The New Zealand Evangelist
The Anniversary sports have passed off, so far as we have heard, without any serious accident, or any glaring immoralities, except the usual modicum of intemperance and its ordinary accompaniments; and of this much we are truly glad. We are no croakers. We are not disposed to say “What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” We are fully confident the tone of moral feeling in the community is rising. There has been a felt necessity on this occasion to lop off or keep down the most offensive excrescences of the system. The prime actuating, and moving spirit did appear in the proposed “Drinking and Smocking Matches“; but this was too much of plain truth to meet the public eye, or be taken under the patronage of a Governor, even in this the most distant colony of the Crown,—the farthest removed from the great centre of civilization and religion.
Satan strives hard in these times to assume the embodiment of humanity; but according to an old popular tradition, he can never in any case divest himself of the cloven foot. In this instance, when the amusements were patronized by the representative of majesty,—when they were supported by such an array of the brave and the fair—and when they were followed by such crowds of the sober and decent,—surely we must conclude that the presiding genius of the sports was an angel of light; but, even overlooking the booths and the evil spirits imprisoned within them, and ever and anon taking possession of incarnate forms, and displaying their diabolical nature—the cloven foot peeps out, and reveals the true character of the originators, in the suppressed prizes for swallowing beer and consuming tobacco, and thus training candidates for the “bar” and the “tap.”page 288
We leave our readers to cogitate upon this subject. The effects of these sports do not terminate with the week of the fete. We know of at least three or four most melancholy histories that date their origin principally from the Fete amusements of 1849. Nothing is more certain than that, to those who provide temptations upon a large scale for the young, the thoughtless, and the undecided, there will be a settling day in connexion with the sports of a graver character than they seem to expect. Guilt will be charged upon the proper parties, and effects will be traced to their true cause,