Living Picture of London, for 1828 and Stranger's Guide Through the Streets of the Metropolis

Bee, Jon




Whether false or true, the accusation of crime against another, with a view to extort



" is equally liable to recoil upon the head (quaere, neck !) of the accuser, because he does not thereby further the ends of justice, but his own profit. This is one of the reasons, and the damnable frequency of such accusations another, that has induced me to sift the subject a little finer than suits my general purpose; the hope of being serviceable in distinguishing the true from the false accusation, my motive.

Neither shall justice be sold

is one of the clauses of Magna-charta; and the King, who is the general accuser, (by fiction of law,) will suffer no man to do that in his name which he cannot do himself, or by his accredited servants: all who transgress in this particular are guilty of greater crime, if the accusation be true, than if it be false, for they then sell justice; whereas, if money be obtained by false accusation, the offence is simply highway. robbery; to effect which, the victim has been put in fear of his life, as much as if the accuser had placed a pistol to his head, and left him to guess whether it might be loaded or not.

False, or at best unfounded, accusation may be employed beneficially at times; but then it resembles the murder of a criminal in the streets; the irregularity of the act of retribution seems sanctioned by the previous evil conduct of the sufferer, only justice has not taken its due course, nor legal conviction had, nor a cool even-handed judicial example been set to the surrounding awe-struck populace. For



example: soon after an extensive robbery, the police-officers being upon the look out, espy a known thief in the distance, dressed out in new toggery; top-boots, a shining hat, and new bandana fogle, being among the first longings of a booty-laden thief. One of the party, affecting lameness, or

taking it leisurely,

crosses over, with eyes fixed upon the gaudy wretch, calling at him, looking one way, hard and sharp, as for a more apt assistant, whilst the well-practised thief bolts off per contra; where, let me presume, another officer is planted to receive the fugitive, with open arms or elevated half-hanger. On investigation, the prisoner exculpates himself from the particular charge of but the personal search of

my kiddy

proves that the accusation of the officer, though false, was not altogether wrong. In this case, the end sanctifies the means, unless we extend to the same delicacy of treatment which we carefully bestow upon honest men. Briefly speaking, all reputed thieves, upon all occasions of appearing in crowded neighbourhoods, or at late hours, should be stopped and searched, if the operation be not too troublesome, or repugnant to the officers feelings.

Bastardy is among the least criminal, at the same time that it is the most common of the false charges brought against pedestrian gentlemen, who

live about Town ;

the first, be-



cause some ground usually exists (however trivial it be) for the accusation; and 'tis, moreover, among the most ancient of its class, excepting only that for high treason, if we may believe the vivid Picture of London, drawn by Mr. Humphrey Mill, in .[1] 

" He'd told his name, his place, that he was rich, Unto this whore: and now her fingers itch To handle some of's gold: she rubs her neyes, Hangs down her head, and blubbers out, and cryes She's half undone. Her belly now doth swell, For she's with child by him: she loves him well, And would not have him shamed; give her relief, She'll free him from't, and still conceal her grief."

In this case, the imposition extended to the palming a real child of another mother upon the

wealthy gentleman;

but sometimes the imposition is laid no more profoundly than that wayward habiliment the stays, and ends in 'couching these of their protuberance after fleecing the cull of a few pounds, and putting him in fear of the parish overseers, and their myrmidons of the brass-bound castor. Scarcely a bon vivan upon Town but has sustained this trick at some time or other, or stood the gracious hint that

'tis really so and so,

Before he begins to pay, he had better consult some one more knowing in physiological prognosis than himself, in order to distinguish the mockery from the reality: if it turn out an actual conception, then has he other fish to fry than



studying precautionary precepts in a book, for he has evidently gone upon the wrong scent. However, I am free to allow that the bulb exhibited may be the reality, and yet the man be wrongly charged therewith-basely, sometimes; then, he should be careful of committing himself before a second person, or of being frightened out of money; for, if the harlot has fallen into the keep of knowing hands, they, together, find three or four, or more fathers for it, all of whom pay Be the case how it may, never hearken to a suggestion about the probability of a for there are some who go about to procure such, and who would not hesitate to turn about upon you and insist that the base suggestion of crime was your own: you must pay dearly for secrecy in this case also. Some years since, a certain Doctor Roberton bolted off to Holland, on such a charge, viz, foeto pungens, that was tolerably well established by the depositions of Miss P. and her mother -poor creatures ! One scarcely knows whether most to pity or to blame confiding woman, when she is so far precipitated from her sphere as to add to single sexual aberration the deadly sin of unprovoked murder, though at the instance and with the assistance, too, of the very man-monster who, like Leviathan, seduces her into one sin but to betray her into another.

That offender was yet young in his profes-



sion, it is apprehended, and, thank Heaven, but little inured to practice, having but just published his inaugural treatise

de pars generatione

when he effected his escape; but he left behind him older and more practised villains, some of whom have escaped, alas, to their long homes, without hanging, as they ought, in terrorem of their fellows.

At the blue lamp, in St. Paul's Church-yard, ladies, whose situations require temporary seclusion, may be accommodated and safely del--,

we were told in almost every daily paper, for years before and since Roberton's misadventure. This fellow of the lamp we once saw on business, as the trade-phrase goes; to this

beauty without paint,

(which should have been WHITE,) and his equally jaune, but more obesious wife, in , we had occasion to apply, respecting a large way female just put under his care-by letter, from Southampton. The reverend and highly-gifted writer thereof, unused to the ways of town, had been seduced by the advertisement and the publicity of the situation, to forward one of his unfortunate domestics, per coach, to this place, and directed his correspondents in London to supply the needful for her accouchment. Small instruction could be derived from the particulars of the interview, further than the fact of extorting four score pounds for seclusion in a small house, in a stinking corner, in possession of a smouchy-talking pair, full of cajolery-the



male (- factor) inquiring, with malign aspect, whether the lady was to be

delivered or relieved !

Commentary on such a proposal is useless; its villainy is apparent as 'tis appalling; and the immediate course adopted in this particular case may be guessed at. -he insidiously observed, in a foreign accent, though the scoundrel could speak as good English as any blackguard in the streets-

To be sure not; nor any one for her. For, as soon as the topic were broached, a fine display of fleecing would have commenced-in the shape of "

For some such imputed crime did a set of miscreants, in , safely rob, to a good amount, a certain Lord T---d, of whose ancestors' game cocks a curious story is extant, as to their being

all of one mind ;

but which assurance of his feeder is further said to have miserably failed when put to the test.

Other impositions, in great variety, and some extremely ingenious, with much novelty in them, occur from time to time, of which the stealing, or patronizing, a baby, by a barren wife, is by no means uncommon - without at all adverting to those cases in which children have been beguiled away for sake of the clothes, or stolen by beggars as a means of exciting charity. Sometimes (as of old), the better to impose upon the cully, a child is borrowed from some neighbouring poor woman,


ACCUSATORY DISPOSITION: and the mother herself hired as its wet nurse; when the putative father has to maintain the legal father and all his family, to the second and third generation of vipers; and if any of the scions thereof be thievishly inclined-as usually happens, they put up some of their acquaintance to way-lay and rob the dupe, or to enter his premises by night, for they have set him down in their minds for

a good flat.

Accusation of crime of the most revolting nature was very frequent at one time of day; in some cases, with small appearance of truth on the face of the charge; in others, subsequent disclosures justified the first allegation, in great measure, if not to the full; but it is not to be denied, that many persons living respectably in society are found unceasingly accusatory on one lamentable propensity in others, and do much moral harm by general censure, as they also inflict unmerited pain by particular allusions. If there be any truth in the averment, why not fix the crime specifically at once? Why prefer to whiffle away the fair fame of individuals, or censure the whole: age in such a manner as to prepare it for the most disgusting results? The great prevalence of the crime, or rather the disposition to make it a topic of conversation, calls for enlargement, a little out of its place, with the hope of abating both the one and the other subject of complaint. Allowing, for a moment, that those censors are neither corrupt or mistaken, by what motives


MOTIVES QUESTIONED. are they actuated who spread a belief that they are accurately conversant in such diabolical matters as the whole practice of British society belies in their teeth ? How would those wholesale slanderers of the age drop down upon their own shameful hearts, if they were asked whether they would be considered apologists, or simply as general accusers, or as the actual depositaries of a hateful secret that they now wish to propagate and teach to a willing audience? Do any among them seek to subtract from individual guilt by generalizing the charge ? In fine, let us be told why is the abominable subject ever mooted ? For we mainly attribute the spread of this as well as many other crimes of a secret nature to the familiar every-day conversations that are held in taverns, in drinking parties, and other mixed assemblages of the young, the vicious, and the inexperienced, where no thorough-bred cockney would be considered a novice, and the vilest souls take the lead of all tongues, and not- unfrequently out-talk themselves.

Whilst inflicting this rebuke, I hesitate not to aver that a great portion of the flimsy, the emollient, and the foreign-taught among us, are sadly imbued with this revolting propensity. Then, let them be sought out, and punished in a manner suitable to their deserts; but let our ears be no more nauseated with surmise and conjectures, with inuendo and hint; let the parties whose taste lies that way employ their


HATEFUL PROPENSITIES; leisure in acting for the furtherance of justice, rather than in talking with little discretion and without regard to the common decencies of life and the feelings of others. How this kind of interference is to be set about, we hesitate to advise, and disdain to write down; but following the more appropriate course of guide and safeguard, we may usefully quote the heads of a few cases connected with this topic, the last of which, in point of time, excited the foregoing reflections. That they prove something both ways, is no objection to either, in the views we have taken of the lamentable subject. It is in the nature of some crimes to reproduce others of their own kind, unpunished murder, for example, or the gaudy impunity of an undetected robber; in the case under consideration, the indiscreet expository anathemas of the expurgators before alluded to superinduce the pryings of curiosity, and seem to call for the accusatory aid of the venal.

Early in July, , a soldier accused a wretch of making proposals to him, infamously non-natural, and also alleged that another of the same stamp had offered him on his

kicking up a bubbery

at the publichouse, where it happened-the above Chandosstreet, in St. Martin's Lane. The matter came on at Bow-street, before Sir Richard Birnie, when B---n, the landlord, attended to prove the whole a malicious affair, only contrived to extort money. An accusation made singly, and


CASE: A MAGISTRATE'S VISIT. thus met by direct denial, could not be supported, though the soldier's statement by itself might be sufficient for a grand jury to find a true bill. Sir Richard Birnie asked B--n, if this were the first accusation of the sort that had been made concerning the company frequenting his -- and ---. B--n admitted that Whereat we were surprised to hear the persons present express their conviction that the soldier's charge was thus primarily corroborated; than which conclusion none could be more untenable, for he might have been excited to make this charge in consequence of the first accusation having met his ears, and not the less so because that one also concerned a soldier. Sir Richard next inquired if B-- n kept any female servants? replied the Wretch: man cook, man waiter and chamberlain, argues a profoundly bad taste, not only in the landlord of a pothouse that is the resort of soldiers and persons who hesitate to avow their avocations in life-but, also, at those superior hotels and taverns, in which assemble the magnates of the land, against whom the breath of slander has never raised its pestilence, much less the mere 'licensed victualler,' like the culpritlooking B---n, whose trade hung upon the magistrate's admonition- A threat, by the way, that has been


HUSH-MONEY, DANGEROUS. often hastily fulminated against less guilty offenders than this B--n.

observed the magistrate, with good tact for his office, though displaying a bad taste; added he, to show his pertinacity in making personal observations. And he was right too; for nothing is like looking closely after your employees, especially when the underlings have been distinctly charged with malversation of their office. Not only so, but direct contravention of the powers entrusted to them has been carried home to officers in numerous instances. observed the magistrate, with good tact for his office, though displaying a bad taste; added he, to show his pertinacity in making personal observations. And he was right too; for nothing is like looking closely after your employees, especially when the underlings have been distinctly charged with malversation of their office. Not only so, but direct contravention of the powers entrusted to them has been carried home to officers in numerous instances.

Such a


should have been paid to the Barley-mow, in the Strand, when recently a nest of similar sinners were taken, convicted, and imprisoned, upon the evidence of two inferior officers only, one of whom we know to have been murderously deficient in oath-veracity, nigh twenty years ago, when life was at stake, and taken: let us hope that the visit was so paid, and nothing left to chance, or the muchdreaded per juramenta! but herein we anticipate our subject.--

False accusations and true ones rendered nugatory, by the extortion of hush-money, for this particular offence, have been but too numerous of late years in the metropolis. In Dublin, however, a man accused the Bishop of Clogher, a scion of a noble and ancient race, publicly,


JOCELYN AND BYRNE. and without attempting extortion; but he was, nevertheless convicted upon the Bishop's evidence, amidst his own re-assertions of the original imputation and the outcry of a crowded court: the press (all orange as it was) joined its execrations to the public indignation, and the man (one Byrne), according to the taste of the times, was flogged severely, for

benefit of clergy.

This particular member of the cloth took no warning, it seems, by this miraculous perversion of the punishment due to his crimes; for, after a few years, he repeated the same offence in Westminster, was detected in flagrante delictu, but got off for a comparatively small sum, paid by way of bail for his appearance; but which appearance he never did intend to make, and, in fact, he betook himself off to Paris, the Boulevards among,-fit place for such a Jocelyn-monster.

Just so it happened to a soldier of the-- regiment of Foot-guards, whose nickname of Nancy Cooper designated his character, as the givers of it considered; but he, unlike poor Byrne, did not survive to see the disgrace of his prosecutor. Nancy was hanged at Newgate-door, for accusing a certain gentleman, in the Strand, of a beastly offence, said to have been committed in St. James's Park. Now, this wretch might have spoken the truth, in both his cases; namely, that which conferred upon him his Nanny-title, as well as that which cost him his last fling; but by his demand for hush-


GOODMAN AND FISHER'S CASE; money, he flung his life away, about the year or .

Differing somewhat in the result was the case of Goodman and Fisher, who were condemned to death, for extorting hush-money from one Jones, a publican, living in the neighbourhood of Broadway, Blackfriars, under pretence that he had taken improper liberties with the person of one of them, whilst viewing the caricature-shop of John Fairburn, there, and for which offence, they alleged, he merited prosecution. Similar accusations had been preferred against other wretches for their malepractices at this very spot; and the eyes of the neighbours being naturally directed towards the frequenters of this caricature exhibition, this Jones was recognised by the neighbours, as one who daily loitered among the throng remarkably long and suspiciously. After the capital conviction of the offenders, those people came forward to attest to the last mentioned fact, and Mr. Smith, the pork-butcher, next door, among the rest, assisted in making those representations to the Secretary-of-State, whereby sentence was respited, and finally commuted to transportation for life.

Out of the foregoing


a reasonable person may fashion his rule of life, in the event of any such occurrence, should it happen to himself to be so falsely accused; add to which the advice of the late Sir John Sylvester, our not very refined, but strong-minded Recorder,


SUSPECTED PERSONS-DOUBTFUL PARTIES. upon such an accuser coming to give evidence before him, he rebuked the witness with That is to say, presuming upon his innocence, a position we always take for granted, when the accuser of the crime has sought to extort money as the price of his silence, unless (like this witness) the demand has been complied with by him more than once. But, in the particular instance where those words were used, we had subsequent reason to believe the imputation was not wholly without foundation; and 1 am sorry to add my reluctant assent to the general sentiment, that some cause, however slight, always exists to lay the party under suspicion. The habit of frequenting such company as lie under suspicion, or where they tolerate queer practices (to give them no worse name) without rebuke, or in despite of the admonitions of some grave personage, is quite enough to bring a man's reputation to book; at least, he cannot complain, though one of the fellows present in any such general or mixed company accosts him with the bitterly familiar recollection that " naming the undoubted inferno. Here is the groundwork of the evil, in its least objectionable form ; vulgar fellows, and vile ones, always assuming familiarity with every one whom they may hap-


DANGER OF FAMILIARITY. pen to have met underneath the same cieling, or travelled by the same conveyance, though Meum were stowed in the steerage, or crouched beneath the orlop-deck, Tuum lodged in the poop, or went

a cabin-passenger.

Few persons, like the magistrate before named, or clothed with some recognised authority, could venture to pay such a visit as he avowed, and come out of it uncontaminated with the breath of calumny; even ourselves, who have seen a little of every thing, and a great deal of most, though taking much pains to investigate all species of villainy, and as much more to prove how anxiously we have put all matters worth knowing to the test, yet hesitate to acquire personal knowledge of the haunts of this detested set of monsters. How much more, then, should persons of weaker nerve abstain from resorting to such a place a second time? How sedulously avoid the familiar approaches of ambiguous or indistinct characters he may, by chance, have so met in company promiscuously; seeing that the man would but poorly follow the advice of Sir John Sylvester who knows not, like us, how to handle

his fists,

and possessed not strength of mind, of body, or of public character sufficient to descend with us to some subterranean orgie; neither to penetrate the back slum of a

house of resort,

nor held the mastery over his feelings, whilst pickpockets were acquiring the rudiments of their art, and street-thieves practising


EXCUSES UNAVAILING A SECOND TIME. the sure method of flooring their victims; nor, probably, does the person negatived possess the acumen of developing the cause, the motives, the incentives, the

necessity of purloining

in any one of its varied shapes. Then, let no one who is so deficient in the requisites to investigating the villainous acts, dare approach the contamination of the particular offence now contemplated out of curiosity; for very few can find not even a lawyer, who, like small-fry, set up a pretence that he the Vere-street (Clare-market) gang

professionally, with a deed.

Yes, indeed, Master Hum; only no one saw the deed, unless he had eyes

Curses alight on all jokes; though it must be allowed that a party may look at, though they cannot execute, a legal instrument on a Sunday; which was the day of all others on which his clients-were taken up.

Come hither, monster; let thine own actions tell What cousinship thou bear'st to mighty hell. Grin as thou wilt, nay writhe,--half fool, half sot, And cry, with Macbeth's wife,

out, cursed spot.

Imprisonment in the House of Correction, and the pillorying four of the miscreants, annihilated the party that nauseated the town, as A very proper feeling caused the street's name to be altered, and justice refused to license the premises as a public-house for the future.

falsely made, affecting


BLOOD-MONEY AND TYBURN TICKETS. life itself, were at one time much more frequent than at this period, and that chiefly by peace officers, who sought to obtain the statutable rewards which conviction of the accused brought them-generally £40 per victim. The iniquity of these proceedings was fully discussed in my former volume on these subjects, ; the system of rewards was proved to have been founded in an erroneous estimate of public virtue and private principle, and they were, two years afterwards, abrogated-the judges now having the power to certify when officers deserve well of the country, and the magistrates of divisions and of districts writing orders upon the county treasurer for payment, when the expenses of prosecution are directed by the judge to be allowed. Neither are any more Tyburn-tickets issued, that exempt the holders from obnoxious offices, so that those still acted upon fall with the present lifeholders.

Since the foregoing half-dozen pages (deemed necessary to the full developement of our plan) escaped from the pen upon the yet unsullied paper, two other cases are brought under our notice as illustrative of the wantonly accusatory nature of some men's minds on this very lamentable subject-in one instance, and of the validity of our surmises in the other case: they are both intimately connected with our view of the freedom and conduct of the press, too, as set forth in a subsequent page; and, as


SCANDAL REPRESSED-A CASE. we should feel disgust in again entering upon the same topic, conceive the present as the most appropriate moment for finally adverting to the nauseous facts.

The John Bull Sunday paper is professedly a scandalising chronicle-of great powers, certainly, but of most mischievous tendencies, leaving politics out of consideration. It attacks, vehemently, the families, wives and children, of the opposite party; their peculiarities, oddities, pursuits, qualifications, and vices, if they have any; and what manner of person is without ? And, if without, some juries have sworn that the John creates. Ever teeming with quirks, and jibes, and biting paragraphs, and subtle concerning the character, and person, and family of a late member for Wiltshire, we were all at once struck aghast, as by an air-gun explosion, at the vacuity of John's columns, regarding the member, and all about him. Even AEsop Spring, the City-road orator, who had been employed by the member some years since, in the ginshop and licensed victualler inquiry, could not convey to us one intelligible guess at the reason; though the impression left by one of his hour-long speeches was, that the said Phrygian's patron had broken a limb at Brussels. According to -crump's cacos--and all St. Luke's parish believed in


AESOP'S MYSTERY-BULL AND SHACKELL. their oracle. Thus the above matter rested, until October, , when an indictment,

Rex versus Shackell,

publisher of the Bull, was tried in the Court of King's Bench-and the defendant found guilty of publishing a libel, in which the learned Mr. Heber was said to have expatriated himself,

in consequence of his attachment

to the translation of Cornu-cervi. Let us not propagate the disgraceful lie. By that verdict, the plaintiff completely justified his character from the imputations of John, nor do we feel any inclination to keep open the sore; but the disgusting facts were thus published, that

the learned

was unhappily also one of and that

the member

had been detected in flagrante delictu by a footman, or some such fellow. This AEsop knew, no doubt, when he mystified our inquiries, and so did the scandalous chronicler; but when the Brussels news reached the Bull, he magnanimously ceased to persecute the fallen man, and has never mentioned him since! we demanded, when, two or three summers had passed away without a single vituperation at the son of Lord T---e; For we knew he was venal: we recollected, too well, the first principle of its establishment, the primum mobile of its first publisher, many a day before even its title was adopted, to think it would forego its purpose without payment for the sacrifice.

Further, another case in point occurs whilst we are at press, of a conviction at the Old Bailey December sessions, in which we find one Morton, a youth, endeavoured to obtain £50 of a scoundrel, who, in his cross examination, is brought to admit his own infamy; whereas, the only course Morton should have pursued was immediate, direct, undeviating prosecution for the assault.

But many and vexatious are the smaller accusations brought at our police offices by busy officers who desire, in this way, to manifest their superior vigilance, before the magistrates and their employers, in order to obtain promotion. Hired parish officers, policemen seeking to be put on the establishment, special watchmen, paid by particular districts, or single merchants, to prove that they do not receive their salaries for doing nothing, look out, hard and sharp, for every trivial offender they can lay hands on. Some catch hold of such periodically; but further consideration of these matters, as regards officers, watchmen, and the whole paraphernalia of police, is discussed further down. Meantime, however, the reader, who may happen to be a night-walker, will do well to keep in mind the aphorism which stands under the word

Charley, a watchman,

in my Dictionary of the Varieties of Life:

A Charleyman no sooner gets on his coat and rattle [twin badges of his office] than he becomes choleric, accusatory, and venal,

page 23. Is


NIGHT-GUARDIANS CHARACTERISED; it necessary to say that, in order to come at this conclusion, I have myself been present at

the clothing

many hundred such A poor, shrivelled, bony, old rip, who could, previously, scarce crawl out of the way of a snail, as soon as he has wellreefed up a button or two of the parish-marked wrap-rascal, will, all at once, open a brisk tirade at the yet-unclothed, or talk authoritatively concerning the objects of his It operates upon him like a doublefeed of corn upon a trickey old horse, or a full glass of max upon a snuffy fish-fag, to both of whom he bears near affinity in several other respects. These sometimes make part of the hordes that waylay the unlucky wights who keep the middle watch sacred to Bacchus; and are, also, found allied, in some manner or other, to the strumpets, pickpockets, and male thieves of the same dark period. I do not mean they hold communion, or at all act after a fixed plan; but I do mean to say, that the chief object with all night-prowlers being those who may not be in a condition to take care of themselves, whereby they fall an easy prey-and that the guardians of the night finding these more profitable captives than the thieves, these latter escape, whilst all sorts of monstrous charges are laid to the account of the drunken man or they thus all join in the same pursuit. I have my eye, at present, more particularly upon the city proper, and the


THEIR CHARGES AND ACCUSATIONS. high carnival for such transactions is my Lord Mayor's day, in the evening, from ten to five: many of the livery, however, live out of town, and most of the juniors

fly their kites,

by way of finishing their orgies, beyond Templebar, on that annual festival.

On all such occasions, false charges and the most preposterous stories, built upon trivial bases, laid at the police offices next morning, are of every-day occurrence, and well- understood to mean a trifle to be paid to each of the accusers for making it up. This is shabby work; but there is no way of remunerating the night-guardians properly for their services but by thus levying fines on the disorderly.

False accusations, however, do not attach exclusively to the watchman-character. I recollect, in , a grocer, of Newgate-street, Brandon, by name, charging a watchman of his ward with stealing his watch; but after a long examination, and the charge being entered in the book, against the supposed thief, the lost tattler was discovered at the knee of his inexpressibles, by the houseman's wife, an old harridan, up to snuff in all things pertaining thereto. Master Brandou had been immorally inclined that evening, and paid the accused, as compensation, some trivial damages. In the same watchhouse, some four years previous, George Medcalf, one of the city representatives, accused old Warren, the beadle, of participating in the benefits derived from appoint- 1


WATCHMEN, HOW REMUNERATED; ing watchmen to certain beneficial beats; where pickpocket-strumpets carried on their operations under protection of said but Warren rebutted the charge, by asserting that he could not get able men to perform the duty at twopence-halfpenny per hour, and be was obliged, therefore, to overlook such trivial affairs as those complained of, viz. street- robberies. Hereupon the councilman caned the ward-beadle round the house, and the latter, by order of the city, prosecuted the former to conviction, before the Recorder, and immaculacy personified in duodecimo-a London Jury.

At Christmas-eve, , a posse of watchmen accused a party of tradesmen, who had just emerged from the Punch-house, in Tavistock-street, Covent-garden, with having Palpably untrue as was the allegation, and easily disproved, it was, nevertheless, met with simple denial. Mild rebuke, however, is little calculated to cool a Patlander, especially when clothed in the halo of a brief authority, and they seized the party of punch-drinkers, at an odds of about two to one: neither would remonstrance aught avail the prisoners, nor did the proposal to bring along some exculpatory evidence, from said Punch-house, produce alleviation of the captives' fate of lying close confined in Covent-garden watchhouse, until the great feast of the year should have passed


A MISTAKEN LOT, CORRECTED. over. To remonstrance succeeded bitter expostulation, which threats could not repress, though club-law might. But the application of this repellant, so well adapted in the generality of cases,

to make the prisoner civil,

as the saying goes among them, did not effect its usual purpose in the present case; but, like other excessive sedatives, only served to irritate the patients still more. Never was streetbattle more necessary, or more imperatively forced upon the defendants, in any action than this; neither, certainly, was one ever more applauded, as was this one, in our hearing, by some bystanders, for itsjustice, manliness, and rapidity of execution. exclaimed Thomas James to Big Thomas [William Jeremy, the great, and Jon Bee, the least, being also at hand)! the sound gave instant life to sixteen pair of as lively knuckles, as ever

put a stop to the plumpudding eating

of a set of Irishmen, since the distant day that , like an old fool, got surprised in his camp. The watchhouse steps of Covent-garden are admirably calculated to hold just four prostrate Irishmen, the rest having mizzled; all which having seen from his lattice, the constable of the night negotiated with two of the detenus (one English and one Welshman) who stood above, whilst a similar pair held the enemy in check below, that the whole should pass off oblivious.

Satisfaction for the past and security for the future



NIGHT ADVENTURES, CONSEQUENCE. ing been thus obtained over the posse, at the expense of a few teeth and a few more contusions, our party soon heard themselves congratulated by the real disturbers of the night (the very persons who ought to have been captured) at

the gallant manner in which they had taken the shine out of the charleys.

The young rogues stood aloof during the caption and affray, for which they deserved to have their names handed over to public view; but four out of the six had no name, designation, or fixed place of abode, that we could ascertain. The laugh was now against us, and so remains.

Trivial as the foregoing true picture of a night adventure may pass with some, the rational reader is desired to take into consideration, that imprisonment in a real dungeon for two whole days and a fraction, (for Christmas fell on a Monday,) and undergoing an examination at Bow-street, in the face of a long- concocted charge of seven hard-swearing watchmen, is no child's play-to say nothing of the usual mulct, or the emblazonment deemed necessary to the support of the penny-a-line reporters for an o'erweening press--sad Wights.

Life itself, however, is sometimes put to the stake on the charge of intemperate vicious persons, upon accusations of the most improbable nature, as applied to the accused. Not many years ago, a woman of the town accused a noble lord of having robbed her of a fifty pound note; but immediately after his acquittal, at


ACCUSATIONS TO THE LIFE-FEMALE. the Old Bailey, she was herself put to the bar, tried for perjury, and transported. Much later () one Ann Radford accused a person of good character of having murdered another man in her presence; but the latter appearing in court, rather staggered belief in her evidence, and she too was convicted and transported.* This last, however, was a provincial occurrence; though no doubt exists on my mind that scenes of secret murder, in brothels, occur too often in town; else, how does it happen that we read so frequently in the newspapers of

left their home,


requested to return to their disconsolate friends.

This topic is resumed further down, under the head of intrappers, crimps, &c.

Officers' accusations against poor persons, unprotected individuals, old basket-women, carters, cattle-drivers, and the like, do not always merit credence for their fidelity, seldom for their humanity. Some years ago, a fellow (since disgraced) seized two boys, on Towerhill, whom he charged with having offered to pass bad shillings; and hauling them into a shop there, pretended to find

upon their persons

some score or two of base coin. They were indicted upon the grave charge and found guilty, but it was timeously proved that he had * The father of this woman appears to have been one of the five persons saved out of the Royal George, at Spithead, in : he died in .


himself induced them to engage in this traffic, and that the base pieces were taken from his own pocket in the shop.

For several years, one Waite, a very

active constable,

substitute of Alderagate, made it a practice to bring up one charge a week, at least, before the sitting alderman. They were of the most trivial nature imaginable, chiefly on the score of

humanity to animals,

then very much in vogue; which the offenders usually expiated by a few days seclusion in Bridewell, and vivid application at the hemp-block; where they get

bread and water sufficient to keep life, soul, and body together, and light enough to inform them there is a God in heaven.

Men, or boys, or old women, writhing under the double affliction of false accusation and hard (because unusual) work, to say nothing of privations, would be little likely to benefit by any instruction, however well intentioned. But here, too,





a due sense

followed them, under the fostering care of serious sheriffs, with a religious turn of mind; [2]  and the persecuted poor elves, hitherto free as air, though empyreumatic as gas, might here form a tolerably fair notion of the solitary practices of the inquisition, as regards peninsular slaves, if like ---- and ---- they


could hire scribes of better clerkship than themselves to write down, legibly, the belchings of their cogitations. What motive he could have, who thus pounced upon scarceoffending beings, with voluntary malignity, long puzzled my endeavours to ascertain. His name, constantly appeared upon the notes of charges reported to me from the Justice-room, and occasionally at the Mansion-house: I inquired, in the midst of three or four attendants, at the Justice-room. replied the most communicative of those ; to which all assented in words, or by the more intelligent interpretation of a knowing smirk. Here the real fact came out; neither the five-shilling inducements of the humanity parliament, nor the exhortations of little Galway Martin, of long Buxton,or short Montague-presiding spirits of potheen, of porter, and of limpid streams, respectively, influenced our Aldersgate substitute; but ambition and the so often thrown in the teeth of his superiors, bare him away to an exacerbated infliction of his authority-like the every-day ex officio filature of an irritable Attorney-General, or the super-active jackal, who seizes more prey than his master-lion requires, or ultimately does himself any other good than to


unfit him for escape from . Both the consequences which observers of the most oppo- site feelings may anticipate followed this man's malversation: 1. He was denounced and dis- graced for two years. 2. He obtained the ultima- tum of his ambition, which so many other coarse- minded fellows seek after, an situation. His operations now appear to be restricted to the eastward of , on what account it boots not me to inquire; but whilst the foregoing for going to press, I observe that received a very fine reply from Vaughan, the blood-hound-officer, who was convicted in , and suffered a long im- prisonment. Those two meeting in the waiting- room at the Mansion-house, in September, , Waite exclaims, (answers he,) Waite was dumb-found.

Notwithstanding all this, I am full willing to believe that is likely to make as true an officer as five-sixths of the whole body of them, so I guess, though I never detected him at a caption,or ever heard him speak out, unless to a .

, I have said, are seldom weighed in the scale of truth; that they are unmeasurably false and unfounded is no less lamentably the case, when the party against


whom they may be directed has dared to in- terfere with his line of duty-trespassed upon his , or spoiled the operations of women thieves, to whom he affords protection. do not so often carry on their designs with the privity of watchmen, though some do identify themselves with robbers of every de- scription- hustlers, pickpockets, and cracks- men; but it more frequently happens that when any thing in the way of , or stripping a warehouse, then the thieves pre- pare a bit of a treat for the or men who would be likely to interrupt them, whilst the job is performing. Sometimes they get a wo- man to invite the watchman's woman, who in- vites of , to take a drop of brandy,

nice and hot,

() down the next street save one or two, whereby they stultify what little sense he may have re- maining. In which of these-or dupes or rogues, the watchman of the following story ought to be classed, I leave to the reader's fancy, taste, or discernment, to settle.

. It might be half past twelve o'clock on the night of , [Tom Shelton had a benefit that day,] that and his friend , the farrier, toddling homewards, saw two youths struggling with a third person, close to the timber-yard premises, nearly at the top of , . Much fatigued, and in the midst of drizzling rain, they passed on to the , and parted; when


one of those persons crossed over also, wildly exclaiming he had been As the watch-box facing, within six yards of , was found empty, and none an- swered to the cry of inferred that the old chap was , and gave him half an hour's waiting, in order to sift the matter a little, according to his custom. On his return to the box, told the watchman of his long absence, and of what had happened. hastily interposed the unfaithful guardian, and sprung his rattle; when another, whose box was within hail, and who had also been absent, ran to his aid, any fourth person would have thought some sad offence had been committed. At the watch-house, the respectable constable of the night, just returned from , re- cognised as having been seen watch- ing the empty watch-box; and the motive for doing so being briefly explained-viz. to make the fact a subject of future publicity, the accu- sation was dismissed, but neither of the watch- men. They remained, many months after, un- der surveillance; and were at length discharged, at the joint instance of and Mr.Turner, a bookseller hard by, for an act of tyranny exer- cised towards a poor fellow who had spoiled their peculations.

- thieves: these come


less under the restraint of our parish watchmen than disorderly persons-or those keepers of late hours who may be on their way home in any degree inebriated or indiscreet. Of these they invariably make a market, either by ex- tracting an immediate , or carrying the charge, with all its emblazonments, up to the magistrate, in the morning; whilst they serve as the cover for actual rogues, either wilfully or by corruption, unless indeed the police patrol stroll round and derange the plans that either may have laid. By twelve o'clock, however the duty of these latter officers cease; and while em- ployed they appear to exert themselves rather in the promoting of and in minor matters, than in reserving their autho- rity and personal influence for great occasions; as if

looking after disorderlies


clear- ing the public-houses,

according to the words of their instructions, were of more importance than detecting street-thieves, preventing house- breaking, or catching pickpockets, and dis- persing strumpets. Be this, however, said


though we cannot blind ourselves to the fact that, when men of uncultivated in- tellect, as far as cultivation of the mind is con- cerned, are in curbing the moral aberrations of others, they cannot, nor do they, distinguish between right and wrong, but to which are clearly to , and intrap, and bother the sinners-among whom the publicans are


looked upon as the chief. The lodge information against no other description of sin- ners. But the whole machinery of our night-watch requires alteration, to adapt it to the changes which have taken place in the state of pro- perty, the exposure to which the improved rural manner of living of our citizens leaves their warehouses, to enable it to cope with the increased skill, numbers, and adroitness of our modern thieves. And reformation already re- sounds in our ears; the congregated wisdom of the city, having voted and amend- ments, at the moment of our going to press. For our parts, we will not, in this page, enter upon the discussion, whether a or a have taken the most correct view of the subject; we believe them ill-informed as to ; but when they and their re- spective supporters agree with us, that the pre- sent system is a bad one, they grant much more towards a real reformation of than aught we have listened to since the subject first occupied our attention. The new measures do not go the length of correcting the evils, and must undergo fresh modifications at the end of a year; increase of pay being but a half-measure, and unceasing ambulation an absolute impediment to a due exercise of the watchman's real duty. Among other objec- tions, he cannot be found so readily, when rambling uncertain about his beat, as when he can he pitched upon in his , in the


certain intervals of his rounds: challenging, by the constable of the night, will be imperfectly per- formed, although he run through every crick and cranny of the ward; he will find good ex- cuses for leaving his beat, or sneaking, and the sudden requisition of an inhabitant can seldom be complied with, and may easily be evaded.





[1] Entitled A Night's Search, in a series of very fair poetical sketches, fifty in number, mostly applied to the same evil ways of life.






[2] Certainly not under the joint Vice-comes-Perkins and Rothwell, both of them pretty chickens, each in his way.