Should the court decide adversely in the case, it will affect not only saloon-keepers, but wholesale and jobbing liquor merchants. Even messenger boys will not be able to buy liquor for patrons at any such business houses without subjecting the proprietors to liability to arrest. In fact, no minor, with or without an order, can procure liquor.
On the other hand, were Judge Carey to decide that an order from a parent releases a saloon from any responsibility in selling liquor to a minor, it would be taken advantage of. There are men who would improve the opportunity by encouraging boys to visit their places, each provided with an order, purporting to come from parents or guardians, authorizing the sale to them of liquor.
“Important Question: Can a Minor Purchase Intoxicants, Even on an Order From Parents?”, Feb. 14th, 1893. The handwringing protect-the-children issue of the day, wherein George Wager, the keeper of a saloon at First & Sherman, was arrested for selling a to-go pitcher of beer to a 13 year old named Simon (who the Oregonian helpfully notes is “an Italian”). Mr. Wager pleaded not guilty, and produced a note from Simon’s dad, who had sent his son down to the saloon to fetch the beer. The judge handling the case indicated that state law was unclear whether this was allowed or not, and took the case under advisement, since it was likely to establish a precedent however he ruled. The paper describes the great dilemma facing the judge: