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surely must have the effect of creating disgust, rather than of promoting a spirit of real piety; and certainly, they do not accord with that reverential awe, which a proper sense of the vast distance between man and his Redeemer, and a genuine feeling of humility and contrition would unavoidably inspire." Pref. p xi.
At the same time they have been careful to introduce a proper number of hymns, more peculiarly adapted to the relations in which Christians stand to their Maker and Saviour.
"In pursuing this design, we have endeavoured to select, from various sources, such pieces of sacred poetry, as appeared to us to convey the sense of Scripture in language at once perspicuous and poetical; such as were likely to regulate the warmth of devotion, by the sobriety of sound interpretation, and at the same time, to cherish it by the graces of language, and the harmony of numbers. It is therefore presumed, that our little volume may not prove unacceptable in families, for the purpose of imparting to young minds, a relish for poetical composition, while they may, at the same time, imbibe the principles of that knowledge, which so far transcends all human science; the knowledge, not only of the holiness, power and goodness of their Almighty Father and Creator, but also of the unbounded love and compassion of their Redeemer, and the benign and saving influence of their Sanctifier. When we mention the names of Crashaw, Sandys, Denham, Dryden, and Addison, and add to them Mason, Cowper, and Burns, as well as Cotton, Merrick and Watts, amongst others of high merit, from whose works our selection has been made, that taste must surely be fastidious, or, what is worse, insensible to a just spirit of piety, if it does not here find something to applaud in the charms of composition, as well as something to feel from the incentives to devotion." Pref. p. ix.
Approving of the object of the present collection, with this proviso with which we set out, that in our private opinion the authorized Psalmody is all-sufficient; and, for the most part, of 'its execution, we will take the liberty of suggesting a few remarks, which may tend to the improvement of a future edition. The version of Psalm 15, given in p. 14, is considerably inferior to that of Tate and Brady, in more respects than one; it is more paraphrastical,and less nervous. Addison's Hymn on the Wonders of Creation should not have been given under the title of Psalm 19. of which its author never intended it for a version. It is a beautiful ode, and might be given as an adjunct to the excellent version of Tate and Brady.
"The heavens declare thy glory, Lord,
"Their powerful language to no realm,
'Tis nature's voice, and understood
This last stanza is superior to any thing in Addison's imitation. The same remark applies to the hymn, inserted in No. 452 of the Spectator, which cannot, surely, be termed a version of the 71st psalm. To some of the hymns it may be objected, that they are composed in a style far above the comprehension of two thirds of any country congregation; for instance, the 12th, which is an extract of Pope's Messiah, the 15th, the 25th, the 53d, the 59th, the 60th, the 80th, the 124th, the 139th, (which in point of fact, is not a bynm, but a short moral poem) and the 164th. We would designate by an asterisk, those poems in this collection, which are more peculiarly appropriated to the devotional exercises of those, who have enjoyed the benefits of a good education. Upon the whole we do not hesitate to say, that the editors, Dr. Maltby, Mr. Tillard, and Mr. Banks, in making the present selection, with a strict regard to the principles of taste and orthodoxy, have rendered an acceptable service to the soberly religious part of the community, and if, from our perhaps too rigid notions of conformity and too inveterate partiality for the Psalms of David, we hesitate in recommending this volume to the public service of the sauctuary, we can most conscienciously point it out as well adapted to the more retired exercises of family worship.
ART. VI. A Letter on the Game Laws. By a Country Gentleman, a Proprietor of Game. 8vo. pp. 44. 1815.
THE pamphlet now before us appears to contain much good sense, and a very original view of the subject on which it treats. This subject may, at first sight, seem to affect none but the sportsman and the poacher, or the magistrate before whose tribunal the disputes between these warlike opponents are carried. But a deeper investigation of it may convince us, that all wellwishers to morality and good order, in whatever station of life, ought to take a lively concern in the present state of the Game Laws, since the best interests of morality, and the good order of society are deeply interwoven with it. The general drift of the author is, to prove, that the alteration in the state of society in England, since the establishment of the game laws, calls loudly for a reformation of the laws themselves. He justly observes,
that in consequence of the extension of commerce, and the introduction thereby of a new class of rich men into the country, who, not possessing land, can only procure game by purchase; a temptation is offered to poachers, to break the laws, too powerful to be resisted by the generality of the lower orders. Fatal experience indeed proves this fact, which is well known to all country magistrates, who witness the lamentable frequency of poaching cases. The gentleman of monied property, who thinks it neces sary to have game at his table, purchases it of the poulterer, at a very high price, without enquiring whence it comes. The poulterer finding a great demand for game, offers a good price to any person who will procure it for him; and we must be well aware, however we may choose to shut our eyes on this subject, that those persons who thus procure it for the table of these gentlemen, can be no other than poachers, who are tempted by the high price offered to them, to commit the necessary depredation. So that every partridge that is purchased by the gentleman of monied property, costs a breach of the laws; and this has been becoming every day more common and frequent, from the great influx of wealth into the country of late years. The demoralizing tendency of this arrangement to the lower orders, it is almost needless to point out; since all who consider the con stitution of human nature, must be convinced that the breach of one law commonly leads to that of another, and that those persons who begin with poaching, may probably end with swindling or highway robbery. From the consideration of these circumstances, our author in a lively manner, describes the game laws, as a system of regulations by which the youth of our villages are reared for the gallows by the temptations arising out of their enactments. The remedy proposed for this great evil, is, that it should be made lawful to sell game with a licence and under certain restrictions: but we proceed to give a few extracts as specimens of the author's reasoning and manner of writing. He introduces his observations, by the following statement of the occasion which immediately drew them forth, viz. the recent homicide of a desperate and notorious poacher, who left destitute. upon the parish, a wife and several children.
"A distressing event, which has lately taken place in my own neighbourhood, has revived in my mind reflections which have frequently passed through it, on the tendencies of the Game Laws; and I am more than ever convinced that an impartial review of their prínciple, objects, and effects, should scarcely fail to gain the assent of all parties to considerable alterations. More especially may this result be expected, if, as I think, it can be shown that the alterations proposed would tend to conciliate and promote the interests of all parties concerned that they would, at one and the same time, increase the quantity of Game for the sportsman; ex
tend the enjoyments connected with the possession of game to those whom the progress of society has raised into a station to be entitled to them; and also immediately check, and ultimately annihilate, the moral and political evils resulting from the present prohibitions. I do not, however, wish to disguise my opinion, that it is the extent of these last which imperatively calls for the interference of the Legislature, and of all persons who have the least regard for the welfare of their country. The extent and progress of the evil cannot be conceived by those who are not conversant with the lower ranks in the country villages. From extensive observation and enquiry, I believe in my conscience, that it is not too much to assert that three fourths of the crimes which bring so many poor men to the gallows have their first origin in the evil and irregular habits, NECESSARILY introduced by the almost irresistible temptations held out, in consequence of the prohibitions of the Game Laws, to a nightly breach of their enactments.
"This I can safely declare of my own knowledge,-that of the numerous country villages with which I am acquainted, NOT ONE exists in which the profligate and licentious characters may not trace the first and early corruption of their habits to this cause*. And, I think, it will soon be acknowledged that the wonder is, not that so many are corrupted, but that so many escape the temptations necessarily consequent upon a set of prohibitions, enacted for one state of society, but by the lapse of time, and change of circumstances, rendered perfectly inapplicable to its actual condition. Truly this is no object of petty legislation or insignificant detail. The moral habits of the universal population are deeply implicated in it. The safety of every description of rural property is as much concerned. The peace of society and the security of individuals are no less endangered. We scarcely take up a country newspaper without seeing a long list of proprietors associating for mutual assistance in prosecuting and punishing the depredations of their poorer neighbours. How comes it that it never occurs to these gentlemen, that this general depravation of habits must have some moral cause?—and that they would save themselves much trouble, and do the state good service, if they would associate to prevent the evil rather than to punish it, to weaken or remove the cause rather than vainly to oppose its necessary effect?" P. 5.
He then, after a few more observations, goes on to remark.
"The Principle of the Game Laws is abstractedly a very fair one; -namely, to secure to those, at whose expense the animals are reared and supported, the enjoyments accruing from the possession of them. To accomplish this end, the specific objects of the
*The experience of every impartial magistrate, of every judge of assize, will fortify this assertion :-many indeed have openly declared it."
Laws seems to have been, 1st. To preserve to the Proprietors of Land the amusement of sporting:-2dly. To afford to the higher ranks of Society, to whom alone it is of any value, the luxury of game at their tables. Now these are certainly reasonable objects. It is of the highest importance to the welfare of the people and to the good of the state, that landed gentlemen should reside upon their properties. It is therefore matter of sound policy to secure to them the enjoyments which will make such residence agreeable, as far as it can be done without injustice to others. And surely it can never be called unjust to preclude a stranger from destroying animals for his own profit, which have been reared and preserved at the expense of the landed proprietor. Again, the possession of game, as a luxury for the table, is absolutely of no value to persons of the lower sort: they annex no idea to a dead hare or partridge, but its value in money. Since therefore there is neither game enough in any country either to afford the amusement of sporting to the whole population, or to afford articles of food to all ranks of society, it seems perfectly fair that those, who by natural justice have no right to the article, and to whom it is in fact of little or no value, should be the party debarred from taking it. By the principles of equity it is evident that a stranger has no more right to the wild animals, bred and fed on my property, at my expense, than he has to the tame animals in my poultry yard. In either case he could only entitle himself to the possession of them by agreement or purchase." P. 9.
Having thus vindicated the abstract principle and objects of the game laws, he enquires how far they are consistent with the attainment of these objects in their practical effects, and attempts to prove that, according to the present system of society, the largest part of those persons who, from their fortune and rank in life, think themselves entitled to have game at their tables, would be entirely debarred from it, but for the facility of purchasing from poachers.
"In the agricultural state of society, in which England was found when the Game Laws assumed their present shape, enactments prohibiting the sale of Game, and confining the privilege of taking it to the landed proprietors, might fairly enough be said to have fulfilled this second object. The gentry of England, those who exercised hospitality, and who kept a table, were almost exclusively such proprietors, or their connexions ;-so that there was no man who from his station in life felt it proper, or entertained a wish, to have game at his table, who was precluded from lawful means of placing it there.
"But how stands the case since the changes introduced into society by commerce and manufactures, by the increase of great and opulent towns filled with merchants and other citizens, who are bound by their stations and occupations to exercise a liberal