Transcription of letter dated September 2, 1852
To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer
Sir – It was with no ordinary degree of pleasure that I saw an announcement of an arm of that all-powerful engine, the Press, being about to be extended to our immediate neighbourhood and very particular town, a consummation devoutly to be wished, the want of which has been long felt by, and surprised all visitors, and said very little for the intelligence or enterprise of permanent inhabitants: that the essay will be successful, if conducted with ordinary aptitude and talent, there can be no doubt.
Be that however as it may, the medium offering itself I shall make no apology for sending you a few remarks on a disgusting and demoralizing practice, which, as far as my own experience goes, is peculiar to this town, I might almost say, to this country.
I have been a visitor and resident here for nearly thirty years, and have frequently remarked that from the suffering humanity in all its phases, the obtrusive misery, the squalor and wretchedness one so frequently meets in other and older towns, Ryde can claim a happy exemption. The evil to which I allude is, that of carrying the carcasses of recently-slaughtered animals, reeking with blood and quivering from the knife, from the shambles to the various purveyors of the town: of the brutalizing tendency of such exhibitions to the rising generation it would be superfluous to speak, nor need I say how necessary it is to keep such sights from the gaze of the thousands of visitors , who yearly flock to our shore in search of health or the enjoyment of the beautiful. Considering the intimate relation between morality and health, it is difficult to conceive how such a glaring evil and its collaterally bad arrangements could escape the lynx-eyes of the very patriotic promoters of the Public Health Act, now so surreptitiously about to be imposed upon the unwilling inhabitants. Our lively neighbours the French, (who, whatever may be their political errors) certainly excel us in social improvement, as the long-ago-established and humanely-devised abatoirs will testify. I fear I ought not to trespass longer on what I hope will be your valuable space, but hope that many of your numerous readers (in future) will take the same view as.