HC Deb 24 May 1860 vol 158 cc1709-11

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

MR. MASSEY in the Chair.

Question again proposed,— That in lieu of the Duties now payable on Game Certificate's in Great Britain and Ireland respectively, there shall be charged the following Duties of Excise:— For a Licence to be taken out by every person who shall use any dog, gun, net, or other engine for the purpose of taking or killing any game whatever, or any woodcock, snipe, quail, or land-rail, or any conies, or any deer, or shall take or kill by any means whatever, or shall assist in any manner in the taking or killing, by any means whatever, of any game, or any woodcock, snipe, quail, or landrail, or any coney, or any deer:—

£ s. d.
If such Licence shall be taken out after the 5th day of April and before the 1st day of November,
To expire on the 5th day of April in the following year 3 0 0
To expire on the 31st day of October in the same year in which the Licence shall be taken out 2 0 0
If such Licence shall be taken out on or after the 1st day of November,
To expire on the 5th day of April following 2 0 0"


said, he rose to move a Resolution on the subject of Game Certificates. He had made a good deal of inquiry with respect to it, both in conjunction with the Revenue Department and gentlemen interested in the matter; the result of which he believed to be a plan which was simple in itself and also workable, although it was not that which the Revenue Department preferred. It was that a game certificate taken out for the whole season should be £3; and for a moiety of the season, including three months to or from October 31st, £2. That was the essence of the scheme. There was no alteration whatever in the law except with regard to deer; although the phraseology might be such as to give rise to some question. Deer would now be considered as game, and, of course, the shooting of deer would require a certificate to be taken out as in the case of other game. There was also a Resolution entitling a person having the right to kill game, to authorize any servant chargeable to the assessed taxes to kill game upon the same lands upon payment of the duty of £2.


observed that the Resolution was not on the paper; he suggested that it ought to have been printed.


said, he wished to take that opportunity of pointing out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he had, in dealing with the subject, considered the question too much as a question of finance, and too little as a question of public convenience and advantage. The effect of the proposal would be to cause many people to take out game certificates who would not otherwise do so, and to encourage day poaching in districts where game was preserved. This would lead to scenes of violence between keepers and poachers by day as well as by night. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would carefully reconsider the subject.


said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consent to adjournment, in order that the Resolution might be printed. It was really most important that hon. Members should know what they were going to do.


moved that the Chairman report progress.


said, he had been under a misapprehension, thinking that the subject was before the Committee when he was absent. He did not advert to the fact that the Resolution had not been printed. He certainly quite agreed that progress should be reported under the circumstances. The Resolution would of course be printed.


said, he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not mean that a farmer would require to take out a licence at £2 or £3 to shoot rabbits, which were vermin.


said, rabbits were a great nuisance, and farmers were obliged to em- ploy persons to destroy them. It would he very hard to require a farmer to take out a licence for that purpose.


said, there was no alteration in the existing law in the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, except in the matter of the licences, and that farmers were allowed to kill rabbits without a certificate.


said, he was glad the right hon. Gentleman had given up the idea of £1 certificates at the end of the season, and he was entitled to every credit for having done so. Every poacher would have availed himself of such a privilege.


said, he wished to know whether the question was to be considered on financial or moral grounds? The fact was, that violent encounters and bloodshed occurred so often in various parts of the country, in relation to the game laws, that if hon. Gentlemen went into the question in a moral point of view, some inquiry ought to be made as to whether a stop could not be put to those outrages, which filled the gaols with prisoners, and caused an amount of evil which was almost incalculable in the counties where they occurred. He called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact, to show that if the House really proceeded to consider the Game Laws at all, they should go into the whole case.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn. House resumed; Committee report progress; to sit again on Thursday next.