General Routine summoned for Indecency

Isle of Wight Observer August 15, 1857

Mr Frederick Peel and a friend of his were summoned before the magistrates at Ryde on Thursday upon a ridiculous charge of indecency whilst bathing.The charge was instituted under the by-laws lately made by the Ryde Commissioners to pander to a morbid cry about “indecency of bathing”. It was not pretended that these gentlemen exposed themselves indecently, but simply that they plunged into the water “without being dressed in a suitable bathing dress”. We are sick of commenting about such maudlin stuff as this; for what in the name of Common Sense is “a suitable bathing dress”? We, in our simplicity, for the life of us cannot see any more suitable bathing dress than the skin which we inherited from old Adam; if there be any, we should like to see the curious thing. The summonses, were, however, withdrawn; but in the case of another gentleman it was proceeded with, and a fine of £1 and 7s and 6d inflicted; defendant did not appear. Against these proceedings we emphatically protest, as they are calculated to do the town great damage; and we speak with some considerable knowledge of the subject. When a gent commits himself, by all means make him suffer, but to attempt to enforce such absurd regulations as to make bathers swathe themselves like Egyptian mummies is sheer madness. Cannot the advocates of it bear in mind the adage of the garter, ‘Honi soit, &c.’ ?

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