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

Bee, Jon




When old offenders have known places of resort, usually at small places, in public -houses little accustomed, or kept by some powerless old widow, it is not always adviseable to break up such, unless this be inevitable upon the pursuit of any one upon a specific charge; for it may so happen, that some one or more may be driven thither through necessity (not being acceptable elsewhere), whilst endeavouring to , and

leave off his dishonest practices,

as sometimes takes place; and would oftener, if tradesman could be found of sufficient powers of mind and body to encourage the first movements of returning rectitude, by giving employment to the repentant sinner. A missionary who should undertake such a task would confer more real benefit upon society than he who preaches sermons on the road side; but he should not assume the of his order, lest he be unaptly mistaken for and thus provoke reprisals; and he might profitably forego upon the occasion, the expense whereof would sensibly aid his endeavours in the shape of . The most favourable


moment for such an enterprise would be the day of the unhappy person's coming out of prison, when he may be supposed



to a stand-still, as happens to about one half of them. When his period of detention is completed, where is the excarcerated to go but to his old friends, his haunts: at such a place alone is he likely to be found and reclaimed; or found amidst his fellows, planning new thefts and endeavouring to laugh off his recent sufferings. In one case, how cruel to

disperse the gang,

as we are accustomed to hear recommended in the papers; in the other event, how useless to disperse the just white-washed culprit along with his less unlucky com-rogues! Much more efficacious, in the sequel, would be the forcible dismissal from the contamination of such a party, of every juvenile offender, of the doubtfully honest or incipient thief, per authority of the landlord of the house; the same would take place in a private dwelling, though the resort of dishonest persons, I believe from report, unless they be of the most depraved class in the long catalogue of offenders. Loose females, of the tenderest age, usually attend such haunted public houses, laying claim to one as a brother, to another as a sweetheart and so on, but always inciting them to theft by the surest seductions: blandishments, example, instruction, ridicule, flash songs and Botany-bay pastorals, are among the arts employed by such girls upon mere boys, and on some fellows much older. A good horsewhip, or ground ash, strictly and



unsparingly laid on, [\i] 

will be found more efficacious than imprisonment, and much more humane, too, (though a limb be broke in the process,) than waiting until the urchins and the husseys commit some crime of an unpardonable nature, that may reflect on the office and the officer engaged in their detection, the credit of having deserved well of their country. With the same view of the subject it was that I formerly advocated the efficacy of-

FLOGGING at the cart's tail, or otherwise, and discharging prisoners convicted of minor offences, rather than locking up the scarcely contaminated along with the finished thieves; from whom they learnt worse acts than those for which they stood committed, and where to fence, and whither to resort, and all the means of queering the traps, or getting away from their clutches. I was even led to lament that power was not vested somewhere, to inflict summary punishment off-hand on pilfering children under a certain age: not by stripping and tying up the least, but giving them what is termed round the room, at the hands of a



kind of schoolmaster, on the ground that

this part of their education had been neglected.

The bigger ones, boys, I would strip, and according to age, give it them soundly, but not severely; not lacerating deeper than the cuticle, but quite up to that point of severity with the most hardy bravoes of thick skin and hard muscular construction. Aught short of this is mere mockery; and so is the infliction of such a slight punishment upon high offenders: witness the operation performed on threeSpitalfields weavers this morning, , for cutting silk out of the machines of their neighbourworkmen. Whoever recommended lenity to be shewn toward those offenders, should have heard the commentary of the spectators as soon as each exhibition termiated:- observed one;-a sentiment that was echoed by a dozen !-and this for a crime that incurs a sentence of transportation in every other case than a summary conviction under

the Spitalfields Act.

, an adequate flogging at the cart's tail, for , is incontestably the most effectual, as it seems, also, the most appropriate punishment for youthful offenders, however inured to robbery; as applied to more aged rogues, I have reason to doubt its efficacy, though I entertain none as to its appropriateness to all minor offences, and then it had better be



inflicted privately, since people in general cry out againt punishing men as if they were boys. By the way, this must be the reason that this species of corporal punishment has been so much decried in naval discipline; the lubbers and nincompoops, the psalm-singers and old women, who compose this genus of thinkers, not being aware that a squadron of ships cannot be kept in sailing order without it: though I remember the case of a single ship [quere two] being so manned with the elect of a fleet, whereby it got christened By this nickery more harm was done in the aggregate than good. People of weak perception should examine matters such as these closer than it seems they are wont: on board ship, for example, or at our prisons, if they dare. It is in contemplating mankind at a distance we become benevolent exceedingly; but when we mix with them, we suffer by the contact that threatens collision, and grow malicious by the apprehension of supposed injury, or at least selfish from the circumspection which our ideas of personal safety impose on us.

Let the objectors to wholesome flogging only think of the time or times when they themselves were flogged at school; and the reflection upon its importance to themselves in making them industrious learners, if not bright scholars (as we suspect), must have half-converted them already. If this be not sufficient, or it happens their

education has been neglected

in this



particular, let them examine (not in words) the conduct of a recently flogged and discharged young larcenist of 15 to 20 years; and having done this a few times (as we have done) with the precaution set down at page 298, lines 8, &c. and we very much doubt whether the most whining inquirer in TOWN will not rise from the investigation a sincere convert to flagellation. On a former occasion, I adduced the case of an entire party of such larceny rogues being brought to the brink of reformation, by the deeply execrated report of its effects by one of their acquaintance who had just suffered it; but I hesitate to repeat particulars, because of the full reformation, I am disposed to believe, followed. Finally, I must insist (for the first time in my life) that unless flogging be persisted in strenuously toward dishonest youth, and even honest boys, frequenting the company of known thieves, in-door as well as out, no other hope remains of thwarting the accession of numbers to the several nests of street-thieves that infest every quarter of the metropolis, upon the obverse of the principle, that

to spare the rod is to spoil the child;

and because I have found, from the acknowledgements of many, very many parents of such culprits, that the desired salutary correction was out of their power, or at variance with their feelings. Spoiled children, over-nursed, only-ones, bastards of wayward habits and strong, furnish the juvenile supplies to our nests of older thieves of both sexes:



more especially if workhouse-bred ones, with contempt of the authorities there, or children of parents fond of pleasure, of tippling, &c. Rapidity of detection, I have already taught, will alone lessen the quality of crime in the aggregate, whilst for a time the convictions must necessarily increase in quantity. To this salutary end, the measure now in progress (as I apprehend) and referred to at page 288, will most assuredly tend; and provided it be worked well, sedulously and without flinching, must effect much real good. A thousand ramifications of that measure flit across my mind, by far too numerous for the present space; but I will not conclude this division of my subject, without adverting to one point which is very likely to be mistaken in toto, or carried so far as to render a very desirable means of detecting thieves, the cause of some private injury.

Stopping and searching known thieves, when there is cause to suspect their object, is the indispensable duty of officers; and if the search be enforced whenever they appear from home, or linger along any where, they have no reasonable cause of complaint. Norwhen they follow, or are followed by, a newly-seduced lad, who usually carries the booty, but whom the thief keeps in view, is any blame to be attached to the officer searching, though nothing be found on the party. The search operates sanatively, and should be enforced. But in some instances of reformed thieves, who get into place, or drive



a little trade, the discerning officer will see the cruelty of upsetting his return into honestsociety, by even a hint or allusion to his former (single) misfortune; and the vicious one might be interdicted from molesting him by questions, insinuations, or other practices tending to nose-ology, as sometimes happens with those who scarcely emerge from the rank of rogues, when they became vested with a little brief authority. Reformation is often aspirated after by thieves

out of luck,

or under alarm for their safety; benevolent people sometimes find them employment, even from the bar of the Old Bailey; [\i]  and a wise policy would extend to these any mode of reclamation all the facilities in the power of the state to give. Certificates of reform might be issued to all approved applicants, specifying particulars of place, occupation, and employers' names, which should exempt the bearer from the right of search. Deception could not avail them, and upon detection would but recoil with fresh force upon the then inveterate rogue.

Searching has been pursued in the city with more assiduity than by the officers of the policeoffices, and of course with more success. Tom Dudfield, the receiver, of Shire-lane notoriety was detected in this manner with £800 of stolen bank property about him, after a successful career of fifteen years, reckoningfrom the time he was deputy-receiver of stolen stiff to Josh Palmer, his subsequent connection with (Warren Knight), and with Treble, who did not escape hanging, like his friends, to that of his being finally transported. When taken, the returned lag, Dudfield, threatened the officer with an action. and no doubt would have brought his action for damages had he been clear of the swag at the time: this is a sad state of the law in such cases, even though the verdict go against such a plaintiff. Similar was the defence of the Crowthers, last year, against the two constables of St. Luke's, who took them in flagrante delictu, and got ruined by law-expenses for their reward. Instructively contrasted with the above, is the routine conduct of the county police-officers, who, having fixed upon a man as the most likely, in their opinion, to have committed any given offence,

never leave him,

but raise heaven and earth for small particles that may

make against him,

so as to constitute a whole, or clue. Thus, one William Jones, accused of murder at Bow-


UNFLOGGED YOUTHS, LOST. street, was said to have been seen with his woman on the spot near the time, which information, insinuated into the newspaper reporters at the office, almost condemned the youthful culprit, a fortiori; the same constable (name suppressed by the reporters)

produced a shirt collar, found at the prisoner's lodgings, with spots of blood on it ;

but the woman who washed it subsequently to the murder, swears no blood was on it at any time. [\i]  Similar bloodstained unofficer-like acts crowd upon my recollection, the most pertinacious being those attempts against the much too celebrated , a reformed pickpocket, which subjected him to repeated vexatious examinations



at Bow-street in , and in sent him for trial, capitally, at Stafford assizes, though he had already proved a good alibi, and discovered Dudfield's gang to be the real perpetrators, as above.

Bow-street officers were employed upon most occasions in the city until the year , when the marshals expurgated their subordinates, and put their establishment upon better bases. At the present day their system (no; mode of proceeding) is excellent, notwithstanding the few lapses both of marshals and men in the interval, some of which I exposed in my former publications; and, both in the second and third letters, recommended its abrogation as a separate establishment. For example-the marshal at one time did not pay his people rightly, and the rogues had recourse to extortion, to bloodmoney, and other expedients to make up the deficiency in the means of life. Holdsworth and Canner, who commanded the civil force at the former period, sought for information, as to the persons and haunts of thieves, at the hands of the very men (of Bow-street) whom they meant to supersede; whilst these, as matter of trade, contrived to render both ridiculous, by introducing thefirst to parties of arrant thieves, to carouse and shake hands, (that cover of insidiousness); and the second marshal to the bisexual bad houses of Dudfield, Burdett, and B-n, in Fleur-de-lis-court, in Silver-street, and in Clifford's-Inn-court respectively. What a



contamination ! What a piece of bad taste and ill-judgement in the first officers of the first of cities! None such, to the farthest degree, being known, should ever come in contact with the foes to good order; and of this the chief marshal was convinced by the Mackcouljust mentioned; whereupon Mr. Holdsworth forbade the Bow-street officers to interfere with the city police. Accordingly, and very naturally, as things were then managed, they threatened vengeance against Mackcoul, and nearly executed their purpose, as before said; whilst the second marshal, emulating his chief (of the nodding plume) and acting under the influence of his

bad-house intelligencers,"

joined his powers to theirs-though it is not for a moment to be supposed Mr. Canner knew the real perpetrators were with his intimates, Messrs. Dudfield and Burdett, who doubtless urged him on to sacrifice Mackcoul. [\i]  Commentary hereon would bethrown away: as for the latter, he was spoken of in the first chapter, page 82; but it may not be unimportant to observe, that the reporters of that day, as they of this, aided the conspiracy against Mackcoul by the basest slanders, all conducive to his conviction, right or wrong ; and, among other rascalities,



asserting, on the morning of his being brought for examination the fifth time, that

the prisoner had confessed his crime,

--the liars! which was meant to influence their evidence, as to his person, with the witnesses, and had its desired effect with one poor-souled fellow, named Chadwick.

Reporters of police matters are not only thus apt to take up a cause, so as to make their report tell in reading, so as to charm, alarm, or amuse the public, but they frequently conjure up pretty little adventitious stuff, to occupy a line or two, or a dozen, which makes a difference in their day's income of one, or two, or twelve pence. They either bepraise and bespatter the magistrates and officers, to conciliate their favour, or, taking a direct contrary course, at times employ the hackneyed

observed the worthy magistrate,

with insidious irony, as applied to the most unworthy remark, into which the man, as a magistrate, in the weakness of human nature, was ever betrayed. In the late inquiry at Bow-street, respecting the large robberies of valuable shops and of bankers' parcels, all of them abstained from mentioning the name of Salmon; and he who ventured, just to invite the curious or the interested in such investigations,

to inquire at any police-office,

being dubbed by Sir R. Birnie a pickpocket, they carefully quoted the hasty words, literis verbis, and with biting malignity inserted, at full, the negativing affidavit of Mr. Johnson, (who had compromised a



felony,) denying that any officer was engaged in restoring his stolen time-pieces. A very impertinent proceeding, truly; since every body knew already, that the person who negotiated that same was merely the friend of officers, living in a street issuing out of the Strand, as described above, at page 106, and he himself, at full length, in my former volume, at page 225. Some quality of the mind much meaner than absurdity suggested that affidavit; but all those whose talents are confined to police reporting, are precluded from taking an enlarged view of any topic that comes before them-from what cause their employers know ;-probably

the great first


denies them the capacity.

Yet do all manner of men dread the press:- exclaimed Sir Richard Birnie, when he perceived them dabbing down every syllable of his rebukes, untempered by his wonted prudence-- and down went that too. But, had they all turned their backs upon the worthy magistrate, and agreed to

preserve a stubborn silence,

as a long time did the offended Herald-and as did their major brethren in the House of Commons, regarding that other stern rebuker of the press, Mr. Spring Rice, whom they doomed to silence

for the space of one whole session,

so that the public

heard not the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely,

- what would become of the magistrate ? Even the philosophic


William Wyndham is said to have died of chagrin, in consequence of being condemned to

similar silence by the gentlemen,

whom Cobbett, in a fit of apprehension, designated the What would become of the police establishments altogether, if they were condemned to silence in type ? What, but that the public would vote them unnecessary, under the belief that the millennium of guiltlessness had arrived.

Extensive robberies of entire stocks of valuable goods, like that of Messrs. Johnson and Grimaldi, have been mostly perpetrated in the city, because it is there that such stocks prevail; but the frequent recurrence of these go but little towards impugning the present vigilance of its officers, the watchmen excepted; for,

there is an hour or two occurring every day twice, when entire districts are left wholly unguarded, and the thieves know it well,

as I observed in my third letter, and Alderman Magnay, in the first week of his mayoralty, quoted the passage, following it up with a regulation which filled up the two chasms, viz. previous to the going on of the patrol of an evening, and immediately after the watch going off in the morning:

The men cannot be always upon their legs, 'tis true; but they may be divided into parties of thirds or fifths, like the watches on board ship, or, in fact, like any thing but as they now are, straggling, unconnected, and insufficient.

The faithlessness of the is proverbial; the cause is equally well known to be inadequate payment, viz. 3d. an hour, by a munificent effort advanced from 2 and 1/2d. in December, ; but in January we find verified a fact, only surmised at when the observations at page 178 went to press, viz. that their chiefs, who are well paid, are liable to suspicion; the beadle of Coleman-street ward having been detected privately stealing from some undertakers, and committed to Newgate from the Mansion-house. Would such a fellow hesitate about drawing off a watchman from his proper beat, when agreat crack is to be achieved? If he did, he would be a very inconsistent sort of thief. Upon inquiry whereabout he was meddling, when some such extensive night robberies have lately taken place, he will be found to have been no great way off. Wood-street, to wit.

Bankers' parcels. Yet we do not find that the robbers of mails of those kind of valuable parcels, which have been so frequent from the year , trust their contents in the city, in dread of the superior officers' vigilance-not more than one of them labouring under suspicion, viz. a connection with Ikey Solomons, in the Ludgate-hill business, . Those parcels of notes of great amount, I have reason to believe, made no rest in the city nearer than Moorfields, and then moved a little northward; at least such was the case with the first and last lots, obtained per mail ; those of the Ipswich


RESPECTING: NEGOTIATIONS, EFFECTS OF. bank (Alexanders') having been deposited, during the long negotiation, at the upper end of Britannia-terrace, whither the silly fellows, loth to trust each other implicitly, repaired on horseback daily. The last lot, those of Messrs. Whitehead's bank, stolen in Holborn, as every body knows, went to that other Jew's in Northstreet, also in the City-road.

The negotiations that are known to have been carried on for the restoration of those stolen parcels of notes, and the progress reported from time to time in the papers, reflect high disgrace on the police management of the country: the consummation of that disgrace is the safe performance of each negotiation. To certain magistrates is confided jurisdiction in such affairs; they delegate to their officers the task of catching offenders and bringing them up for examination, in lieu whereof they convert their authority to the means of private emolument, contrary to law, and shield the thieves they are sworn to bring to justice. They thus encourage new depredations of the same and similar kinds, and have only to put up their principals to the tricks, to come exactly within the case of , who was himself an officer, a thieftaker, and a restorer of stolen property, for which he at length received a halter as his reward. Among other noticeable things attendant upon those robberies, is it not strange that the persons travelling by the mails at the time of the robberies are not publicly advertised? Are the



losers, then, intimidated by the application, professionally, of Mr. H. the Jew lawyer,

not to stir in the business, and all shall be made right?

He, whose brother was transported, was he not in the rig himself, particeps criminis, prior to the felony ? And if bankers, men of respectability, thus consent to cover the thieves and envelope them in obscurity, how can they expect others to communicate what they happen to know, or little more than surmise? whereby their property might be recovered without compromise of money or character, and the recurrence of such disgraceful proceedings be safely prevented.

Much more is postponed to the new volume, promised next year.


* A few copies remain of


by the same Author, an enlargened edition, with frontispiece, price 6s. 6d. boards. This Dictionary contains vivid sketches of LIFE, besides the slang of the streets, of general society, and sporting characters.





[\i] If boys behave ever so dishonestly, or otherwise deserves the rod, and a grave personage of consideration inflicts it on the spot, as he ought, the villain may indict or bring his action for the assault. Such a person, or a landlord, thrashing away boys out of his drinking-rooms, from the company of thieves, doing it moderately, ought to be allowed to plead the propriety thereof in justification.






[\i] Bill Perry was one of those: he had been several times tried, was under the necessity of purloining, having long propitiated employment in vain; and the foreman of the jury, who last convicted him, took him into his yard as a helper; there I saw him, employed him to obtain facts for my first-book on this subject,-believed him honest, and that he so continued until he went to his long home. He told me it was not he, but a relation, who was concerned with Knight, (the Squire,) who negotiated the stolen bills for Dudfield, Treble, Palmer, &c. spoken of a few pages farther down.


[\i] This boy is one of those just alluded to, whose parent spared the rod and spoiled the child, until he and his brother became past endurance, naturally fell into seductive company, dressed kiddily, kept late hours, and pilfered to support it, as usual. Nearly the same was the course of Latko's son, the lawyer of Doctor's Commons, and of Edwards',of the same vicinage, and of twenty other over-indulgent fathers. Stephen Jones, the father of William we knew long: he was one of the authors alluded to in another chapter, (p. 125) having been a journeyman printer, and a compiler of four or five books; two of them unfairly, as regards "trade," and the last without the requisite research: he rather preferred "Plater's ale" to the application of the ferula. So did the lawyer prefer the cheering glass ; and when the unhappy youth came, in the natural order of things, to expiate his crime, he was denied the last consolation of refracting back its causation in sanglant reproaches upon the author alike of his life and death. History will have still more to tell.



[\i] This person's history of the persecution carried on against him, is well worthy the perusal of all who would push their inquiries farther: he entitles his pamphlet, Abuses of the Law.