The Anti-game-law Circular And Organ Of The Anti-game-law League.




The Anti-Game-Law League, 13, Beaufort-buildings, Strand.





Item Description

PERIODICAL. 4to. 9 x 13.25 inches. 8pp. per issue. Text in double columns. Bound in contemporary cloth, gilt. Minor wear to extremities and a little foxing of fly leaves; otherwise a very good copy. A few early ink notes in text. The entire run of thirty six issues of The Anti-Game-Law Circular, 1872-73, published by the Anti-Game-Law League, which had itself been founded in 1872 with the aim of repealing the 'infamous' Game laws, 'this shameless relic of barbarism;' 'our opponents...fight not for honour, nor for country, nor for duty, nor for life, nor for God. They fight for Partridges.' The Game Laws ultimately derived from Norman forest law and had been re-emphasised by the Black Act of 1723, which imposed harsh penalties for poaching. later modified and mitigated by the Night Poaching Act of 1828 and the Game Act of 1831. The League campaigned for abolition of the Laws, 'The Pastime of Cruelty...The Great Game-Plague,' on the grounds that they diminished the supply of, and increased the price, of food, by reducing the area under cultivation, with crops subject to destruction by preserved wild game; furthermore they manufactured a criminal class ' by creating a legal offence which is no sin,' and greatly injured the nation for the sake of the wealthy class. A table (Vol. I, p.75) set out the present condition of the law, with the nature of the crime (e.g. trespass in pursuit of game) with the penalty and term of imprisonment (there are also tables for Scotland and Ireland). The League calculated an average of forty prosecutions for every working day of the year, with ninety per cent of cases resulting in convictions. The Circular was edited by Lewis Sergeant (1841-1902), journalist and historian, who discusses the the reason for ceasing its publication in the final issue. It had analysed the the evidence given before the Commons Select Committee on the Game Laws, had placed before the public a 'sort of cyclop?dia of facts and arguments,' and made the issue one of the most pressing questions of the day. In the future the cause of repeal of the laws would be taken up by The Examiner, a journal which Sergeant was also to edit. A very scarce title; Library Hub records only one holding, in the British Library.

[Stock No. 26198]

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