Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1864
Our Commissioners have offered a reward of £5 for such information as may lead to the conviction of the scoundrels who damaged the public chairs on the Esplanade, and we hope that such information will be forthcoming; indeed it is the bounden duty of any citizen, possessing evidence, to come forward and give it, to punish delinquents of this character. It is the fashion for Englishmen to praise themselves as “a law-loving people”; yet they are the only people in Europe who cannot be trusted with unprotected property without either wantonly or maliciously damaging it, and it is a disgraceful blot upon their character. The lower classes have often complained to us because the higher classes do not throw open their grounds for fetes, &c., and we have been requested “to show such churlishness up”; but we will frankly say, if we possessed a park, we should require a much better guarantee then people’s good behaviour, as generally shown, before we threw it open. Was it not disgraceful to see the stripping of the avenue of trees planted above the Infirmary? Is it not disgraceful to the people that the cemetery cannot be thrown open, without the walks being disfigured with “caution” boards, to save the flowers and shrubs? Is it not disgraceful that seats, which are such a comfort to invalids, cannot escape destruction from Goths and Vandals? It was against such detestable and cowardly practices as these that Rev W H Girdlestone quietly levelled a reproof, by saying every man must be his own policeman in protecting the property of the Working Men’s Club; and the sentiment was applauded, but we very much doubt if it was thoroughly understood. If working men wish to rise in the social scale, and to be respected, they must show respect for public and private property that is unavoidably unprotected, and consequently entrusted to their honour.