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the poacher. The bill would take away the odium of selling game, and increase thereby the number of poachers; for every farmer's son and small tradesman would fall into their ranks, and the difficulty of convicting a poacher would be increased in the same proportion as their numbers increased, sheltered as they would be by the licenses to be granted. He declared that he looked upon field sports as a part of the political institutions of the country, which this bill would have a direct tendency to destroy. He could not approve of a law which went to alter the good old habits of the country, and induce gentlemen to sell that for a paltry consideration in money, which, as it was now disposed of, gave equal gratification to the donor and the receiver. He would therefore move, by way of amendment, that the bill be read a second time on the 1st of September next.
Lord Deerhurst seconded the amendment. The bill, in his opinion, would increase the number of poachers by as many as there were idle men to be found in each parish in the country. He insisted strongly on the policy of encouraging country gentlemen to live on their estates, by securing to them the amusements to which they were accustomed. Legali zing the sale would have the effect of destroying the game. He would, therefore, resist the bill upon that principle, though he was willing to vote for the correction of the game laws in any salutary way.
Mr. W. Peel objected to the bill, which, if passed into a law, would confine the possession of game to persons occupying large tracts of country.
Mr. Poyntz said, he could not agree with those who thought that the passing of the bill would decrease the quantity of game or increase the number of poachers. The offence of poaching had been carried to a great extent of late years, in consequence of the miserable pittance which labourers had been accustomed to receive for their labour. That class of persons had preferred poaching to being employed for a few shillings a week in breaking stones on the highways. One reason which would induce him to vote for the present bill, was the severity, he might say the unconstitutional severity, of the existing game laws, which rendered it, in many instances, impossible for magistrates to enforce them. He thought, also, that respectable tradesmen, who possessed the pecuniary means of regaling their friends
with game, should be invested with the legal right of so doing. Any change that might be made in the law as it stood at present, must be for the better.
Mr. S. Whitbread was convinced that the laws respecting game required to be amended. He saw that the offence of poaching had grown with the growth and strengthened with the strength of those very laws which were enacted with the intention of suppressing it. Those laws, under their present severity, were a disgrace to the national character, and a great cause of the demoralization of the poorer classes.
Mr. Brougham said, he concurred in what had fallen from his hon. friend who spoke last, and from the hon. member for Chichester, respecting the system of the game laws. He felt as strongly as they possibly could do, not only disapprobation, but an abhorrence, of that system and its principles-if any thing in itself so unprincipled could be said to have any. Any thing which was calculated to mitigate the evils of that system he would hail with the greatest satisfaction. But a specific measure being here proposed for his adoption, he was bound, in the first instance, to inquire-agreeing as he did in all that had been said in reprobation of the old system-whether that which was intended as a substitute for that system was likely to produce the effect which was expected therefrom. Nevertheless, when he looked at the bill, however he might approve of the principle on which it proceeded, and whatever credit for humanity he might give to the noble lord who had brought it forward, he could see nothing in it which entitled it even to the benefit of a doubt in his mind, as to whether he should support it or not. Did gentlemen know what they were about to give their approbation to? Did they know what the bill was? Were any persons led away by the cry of "we are about to abolish the game laws?" If such there were, to them he would say, that they would not abolish the game laws by passing this bill. They were, indeed, about to preserve the worst parts of the system. Some gentlemen, perhaps, were led away by the cry of "let us legalize the sale of game." But would that be done by the bill? No such thing. He would tell those who were so anxious that the bill should pass, what they were about blindfold to give their sanction to. One of the objections to the present system of game
laws, and a most just one he considered! it, was the monopoly which they gave to landholders, to the exclusion of those who were not landholders or proprietors of freeholds to the value of 100l., or leaseholders to the value of 150l. per annum. The bill before the House maintained the land-owners in possession of all their former monopolies, and gave them a new one in addition; by declaring that they alone should have the right to sell game. It was not enough that they alone should be allowed to kill game, but it must be proposed to make them also the exclusive traffickers in it. Were magistrates at present too much divested of power and patronage? Those who thought so, would do right to vote for the present bill; for it would increase the patronage of justices of the peace. It provided, that no person should buy a single head of game, unless he obtained a license from a magistrate at petty sessions. That was one of the greatest objections to the measure in his mind. If another bill should be brought in to legalize the sale of game, by making it private property absolutely, and declaring every man to be the owner of the game which was bred and nurtured on his own ground, he should know how to deal with it. Such a bill might be liable to objection on many grounds; but it at least would be free from the objection which he had to the present measure; namely, that it was inconsistent with its own principles. Being of opinion that the bill under the consideration of the House was radically defective, fundamentally improper, and inconsistent with itself, he felt himself bound-opposing still the present system of the game laws-to vote against it.
Mr. S. Wortley expressed himself anxious that some change should be made in the game laws, the first step to which was to legalise the selling of game. No man could doubt but that the markets were abundantly supplied at present; and the effect of the existing law was, to throw that supply into the hands of poachers. He did not mean to contend that poaching would be put an end to by the measure before the House, or by any measure that could be devised; but it was reasonable to expect, that as the risk increased, and the temptation diminished, poaching would diminish also. As to the qualification to kill game, the sooner it was placed upon the system which prevailed in Scotland the better it would be for the country.
Mr. Secretary Peel said, he was an advocate for the present measure, though he would allow that he was originally prepossessed against it. He did not imagine that the power of granting licenses for retailing game was given to magistrates for the purpose of patronage, but only because there were no other persons in whose hands that power could be so fitly placed. The introduction of the legal proprietor into the market, would pro tanto have the effect of preventing the illegal sale of game. For these reasons he should support the bill; not as the best measure that could be devised, but because it went some way towards correcting the defects of the present system.
Mr. Tennyson supported the amendment in a speech which was inaudible in the gallery, in consequence of the impatience in the House for the question.
Sir T. Ackland rose amidst incessant cries of "question." He expressed his sorrow, that the learned member for Winchelsea could not give his support to this bill. He trusted, however, that the learned gentleman would not oppose the measure at its present stage, but would wait to see its details after it came from the committee. If he did not then approve of the bill, he could reject it on the third reading. The existing laws were so bad, that if the house allowed them to continue for another twelve months, it would be giving its sanction to a system of crime and bloodshed.
The House divided: For the second reading 82. Against it 60. Majority 22. The bill was then read a second time.
HOUSE OF LORDS,
Tuesday, June S.
FOREIGN WOOL.] The Earl of Harewood presented two petitions from the woollen manufacturers of Leeds and Hud. dersfield against the duties on foreign wool, and observed on the inexpediency and injustice of the duties in question.
The Earl of Liverpool said, that some years ago a duty was laid on foreign wool, and it was then predicted that it would not be productive; but the contrary was the fact, the duties having risen from 250,000l. to 400,000l. per annum. This was the state of the question as it regarded revenue. But had any injury been sustained by the woollen manufacturers? Their lordships would find from the returns on the table, that the exportation
were only one witness to he will, which, by the act of Charles II required two, then the guardian was not egally appointed, and the marriage was invalid. "What, he would ask, was to be the state of the husband during this temporay occupancy of the person of the woman? Was he to have marital rights over her property? Could he buy, sell, or receive rents?
had increased. He admitted that, with respect to some parts of Europe, that was not the case; but it was very doubtful whether that could be imputed to the operation of this tax, or whether it did not arise from those causes which had affected the agriculture of the rest of Europe as well as our own. The ques. tion then stood thus: with respect to revenue, the tax was productive; while, as it regarded manufactures, it was not injurious. As to the justice of the tax, he would only say that he was willing to give up all the advantage of the 400,000l. a year to the revenue provided the manufacturers would agree to the free exportation of wool; but so long as they objected to the one, he should not feel justified in giving up the other. He thought this no more than fair as it regarded the interests of agriculture. The manufacturers had been made fully acquainted with the views of government, and, under the present circumstances, he did not feel justified in supporting the prayer of their petition.
Ordered to lie on the table.
MARRIAGE ACT Amendment BILL.] On the order of the day for going into a committee on this bill,
The Earl of Westmorland rose to move, that it be an instruction to the committee to leave out the clause relative to the voidability of marriages. He did not object to the principle of that clause with any view of lessening parental authority, nor with any desire to take away from minors the protection which it was calculated to afford them; but he opposed it, because it was entirely nugatory, so far as regarded the ends proposed. He objected to it also because it was an alteration of the law of the land, without necessity. The alteration at the time of lord Hardwicke's bill being brought in was necessary, as there was a grievance then to be redressed; but he had heard of none now existing. He objected to the measure on moral, religious, and legal grounds; and also because it was nugatory and inoperative to any beneficial purpose. The noble earl argued the question at some length, on the grounds he had stated, and particularly dwelt on the legal difficulties arising out of the clause, as respected the consent of the parents or guardians. If the mother were not a widow, though professing to be one; or if the guardian were not duly appointed, the marriage would be invalid. If there
The Earl of Westmorland said, it he was out of order, he would put himself right by opposing the going into a commmittee on the bill. If the Bank Directors allowed stock to be sold out, or if a trustee allowed an estate to be disposed of, under the authority of the husband, de facto, were they to be responsible? This was a very serious part of the question; and if money were lent upon the security of such property, he believed no person, however learned in the law, could state what would be the event of it. That the clause would be nugatory for all good purposes would be obvious, when their lordships recollected that there were steam boats to Scotland and to France, and that a secret marriage by bans might easily be effected. If the husband desired to be legally married, he had nothing to do but to be married over again, as he had the possession of the person of his wife, and might take her where he pleased. This clause, in its operation, had been compared to offences against the state. Now, in cases of high treason, the mercy of the sovereign could mitigate the sentence of the law, and restore the forfeited estates; but the penalties by this clause were irrevocable.
The House resolved itself into a committee, on the clause for allowing the bishop, with the consent of the patron and incumbent, to authorise the publication of bans in any public chapel.
The Bishop of Chester feared that the necessity of the consent of the patron and incumbent, would render the clause inoperative.
The Archbiaop of Canterbury defend- indissoluble, this clause could not thereed the clause, as necessary to the preser-fore have a very extensive effect; and vation of the rights of the patron and feeling the weight of the observations incumbent. which he had now submitted, he must give his decided opposition to the present clause.
The claus was agreed to without amendment.
The claus relating to the "voidability of marriages being read,
The Arcbishop of York said, that the marriage catract was a solemn obligation made i the sight of God, and therefore ought not to be dissolved for any involuntar error which the parties might have mae. The marriage ceremony called upn the parties to declare whether any lawful impediment existed to their unon. On the sincerity with which they made this declaration, the legality of ther marriage ought, in a religious point of view, to depend. To a marriage so sɗlemnized, the words of our Saviour must apply" Those whom God has joined, let no man put asunder." In his opinion, therefore, this declaration having been made by the parties, there could be no impediment, except a previous contract and affinity within the prohibited degrees, which ought to effect a dissolution of their marriage. Applying this principle, then, to the clause before the House, he objected to the bona fide marriages of minors being dissoluble for any other reasons. His objection was not only founded upon religious grounds, but upon the injurious effects which it must produce upon the morals of the people, by enabling dissolute minors to effect the purposes of seduction under the cloak of religion. This clause bore with peculiar hardship upon females; he could indeed see no circumstances under which the parent of a woman so married, ought to wish to have the marriage annulled. He besought their lordships to consider, when the intentions of the parties had been honourable and just, what their feelings must be during the twelve long months which must elapse before they could be assured that the union upon which they had staked all their hope of happiness, should be a lasting one. Nevertheless, he was so well aware of the evils which ensued to families from the inconsiderate marriages of minors, that he would willingly support any measure, the object of which should be to prevent them, short of the dissolution of bona fide marriages. Recollecting that while the power of solemnizing marriages by bans remained, and that such marriages being
The Bishop of Chester declared his intention of opposing the clause. Marriage was a religious and a civil contract. It was religious, because the parties swore before God to keep the vow and covenant between them made, unto their lives' end. On this subject the religious customs of all countries, in all times, had been substantially the same. As a civil contract it was of the highest solemnity. It was evident that God, willing the happiness of his creatures, had prescribed the institution of marriage. Where the Deity had expressly spoken, implicit obedience was the duty of mankind. Where his commands had not been given, it was competent for man to make laws. Upon this principle rested the validity of all laws, and among others, that of those relating to marriage. He could not but consider the clause before the House as contrary to the Christian code. Divine legislature directed, that "a man shall leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh." It was impossible that words could be more explicit. He had said also, "what, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder:" and had enjoined that wives should not be put away, save for adultery. Taking, then, all these texts together, it was obvious that the law of man ought to be made agreeable to the expressed law of God. Marriages were at present solemnized by the law of God, and by the law of man. It was worse than a mockery to say that a man might be married with all the sanctities which religion could confer upon the contract,-that, after a minister of the gospel had pronounced him married in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the caprice of parents should undo so solemn a compact. The laws of man might vary, but the laws of God could never change. This argument weighed upon his mind with a force compared to which, all other considerations appeared insignificant. If their lordships next proceeded to consider the subject in a merely moral point of view, they would see on one side the wounded feelings of a parent-in plain truth, often only feelings of wounded
a youth of 17, of highamily and rank, to marry her. He shdd like to know what their lordships wdd do with a case like this. But, if thdoctrine of the right rev. prelate were orrect, they were legislating on a queson, upon which they had no right to leslate.
pride, and disappointed avarice: on the other side, the ruin and degradation of an innocent female, and the bastardizing of her children. Could these considerations be placed in fair opposition? Could the House pause in deciding on which side the greater moral evil would be suffered, or hesitate to reject the clause which would produce it? It was with surprise and concern he had seen this clause, which last year had been discussed at so great length, become again the subject of a debate. This vacillation in the legislature he could not think creditable to the House, nor beneficial to the morals of the people. Could there, he would ask, be a greater anomaly than that the marriages of minors by bans should be valid, and their marriages by licence not valid? For these reasons, and for many others, he must say, in the emphatic language of Scripture, "Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."
The Earl of Liverpi said, he entertained now the same opinion as that which he had expred last year; namely, that it was ingedient to suffer the dissolution of maages which had been once contracte He was quite ready to admit, thanarriage was an institution of God; t he knew also, that every nation had cided the forms and modes by whic that institution should be kept up, anthat the institution would in itself beme nugatory, if a compliance with thoprescribed forms and modes should not: enforced. The preceding clauses of t bill, which had not been objected to also recognized this principle. Wit respect to the The Lord Chancellor observed, that if forms, he was ready say, that in a the doctrine laid down by the right rev. choice between thos which were too prelate could be supported, the House easy or too difficul he should not would have nothing to debate upon. hesitate to prefer tho: which were too But the question was not whether man easy. In the first pla he objected to should put asunder those whom God the principle of the cla: altogether, even had joined, but whether God had if its object were rig; because there joined them. Now, unless he had mis- were two ways of acaplishing it-the taken the whole tenure of the Old and first by nullity, and t other by voidNew Testament, there was nothing con- ability, both of which inciples were of tained in them which could be taken to directly opposite mires. Although prevent national societies from prescrib- nullity was sufficientlobjectionable, it ing the forms by which marriages should was less so in principkhan voidability. be held good. If it were otherwise, there It was easy to see home present clause was not a nation on earth, since the had originated. Thelouse had both Christian era, which had not concurred these difficulties befo them: they rein this profane practice which the right sorted to this clausey way of comrev. prelate denounced. He did not promise; and, as usuy happened, the mean to give any opinion with respect to compromise was more a real difficulty the clause itself; but he had thought it than the other two. de facto a marright to say thus much on the doctrine riage did take plac and the parties which the right rev. prelate had laid coming to the altar h made the vows down. Every noble lord who had there tendered to themalsely and knowspoken on this subject, had said some-ingly, the marriage 3 null and void. thing of the tenderness with which the interests of females should be regarded in the bill now before the House. He had no sort of objection to this, but he wished that some care should also be extended to the males. It happened to him, in the discharge of his judicial functions, to see frequent instances of the necessity of this provision. In one of recent occurrence, the daughter of a bricklayer, a woman 32 years of age, with several illegitimate children, had prevailed upon
But, the most preporous part of the proposed law was, tha you asked the parties one month erwards whether they were married, th would be compelled to answer, "Wdon't know; for the validity of our marge depends upon the act of a third party, or whose proceedings we have no contrd It was inconceivable to his mind, h such a state of things could be comtible with the principles of the law. e new that, in some cases, there muste nullity; but