Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A Thirsty Soul

Remember me mentioning a letter-writer called a Thirsty Soul? He seems to have been quite a celebrity in the middle of the 19th century. As the mentions I've found below demonstrate.

He appears to have been a serial letter-writer. Always to whinge about something. Mostly the antics of the large London brewers.

"What abuses, could arise," (asks a 'Thirsty Soul' in the Times) "were the commissioners of police to be empowered to grant licences to retail liquor to every applicant who satisfied them as to his respectability, who paid a liberal sum for the privilege, and who knew that he would certainly and instantly forfeit both his money and his licence if he permitted drunkenness or disorderly conduct to take place on his premises? And would it not inevitably check dram-drinking, if a higher charge were made for wine and spirit licenses than for beer licences - if gin-drinking and beer-drinking were not permiitted on the same premises - and if summary powers of closing a disorderly gin palace were also conceded to the commissioners of police? As it is, many 'a thirsty soul' goes on a Saturday night to the public-house to get his pint of beer, and, finding it crowded with other 'thirsty souls,' does not leave it until he has dissolved the best part of his week's wages in gin. Would he not probably have saved his money, his health, and his character, had he been able to buy his porter equally good and equally cheap at a shop in his own street? The most convicing proof that the present licensing monopoly is indefensible exists in the fact that nobody connected with 'the twelve' has yet Ventured to advance a syllable in its defence. The great London brewers have evidently learnt, from the example set them by the bench of bishops, that when a class of men are enriching themselves inordinately at the expense of the public, there is no armour of defence so easy and so impenetrable as the armour of silence. The wry faces and empty pockets of their customers have hithert proved insufficient to move these burly leviathans of the vat; nevertheless, sir, with your assistance, I do not despair of worsting them during the approaching session, We have a good case, and we shall now have an honest and intelligent ministry to look into it for us."
Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 02 January 1853, page 1.

He even got mentioned in adverts:
I REFER the learned to Baron Liebig, the temperate to Dr. Carpenter, invalids to the medical profession, and the robust to the best clubs of London for the merits of my stock of ALLSOPP'S ALE. The "Thirsty Soul" and " Constant Reader" of the "Times" I can also satisfy with my Imperial Measure.
Bottles (quarts) ................... 8s. per dozen.
Do. (pints)............................5s. per dozen.
Kilderkins (18 gallons) . .....30s.
HARRINGTON PARKER, Beer Merchant, 5 1/2, Pall-mall."
Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 01 May 1853, page 10.
It's referring to his letters complaining about bottles of beer not containing full Imperial measures.

No comments: