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legion, or another gaudy little Catholic
ruffian, clad in yellow or blue sackcloth, like
a badly-dressed jockey at Newmarket. I
hate a Protestant shoeblack as I hate a
Protestant champion at a Parliamentary
election; and I hate a Catholic shoeblack in the
same proportion. I do not deal with a
Protestant baker, I do not employ a
Protestant sweep, I do not patronise a Protestant
butcher, and I will not encourage a
Protestant shoeblack.  I am not clothed by a
Catholic tailor, I am not shaved by a Catholic
barber, my dustbin is not emptied by a
Catholic dustman, and I will not have my
boots cleaned by a Catholic shoeblack.

I will not allow the police to be the sole
judges of markets. I will not, without protest,
give them the power to determine when
any street trade is overstocked, and to say
"So far shall you go, and no farther." If
there is such a demand for good boot-cleaning,
let it be fully supplied, until four
stockbrokers are polished off for one penny instead
of one. Let the plinth of every column, the
base of every statue, the recess of every archway,
bristle with unfettered shoeblacks,
plying their useful trade in sublime indifference
to the periodical passing to and fro of
the hateful obstructive officer of the law.
Why should I in a free countrya tax-payer
of thirty years' standingbe left in front of
the Royal Exchange, in the broad glare of a
summer's day, in the ridiculous position of
having one trouser-leg tucked up, and the
other notwith one boot polished and the
other not; or, which is equally annoying,
with one boot shining like a mirror, and the
other presenting a dead, dull surface of wet
blacking that has gradually got dry, because
I have employed a shoeblack unlabelled as
Protestant or Catholic? Why should I, for
the same reason, be subject to the indignity
of having a boy with a foot-box, blacking-
bottle, and shoe-brushes slung over his
shoulders, beckoning me round the corner of
a banking-house, as if I was playing touch or
hi-bob-ree, or taking a part in some nefarious
proceeding? Why, Administrative Reformer,
should I be condemned to a weary pilgrimage
about town, with one boot muddy and the
other polished, to find a legally qualified
Protestant or Catholic shoeblack to restore
the ornamental balance under the protection
of the police? I say again, Why?

Why am I interrupted, in the middle of a
purchase of a few ribstone pippins, because
my unfortunate fruiterer stands behind an
old basket in the street, instead of a massive
mahogany counter inside a magnificent plate-
glass shop? Why do I see her flying across
the road at the approach of a policeman,
scattering her wares in the frightful hurry of
the transit. Why am I ordered into a flashy
dépôt, to give sixpence for a peach, paying
for all the gorgeous fittings which I do not
want, and which I detest, when I can buy
the same, if not a better article outside, if
the law would only allow me, for one penny!
Why are humble traders to be prevented
from supplying me with the exact thing that
I want, at the exact time that I want it, and
at the lowest possible price, because their
capital will not allow them, or their trade
does not require them, to stand anywhere
else than in the gutter? I ask again, Why?

I hate shams; and I ask why my place of
dissipation is sometimes called a Casino,
and sometimes a Dancing Academy? I
want to know why a thing that is considered
to be rotten, utterly bad, and to be
exterminated at any cost in the parish of Saint
Straitlace the Martyr, can be immediately
transplanted, to flourish in the adjoining
parish of All Serene? I want to know what
earthly good a licensing system is, which
merely alters the title of a place from Casino
to Dancing Academy, the thing itself remaining
the same?

I cannot imagine, for a moment, why any
public-house, which has already got full
permission to sell any quantity of the fiery,
maddening liquors which eat into mind and body,
and soul, should be refused the power of
tempering that permission with a little harmless
music. I may sit for hours on a tub in front
of a glittering bar drinking the awful poison,
in the company of half-palsied juniper idiots,
and no one will interfere with me in the name
of the law; but if I go into a spacious, well-
lighted building, at the rear of the house, and
join a large and comparatively well-conducted
audience of common people who have learned
to drink less, and to seek harmless amusement
more, and if the man who is singing on
the small stage, and the little orchestra which
accompanies him are not licensed pursuant to
the twenty-fifth of King George the Second, I
stand a chance of spending my night in the
comfortless cell of a police-station for taking
part in an illegal entertainment.

I want to know what purpose that part of
the licensing system serves, which is applied
to the regulation of the sale of intoxicating
drinks. I am sure of one great fact that
supplied how, when, or where it is, a certain
quantity of gin, for example, will be used in
this country at a certain price within a
certain time. If the licensing system has any
effect it deteriorates the quality of all the gin
sold in the given time, without decreasing the
quantity directly, or through the operation of
an increase in price. Supply and demand
will fit into each other in spite of supposed
legislative restrictions. The licensing system,
by increasing the cost of supply, in this case,
has given the consumer turpentine instead of
gin, for the consumer will not have his
quantity lessened or his price raised, and
the supplier meets the difficulty by adulteration.

If gin was sold to-morrow at every apple-
stall,—if rum-punch was manufactured and
ladled out at street-corners like stewed eels,
and if beer was hawked about in cans from

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