"the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes"

The ‘loaves and fishes’ alludes to the biblical miracle in which Jesus divided 5 loaves of bread and two fish to feed a great multitude of people.  Dickens' description of the ‘lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes’ refers to the French and English aristocrats.  Their estates were well stocked with many kinds of wild game, which they hunted for entertainment. Instead of feeding a multitude, these ‘loaves and fish’ were the preserve of an elite minority, kept from hungry mouths to entertain the rich and hedonistic ruling class.

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes
Public DomainThe Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes - Credit: Jacopo Tintoretto