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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Letter to the Editor Concerning Poachers
and Gamekeepers (S536b: 1898)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Regarding comments of Wallace's printed in an untitled note appearing on page 63 of the Labour Leader issue of 19 February 1898. Also note Henry Stephens Salt's words on page 202 of his Seventy Years Among Savages: "Dr. Alfred R. Wallace was also in full accord with us, and he was especially interested in our protest against the Game Laws, 'those abominable engines of oppression and selfishness,' as he described them in one of several letters which I received from him." (See WCP4785.5164 at The Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project.) To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S536B.htm

     With Reference to the Humanitarian League's pamphlet, "The Truth About the Game Laws," Professor Alfred R. Wallace writes of a "decision--I think about a year or two back--by a judge that a gamekeeper had no more right to attack or assault a poacher than the poacher had to assault the gamekeeper; that the gamekeeper had no right to apprehend the poacher, but only to take his snares, traps, dogs, or guns. To apprehend him the police must be applied to in the usual way. On referring to a law book, I find that no gamekeeper, unless appointed by the lord of the manor, or by the owner of a 'free warren,' or a corporation, and registered with the clerk of the peace, has even these powers. A landlord even has no power to shoot a poacher's dog, or seize his snares, guns, etc., but only to take the game shot on his own land. Now it is quite certain that this law is constantly ignored; and as the gamekeepers almost always begin the fights with poachers, it is they who are the law-breakers, and it would be a most valuable lesson if the Society, or some of its supporters, would try this by having the gamekeeper in such a case prosecuted for assault."

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