HC Deb 28 July 1862 vol 168 cc965-9

Order for Consideration, as amended, read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now taken into Consideration."


remarked, that the Bill, as originally introduced, was a Bill to prevent "night" poaching; but in Committee the words defining night to mean from sunset till eight in the morning were omitted, confessedly under a misapprehension; and he therefore would move that the Bill be re-committed, in order to the restoration of the expunged provisions. So important an alteration should be fully deliberated upon before it was adopted, as it tended to add greatly to the objections already existing to the Bill. Another important change was made in Committee, by the rejection of the clause throwing the onus probandi on a suspected person to show that he was not a poacher, and that was an improvement. Still the Bill in its present form was highly objectionable, because its effect was to make the police game preservers by night and day. He admitted that outrages had occurred in connection with game, but he attributed them to a system of over-preservation.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "Bill" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "be re-committed,"—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he would point out that it was not necessary to recommit the Bill to restore the restriction, which could be done when the amended clause came under consideration.


said, he should oppose the proposed alteration. If the police had power to search by day as well as by night, much would be done to put down the abuses which now prevailed. Professional poachers were in the habit of sending away their game by day rather than by night, and a case had come to his own knowledge in which carts laden with game were sent away three or four times a day from a certain village; and though all in the village knew where the game was got, nothing could be done to stop the carts.


said, he should withdraw his Amendment for the present, but would raise the question again when the hon. Baronet (Sir Baldwin Leighton) should move to omit the word "night" from the preamble.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill considered:


said, he wished to move a new clause. He proposed simply to have a register kept of the times that the police might have orders to interfere in the preservation of game, and also to oblige the persons who so employed them to pay for their services. If they were to give any effect to the Bill at all, the gamekeeper must have the power to call in the police when he knew that a gang of poachers were about to invade his master's premises. He thought it was right that the services of the police should be paid for in such cases. He had called upon Sir Richard Mayne that morning, and asked how he dealt with exceptional cases in which the services of the police were required; and Sir Richard told him that those services were paid for, and that the Commissioners of the International Exhibition, for example, would have to pay about £20,000, not only for the care of the Exhibition, but for three- fourths of the policemen up to Hyde Park Corner. He begged leave, therefore, to propose a clause to the effect— (Register to be kept by Policeman.) That every policeman employed in carrying out the purposes of this Act shall keep a register of the orders given to him, and of the time he was employed on each occasion, and that the person by or for whom he was employed shall be charged for the time occupied and services rendered.

Clause (Register to be kept by Policeman) brought up, and road 1°.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."


said, one would have thought that the hon. Gentleman had since the last stage of the Bill purchased a large property, and was become a great game preserver. According to the proposed clause a gentleman who wished to preserve game might get twenty or thirty policemen sent to preserve his game on conditions that he paid the cost. That was going further than he had himself intended.


said, he was convinced the effect of the Bill would be most injurious. One-fourth of the prisoners in Aylesbury Gaol were in for poaching, and the cause was the enormous amount of game preserving in the country around. Game preserving was most injurious to good farming, and whatever allowances the landlord made could not remunerate the farmer for the injury that was done to him.


said, he hoped that his hon. Friend would not press his clause. He wished to call the attention of the hon. Baronet (Sir Baldwin Leighton) to the Irish Constabulary Act, which enacted that no constable should be employed, under the authority of the justices, in enforcing the preservation of game and fish. The present Act extended to Ireland, but the Irish police would not be employed in the manner proposed by the Bill.


said, he trusted that an Act would be brought in in the following year to repeal the clause of the Irish Constabulary Act.


said, that a pledge was given that the Irish constabulary should not be employed in the collection of revenue, but that pledge had been violated.


said, he had never heard a more inconsequent remark. The police of Ireland happened to be paid out of the public revenue, yet his hon. Friend argued that it was improper they should collect the public revenue.


explained that a pledge had been given that they should not be so employed.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, "That the Preamble be agreed to."


said, he should propose to move an Amendment in line 1, which set forth that "whereas night poaching and murderous assaults arising therefrom have increased." That assertion rested on no evidence, for offences of the kind had not increased. He should therefore propose to omit the words after the word "whereas," so that the preamble might read, "Whereas it is expedient that the laws now in force should be amended."


said, he was not aware that this Act was to be extended to Ireland. Certainly, as far as that country was concerned, the preamble was inapplicable to the existing state of things. There was, he fully believed, no such thing as gang-poaching in Ireland. As a rather extensive game preserver, he did not believe that he had ever lost a head of game, nor had he ever heard of poaching in Ireland. This was the most extraordinary Bill ever brought in by a private Member at the termination of a lazy Session. If the Game Laws were to be tinkered with, it should be done by the Government. The fact was that game ought to be regarded as property. Pheasants were brought up like poultry, and ought to be considered as such. He could not agree with the hon. Member for Buckingham (Sir Harry Verney) as to the injury done to farming by game preserving, because the best farming was in Norfolk, and the greatest quantity of game was found in that county. [Mr. Cox: Not pheasants.] His hon. Friend who interrupted him had, he suspected, a much greater acquaintance with town sparrows than with pheasants. He believed his hon. Friend was a good shot; but if he went down into Norfolk, he would see whether there were any pheasants there or not. He believed that the House was only provoking unnecessary odium by tinkering with such a subject in such a manner. He should certainly vote against the extension of the Act to Ireland.

Amendment agreed to.


said, he would move, as an Amendment, that the words "night poaching" be inserted after the word "of," making the preamble read, "Whereas it is expedient that the laws now in force should be amended for the better detection and prevention of 'night poaching,'" instead of "such crimes."

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 4, after the words "prevention of," to insert the word "night."

Question put, "That the word 'night' be there inserted."

The House divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 97: Majority 22.

Preamble agreed to.