One of the good things about being in my job is the records one comes across or co-workers with an interest in history share with you. I got this tidbit below in my email last week. That's from the first document I came across in a larger scanned file called "Tavern Inspectors Records 1849-1853".
To the Honourable the Municipal Council of the Township of Pittsburgh in Session aforementioned, We the Undersigned Tavern Keepers of the Village of Barriefield humbly and respectfully sheweth - whereas that there are persons residing in the said Village or premises adjoining Selling Beer and Keeping Houses of Rendezvous against the Law and to the great Desparagement of Her Majesty her [maybe "Crown"?] and Dignity seeing that we have to pay to the [?] the sum of Eight pounds with additions whereas these are paying [odd symbol for "zippo"] therefore we humbly beg your Honours will be pleased to look into the prayer of this our petition and dispell all such Houses unless they pay the same apportioned as in the City of Kingston vis [?] and we humbly beg that if such is granted that this shall be [?] for seeing that if such is not stopped we Your Petitioners will not be able to pay the Monies apportioned. But trusting that Your Honours will be pleased to looking into the prayer of this Petition and as In duty bound.
Barriefield is a small village in a largely rural township that was amalgamated into the City of Kingston in 1998. It was originally set up in the War of 1812 as an officer's residence area associated with nearby Fort Henry. The document seems to be dated from 18 April 1850. It's title on the back page is blurry and ink blot messy but seems to state Petition of [blah, blob, blur] for Beer Shops. It looks like the Tavern Keepers of Barriefield were not happy with the informal competition. I like the suggested threat, too: shut them down or we will maybe not pay our fees. That is the "zippo" emoticon circa 165 years ago in question up there, by the way. Click on it for a bigger bit of the document. I would also attach the whole file but it's an 80 page pdf. Oh, what the hell. Have a look. By the way, a notation in the petition states that the matter was referred to the next Session and a bylaw was to be prepared... in case you are keeping track.
The beginning of the well regulated marketplace. What follows in those 80 pages is the licensing of all sorts of establishments in the community over the next few years. Afrirmations that the applicant is an honest, steady and sober man. The Township of Pittsburgh hadn't been long in existence on the date of that first petition of April 1850. In the emails I was sent, there was also another file with the Minutes of the Midland District Municipal Council, a larger regional jurisdiction that was only abolished in 1849. So, one of the first things the new government has to deal with is the standardizing of licensing of the taverns and beer shops. Maybe it was just the fact of a thirsty British military base down the road. Or maybe it was the need to provide regulation as the Georgian ways of the century's first have gave way to new Victorian expectations.