Liverpool races and popular sports


July 27, 1827
Whatever opinion we may ourselves entertain of horse racing, and of the consequences with which the pastime is uniformly attended, we have other tastes to consult besides our own; and we must, therefore, bestow some portion of our attention upon a subject which, at present, engrosses so much of that of our townsmen.

Many persons who object to horse-racing as a pastime, do not wish for its abolition, because it is a source of cheap gratification to the people, whose amusements are already too few to admit of abridgment. For our own part, however, we are of opinion that the people might be amused rationally and usefully without deriving their gratification from seeing a noble animal goaded on by sharp spurs dug into his flanks, from which the blood flows copiously! Horse-races, besides, are generally accompanied by the most disgraceful and diabolical of all sports – cock-fighting; – to say nothing of the contaminating association of prize-fighters, black legs, pickpockets, swindlers, and vagabonds, who never fail to frequent the race-course and cock-pit.

If our Corporation would place at our disposal some dozen or twenty acres of ground, we could, and soon would, provide for our townsmen better and more useful sports than those which are accompanied with torture to any living being. We would see them amused with foot races, cricket, football, trap, quoits, fives, prison-bars, and a variety of other healthy and cheering pastimes; neither would we forget aquatic gymnasia, as we would have baths of sufficient magnitude to admit of swimming matches, and which in winter would afford the amusement of skating.

Such relaxation as these would improve our population in health and in morals; and so persuaded are we that occasional recreations promote the habit of cheerful industry, that we take this method of apprizing the printers in our own employ, that if they have a mind to initiate themselves in the manoeuvres of the gymnastic parallel poles, and can contrive to find room for a pair of them in the new office in which the Mercury in this day, for the first time, printed, we will most willingly provide them with this most entertaining and simple piece of modern gymnastic apparatus.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: July 27, 1827)

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