Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Spiritous" Minors - Underage Drinking in 1877

Over at Poetry and Popular Culture, the good Professor has fabulous - and nightmarish - piece of tobacco propaganda from the gilded age. It shows twin babies - perhaps teething and in need of a pacifier? - enjoying Duke tobacco. Curiously, the babies also appear to be balding, so perhaps there's also a suggestion that tobacco users were adult babies. Head on over to P&PC for the full monty!

In the CT archives, not nearly as rich in material, we have a note in the Statesman from 1877 that discusses children and booze. There's a similar permissiveness, though not quite as brazen, and here it's cloaked with a permission slip. Barroom society rather than chemistry also seemed to loom as the larger threat. The penalty is awfully harsh, however. It's interesting to speculate whether a rash of underage drinking had spurred the paper to publish the law.
Selling Liquor to Minors

For the benefit of the public generally, we publish the following law, enacted by the last Legislature and approved October 17, 1876.

Be it enacted...[etc., etc.]

Section 685. That if any person shall sell, give, or cause to be sold or given, any intoxicating liquor to any minor in this State, without first obtaining the consent of such minor's parents or guardian, in writing; or if any keeper of any saloon, bar-room, or other vendor of spiritous or intoxicating liquors within this State, shall harbor permit or suffer any minor to loiter or remain in or about such saloon, bar-room, or other place where such spiritous or intoxicating liquors are sold or kept for sale, or to engage in any game of cards, billiards, bagatelle, or any other game, in such saloon, barroom or place aforesaid, either for amusement or otherwise, such persons shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both, and the discretion of the court, and shall also forfeit any license such person may have to sell spiritous or intoxicating liquors in less than one quart, or to keep such saloon, bar-room, or other place for the sale of such liquor. A justice court shall have jurisdiction of the cases herein defined.

No comments:

Post a Comment