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It is remarkable that there is no work of any magnitude on the law relating to Game and to Fisheries. It is a subject interesting to the Profession, and peculiarly so to Gentlemen of landed property. Numerous, indeed, and much to be regretted are the disputes and actions which arise from the real or supposed infractions of this law. It appears to me, that animosities of this nature are generally the effect of ignorance, on the part of the injured, or of the offender, of their respective rights and liabilities, and that therefore nothing would so effectually tend to prevent such disputes, as to shew to those who are possessed of exclusive and peculiar privileges how far such privileges extend, and to explain to others the wrongs which they commit, and the penalties to which they subject themselves, by their encroachments on the rights of their neighbours, or their violation of the law; and thus, by defining to all the limits which they are forbidden to exceed, to hinder, on the one hand, authority from swelling into oppression, and on the other, to prevent ignorance from leading men into litigation. The subject is partially collected in Burn's Justice, and in some other publications, but these afford imperfect, and frequently erroneous information ; and the great number of ancient as well as modern enactments and decisions, unnoticed in those works, sufficiently evince the necessity for a more enlarged treatise. I am induced, by these considerations, to offer the following pages to the public.
In preparing this work, more labour has been undergone than is usually employed; for every page of the Statute Books and Reports has been examined, in order to prevent information from escaping notice. Hence it will be found that all the principles, statutes, and decisions upon the subject are collected and digested, and a great number of valuable decisions in the Year Books, and other ancient reporters, which, from their mode of printing, have hitherto been inaccessible in practice, have been translated and incorporated ; and, in order to render the work more complete and
useful in itself, as well to those whose libraries may not contain all the Statutes and Law Reports, as to Professional Gentlemen, who may wish to save trouble in referring to other books, the statutes and cases are printed in the Appendix, and the whole work is rendered accessible by a very full Index.
To enable the reader to judge how far the subject proposed to be considered may be worthy of
his attention, it may not be improper here to give a concise prospectus or analytical view of the contents.
The Treatise, or Digest, is divided into two parts, the first relating to GAME, the second to public and private Fisheries.
The first part contains ten chapters. In the first chapter, the legal definition of Game is considered, as well as the property in it in general, and the restraints on taking it at common law and by statute, and the policy of those regulations.
The second chapter relates more particularly to the places privileged as to game, such as the franchises of forests, chases, parks, and free warrens, and the protection of game in other places not particularly privileged, as manors, bare and rabbit warrens, private grounds and decoys.
In the third chapter are considered those important legislative enactments and decisions which confine the liberty of sporting to qualified persons; the ancient and modern statutes are here fully examined, and the qualifications to kill game are stated, as they relate to the owners of forests, parks, chases, and free warrens, lords of manors, and their gamekeepers, (with all the points relating to the appointment of a gamekeeper and his authority)—the qualification of the eldest son of an esquire, or of a person of higher degree, and the qualification in respect of estate, whether it be an estate of inheritance or only for life, or for a term of years ; and this chapter concludes with observations relative to unqualified persons sporting with those who are qualified.
The fourth chapter contains a practical view of the penalties and punishments to which unqualified persons are subject for sporting; and of the penalties on officers and soldiers for killing game, and on inferior tradesmen, apprentices, and others, for sporting without leave of the owner or 'occupier of the land.
The fifth chapter relates to the time when game may be taken, and the mode of taking it, the offence of buying and selling it, or of an unqualified person having it in possession, and the regulations which tend to preserve it, by prohibiting the taking of eggs and burning of heath.
In the sixth chapter is considered in particular the law relating to Deer, Rabbits, and Pigeons.
The seventh chapter relates to the summary proceedings against offenders, and the searching for and seizing their dogs, guns, nets, and game, either by foresters, park-keepers, justices of the peace, and others acting under their warrant, lords of manors and their gamekeepers, and by others.
In the eighth chapter are considered very fully all the different offences relating to game, and when they are punishable criminally, or by pecuniary penalties. When an indictment is sug.