injury of the officer--the man fined 40s. and the woman 10s. ! A policeman or any other person may be attacked, assaulted, lose half a dozen teeth, or an eye-the fine 40s. or at most £5! A man living on his own property, the garden half an acre, more or less as George Robins would say, annoyed by hares and rabbits eating up pinks, cabbages, and carnations, besides all his winter parsley, which many Sportsmen like so much : should this Gent set either wire, net, or trap for the said trespassers, or the very act of pounding them, would lay him under the penalty of £5 and no redress-should he shoot them, worse would be the consequence. If a sheep, goat, or donkey, &c. enter the same ground and eat up the thistles, they may be walked to the pound, and the owner of donkey, &c. to pay... ...ad libitum. It may be said, “fence them out!" This is all very well. You may go to the expense of erecting a stone wall to keep out your neighbour's vermin--for such I consider the rabbit-and then be just in the same situation ; for they will burrow under the wall, and then what protection have you against their encroachments ?
A singular case connected with the destruction of rabbits came before the Bench at Woolwich on the 31st of August, Colonel Forman Chairman. It was an information laid by John Reeves, game-keeper to George Landells, Esq., of Shooter's Hill, against John Williams, laborer, for unlawfully setting snares with intent to take or kill game. Reeves, who was also constable, deposed, that he took John Williams in the act of looking over a wheat-field after snares: the man did not deny his intention, and said he was employed by Mr. Graham (an opulent farmer and independent Gentleman of Bexley), whose property the corn-field was. Mr. G. admitted that he had given the prisoner and all his men leave to set snares for the purpose of destroying wild rabbits. The lands were infested by them, so much so that the children had found in one field only thirty or forty nests of the
young, which, if not destroyed, would devastate the surrounding lands. A solicitor to Mr. Landells, who is Lord of the Manor, said, as Mr. Graham had taken the onus off the prisoner, he was the responsible party. Mr. G. said he had written twice to Mr. Landells, who had paid no attention to his letters, and he was now determined to protect himself. The Chairman advised Mr. Graham “ to shoot them, which was a legal course to pursue-rabbits were not game as generally supposed.”
Now with all deference to Colonel Forman, we would ask, could Mr. Graham shoot the rabbits with impunity without a game certificate ?
or if Mr. G. did not shoot, could he order his men to do so ? It is true rabbits are not technically called “ game," neither are woodcocks, snipes, &c.; but where is the difference, as all require a certificate, and the same penalty to pay for trespass? The information was eventually withdrawn, on the understanding that Mr. Graham would not repeat the alleged offence; but he expressed his determination to adopt another
Laws always shew the state of civilisation any society is in ; 'tis ore great source from which historians draw their conclusions. What will future writers say of our civilised state when they scan our heterogeneous laws ?
Coercive in small crimes, lenient in large ones! Severity in smaller crimes too often leads men on to desperation, and consequently they commit larger ones without remorse.
Trusting your Greta Bridge Correspondent may not complain of the lack of game owing to the lenity of the present Game Laws, and wishing he may yet live to see the day that he will find woodcocks as plentiful as blackberries, is the desire of yours,
A WANDERER BUT NO PIPER,
CONDITION OF HACKS, CLIPPING, TREATMENT ON
THE ROAD, &c.
WHATEVER purposes the horse
be required for, unless he is in condition he is of very little value : however well he may be bred, however quick he may be in his paces, safe in his action, well broken and pleasant to ride, he will lose his speed, his safety, and, with these failings, that willing disposition generally denominated being "pleasant to ride,” if he is wanting in the sine qua non, CONDITION. Many casual observers may fancy that if the animal is tired he is equally unpleasant to ride whether he be in condition or not; but this is not the
a well-bred hack—and nobody dreams of riding one which is not so in these days of galloping and steam-if in condition, will go to the last with a degree of alacrity and pleasure to himself and to his rider which he cannot do if over-fat, or if he be weak and emaciated.
In my application of the word condition, I do not mean to express by it that the animal is to be overloaded with flesh -an indispensable qualification with many persons, especially in the great metropolis, where you cannot dispose of your quadruped if desirous to do so unless he be as fat as a Smithfield ox. It may be set down as an unexceptionable fact that he cannot work in that state : he may look the more handsome to parade in the park or the streets of town, and, if that be the only purpose for which he is required, by all means the fatter he is the better. But this is not the service for which the animal which I am about to notice is wanted : his occupations will be very different; he is employed in carrying his master to covert in the winter, and, on intermediate days, in performing such journeys as pleasure or business may require. Whilst the race-horse during the winter season is allowed many indulgences which cannot be ceded to him in the summer ; and the summer's rest affords the hunter a relaxation from actual work,
VOL. XIX.--SECOND SKRIES.--No. 114.
which his great exertions during the winter season claim as a prorogation for him; the services of the hack are in constant requisition—he may be said never to be at rest. It follows that his condition ought to be attended to, in order that he may be enabled to perform his task ; and there is no earthly reason why he should not be attended to with systematic care. Many men complain that they cannot procure good hacks, and that they cannot get them to stand their work for any length of time: this arises from want of condition and proper attention.
Preferring the independence of riding on horseback to the restrictions of a stage-coach, I have always had in my possession a hack to carry me from one part of the country to another; and even when journeys of one hundred and fifty or two hundred miles have been before I have usually performed them on horseback. Now that the railroads have in so many parts superseded the coaches, and as they appear to be increasing in their innovations, it will be more than ever important to possess a good hack. To me the locomotive steam-engine is the greatest abomination : on the railway you are conveyed from one place to another like a prisoner: you are scarcely allowed to think for yourself: the Directors, in their bountiful kindness, having preceded you by their “ better judgment," and have formed a code of laws for your
observance and their interest to be in force from the moment of your entering their establishment to that of your leaving it. Their restrictions can surely never be by choice submitted to by an Englishman possessing his health, the use of his limbs, and a good hack, more especially by those who come under the denomination of Sportsmen.
Without offering a dry and uninteresting detail of the requisite course to be adopted to get a hack into condition-a subject which has already been very ably dilated upon by former Correspondents in this Work, and which every man having an ordinary knowledge of horses ought to be conversant with--I shall not pass over a few remarks which, with most persons, are neglected in the treatment of their hacks.
It very frequently happens that a person, when he has purchased a hack, finds that he is wofully out of condition ; but, not being willing to afford time for that great desideratum to be accomplished, he puts him to work, thoughtlessly observing he is but a hack, and whenever his services are required they must be brought forth. By this treatment the poor brute never becomes fit: he is overdone, and will not feed ; he is in that state called upon to perform what his powers are unequal to, and he is condemned as worthless, dejected, weak, and ill : he is again disposed of, or continues to be used with cruelty, because he is considered of no value : and this I am sorry to remark is too frequently
When a hack is once got into condition, a moderate share of attention will keep him so. It will, however, be as well to make myself clearly understood how I mean the term to be applied. He should be free from superfluous fat, very full of muscle, and his body neither distended to excess, nor drawn as fine as if he were going to race. All animals to undergo laborious exertion must be rather light than otherwise : plethora is incompatible with activity. I would rather have my hack looking what may be termed too light than too lusty, providing he is full of good keep and in strong work. If a horse is in strong work,