The disclosures recently so frequently made of the inner life of the British Upper Ten Thousand, who claim to be the first aristocracy of the world, go to show that some of our Peers of the Realm are nothing better than titled scoundrels , and unfortunately not a few of our so-called "noble" dames as frail as the frailest of their sex. On the other hand undoubtedly there are names which rank as high m the roll of God's nobility, the nobility of virtue and righteousness, of goodness and mercy, as they do on the rolls of Herald's College, the names of men and women who are noble m character as well as noble m title, and are as the salt which prevents the taint of corruption from spreading throughout their entire order. Yet despite these examples of the union of moral and hereditary nobility, there are so many of an entirely opposite character that those who move m high places may well tremble for the future. For m Rome, and m other great cities, the decay of virtue among the aristocracy has invariably preceded decay and decadence, and the vices of rank and wealth have been the writing on the wall whioh has preceded great social cataclysms. It is an ill day for more than their own immediate and privileged class when the proud sentiment " Noblesse Oblige " ceases to sway the actions of the nobility, and it iB a still | darker day when blue blood openly , indulges m glaring vice. Not long ago I the world was shocked by the " Fall Mall Gazette's" lurid pictures of one phaße of the vice of the wealthy of Modern Babylon, and though the lines were thrown m with perhaps too heavy a hand, it is to be feared that the truth was evil enough to justify the broad denunciations of that fearless journal. And now by the cable we have another pioture of vice m high places, which shows us my Lord This and my Lord That surprised by the police m gambling for thousands on Sunday morning. One noble (1) Lord is said to have lost £5000 and another £2000 at a fashionable Baccarat Club held at the gambling saloon of a noted gamester, with an accomplice ready to assist the gulls to denude themselves of their estates, even before they are theirs, by the device oi postobits. This den of infamy, we are told, has proved the ruin of many young men of fashion, and it is not to be supposed that it is the only one. Doubtless there are many such, and it is well that one nobleman has had the courage to dare the exposure which must follow by calling m the aid of the police to punish the offenders. Yet not only this is wanted — not only is it desirable that such places as this gambling den should be suppressed — but a reform is sadly needed m the habits and ideas of Society on this topic, for gambling at a Bacarrat Club does not begin there and it is the spirit of gambling which needs to be exorcised. Let us hear what an English Judge has to say about it. In expressing his concurrence with Baron Huddleston m a judgment given m the case Cohen v Kittell on the 15th March last, Mr Justice Manisty said that "gambling was now carried on to an extent perfectly appalling, whether as to betting on races or transactions m stock. He did not hesitate to say from his experience as a judge, that there was no greater evil m Society, and none which caused more misery or ruin m families. The practice of gambling had been carried to a frightful In the particular case before the Court on this occasion the action was brought against the defendant for not making bets which he had been employed as an agent to make, and the Court not only found for the defendant, but held that he was \ entitled to credit for not carrying out j his instructions, Judge Manisty, after j the above quoted general animadversions upon the vice of gambling, going on to say with regard to the particular question before the Court — « This was an action against an agent for not making hets, and he held, without doubt, that such an action could not be maintained. If bets bad been made and money paid or reoeived upon them, the decision oited would apply, and the agent might have recovered losses he had paid, oy the party employing him money he oad won. 'lhose decisions were binding on the Court ; btjt he would not carry them a step further, and here the bets had not been made and money had not been won or received. The authorities had already, m his opinion, gone very far ; but he would not carry them further m favor ot gambling. He could not see why, when petty betting-houses were put down by force, Tattersall's should be spared, though the botfl made there were no more valid or legal than if made m any publio house. He, however, would not carry the law further m, favor of gambling and betting, and he would not hold tha,t an agent who had declined to make bets, which the law had done all it could to discourage, should be liable to an action for not making them. He should rather think it was very creditable conduct on the part of tho - agent. The Act was to put down all bets or contracts by way of gambling or wagering, and it was to the credit of the agent that bo had refused to make suoh bets, even though h.e ; hao! agreed to do so. Contracts which would be contrary to publio polioy and could not be enforced, an agent could not bo" bound to make." It is thus evident that the sympathies, of the Engl^u Judges are strongly ad verso to gambling m any form, and it is well that ifc is so, but the vice is so widespj^d as to need the most earnest efforts^M^r social reformers, whose BpherefHßoor lies plainly as much among the privileged clauses as among the miny headed njultHuije— nay, it would seem, thaj there is more need for their labors among the former than among the latter. We do not mean tc say that gambling, as a vice among the titled and wealthy, is a new thing— tha story of the life and times of England under the Georges proves the contrary — but surely we ought not to be satisfied m these days of enlightment to be no worse than our forefathers, surely w« should aim at higher and nobler things v Bnd we do not hesitate to say that the cable nev/Q which has called forthfc hese remarks on our part is cause for national s humiliation and shame.|q 1
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IGOBLE NOBLES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2136, 16 May 1889
IGOBLE NOBLES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2136, 16 May 1889
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