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cial interests, and from a vast variety of causes. Partridges and pheasants, though they form nine-tenths of human motives, still leave a small residue which may be classed under some other head. Neither are a great portion of those whom the love of shooting brings into the country, of the smallest value or importance to the county. A colonel of the guards, the second son just entered at Oxford, three diners out from Piccadilly, Major Rock, Lord John, Lord Charles, the colonel of the regiment quartered at the neighbouring town, two Irish peers and a German baron; if all this honourable company proceed with fustian jackets, dog-whistles, and chemical inventions to a solemn destruction of pheasants, how is the country benefitted by their presence? or how would earth, air, or sea, be injured by their annihilation ?
There are certainly many valuable men brought into the country by a love of shooting, who coming there for that purpose are useful for many better purposes; but a vast multitude of shooters are of no more service to the country than the ramrod which condenses the charge, or the barrel which contains it. We do not deny that the annihilation of the game laws would thin the aristocratical population of the country, but it would not thin that population so much as is contended ; and the loss of many of the persons so banished would be a good rather than a misfortune. At all events, we cannot at all comprehend the policy of alluring the better classes of society into the country by the temptation of petty tyranny and injustice, or of monopoly in sport. How absurd it would be to offer to the higher orders the exclusive use of peaches, nectarines, and apricots, as the premium of rustication to put vast quantities of men into prison as apricot eaters, apricot buyers, and apricot sellers—to appoint a regular day for beginning to eat and another for leaving off-to have a lord of the manor for greengages—and to rage, with a penalty of five pounds. against the unqualified eater of the gage! And yet the privi. lege of shooting a set of wild poultry is stated to be the bonus for the residence of country gentlemen. As far as this immense advantage can be obtained without the sacrifice of justice and reason, well and good--but we would not oppress any order of society, or violate right and wrong to obtain any population of squires, however dense. It is the grossest of all absurdities to say,—the present state of the law is absurd and unjust; but it must not be altered, because the alteration would drive gentlemen out of the country! If gentlemen cannot breathe fresh air without injustice, let then putrify in Cranborne-alley. Make just laws, and let squires live and die where they please.'
But what are we to say of Mr. Berkeley's incredible ignorance in attributing the protection of religious freedom to the sporting aristocracy of the country. Let the catholics report how far they are indebted to the tolerant and paternal spirit of the fox-hunting squirearchy; and if they have fewer wrongs to complain of, we can only attribute that doubtful advantage to the closer proximity which the Anglican Church is daily making to the doctrines and practice of popery. With regard to dissenters, however, in rural districts, the bitter spirit of the landed aristocracy has long been too notorious to need exposure. Their malignaut hostility, their exclusive dealing, their petty persecution, and their supercilious insolence, render them, for the most part, as far as dissenters are concerned, the nuisance of their neighbourhood. Why, what means the not unfrequent appendage, even to their advertisements for the letting of their estates,
No dissenters need apply?' Whence arises the impossibility (and it is no uncommon case) of obtaining, in the village of a wealthy proprietor, the smallest and most useless plot of ground for the erection of a humble chapel, and the ruinous persecution of the village Hampden' who affords an apartment in his house as a substitute? And whence the refusal of the Duke of Buccleugh to sell the smallest plot of his waste land for the erection of even a shed in which the scattered members of a christian church may worship their God in peace, simplicity, and freedom? If the Honourable Mr. Berkeley is aware of these facts, we can only express our regret that his 'sporting' is not confined to the fields. If he is ignorant of them, he has commenced his career as a controversial author by many years too soon.
But our author's next position in demonstration of the advantage of the game laws is too amusing to be passed over. After laying down (p. 52) the truly comic principle, that the game monopoly is only a just set-off against the peculiar burdens of the land, he adds,
"If the game laws existed no longer-observe the consequence-in every man's hand is placed a gun. If he trespasses, and refuses to desist, you may proceed against his liberty by the capture of his person, as you may do now, for, of course, there will still be a law for the protection of the privacy of property.
"Where there is one conflict now between men with fire-arms there will be thousands, and in the same ratio so many increased chances of the result in murder. Every old firelock and fieldkeeping musket will be brought into play, while at the same time the small proprietor and the hitherto certificated public will be giving up the amusement of shooting; the game on
places of their access being reduced to the small head indigenous to the soil not worth their seeking, but still just enough to induce the pursuit of the idle and demoralized. The gunsmith's trade is then affected; the demand for the expensive material being diminished, thousands of hands at Birmingham and other places lose their bread, and all for what? Simply because a cry has been raised against an old established law, founded as that law is on just and reasonable principles, by men who seek some public stalking horse on which to ride into notice; by men whose sect or personal inabilities do not lead them to enjoy the useful pleasures protected by that law; and by men who having suffered from just restrictions have imbibed a hatred to any similar restraint.'
Mr. Berkeley informs us in the course of his pamphlet, that at a certain period of his life (and for what we can guess to the contrary, this may be true of the larger portion of it) his chief companions were the country farmers of the neighbourhood. It may possibly be on their respectable authority that he affirms, that if the game-laws were abolished, 'a gun would be placed in every man's hand. On this subject we are happily able to relieve his mind. We can assure him, for example, that among the many objects of religious zeal, the destruction of game is not to be reckoned. We question whether the evangelical clergy will give him any trouble in his noctur. nal expeditions. The great body of the quakers are not so keen after grouse as Mr. Berkley may suppose. He will not, we take it, be called upon to administer the grand remedial 'punch on the head' to many dissenting ministers, nor is he likely to capture straggling Moravians knee deep in water after snipes. Indeed, we are sure that the honourable gentleman will take our word, when we affirm that the number of persons excluded from our religious communities for poaching is very inconsiderable.
Our author's sporting friends seem moreover to have been lamentably slow in communicating to him the result of their studies in political economy. We feel justified therefore in assuring him ex cathedra that if, according to his hypothesis, every individual in the British dominions were to carry a gun, the trade of the Birmingham gunsmiths would by no means suffer by the change. If our author's opinion to the contrary prevails extensively among his class, a fine opportunity is afforded to some starving operative, of turning a honest penny by the publication of a treatise, which might be entitled, 'Early Lessons on Political Economy, for the use of Country Gentlemen.'
To Mr. Berkeley's last statement, which represents one class of his opponents as men who, having suffered from just restrictions, have imbibed a hatred to any similar restraint, we
find an amusing parallel passage at page 21, where, speaking of the opponents of the game-laws in the daily papers, he adds, ‘most of whom, if not all, have, in all probability, suffered from punishment rightly inflicted by the laws they are for that reason so sedulous to condemn.” We hardly know whether it would be more candid to ascribe these passages to the unfairness of partisanship or to supernatural ignorance. They will probably suggest to the mind of the reader some rather grotesque images: such, for example, as that of Sydney Smith and the honourable member for Durham, working side by side in the hulks, with their hair cropped to pattern; or of Dr. Bowring and the Editor of the Times, cheek by jowl in the stocks. Indeed, if the success of Mr. Berkeley's maiden attempt should encourage him to defend some other system of monopoly and wrong on the same principle, we may expect the gratifying information, that the public conduct of Dr. Wardlaw on the church question, of Earl Fitzwilliam on the corn-laws, and of Mr. Sturge on the subject of war, is to be accounted for by the fact that the first had had his nose slit for holding forth in a conventicle; that the second had been transported for a desperate affray with the coastguard; and that the third had lost both his legs at the siege of Salamanca. The last, and (if comparison in such a case is allowable) the worst defence of the protection of game, which Mr. Berkeley attempts, is that that system is not injurious to the farmer. We imagine that our author must at some time have learned by experience the danger of proving too much, and he has certainly made good use of the lesson in citing from the Aylesbury News, the statement of a writer subscribing himself a tenant farmer, which is expressed in the following words:— ‘A farmer may keep a hundred sheep with less expence than a hundred hares.” But the honorable gentleman attempts something more than a refutation of this certainly exaggerated statement, and in doing so unfortunately falls into a greater extravagance. He adduces the case of a man who, by the way, had “rented under his family all his life,’ and who declared shortly before his death (probably shortly after the failure of his recollection) that though he had been in the constant habit of making complaints against the game, on account of the allowances made him, he held himself a considerable gainer instead of loser by the hare and pheasant. It would be easy to multiply instances supplied by the daily press, in proof of the almost incredible injury inflicted upon the farmer by the protection, and consequent increase of the breed of game. But on this subject it is due to Mr. Bright, the highly respected member for Durham, rather to direct attention to the facts and principles brought forward in his late masterly address to the House of Commons, in moving for a select committee to enquire into the operation of the Game Laws. We have long observed with great admiration the straightforward and dauntless career of Mr. Bright, in connection with the free trade agitation both within and without the walls of Parliament. In the honest devotion of his great talents to the cause which he has more particularly espoused, we find something which nearly approximates to a justification of his neglect of some other topics, which we deem more important than even free trade, and, even philosophically speaking, first in order in the catalogue of legislative reforms. Mr. Bright has, however, won our admiration by a public aggression against another enormous evil, beside his grand object it is true, but not so far beside it as to excite our jealousy or damage his consistency. Had Mr. Bright addressed himself either to wrangling on the currency question, or to fisticuffs with poor Colonel Sibthorp about railways, we should have been painfully disappointed, that his efforts should have withheld from the question of questions, the reform of the representative system. The operation of the Game Laws, however, is so nearly connected, as an aggravation, with the ravaging mischiefs of the Corn Laws, that, as we have said, his appearance in that field need excite no jealousy in the minds of Parliamentary reformers, and reflects in no way on his own consistency. Mr. Bright's address to the House on his motion for a committee to enquire into the tendency of the Game Laws, was a masterpiece of business-talent, research, and statesman-like skill. It was listened to with marked attention, and complimented with repeated and general cheering from all parts of the House. But, stranger still, it drew forth the blandest compliments from the ministry, and especially from Sir James Graham. Thus has it ever been throughout the annals of despotism, whether bearing the name of priestcraft in religion, or of toryism in politics. Whenever he has to deal with a man whose integrity is impregnable, and whose moral courage is such as not to be abashed by the coarseness of vituperation, and the insolence of scorn, the thorough-bred tory, unlike the thorough-bred dog, ‘runs cunning,’ and seeks to wheedle through some possible weakness, the man whom he has neither the power to daunt, nor the wealth to buy. In the case of Mr. Bright, however, the last man who should have been selected on this forlorn hope, was Sir James Graham — the unblushing apostate — the government spy. Surely the ministry could not suppose that their man of all work was so little known to Mr. Bright, that the