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For NOVEMBER, 1816.
NATIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY NOTICES,
(British and Foreign;) PROSPECTIVE AND RETROSPECTIVE.
POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS.
sume shapes conformable to opportunity, to temptation, to habits induced by cir
cumstances beyond controul, and beyond COMMITTEE ON THE STATE
the ordinary conception of those not
deeply involved in them, POLICE in the METROPOLIS : To some, human life is like the arid
desert, little other than a boundless WITH MINUTES OF EVIDENCE, &c.
waste : to others, it is a boggy Syrtis, Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, and affords no firm footing, either to the July 1, 1816.
right hand, or to the left. It is here,
a congeries of barren rocks ; and there Whoever affects to profess the delude the expectations of confidence
a mass of faithless quicksands, which Science of Politics, yet overlooks the and betray the hopes, and exertions, of importance of morals to the happiness simple integrity. A few, find their and prosperity of a people, bas yet to
progress enlivened by verdant groves learn the very first rudiments on which and pellucid streams ; these they enjoy bis profession should be founded. Be or if, from indisposition in themselves, may indulge bis reveries in forming they fail of enjoyment, these very beauschemes worthy of Utopia ; he may ties of nature produce satiety; and sadream of felicities beyond compare; but tiety is closely followed by disgust. The his lacubrations have no practical utility verdant grove, too, may lead to the en. in the general conduct of life, and man- tanglements of the forest ; and the pelhers. The study of Politics includes
lucid stream may become pestiferous, the art of governing men as they are; in its progress, from the miasmata of neither placing them on too low de
the marshes, beside which it passes. gree of the scale of intellect or recti
In plain English, every state and sta. Lude,- for that were to treat them as
tion of life is exposed to deterioration ; brutes ; nor elevating them too bighly and the chief origin of this is laxity of either as to talent or virtue ;-for then morals. No where is ihat laxity so conthey would cease to be men, and would spicuous as in a great city : for, here approximate to angels. The ways of
association of every kind leads to imlife are innumerable; and the classes which follow those ways, partake of their quently obtained in crime, from criminal
provement, and improvement is as free nambers and variety.
companions, as in excellencies from means infinitely diversified, for the ac- emulation, instruction, and practice. tivity of the bumau passions and pro- A great city is a prodigious conflux of pensities. Not that the human passions contradictions : nothing superior to ihemselves are so numerous ; but, that what a great city assembles can embelthey are moulded by events ; they as lish human nature : nothing more pain YOL, V. No. 26. Lit. Pan. N. S. Nov. 1.
fully degrading can be imagined, than nation of public morals. A time of war what may be found in some part or is unfavourable to such enquiries : the other of a great city.
passions are then let loose, and policy is This is no new discovery: every me- pleaded for much that nothing but potropolis has borne witness to the fact. licy could endure. The Legislature, It is not peculiar to the present age; all too, can act with that supremacy which antiquity contiris the proposition. It the object demands : inferior magistrates afflicts not the metropolis of the British may do much ; but they often complain empire, alone ; every Capital on the of want of power : no such restraint Continent, might be brought into com- enfeebles the enquiries of the legislaparison with London, and most of them ture. Magistrates being appointed to would be found, so far as public morals particular districts cannot obtain an enare concerned, liable to censure still larged and general view of the subject : more severe, and to charges still more the Legislature by bringing conflicting heinous. The stiletto, the dagger, and evidence under repeated explanation, by the poisoned drug, do not lurk in our comparing the parts, surveys the whole. city, wreaking private vengeance; nor Magistrates may do their duty, accorddoes any consecrated edifice by the pri- ing to rule or precedent, as others have vilege of sanctuary, skreen a murderer done before them ; the Legislature can from the authority of Justice. The judge how far the rule demands variacarriage of the Holy Office, less reli- tion, or needs invigorating : it can both gious than political, rolls not in thunder, vary and invigorate. making night bideous, in search of its victims; neither does the vigilance of lowest rank of those appointed to guard
The Legislature calls before it the the Police, watch every family, intrude the public peace, and to watch for the into every company, listen to every con
public security : it derives information versation, betray every gaiety, and tor-froin the experience of these practical ture into crime against the state, the thoughtless sally of humour; or the they, or others, may be caught tripping.
men; and notes in what point of duty equivocal expressions of dissatisfaction, it expects from the higher ranks, that whether with sell, or with society.
openness and candour, that abhorrence But, in proportion as morals dete- of subterfuge and chicane, which marks riorate, the danger of these calamities integrity and rectitude. If it detects increases : they have been elsewhere equivocation and subtlety, the Legislaestablished under pretence of securing tore can press for explanation, fearless public morals ; ti:ey have been adopted as of the truth, when obtained ; if it susremedies for morals too dangerous to pects collusion, it can obtain evidence the Body Politic to be suffered ; too on the point in doubt, from other quardeeply seated in the vitals of the com-ters, and render vain every palliation), munity to be eradicated by means less or excuse, every pretence, or misappreserere, we had almost said, less destruc- hension. In short, neither abuse of tive.
power, nor partiality in the exercise of It is wise, therefore, to anticipate the power, nor perversion of principle, nor, worst, when public evils are under cori connivance at guilt, nor insufficiency of templation. The progress of the gang- exertion, nor indifference to duty, can esrelle may not be visible from day to cape the penetration of the Legislature ; day ; but, as the full operation of its and happy is the man who, after close destructive powers strengthens, the con- examination, has nothing with which to sequences cease to be doubtful. That reproach himself, and nothing with which which, if taken in time, might have the Legislature may reproach him! The been checked, eventually defies cure ; object of the Legislature is truth : an and negligence becomes a secondary officer may persuade himself, but he cause, too powerful to be repelled; it cannot persuade his examinants : he spreads around a mass of deformity, or may think his conduct exemplary; but accelerates premature dissolution. unless his sentiment be echoed by his
We are glad, to see the first leisure superiors, and in the present case, by of the Legislature, devoted to an exami-Ithe public, his own good opinion will be
liable to many a rude rebuff; and to work of a cut-throat gang, associated whatever else the voice of the public for the purpose ; as the Black-Boy may sentence bim.
Alley gang, the Chick-lave gang, and A leading principle of morals is self-others, formerly. We have heard old controul : but this is the very reverse of inhabitants of Molhorn allude to times, innate among mankind. The selfish when it was not safe to walk that street,
passions display themselves in the ear even in day light; and, we believe, ! liest infancy, and unless repressed by that, at last, the nest of these villains
the kindly band of affectionate goodwill, was destroyed, by surrounding every they increase in vigour as their subject avenue to their abode with a military increases in strength, until at length force, and arresting at once every they bear down all before them.--
individual found on the premises. The
mail has not been robbed, for years ; But man is a rational agent : he actsor should act—on principle : his mind stage coach passengers, are not stopped should regulate bis conduct, as convic-pad robberies are less frequent. Now,
on the road, as heretofore; even foot. tion regulates his mind. But convic- if these criminal enormities are not tion implies the exercise of understanding, together with the influence of in- practised, to the same extent
, as they
once were,-towbat is this owing ? struction. Unhappily, the evidence aunexed to this Pieport, discloses a most la- lance: are they presented by a more
are they suppressed, by official vigimentable want of instruction, the prevalence of ignorance incredibly gross, in general effect of instruction, pervading in
some degree these unlettered culprits, a country calling itself Christian; and this supported, ångmented, directed to through the medium of public decorum auswer the most nefarious purposes,
and opinion ? SYSTEM ! The youthful offender acts un The next stage of life, when youth der instruction, he forms a part of the approaches to manhood, which is perperforming whole : the more advanced haps the most hazardous of any, is not transgressor at once gives lessons and re
so closely examined on this occasion, as ceives : the hardened villain does his
we presume it will be. Much duty, with unequalled dexterity, in the mains to be done, to detect the causes superior branches of his calling, boasts of ruin to the young men ; to the of bis hair-breadth 'scapes, and recounts young women, also; the annual consumpthe number of times he has outfaced iion of whom, in this metropolis is trestern Justice at her own bar; or eluded mendous. The difficulties attending atthe perquisitions of her fleetest and most tempts to enforce the laws on this subindefatigable blood-hounds.
ject, are stated in strong terms; and no Among the most painful particulars doubt, will receive a full consideration of public morals at this moment, is the hereafter. The houses of rendezvous great number of young iniscreants em- for the profligate of both sexes, and, inployed in pillage and plauder. This has deed, the conduct of public houses yes strurk the most unreflecting; and severally, has been strictly enquired into; Feral of the witnesses examined by the the deficiencies of the laws, or rather Committee attempt to assigo reasons for of the practice, are pointed out; the it. The quantity of crime has increas- methods used to defeat the law are ed. On the other hand, the atrocity of described; and, certainly, will be remeerime, geoerally speaking, has decreas. died. Late events have given importance ed. We have few robberies, planned to the conduct of officers attached to to include morder; few (or, no bigh- the Police Ofices: thisis partly explainwaymen, putting the traveller iu fear; ed; and the system is in some respects A Turpin, (the fying 'highwayman) elocidated. The conduct of the Magishas not been heard of for many years. trates in licensing public houses, comes
The town was certainly convulsed under very close review; their attendwith agony by the murders at Ratcliffe, ance to their duties, their clerks, their a few years ago ; but there was no patroles, &c. are examined into ; and a reason to conclude that they were the foundation is laid for future proceedings:
Our readers must be aware, that the come despicable in these days: They multifarious nature of these enquiries, are, not merely impotent, inappli--the vast mass of management to be in- cable, but, worse: they contribute to vestigated,--the controvertible points to bring into contempt thai feeble effort at be cleared up, before any judgment can doing something, which every hardened be formed, -the embarassing nature of villain knows ends in doing nothing. the whole, --with the impossibility of
The City itself may be allowed to form preserving any order in the course of examination, all these particulars, with contains some honourable exceptions,
a distinct article; and the report on this many more, render the present Report which are stated by Mr. Philip Holdsimperfect: as such, the Committee pre-worth, lately City Marshall, who insent it to the House, and “trust, that forms us, that, the officers receive no in the ensuing Session they will be per- fers, nor gratuities, nor rewards from mitted to resume their labours : having those who may employ their services, no doubt they shall be able to submit to without informing the Lord Mayor: 10 the consideration of the House, measures
whom they also make a daily report of resulting from their inquiry, the adoption of which they would consider as every thing relating to the city's quiet. highly advantageous to the public."
The City is divided into four divisions :
and there are three day patroles to each diAs the newspapers of the metropolis vision ; their duty is to patrole the street to have detailed much of this evidence, at prevent thieving of every description, parlarge, we shall not consider it so fully, ticularly to watch the pickpockets, to reas we otherwise might. The Report, move nuisances, prevent begging; and they unquestionably, concerns the metropo- have warrants also to apprehend felons : lis most deeply, in the first place; yet that is their duty, and a very active body there are parts of it, which, we are sor
of men they are. Then there are eight
night patroles, two to each division ; they ry to say, concern most, or all, of our
come upon duty at this time of year at pine great towns, whose manners too closely o'clock, and in the winter time they come copy those which degrade the capital. on duty at six, and their business is, twice
A passing traveller may not always ob- during the night at least, but as much serve signs of those vices, which are but oftener as they possibly can, to visit each too well known to residents; a few days watch-house, to see that the constable of discloses some; a twelvemonth discloses the night is in the watch-house attending many more. We must, however, in his duty; they sign their names each time justice, distinguish between the City of they come, in a book that is there for the
purpose. When the Marshals go round to London, and the Metropolis. The times
see the state of the ward, they see that are past, when the space within the book, and if the patroles' names are not walls contained plots of vacant ground, signed, they must give a reason for it; then and afforded green walks for the recrea- they come to the Marshal's office the next tion of the citizens. No running at the morning, and the clerk receives in a book quintaine, or at the ring, is now any report they have to make, which is laid practicable in Leadenhall Street; and before the Lord Mayor daily. honest Stow, who informs us how many This book the Lord Mayor signs quarts of milk he had bonght for a penny, daily : so that the evidence of this difrom the fields in the Minories, or in ligence is officially confirmed. Beside Houndsditch, would now be forced to these officers, the Ward Constables, who trudge with his jug many a weary step in attend on summons, are upwards of three either direction, before he arrived at a hundred; but most of these are hired rural milking-place. Even Smith-field, substitutes. Now, when it is consideritself, has long ceased to be a field ; to-ed what immense property is daily in gether with Moor-fields, Farringdon- movement in the vicinity of the Bank, fields, &c. &c.
the Royal Exchange, the Stock ExWhat do we infer from this ?--that change, the Bankers' Clearing House, the same institutions of Police which and the numerous Bankers' houses in might be fully effectual in those days; the centre of the city, it must be acare by change of circumstances, be knowledged, that, the temptations to
knavery are great; perhaps, they are What have been the leading improveunexampled in any other city in the ments in the Police, that the present Lord world :-yet, we seldom hear of acts of Mayor has put in execution since he has violence or sharping, by which exten- been in that office ?--The leading improvesive mischief is occasioned. Domestic ment
, I think, was mustering all ihe watchrobberies cannot be prevented; but started as early as four in the morning in
men; I attended him four mornings; we street robberies, are certainly rare. The December last, and during those four Marshall lays the blame on the servant mornings he visited each watch-house, and girls: he thinks them “infamous.” desired I would inform the ward-beadle, As to apprentices, he says,
that the watchmen were to be summoned
at this watch house and that watch-house Is the practice common in the City, to at different hours, and he examined every have out-door apprentices ? -No, it is not. man as to his health and his age, and he
Wherever it is, you consider it as a lead- had all those discharged that were unfit, noting cause of the corruption of young peo withstanding any length of service; if they ple?-Always, invariably so. I have heard were to be renunerated, he said, the ward the Chamberlain of London observe, that mus, do it, and he would have more efficient seven apprentices out of ten who are unruly men. I consider that to be one of the best and bad, are out-door apprentices; but it things ever done; and I consider that the is not so common in the City as out of it; internal quiet of the City, and thesecurity it is not civic at all, or very little so. of the City, is mainly owing to that ideaci
the Lord Mayor's. . The Committee proceed to enquire,
I consider that the Lord Mayor having Are there many houses in the district of the old decrepid men discharged, and have the city of London, that are known by the ing their places blled up by proper men, name of dash houses ? Not one; whenever I consider to have been of great utility there is, it is stopped immediately, and Meu discharged from the army, who are upon a very different opinion from what wolinded, make very good watchmen: they prevails in the county: In the county, they are employed; and the watchmen of the conceive them to be very useful to the City are now able men, and have strength officers; that they meet there whoever they and activity. We have experienced the want: in the city, as soon as a house of great utility of that, all through the that sort is attemperl to be established, the City; there have not been more than eight man has notice; and if he persists, he loses or nine burglaries, the whole winter, in the his licence.
('ity. They agaiu the Lord Mayor himself We beg leave here to call earnest atten- continues, when he is not expected, to take
so many wards of a night, and iook in at tion to the difference between the ma
the watch-bouse himself, and takes a marnagement of the Magistrates in the shalman or two with him, and catches county and in the city : in the county them, they not expectiug him; which has such a house is called in question on the made the constabies on the alert; and he next annual licensing day: in the city, is so punctual in business and so active, it is stopped “ IMYEDIATELY : WE DO hat every body is on the alert, and every NOT LET IT GO ON”; says the Marshall. body is expecting bim. I think he has put The public will sensibly feel this dif- a spirit of activity into the Police, which ference : nothing corrects crime so ef- I do not remember in so eminent a degree
before. fectually as immediate punishment. The Marshall says, the city officers go out Let this stand to his lasting honour : of the city, to look for thieves; and
nor shall we be backward to add, that thieves come through Temple bar, to report affirms of his Lordship, that he take a peep in the city ; but walk about has several plans, derived from expein constant fear. This, no doubt, de rience, for the purpose of placing iho pends on the vigilance of the officers; whole of the City Police on a still more and the vigilance of the officers depends efficient establishment. on the Lord Mayor ; which affords an opportunity of paying a very high and Nor is this the only instance of benefit distinguished compliment to the gentle derived from Official vigilance : John man whom the citizens have elected a Harriott, Esq. of the Thaines Police second time to fill the Civic chair. Office, speaks bigbly of the security