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EARLY CLOSING., Issue 8016, 19 September 1889
TO THK EDITOR. Sir,—Allow me space in your columns to make a few remarks about the early closing movement, as I will not be able to attend the meeting called to-morrow. Although I have lived exclusively under the English flag since 1851, I am a native of an important town in a South American State. In 1850 the leaders of social and philanthropic movements in our new town discovered that a very large proportion of the inhabitants absented themselves from all places of public resort, with the exception of the drinking saloons, churches, mechanics' institutes, reading rooms, etc., etc., etc., were almost entirely neglected by the store-hands and factory operatives, aud by almost all kinds of workmen generally. After careful inquiry cur social and benevolent leaders discovered that thecause of the neglect referred to was not owing to any carelessness or degeneracy, but owing to the excessive hours of labor then common in the town. Employers were at onco appealed to to shorten the hours of labor and close earlier. Some were willing, and others refused : store-owners in particular refusing to close early, giving us a reason for their refusal that the most of their sales were made at late hours. After trying many useless expedients, a young clerk in a dry goods store suggested that a list be obtained of all those interested in early closing and shorter hours, and that each one should subscribe a small sum for expenses, aud that a respectable man, of g.iod address and a fluent speaker, be employed for a month to call on every householder and lodger in the town, explain to them clearly and forcibly the evil of buying anything at late hours or even late in the afternoon, and indueo them to sign a document promising not to buy anything after a certain hour in the afternoon ; also get some hundreds of leaflets printed, to be sent to the iuhabitants in the adjoining villages and farming districts, asking them to kindly abstain from doing any business in the town after the hour stated. Well, to be brief. I may state that the canvasser engaged was so very successful that everyone in the town—not directly interested in white siave driving—signed the document, pledging himself not to buy after the hour stated, and also not to buy any of the manufactures or products of people who would keep their employes at work after the hour mentioned.
In conclusion, I beg to state that the movement was so very successful that even the saloons were closed from 7 p.m. on Saturday to 6 a.m. on Monday. If those interested in Dunedin will adopt some such plan as this what is to prevent them getting all shops closed at 5 p.m. every day in the week ?—6.30 p.m. is much too late, it should be 5 p.m. every day in the week. A great many of the employe's in Dunedin live in the suburbs, and if kept at work after 5 p.m. they cannot have time to devote to any kind of social or any other business after their day's work. I notice that the moat of the shops in Dunedin open at 7.30 in the morning. Well, a man or boy living in the suburbs must be out of bed at least at six in the morning to enable him to get to work at half-past seven. Will some of the kindhearted employers please state at what hours the men and boys employed by them are likely to get home—say to the Kaikorai, or Mornington, or Anderson Bay, North-east Valley, or Maori Hill, or Ravensbourne. 5 p.m. is late enough for closing, and that should be the hour for closing on Saturday also. Late closing on Saturday is simply a device of the Devil, and should be put a stop to at once. I think it is evident that early closing here can only be effectually brought about by making a house-to-house canvass in the City and suburbs, and boycotting the manufacturers who will not close at 5 p.m.—l am, etc., H. W. P. Dunedin, September 16.
EARLY CLOSING., Issue 8016, 19 September 1889
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