"From all I have seen of the criminality of young persons, I have reason to believe that the singing rooms and concert rooms, in which the sale of liquors is the chief source of profit, furnish the first temptations and stimulants to their criminality."
That this conclusion is a correct one, I fully believe, from an experience, the result of my own personal inquiries. A taste for the amusements provided being once acquired, must be gratified — by youths, at the sacrifice of their weekly earnings, how treat themselves and their sweethearts—and by the latter, at the expense of their virtue. How the evil is to be fairly coped with—whether by the efforts of the "Society for the Regulation of Public-houses," &c., or by legislative enactment. I know not, but it strikes me that our own local authorities might do something in the matter, If they would only bestir themselves. I see by our local police act, 7 and 8 Vic, C. 40, sec. 204, "That That every person licensed to deal in excisable liquors who shall knowingly supply any sort of distilled exciseable liquor to any boy or girl apparently under the age of 16 years to be drunk upon the premises shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 2s." - with increased penalties for subsequent convictions. Armed with such power, then, why not send a policeman or two nightly to visit these pest-houses? Only let it be made public to these young people that they themselves were liable to be picked out by a policeman, and to be called upon to come into a public court as witnesses against the very landlords who harboured them, and I will engage many of them would never be seen in such houses again. Young servant girls, sent on errands, often contrive to spend half an hour in such places, unknown to their mistresses, as do other young people unknown to their parents; and once assured that a policeman had the power to make known their stolen visits they would be "far and few between" indeed. Apologising for the length I have trespassed on your space, I am, &c,
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser
29 November 1851