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divested himself of all sense of honesty ? how easy is the transition from fraud to force! from a gamester toʻa rogue ! perhaps, indeed, it is civil to suppose it any transition at all.

From this source, therefore, several of our most notable highwaymen have proceeded; and this hath likewise been the source of many other depredations on the honest part of mankind. So inischievous have been this kind of sharpers in society, that they have fallen under the particular notice of the legislature; for a statute in the reign of

reign of queen Anne, reciting, “That divers lewd and dissolute persons • live at great expences, having no visible estate, profession, or calling, to maintain themselves, but

support those expences by gaming only ;' enacts, • That any two justices of the peace may cause to

be brought before them all persons within their

respective limits, whom they shall have just cause " to suspect to have no visible estate, profession, or

calling, to maintain themselves by, but do, for the 'most part, support themselves by gaming; and if 6 such persons shall not make the contrary appear to

such justices, they are to be bound to their good • behaviour for a twelvemonth; and, in default of

sufficient security, to be committed till they can • find such security; which security (in case they give it) is to be forfeited on their playing or

betting at any one time for more than the value of 620s.


9 Arnæ, chap. xiv. sect. 6,7. It would be of great service to the publick to extend this statute to idle persuns and sharpers in general; for many support themselves by frauds, by cheating practices, even worse than gaming; and have the impudence to appear in the dress of gentlemen, and at public places, without having any pretensions of birth or fortune, or without any honest or visible means of livelihood whatever. Such a law would not be without a precedent; for such is the excellentinstitution mentioned by Herodotus, in his Euterpe. — Amasis (says that historian) • established a law in Egypt, that every Egyptian should annually

declare before the governor of the province by w - maintained himself; and all those who did not appear, or who



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As to gaming in the lower classes of life, so plainly tending to the ruin of tradesmen, the destruction of youth, and to the multiplication of every kind of fraud and violence, the legislature hath provided very wholesome laws *

. By the 33d of Henry VIII. Every artificer, craftsman of any handicraft or occupation, hus• bandman, labourer, servant at husbandry, jour

neyman or servant of artificer, mariners, fishermen, watermen, or any serving men, are prohibited from playing at tables, dice, cards, &c. out of Christmas, and in Christmas are permitted to play only in their masters' houses, or in his présence, under the penalty of 20s. And all manner of persons are prohibited from playing at any bowl or bowls, in any open place out of their garden or orchard, under the penalty of 6s. 8d.

"The conviction to be by action, information, bill, or otherwise, in any of the king's courts; one half of the penalty to the informer. • Provided that servants may play at any times with their masters, or by their licence; and all persons who have 100l. per annum, freehold, may

give their servants, or others, resorting to their • houses, a licence to play within the precinct of

their houses, gardens, or orchard.'

By this statute likewise, “No person whatever, by "himself, factor, deputy, servant, or other person,

shall, for gain, keep, &c. any common, house,

? could not prove that they had some lawful livelihood, were punished by death. This law Solon introduced into Athens,

where it was long inviolably preserved as a most just and equi<table provision.' Herod. edit. Hudsoni, p. 158. This punishment is surely too severe; but the law, under a milder penalty, is well worthy to be adopted.

* By a statute made in the reign of Edward IV. now repealed, playing at several games therein mentioned, was punished by two years imprisonment, and the forfeiture of iol. and the master of the house was to be imprisoned for three years, and to forfeit 201. A great sum in those days!

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• alley, or place of bowling, coyting, clash-coyis, • half-bowl, tennis, dicing-table, or carding, or any • other manner of game, prohibited by any statute * heretofore made, or any unlawful game invented or 'made, or any other new unlawful game hereafter • to be invented or made: the penalty is 405. per • day, for keeping the house, &c. and 6s. 8d. for

every person haunting and playing at such house, . These penalties to be recovered, &c. as above.

* And all leases of gaming-houses, alleys, &c. are made void at the election of the lessee.'

Farther, by the said statute, ‘Power is given to all 'justices of peace, mayors, or other head-officers, ' in every city, &c. to enter suspected houses and • places, and to commit the keepers of the said houses, • and the persons there haunting, resorting, and play*ing, to prison ; and to keep them in prison, till the • keepers have found sureties to enter into a recog• nizance to the king's use, no longer to keep such • house, &c. and the persons there found to be bound

by themselves, or with sureties, &c. at the discre• tion of the justice, &c. no more to haunt the said • places, or play at any of the said games.'

And now, by the statute of George II. this last clause is enforced, by giving the justice the same power on the information of two persons, as he had before on view; and, by a more explicit power, to take sureties or not of the party at his discretion.

Lastly, the statute of Henry VIII. enjoins the justices, &c. to make due search weekly, or once per month at the farthest, under the penalty of forfeiting 40s. for every month during their neglect.

Thus stands the law ; by which it may appear, that the magistrate is armed with sufficient authority to destroy all gaming among the inferior people; and that, without his neglect or connivance, no such nuisance can possibly exist.

And yet, perhaps, the fault may not so totally lie at his door; for the recognizance is a mere bugbear, unless the party who breaks it should be sued thereon; which, as it is attended with great expence, is never done ; so that, though many have forfeited it, not a single example of an estreat hath been made within my remembrance.

Again, it were to be wished, that the statute of George II. had required no more than one witness to the information ; for even one witness, as I have found by experience, is very difficult to be procured.

However, as the law now is, seeing that the general bent of the people opposes itself to this vice, it is certainly in a great measure within the magistrate's power to suppress it, and so to harass such as propose to find their account in it, that these would soon be discouraged from the undertaking ; nor can I conclude without observing, that this hath been lately executed with great vigour within the liberty of Westminster.

There are, besides, several other provisions in our statute books against this destructive vice. By the statute of queen Anne * whoever cheats at play forfeits five times the sum won by such cheating, shall be deemed infamous, and suffer such corporal punishment as in case of perjury. And whoever wins above jol. at any one sitting shall likewise forfeit five times the sum won, Going shares with the winner, and betting on his side, are, in both instances, within the act.

By the same act all securities for money won at play are made void ; and if a mortgage be made on such account the mortgagee doth not only lose all benefit of it, but the mortgage immediately enures to the use of the next heir f.

By this law persons who have lost above 10 l. and have actually paid it may recover the same by action within three months; and if they do not sue for it within that time any other person may *.

9 Annæ, chap. xiv. by which the statute of 16 C. II. is çnlarged, and made more severe. # Ibid. sect. I,

And the defendant shall be liable to answer a bill for discovering such sum lost, upon oath.

By 18 George II. of whoever wins or loses iol. at play, or by betting at any one time, or 201. within twenty-four hours, is liable to be indicted, and shall be fined five times the value of the money lost.

By 12 George II. * the games of Pharaoh, the Ace of Hearts, Basset, and Hazard, are declared to be lotteries; and all persons who set up, maintain, and keep them, forfeit 2001. and all who play at them forfeit 50l. The conviction to be before one justice of peace, by the oath of one witness, or confession of the party. And the justice neglecting his duty forfeits iol. Note, The prosecution against the keeper, &c. may be for a lottery, on the 8 George I. where the penalty is 50cl.

The act of 18 George II. includes the game of Roly Poly, or other prohibited game at cards or dice, within the penalties of the above-mentioned.

I have given this short sketch of these several acts partly for the use and encouragement of informers, and partly to insinuate to certain persons with what decency they can openly offend against such plain, such solemn laws, the severest of which many of themselves have, perhaps, been the makers of. How can they seriously answer, either to their honour or conscience, giving the pernicious example of a vice, from which, as the legislature justly says in the preamble to the 16th of Charles II. Many • mischiefs and inconveniences do arise, and are

daily found, in the encouraging of sundry idle ' and disorderly persons in their dishonest, lewd,

and dissolute course of life; and to the circum• venting, deceiving, cozening, and debauching of

many of the younger sort, both of the nobility

9 Annæ, chap. xiv, sect. 2.. Chap. xxviii.

+ Chap. xxxiv.

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