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Although the game laws, as they stand, certainly ⚫entitle gentlemen of a certain description to follow after, and kill game, both on their own estates, and on the estates of others, when permission is obtained, yet these laws do not certainly entitle them to injure the property of their neighbours in this pursuit. The good sense and liberal spirit of the supreme courts, both of this country, and of England, have settled this matter beyond dispute.

The late decisions in the cases of the marquis of Tweeddale against Mr Hamilton of Pencaitland, and others; [1778;] and of captain Livingston of Parkhall against the earl of Breadalbane; [1789;] and many other cases, have put the matter beyond doubt. In these cases, the pleadings of the lawyers are ingenious acute; and every argument is used for the hunters that can possibly be suggested.

But in these days, all the arguments that can be used for a sportman's injuring, and breaking into the grounds of his neighbour, or insulting him, appear weak and frivolous; for it is not imagined, that a plea can be urged, or a consideration suggested, to authorise a gentleman, in pursuit of game, to injure or insult his neighbour. The respect and independency of the people; and, in particular, of the body of farmers; the favour that is justly fhown to agriculture, and whatever tends to promote it, as planting and inclosing of ground; the quiet and good government of the country; and the efficacy and inforcement of the laws, all tend to discourage any violations of the public peace in this way.

All our best writers on the laws, and on the general principles of civil liberty, both in England and Scotland, condemn the severity of the game laws. Blackstone, in entering on the subject of the game laws, says, [B. ii. c. 27.] "That, however defensible the provisions of the law may be in general, on the footing of reason, or justice, or civil policy, we must, notwithstanding, acknowledge, that, in their present shape, they owe their immediate origin to slavery." It is also well observed by an elegant writer on the criminal laws of England, [cap. 23.] "That every wanton, cause lefs, or unnecefsary act of autho rity, exerted by the legislature over the people, is tyrannical and unjustifiable; for every member of the state, is, of right, intitled to the highest possible degree of liberty which is consistent with the safety and well being of the state." The same sentiment was elegantly and strongly exprefsed by Cicero, in his oration for Cluentius : "Legum denique idcirco omnes servi sumus, et liberi efse possumus."


The Roman, or civil law, is said not to have known distinction as to the article of game; but that it forbade any man to hunt or sport in another man's property without his consent; which appears to be a reas sonable restriction. The present civil prohibitions took their rise at the time when the barbarians overran the Roman empire, and laid the foundations of the great kingdoms of Europe; when the commanders of the conquering armies found it convenient to disarm the inhabitants of the conquered countries, and parcel out the lands among their own followers, to

break the spirit of the people, in order to establish their own despotism.

But the intention of laws is sometimes defeated by their severity. When Peter 1. of Rufsia made a law, that whoever preferred a false complaint to him, hould suffer death, it put an entire stop to all applications of this sort. When the same prince ordered his subjects to cut off their beards, the Russians resisted the order, not from a belief that liberty consisted in an exemption from being fhaven, but that they considered the edict as a wanton and oppressive act of power.

When in the beginning of the 17th century, in the reign of James 1. it was made felony for a person infected with the plague to converse with strangers, it was impofsible to object to a severity, which although fatal to individuals, was efsential to the general safety of the people, But when in the close reign of George III. it

of the 18th century, in the is made a capital crime to cut down a cherry tree in an orchard, the thinking part of mankind must lis ten to such a law with irreverence and horror; for they know that the evil to be prevented, is by no means adequate to the violence of the preventative.

Supposing a sportsman in pursuit of game to enter a farmer's cultivated fields, to break down his fences, to trample his grain or pastures, and when challenged for such trespafs, to use threatening, or abusive, or insulting language, the farmer is certainly fully justified, in the first place, in endeavouring

*This law ought to have been particularly quoted.


Jan. 9. to prevent the trespafs; and, in the second place, in resisting any violence that may be offered him, and, finally, he is well founded in an action of damages for the injury done him.

For as to supposing the sportsman to have any foundation for an action against the farmer, for prevention or resistance, it is ridiculous and absurd. The sportsman is the aggrefsor; and in meeting with interruption, he only pays the penalty of his intrusion. This is known to be the present spirit of the law; and as the general liberty and security of the subject, become every day more the concern of the legislature, it is hoped that these laws will continue to be more and more liberally interpreted *.

The illustrious Bacon defines good laws in these words, with which I conclude these remarks, "Lex bona censeri pofsit, quæ sit intimatione certa, præcepto justa, executione commoda, cum formâ politiæ congrua, et generans virtutem in subditis." But it is feared the game laws do not fall under this description.

* Would it not have been better in the ingenious writer to have preposed that the laws that are judged too severe, ought to be repealed? It is a dangerous doctrine to inculcate a disregard to the law by judges. This makes the executors of the law become the legislators; and in that case no man can know when he is trespassing the law or not. The only rule of conduct that a good citizen can look up to in a well regulated state, is the law; and it ought to be the study of every good member of society to support the law against every invasion, by whomsoever it be made. When a change of circumstances render a law no longer applicable to the state of society, therefore, let it be repealed; for while it continues in force, no person ought to be allowed to transgrefs it with impunity. Were this rule adhered to, our statute book would not be loaded with such a mafs of absurd laws, which only serve to entrap the unwary, and procras tinate law suits; to the ruin of honest individuals. Edit.

Shakespeare, who had the singular talent of turning his genius to every train of ideas, has touched the affair of family honour with his usual delicacy.

"Peace! master marquis. You're a malapert! Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current. O! that your young nobility could judge what 'twere to lose it and be miserable!They that stand high. have many blasts to shake them; and if they fall they dash themselves to pieces." RICH. III.

The subject is not exhausted; but let these obser⚫vations suffice. In the meantime I am, &c.

Oct. 20. 1792.


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For the Bee.

Ir is all a tale," said Will to one of his female cousins, who spoke of going to church next day. "My brother and I are to have a ride into the country." The lady was fhocked at the rudeness of the declaration, and, instead of an approving smile, Will was rewarded with a frown. This young

gentleman was placed early in life at a distance from those whose more immediate duty it was to guide his unpractised years; and thus left at liberty in

*The Editor has used the liberty to fhoiten this paper a little; for which he hopes to obtain the forgivenefs of the ingenious writer. Every person, as he justly observes, must be sensible, without any argument to prove it, that it is not consistent with the character of a gentleman, and consequently that it is incompatible with the duties of an officer, to in jure any person without giving them ample compensation, far less tɔ insulf or abuse them.

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