Touting in Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer July 23, 1864

Sir – You had a letter last week from a fine-mouthed gentleman condemning touting, swearing and lounging, as said to exist near Ryde pier. As to swearing and lounging, we will leave others to explain; but as you know all about the subject of touting as well as any man living, we appeal to your sense of justice to enable us to put ourselves right with the public; the more especially because some of the Commissioners have lately been so loud in the matter. Peter Young and Chubb Knapp are the two original touters in Ryde – who employed them? We little ones were compelled, in self-defence to tout too. Then why not put down touting in high places first? There is a large brewing firm, with an agency in Ryde, which touts more than any dozen of cabmen on the Esplanade – how is that? Some of the principal tradesmen, by means of the agents, tout and monopolise trade – whose fault would it be, then, if small tradesmen were to do likewise? We only ask for fair play, which we do not get at present, but are dogged about like ticket of leave men, whilst big offenders go unscathed.
Your obedient servants,
MEN WHO GET THEIR LIVING

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer
Dear Sir, Can you in any way call the attention of the magistrates or Commissioners to the notorious practice of fast driving in this town, more so when they have no passengers. If you can put a stop to it before an accident happens, you will confer a benefit to the public and to me.
Your’s truly,
ROBERT PACK
Ryde, IW, July 21st, 1864

TOUTING IN RYDE
For a long time touting has been carried on in Ryde to an extent that is unbearable, and we have accordingly maintained that is must be put down. But the touters themselves have a few words to say on their own behalf, and we could not refuse them a hearing. We are not going to enter into the general question as to whose fault it is that touting is prevalent, or as to the different modes in which it is carried on because we condemn the whole system of sneaking, or “pushing the trade”, let its shape be whatever it may. But the point is this: why should visitors be bored by touters from hotels, or for coaches and cabs, more than for lodging-houses, bakers, grocers or laundresses? Why should cabmen be more troublesome than watermen, and put the town to the expense of a stand master? The simple fact is, they are more troublesome than all other classes put together; and therefore the public must be protected, and those who cause this evil must take the consequences. The magistrates are determined to punish disorderly conduct on the pier and stand by imprisonment, as fines are of no avail; and, although we denounce the tyranny of Winchester bastile, we cannot defend the conduct of the offenders.

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