HC Deb 30 September 1831 vol 7 cc891-3

The Order of the Day for considering the Lords'Amendments to the Game Bill was read.

The Speaker

acquainted the House that he had examined the Amendments, and that he considered they fell completely under the Resolution of the House, made at the beginning of the Session, respecting interference in money clauses, as affecting the privileges of the House.

Lord Althorp

said, that although he was sensible the Amendments which had been made in the other House had not improved the Bill, yet as the main principles remained in the Bill as it had been sent from this House, it was most desirable that the Amendments should be agreed to. He hoped, therefore, although some Gentlemen might, like himself, dislike these Amendments, yet, as it was a great point gained to get rid of the anomalies in the existing law, that they would agree to the Amendment, and without delay, as the Bill was intended to take effect on the 1st of November. Considering the state of the law at present, and the advantage gained by the Bill even as it now stood, and that when the principle was once adopted by the Legislature, it could not be receded from, although it might be improved, he trusted the Amendments would not be rejected.

Mr. Serjeant Wilde

admitted the justice of the noble Lord's remarks. At the same time, he thought the House ought to be aware of the nature of some of the alterations which had been made in the Bill, and which, to his astonishment, considering the place where they originated, invaded the rights of property. By one of the Amendments, proprietors of land were not only authorized to enter upon the premises of a lessee for life, but to appoint other persons who could do the same; and this was not all, for the occupant was deprived of the right he now possessed, and was not permitted to kill game on his own land, unless a stipulation to that effect was inserted in his lease, which, as it was not necessary under the existing law, would not, of course, be found there.

Mr. Hunt

had disliked the Bill at first, and he did not think the Amendments of the Lords had produced the slightest degree of improvement in it. He particularly objected to the clause respecting night-poaching, in which the penalties, which were severe enough at first, had been still further increased, and he should take the sense of the House on the clause.

Mr. John Campbell

considered, that though the Bill was a much better Bill as it formerly stood, still it was better than the old law, and was a great boon. He thought his hon. and learned friend was in some degree mistaken respecting the clause giving proprietors and their appointees the right of entering and sporting upon the land of a lessee for life, and excluding the occupant, because, if he paid a fine on renewal, which is usual, the occupant retained his right. He hoped that the consent of the Lords to this Bill was a presage of their intentions in respect to another Bill, and if no more serious Amendments were made in it, he should be content.

Mr. Hume

would submit to the House, whether, after what had been stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Serjeant Wilde), the Commons of England were authorized to pass a Bill which interfered with private rights of property. He doubted whether it would not be better to reject the Bill altogether, and trust to another year. It was nothing less than robbing people of their rights. The Peers of England ought to be the last persons to set an example of taking away private property. If they began with spoliation, and he did think this was a spoliation, let them not complain if it reached themselves.

Mr. Paget

said, he was decidedly opposed to the Amendments that had been introduced, but as the other provisions of the Bill would materially improve the existing laws, he should be ready to support the views of the noble Lord if the question came to a division.

Mr. Hunt

said, his principal objection was, to the severe penalties for night-poaching, and however beneficial the other parts of the measure might be, he thought it his duty to take the sense of the House upon them.

Question put on the first Amendment, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendments." The House divided:—Ayes 67; Noes 3—Majority 64.

List of the NOES.
Bulwer, Henry L. TELLERS.
Paget, T. Hume, J.
Wood, J. Hunt, H.
Mr. Hume

said, that after the division which had just taken place, he should not think of pressing his opposition to the Lords'Amendments to a division.

Sir Edward Sugden

did not intend to follow the example of the hon. Member, for he thought the clause relating to tenants for life so objectionable, that he should divide the House upon it. The change effected by that clause was too great to be permitted.

Lord Althorp

said, that the change was not so great as the hon. and learned Member seemed to imagine. He trusted that the Bill would not be objected to on account of the Amendments of the Lords, for, upon the fate of those Amendments the fate of the Bill might depend; for if these Amendments were not adopted, the Bill would not pass.

Sir Edward Sugden

said, if that was the case, as he considered the principle of the Bill to be good, although he strongly objected to a clause which drew so odious a distinction between landlord and tenant, he would not press his Amendment.

The Amendments of the Lords agreed to.