TO THIS EDITOR. Sir,— lt is, to any reflective mind, a pitiable thing to see so many able-bodied young men with intelligent minds loitering nightly round the corners and under the verandahs of this fair City of Dunedin. These young men are called larrikins, and our citizens affect to despise them; yet they form a part of our community—a part fraught with large influences either for good or evil, both now and in the time that is to come. It is for the purpose of suggesting a means to nullify or lessen the evil influences and of extracting what good can be got at that I essay to write on the subject, as also to remove a nuisance from our midst which is becoming more intolerable every day, and which in other cities has grown to an extent and power that required the strongest exercise of the law to deter. First of all, then, these young men must not be allowed to lounge about our street corners and doorways in a state of watchful idleness, for, mindful of Dr Watts’s couplet, Satan finds some mischief still For idle bands to do, they must be put off the streets ; and right in here comes the question Where are they to go ? To public-houses or billiard rooms ? God forbid. To their own homes ? Impossible, as in nine cases out of ten the home of either one of them is not the place that the other could be asked to enter, by reason of the fact that cigarette-smoking and bad language are the staple employments or enjoyments of these budding burdens to the commonwealth.
My suggestion is that by next winter premises be obtained, with one room in which these young men may congregate free of charge, and there sit, scand, smoke, or do any of the things they do in the streets, undisturbed and untrammelled, save in destruction o! the chattels belonging _to the “ Resortand another room, in which the daily papers, etc., etc., will be kept, admission to which will be fixed at a price just sufficient to pay expenses. Then let a bylaw be made by our Corporation forbidding lads of the larrikin order to congregate in larger numbers than two, at the risk of police interference, and authorising their arrest in case of disobedience; and I apprehend the axe would be applied to the root of this growing evil. There are in Dunedin many philanthropic people willing, and even anxious, to do something for the benefit and amelioration of their feilow-beings, as vide the antisweating and other movements. Therefore I opine that if some citizen with position and influence in society were to exert himself or use his pen in this matter, a number of willing co-workers would rally round him, and a work could be done which, by the magnitude of its results, would amply repay the exertions of the promoters of any scheme that may evolve out of this small effort of an obscure individual.—l am, etc., E.T. Dunedin, September 9.
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OUR HOODLUMS., Evening Star, Issue 8007, 9 September 1889
OUR HOODLUMS. Evening Star, Issue 8007, 9 September 1889
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