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UNKNOWN

(From the Derbyshire Timm.} One of our metropolitan contemporaries ; is devoting some space to a correspondence upon the subject of the prevailing use oJ f"ul and profane language in. this' country. Jfc is not ho-ore it was time- that publ'c :U:toiiT,i-.!!i .vas *ii: ected tu the prevalence of this most useless and disgusting vice. It is almost impossible to pass along the street of our large towns with- .; out having our oars polluted by language of the most horrible description—some of it is so bad that we most charitably presume those who use it do so in ignorance of its meaning. Nor is the evil confined altogether to grown up persons among the lower classes. The children speedily . learn, and the language we can hear any day from pit boys in this district, is often of the worst description. Neither is the use of this bad language confined to the working man. The classes above him, it is true, are far better trained in this respect as a rule, but “ Arry ’’-can make use of oaths far too readily, and there,are black sheep in the ranks above him also. Another feature of this reprenhensible habit is that the Character of the bad language used, is changing, or has changed. In past ages the oaths of the people were distinctly of ecclesiastical derivation. They were, too, mostly used to emphaticise what was said, by the process of calling upon the Almighty to witness to their statements, or by clenching their arguments by an appeal to holy men or holy subjects. Bad as this sort of language' was, the “ blood and ounds ’’. style ,of swearing was infinitely less repulsive than - the filthy and disgusting language' which has replaced it. Scarcely a. vestige of’ the old style of swearing remains, except “ the frequent d or the impious tise of the Creator’s name. The rest is unadulterated filth, if filth can be so described, and the fact proves a certain amount of degradation in the classes in which to swear and curse is still considered a desirable accomplishment. The style of language, which has been alliteratively described as “ the three b's,” has swept out the old monkish : oaths of the past, and even the more decent condemnatory epithets of oiir forefathers are giving way to it, a fact which speaks badly for the swearers, as it shows that even in ihe*r low depths there is a •deepen level still. Now all this sort of thing is a great disgrace to a Christian nation, and we have no doubt whatever it could be speedily greatly checked. Any town can enact bye-laws by which the use* of profane language is made an offence punishable by fine, and imprisonment by default. Many towns / already • enforce these bye-laws, and the effect is excellent, not so much perhaps in the mere punishment of the particular delinquent fined aa in the fact that by these prosecutions attention of persons who are likely tor adopt the habit is called to the subject. If all those persons who thoughtlessly swear and curse were thus reminded of the impropriety of it,, there would be a considerable improvement in the language used in places of public resort at once,, and we might trust to the- repressive'measures to deal , effectively,\rith the wilful offenders. A good deal may also 5 be done by employers of labor instituting a system of fines for swearers, such fines to be devoted to the benefit of the workpeople in general, and there are many other ways in which this useless, dio-. gusting, and degrading vice might be effectually checked. Certainly it is incumbent on those in authority to take some steps to limit a national vice -which of late years seems rather to. grow than diminish, and which is decidedly worse ini its incidence than formerly. We trust, these few “ cursory remarks on swearing ”• —to quote the punning inscription at Chatsworth—may be of service in directing public attention in this county to a subject which must be admitted to be, of social importance. '

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18791115.2.23

Bibliographic details

UNKNOWN, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 22, 15 November 1879

Word Count
674

UNKNOWN Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 22, 15 November 1879

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