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Title: A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis - Containing a Detail of the Various Crimes and Misdemeanors - by which Public and Private Property and Security are, at - Present, Injured and Endangered: and Suggesting Remedies - for their Prevention
Author: Colquhoun, Patrick
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis - Containing a Detail of the Various Crimes and Misdemeanors - by which Public and Private Property and Security are, at - Present, Injured and Endangered: and Suggesting Remedies - for their Prevention" ***

by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica)

[Transcriber's Note: This book was published in 1800 and contains some
inconsistent spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and punctuation
typical of that era. These have been retained as they appear in the
original, including the inconsistent use of a period after the pound
symbol (e.g., £.100 and £100). Inconsistent italicizing of _l._, _s._,
and _d._ has been normalized to italics. Long-s has been normalized to
s. The pointing hand symbol has been rendered as [-->]. Printer errors
have been resolved with reference to a later and apparently corrected
printing of the same edition, available at the Internet Archive,
http://www.archive.org/details/atreatiseonpoli03colqgoog. Unresolved
printer errors have been noted with a [Transcriber's Note].]







_By which Public and Private Property and Security are, at present,
injured and endangered:_







_Acting as a Magistrate for the Counties of Middlesex, Surry, Kent,
and Essex.--For the City and Liberty of Westminster, and for the
Liberty of the Tower of London._

     Meminerint legum conditores, illas ad proximum hunc finem
     accommodare; Scelera videlicet arcenda, refrænandaque vitia
     ac morum pravitatem.

     Judices pariter leges illas cum vigore, æquitate,
     integritate, publicæque utilitatis amore curent exequi; ut
     justitia etvirtus omnes societatis ordines pervadant.
     Industriaque simul et Temperantia inertiæ locum assumant et







     _Who has graciously condescended to approve of the Author's
     Efforts "To establish a System of Morality and good Order in
     The Metropolis:"_


     _In every Part of the British Dominions; whose favourable
     Reception of these Labours, for the Good of their Country,
     has contributed, in a considerable degree, to the Progress
     which has been already made, towards the Adoption of the
     Remedies proposed for the Prevention of Crimes, the Comfort
     of Society, and the Security of the Peaceful Subject:_

This Improved and Enlarged Edition of


_is humbly_

_and respectfully_


    Jan. 1, 1800.


Occupied in a variety of laborious pursuits, which afford little time
either for study or recreation, the Author once more presents this
Work to the Public with an unfeigned Diffidence, arising from his
consciousness, that under such circumstances it must require their
indulgence. This, he trusts, will be granted when it is considered,
that his employments are of a nature unfriendly to that critical
accuracy and precision, the necessity of which is impressed on his
mind, not less by a sense of his own personal character, than of his
obligations to the long-experienced candour and liberality of his

In the present Edition much new matter has been brought forward, and
considerable improvements have been attempted by the introduction of
official facts, and authentic details calculated to elucidate and
explain the general system first placed by the Author under the review
of the Public. Their extensive approbation (although his only reward)
is of a nature which can never be too highly estimated. That
approbation has not only been confirmed by many of the first and most
respectable characters in these kingdoms, not less conspicuous for
talents and abilities than for that genuine patriotism which
distinguishes the good subject, and the valuable member of Society;
but also by several Foreigners eminent for learning and virtue.

While we deplore the miserable condition of those numerous delinquents
who have unfortunately multiplied with the same rapidity that the
great wealth of the Metropolis has increased: while their errors and
their crimes are exposed only for the purpose of amendment: while the
tear of pity is due to their forlorn state, a prospect happily opens
through the medium of _the Report of the_ SELECT COMMITTEE _of the_
HOUSE _of_ COMMONS, for the adoption of those remedies which will
unquestionably give a seasonable check to immorality and delinquency;
so as by their prevention not only to protect the rights of innocence,
but also increase the number of the useful members of the community,
and render punishments less frequent and necessary.

To witness the ultimate completion of legislative arrangements,
operating so favourably to the immediate advantage and security of the
Metropolis, and extending also similar benefits to the country at
large, will prove to the Author of this Work a very great and genuine
source of happiness.

To the Public, therefore, in general, and to the Legislature in
particular, does he look forward with confidence for that singular
gratification which, by giving effect to his well-meant endeavours for
the prevention of Crimes, will ultimately crown with success the
exertions he has used in the course of a very intricate and laborious
investigation, in which his only object has been the good of his

    _1st January_, 1800.


Police in this Country may be considered as a _new Science_; the
properties of which consist not in the Judicial Powers which lead to
_Punishment_, and which belong to Magistrates alone; but in the
PREVENTION and DETECTION OF CRIMES, and in those other Functions which
relate to INTERNAL REGULATIONS for the well ordering and comfort of
Civil Society.

THE POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS, in every point of view, is a subject of
great importance to be known and understood; since every innocent and
useful Member of the Community has a particular interest in the
correct administration of whatever relates to the Morals of the
People, and to the protection of the Public against Fraud and

Under the present circumstances of insecurity, with respect to
property and even life itself, this is a subject which cannot fail to
force itself upon the attention of all:--All are equally concerned in
the Information which this Work conveys; the chief part of the
details in which are entirely novel, not to be found in books, and
never laid before the Public through the medium of the Press, previous
to the first Publication of this Treatise.

It may naturally be imagined, that such an accumulation of delinquency
systematically detailed, and placed in so prominent a point of view,
must excite a considerable degree of astonishment in the minds of
those Readers who have not been familiar with subjects of this nature;
and hence a desire may be excited to investigate how far the amazing
extent of the Depredations upon the Public here related, can be
reconciled to reason and possibility.

Four years have, however, elapsed, since these details have been
before the Public, and they still stand on their original ground,
without any attempt which has come to the Author's knowledge, to
question the magnitude or the extent of the evil.--On the contrary,
new sources of Fraud and Depredation have been brought forward,
tending greatly to increase the general mass of Delinquency.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Mr. Middleton's interesting Report on the County of
Middlesex, and the extracts from thence in Chapter III. of this

In revising the present Edition, the Author felt a strong impulse to
reduce his estimates; but after an attentive review of the whole,
excepting in the instances of the Depredations on Commercial Property,
(which have been greatly diminished by the establishment of a _Marine
Police_, applicable to that particular object,) he was unable to
perceive any ground for materially altering his original
calculations.--If some classes of Theft, Robbery, and Depredation,
have been reduced, others have been augmented; still leaving the
aggregate nearly as before.

The causes of these extensive and accumulated wrongs being fully
explained, and accounted for, in various parts of the Work; a very
short recapitulation of them is, therefore, all that is necessary in
this Preface.

The enlarged state of Society, the vast extent of moving property, and
the unexampled wealth of the Metropolis, joined to the depraved habits
and loose conduct of a great proportion of the lower classes of the
people; and above all, the want of an appropriate Police applicable to
the object of prevention, will, after a careful perusal of this work,
reconcile the attentive mind to a belief of the actual existence of
evils which could not otherwise have been credited.--Let it be
remembered also, that this Metropolis is unquestionably not only the
greatest Manufacturing and Commercial City in the world, but also the
general receptacle for the idle and depraved of almost every country;
particularly from every quarter of the dominions of the Crown--Where
the temptations and resources for criminal pleasures--Gambling, Fraud
and Depredation almost exceed imagination; since besides being the
seat of Government it is the centre of _fashion, amusements,
dissipation and folly_.

Under such peculiar circumstances, while immorality, licentiousness
and crimes are known to advance in proportion to the excessive
accumulation of wealth, it cannot fail to be a matter of deep regret,
that in the progressive increase of the latter the means of checking
the rapid strides of the former have not been sooner discovered and
effectually applied.

It is, however, earnestly to be hoped that it is not yet too
late.--Patriots and Philanthropists who love their country, and glory
in its prosperity, will rejoice with the Author in the prospect, that
the great leading features of improvement suggested and matured in the
present Edition of this Work will ultimately receive the sanction of
the Legislature.

May the Author be allowed to express his conviction that the former
Editions of this book tended in no small degree, to remove various
misconceptions on the subject of Police: and at the same time
evidently excited in the public mind a desire to see such remedies
applied as should contribute to the improvement of the Morals of the
People, and to the removal of the danger and insecurity which were
universally felt to exist?

An impression it is to be hoped is generally felt from the example of
the Roman Government, when enveloped in riches and luxury, that
National prosperity must be of short duration when public Morals are
too long neglected, and no effectual measures adopted for the purpose
either of checking the alarming growth of depravity, or of guarding
the rising generation against evil examples.

It is by the general influence of good Laws, aided by the regulations
of an energetic Police, that the blessings of true Liberty, and the
undisturbed enjoyment of Property are secured.

The sole object of the Author in pointing out the accumulated wrongs
which have tended in so great a degree to abridge this Liberty, is to
pave the way for the adoption of those practical remedies which he
has suggested, in conformity with the spirit of the Laws, and the
Constitution of the Country, for the purpose of bettering the state of
Society, and improving the condition of human life.

If in the accomplishment of this object the Morals of the People shall
undergo a favourable change, and that species of comfort and security
be extended to the inhabitants of this great Metropolis, which has not
heretofore been experienced, while many evils are prevented, which in
their consequences threaten to be productive of the most serious
mischief, the Author of this Work will feel himself amply rewarded in
the benefits which the System he has proposed shall be found to confer
upon the Capital of the British Dominions, and on the Nation at

_Preparing for the Press, by the Author of this Work._

















[_The above will be published in the course of the Spring, by_ JOS.
MAWMAN, _in the Poultry._]





  _Ineffective System of Criminal Jurisprudence.--Facility
  of eluding Justice.--Severity and inequality of
  Punishments.--Necessity of revising our Penal
  Code.--Certain dangerous Offences not punishable.--Receivers
  of Stolen Property.--Extent of Plunder in the Metropolis,
  &c.--Proposed Restrictions on Receivers.--Coiners and
  Utterers of Base Money; the extent of their crimes.--Defects
  in the mode of prosecuting Offenders.--Pardons.--Periodical
  Discharges of Prisoners.--Summary of the causes of the
  present inefficacy of the Police, under nine different heads._     1



  _The mode of ascertaining the Degrees of Punishment.--The
  object to be considered in inflicting Punishments--Amendment,
  Example, and Retribution.--In order to render Criminal
  Laws perfect, prevention ought to be the great object of
  the Legislature.--General Rules suggested for attaining this
  object.--Reflections on the Punishments authorised by the
  English Laws, and their disproportion.--The necessity of
  enforcing the observance of religious and moral Virtue.--The
  leading Offences made Capital by the Laws of England
  considered, with the Punishments allotted to each; compared
  with, and illustrated by, the Custom of other Countries;
  with Reflections.--The Code of the Emperor_ JOSEPH _the
  Second, shortly detailed.--Reflections thereon._                  29
  [Transcriber's Note: should be p. 28]



  _The numerous Receivers of Stolen Goods, under the
  denomination of Dealers in Rags, Old Iron, and other
  Metals.--The great Increase of these Dealers of late
  years.--Their evil tendency, and the absolute necessity
  of restraining them by Law.--Petty Thefts in the Country
  round the Metropolis.--Workhouses the causes of
  and Servants.--Thefts in Fields and Gardens.--Frauds in
  the Sale and Adulteration of Milk._                               74



  _These Crimes more peculiar to England than to
  Holland and Flanders, &c.--A General View
  of the various classes of Criminals engaged in
  these pursuits, and with those discharged from
  Prisons and the Hulks, without the means of
  support.--The necessity of some antidote previous
  to the return of Peace.--Observations on
  the stealing Cattle, Sheep, Corn, &c.--Receivers
  of Stolen Goods, the nourishers of every
  description of Thieves.--Remedies suggested, by
  means of detection and prevention._                               93



  _A considerable check already given to the higher
  class of Forgeries, by shutting out all hopes of
  Royal Mercy.--Petty Forgeries have, however,
  encreased.--The qualifications of a Cheat,
  Swindler and Gambler.--The Common and
  Statute Law applicable to Offences of this
  nature, explained.--Eighteen different classes
  of Cheats and Swindlers, and the various tricks
  and devices they pursue.--Remedies proposed._                    110



  _The great anxiety of the Legislature to suppress
  these Evils, which are however encouraged by
  high sounding names, whose houses are opened
  for purposes odious and unlawful.--The civil
  Magistrate called upon to suppress such mischiefs.--The
  danger arising from such Seminaries.--The
  evil tendency of such examples to
  Servants and others.--A particular statement
  of the proceedings of a confederacy of Persons
  who have set up Gaming-Houses as regular
  Partnership-Concerns, and of the Evils resulting
  therefrom.--Of Lottery Insurers of the
  higher class.--Of Lottery Offices opened for
  Insurance.--Proposed Remedies.--Three Plans
  for drawing the Lottery so as to prevent all
  Insurance._                                                      133



  _The Causes of the enormous increase of this Evil
  of late years.--The different kinds of false coin
  detailed.--The process in fabricating each
  Species.--The immense profits arising therefrom.--The
  extensive Trade in sending base Coin to
  the Country.--Its universal circulation in the
  Metropolis.--The great grievance arising from
  it to Brewers, Distillers, Grocers, and all Retail
  Dealers, as well as to the Labouring Poor.--Counterfeit
  Foreign Money extremely productive
  to the Dealers.--A summary View of the Causes
  of the Mischief.--The Defects in the present
  Laws explained:--And a Detail of the Remedies
  proposed to be provided by the Legislature._                     171



  _The magnitude of the Plunder of Merchandize
  and Naval Stores on the River Thames.--The
  wonderful extent and value of the Floating Property,
  laden and unladen, in the Port of London
  in the course of a year.--The modes heretofore
  pursued in committing depredations through
  the medium of various classes of Criminals, denominated
  River Pirates:--Night Plunderers:--Light
  Horsemen:--Heavy Horsemen:--Game Watermen:--Game
  Lightermen:--Mudlarks:--Game Officers of the
  Revenue:--And Copemen, or Receivers of Stolen
  Property.--The effects of the Marine Police
  Institution in checking these Depredations.--The
  advantages which have already resulted to Trade and
  the Revenue from this system partially tried.--The
  further benefits to be expected from Legislative
  Regulations, extending the System to the whole
  Trade of the River._                                             213



  _Reflections on the causes of this Evil.--Summary
  view of the means employed in its perpetration.--Estimate
  of the Public Property exposed to Hazard.--A Statement of
  the Laws at present in force for its protection:--Proofs
  adduced of their deficiency.--Remedies proposed and
  detailed, viz:--1st. A Central Board of Police.--2d.
  A Local Police for the Dock-yards.--3d. Legislative
  Regulations in aid thereof.--4th. Regulations respecting
  the sale of Old Stores.--5th. The Abolition of the
  Perquisite of Chips.--6th. The Abolition of Fees and
  Perquisites, and liberal Salaries in lieu thereof.--7th.
  An improved Mode of keeping Accounts.--8th. An annual
  Inventory of Stores in hand.--Concluding Observations._          249



  _Receivers more mischievous than Thieves.--The
  increase of their number to be attributed to the
  imperfection of the Laws, and to the disjointed
  state of the Police of the Metropolis.--Thieves
  in many instances, settle with Receivers before
  they commit Robberies--Receivers always benefit
  more than Thieves:--Their profit immense:--They
  are divided into two Classes:--The immediate
  Receivers connected with Thieves, and those who
  keep shops and purchase from Pilferers in the way
  of Trade:--The latter are extremely numerous.--The
  Laws are insufficient effectually to reach either
  class.--The existing statutes against Receivers
  examined and briefly detailed, with Observations
  thereon.--Amendments and Improvements suggested
  with means to ensure their due execution._                       288



  _The increase of Crimes imputed to deficient
  Laws and an ill-regulated Police:--To the
  habits of the Lower Orders in feeding their
  families in Alehouses:--To the bad Education
  of Apprentices:--To the want of Industry:--To
  idle and profligate menial Servants out of
  Place:--To the Lower Orders of the Jews, of the
  Dutch and German Synagogues; To the depraved
  Morals of aquatic Labourers:--To the Dealers in
  Old Metals, Furniture, Clothes, &c.--To
  disreputable Pawnbrokers:--And finally, to
  ill-regulated Public Houses.--Concluding
  Reflections._                                                    310



  _The pitiable condition of the unhappy Females, who
  support themselves by Prostitution:--The progress
  from Innocence to Profligacy.--The morals of Youth
  corrupted by the multitude of Prostitutes in the
  streets.--The impossibility of preventing the existence
  of Prostitution in a great Metropolis.--The Propriety
  of lessening the Evil, by stripping it of its Indecency
  and much of its immoral tendency.--The advantages of
  the measure in reducing the mass of Turpitude.--Reasons
  offered why the interests of Morality and Religion
  will thus be promoted.--The example of Holland, Italy,
  and the East-Indies quoted.--Strictures on the offensive
  manners of the Company who frequent Public Tea
  Gardens:--These places under a proper Police might be
  rendered beneficial to the State.--Ballad-Singers--Immoral
  Books and Songs--Necessity of Responsibility for the
  execution of the Laws attaching somewhere._                      334
  [Transcriber's Note: should be p. 333]



  _The System with respect to the Casual Poor
  erroneous.--The effect of Indigence on the
  Offspring of the Sufferers.--Estimate of the
  private and public Benevolence amounting to
  850,000l. a year.--The deplorable state of
  the Lower Ranks, attributed to the present
  System of the Poor Laws.--An Institution to
  inquire into the cause of Mendicity in the
  Metropolis explained.--A new System of Relief
  proposed with respect to Casual Poor, and
  Vagrants in the Metropolis.--The distinction
  between Poverty and Indigence.--The Poor
  divided into five classes, with suggestions applicable
  to each.--The evil Examples in Work-Houses.--The
  stat. of 43 Eliz. considered.--The defective system
  of Execution exposed.--A Public Institution
  recommended in the nature of a Pauper Police,
  under the direction of three Commissioners:--Their
  Functions.--A proposition for raising a fund of
  5230l. from the Parishes for the support of the
  Institution, and to relieve them from the Casual
  Poor.--Reasons why the experiment should be
  tried.--Assistance which might be obtained from
  Gentlemen who have considered this subject fully._               351



  _The present state of the Police on this subject
  explained.--The necessity of having recourse to
  known Receivers.--The great utility of Officers
  of Justice.--The advantages of rendering them
  respectable in the opinion of the Public.--Their
  powers by the common and statute Law.--Rewards
  granted to Officers in certain cases of
  Conviction.--The Statutes quoted, applicable to
  such rewards.--The utility of parochial Constables,
  under a well-organized Police.--A Fund for this
  purpose might arise from the reduction of the
  expences of the Police, by the diminution of
  Crimes.--The necessity of a competent Fund.--A new
  System for prevention and detection of Crimes
  proposed.--The functions of the different classes
  of Officers.--Salaries necessary to all.--Improvements
  in the system of Rewards suggested.--1040 Peace-Officers
  in the Metropolis and its vicinity, of whom only
  90 are stipendiary Constables.--Defects and abuses
  in the  system of the Watch explained.--A general
  Plan of Superintendance suggested.--A view of the
  Magistracy of the Metropolis.--The inconvenience
  of the present System._                                          381



  _The prevailing Practice when Offenders are brought
  before Magistrates.--The duty of Magistrates in such
  cases.--Professed Thieves seldom intimidated when put
  upon their Trial, from the many chances they have of
  escaping.--These Chances shortly detailed.--Reflections
  on false Humanity towards Prisoners.--The delays and
  expences of Prosecutions a great discouragement to
  Prosecutors.--An account of the different Courts of
  Justice, for the trial of Offences committed in the
  Metropolis.--Five inferior and two superior Courts.--A
  statement of Prisoners convicted and discharged in one
  year.--Reflections thereon.--The advantage which would
  arise from the appointment of a Public Prosecutor, in
  remedying Abuses in the Trial of Offenders.--From 2500
  to 3000 Persons committed for trial, by Magistrates,
  in the course of a year.--The chief part afterwards
  returned upon Society._                                          422
  [Transcriber's Note: should be p. 421]



  _The mode authorised by the Ancient Laws.--The period
  when Transportation commenced.--The principal Crimes
  enumerated which are punishable with Death.--Those
  punishable by Transportation and Imprisonment.--Number
  of Persons tried compared with those discharged.--The
  system of Pardons examined; and Regulations suggested.--An
  historical Account of the rise and progress of
  Transportation.--The system of the Hulks; and the Laws
  as to provincial and national Penitentiary Houses.--Number
  of the Convicts confined in the Hulks for twenty-two
  years.--The enormous expence of maintenance and inadequate
  produce of their Labour.--The impolicy of the System.--The
  system of Transportation to New South Wales examined, and
  Improvements suggested.--Erection of National Penitentiary
  Houses recommended.--The National Penitentiary House
  (according to the Proposal of_ Jeremy Bentham, _Esq.)
  considered:--Its peculiar advantages with respect to
  Health, productive Labour, and Reformation of
  Convicts.--General Reflections on the means of rendering
  Imprisonment useful._                                            435
  [Transcriber's Note: should be p. 434]



  _The Police of the Metropolis examined, and its
  Organization explained.--The utility of the
  system, established in 1792 examined and explained.--Its
  great deficiency from the want of Funds to reward
  Officers for the detection and punishment of
  Offenders.--Suggestions relative to stipendiary
  Justices, and the benefits likely to result from
  their exertions in assisting the City Magistrates.--The
  vast labour and weight of duty attached to the chief
  Magistrate and Aldermen in London.--The benefits to
  result from Established Police Magistrates exemplified
  by the System already adopted under the Act of 1792.--The
  advantages which would arise from the various remedies
  proposed in the course of this Work, only of a partial
  nature, for want of a centre-point and superintending
  Establishment.--The ideas of Foreigners on the Police
  of the Metropolis.--Observations on the Old Police of
  Paris, elucidated by Anecdotes of the Emperor_ JOSEPH II.
  _and Mons. de_ Sartine.--_A Central Board of Commissioners
  for managing the Police, peculiarly necessary on the
  return of Peace.--This measure recommended by the
  Finance Committee._                                              501



  _A Proposition to consolidate the two Boards of
  Hawkers and Pedlars, and Hackney Coaches,
  into a Board of Police Revenue.--The whole
  Revenue of Police from Fees, Penalties, and
  Licence Duties, to make a common Fund.--Accounts
  to be audited.--Magistrates to distribute
  small Rewards.--A power to the Board
  to make Bye Laws.--A concurrent Jurisdiction
  recommended.--The Penitentiary House for
  reforming Convicts.--Measures proposed after
  the Board is established--namely, A Public
  Prosecutor for the Crown:--A Register of
  Lodging Houses--The Establishment of a
  Police Gazette--Two leading Objects: the
  prevention of Crimes; and raising a Revenue
  for Police purposes.--The enumeration of the
  Dealers, who are proposed to be licenced.--A
  general View of the annual Expence of the
  present and proposed Police System.--Suggestions
  respecting a chain of connections with
  Magistrates in the Country.--The Functions of
  the proposed Central Board of Police.--Specification
  of the Trades to be regulated and
  licenced.--The advantages likely to result from
  the adoption of the Plan._                                       536
  [Transcriber's Note: should be p. 535]



  _Extent and Opulence of the City of London, its
  Streets, Lanes, Allies, Courts and Squares
  estimated at 8000.--Churches, &c. 400.--Seminaries
  for Education 4000.--The various Institutions and
  Societies for Learning, for the fine Arts, and for
  charitable and humane Purposes.--The Courts of
  Law.--The Prisons--Suggestions as to improving the
  System of Imprisonment for Debt, particularly as
  relates to Small Debts: and as to dividing the
  judicial and ministerial Labours among more
  Officers.--The internal or municipal Regulations
  established in the Metropolis by several Statutes;
  respecting Paving--Watching--Sewers--Hackney
  Coaches--Carts--Watermen--and Buildings.--Necessity
  of rendering these Laws uniform and coextensive, so as
  to consolidate the System of Municipal Police.--Expence
  calculated at 1,000,000l. a year.--Suggestions for
  reducing it.--The present Epoch calls for Improvements._         567
  [Transcriber's Note: should be p. 565]



  _A summary View of the Evils detailed in the
  preceding Chapters.--Arguments in favour of
  a more energetic Police as the only means of
  remedying these Evils.--A general View of the
  estimated Depredations annually in the Metropolis
  and its Vicinity; amounting in all to Two
  Millions sterling.--A View of the Remedies
  proposed--1st. With respect to the Corruption
  of Morals.--2d. The means of preventing
  Crimes in general.--3d. Offences committed on
  the River Thames.--4th. Offences in the Public
  Arsenals and Ships of War.--5th. Counterfeiting
  Money and fabricating Bank Notes.--6th.
  Punishments.--7th. Further advantages
  of an improved System of Police.--Concluding
  Reflections._                                                    602




     _A general view of the Evils existing in the Metropolis, and
     the causes from which they arise.--Necessity of a
     well-regulated Police.--Ineffective system of Criminal
     Jurisprudence.--Facility of eluding Justice. Severity and
     inequality of Punishments.--Necessity of revising our Penal
     Code.--Certain dangerous Offences not punishable.--Receivers
     of stolen property.--Extent of plunder in the Metropolis,
     &c.--Proposed restrictions on Receivers.--Coiners and
     Utterers of Counterfeit Money; the extent of their
     crimes.--Defects in the mode of prosecuting
     Offenders.--Pardons.--Periodical discharges of
     Prisoners.--Summary of the causes of the present inefficacy
     of the Police, under nine different heads._

Next to the blessings which a Nation derives from an excellent
Constitution and System of general Laws, are those advantages which
result from a well-regulated and energetic plan of Police, conducted
and enforced with purity, activity, vigilance, and discretion.

Upon this depends, in so great a degree, the comfort, the happiness,
and the true liberty and security of the People, that too much labour
and attention cannot possibly be bestowed in rendering complete the
domestic administration of Justice in all cases of criminal

That much remains to be done in this respect no person will deny; all
ranks must bear testimony to the dangers which both life and property
are at present subjected to by the number of criminal people, who,
from various causes (which it is the object of the Writer of these
pages to explain), are suffered with impunity to repeat acts of
licentiousness and mischief, and to commit depredations upon
individuals and the Public.

In vain do we boast of those liberties which are our birthright, if
the vilest and most depraved part of the Community are suffered to
deprive us of the privilege of travelling upon the highways, or of
approaching the Capital in any direction after dark, without risk of
being assaulted, and robbed; and perhaps wounded or murdered.

In vain may we boast of the security which our Laws afford us, if we
cannot lie down to rest in our habitations, without the dread of a
burglary being committed, our property invaded, and our lives exposed
to imminent danger before the approach of morning.

Imperfect must be either the plan or the execution, or both, of our
Criminal Code, if crimes are found to increase; if the moral
principle ceases to be a check upon a vast proportion of the lower
ranks of the People; and if small thefts are known to prevail in such
a degree, as to affect almost all ranks of the Community who have any
property to lose, as often as opportunities occur, whereby pilfering
in a little way can be effected without detection.

If, in addition to this, the peace of Society can, on every specious
pretence, be disturbed by the licentious clamours or turbulent
effusions arising from the ill-regulated passions of vulgar life,
surely it becomes an interesting inquiry, worthy the attention of
every intelligent member of the Community, _from what source spring
these numerous inconveniences; and where is a remedy to be found for
so many accumulated evils_?

In developing the causes which have produced that want of security,
which it is believed prevails in no other civilised country in so
great a degree as in England, it will be necessary to examine how far
the System of Criminal Jurisprudence has been, hitherto, applicable to
the prevention of crimes.

If we look back to the measures pursued by our ancestors two centuries
ago, and before that period, we shall find that many wholesome laws
were made with a view to prevention, and to secure the good behaviour
of persons likely to commit offences. Since that æra in our history, a
different plan has been pursued. Few regulations have been established
to restrain vice, or to render difficult the commission of crimes;
while the Statute Books have been filled with numerous Laws, in many
instances doubtfully expressed, and whose leading feature has
generally been severe punishment. These circumstances, aided by the
false mercy of Juries in cases of slight offences, have tended to let
loose upon Society a body of criminal individuals, who under a better
Police--an improved system of Legislation, and milder punishments,--might,
after a correction in Penitentiary Houses, or employment in out-door
labour, under proper restraints, have been restored to Society as
useful members.

As the Laws are at present administered, it is a melancholy truth not
to be contradicted, that the major part of the criminals who infest
this Metropolis, although committed by magistrates for trial on very
satisfactory proof, are returned upon the Public in vast numbers year
after year; encouraged to renew their former practices, by the
facility they experience in evading justice.

But this is not all:--The adroit Thief and Receiver, availing
themselves of their pecuniary resources, often escape, from their
knowledge of the tricks and devices which are practised, through the
medium of disreputable practitioners of the Law; while the novices in
delinquency generally suffer the punishment attached to conviction.
If, as is the case in some other countries, evidence were allowed to
be received of the general character of persons, put upon their trial
for offences, and the means by which they obtain their subsistence,
so as to distinguish the old reputed Thief and Receiver from the
novice in crimes, the minds of Jurymen would be often enlightened, to
the furtherance of substantial justice; and a humane and proper
distinction might be made between the young pupil of depravity, and
the finished villain; as well in the measure of punishment, as in the
distribution of mercy.

The severity of the punishment, which at present attaches to crimes
regarded by mankind as of an inferior nature, and which affect
property in a trivial manner, is also deserving the most serious
attention. It is only necessary to be acquainted with the modern
history of the _criminal prosecutions, trials, acquittals, and pardons
in this country_, in order to be completely convinced that the
progressive increase of delinquents, and the evils experienced by
Society from the multitude of petty crimes, result in a great measure
from this single circumstance.

It will scarcely be credited by those, whose habits of life do not
permit them to enter into discussions of this sort, that by the Laws
of England, there are above _one hundred and sixty_ different offences
which subject the parties who are found guilty, to death without
benefit of Clergy. This multiplicity of capital punishments must, in
the nature of things, defeat those ends, the attainment of which ought
to be the object of all Law, namely, _The Prevention of Crimes_.

In consequence of this severity, (to use the words of an admired
Writer,) "The injured, through compassion, will often forbear to
prosecute: Juries, through compassion, will sometimes forget their
oaths, and either acquit the guilty or mitigate the nature of the
offence: and Judges, through compassion, will respite one half the
convicts, and recommend them to Royal Mercy."[2]

[Footnote 2: Blackstone's Commentaries.]

The Roman Empire never flourished so much as during the æra of the
Portian Law, which abrogated the punishment of death for all offences
whatsoever. When severe punishments and an incorrect Police were
afterwards revived, the Empire fell.

It is not meant, however, to be insinuated that this would be,
altogether, a proper system of Criminal Jurisprudence to be adopted in
modern times.

In the present state of society it becomes indispensably necessary,
that offences, which in their nature are highly injurious to the
Public, and where no mode of prevention can be established, should be
punished by the forfeiture of life; but these dreadful examples should
be exhibited as seldom as possible: for while on the one hand, such
punishments often defeat the ends of Justice, by their not being
carried into execution; so on the other, by being often repeated, they
lose their effect upon the minds of the People.[3]

[Footnote 3: Can that be thought a correct System of Jurisprudence,
which inflicts the penalty of Death, for breaking down the mound of a
fish-pond, whereby the fish may escape; or cutting down a fruit-tree
in a garden or orchard; or stealing a handkerchief, or any trifle,
privately from a person's pocket, above the value of 12d;--while a
number of other crimes of much greater enormity, are only punished
with Transportation and Imprisonment; and while the punishment of
murder itself is, and can be, only Death; with a few circumstances of
additional ignominy?]

However much we glory (and we ought to glory) in the general
excellence of our Criminal Law, yet there is no truth more clear and
obvious than this:--"That this code exhibits too much the appearance
of a heterogeneous mass, concocted too often on the spur of the
occasion (as Lord Bacon expresses it):--and frequently without that
degree of accuracy which is the result of able and minute discussion,
or a due attention to the revision of the existing laws; or how far
their provisions bear upon new and accumulated statutes introduced
into Parliament; often without either consideration or knowledge, and
without those precautions which are always necessary, when laws are to
be made which may affect the property, the liberty, and perhaps even
the lives of thousands."

Some steps have indeed, been taken in Parliament, since this work
first appeared, towards a general revision of our Statute Law;[4] and
which, it is hoped, will ere long be adopted. Whenever the time shall
arrive that the existing laws, which form the present Criminal Code,
shall be referred to able and intelligent men effectually to revise,
consolidate, and adjust the whole, in a manner best suited to the
present state of Society and Manners, the investigation will
unquestionably excite no little wonder and astonishment.

[Footnote 4: See the "Report from the Committee of the House of
Commons on Temporary Laws;" May 13, 1796--and also the "Report from
the Committee for promulgation of the Statutes," December 5, 1796; and
the "Resolutions of a Committee of the whole House," March 20, 1797.]

Penal laws, which are either obsolete or absurd, or which have arisen
from an adherence to rules of Common Law when the reasons have ceased
upon which these rules are founded; and in short, all Laws which
appear not to be consonant to the dictates of truth and justice, the
feelings of Humanity, and the indelible rights of Mankind should be
abrogated and repealed.[5]

[Footnote 5: Blackstone.]

But the deficiency of the Criminal Code does not arise solely from an
erroneous and undigested scale of penalties and punishments. While on
the one hand, we have to lament the number of these applicable to
certain offences of a slight nature; we have equally to regret, that
there exist crimes of considerable enormity, for the punishment of
which the Law has made no provision.

Among the most prominent of these crimes, may be ranked the receiving
_Cash or Specie, Bank-Notes_ or _Bills, knowing them to be stolen_.

To this very high offence, in its nature so productive of mischief in
a Commercial Country, no punishment at all attaches; inasmuch as
_Specie, Notes and Bills_, are not considered for this purpose to be
_Goods and Chattels_; and the law only makes it a crime to receive
property so described.

If therefore a notorious Receiver of stolen goods shall be convicted
of purchasing a glass bottle or a pewter pot, he is liable to be
punished severely; but if he receives ten or twenty thousand pounds in
_Cash_, _Bank Notes_, or _Bills_, he escapes with impunity![6]

[Footnote 6: It is said the same construction of the Law has been made
with respect to the Offence of buying or receiving Horses, knowing
them to be stolen.]

Innumerable almost are the other instances which could be collected
from Reporters of Criminal Cases, shewing the deficiency of the
Criminal Code; and in how many instances substantial justice is
defeated, and public wrongs are suffered to go unpunished, through the
objections and quibbles constantly raised in Courts of Justice; and
which are allowed to prevail, principally, for want of that revision
of our laws and those amendments which the present state of Society
and Commerce requires.

One of the chief nurseries of Crimes is to be traced to the Receivers
of Stolen Property.

Without that easy encouragement which these Receivers hold out, by
administering immediately to the wants of criminals, and concealing
what they purloin, a Thief, a Robber, or a Burglar, could not in fact,
carry on his trade.

And yet, conclusive and obvious, as this remark must be, it is a
sorrowful truth, that in the Metropolis alone there are at present
supposed to be upwards of Three Thousand Receivers of various kinds
of stolen Goods; and an equal proportion all over the Country, who
keep open shop for the purpose of purchasing at an under-price--often
for a mere trifle,--every kind of property brought to them; from a
nail, or a glass bottle, up to the most valuable article either new or
old; and this without asking a single question.

It is supposed that the property, purloined and pilfered in a little
way, from almost every family, and from every _house, stable, shop,
warehouse, workshop, foundery, and other repository_, in and about the
Metropolis, may amount to about £.700,000 in one year, exclusive of
depredations on ships in the River Thames, which, before the
establishment of the Marine Police System in June 1798, were estimated
at half a million more, including the stores and materials!--When to
this is also added the Pillage of his Majesty's stores, in ships of
war, Dock-yards, and other public repositories, the aggregate will be
found in point of extent, almost to exceed credibility!

It is a melancholy reflection to consider how many individuals, young
and old, who are not of the class or description of common or even
repeated thieves, are implicated in this system of depredation; who
would probably have remained honest and industrious, had it not been
for the easy mode of raising money, which these numerous Receivers of
stolen goods hold out in every bye-street and lane in the Metropolis:
In their houses, although a beggarly appearance of old iron, old rags,
or second-hand clothes, is only exhibited, the back apartments are
often filled with the most valuable articles of ship-stores,
copper-bolts and nails, brass and other valuable metals, West-India
produce, household goods and wearing apparel; purchased from
artificers, labourers in the docks, lumpers, and others employed on
the River Thames, menial servants, apprentices, journeymen, porters,
chimney-sweepers, itinerant Jews, and others; who, thus encouraged and
protected, go on with impunity, and without the least dread of
detection, from the easiness of access, which their various
employments give them, plundering every article not likely to be
missed, in the houses or stables of men of property; or in the shops,
ware-houses, founderies, or work-shops of manufacturers; or from new
buildings; from ships in the river; nay even from his Majesty's
stores, and other repositories, so that in some instances, the same
articles are said to be sold to the Public Boards three or four times

Thus the moral principle is totally destroyed among a vast body of the
lower ranks of the People; for wherever prodigality, dissipation, or
gaming, whether in the Lottery or otherwise, occasions a want of
money, every opportunity is sought to purloin public or private
property; recourse is then had to all those tricks and devices, by
which even children are enticed to steal before they know that it is a
crime; and to raise money at the pawnbrokers, or the old iron or rag
shops, to supply the unlawful desires of profligate parents.

Hence also, Servants, Apprentices, Journeymen, and in short all
classes of labourers and domestics, are led astray by the temptations
to spend money, which occur in this Metropolis; and by the facility
afforded through the numerous Receivers of stolen Goods, who
administer to their pecuniary wants, on every occasion, when they can
furnish them with any article of their ill-gotten plunder.

The necessity of adopting some effectual regulations respecting the
numerous class of Dealers in old metal, stores, and wearing apparel,
is too obvious to require illustration; and the progressive
accumulation of these pests of Society is proved, by their having
increased, from about 300 to 3000, in the course of the last twenty
years, in the Metropolis alone!

Similar regulations should also be extended to all the more latent
Receivers, who do not keep open shop; but secretly support the
professed Robbers and Burglars, by purchasing their plunder the moment
it is acquired: of which latter class there are some who are said to
be extremely opulent.

It would by no means be difficult to form such a plan of Police as
should establish many useful restrictions, for the purpose of checking
and embarrassing these criminal people; so as to render it extremely
difficult, if not impracticable for them, in many instances, to carry
on their business without the greatest hazard of detection.

But laws for this purpose must not be placed upon the Statute-Book as
a kind of dead letter, only to be brought into action when accident
may lead to the detection, perhaps of one in a thousand. If the evil
is to be cured at all, it must be by the promotion and encouragement
of an active principle, under proper superintendance, calculated to
prevent every class of dealers, who are known to live partly or wholly
by fraud, from pursuing those illegal practices; which nothing but a
watchful Police, aided by a correct system of restraints, can possibly

Nor ought it to be argued, that the restraints, which may hereafter be
proposed, will affect the liberty of the Subject. They will assist and
protect the honest and fair dealer; and it is perfectly consistent
with the spirit of our ancient laws, to restrain persons from doing
evil, who are likely to commit offences; the restrictions can affect
only a very few, comparatively speaking; and those too whose criminal
conduct has been the principal, if not the sole cause, of abridging
the general liberty; while it subjected the great mass of the people
to the risk of their life and property.

Whenever Dealers, of any description, are known to encourage or to
support crimes, or criminal or fraudulent persons, it becomes the
indispensable interest of the State, and the duty of the Legislators
to prevent them from pursuing, at least, the mischievous part of their
trade; and that provisions should be made for carrying the laws
strictly and regularly into execution.

While restraints of a much severer nature than those which are
hereafter proposed, attach to all trades upon which a revenue is
collected; can it be considered as any infringement of freedom, to
extend a milder system to those who not only destroy liberty but
invade property?

The present state of Society and Manners calls aloud for the adoption
of this principle of regulation, as the only practicable means of
preserving the morals of a vast body of the Community; and of
preventing those numerous and increasing crimes and misdemeanors,
which are ultimately attended with as much evil to the perpetrators as
to the sufferers.

If such a principle were once established, under circumstances which
would insure a correct and regular execution; and if, added to this,
certain other practicable arrangements should take place, (which will
be discussed in their regular order in these pages,) we might soon
congratulate ourselves on the immediate and obvious reduction of the
number of Thieves, Robbers, Burglars, and other criminals in this
Metropolis, being no longer able to exist, or to escape detection.
Without the aid, the concealment, and the opportunities, afforded at
present by the multitude of Receivers spread all over the Capital,
they would be compelled to abandon their evil pursuits, as no less
unprofitable and hazardous, than they are destructive to the best
interests of Society.

This indeed is very different from what is said to have once prevailed
in the Capital, when criminals were permitted to proceed from the
first stage of depravity until they were worth forty pounds.--This is
not the System which subjected the Public to the intermediate
depredations of every villain from his first starting, till he could
be clearly convicted of a capital offence.--Neither is it the System
which encouraged public houses of rendezvous for Thieves, for the
purpose of knowing where to apprehend them, when they became ripe for
the punishment of death.

The System now suggested, is calculated to prevent, if possible, the
seeds of villainy from being sown; or, if sown, to check their growth
in the bud, and never permit them to ripen at all.

It is proposed to extend this system of prevention to the Coiners,
Dealers, and Utterers of base Money; and to every species of theft,
robbery, fraud, and depredation.

The vast increase, and the extensive circulation of counterfeit Money,
particularly of late years, is too obvious not to have attracted the
notice of all ranks. It has become an enormous evil in the melancholy
catalogue of Crimes which the Laws of the Country are called upon to
assist the Police in suppressing.--Its extent almost exceeds
credibility; and the dexterity and ingenuity of these counterfeiters
have, (after considerable practice,) enabled them to finish the
different kinds of base Money in so masterly a manner, that it has
become extremely difficult for the common observer to distinguish
their spurious manufacture from the worn-out Silver of the Mint.--So
systematic, indeed, has this nefarious traffic become of late, that
the great dealers, who, in most instances are the employers of the
Coiners, execute orders for the Town and Country, with the same
regularity as manufacturers in fair branches of trade.

Scarcely a waggon or coach departs from the Metropolis, which does not
carry boxes and parcels of base Coin to the camps, sea-ports, and
manufacturing towns. In London, regular markets, in various public and
private houses, are held by the principal Dealers; where _Hawkers,
Pedlars, fraudulent Horse-Dealers, Unlicensed Lottery-Office-Keepers,
Gamblers at Fairs, Itinerant Jews, Irish Labourers, Servants of
Toll-Gatherers, and Hackney-Coach Owners, fraudulent Publicans,
Market-Women, Rabbit-Sellers, Fish-Cryers, Barrow-Women_, and many who
would not be suspected, are regularly supplied with counterfeit Copper
and Silver, with the advantage of nearly £.100 _per cent._ in their
favour; and thus it happens, that through these various channels, the
country is deluged with immense quantities of base Money, which get
into circulation; while an evident diminution of the Mint Coinage is
apparent to every common observer.

It is impossible to reflect on the necessity to which all persons are
thus reduced, of receiving and again uttering, Money which is known to
be false and counterfeit, without lamenting, that by thus
familiarizing the mind to fraud and deception, the same laxity of
conduct may be introduced into other transactions of life:--The
barrier being broken down in one part, the principle of common honesty
is infringed upon, and infinite mischief to the very best interests of
Society, is the result, in cases at first unthought of.

To permit, therefore, the existence of an adulterated, and
ill-regulated Silver and Copper Coinage, is in fact to tolerate
general fraud and deception, to the ultimate loss of many individuals;
for the evil must terminate at some period, and then thousands must
suffer; with this aggravation, that the longer it continues the
greater will be the loss of property.

Nor has the mischief been confined to the counterfeiting the Coin of
the Realm. The avarice and ingenuity of man is constantly finding out
new sources of fraud; insomuch, that in London, and in Birmingham, and
its neighbourhood, Louis d'Ors, Half Johannas, French Half Crowns and
Shillings, as well as several coins of Flanders and Germany, and
Dollars of excellent workmanship, in exact imitation of the Spanish
Dollars issued from the Bank, in 1797, have been from time to time
counterfeited apparently without suspicion, that under the act of the
14th of Elizabeth, (cap. 3,) the offenders were guilty of misprision
of High Treason.

These ingenious miscreants have also extended their iniquitous
manufacture to the coins of India; and a Coinage of the Star Pagoda of
Arcot was established in London for years by one person.--These
counterfeits, being made wholly of blanched copper, tempered in such a
manner as to exhibit, when stamped, the cracks in the edges, which are
always to be found on the real Pagoda, cost the maker only Three
Half-pence each, after being double gilt.--When finished, they are
generally sold to Jews at Five Shillings a dozen, who disposed of them
afterwards at 2_s._ 3_s._ or even 5_s._ each; and through this medium,
they have been introduced by a variety of channels into India, where
they were mixed with the real Pagodas of the country, and passed at
their full denominated value of Eight Shillings sterling.

The Sequins of Turkey, another Gold Coin, worth about five or six
shillings, have in like manner been counterfeited in London;--Thus the
national character is wounded, and the disgrace of the British name
proclaimed in Asia, and even in the most distant regions of India. Nor
can it be sufficiently lamented that persons who consider themselves
as ranking in superior stations of life, with some pretensions to
honour and integrity, have suffered their avarice so far to get the
better of their honesty, as to be concerned in this iniquitous

It has been recently discovered that there are at least 120 persons in
the Metropolis and the Country, employed principally in coining and
selling base Money; and this, independent of the numerous horde of
Utterers, who chiefly support themselves by passing it at its full

It will scarcely be credited, that of Criminals of this latter class
who have either been detected, prosecuted, or convicted, within the
last seven years, there stand upon the Register of the Solicitor to
the Mint, more than 650 names!--And yet the mischief is not
diminished. When the Reader is informed, that two persons can finish
from £.200 to £.300 (nominal value,) in base silver in _six days_; and
that three people, within the same period, will stamp the like amount
in Copper, and takes into the calculation the number of known Coiners,
the aggregate amount in the course of a year will be found to be

The causes of this enormous evil are, however, easily developed.--The
principal laws relative to Counterfeit Coin having been made a Century
ago, the tricks and devices of modern times are not sufficiently
provided against;[7] when it is considered also, that the offence of
dealing in base Money, (which is the main spring of the evil,) is only
punishable by a slight imprisonment; that several offences of a
similar nature are not punishable at all, by any existing statute; and
that the detection of actual Coiners, so as to obtain the proof
necessary for conviction, required by Law, is, in many instances,
impracticable; it is not to be wondered at, where the profit is so
immense, with so many chances of escaping punishment, that the coinage
of, and traffic in, counterfeit Money has attracted the attention of
so many unprincipled and avaricious persons.

[Footnote 7: The partial remedy applied to some of these evils by
Statutes passed since the former Edition of this Work, shall be
noticed in a subsequent Chapter dedicated to the subject of Coinage.]

Having thus stated many prominent abuses which appear to arise from
the imperfections in our Criminal Code, as well as the benefits which
an improved system would extend to the country; it now remains to
elucidate the further evils arising to Society, from the abuses
practised in carrying the existing statutes into execution.--As the
laws now stand, little or no energy enters into the system of
detection, so as to give vigor and effect to that branch of Police
which relates to the apprehension of persons charged with offences;
and no sooner does a Magistrate commit a hacknied Thief or Receiver of
stolen Goods, a Coiner, or Dealer in base Money, or a Criminal charged
with any other fraud or offence punishable by law, than recourse is
immediately had to some disreputable Attorney, whose mind is made up
and prepared to practise every trick and device which can defeat the
ends of substantial justice. Depraved persons, frequently accomplices,
are hired to swear an _alibi_; witnesses are cajoled, threatened, or
bribed either to mutilate their evidence, or to speak doubtfully on
the trial, although they swore positively before the committing

If bribes and persuasions will not do, the prosecutors are either
intimidated by the expence,[8] or softened down by appeals to their
humanity; and under such circumstances, they neither employ counsel
nor take the necessary steps to bring forward evidence: the result is,
that the Bill is either returned _ignoramus_ by the Grand Jury; or, if
a trial takes place, under all the disadvantages of a deficient
evidence, without a counsel for the prosecution, an advocate is heard
for the prisoner, availing himself of every trifling inaccuracy which
may screen his client from the punishment of the Law, the hardened
villain is acquitted and escapes justice: while, as we before noticed,
the novice in crimes, unskilled in the deficiencies of the Law, and
unable, from the want of criminal connections, or that support which
the professed thief receives from the Buyers of stolen goods, to
procure the aid of counsel to defend him, _is often convicted_!

[Footnote 8: No hardship can be so great as that of subjecting an
individual, under any circumstance whatsoever, to the expence of a
public prosecution, carried on in behalf of the King: Besides adding,
almost on every occasion, to the loss of the parties, it is productive
of infinite mischief, in defeating the ends of Justice.]

The Registers of the Old Bailey afford a lamentable proof of the evils
arising from the present mode of trying criminals without a public
Prosecutor for the Crown.--In the course of seven years, previous to
the Police Establishment, no less than 4262 prisoners, who had been
actually put upon their trial by the Grand Jury, were let loose upon
the Public by acquittals.

Since that period no material diminution has taken place, except what
may be easily accounted for by the war; and when to this dreadful
Catalogue of Human Depravity, is to be added, the vast number of
criminals who are periodically discharged from the different gaols by
proclamation, and of cheats, swindlers, gamblers, and others, who have
never yet been discovered or known, we may state with certainty that
there are at this time _many thousand_ individuals, male and female,
prowling about in this Metropolis, who principally support themselves
by various depredations on the Public.

Nor does the evil rest here; for even convicted felons, in too many
instances, find means to escape without punishment; and to join that
phalanx of villains, who are constantly engaged in objects of
depredation and mischief.

No sooner does the punishment of the law attach on a criminal, than
false humanity becomes his friend. Pardons are applied for; and it is
known that his Majesty's great goodness and love of mercy has been
frequently abused by the tricks, devices, and frauds, too commonly
resorted to, by convicts and agents equally depraved as themselves;
who while they have recourse to every species of falsehood and
forgery, for the purpose of attaining the object in view, at the same
time plunder the friends and relatives of the prisoner, of their last
guinea, as the wages of villainy and misrepresentation.

By such nefarious practices, it is much to be feared, that many a
hardened villain has eluded the punishment of the Law, without any
previous reference to the committing Magistrates, who may be supposed
to have accurately examined into his character and connections; and
what is still worse, without extending to the Community those benefits
which might arise from important discoveries useful to Public Justice;
such as convicted felons are always capable of making, and which, in
conjunction with transportation, it should seem, ought to be one
indispensable condition, upon which pardons should be granted to
capital convicts.

Instead of these precautions which appear to be absolutely requisite,
it is to be lamented, that without reflecting that a common thief can
seldom be restrained by military discipline, many of the worst class
of convicts have received his Majesty's gracious pardon, on the simple
condition of going into the Army or Navy: This has been no sooner
granted, than the Royal Mercy has been abused, either by desertion, or
by obtaining a discharge, in consequence of some real or pretended
incapacity, which was previously concealed. Relieved in so easy a
manner, from the heavy load of a capital punishment, the culprits
return again to their old practices; and by this means, punishment not
only ceases to operate as a prevention of crimes, by example, but
becomes even an encouragement; while the labour of detection, and the
expence of trial and conviction, are fruitlessly thrown on an injured
individual, and their effect is wholly lost to the Public.

In addition to the enormous evil arising from the periodical discharge
of so many criminals by proclamations, acquittals, and pardons; _the_
HULKS also send forth, at stated times, a certain number of convicts;
who having _no asylum_, _no home_, _no character_, and _no means of
subsistence_, seem to have only the alternative of starving, or
joining their companions in iniquity; thus adding strength to the body
of criminals, by the accession of men, who, polluted and depraved by
every human vice, rendered familiar to their minds in those seminaries
of profligacy and wickedness from whence they have come, employ
themselves constantly in planning and executing acts of violence, and
depredation upon the Public; and some of them, rendered desperate from
an additional degree of depravity, feel no compunction in adding the
crimes of murder to that of robbery, as has been too clearly
manifested by many late instances.

From what has been thus stated, is it not fair to conclude, that the
want of security which the Public experiences with regard to life and
property, and the inefficacy of the Police in preventing crimes, are
to be attributed principally to the following causes?

     1. _The imperfections in the Criminal Code; and in many
     instances, its deficiency, with respect to the mode of
     punishment; as well as to the want of many other
     regulations, provisions, and restraints, applicable to the
     present of Society, for the purpose of preventing crimes._

     2. _The want of an active principle, calculated to
     concentrate and connect the whole Police of the Metropolis
     and the Nation; and to reduce the general management to
     system and method, by the interposition of a superintending
     agency, composed of able, intelligent, and indefatigable men,
     acting under the direction and controul of his Majesty's
     Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department.--On
     these persons, it is proposed, should devolve the subordinate
     care and direction of the general Police of the Metropolis;
     so as to obtain, by the introduction of order and
     arrangement, and by efforts of labour and exertion, a
     complete History of the connections, and pursuits of all or
     most of the criminal and fraudulent persons who resort to the
     Metropolis; (either natives or foreigners;) forming, from
     such materials, a Register of all known offenders, and
     thereby establishing a clue for their detection, as often as
     they are charged with committing depredations on the
     Public--with power to reward Officers of Justice, and all
     other persons whose services are found to be useful in the
     discovery or detection of delinquents of every
     description.--To keep an Account of property stolen, or
     procured by swindling or fraudulent transactions in the
     Metropolis, as well as in other parts of Great-Britain:--To
     establish a Correspondence with the Magistrates in Town and
     Country, so as to be able more effectually to watch the
     motions of all suspected persons; with a view to quick and
     immediate detection; and to interpose such embarrassments in
     the way of every class of offenders, as may diminish crimes
     by increasing the risk of detection: All this, under
     circumstances where a_ centre-point would be formed, _and the
     general affairs of the Police conducted with method and
     regularity:--where Magistrates would find assistance and
     information; where the greater offences, such as the_ Coinage
     of base Money, _and_ Lottery Insurances, _would be traced to
     their source; the care and disposal of convicts, according to
     their different sentences, be minutely attended to; and the
     whole System conducted with that intelligence and benefit to
     the Country, which must arise from the attention of men of
     business being directed solely to these objects, distinct
     from all other affairs of State; and their exertions being
     confined principally to the preservation of the morals of the
     People, and the prevention of crimes._

     3. _The want of an Institution of Police Magistrates in the
     Dock Yards, and in all great Commercial and Manufacturing
     Towns, where there are no Corporations or Funds for the
     administration of Public Justice._

     4. _The want of a Public Prosecutor for the Crown, in all
     criminal cases, for the purpose of preventing fraud, delay
     and expence in the administration of Justice._

     5. _The want of a more correct and regular System, for the
     purpose of obtaining the fullest and most authentic
     information, to avoid deceptions in the obtaining of

     6. _The deficiency of the System of the_ Hulks.

     7. _The want of an improved System with regard to the
     arrangements and disposal of Convicts--destined for hard
     labour or for transportation._

     8. _The want of national_ Penitentiary Houses, _for the
     punishment and reformation of certain classes of Convicts._

     9. _The want of a more solemn mode of conducting Executions;
     whenever such dreadful examples are necessary for the
     furtherance of Public Justice._

Having thus explained the general features of the actually existing
_Crimes_, and their probable causes, we shall in the next place
proceed to some considerations on the present principles of
_Punishment_ in this Country, as compared with those in other Nations
and ages. It will then be requisite to enter into particular and
minute details on both these subjects; and to offer some suggestions
for the introduction of new and applicable laws to be administered
with purity under a correct and energetic System of Police; which may
be, in some degree, effectual in guarding the Public against those
increasing and multifarious injuries and dangers, which are
universally felt and lamented.


     _Of Punishments in general.--The mode of ascertaining the
     degrees of Punishment.--The objects to be considered in
     inflicting Punishments--namely, Amendment--Example--and
     Retribution.--The Punishment of Death has little effect on
     hardened Offenders.--Examples of convicts exhibited in
     servile employments would make a greater
     impression.--Towards the rendering criminal laws perfect,
     Prevention ought to be the great object of the
     Legislature.--General Rules suggested for attaining this
     object, with illustrations.--The severity of our laws with
     respect to Punishments--not reconcileable to the principles
     of morality, and a free government--calculated in their
     operation to debase the human character.--General
     Reflections on the Punishments authorised by the English
     Law.--The disproportion of Punishments, exemplified in the
     case of an assault, opposed to a larceny.--In seduction and
     adultery, which are not punishable as criminal
     offences.--The laws severe in the extreme in political
     offences, while they are lax and defective with regard to
     moral Crimes.--The necessity of enforcing the observance of
     religious and moral Virtue by lesser Punishments.--General
     Reflections applicable to public and private Crimes.--The
     dangers arising from the progress of immorality to the
     safety of the State.--The leading offences made capital by
     the laws of England considered, with the Punishment
     allotted to each; compared with, and illustrated by, the
     custom of other countries, in similar cases, both ancient
     and modern: namely, High Treason--Petit Treason:--Felonies
     against Life, viz. Murder, Manslaughter, Misadventure, and
     Self-defence:--against the Body, comprehending Sodomy, Rape,
     Forcible Marriage, Polygamy, and Mayhem.--Against Goods or
     Property, comprehending Simple Larceny, Mixt Larceny, and
     Piracy,--and against the Habitation, comprehending Arson and
     Burglary.--Concluding Reflections relative to the severity
     of the Laws, and their imperfections with regard to
     Punishment--The new Code of the_ Emperor JOSEPH the Second,
     _shortly detailed.--Reflections thereon._

Punishment, (says a learned and respectable author) _is an evil which
a delinquent suffers, unwillingly, by the order of a Judge or
Magistrate; on account of some act done which the Law prohibits, or
something omitted which the Law enjoins._

All Punishment should be proportioned to the nature of the offence
committed; and the Legislature, in adjusting Punishment with a view to
the public good, ought, according to the dictates of sound reason, to
act on a comparison of the Crime under consideration, with other
offences injurious to Society: and thus by comparing one offence with
another, to form a scale, or gradation, of Punishments, as nearly as
possible consistent with the strict rules of distributive justice.[9]

[Footnote 9: Beccaria, or Crimes and Punishments, Cap. 6.]

It is the triumph of Liberty, says the great Montesquieu, when the
criminal laws proportion punishments to the particular nature of each
offence.--It may be further added, that when this is the case, it is
also the triumph of Reason.

In order to ascertain in what degree the Public is injured or
endangered by any crime, it is necessary to weigh well and
dispassionately the nature of the offence, as it affects the
Community.--It is through this medium, that Treason and Rebellion are
discovered to be higher and more dangerous offences than breaches of
the peace by riotous assemblies; as such riotous meetings are in like
manner considered as more criminal than a private assault.

In punishing delinquents, two objects ought to be invariably kept in

     1. The Amendment of the Delinquent.

     2. The Example afforded to others.

_To which may be added, in certain cases_,

     3. Retribution to the party injured.

If we attend to Reason, the _Mistress of all Law_, she will convince
us that it is both unjust and injurious to Society to inflict Death,
except for the highest offences, and in cases where the offender
appears to be incorrigible.

Wherever the amendment of a delinquent is in view, it is clear that
his punishment cannot extend to death: If expiating an offence by the
loss of life is to be (as it certainly is at present) justified by the
necessity of making examples for the purpose of preventing crimes, it
is evident that the present System has not had that effect, since they
are by no means diminished; and since even the dread of this
Punishment, has, under present circumstances, so little effect upon
guilty associates, that it is no uncommon thing for these hardened
offenders to be engaged in new acts of theft, at the very moment their
companions in iniquity are launching in their very presence into

The minds of offenders, long inured to the practice of criminal
pursuits, are by no means beneficially affected by the punishment of
Death, which they are taught to consider as nothing but a momentary
paroxysm which ends all their distress at once; nay even as a relief,
which many of them, grown desperate, look upon with a species of
indifference, bordering on a desire to meet that fate, which puts an
end to the various distresses and anxieties attendant on a life of

The effect of capital punishments, in the manner they are now
conducted, therefore, as relates to example, appears to be much less
than has been generally imagined.

Examples would probably have much greater force, even on those who at
present appear dead to shame and the stigma of infamy, were convicts
exhibited day after day, to their companions, occupied in mean and
servile employments in Penitentiary Houses, or on the highways,
canals, mines, or public works.--It is in this way only that there is
the least chance of making retribution to the parties whom they have
injured; or of reimbursing the State, for the unavoidable expence
which their evil pursuits have occasioned.

Towards accomplishing the desirable object of perfection in a criminal
code, every wise Legislature will have it in contemplation rather to
prevent than to punish crimes; that in the chastisement given, the
delinquent may be restored to Society as an useful member.

This purpose may possibly be best effected by the adoption of the
following general rules.

     1. That the Statute-Laws should accurately explain the
     enormity of the offence forbidden: and that its provisions
     should be clear and explicit, resulting from a perfect
     knowledge of the subject; so that, justice may not be
     defeated in the execution.

     2. That the Punishments should be proportioned and adapted,
     as nearly as possible, to the different degrees of offences;
     with a proper attention also to the various shades of
     enormity which may attach to certain crimes.

     3. That persons prosecuting, or compelled so to do, should
     not only be indemnified from expence; but also that
     reparation should be made, for losses sustained by the
     injured party, in all cases where it can be obtained from
     the labour, or property of the delinquent.

     4. That satisfaction should be made to the State for the
     injury done to the Community; by disturbing the peace, and
     violating the purity of Society.

Political laws, which are repugnant to the Law of nature and reason,
ought not to be adopted. The objects above-mentioned seem to include
all that can be necessary for the attention of Law-givers.

If on examination of the frame and tendency of our criminal Laws, both
with respect to the principles of reason and State Policy, the Author
might be allowed to indulge a hope, that what he brings under the
Public Eye on this important subject, would be of use in promoting the
good of Mankind, he should consider his labours as very amply

The severity of the criminal Laws is not only an object of horror, but
the disproportion of the punishments, as will be shewn in the course
of this Work, breathes too much the spirit of DRACO,[10] who boasted
_that he punished all crimes with death; because small crimes deserved
it, and he could find no higher punishment for the greatest_.

[Footnote 10: He lived 624 years before the Christian æra.]

Though the ruling principle of our Government is unquestionably,
_Liberty_, it is much to be feared that the rigour which the Laws
indiscriminately inflict on slight as well as more atrocious offences,
can be ill reconciled to the true distinctions of Morality, and strict
notions of Justice, which form the peculiar excellence of those
States which are to be characterised as free.

By punishing smaller offences with extraordinary severity, is there
not a risque of inuring men to baseness; and of plunging them into the
sink of infamy and despair, from whence they seldom fail to rise
capital criminals; often to the destruction of their fellow-creatures,
and always to their own inevitable perdition?

To suffer the lower orders of the people to be ill educated--to be
totally inattentive to those wise regulations of State Policy which
might serve to guard and improve their morals; and then to punish them
for crimes which have originated in bad habits, has the appearance of
a cruelty not less severe than any which is exercised under the most
despotic Governments.

There are two Circumstances which ought also to be minutely considered
in apportioning the measure of Punishment--_the immorality of the
action; and its evil tendency_.

Nothing contributes in a greater degree to deprave the minds of the
people, than the little regard which Laws pay to Morality; by
inflicting more severe punishments on offenders who commit, what may
be termed, _Political Crimes_, and crimes against property, than on
those who violate religion and virtue.

When we are taught, for instance, by the measure of punishment that
it is considered by the Law as a greater crime to coin a sixpence than
to kill our father or mother, nature and reason revolt against the

In offences which are considered by the Legislature as merely
personal, and not in the class of public wrongs, the disproportionate
punishment is extremely shocking.

If, for example, a personal assault is committed of the most cruel,
aggravated, and violent nature, the offender is seldom punished in any
other manner than by fine and imprisonment: but if a delinquent steals
from his neighbour secretly more than the value of twelve-pence, the
Law dooms him to death. And he can suffer no greater punishment
(except the ignominy exercised on his dead body,) if he robs and
murders a whole family. Some private wrongs of a flagrant nature are
even passed over with impunity: the seduction of a married woman--the
destruction of the peace and happiness of families, resulting from
alienating a wife's affections, and defiling her person, is not an
offence punishable by the Criminal Law; while it is death to rob the
person, who has suffered this extensive injury, of a trifle exceeding
a shilling.

The Crime of Adultery was punished with great severity both by the
Grecian and the Roman Laws.--In England this offence is not to be
found in the Criminal Code.--It may indeed be punished with fine and
penance by the Spiritual Law; or indirectly in the Courts of Common
Law, by an action for damages, at the suit of the party injured. The
former may now (perhaps fortunately) be considered as a dead letter;
while the other remedy, being merely of a pecuniary nature, has little
effect in restraining this species of delinquency.

Like unskilful artists, we seem to have begun at the wrong end; since
it is clear that the distinction, which has been made in the
punishments between public and private crimes, is subversive of the
very foundation it would establish.

Private Offences being the source of public crimes, the best method of
guarding Society against the latter is, to make proper provisions for
checking the former.--A man of pure morals always makes the best
Subject of every State; and few have suffered punishment as public
delinquents, who have not long remained unpunished as private
offenders. The only means, therefore, of securing the peace of
Society, and of preventing more atrocious crimes, is, to enforce by
lesser punishments, the observance of religious and moral duties:
Without this, Laws are but weak Guardians either of the State, or the
persons or property of the Subject.

The People are to the Legislature what a child is to a parent:--As the
first care of the latter is to teach the love of virtue, and a dread
of punishment; so ought it to be the duty of the former, to frame Laws
with an immediate view to the general improvement of morals.

"That Kingdom is happiest where there is most virtue," says an elegant
writer.--It follows, of course, that those Laws are the best which are
most calculated to promote Religion and Morality; the operation of
which in every State, is to produce a conduct intentionally directed
towards the Public Good.

It seems that by punishing what are called public Crimes, with
peculiar severity, we only provide against present and temporary
mischiefs. That we direct the vengeance of the Law against effects,
which might have been prevented by obviating their causes:--And this
may be assigned in part as the cause of Civil Wars and Revolutions.--The
Laws are armed against the _powers_ of Rebellion, but are not
calculated to oppose its _principle_.

Few civil wars have been waged from considerations of Public Virtue,
or even for the security of Public Liberty. These desperate
undertakings are generally promoted and carried on by abandoned
characters, who seek to better their fortunes in the general havoc and
devastation of their country.--Those men are easily seduced from their
Loyalty who are apostates from private virtue.

To be secure therefore against those public calamities which, almost
inevitably, lead to anarchy and confusion, it is far better to improve
and confirm a nation in the true principles of natural justice, than
to perplex them by political refinements.

Having thus taken a general view of the principles applicable to
Punishments in general, it may be necessary, for the purpose of more
fully illustrating these reflections, briefly to consider the various
leading Offences, and their corresponding Punishments according to the
present state of our Criminal Law; and to examine how far they are
proportioned to each other.

High Treason is the highest civil Crime which can be committed by any
member of the Community.--After various alterations and amendments
made and repealed in subsequent reigns, the definition of this offence
was settled as it originally stood, by the Act of the 25th of Edward
III. stat. 5, cap. 2. and may be divided into seven different heads:

     1. Compassing or imagining the Death of the King, Queen, or
     Heir Apparent.

     2. Levying War against the King, in his realm.

     3. Adhering to the King's enemies, and giving them aid, in
     the realm or elsewhere.[11]

     [Footnote 11: It has been thought necessary, by the
     Legislature, to explain and enlarge these clauses of the Act
     25 _Ed._ III. as not extending, with sufficient
     explicitness, to modern treasonable attempts. It is
     therefore provided by the Act 36 _Geo._ III. _cap._ 7, "That
     if any person (during the life of his present Majesty, and
     until the end of the Session of Parliament next after a
     demise of the Crown) shall within the realm, or without,
     compass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend death or
     destruction, _or any bodily harm, tending to death or
     destruction, maim, or wounding, imprisonment, or restraint_
     of the person of the King, his heirs, and successors, or to
     deprive or depose him or them from his stile, honour, or
     Kingly name; or to levy war against the King within this
     Realm, in order by force to compel him to change his
     measures; _or in order to put any force or constraint upon,
     or to intimidate or overawe_, BOTH HOUSES, OR EITHER HOUSE,
     OF PARLIAMENT; or to incite any foreigner to invade the
     dominions of the Crown: and such compassings, &c., shall
     express, utter, or declare, _by publishing any printing, or
     writing_, or by _any other_ overt act or deed"--the offender
     shall be deemed _a Traitor_, and punished accordingly.]

     4. Slaying the King's Chancellor or Judge in the execution
     of their offices.

     5. Violating the Queen, the eldest daughter of the King, or
     the wife of the Heir Apparent, or eldest Son.

     6. Counterfeiting the King's Great Seal, or Privy Seal.

     7. Counterfeiting the King's Money, or bringing false Money
     into the kingdom.

This detail shews how much the dignity and security of the King's
person is confounded with that of his officers, and even with his
effigies imprest on his Coin.--To assassinate the servant, or to
counterfeit the type, is held as criminal as to destroy the Sovereign.

This indiscriminate blending of crimes, so different and
disproportionate in their nature, under one common head, is certainly
liable to great objections; seeing that the judgment in this offence
is so extremely severe and terrible, _viz. That the offender be drawn
to the gallows on the ground or pavement: That he be hanged by the
neck, and then cut down alive: That his entrails be taken out and
burned while he is yet alive: That his head be cut off: That his body
be divided into four parts: And that his head and quarters be at the
King's disposal_.--Women, however, are only to be drawn and
hanged:--though in all cases of treason, they were heretofore
sentenced to be burned: a cruel punishment, which, after being
alleviated by the custom of previous strangulation, was at length
repealed, by the Act 30 Geo. III. _c._ 48.

There are indeed some shades of difference with regard to coining
money; where the offender is only drawn and hanged; and that part of
the punishment which relates to being _drawn_ and _quartered_ is, to
the honour of humanity, never practised. But even in cases of the most
atrocious criminality, the execution of so horrid a sentence seems to
answer no good political purpose.--Nature shudders at the thought of
imbruing our hands in blood, and mangling the smoaking entrails of our

In most Countries and in all ages, however, Treason has been punished
capitally.--Under the Roman Laws, by the _Cornelia Lex_, of which
Sylla, the Dictator, was the author, this Offence was created.--It was
also made a capital Crime when the Persian Monarchy became despotic.

By the Laws of China, Treason and Rebellion are punished with a rigour
even beyond the severity of our judgment, for the criminals are
ordained to be cut in _ten thousand_ pieces.

There is another species of Treason, called _Petty Treason_,
described by the Statute of the 25th of Edward the III. to be the
offence of _a Servant killing his Master, a Wife killing her Husband_,
or a _Secular or Religious slaying his Prelate_.--The Punishment is
somewhat more ignominious than in other capital offences, inasmuch as
a _hurdle_ is used instead of a _cart_.--Here again occurs a very
strong instance of the inequality of Punishments; for although the
principle and essence of this Crime is breach of duty and obedience
due to a superior slain, yet if a child murder his parents (unless he
serve them for wages) he is not within the Statute; although it must
seem evident to the meanest understanding that Parricide is certainly
a more atrocious and aggravated offence, than either of those
specified in the Statute.

By the _Lex Pompeia_ of the Romans, Parricides were ordained to be
sown [Transcriber's Note: sewn] in a sack with a _dog_, a _cock_, a
_viper_, and an _ape_, and thrown into the sea, thus to perish by the
most cruel of all tortures.

The ancient Laws of all civilized nations punished the crime of
Parricide by examples of the utmost severity.--The Egyptians put the
delinquents to death by the most cruel of all tortures--mangling the
body and limbs, and afterwards laying it upon thorns to be burnt

By the Jewish Law it was death for children to curse, or strike their
parents; and in China, this crime was considered as next in atrocity
to Treason and Rebellion, and in like manner punished by cutting the
delinquent in _one thousand_ pieces.

The Laws of England however make no distinction between this crime and
common Murder; while it is to be lamented that offences far less
heinous, either morally or politically considered, are punished with
the same degree of severity; and it is much to be feared, that this
singular inequality is ill calculated to inspire that filial awe and
reverence, to parents, which all human Laws ought to inculcate.

The offences next in enormity to Treason, are by the Laws of England,
denominated Felonies, and these may be considered as of two kinds,
_public_ and _private_.

Under the head of _Public Felonies_ we shall class the following:
having peculiar relation to the State.

  1. Felonies relative to the Coin of the Realm.
  2. ----------------- to the King and his Counsellors, &c.
  3. ----------------- to Soldiers and Marines.
  4. ----------------- to embezzling Public Property.
  5. ----------------- to Riot and Sedition.
  6. ----------------- to Escape from Prison.
  7. ----------------- to Revenue and Trade, &c.

We consider as comprehended under _Private Felonies_ the following
crimes committed, 1. _Against the Life_, 2. _the Body_, 3. _The
Goods_, 4. _The Habitation of the Subject_.

  Against      1. By Murder.
  Life.        2. By Man-slaughter.
               3. By Misadventure.
               4. By Necessity.

  Against the  1. Sodomy.
  Body.        2. Rape.
               3. Forcible Marriage.
               4. Polygamy.
               5. Mayhem.

  Against      1. Simple Larceny.
  Goods.       2. Mixt Larceny.
               3. Piracy.

  Against the  1. Arson.
  Dwelling or  2. Burglary.

Those Crimes which we have denominated _Public Felonies_ being merely
of a political nature, it would seem that the ends of justice would be
far better answered, than at present, and convictions oftener
obtained, by different degrees of Punishment short of Death.

With regard to _Private Felonies_, it may be necessary to make some
specific observations----

The first, in point of enormity, is _Murder_, which may be committed
in two Ways:--first, upon _one's self_, in which case the offender is
denominated _Felo de se_ or a _Self-murderer_;--secondly, by killing
another person.

The Athenian Law ordained, that persons guilty of Self-murder should
have the hand cut off which did the murder, and buried in a place
separate from the body; but this seems of little consequence.--When
such a calamity happens, it is a deplorable misfortune; and there
seems to be a great cruelty in adding to the distress of the wife,
children, or nearest kin of the deceased, by the forfeiture of his
whole property; which is at present confiscated by Law.

By the Law of England, the judgment in case of Murder is, that the
person convicted shall suffer death and that his body shall be

The Laws of most civilized nations, both ancient and modern, have
justly punished this atrocious offence with death. It was so by the
Laws of Athens, and also by the Jewish and Roman Laws.--By the Persian
Law Murderers were pressed to death between two stones; and in China,
persons guilty of this offence are beheaded, except where a
person kills his adversary in a duel, in which case he is
strangled.--Decapitation, by the Laws of China, is considered the most
dishonourable mode of execution.

In the ruder ages of the world, and before the manners of mankind were
softened by the arts of peace and civilization, Murder was not a
capital crime: Hence it is that the barbarous nations which over-ran
the Western Empire, either expiated this crime by private revenge, or
by a pecuniary composition.--Our Saxon ancestors punished this high
offence with a fine; and they too countenanced the exercise of that
horrid principle of revenge, by which they added blood to blood.--But
in the progress of civilization and Society, the nature of this crime
became better understood; private revenge was submitted to the power
of the Law; and the good King Alfred first made Murder a capital
offence in England.

In this case, as in that of Self-murder, the property of the murderer
goes to the State; without any regard to the unhappy circumstances of
the families either of the murdered or the guilty person, who may be
completely ruined by this fatal accident.--A provision which seems not
well to accord with either the justice or mildness of our Laws.

Man-slaughter is defined to be _The killing another without malice,
either express or implied: which may be either, voluntarily, upon a
sudden heat; or involuntarily, but in the commission of some unlawful
Act_. And the Punishment is, _that the person convicted shall be burnt
in the hand, and his goods forfeited_.--And offenders are usually
detained in prison for a time not exceeding one year, under the
Statutes regulating the Benefit of Clergy.

Homicide by _Misadventure_ is, when _one is doing a lawful act,
without intent to hurt another_, and _death ensues_.--For this offence
a pardon is allowed of course; but in strictness of Law the property
of the person convicted is forfeited; the rigour of which, however, is
obviated by a Writ of Restitution of his goods, to which the party is
now, by long usage, entitled of right; only paying for suing out the

Homicide _by necessity_ or in _Self-defence_, is another shade of
Murder, upon which no punishment is inflicted: and in this is included
what the Law expresses by the word _Chance-medley_: which is properly
applied to such killing as happens in self-defence upon a sudden
rencounter. Yet, still by strictness of Law, the goods and chattels of
the person charged and convicted are forfeited to the Crown; contrary,
as it seems to many, to the principles of Reason and Justice.

It should be recollected that in all cases where the Homicide does not
amount to Murder or Man-slaughter, the Judges permit, nay even direct,
a verdict of acquittal.--But it appears more consonant with the sound
principles of Justice, that the Law itself should be precise, than
that the property of a man should, in cases of _Misadventure_,
_Chance-medley_, and _Self-defence_ depend upon the construction of a
Judge, or the lenity of a Jury: Some alteration therefore, in the
existing Laws, seems called for in this particular.

Having thus briefly discussed what has occurred relative to the
punishment of offences against life, we come next to make some
observations on what we have denominated _Private Felonies against the
Body of the Subject_.

By the Grecian, Roman, and Jewish Laws, the abominable crime of
_Sodomy_ was punished with death.--In France, under the Monarchy, the
offenders suffered death by burning.

The Lombards were said to have brought this detestable vice into
England, in the reign of Edward the Third.--In ancient times the men
were hanged, and the women drowned: At length by the Act 25th of Henry
the Eighth, cap. 6, it was made Felony without Benefit of Clergy.--

It has been doubted, however, whether the severity of the punishment
of a crime so unnatural, as even to appear incredible, does not defeat
the object of destroying it, by rendering it difficult to convict an

The same objection has been made with respect to the crime of
committing _a Rape_. A proper tenderness for life makes the Law
require a strong evidence, and of course the proof is nice and
difficult; whereas, were the punishment more mild, it might be more
efficacious in preventing the violation of chastity.

By the Law of Egypt, Rapes were punished by cutting off the offending
parts;--The Athenian Laws compelled the ravisher of a virgin to marry
her. It was long before this offence was punished capitally by the
Roman Law: but at length the _Lex Julia_ inflicted the pains of death
on the Ravisher.--The Jewish Law also punished this crime with death;
but if a virgin was deflowered without force, the offender was obliged
to pay a fine, and marry the woman.

By the 18th of Elizabeth, cap. 7, this offence was made Felony without
Benefit of Clergy.

It is certainly of a very heinous nature, and, if tolerated, would be
subversive of all order and morality; yet it may still be questioned,
how far it is either useful or politic to punish it with death; and is
worth considering, whether, well knowing that it originates in the
irregular and inordinate gratification of unruly appetite, the injury
to Society may not be repaired without destroying the offender.

In most cases, this injury might be repaired by compelling (where it
could be done with propriety,) the criminal to marry the injured
party; and it would be well for Society, if the same rule extended not
only to all forcible violations of chastity, but even to instances of
premeditated and systematic Seduction.

In cases, however, where marriage could not take place, on account of
legal disability, or refusal on the part of the woman, the criminal
ought to be severely punished, by pecuniary damages to the party
injured, and by hard labour and confinement, or transportation for

The offence considered as next in point of enormity to Rape, is
_Forcible Marriage_, or _Defilement of Women_: but it is somewhat
remarkable, that by confining the punishment to offences against women
of estate only, the moral principles are made to yield to political
considerations; and the security of property in this instance, is
deemed more essential, than the preservation of female chastity.

In short, the property of the woman is the measure of the crime; the
statutes of the 3d of Henry the Seventh, cap. 2. and the 39th of
Elizabeth, cap. 9, making it Felony without Benefit of Clergy, to take
away, _for lucre_, any woman having lands or goods, or being an heir
apparent to an estate, by force, or against her will, and to marry or
to defile her. The forcible marriage and defilement of a woman without
an estate is not punished at all; although, according to every
principle of morality and reason, it is as criminal as the other. It
is indeed an offence not so likely to be committed.

However, it seems in every point of view, impolitic to punish such
offences with death; it might be enough, to expiate the crime by
alienating the estate from the husband--vesting it in the wife alone,
and confining him to hard labour; or by punishing the delinquent, in
very atrocious cases, by transportation.

Polygamy stands next as an offence against the person:--It was first
declared Felony by the statute of James the first, cap. 11, but not
excluded from the Benefit of Clergy, and therefore not subject to the
punishment of death.

Though, in one view, the having a plurality of wives or husbands,
appears only a political offence, yet it is undeniably a breach of
religious and moral virtue, in a very high degree.--It is true,
indeed, that in the early ages of the world, Polygamy was tolerated
both in Greece and Rome, even after the People had arrived at a high
pitch of refinement.--But since the institution of Matrimony under the
present form, Polygamy must be considered as highly criminal, since
marriage is an engagement which cannot be violated without the
greatest injury to Society. The Public Interest, therefore, requires
that it should be punished; and the Act 35th George III. cap. 67,
which punishes this offence with transportation, is certainly not too

Mayhem, or Maiming, is the last in the Catalogue of _Offences against
the Person_. It was first made Single Felony by the 5th of Henry the
Fourth, cap. 5.--It is defined to be _maiming, cutting the tongue, or
putting out the eyes of any of the King's liege people_. The statute
of the 22d and 23d of Charles the Second, cap. 1. extends the
description of this offence to slitting the nose, cutting off a nose
or lip, or cutting off or disabling any limb or member, by malice
forethought, and by lying in wait with an intention to maim and
disfigure:--And this statute made the offence Felony, without Benefit
of Clergy.

To prove malice in this crime, it is sufficient that the act was
voluntary, and of set purpose, though done on a sudden.

Mayhem, as explained in the above statutes, is certainly a very
atrocious offence; and as the punishment is not followed by corruption
of blood, or the forfeiture of the property of the offender, it is,
according to the present system, perhaps not too severe.

One particular sort of Mayhem by cutting off the _ear_, is punishable
by an Act 37 Hen. VIII. cap. 6. which directs that the offender shall
forfeit treble damages to the party grieved, to be recovered by action
of trespass; and £.10 by way of fine to the King.

We next come to examine _Private Felonies_ against the _Goods or
Property of the Individual_, viz. _Simple Larceny_, _Mixt Larceny_,
and _Piracy_.

Simple Larceny is divided into two sorts;--1st, Grand Larceny, and 2d,
Petit Larceny.--The first is defined to be _the felonious taking and
carrying away the mere personal property or goods of another, above
the value of twelve pence_.--This offence is capital, and punished
with death, and the forfeiture of property.

Petit Larceny is where the goods, taken in the above manner, are
under the value of twelve pence; in which case, the punishment
(according to the circumstances of atrocity attending the offence,) is
imprisonment, whipping, or transportation, with forfeiture of goods
and chattels.

Thus it appears, that by the rigour of the Law, stealing the least
trifle above 12_d._ subjects the offender to the loss of life; a
punishment apparently repugnant to reason, policy, or justice: more
especially when it is considered, that at the time this _Anglo Saxon
Law_ was made, in the reign of _Athelstan_, 860 years ago, _one
shilling_ was of more value, according to the price of labour, than
_seventy-five shillings_ are at the present period: the life of man
therefore may be justly said to be seventy-five times cheaper than it
was when this mode of punishment was first established.

By the Athenian Laws, the crime of Theft was punished, by paying
double the value of what was stolen, to the party robbed; and as much
more to the public.--Solon introduced a law, enjoining every person to
state in writing, by what means he gained his livelihood; and if false
information was given, or he gained his living in an unlawful way, he
was punished with death.--A similar law prevailed among the Egyptians.

The _Lex Julia_ of the Romans made Theft punishable at discretion; and
it was forbidden, that any person should suffer death, or even the
loss of a member, for this crime.--The greatest punishment which
appears to have been inflicted for this offence, in its most
aggravated circumstances, was four-fold restitution.

By the Jewish Law, Theft was punished in the same manner: with the
addition of a fine according to the nature of the offence; excepting
in cases where _men_ were stolen, which was punished with death.

In China, Theft is punished by the bastinadoe, excepting in cases of a
very atrocious nature, and then the culprit is condemned to the
knoutage--a contrivance not unlike the pillory in this country.

The ancient Laws of this kingdom punished the crime of Theft
differently.--Our Saxon ancestors did not at first punish it
capitally.--The Laws of King Ina[12] inflicted the punishment of
death, but allowed the thief to redeem his life, _Capitis
estimatione_, which was sixty shillings; but in case of an old
offender, who had been often accused, the hand or foot was to be cut

[Footnote 12: King of the West Saxons, anno 688.]

After various changes which took place under different Princes, in the
rude and early periods of our history, it was at length settled in the
9th of Henry the First, (A.D. 1108,) _that for theft and robbery,
offenders should be hanged_; this has continued to be the law of the
land ever since, excepting in the county palatine of Chester; where
the ancient custom of beheading felons was practised some time after
the Law of Henry the First; and the Justices of the Peace of that
county, received one shilling from the King, for every head that was
cut off.

Montesquieu seems to be of opinion that as thieves are generally
unable to make restitution, it may be just to make theft a capital
crime.--But would not the offence be atoned for in a more rational
manner, by compelling the delinquent to labour, first for the benefit
of the party aggrieved, till recompence is made, and then for the

[Footnote 13: That acute Reasoner, the Marquis BECCARIA, who wrote
after MONTESQUIEU, holds this last opinion.--"A punishment, (says this
able writer) to be just should have only that degree of severity which
is sufficient to deter others: perpetual labour will have this effect
more than the punishment of death."

BECC. chap. 28.]

According to the present system the offender loses his life, and they
whom he has injured lose their property; while the State also suffers
in being deprived of a member, whose labour, under proper controul,
might have been made useful and productive.

Observations have already been made on one consequence of the severity
of the punishment for this offence; that persons of tender feelings
conscientiously scruple to prosecute delinquents for inconsiderable
Thefts. From this circumstance it is believed, that not one
depredation in a hundred, of those actually committed, comes to the
knowledge of Magistrates.

Mixed or _compound Larceny_ has a greater degree of guilt in it than
simple Larceny; and may be committed either by taking from a man, or
from his house. If a person is previously put in fear or assaulted,
the crime is denominated _Robbery_.

When a Larceny is committed which does not put the party robbed in
fear; it is done privately and without his knowledge, by picking his
pocket, or cutting the purse, and stealing from thence above the value
of twelve pence; or publicly, with the knowledge of the party, by
stealing a hat or wig, and running away.

With respect to _Dwelling Houses_ the Common Law has been altered by
various acts of Parliament; the multiplicity of which is apt to create
confusion; but upon comparing them diligently, we may collect that the
following domestic aggravations of Larceny are punishable with death,
without Benefit of Clergy.

First, _Larcenies above the value of twelve pence_; committed--1st. In
a church or chapel, with or without violence or breaking the same; 23
Henry VIII. cap. 1: 1 Edward VI. cap. 12.--2d. In a booth or tent, in
a market or fair, in the day time or in the night, by violence or
breaking the same; the owner or some of his family, being therein; 5
and 6 Edward VI. cap. 9.--3d. By robbing a dwelling house in the day
time, (which _robbing_ implies a _breaking_,) any person being
therein: 3 and 4 William and Mary, cap. 9.--4th. By the same Act, (and
see the Act 23 Henry VIII. cap. 1.) in a dwelling house, by day or by
night; without breaking the same, any person being therein, and put in
fear: which amounts in law to a Robbery; and in both these last cases
the _Accessary before the fact_ is also excluded from the benefit of

Secondly; _Larcenies to the value of five shillings_; committed--1st.
By breaking any dwelling house, or any outhouse, shop, or warehouse
thereunto belonging, in the day time; although no person be therein,
which also now extends to aiders, abettors, and accessaries before the
fact: 39 Elizabeth, cap. 15; see also 3 and 4 William and Mary, cap.
9.--2d. By privately stealing goods, wares, or merchandise in any
shop, warehouse, coach-houses, or stable, by day or night: though the
same be not broken open, and though no person be therein: which
likewise extends to such as assist, hire, or command the offence to be
committed: 10 and 11 William III. cap. 23.

Lastly; _Larcenies to the value of forty shillings_ from a dwelling
house, or its outhouses, although the same be not broken, and whether
any person be therein or not; unless committed against their masters,
by apprentices, under age of fifteen; 12 Anne, stat. 1. cap. 7.

Piracy is felony against the goods of the Subject by a robbery
committed at sea.--It is a capital offence by the civil law, although
by Act of Parliament, it may be heard and determined, according to the
rules of the common law, as if the offence had been committed on land.
The mode of trial is regulated by the 28th of Henry VIII. cap. 15; and
further by the Acts 11 and 12 William III. cap. 7. and 39 George III.
cap. 37; which also extend to other offences committed on the High

Felonies _against the Dwelling or Habitation of a man are of two
kinds; and are denounced_ Arson _and_ Burglary.

_Arson_ or _Arsonry_ is a very atrocious offence--it is defined to be
_the malicious burning of the House of another either by night or by
day_. It is in this case a capital offence; but if a man burns his own
house, without injuring any other, it is only a misdemeanor,
punishable by fine, imprisonment, or the pillory.

By the 23d of Henry the Eighth, cap. 1. the capital part of the
offence is extended to persons, (whether principals or accessaries,)
burning dwelling houses; or barns wherein corn is deposited; and by
the 43d of Elizabeth, cap. 13, burning barns or stacks of corn in the
four northern counties, is also made Felony without Benefit of Clergy.

By the 22d and 23d of Car. II. cap. 7, it is made felony to set fire
to any stack of corn, hay, or grain; or other outbuildings, or kilns,
maliciously in the night time; punished with transportation for seven

By the 1st George I. cap. 48, it is also made single felony to set
fire to any wood, underwood, or coppice.

Other burnings are made punishable with death, without Benefit of
Clergy; _viz._ Setting fire to any house, barn, or outhouse, or to any
hovel, cock, mow, or stack of corn, straw, hay, or wood: or the
rescuing any such offender: 9 George I. cap. 22.--Setting fire to a
coal-mine: 10 George II. cap. 32.--Burning, or setting fire to any
wind-mill, water-mill, or other mill: (as also pulling down the same:)
9 George III. cap. 29; but the offender must be prosecuted within
eighteen months.--Burning any ship; to the prejudice of the owners,
freighters, or underwriters: 22 and 23 Charles II. cap. 11; 1 Anne,
stat. 2. cap. 9; 4 George I. cap. 12.--Burning the King's ships of war
afloat, or building: or the Dock-yards, or any of the buildings,
arsenals, or stores therein: 12 George III. cap. 24.--And finally,
_Threatening_ by anonymous or fictitious letters to burn houses,
barns, &c. is by the Act 27 George II. cap. 15, also made felony
without Benefit of Clergy.

Burglary is a felony at common law; it is described to be _when a
person, by night, breaketh into the mansion of another, with an intent
to commit a felony; whether the felonious intent be executed or not_.

By the 18th of Elizabeth, cap. 7, the Benefit of Clergy is taken away
from _The Offence_; and by the 3d and 4th William and Mary, cap. 9,
from _Accessaries before the fact_.--By the 12th of Anne, stat. 1,
cap. 7, if any person shall enter into a mansion or dwelling house, by
day or by night, without breaking into the same, with an intent to
commit any felony; or being in such houses, shall commit any felony;
and shall, in the night time, _break_ the said house _to get out_ of
the same, he is declared guilty of the offence of burglary, and
punished accordingly.

It is, without doubt, highly expedient that this Offence should be
punished more severely than any other species of theft; since, besides
the loss of property, there is something very terrific in the mode of
perpetration, which is often productive of dreadful effects.

The ancient laws made a marked distinction in the punishment, between
this Offence, which was called Hamsokne, (and which name it retains at
present in the Northern parts of this kingdom) and robbing a house in
the day time.

There are many other felonies which have been made capital
(particularly within the present century) which do not properly fall
within the class above discussed;--for an account of these the reader
is referred to the general Catalogue of offences specified in a
subsequent Chapter.

The number of these various capital Offences upon which the judgment
of death must be pronounced, if the party is found guilty, has been
already stated to amount to above one _hundred and sixty_.--And yet if
a full consideration shall be given to the subject, it is believed
that (excepting in cases of _Treason_, _Murder_, _Mayhem_, and some
aggravated instances of Arsonry) it would be found that the punishment
of death is neither politic nor expedient.

At any rate, it must be obvious to every reasoning mind, that such
_indiscriminate rigour_, by punishing the petty pilferer with the same
severity as the atrocious murderer, cannot easily be reconciled to the
rights of nature or to the principles of morality.

It is indeed true, in point of practice, that in most cases of a
slight nature, the mercy of Judges, of Juries, or of the Sovereign,
saves the delinquent; but is not the exercise of this mercy rendered
so necessary on every occasion, "_a tacit disapprobation of the

[Footnote 14: Beccaria. _See ante page_ 45.]

Cruelty, in punishment for slight Offences, often induces Offenders to
pass on from the trifling to the most atrocious crime.--Thus are these
our miserable fellow-mortals rendered desperate; whilst the laws,
which ought to soften the ferocity of obdurate minds, tend to corrupt
and harden them.

What education is to an individual, the Laws are to Society. Wherever
they are sanguinary, delinquents will be hard-hearted, desperate, and
even barbarous.

However much our ancestors were considered as behind us in
civilization, yet their laws were infinitely milder, in many
instances, than in the present age of refinement.

The real good of the State, however, unquestionably requires that not
only adequate punishments should be impartially inflicted, but that
the injured should obtain a reparation for their wrongs.

Instead of such reparation, it has been already stated, and indeed it
is much to be lamented, that many are induced to desist from
prosecutions, and even to conceal injuries, because nothing but
expence and trouble is to be their lot: as all the fruits of the
conviction, where the criminal has any property, go to the
State.--That the State should be the only immediate gainer by the
fines and forfeitures of criminals, while the injured party suffers,
seems not wholly consonant to the principles either of _justice_,
_equity_, or _sound policy_.

Having said thus much on the subject of severe and sanguinary
Punishments, it may not be improper to mention a very recent and
modern authority, for the total abolition of the Punishment of death.
This occurred in the Imperial Dominion, where a new code of criminal
law was promulgated by the late Emperor, JOSEPH II. and legalised by
his edict in 1787.

This Code, formed in an enlightened age, by Princes, Civilians, and
Men of Learning, who sat down to the deliberation assisted by the
wisdom and experience of former ages, and by all the information
possible with regard to the practice of civilized modern nations; with
an impression also upon their minds, that sanguinary punishments, by
death, torture, or dismemberment are not necessary, and ought to be
abolished; becomes an interesting circumstance in the annals of the

     "THE EMPEROR _in his edict signed at Vienna the 13th of
     January, 1787, declares his intention to have been to give a
     precise and invariable form to Criminal Judicature; to
     prevent arbitrary interpretations; to draw a due line
     between criminal and civil offences, and those against the
     state; to observe a just proportion between offences and
     punishments, and to determine the latter in such a manner as
     that they may make more than merely a transient
     impression.--Having promulgated this new code, he abrogates,
     annuls, and declares void all the ancient laws which
     formerly existed in his dominions_.--Forbidding at the same
     time every criminal Judge to exercise the functions of his
     office, on any but those who shall be brought before him,
     accused of a criminal offence expressed in the new code."

This system of criminal law is so concise as to be comprehended in
less than one hundred octavo pages. It commences with laying down
certain general principles, favourable in their nature both to
humanity and public liberty.--In determining the Punishments (which
will hereafter be very shortly detailed) the following rules are laid
down for the Judges.

     "_The criminal Judge should be intent on observing the just
     proportion between a criminal Offence and the punishment
     assigned it, and carefully to compare every
     circumstance.--With respect to the_ Offence, _his principal
     attention should be directed to the degree of malignity
     accompanying the bad action,--to the importance of the
     circumstance connected with the Offence,--to the degree of
     damage which may result from it,--to the possibility or
     impossibility of the precautions which might have been made
     use of to prevent it.--With respect to the_ Criminal, _the
     attention of the Judge should be directed to his youth,--to
     the temptation or imprudence attending it,--to the
     punishment which has been inflicted for the same Offence,
     and to the danger of a relapse_."

  Those denominated    1. Offences against the Sovereign and the
  Criminal Offences,        State; including High Treason.
  _viz._               2. Offences against human life and bodily
                       3. Offences against honour and liberty.
                       4. Offences against possessions and rights.

  Those denominated    5. Offences that endanger the life or health
  Civil Offences,           of the Citizens.
  _viz._               6. Offences that affect the fortunes or rights
                            of the Citizens.
                       7. Offences that tend to the corruption of

The offences are divided into seven different classes.

It is impossible, within the narrow compass of this Work, to enter
into a particular detail of the various subdivisions of the Crimes and
Punishments explained in this Code; which must be perused, in order to
form a clear and comprehensive view of the subject. The following
Specification therefore contains merely the _heads_ or outlines of the
System; which it is hoped may be found, from the mode of its
arrangement, to convey to the reader both amusement and instruction.






       *       *       *       *       *

  CRIMES.                            PUNISHMENTS.

  _High Treason._

  1. Laying violent hands on         Confiscation of property;
  the Sovereign, whether injury      imprisonment for not less than 30
  results from it or not.            years; and branding on each
                                     cheek with the mark of a
                                     gallows[15] if the prisoner is
                                     remarkably depraved.

  2. Attacking the Sovereign         Imprisonment 8 years, and not
  by speeches or writings.           less than 5.

  3. Persons conspiring and          Confiscation of Property and
  taking up arms, or entering        30 years' imprisonment, with
  into alliance with an enemy,       branding as above.
  &c. are guilty of _sedition
  and tumult_.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Criminal Offences relative to the Sovereign and the State._

  4. He who enters the house         Imprisonment, not less than
  or abode of another, and uses      1 month, nor more than 5 years,
  violence against his person,       and condemnation to the public
  goods, or possession, is           works.
  guilty of _open force_.

  5. He who violently resists        Imprisonment not less than
  the authority of a Judge, or       1 month, nor more than 5 years;
  Officer of Justice, although       but where there is an injury and
  no wound result, is guilty of      wounds, not exceeding 8 nor
  _open violence_.                   less than 5.

  6. Breach of trust, in a           Imprisonment not less than 8,
  Governor, or Chargé des            nor more than 12 years, and
  Affaires; neglecting the           condemnation to the public works,
  interest of the State, or          and in aggravated cases, the
  betraying his Country, &c.         pillory.[16]

  7. A Judge, who from               Imprisonment not less than 8, nor
  corruption or passion is           more than 12 years, and
  guilty of an _abuse of             condemnation to the public works,
  judicial authority_.               and in aggravated cases, the

  8. Accomplices attempting          Imprisonment not less than 1
  to corrupt a Judge.                month, nor more than 5 years; and
                                     condemnation to the public works.

  9. Forgery, by attempting to       Imprisonment not less than
  counterfeit public bills of        30 years, and branding with a
  the State which circulate as       hot iron.

  10. Falsifying a public bill,      Imprisonment not less than 12,
  by changing or altering it,        nor more than 15 years, and
  or imitating the signatures.       condemnation to the public works.

  11. Coining false money,           Imprisonment not less than 1
  resembling the Coin of the         month, nor more than 5 years,
  Hereditary Dominions, or           with condemnation to the public
  foreign Coin current by law;       works.
  even though of equal weight
  and quality, or superior to
  the current Coin.

  12. Coining false money, by        Imprisonment not less than 12,
  using a bad alloy; and by          nor more than 15 years, and
  fraud giving false money the       condemnation to the public works.
  quality of good.

  13. Accomplices in                 Imprisonment not less than 8,
  fabricating tools for              nor more than 12 years, and
  Coining.                           condemnation to the public works.

  14. Assisting in the escape        Imprisonment not less than 1
  of a prisoner.                     month, nor more than 5 years; and
                                     condemnation to the public works.

  15. Magistrates granting           Imprisonment not less than 12,
  indulgencies contrary to           nor more than 15 years; and
  law, &c.                           deprivation of authority.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Criminal Offences against Human Life and Bodily Safety._

  16. _Murder_,--by                  Imprisonment not less than 15,
  wounding a man so that death       nor more than 30 years; the latter
  ensues, including all              in cases of consanguinity.[17]

  17. Killing a man in               Imprisonment not less than 1
  self-defence, if the slayer        month, nor more than 5 years, and
  exceed the bounds of               condemnation to the public works.

  18. _Murder_,--with an             Imprisonment not less than 30
  intention to rob or steal the      years, with the hot iron; in
  property of the person, or         cruel cases, to be closely
  other property intrusted to        chained, with corporal
  his care.                          punishment[18] every year.

  19. Assassination by               Condemnation to the Chain,[19]
  stratagem, arms, or poison.        not less than 30 years.

  20. Inducing another to commit     Imprisonment not less than 5,
  Murder; by caresses, promises,     nor more than 8 years, and
  presents, or threats; whether      condemnation to the public
  death is the result or not.        works.--If murder is committed,
                                     the criminal shall suffer as a

  21. _Duelling_,--or                If death ensues; condemnation to
  challenging another to combat      the chain for 30 years, where the
  with murderous weapons on          survivor is the challenger. If
  whatever pretence the challenge    the survivor be the party
  be grounded.--The person           challenged, imprisonment, not
  accepting the challenge is         more than 12, nor less than 8
  equally guilty, after agreeing     years, and condemnation to the
  to combat with murderous weapons.  public works. If neither fall,
                                     imprisonment to the challenger,
                                     not less than 1 month, nor more
                                     than 5 years; and hard labour in
                                     the public works.

  22. Accomplices acting as          Imprisonment not less than 1,
  assistants and seconds.            nor more than 5 years.

  23. A woman with child using       Imprisonment not less than 15,
  means to procure abortion.         nor more than 30 years; and
                                     condemnation to the public works:
                                     augmented when married women.

  24. Accomplices advising and       Imprisonment not less than 1
  recommending abortion.             month, nor more than 5 years,
                                     and condemnation to the public
                                     works.--Punishment increased
                                     when the accomplice is the father
                                     of the infant.

  25. Exposing a living infant,      Imprisonment not less than 8,
  in order to abandon it to danger   nor more than 12 years; to be
  and death; or to leave its         increased under circumstances of
  deliverance to chance; whether     aggravation.
  the infant, so exposed, suffers
  death or not.

  26. Maiming by malignant           Imprisonment not less than 1
  assault.                           month, nor more than 5 years.

  27. Suicide or self-murder,        The body to be thrown into
  without any sign of insanity.      the earth by the executioner, and
                                     the name of the person and crime
                                     to be publicly notified and fixed
                                     on a gallows.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Criminal Offences against Honour and Liberty._

  28. _Calumny_--false               Imprisonment not less than 1
  accusation--injuring a man of      month, nor more than 5 years,
  his right, or robbing him of his   and condemnation to the public
  good name unjustly and without     works; with corporal punishment
  proof (See post. No. 56.)          if the party receive injury.

  29. _Rape_,--or forcibly,          Imprisonment not less than 3
  by associates, threatnings, or     years, nor more than 12, and
  shewing weapons, overpowering      condemnation to the public works.
  and forcing a woman to submit,
  and shamefully abusing her by
  rendering her incapable of

  30. Accomplices aiding in the      Imprisonment not less than 5,
  commission of a rape.              nor more than 8 years; and
                                     condemnation to the public works.

  31. _Forcibly carrying a           Imprisonment not less than 15
  person out of the State_           years, nor more than 30 years;
  without his will, or the           augmented if the criminal is a
  consent of the Magistrate,         natural-born subject.
  enlisting men into foreign
  service, &c.

  32. _Forcibly, or by               Imprisonment not less than 1
  address, secretly carrying         month, nor more than 5 years; if
  away a Minor_ past the years       no injury result--otherwise
  of infancy, under the care of      imprisonment, not less than 8, nor
  parents or guardians, &c.          more than 12 years, and
                                     condemnation to the public works.

  33. _Forcibly, and by              Imprisonment not less than 5
  address, getting possession of     years, and not more than 8; and
  any woman_ contrary to her         condemnation to the public
  will, obtaining her consent to     works.
  marriage, or shameful
  debauchery, and carrying her
  from her abode; whether
  the design is accomplished or

  34. _Forcibly carrying away        Imprisonment not less than 1
  a woman known to be bound by       month, nor more than 5 years,
  lawful marriage_, or under         and condemnation to the public
  protection of parents, and         works.
  without her consent.

  35. Accomplices aiding and         The same.

  36. _Unlawful Imprisonment_,       Imprisonment not less than 1
  or keeping a person in             month, nor more than 5 years;
  confinement against his will       augmented in cases of damages.
  and of his own private

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Criminal Offences against Possessions and Rights._

  37. _Fraud._--Obtaining the        Various, according to the degree
  property of another by             of malignity--in general by
  stratagem, with an evil design     imprisonment not less than 8,
  on his possessions, honour,        nor more than 12 years; and in
  or liberty; forging title          smaller offences, not less than 5
  deeds or contracts, or             nor more than 8; and condemnation
  _altering_ the same.               to the public works.

  _Perjury_ in a Court of            The same.
  Justice, assuming a false name,
  &c. &c. bearing false witness.

  38. _Theft_, or taking a           Imprisonment not less than 1
  moveable from the possession of    month, nor more than 5 years, if
  another by fraud, and without      unaccompanied by aggravating
  his consent. (See post. No.        circumstances: but in aggravated
  47.)                               cases, imprisonment not less than
                                     5 nor more than 8; or not less
                                     than 8, nor more than 12 years.

  39. _Accomplices in                Imprisonment not less than 1
  Theft_.--abettors and              month nor more than 5 years, and
  receivers, &c.                     condemnation to the public works.

  40. _Robbery_--committed           Imprisonment not less than 15
  alone or in company, by using      years, nor more than 30; if wounds
  violence, or forcing a person      ensue, in consequence of the
  to discover effects, on which      violence used. And if acts of
  the offender has felonious         cruelty or wounds, occasioning
  views.                             death, then the punishment of the
                                     chain additional.

  41. _Incendiary_--where one        Imprisonment not less than 8
  undertakes an action from which    nor more than 12 years; and
  fire may ensue, or with intention  condemnation to the public works:
  to prejudice, or cause damage,     when the flames have been stifled.
  with a view to profit by the       Setting fire to a Camp, Magazine,
  disorder that takes place, he      Barn, Timber-yard, &c.
  shall be considered as an          from 15 to 30 years; according
  _incendiary_, whether              to the circumstances of the case.
  damage ensues or not.

  42. _Bigamy_--where one            Imprisonment not less than 5
  bound by the tie of lawful         nor more than 8 years, or
  matrimony, concludes a second      condemnation to the public works;
  marriage with another person,      if the person with whom the
  single or married.                 offender contracts the second
                                     marriage was acquainted with the
                                     first.--If concealed, then
                                     imprisonment not exceeding 12 nor
                                     less than 8 years.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Civil Offences that endanger the Life or Health of the Citizen._

  43. _Misadventure_--where          Imprisonment from 1 month
  without any ill intention, by      to a year, or condemnation to the
  means of poisonous merchandize,    public works, if the offender has
  or apothecaries selling            caused any immediate damage;
  adulterated drugs, any person      but if the cause of damage be
  suffers danger or injury.          remote, imprisonment from a day to
                                     1 month.

  44. Damage to man or child,        Imprisonment from 1 day to
  occasioned by riding or driving    a month; to be augmented, in
  carriages with too much speed;     case death or wound should have
  or injury received by persons      resulted from the accident.
  incapable of guarding against
  danger, occasioning a wound or
  death, which might have been
  prevented by due vigilance.

  45. Breaking Quarantine, &c.       By a Military Court of
  and fabricating false bills of     Justice.

  46. Actions prejudicial to         Condemnation to the public
  health, or nuisance, where the     works, with or without fetters;
  necessary precautions prescribed   either from 1 day to a month, or
  by the laws of health are          from 1 month to a year.
  neglected in cases of dead
  animals, distempers among
  cattle, &c. &c.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Civil Offences that affect the Fortunes and Rights of Citizens._

  47. Stealing to the value of       Confinement, corporal correction,
  25 crowns of any moveable,         and the augmentation of
  when not accompanied with          the punishment if requisite.
  aggravating circumstances:
  _Stealing Wood in a
  Forest--Poaching by an
  unqualified person--Stealing
  Fruit from Trees--or earth
  from open Fields_--though
  beyond the value of 25 crowns.
  (See ante, No. 38, 39.)

  48. Using Frauds in playing        The pillory and condemnation
  at Games allowed by Law.           to the public works, in atrocious
                                     cases; also imprisonment, from
                                     1 day to a month, and
                                     restitution.--In case of
                                     foreigners, the pillory and

  49. _Accomplices_                  Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  co-operating in such Frauds.       month.

  50. _Playing at prohibited         A fine of 300 ducats, or
  Games._                            imprisonment.

  51. _Persons selling               Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  Merchandize_ at higher prices      month, which may be augmented.
  than fixed by the Police, or by
  false weight or measure.

  52. _Adultery._                    Corporal correction, or
                                     imprisonment from 1 day to a

  53. _Contracting illegal           Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  Marriages._ (See ante, No.         month, and condemnation to the
  42.)                               public works.

  54. _Servants_ receiving           Corporal correction or
  earnest, and engaging to serve     imprisonment from 1 day to a
  more masters than one, or          month.
  otherwise misbehaving.

  55. _Masters_ giving               Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  servants a false character.        month.

  56. _Libels_ on another by         Condemnation to the public
  writings or disgraceful prints     works; reserving the right to
  or drawings, causing injury to     recompence to the party wronged.
  another. (See ante, No. 28.)

  57. Distributing or publishing     Condemnation to the public
  Libels.                            works; reserving the right of
                                     recompence to the party wronged.

  58. _Actions_ by which             Corporal correction.
  danger by fire may be
  occasioned; such as smoking
  tobacco in a stable,
  timber-yard, &c.

  59. Acts of hasty petulance,       Imprisonment various, or
  leading to quarrels, assaults,     condemnation to the public works.
  and damages.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Civil Offences that tend to the Corruption of Morals._

  60. Wickedly insulting the         Detention in the hospital destined
  Supreme Being by words, deeds,     for madmen; where the offender
  or actions, in a public place,     is to be treated like a man
  or in the presence of another      out of his senses, until his
  person.                            amendment be perfect and assured.

  61. Disturbing the exercise        Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  of Public Worship, &c.             month; to be augmented by
                                     fasting and corporal correction.

  62. Writing or Preaching           Pillory and Imprisonment,
  against the Christian Religion,    from 1 day to a month, or to a
  and Catholick Faith, &c. &c.       year.
  Heresies, &c.

  63. Committing indecencies         Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  in any public street or place.     month, augmented by fasting.

  64. Attempting to seduce or        Imprisonment from 1 day to a
  insult women of reputation, by     month.
  shameful debauchery, and using
  gestures, or discourses,
  tending to that purpose.

  65. Carnal Commerce by             Corporal Correction, and
  Man with Beast, or with a          condemnation to the public works;
  person of the same                 and banishment from the place
  sex,--_Sodomy_.                    where the offence has been
                                     publicly scandalous.

  66. Consenting to shameful         Condemnation to the public
  debauchery in his house;           works, from 1 month to 1 year;
  Keeping a _Bawdy House_.           to be augmented when an innocent
                                     person has been seduced;
                                     second offence, the pillory.

  67. Any person, man or woman,      Imprisonment from 1 month
  making a business of               to a year; second offence,
  prostitution, and deriving         punishment double, and augmented
  profit from thence.                by fasting and corporal

  68. Dealing in Books, Pictures,    Imprisonment from 1 day to 1
  or Prints which represent          month.
  indecent actions.

  69. Disguising in masks, and       The same.
  obtaining admission into
  societies, and secret
  fraternities not notified to
  the Magistrate.

  70. Harbouring in dwellings        The same.
  persons not known to have an
  honest mean of living.

  71. Banished persons, from         Corporal correction, to be
  the whole of the Austrian          doubled at each successive return;
  Dominions--returning, &c.          and the offender to be banished
                                     from the Hereditary Dominions.

[Footnote 15: In cases where a criminal appears to be remarkably
depraved, and that the apprehensions he may excite require such
precautions, he shall be branded on each cheek with the mark of a
gallows, so visibly and strongly impressed as not to be effaced either
by time or any other means whatever.]

[Footnote 16: This punishment is different from the pillory in
England. In the German Language it signifies an exposure on the public
theatre of shame. The Criminal is chained and guarded on an elevated
scaffold, and exposed an hour at a time, with a paper on his breast
denoting his offence.]

[Footnote 17: When a criminal is condemned to severe imprisonment, he
has no bed but the floor, no nourishment but bread and water, and all
communication with relations, or even strangers, is refused him. When
condemned to milder imprisonment, better nourishment is allowed; but
he has nothing to drink but water.]

[Footnote 18: Corporal punishment is inflicted with a whip, rod, or
stick, publicly, on the criminal; the degree of punishment (within 100
lashes or strokes at one time) depends on the sound prudence of the

[Footnote 19: The punishment of the Chain is inflicted in the
following manner. The criminal suffers severe imprisonment, and is so
closely chained, that he has no more liberty than serves for the
indispensable motion of his body.--Chained criminals suffer a corporal
punishment once a year, as an example to the Public.]

In contemplating the various component parts of this Code, it is easy
to discover that although some features of it may be worthy of
imitation, upon the whole it is not suited either to the English
constitution or the genius of our people. It is, however, a curious
and interesting document, from which considerable information may be
drawn; if ever that period shall arrive when a revision of our own
criminal Code (in many respects more excellent than this) shall become
an object of consideration with the Legislature.--At all events it
strongly evinces the necessity of adapting the laws to the
circumstances and situation of the Government; and of the people whose
vices are to be restrained.

The total abolition of the Punishment of death (excepting in military
offences cognizable by Courts Martial) is a very prominent feature in
this Code; which appears to have been founded in a great measure on
the principles laid down by the Marquis Beccaria, in his Essay on
Crimes and Punishments: That able writer establishes it as a maxim,
which indeed will scarcely be controverted--"That the severity of
Punishment should just be sufficient to excite compassion in the
spectators, as it is intended more for them than the criminal.--A
punishment, to be just, should have only that degree of severity which
is sufficient to deter others, and no more"--This authour further
asserts, "That perpetual labour has in it all that is necessary to
deter the most hardened and determined, as much as the punishment of
death, _where every example supposes a new crime_:--perpetual labour
on the other hand, affords a frequent and lasting example."[20]

[Footnote 20: The punishment of death is not authorized by any
right.--If it were so, how could it be reconciled to the maxim, that a
man has no right to kill himself?

The punishment of death is a war of a whole nation against a citizen,
whose destruction is considered as necessary or useful to the public
good.--If I can demonstrate that it is neither necessary nor useful, I
shall have gained the cause of humanity.--If the experience of all
ages be not sufficient to prove that the punishment of death has never
prevented determined men from injuring society--if the example of the
Romans--if twenty years' reign of Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, be not
sufficient, let us consult human nature in proof of my assertion.

The death of a criminal is a terrible, but momentary spectacle; and
therefore a less efficacious method of deterring others, than the
continued example of a man deprived of his liberty, and condemned to
repair by his labour, the injury done to Society. A condition so
miserable is a much more powerful preventive than the fear of death,
which men always behold in distant obscurity.

BECCARIA, cap. 28.]

Doubtless, the fundamental principle of good legislation is, rather to
prevent crimes than to punish.--If a mathematical expression may be
made use of, relative to the good and evil of human life, it is the
art of conducting men to the _maximum_ of happiness and the _minimum_
of misery.

But in spite of all the efforts of human wisdom, aided by the lights
of Philosophy, and freed from the mist of prejudice or the bigotry of
darker ages;--In spite of the best laws, and the most correct system
of Police which the most enlightened Legislature can form: it will
not be altogether possible, amid the various opposite attractions of
pleasure and pain, to reduce the tumultuous activity of mankind to
absolute regularity:--We can only hope for a considerable reduction of
the evils that exist.--_Let the Laws be clear and simple;--let the
entire force of the Nation be united in their defence; let the Laws be
feared, and the Laws only._


     _The causes and progress of small Thefts in London explained
     and traced to the numerous Receivers of stolen Goods, under
     the denominations of Dealers in Rags, Old Iron, and other
     Metals.--The great increase of these Dealers of late
     years.--Their evil tendency, and the absolute necessity of
     Regulations, to prevent the extensive Mischiefs arising from
     the Encouragements they hold out, to persons of every age
     and description, to become Thieves, by the purchase of
     whatever is offered for sale.--A Remedy suggested.--Petty
     Thefts in the country round the Metropolis--Workhouses the
     causes of idleness--Commons--Cottagers--Gypsies--Labourers
     and Servants; their general bad character and propensity to
     thieving small articles from their Masters, encouraged by
     Receivers.--Thefts in Fields and Gardens--Their extent and
     amount throughout England--Frauds in the sale and
     adulteration of Milk in the Metropolis._

In a preceding Chapter the small thefts committed by persons not known
to belong to the fraternity of Thieves, are estimated to amount to the
enormous sum of £.700,000 a year.

This discovery (except what relates to embezzled silk, cotton, and
worsted) was originally made through the medium of a considerable
Dealer in Rags and Old Iron, and other Metals, who communicated to the
Author much interesting information, respecting Receivers of stolen
Goods, confirmed afterwards through other channels, the substance of
which has been already alluded to; and of which the following are more
ample details:

     That there exists in this Metropolis, (and also in all the
     towns where his Majesty's Dock-Yards are established) a
     class of Dealers, of late years become extremely numerous,
     who keep open shops for the purchase of _Rags, Old Iron, and
     other Metals_.

     "That these Dealers are universally, almost without a single
     exception, the Receivers of stolen Goods of every
     denomination; from a nail, a skewer, a key, or a glass
     bottle, up to the most valuable article of portable
     household goods, merchandize, plate, or jewels, &c. &c.

     "That they are divided into two classes:--_Wholesale_ and
     _Retail Dealers_. That the Retail Dealers are generally
     (with some exceptions) the immediate purchasers in the first
     instance, from the pilferers or their agents; and as soon as
     they collect a sufficient quantity of iron, copper, brass,
     lead, tin, pewter, or other metals, worthy the notice of a
     large Dealer, they dispose of the same for ready money; by
     which they are enabled to continue the trade.

     "That the increase of these old iron, rag, and store shops
     has been astonishing within the last twenty years.

     "That, as the least trifle is received, the vigilance of the
     parties, from whom the articles are stolen, is generally
     eluded; by the prevailing practice of taking only a small
     quantity of any article at a time.

     "That the articles thus received are generally purchased at
     about one-third of the real value, and seldom at more than
     half;--glass bottles in particular, are bought at one penny
     each, and no question asked:--they are afterwards sold to
     dealers in this particular branch, who assort and wash them,
     and again re-sell them to inferior wine-dealers at nearly
     the full value:--this has become, of late, an extensive line
     of trade.

     "That further facilities are afforded by the dealers in old
     iron, in the collection of metals, rags, and other articles
     purloined and stolen in the Country; which are conveyed to
     town by means of _single-horse carts_, kept by itinerant
     Jews, and other doubtful characters; who travel to
     Portsmouth, Chatham, Woolwich, Deptford, and places in the
     vicinity of London, for the purpose of purchasing metals
     from persons who are in the habit of embezzling the King's
     stores, or from dealers on the spot, who are the first
     receivers; from them, _copper-bolts, nails, spikes, iron,
     brass, lead, pewter_, and other ship articles of
     considerable value are procured.--These single-horse carts
     have increased greatly of late years, and have become very
     profitable to the proprietors.

     "That some of these dealers in old metals, notoriously keep
     men employed in knocking the broad Arrow, or King's mark,
     out of the copper-bolts, nails, and bar iron, whereon it is
     impressed, and also in cutting such bar iron into portable
     lengths, after which it is sold to the great dealers, who
     supply the Public Boards; and who are in some instances
     supposed by this means to sell the same Article to these
     boards even _two_ or _three_ times over.

     "That the trade thus carried on, is exceedingly productive
     both to the retail and wholesale dealers; many of whom are
     become extremely opulent, and carry on business to the
     extent of from ten to thirty, and in some few instances,
     fifty thousand a year in old metals alone.

     "That the quantity of new nails, taken from the public
     repositories, and from private workshops, and disposed of at
     the old iron shops exceeds all credibility.

     "And finally, that the retail dealers in old iron, with some
     exceptions, are the principal purchasers of the pewter pots
     stolen from the Publicans, which they instantly melt down
     (if not previously done) to elude detection."

Thus are the lower ranks of Society assailed on all hands; and in a
manner allured to be dishonest, by the ready means of disposing of
property, unlawfully acquired, to satisfy _imaginary_ and too
frequently _criminal_ wants, excited by the temptations which the
amusements and dissipations of a great Capital, and the delusion of
the Lottery, hold out.

The rapid growth of this Evil within the last twenty years, and the
effect it has upon the morals of menial servants and others, who must
in the nature of things have a certain trust committed to them, is a
strong reason why some effectual remedy should be administered as
speedily as possible.

It seems, under all circumstances, that the regulation of these
Iron-shops, by licence, and by other restrictions connected with the
public security, has become a matter of immediate necessity; for it is
a dreadful thing to reflect that there should exist and grow up, in so
short a period of time, such a body of criminal dealers, who are
permitted to exercise all the mischievous part of the functions of
Pawnbrokers; enjoying equal benefits, without any of the restrictions
which have already been extended to this last class of dealers; who
themselves also require further regulations, which will be hereafter

But beside the dealers in _old iron_, it will be necessary to extend
the regulation proposed, to dealers in _second-hand wearing apparel_,
whether _stationary_ or _itinerant_; for through this medium also, a
vast quantity of bed and table linen, sheets, wearing apparel, and
other articles, pilfered in private families, is disposed of; and
money is obtained, without asking questions, with the same facility as
at the iron shops.

To prevent metals from being melted by Receivers of stolen Goods, and
other persons keeping crucibles and melting vessels, by which means
the most infamous frauds are committed, to the evasion of justice, by
immediately melting plate, pewter pots, and every kind of metal that
can be identified; it may be also necessary to regulate, by licence,
all _Founders of metal_, and also the horse and truck carts used for
the purpose of conveying old metals from place to place: so as, upon
the whole, to establish a _mild, but complete System of Prevention_;
by limiting the dealers in old metals and second-hand wearing apparel,
to the honest and fair part of their trade, and by restraining them
with regard to that which is fraudulent and mischievous.

At present these respective dealers may truly be said to be complete
pests of Society.--They are not, like Pawnbrokers, restrained, as to
the hours of receiving or delivering goods.--Their dealings are often
in the night time, by which means they enjoy every opportunity of
encouraging fraud and dishonesty.

It is impossible to contemplate the consequences arising from the
seduction of so many individuals, young and old, who must be
implicated in the crimes which these abominable receptacles encourage,
without wishing to see so complicate and growing a mischief engage
the immediate attention of the Legislature, that a remedy may be
applied as early as possible.[21]

[Footnote 21: This remedy as it respects Receivers of stolen Goods, is
specifically explained at the close of a subsequent Chapter which
relates entirely to that subject, and to which the Reader is
particularly referred.]

This System of petty thievery and general depredation is, however, by
no means confined to the precincts of the Metropolis: it is extended
in a peculiar manner through the different Counties in its
Vicinity.--The following particulars, extracted from Mr. _Middleton's_
View of the Agriculture of _Middlesex_, will enable the Reader to form
some judgment of the extent of the mischief, and the causes from which
it originates; producing and increasing that band of plunderers, of
which the Metropolis itself has ultimately been at once the Nurse and
the Victim.

"The funds raised for supporting the _Idle Poor of this country_ (says
this intelligent writer) are so numerous, efficient, and comfortable,
as to operate against the general industry of the _Labouring Poor_.

"Lodging and diet in the workhouses, in every instance, are superior
to what the industrious labourer can provide for his family. It is
obvious that this must have an influence over their minds, and become
most injurious to the interests of society; it holds out encouragement
to prefer the workhouse to labour; and, by filling the poor houses
with improper inhabitants, it reduces the amount of industry."

The annual expence of each pauper is calculated by the same Writer at
about _Fifteen Guineas_; a stout healthy labourer in husbandry, with a
wife and three children, earns only Thirty for the support of five

"The want of prudence is increased, and general industry lessened, on
the part of the poor, by the facility with which voluntary
contributions are raised during every temporary inconvenience, such as
a few weeks' frost, or an extraordinary advance in the price of
provisions.[22] And also by the constantly cloathing upwards of ten
thousand children of the labouring Poor in this Country.

[Footnote 22: This observation can only apply to such voluntary
contributions as are liable to abuses, and where the poor are
permitted to dispose of the benevolence of the opulent in their own
way.--The _Soup-Charities_ established in different parts of the
Metropolis are a peculiar exception, inasmuch as they contribute only
to the relief of those that are really objects of distress, while no
Public Charity heretofore instituted has been found to be liable to
fewer abuses. In a great Metropolis like London, it has been clearly
established, that in spite of every regard to prudence and oeconomy,
decent families will be suddenly broke down, while the habits of life
peculiar to the lower orders, and their want of the knowledge of
frugal cookery have proved a source of much real calamity; for where
nothing is laid up, every pressure arising from sickness, child-birth,
or death throws many hundreds upon the Public, who have no legal
parochial Settlement, and who but for some relief must absolutely
perish;--While the Soup-Charities hold out immediate and constant
relief to many families, who might otherwise perish with
hunger;--while this species of relief may be said to be accessible to
every indigent family in the Metropolis, no lure is held out to the
idle or profligate. It cannot be disposed of, as bread, meat, and
coals, for gin and other articles. There is therefore scarcely any
risque of deception, more especially as the applicants pay down half
the original cost on receiving it--Thus establishing the means of
discrimination between _real_ and _pretended distress_. About 10,000
families, composed chiefly of persons who had not the means of
obtaining sufficient food to support nature, consisting of 50,000 men,
women, and children, were relieved by the daily distribution of Soups
at _Spital-Fields_, _Clerkenwell_, _St. George's Fields_, and
_Westminster_, during the last winter, at an expence to the
Subscribers not exceeding One Guinea for every 504 meals of rich
nourishing Soup, which those poor people received. But this is not the
only advantage which attends these Institutions, since there is every
reason to believe, that while the poor are thus frugally fed, they are
taught by example, and by circulating among them printed friendly
advices, what they never knew before--_The means of making a little go
far_, by introducing the same beneficial mode of dressing food in
their own houses. And from a minute attention to this object, the
Author has great satisfaction in stating, that from the eagerness
shewn to obtain the Soup, and the thankfulness almost universally
expressed for the benefits it conferred, there is every reason to
hope, that more good has arisen to the industrious poor from these
establishments (which are now extending themselves in the Villages and
Manufacturing Towns) than by any plan which has ever been resorted to
for relieving distress. Among the various classes of benevolent
individuals, to whom the Public have been indebted for their pecuniary
and personal aid in promoting this design the Society of _The Friends_
is peculiarly prominent. To the zeal and perseverance they have
manifested, and the valuable time they have bestowed, in giving effect
and utility to the System, is owing much of its success.]

"Every institution which tends to make the poor depend on any other
support than their own industry does them great disservice, and is
highly injurious to society, by diminishing the quantity of labour
which annually produces consumable goods, the only wealth of a

Although these suggestions may appear harsh, and some of them may
admit of more extended discussion, yet they certainly deserve very
serious consideration; as do also the following observations on the
Commons and Waste Lands with which this kingdom still abounds; and on
the general character of Servants and Labourers; the latter of which
afford but too melancholy a confirmation of many opinions which the
author of this treatise has thought it his duty to bring forward to
the Public eye.

"On estimating the value of the Commons in Middlesex, including every
advantage that can be derived from them in pasturage, locality of
situation, and the barbarous custom of turbary, it appears that _they
do not produce to the Community, in their present state, more than
four shillings per Acre_! On the other hand, they are, in many
instances, of real injury to the Public, by holding out a lure to the
poor man; by affording him materials wherewith to build his cottage,
and ground to erect it upon; together with firing, and the run of his
poultry and pigs for nothing. This is, of course, temptation
sufficient to induce a great number of poor persons to settle upon the
borders of such Commons. But the mischief does not end here; for
having gained these trifling advantages, through the neglect or
connivance of the Lord of the Manor, it unfortunately gives their
minds an improper bias, and inculcates a desire to live, from that
time forward, without labour, or at least with as little as possible.

"The animals kept by this description of persons, it is soon
discovered by their owners, are not likely to afford them much
revenue, without better feed than the scanty herbage on a Common;
hence they are tempted to pilfer corn, &c. towards their support; and
as they are still dependant on such a deceptious supply, to answer the
demands of their consumption, they are in some measure constrained to
resort to various dishonest means, so as to make up the deficiency.

"It is a notorious fact, that in all cases cottages not having any
ground belonging to them promote thieving to a great extent; as their
inhabitants constantly rob the neighbouring farms and gardens of root
and pulse sufficient for their own consumption, and which they would
have no temptation to do, if they had the same articles growing of
their own." Hence Mr. Middleton suggests the evil admits of an easy
remedy, namely, the allotting to each cottager a piece of ground.

"Another very serious evil which the Public suffers from these Commons
is, that they are the constant rendezvous of Gypsies, Strollers, and
other loose persons, living under tents which they carry with them
from place to place, according to their conveniency. Most of these
persons have asses, many of them horses, nay, some of them have even
covered carts, which answer the double purpose of a caravan for
concealing and carrying off the property they have stolen, and also of
a house for sleeping in at night. They usually stay a week or two at a
place; and the cattle which they keep serve to transport their few
articles of furniture from one place to another. These, during the
stay of their owners, are turned adrift to procure what food they can
find in the neighbourhood of their tents, and the deficiency is made
up from the adjacent hay-stacks, barns and granaries. They are known
never to buy any hay or corn, and yet their cattle are supplied with
these articles of good quality. The women and children beg and pilfer,
and the men commit greater acts of dishonesty. _In short, the Commons
of this Country are well known to be the constant resort of footpads
and highwaymen, and are literally and proverbially a public

"_The Labourers of this country are ruined in morals and constitution
by the public houses._ It is a general rule, that the higher their
wages, the less they carry home, and consequently the greater is the
wretchedness of themselves and their families. Comforts in a cottage
are mostly found where the man's wages are low, at least so low as to
require him to labour six days a week. For instance, a good workman at
nine shillings per week, if advanced to twelve will spend a day in the
week at the alehouse, which reduces his labour to five days, or ten
shillings; and as he will spend two shillings in the public house, it
leaves but eight for his family, which is one less than they had when
he earned only nine shillings.

"If by any means he be put into a situation of earning eighteen
shillings in six days, he will get drunk Sunday and Monday, and go to
his work stupid on Tuesday; and should he be a mechanical journeyman
of some genius, who by constant labour could earn twenty-four
shillings or thirty shillings per week, as some of them can, he will
be drunk half the week, insolent to his employer, and to every person
about him.

"If his master has business in hand that requires particular dispatch,
he will then, more than at any other time, be absent from his work,
and his wife and children will experience the extreme of hunger, rags
and cold.

"The low _Inns on the road sides_ are, in general, receiving houses
for the corn, hay, straw, poultry, eggs, &c. which the farmers' men
pilfer from their masters.

"_Gentlemen's Servants_ are mostly a bad set, and the great number
kept in this county, is the means of the rural labourers acquiring a
degree of idleness and insolence unknown in places more remote from
the Metropolis.

"The poor children who are brought up on the borders of commons and
copses, are accustomed to little labour, but too much idleness and
pilfering. Having grown up, and these latter qualities having become a
part of their nature, they are then introduced to the farmers as
servants or labourers; and very bad ones they make.

"The children of small farmers, on the contrary, have the picture of
industry, hard labour, and honesty, hourly before them, in the
persons of their _parents_, and daily hear the complaints which _they_
make against idle and pilfering servants, and comparisons drawn highly
in favour of honesty. In this manner honesty and industry become, as
it were, a part of the nature of such young folks. The father's
property is small, and his means few; he is therefore unable to hire
and stock a farm for each of his children; they consequently become
servants on large farms, or in gentlemen's families, and in either
situation are the most faithful part of such establishments."----

"One great hindrance to comfort in a life of agriculture, and which
drives liberal minded men, who are always the best friends to
improvement, out of the profession, is the want of laws to put a total
stop to the Receivers of stolen goods. These are the wretches who
encourage servants in agriculture, and others to pilfer, by holding
out the lure of buying every article, which such servants can bring
without asking them any questions. Most things which are usually
produced on a farm, from so small an article as an egg, to hay, straw
and grain of all sorts are daily stolen,[23] and sold on the sides of
every principal road in this county. Among the Receivers are to be
reckoned Millers, Cornchandlers, Dealers in eggs, butter and poultry,
and the Keepers of Chandlers' shops.

[Footnote 23: These thefts are committed by degrees in a small way,
seldom exceeding a truss of hay or a bushel of corn by one man at one
time; and are generally of smaller articles. In some places the
stealing of gate-hooks and iron-fastnings is so common as to compel
the farmer both to hang and fasten his gates with wood. _Middleton._]

"The Drivers of Gentlemen's carriages are intrusted to buy hay, straw,
and corn, for their horses; in the doing which, they generally cheat
their masters of 5_s._ in each load of hay, of 2_s._ 6_d._ in each
load of straw, and 1_s._ in every quarter of corn. This gives them an
interest in the consumption, makes them extremely wasteful, and brings
on habits of dishonesty.

"The Ostlers at the Inns on the sides of the roads, purchase stolen
hay, straw, corn, eggs, and poultry. A person who kept a horse several
weeks at one of these inns, in attending occasionally to see the
animal, discovered him to be fed with wheat, barley and oats mixed
together, which could only happen by the farmers' servants robbing
their Master, and selling the corn to the Ostler."----

"The fields near London are never free from men strolling about in
pilfering pursuits by day, and committing great crimes by night. The
depredations every Sunday are astonishingly great. There are not many
gardens within five miles of London, that escape being visited in a
marauding way, very early on a Sunday morning, and the farmers' fields
are plundered all day long of fruit, roots, cabbages, pulse and corn.
Even the ears of wheat are cut from the sheaves, and carried away in
the most daring manner in open day, in various ways, but mostly in
bags containing about half a bushel each. It has been moderately
estimated, that 20,000 bushels of all the various sorts are thus
carried off every Sunday morning, and 10,000 more during the other six
days of the week; or one million and a half of bushels in a year,
which, if valued at so small a sum as sixpence each, would amount to

"The occupiers of many thousand acres round London, lose annually in
this manner to the amount of much more than 20_s._ an acre.

"A Miller near London being questioned as to small parcels of wheat
brought to his mill to be ground, by a suspected person, soon after
several barns had been robbed, answered, that any explanation on that
head would put his mills in danger of being burnt. Well may the
_farmers_ say, 'Their _property is not protected like that of other

Mr. Middleton calculates that the depredations committed on the landed
interest probably amount to 4_s._ an acre per annum, on all the
cultivated lands in England, or to eight millions of pounds sterling
per annum: and including the injuries done by game and vermin, he
supposes, that the farmers' property suffers to the amount of 10_s._
an acre, or nearly twenty millions annually.

The following curious circumstances relative to the adulteration of
_Milk_ in the Metropolis, ought to be added to the list of petty
frauds, which not merely affect the pockets but the health of the
inhabitants of London. The number of milch cows kept for the purpose
of supplying the Metropolis with this article, is stated by Mr.
_Middleton_, after very diligent inquiry, at 8,500; and each cow is
supposed to afford on an average nine quarts of milk per day.--

"When the families of fashion are in London for the winter season, the
consumption, and consequent deterioration of milk are at the highest;
during the summer months, when such families are for the most part in
the country, the milk may probably be of rather a better quality.

"The milk is always given in its genuine state to the retail dealers;
and as it is sold to them by the Cow-keepers after the rate of
twopence and 1-8th of a penny per quart, and is retailed by them at
threepence halfpenny per quart, the profit is surely so large as ought
to prevent even the smallest adulteration. But when it is considered
how greatly it is reduced _by water_, and impregnated with _worse_
ingredients, it is much to be lamented that no method has yet been
devised to put a stop to the many scandalous frauds and impositions in
general practice, with regard to this very necessary article of human

"It is certainly an object well deserving the particular consideration
of the Legislature. It cannot be doubted, that many persons would be
glad to make some addition to the price now paid for it (high as that
price is) provided they could, for such increased price, procure so
useful an article in domestic oeconomy perfectly genuine.[24]

[Footnote 24: Not satisfied with the profit here stated, which,
considering the difference of measures, is above 100 per cent. is a
common practice with the Retailers of this useful article to carry the
milk first home to their own houses, where it is set up for half a
day, when the cream is taken from it, at least all that comes up in
that time, and it is then sold for new milk. By which means, what is
delivered in the morning is no other than the milk of the preceding
afternoon, deprived of the cream it throws up by standing during that
time. By this means a farther considerable profit accrues to the
Retailers, and the milk is greatly reduced in point of strength and
quality. This cream, poor as it is, they again mix with flour, chalk,
and perhaps other more baneful ingredients, and yet it finds a ready
market in the Metropolis. _Middleton._]

"Five or six men only are employed in attending near three hundred
cows. As one woman cannot milk above eight or nine cows twice a day,
that part of the business would necessarily be attended with
considerable expence to the Cow-keeper, were it not that the Retailer
agrees for the produce of a certain number of cows, and takes the
labour and expence of milking on himself.

"Every Cow-house is provided with a milk-room (where the milk is
measured and served out by the Cow-keeper) and this room is mostly
furnished with _a pump_, to which the Retail Dealers apply in
rotation; not secretly, but openly before any person that may be
standing by, from which they pump water into the milk vessels at their
discretion. The pump is placed there expressly for that purpose, and
indeed is very seldom used for any other. A considerable Cow-keeper
in Surrey has a pump of this kind, which goes, by the name of the
_Famous Black Cow_ (from the circumstance of its being painted black)
_and is said to yield more than all the rest put together_.

"Where such a pump is not provided for them things are much worse, for
in that case the Retailers are not even careful to use _clean_ water.
Some of them have been seen to dip their pails in a common
horse-trough. And what is still more disgusting, though equally true,
one cow-house happens to stand close to the edge of a stream, into
which runs much of the dung, and most of the urine of the cows, and
even in this stream, so foully impregnated, they have been observed to
dip their milk-pails.

"A Cow-keeper informs me, that the Retail Milk Dealers are for the
most part the refuse of other employments, possessing neither
character, decency of manners, nor cleanliness.

"No person could possibly drink of the milk, were they fully
acquainted with the filthy manners of these dealers in it.

"The same person suggests, _as a remedy for these abuses, that it
would be highly proper for every Retail Milk Dealer to be obliged to
take out an Annual Licence from the Magistrates_; which licence should
be granted only to such as could produce a certificate of good
conduct, signed by the Cow-keeper and a certain number of their
customers; and also on their being sworn to sell the milk pure and


     _General Reflections arising from the perpetration of the
     higher and more atrocious crimes of Burglary, Highway
     Robbery, &c.--These crimes more peculiar to England than to
     Holland and Flanders, &c.--The Reason explained.--A general
     View of the various classes of Criminals engaged in
     Robberies and Burglaries and of those discharged from Prison
     and the Hulks.--Their miserable situation as Outcasts of
     Society, without the means of Support.--The necessity of
     some Antidote previous to the return of Peace.--The means
     used at present by Thieves in accomplishing their nefarious
     Purposes.--Observations on the stealing Cattle, Sheep, Corn,
     &c.--Receivers of Stolen Goods shewn to be the Nourishers of
     every description of Thieves.--Remedies suggested, by means
     of Detection and Prevention._

It is impossible to reflect upon the outrages and acts of violence
continually committed, more particularly in and near the Metropolis by
lawless ravagers of property, and destroyers of lives, in disturbing
the peaceful mansion, _the Castle of every Englishman_, and also in
abridging the liberty of travelling upon the Public Highways, without
asking--_Why are these enormities suffered in a Country where the
Criminal Laws are supposed to have arrived at a greater degree of
perfection than any other?_

This is an important inquiry, interesting in the highest degree, to
every member of the Body Politic.

If, in pursuing such an inquiry, the situation of Holland, Flanders,
and several of the Northern States on the Continent, be examined, it
will be found that this terrific evil had (alluding to these States
previous to the present war) there scarcely an existence: and, that
the precaution of bolting doors and windows during the night, was even
seldom used; although, in these Countries, from the opulence of many
of the inhabitants, there were great temptations to plunder property.

This security did not proceed from _severer punishments_, for in very
few Countries are they more sanguinary than in England.--It is to be
attributed to a more correct and energetic system of Police, joined to
an early and general attention to the employment, education, and
morals of the lower orders of the people; a habit of industry and
sobriety is thus acquired, which, universally imbibed in early life,
"grows with their growth, and strengthens with their strength."

Idleness is a never-failing road to criminality. It originates
generally in the inattention and the bad example of profligate
parents.--And when it has unfortunately taken hold of the human mind,
unnecessary wants and improper gratifications, not known or thought
of by persons in a course of industry, are constantly generated: hence
it is, that crimes are resorted to, and every kind of violence,
hostile to the laws, and to peace and good order, is perpetrated.

The criminal and unfortunate individuals, who compose the dismal
catalogue of Highwaymen, Footpad-Robbers, Burglars, Pick-Pockets, and
common Thieves, in and about this Metropolis, may be divided into the
three following classes:

     1. Young men of some education, who having acquired idle
     habits by abandoning business, or by being bred to no
     profession, and having been seduced by this idleness to
     indulge in gambling and scenes of debauchery and
     dissipation, at length impoverished and unable to purchase
     their accustomed gratifications, have recourse to the
     highway to supply immediate wants.

     2. Tradesmen and others, who having ruined their fortunes
     and business by gaming and dissipation, sometimes as a
     desperate remedy, go upon the road.

But these two classes are extremely few in number, and bear no
proportion to the lower and more depraved part of the fraternity of
thieves, who pursue the trade systematically; who conduct their
depredations under such circumstances of caution, as to render
detection extremely difficult; and whose knowledge of all the weak
parts of the Criminal Law is generally so complete, as to enable them
to elude justice, and obtain acquittals, when detected and put upon
their trial:--_Namely_--

     3. 1st. Servants, Ostlers, Stable and Post-Boys out of
     place, who, preferring what they consider as idleness, have
     studied the profession of Thieving.--2d. Persons who being
     imprisoned for debts, assaults, or petty offences, have
     learned habits of idleness and profligacy in gaols.--3d.
     Idle and disorderly mechanics and labourers, who having on
     this account lost the confidence of their masters or
     employers, resort to thieving, as a means of support; from
     all whom the notorious and hacknied thieves generally select
     the most trusty and daring to act as their associates.--4th.
     Criminals tried and acquitted of offences charged against
     them, of which class a vast number is annually let loose
     upon Society.--5th. Convicts discharged from prison and the
     Hulks, after suffering the sentence of the Law: too often
     instructed by one another in all the arts and devices which
     attach to the most extreme degree of human depravity, and in
     the perfect knowledge of the means of perpetrating Crimes,
     and of eluding Justice.

To form some judgment of the number of persons in this great
Metropolis who compose at least a part of the Criminal Phalanx engaged
in depredations and acts of violence, it is only necessary to have
recourse to the following Statement of the number of prisoners
discharged, during a period of four years, from the eight different
Gaols in the Metropolis, and within the Bills of Mortality.

  1. Discharged by proclamation and gaol-deliveries;
  having been committed in consequence of being
  charged with various offences for which bills
  were not found by the Grand Jury, or where
  the prosecutors did not appear to maintain and
  support the charges                                             5592

  2. Discharged by acquittals, in the different Courts;
  (frequently from having availed themselves of
  the defects of the Law,--from frauds in keeping
  back evidence, and other devices)                               2962

  3. Convicts discharged from the different gaols,
  after suffering the punishment of imprisonment,
  &c. inflicted on them for the several
  offences                                                        2484
                                                          Total  11038

The following is a Statement of the number of these discharges from
the year 1792 to 1799 inclusive:--

  1. Discharged by Proclamations and Gaol-deliveries              8650

  2. Discharged by Acquittals                                     4935

  3. Discharged after punishment: or by
     being bailed or pardoned                                     6925
                                                         Total  20,510

If to this deplorable Catalogue shall be added the Convicts which have
been returned on the Public from the Hulks within the same period,
namely, from 1792 to 1799 inclusive, either from pardons, escapes, or
the expiration of their punishment, the numbers will stand thus:

  Enlarged in 1792                          303
  ----        1793                          435
  ----        1794                           62
  ----        1795                           67
  ----        1796                           38
  ----        1797                           39
  ----        1798                           93
  ----        1799                          346
    Total from Gaols and from the Hulks  21,893

Humanity shudders at the contemplation of this interesting part of the
discussion, when it is considered, who these our miserable
fellow-mortals are! and what is to be expected from the extreme
depravity which attaches to the chief part of them!

And here a prominent feature of the imperfect state of the Police of
the Metropolis and the Country is too evident to escape notice.

_Without friends, without character, and without the means of
subsistence_, what are these unhappy mortals to do?--They are no
sooner known or suspected, than they are avoided.--No person will
employ them, even if they were disposed to return to the paths of
honesty; unless they make use of fraud and deception, by concealing
that they have been the inhabitants of a _Prison_, or of the _Hulks_.

At large upon the world, without food or raiment, and with the
constant calls of nature upon them for both, without a home or any
asylum to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather, _what is to
become of them_?

The Police of the Country has provided no place of industry, in which
those who were disposed to reform might find subsistence in return for
voluntary labour; which, in their present situation, becomes useless
to them, because no person will purchase it by employing them.[25]
Under all these circumstances it is to be feared, indeed it is known,
that many Convicts, from dire necessity, return to their old
courses.--And thus, through the medium of these miserable outcasts of
Society, crimes are increased and become a regular trade, because many
of them can make no other election.

[Footnote 25: That man will deserve a statue to his memory who shall
devise and carry into effect a plan for the employment of _Discharged
Prisoners and Convicts_, who may be desirous of labouring for their
subsistence in an honest way.--It is only necessary for some men of
weight and influence to make the attempt, in order to insure the
assistance of the opulent and humane in so good and necessary a Work.
See a future Chapter as to the present state of punishment and the
remedies proposed.]

It is indeed true, that during the first three years of the present
war, many Convicts and idle and disorderly persons were sent to the
Army and Navy: but still a vast number remained behind, who could not
be accepted on account of ruptures, fits, or some other disability or
infirmity; which, although they incapacitate them from serving his
Majesty, do not prevent them from committing crimes.

While it must be evident, that the resource afforded by the present
war, gives employment, for a time only, to many depraved characters
and mischievous members of the community; how necessary is it to be
provided with antidotes, previous to the return of peace; when, to the
multitude of thieves now at large, there will be added numbers of the
same class, who may be discharged from the Navy and Army?--If some
plan of employment is not speedily devised, to which all persons of
this description may resort, who cannot otherwise subsist themselves
in an honest way; and if the Police of the Metropolis is not greatly
improved, by the introduction of more energy, and a greater degree of
System and Method in its administration; it is much to be feared, that
no existing power will be able to keep them within bounds.

It is in vain to say the Laws are sufficient.--They are indeed
abundantly voluminous, and in many respects very excellent, but they
require to be revised, consolidated, modernized, and adapted in a
greater degree to the prevention of existing evils, with such
regulations as would ensure their due execution not only _in every
part of the Capital_, but also in all parts of the Kingdom.

The means these depredators at present use in accomplishing their
nefarious purposes are complicated and various; and of late years have
become as much diversified as it is possible for the ingenuity of men
to devise, who frequently join good natural abilities to all the
artifices of the finished villain.

It is no uncommon thing for the more daring and strong-minded to form
themselves into gangs or societies; to the exclusion of those of their
fraternity whose hearts are likely to fail them, and who are supposed
not to be sufficiently firm, so as to secure their accomplices against
the hazard of discovery in case of detection.

Robbery and theft, as well in houses as on the roads, have long been
reduced to a regular System. Opportunities are watched, and
intelligence procured, with a degree of vigilance similar to that
which marks the conduct of a skilful General, eager to obtain an
advantage over an enemy.

Houses, intended to be entered during the night, are previously
reconnoitred and examined for days preceding. If one or more of the
servants are not already associated with the gang, the most artful
means are used to obtain their assistance; and when every previous
arrangement is made, the mere operation of robbing a house becomes a
matter of little difficulty.

By the connivance and assistance of immediate, or former servants,
they are led to the places where the most valuable, as well as the
most portable, articles are deposited, and the object is speedily

In this manner do the principal Burglars and House-breakers proceed:
and let this information serve as a caution to every person in the
choice both of their male and female servants; since the latter as
well as the former are not seldom accomplices in very atrocious

The same _generalship_ is manifested in the nocturnal expeditions of
those criminal associates upon the highways.

A perfect knowledge is obtained every evening of the different routes
and situations of the patroles:--they are narrowly watched, and their
vigilance (wherever they are vigilant) is in too many instances

Infinite pains are bestowed in procuring intelligence of persons
travelling upon the road with money, bank-notes, or other valuable
effects; and when discovered, the most masterly pains are concerted to
waylay and rob them of their property: Nor have the measures pursued
by those atrocious villains, the Footpads, exhibited less skill in the
plans adopted; while their outrages are too often marked with those
acts of cruelty and barbarity which justly render them objects of
peculiar terror.

The same adroitness also marks the conduct of those who turn their
attention chiefly to picking of pockets, and other smaller robberies.

It would almost fill a volume to detail the various artifices which
are resorted to, in carrying on this species of thieving; by which
even the most cautious, and those who are generally upon their guard,
are not exempted from the ravages of these inferior pests of Society.

In addition to the injuries or losses arising from burglaries,
highway-robberies and lesser thefts, it is to be lamented that
extensive and increasing depredations are made upon horses, cattle and
sheep, and also upon flour, corn, potatoes, provender, and poultry;
stolen from the drovers, millers, corn-factors, and farmers in the
vicinity of the Metropolis. These have been stated more at large in a
preceding Chapter.

It cannot be too often repeated that the great facility experienced,
in the immediate disposal of every article obtained by dishonesty, is
one of the chief encouragements to all the acts of outrage and
depredation enumerated in the course of this Work.

It frequently happens that the Burglars, the Highwaymen, and Footpad
robbers, make their contracts with the Receivers, on the evening
before the plunder is obtained; so as to secure a ready admittance
immediately afterwards, and before day-break, for the purpose of
effectual concealment by melting plate, obliterating marks, and
securing all other articles so as to place them out of the reach of
discovery. This has long been reduced to a regular system which is
understood and followed as a trade.

Nor do those Thieves who steal horses,[26] cattle and sheep
experience more difficulty in finding purchasers immediately for
whatever they can obtain:--they too, generally, make a previous
bargain with the Receivers, who are ready at an appointed hour to
conceal the animals, to kill them immediately, and to destroy the
skins for the purpose of eluding detection.

[Footnote 26: The frauds and felonies committed in the course of a
year with respect to horses exceed all credibility. Above thirty
thousand of these useful animals are said to be flayed and boiled in
the Metropolis, at the Seventeen Licensed Houses, annually, of which
about one-fourth are brought there alive, supposed chiefly to be
stolen horses. These Establishments require many additional
regulations to enforce and insure that purity of conduct, which the
Legislature had in view when the Act of the 26 Geo. 3, cap. 71, was
passed for licensing persons to slaughter horses. In the operation of
this Act is strongly evinced the inefficacy of the best laws, when
measures are not pursued to insure an accurate and chaste execution.
Wherever the vigilance of a General Police does not extend its
influence in carrying into effect all regulations of a preventive
nature, it is in vain to hope that the evil in the view of the
Legislature will be diminished.]

It sometimes happens also, that the persons who perpetrate these
robberies are journeymen-butchers, by trade; who kill whatever they
steal, and often afterwards sell their plunder in the Public Markets.

If, by wise regulations, it were possible to embarrass and disturb the
extensive trade carried on by all the _concealed Receivers_, who are
the particular class having connection with the professed thieves, a
very great check would be given to public depredations.

In suggesting Remedies, this of all other appears, at first view, to
be the most difficult; because of the apparent impossibility of
regulating any class of Dealers who have no shop, or visible trade,
and who transact all their business under concealment:--but still the
object is to be obtained by a combination of different legislative
regulations, carried into execution by a consolidated, vigilant and
well-regulated Police.

The detail, however, of the means of detecting Receivers will, of
course, be discussed hereafter, in a subsequent Chapter; at present
the following Hints will suffice.

A register of lodging-houses and lodgers in every parish, liberty,
hamlet, and precinct, where the rent does not exceed a certain sum
(suppose ten shillings) weekly, would prove one great means of
embarrassment to Thieves of every class; and of course would tend,
with other regulations, to the prevention of Crimes.

Night-Coaches also promote, in an eminent degree, the perpetration of
burglaries and other felonies: Bribed by a high reward, many hackney
coachmen eagerly enter into the pay of nocturnal depredators, and wait
in the neighbourhood until the robbery is completed, and then draw up,
at the moment the watchmen are going their rounds, or off their
stands, for the purpose of conveying the plunder to the house of the
Receiver, who is generally waiting the issue of the enterprise. Above
one half of the present Hackney Coachmen, in London, are said to be
(in the cant phrase) _Flashmen_ designed to assist thieves.

It being certain that a vast deal of mischief is done which could not
be effected, were it not for the assistance which night coaches afford
to Thieves of every description, it would seem, upon the whole,
advantageous to the Public, that no Hackney Coaches should be
permitted to take fares after twelve o'clock at night; or, if this is
impracticable, that the coach-hire for night service should be
advanced, on condition that all coachmen going upon the stands after
twelve o'clock, should be licensed by a Board of Police. By this means
the night-coachmen, by being more select, would not be so open to
improper influence; and they might even become useful to Public
Justice in giving informations, and also in detecting Burglars, and
other Thieves.

Watchmen and Patroles, instead of being, as now, comparatively of
little use, from their _age, infirmity, inability, inattention_, or
_corrupt practices_, might almost at the present expence, by a proper
selection, and a more correct mode of discipline, by means of a
general superintendance over the whole to regulate their conduct, and
keep them to their duty, be rendered of great utility in preventing
Crimes, and in detecting Offenders.[27]

[Footnote 27: The depredations which are committed almost every
evening in Cheapside, and the adjacent streets leading into it,
affords strong proofs of the necessity of an improved system with
regard to watchmen and patroles.

Allured to that particular part of the Metropolis, from the extensive
and valuable property in _piece goods_ and other portable articles
which are constantly removing to and from the different shops and
warehouses:--a multitude of thieves and pickpockets, exhibiting often
in their dress and exterior, the appearance of gentlemen and men of
business, assemble every evening in gangs, watching at the corners of
every street, ready to _bustle_ and _rob_, or to _trip up the heels_
of the _warehouse-porters and the servants of shopkeepers carrying
goods_; or at the doors of warehouses, at dusk and at the time they
are locked, to be ready to seize loose parcels when unperceived; by
all which means, aided by a number of other tricks and fraudulent
pretences, they are but too successful in obtaining considerable
booty. In short, there is no device or artifice to which these
vigilant plunderers do not resort: of which an example appeared in an
instance, where almost in the twinkling of an eye, while the servants
of an eminent silk-dyer had crossed a narrow street, his horse and
cart, containing raw silk to the value of _twelve hundred pounds_,
were driven clear off. Many of these atrocious villains, are also
constantly in waiting at the inns, disguised in different ways,
personating _travellers, coach-office clerks, porters and coachmen_,
for the purpose of plundering every thing that is portable; which,
with the assistance of two or three associates if necessary, is
carried to a coach called for the purpose, and immediately conveyed to
the receiver.

The most adroit thieves in this line are generally _convicts from the
hulks, or returned transports_, who under pretence of having some
ostensible business, (while they carry on the trade of thieving)
generally open a _chandler's shop_, set up a _green-stall_, or get
into a _public-house_: some of these old offenders are known also to
keep livery-stables for thieves, and horses for the use of highwaymen;
thereby forming a connected chain by which these criminal people
extend and facilitate their trade; _nourishing_, _accommodating_, and
supporting one another.]

At present the System of the nightly watch is without energy,
disjointed, and governed by almost as many different Acts of
Parliament, as there are Parishes, Hamlets, Liberties, and Precincts
within the Bills of Mortality; and where the payment is as various,
running from 8-1/2_d._ up to 2_s._ a night.

The Act of the 14th of George IIId. (_cap._ 90.) entituled, _An Act
for the better regulation of the Nightly Watch within the City and
Liberty of Westminster, and parts adjacent_, contains many excellent
Regulations, but they do not extend to the eastern part of the
Metropolis; and for want of an active and superintending agency,
superior to beadles, it is believed and felt that they are not, (even
within the district included in the Act,) correctly carried into
execution: and that no small portion of those very men who are paid
for protecting the public, are not only instruments of oppression in
many instances, by extorting money most unwarrantably; but are
frequently accessaries in aiding, abetting or concealing the
commission of crimes, which it is their duty to detect and suppress.

If as an improvement to the preventive System, and as a check upon the
improper conduct of parochial Watchmen, a body of honest, able, and
active Officers, in the character of Police Patroles, were attached to
each Public Office, or to a General Police System with a sufficient
fund to defray the expences, to follow up informations for the
detection of negligent servants of the Public, and liberally to reward
those who were active and useful in apprehending delinquents, and in
making discoveries, tending either to the recovery of property stolen,
or to the detection of the offenders, little doubt need be
entertained, under the guidance of a Central Board and vigilant
Police, aided by zealous and active Magistrates, that such a System
would soon be established, as would go very far towards the prevention
of many atrocious crimes.

Among the various advantages which may thus be expected to result to
the Community from the arrangements recommended in this work, would be
_the suppression of Highway Robberies_. A desideratum impracticable in
the present state of the Police, although easy and certain under a
Police Board; having a general superintendance competent to look at
every point of danger, and with pecuniary resources equal to an object
so interesting to the inhabitants of this Metropolis.[28] Upon the
adoption of this important measure, therefore, (a measure so strongly
recommended by the Select Committee of the House of Commons on
Finance[29]) depends in a great degree, that security to travellers on
the highways in the vicinity of the Metropolis; the want of which, and
of many other valuable regulations, for the prevention of crimes, has
long been a reproach to the Criminal Jurisprudence, as well as the
Police, of the Country.

[Footnote 28: Hints have been submitted to the Author for establishing
a plan of _Travelling Police_, to extend 20 miles round the
Metropolis; by means of Patroles well armed and mounted, who should be
on the road at all hours; the expence to be defrayed by the produce of
a toll to be raised for the purpose. This scheme might in all
probability be much improved under the sanction of a General Police
Board, without the additional expence of the proposed toll.]

[Footnote 29: See the 28th Report of that Committee.]


     _Reasons assigned why forgeries and frauds must prevail in a
     certain degree, wherever the interchange of property is
     extensive.--A considerable check already given to the higher
     class of Forgeries, by shutting out all hopes of Royal
     Mercy:--Petty Forgeries have however increased:--The Reason
     assigned.--The qualifications of a Cheat, Swindler, and
     Gambler explained.--This mischievous class of men extremely
     numerous in the Metropolis.--The Common and Statute Law
     applicable to offences of this nature explained.--The
     different classes of Cheats and Swindlers, and the various
     tricks and devices they pursue, to enable them to live in
     idleness, by their wits.--Sharpers, Cheats, and Swindlers,
     divided into eighteen different Classes--1st. Sharpers who
     become Pawnbrokers.--2d. Sharpers who obtain Licence as
     Hawkers and Pedlars.--3d. Swindlers who open shops as
     Auctioneers.--4th. Swindlers who pretend to discount
     Bills.--5th. Itinerate Jews.--6th. Cheats who sell by false
     Weights and Measures.--7th. Swindlers who defraud Tradesmen
     of Goods.--8th. Cheats who take Genteel Lodgings with false
     Names, &c.--9th. Cheats who personate former Masters to
     defraud their Tradesmen.--10th. Cheats who personate
     Footmen, and order Goods from Tradesmen.--11th. Cheats and
     Sharpers who deceive Persons from the Country.--12th. Cheats
     and Sharpers who trick Shopmen and Boys out of
     Parcels.--13th. Sharpers who attend Inns to pick up Parcels
     by various tricks and devices.--14th. Cheats who go from
     door to door, begging on false Pretences.--15th. Sharpers
     selling smuggled Goods; known by the name of Duffers.--16th.
     Female Sharpers, who attend Court and Public Places.--17th.
     Female Bankers who lend money to Barrow-Women at 6d. a day
     for Five Shillings.--18th. Cheats who pretend to tell
     Fortunes.--Various Remedies suggested._

In a great Metropolis, like London, where trade and commerce have
arrived at such an astonishing height, and where from the extensive
transactions in the Funds, and the opulence of the People, the
interchange of property is so expanded, it ceases to be a matter of
wonder that Forgeries and Frauds should prevail, in a certain
degree:--the question of difficulty is, _why the Laws and the means of
prevention, have not kept pace with the progressive advancement of the
Country; so as to check and keep within bounds those nefarious

Forgeries of the higher class, so dangerous in a commercial country,
have by the wise policy of the Executive Government, in shutting out
all hopes of the extension of the Royal Mercy to the guilty, received
a most severe check: beneficial in the highest degree to the country,
and clearly manifested by the records of the Old Bailey, where trial
for offences of this nature certainly do not increase in number.

But it is to be lamented, that, with regard to petty forgeries and
frauds, this is by no means the case, for they seem to multiply and
advance with the opulence and luxury of the country; and to branch out
into innumerable different shades, varying as the fashions of the
year, and as the resources for the perpetration of this species of
fraud change their aspect.

When those depraved people who (to use a vulgar phrase) _live entirely
by their wits_--find that any tricks which they have practised for a
certain length of time become stale, (such as _pricking the belt for a
wager_, or _dropping the ring_) they abandon these; and have recourse
to other devices more novel, and more likely to be effectual in
cheating and defrauding the unwary.

One of the most prevailing and successful of these, is the fraud
practised upon shop-keepers, tradesmen, publicans, and others, by the
circulation of forged copper-plate notes and bills for small sums, of
£5. and £10. the latter purporting to be drawn, by bankers in the
manufacturing and sea-port towns, on different banking-houses in

This species of forgery has been carried to a considerable extent
suggested no doubt by the confidence which is established from the
extensive circulation of country bankers' notes and bills, now made
payable in London; by which the deception is, in some degree,
covered, and detection rendered more difficult.

The great qualifications, or leading and indispensable attributes of a
_Sharper_, a _Cheat_, a _Swindler_, or a _Gambler_, are, to possess a
genteel exterior, a demeanor apparently artless, and a good address.

Like the more violent depredators upon the public, this class (who are
extremely numerous) generally proceed upon a regular system, and study
as a _trade_ all those infamous tricks and devices by which the
thoughtless, the ignorant, and the honest are defrauded of their

The common law has defined the offence of cheating--to be _a deceitful
practice in defrauding, or endeavouring to defraud, another of his own
right, by means of some artful device, contrary to the plain rules of
common honesty_.

The Statute of the 33d of Henry the Eighth, _cap._ 1. entered into a
more specific explanation of what might constitute such an offence,
and fixed the mode of punishment; by declaring, "_that if any persons
shall falsely or deceitfully obtain, or get into his hands or
possession, any money, goods, &c. of any other person_, by colour or
means of any false privy token, or counterfeit letter, _&c.--he shall,
on conviction, be punished by imprisonment, the pillory, or
whipping--saving to the party aggrieved the same power of recovering
the property as he might have had at Common Law, &c._"

From this remote period, until the 30th of George the Second, the
Legislature does not appear to have seen the necessity of enacting any
new Law, applicable to this species of offence.

In the progress however of Society and Commerce, joined to the
consequent influx of riches, producing luxury and extravagance, a
larger field opened for cheats and sharpers of every description;
insomuch, that the evil became so great, and the existing Laws were
found so insufficient, as to render it necessary to provide a
legislative remedy.

In applying this remedy, it seems that the great increase of a new
species of cheating, practised by persons known in modern times by the
name of _Swindlers_, had suggested the propriety of defining the
offence, in a more applicable and specific manner, and of rendering
the punishment more severe. By the act of 30 Geo. II. _cap._ 24. it is
declared, "_that all persons obtaining money, goods, wares, or
merchandise_, by false pretences, _shall be deemed offenders against
the Law and the public peace; and the Court, before whom any such
offender shall be tried, shall on conviction, order them to be put in
the pillory, or publicly whipped, or transported for seven years_."

Thus stand the Laws at present with regard to Swindlers.[30] They
ought certainly to embrace a wider field, so as to reach those
artifices by which sharpers and persons of depraved minds, obtain
money from the ignorant and unwary, by assuming false characters,
taking genteel lodgings, and cheating innocent tradesmen, who lose
large sums annually by such depredations.

[Footnote 30: There appears to be a deficiency in the Act of 30th
George the Second, cap. 24. in omitting to add _Bank Notes_ after the
word _Money_, and also _Horses, Cattle, Sheep, or other Animals_,
after goods, wares, and merchandise; since, (as has already been
noticed, ante page 9,) it has been held that Bank Notes are not Money,
nor are horses, cattle, &c. considered as goods, wares, or
merchandise, according to the legal construction of any existing
Statute.--An amendment of the Law with regard to these and other
objects is the more necessary, as _Bank Notes_ and _Horses_ are,
perhaps, more the objects of swindling, than other species of

We shall next proceed to particularize the various classes of Sharpers
who thus prey upon the public: reserving all that relates to those
more immediately connected with _Gaming Houses_ and _Lottery
Insurances_ to the subsequent chapter.

I. _Sharpers who obtain Licences to become Pawnbrokers_,[31] and bring
disgrace upon the reputable part of the trade, by every species of
fraud which can add to the distresses of those who are compelled to
raise money in this way; for which purpose there are abundance of
opportunities.--Swindling Pawnbrokers, of this Class, are uniformly
receivers of stolen goods; and under the cover of their licence do
much mischief to the Public. The evil arising from them might, in a
great measure, be prevented by placing the power of granting licences
in a general Board of Police; and rendering it necessary for all
persons to produce a Certificate of character, before they can obtain
such licence; and also to enter into recognizance for good

[Footnote 31:

  Number of Pawnbrokers within the Bills of   }  Persons    £.
  Mortality, paying a licence of £10. a year. }    213     2130

  In the Country, paying £5. a year.               432     2160
                                                   ---     ----
                                            Total  644     4290
                                                   ---     ----]

[Footnote 32: A regulation of this kind is of great importance; as the
property of the poorest and most distressed part of the community, to
the amount of nearly one million sterling, is constantly in the hands
of Pawnbrokers in the Metropolis alone! and although it is of the
utmost consequence that they, above all others, should be _honest,
correct_ and even _humane_ characters, (and it is to be hoped many of
them are of that description,) yet certain it is that any person, even
the most notorious rogue or vagabond, who can raise ten pounds to pay
for a licence, may at present set up the trade of Pawnbroker; and it
is even said that some have got licences who have actually been on
board the Hulks!--a thing unavoidable under the present

II. _Sharpers and Swindlers who obtain Licences to be Hawkers and
Pedlars_; under the cover of which every species of villainy is
practised upon the country people, as well as upon the unwary in the
Metropolis, and all the great towns in the kingdom.--The artifices by
which they succeed, are various, as for example;--By fraudulent
raffles, where plated goods are exhibited as silver, and where the
chances are exceedingly against the adventurers;--By selling and
uttering base money, and frequently forged Bank Notes, which make one
of the most profitable branches of their trade;--By dealing in
smuggled goods, thereby promoting the sale of articles injurious to
the Revenue, besides cheating the ignorant with regard to the
value;--By receiving stolen goods to be disposed of in the country, by
which discoveries are prevented, and assistance afforded to common
thieves and stationary receivers;--By purchasing stolen horses in one
part of the country, and disposing of them in another, in the course
of their journies; in accomplishing which, so as to elude detection,
they have great opportunities;--By gambling with EO Tables at Fairs
and Horse-races.

A number of other devices might be pointed out, which render this
class of men great nuisances in Society; and shew the necessity of
either suppressing them totally, (for in fact they are of little use
to the Public;) or of limiting the licences only to men of good
character; to be granted by a general Board of Police under whose
controul they should be placed, while they enter at the same time into
a recognizance in a certain sum, with one surety for good behaviour;
by which the honest part would be retained, to the exclusion of the

III. _Swindlers who take out Licences as Auctioneers_, and open shops
in different parts of the Metropolis, with persons at the doors,
usually denominated _Barkers_, inviting strangers to walk in. In these
places, various articles of silver plate and household goods are
exposed to sale, made up on a slight principle, and of little
intrinsic value; associates, generally denominated _Puffers_, are in
waiting to bid up the article to a sum greatly beyond its value,
when, upon the first bidding of the stranger, it is knocked down to
him, and the money instantly demanded; the goods, however, on being
carried home and examined, are generally found to be very different in
reality, from what their appearance exhibited, and upon a close
examination the fraud is discovered.

Neither the common Law, nor the Act of the 30th George II. cap. 24,
seem to be sufficiently _broad_ and explanatory to include this
species of offence; and hence it is, that this mode of selling goods
continues with impunity, and seems to increase. It is not, however,
meant here to insinuate that all petty auctions are fraudulent.--It is
to be hoped there may be some exceptions, although probably, they are
not numerous. A licence from a general Board of Police, and to be
subject to certain restrictions only burdensome to the dishonest, and
obliging the parties to find security, would, in a great measure,
regulate this kind of business, in a proper manner.

IV. _Swindlers who raise money, by pretending to be Discounters of
Bills, and Money Brokers_; These chiefly prey upon young men of
property, who have lost their money at play, or spent it in expensive
amusements, and are obliged to raise more upon any terms, until their
rents or incomes become payable; or who have fortunes in prospect, as
being heirs apparent to estates, but who require assistance in the
mean time.

Availing themselves of the credit, or the ultimate responsibility, of
such thoughtless and giddy young men, in the eager pursuit of
criminal pleasures, and under the influence of those allurements which
the Faro Tables, and other places of fashionable resort hold
out--these Swindlers seldom fail to obtain from them securities and
obligations for large sums; upon the credit of which they are enabled,
perhaps, at usurious interest, to borrow money, or discount bills; and
thus supply their unfortunate customers upon the most extravagant

Another class, having some capital, advance money upon bonds,
title-deeds, and other specialities, or upon the bond of the parties
having estates in reversion: by these and other devices too tedious to
detail, large sums of money are, most unwarrantably and illegally,
wrested from the dissipated and thoughtless: and misery and distress
are thus entailed upon them, as long as they live; or they are driven,
by utter ruin, to acts of desperation or to crimes.

A Law seems absolutely necessary to be pointed at this particular
mischief, which is certainly an increasing evil.--Humanity pleads for
it; and _Policy_ points out the necessity of some effectual guard
against those miseries which it generates; and which could not exist
in so great a degree, were it not for the opportunities held out by
these blood-suckers, in affording money to the young and
inexperienced, to be expended in scenes of gambling and debauchery.

V. _A Class of Cheats of the Society of Jews, who are to be found in
every street, lane and alley in and near the Metropolis, under the
pretence of purchasing old clothes, and metals of different sorts_;
Their chief business really is to prowl about the houses and stables
of men of rank and fortune, for the purpose of holding out temptations
to the servants to pilfer and steal small articles, not likely to be
missed, which these Jews purchase at about one third of the real
value.--It is supposed that upwards of fifteen hundred of these
depraved people are employed in diurnal journies of this kind; by
which, through the medium of bad money, and other fraudulent dealings,
many of them acquire property, and then set up shops and become
Receivers of stolen Goods.

It is estimated that there are from fifteen to twenty thousand Jews in
the city of London, besides, perhaps, about five or six thousand more
in the great provincial and sea-port towns; (where there are at least
twenty synagogues, besides six in the Metropolis;) most of the lower
classes of those distinguished by the name of German or Dutch Jews,
live chiefly by their wits, and establish a system of mischievous
intercourse all over the country, the better to carry on their
fraudulent designs in the circulation of base money,--the sale of
stolen goods, and in the purchase of metals of various kinds; as well
as other articles pilfered from the Dock-Yards, and stolen in the
provincial towns, which they bring to the Metropolis to elude
detection,--and _vice versâ_.

Educated in idleness from their earliest infancy, they acquire every
debauched and vicious principle which can fit them for the most
complicated arts of fraud and deception; to which they seldom fail to
add the crime of perjury, whenever it can be of use, in shielding
themselves or their associates from the punishment of the law.--From
the orange boy, and the retailer of seals, razors, glass, and other
wares, in the public streets, to the shop-keeper, dealer in wearing
apparel, or in silver and gold, the same principles of conduct too
generally prevail.

The itinerants utter base money to enable them, by selling cheap, to
dispose of their goods; while those that are stationary, with very few
exceptions, receive and purchase, at an under-price, whatever is
brought them, without asking questions.

VI. _Cheats who sell provisions and other articles by means of false
weights and measures._ Nothing requires the assistance of the
Legislature in a greater degree than this evil; to shield the Poor
against the numerous tricks thus practised upon them, by low and
inferior shop-keepers and itinerants.

The ancient System of regulating this useful branch of Police by the
Juries of the Court-Leet, having been found ineffectual, and in many
respects inapplicable to the present state of Society, an act passed
the 35th of his present Majesty, (_cap._ 102,) to remedy the
inconvenience with regard to fraudulent weights; but difficulties
having occurred on account of the expence of carrying it into
execution, certain amendments were made by another act, (37 Geo. III.
_c._ 143,) and the Magistrates in Petty Sessions have now power to
appoint Examiners of weights, and to authorize them to visit shops,
seize false weights, &c.

This plan, if pursued as steadily as that which already prevails in
regulating Bakers, promises to produce very valuable benefits to the
lower ranks of people at a very small expence.

VII. _Cheats and Swindlers who associate together, and enter into a
conspiracy for the purpose of defrauding Tradesmen of their
goods._--One of these sharpers generally assumes the character of a
Merchant;--hires a genteel house, with a counting-house, and every
appearance of business.--One or two associates take upon them the
appearance of Clerks, while others occasionally wear a livery: and
sometimes a carriage is set up, in which the ladies of the party visit
the shops, in the stile of persons of fashion, ordering goods to their
apartments.--Thus circumstanced, goods are obtained on credit, which
are immediately pawned or sold, and the produce used as a means of
deception to obtain more, and procure recommendations, by offering to
pay ready money,--or discount bills.

When confidence is once established in this way, notes and bills are
fabricated by these conspirators, as if remitted from the country, or
from foreign parts; and application is made to their newly acquired
friends, the tradesmen, to assist in discounting them. Sometimes money
and bills upon one another are lodged at the bankers for the purpose
of extending their credit, by referring to some respectable name for
a character.

After circulating notes to a considerable amount, and completing their
system of fraud by possessing as much of the property of others as is
possible, without risk of detection, they move off; assume new
characters; and when the bills and notes are due, the parties are not
to be found.

Offences of this sort, where an actual conspiracy cannot be proved,
which is generally very difficult, are not easily punished; and it
seems of importance that frauds and impositions of this sort, and
others of the same nature, where the confidence of tradesmen and
manufacturers is abused by misrepresentation and falsehood, should be
defined, so as to render it difficult for the parties to escape

VIII. _Cheats who take genteel Lodgings, dress elegantly, assume false
names_:--pretend to be related to persons of credit and
fashion--produce letters familiarly written to prove an
intimacy,--enter into conversation, and shew these letters to
tradesmen and others, upon whom they have a design--get into their
good graces, purchase wearing apparel and other articles, and
disappear with the booty.

This species of offence would be very difficult to reach by any
existing Law, and yet it is practised in various shapes in the
Metropolis, whereby tradesmen are defrauded to a very considerable
extent.--Some legislative guards would certainly be very desirable to
define and punish these offences also.

IX. _Cheats, who have been formerly in the service of Milliners,
Mantua-Makers, Taylors, and other Traders, who have occasion to send
to shop-keepers and warehousemen for goods_;--These, after being
discharged from their service, getting into the company of sharpers
and thieves, while out of place, teach them how to personate their
former employers; in whose names they too frequently succeed in
obtaining considerable quantities of goods before the fraud is

It would certainly be a good rule at no time to deliver goods upon a
verbal message; and it would be useful if all persons discharging
servants, would give notice of it to every tradesmen with whom they

X. _Cheats who personate Gentlemen's footmen_; These order goods to be
sent to a genteel lodging, where the associate is waiting, who draws
upon some banker in a distant part of the town for the money; or, if
the check is refused, a country bank-note (the gentleman just being
arrived in town) is offered to be changed, which, although a forgery,
often succeeds: if this should also fail, this mischievous class of
people, from habit and close attention to the means of deception, are
seldom at a loss in finding out some other expedient; and before the
fraud is discovered, the parties are off; and the master transformed
into the livery-servant, to practise in his turn the same trick upon
some other person.

XI. _Cheats who associate systematically together, for the purpose of
finding out and making a prey of every person from the country, or any
ignorant person who is supposed to have money, or who has come to
London for the purpose of selling goods._--It is usual in such cases
for one of them to assume the character of a young 'Squire, just come
to his estate; to appear careless and prodigal, and to shew handfuls
of bank-notes, all of which are false and fabricated for the purpose.

Another personates the guardian of the 'Squire, while a part of the
associates pretend to sit down to play, and having won money of the
young spendthrift, who appears extremely ignorant and profuse, the
stranger's avarice gets the better of his prudence, and he is induced
at length to try his luck,--the result is that he is soon left without
a penny.

XII. _Cheats who prowl about in all the streets and lanes of the
trading part of the Metropolis, where shopmen and boys are carrying
parcels_: These, by means of various stratagems, find out where the
parcels are going, and regulating their measures accordingly, seldom
fail by some trick or other, (such as giving the lad a shilling to run
and call a coach,) to get hold of the property.--Porters and young men
from the country should be particularly cautious never to quit any
property intrusted to their care, until delivered (not at the door)
but within the house to which it is directed.

XIII. _Cheats who attend Inns, at the time that coaches and waggons
are loading or unloading._ These by personating _porters_ with aprons
and knots, or _clerks_ with pens stuck in their wigs or hair, and by
having recourse to a variety of stratagems, according to the peculiar
circumstances of the case, aided by their having previously noticed
the address of several of the parcels, seldom fail of success, in the
general hurry and confusion which prevails at such places. This proves
how necessary it is at all times to have one or two intelligent
officers of justice, who know the faces of thieves, in attendance,
while goods are receiving and delivering.

XIV. _Cheats who go from door to door collecting money; under pretence
of soliciting for a charitable establishment_, for the benefit of poor
children, and other purposes. But the money, instead of being so
applied, is generally spent in eating and drinking; and the most
infamous imposition is thus practised upon the charitable and humane,
who are the dupes of this species of fraud in too many instances.

XV. _Sharpers who are known by the name of Duffers._ These go about
from house to house, and attend public houses, inns, and fairs,
pretending to sell smuggled goods, such as India handkerchiefs,
waistcoat patterns, muslins, &c. By offering their goods for sale,
they are enabled to discover the proper objects, who may be
successfully practised upon in various ways; and if they do not
succeed in promoting some gambling scheme, by which the party is
plundered of his money, they seldom fail passing forged country bank
notes, or base silver and copper in the course of their dealings.

XVI. _Female Sharpers who dress elegantly, personate women of fashion,
attend masquerades, and even go to St. James's._ These, from their
effrontery, actually get into the circle; where their wits and hands
are employed in obtaining diamonds, and whatever other articles of
value, capable of being concealed, are found to be most accessible.

The wife of a well-known sharper, lately upon the town, is said to
have appeared at Court, dressed in a stile of peculiar elegance: while
the sharper himself is supposed to have gone in the dress of a
clergyman.--According to the information of a noted receiver, they
pilfered to the value of £1700. on the King's birth-day (1795,)
without discovery or suspicion.

Houses are kept where female Cheats dress and undress for public
places.--Thirty or forty of these sharpers generally attend all
masquerades, in different characters, where they seldom fail to get
clear off with a considerable booty.

XVII. _Among the classes of Cheats may be ranked a species of Female
Bankers._ These accommodate barrow-women and others, who sell fish,
fruit, vegetables, &c. in the streets, with five shillings a day; (the
usual diurnal stock in trade in such cases;) for the use of which, for
twelve hours, they obtain a premium of _six-pence_, when the money is
returned in the evening, receiving thereby at this rate, about _seven
pounds ten shillings a year_ for every five shillings they lend out!

The Author, in the course of his Magisterial duty, having discovered
this extraordinary species of fraud, attempted to explain to a
barrow-woman on whom it was practised, that by saving up a single
_five shillings_, and not laying any part of it out in gin, but
keeping the whole, she would save £7. 10_s._ a year, which seemed to
astonish her, and to stagger her belief.--It is to be feared, however,
that it had no effect upon her future conduct, since it is evident
that this improvident and dissolute class of females have no other
idea than that of making the day and the way alike long.--Their
profits (which are often considerably augmented by dealing in base
money, as well as fruit, vegetables, &c.) seldom last over the day,
for they never fail to have a luxurious dinner and a hot supper, with
abundance of gin and porter:--looking in general no farther than to
keep whole the original stock, with the _six-pence_ interest, which is
paid over to the female banker in the evening; and a new loan obtained
on the following morning, of the same number of shillings again to go
to market.

In contemplating this curious system of Banking, (trifling as it seems
to be) it is impossible not to be forcibly struck with the immense
profits that arise from it. It is only necessary for one of these
female sharpers to possess a capital of _seventy shillings_, or three
pounds ten shillings, with fourteen steady and regular customers, in
order to realize an income of ONE HUNDRED GUINEAS a year!

XVIII. _Cheats who pretend to tell fortunes._ These impose on the
credulity of the public, by advertisements and cards; pretending a
power, from their knowledge of astrology, to foretell future events,
to discover stolen property, lucky numbers in the Lottery, &c.

The extent to which this mischief goes in the Metropolis is almost
beyond belief; particularly during the drawing of the Lottery.--The
folly and phrenzy which prevail in vulgar life, lead ignorant and
deluded people into the snare of adding to the misfortunes which the
Lottery occasions, by additional advances of money (obtained generally
by pawning goods or apparel) paid to pretended astrologers for
suggesting _lucky numbers_, upon which they are advised to make
insurances; and under the influence of this unaccountable delusion,
they are too often induced to increase their risks, and ruin their

One of these impostors who lived long in the Curtain-Road, Shoreditch,
is said, in conjunction with his associates, to have made near £300. a
year by practising upon the credulity of the lower orders of the
people.--He stiled himself (in his circulating cards) an _Astronomer
and Astrologer_; and stated, _That he gave advice to Gentlemen and
Ladies on business, trade, contracts, removals, journies by land or
water, marriages, children, law-suits, absent friends, &c._ And
further, that _he calculated nativities accurately_,--His fee was

An instance of mischievous credulity, occasioned by consulting this
impostor, once fell under the review of the Author. A person having
property stolen from him, went to consult the conjuror respecting the
thief; who having described something like the person of a man whom he
suspected, his credulity and folly so far got the better of his reason
and reflection, as to induce him upon the authority of this impostor
_actually to charge his neighbour with a felony_, and to cause him to
be apprehended. The Magistrate settled the matter by discharging the
prisoner; reprimanding the accuser severely, and ordering the conjuror
to be taken into custody, according to law, _as a Rogue and Vagabond_.

But the delusion with regard to Fortune-tellers is not confined to
vulgar life, since it is known, that ladies of rank, fashion, and
fortune, contribute to the encouragement of this fraudulent profession
in particular, by their visits to a pretended Astrologer of their own
sex in the neighbourhood of Tottenham-Court Road: This woman, to the
disgrace of her votaries, whose education ought to have taught them
the folly and weakness of countenancing such gross impositions, found
the practice of it extremely productive.[33]

[Footnote 33: The encouragement which this impostor received from the
weaker part of the females of rank and fortune in the Metropolis,
raised up others; who had the effrontery to insult the understanding
of the Public, by advertising in the News-papers.]

The act of the 9th George the Second, _cap._ 5, _punishes all persons
pretending skill in any crafty science; or telling fortunes, or where
stolen goods may be found; with a year's imprisonment, and standing
four times in the pillory_ (once every quarter) _during the term of
such imprisonment. The act called the Vagrant Act, made the 17th year
of the same reign, (cap. 5,) declares such persons to be rogues and
vagabonds, and liable to be punished as such._

It is sincerely to be hoped that those at least who are convinced from
having suffered by the gross imposition practised upon the credulity
of the people by these pests of Society, will enable the civil
Magistrate, by proper informations, to suppress so great an evil.

Innumerable almost are the other tricks and devices which are resorted
to by the horde of Cheats, Swindlers, and Sharpers, who infest the

The great increase of commerce, and the confidence resulting from an
intercourse so wide and extended, frequently lays men of property and
tradesmen open to a variety of frauds; credit is obtained by
subterfuges and devices contrary to the plain rules of common honesty,
against which, however, there is no remedy but by an action of common

If it were possible to look accurately at the different evils arising
from fraudulent and swindling practices, so as to frame a statute that
would generally reach all the cases that occur, whenever the barrier
of common honesty is broken down, it would certainly be productive of
infinite benefit to the community; for, in spite of the laudable
exertions of the Society established for prosecuting swindlers, it is
to be lamented that the evil has not diminished. On the contrary, it
has certainly encreased, and must continue to do so, until the
Legislature, by applicable Laws and an improved System of Police,
either directly or collaterally attaching to these offences, shall
find the means of suppressing them.


     _The great anxiety of the Legislature to suppress the evils
     of Gaming:--The Misery and Wretchedness entailed on many
     respectable Families from this fatal propensity:--Often
     arising from the foolish vanity of mixing in what is stiled,
     Genteel Company; where Faro is introduced.--Games of Chance,
     though stigmatized by the Legislature, encouraged by
     high-sounding names, whose houses are opened for purposes
     odious and unlawful:--The Civil Magistrate called upon by
     his public duty, as well as by the feelings of humanity, to
     suppress such mischiefs.--The danger arising from such
     seminaries--No probability of any considerations of their
     illegality, or inhumanity, operating as a check, without the
     efforts of the Magistracy.--The evil tendency of such
     examples to servants in fashionable Families, who carry
     these vices into vulgar life; and many of whom, as well as
     persons of superior education, become Sharpers, Cheats, and
     Swindlers, from the habits they acquire.--A particular
     Statement of the proceedings of persons who have set up
     Gaming Houses as regular Partnership-Concerns; and of the
     Evils resulting therefrom.--Of Lottery Insurers of the
     Higher Class.--Of Lottery Offices opened for
     Insurance--Proposed Remedies.--Three Plans suggested to the
     Author by Correspondents._

Gaming is the source from which has sprung up all that race of cheats,
swindlers, and sharpers, some of whose nefarious practices have
already been noticed, and the remainder of which it is the object of
the Author to develope in this chapter.

Such has been the anxiety of the Legislature to suppress this evil,
that so early as the reign of Queen Anne, this abandoned and
mischievous race of men seems to have attracted its notice in a very
particular degree; for the act of the 9th year of that reign (cap. 14.
§§ 6, 7,) after reciting, "_that divers lewd and dissolute persons
live at great expences, having no visible estate, profession, or
calling, to maintain themselves; but support these expences by Gaming
only_; Enacts, _that any two Justices may cause to be brought before
them, all persons within their limits whom they shall have just cause
to suspect to have no visible estate, profession, or calling, to
maintain themselves by; but do for the most part support themselves by
Gaming; and if such persons shall not make it appear to such Justices
that the principal part of their expences is not maintained by gaming,
they are to be bound to their good behaviour for a twelve-month; and
in default of sufficient security, to be committed to prison, until
they can find the same; and if security shall be given, it will be
forfeited on their playing or betting at any one time, for more than
the value of twenty shillings_."

If, in conformity to the _spirit_ of this wise statute, sharpers of
every denomination, who support themselves by a variety of cheating
and swindling practices, without having any visible means of living,
were in like manner to be called upon to find security for their good
behaviour, in all cases where they cannot shew they have the means of
subsisting themselves honestly, the number of these Pests of Society,
under a general Police and an active and zealous Magistracy, would
soon be diminished, if not totally annihilated.

By the 12th of George the Second, (cap. 28. § 2, 3,) "_the Games of
Faro, Hazard, &c. are declared to be Lotteries, subjecting the persons
who keep them to a penalty of two hundred pounds, and those who play
to fifty pounds_."--_One_ witness only is necessary to prove the
offence before any Justice of the Peace; _and the Justice forfeits ten
pounds if he neglects to do his duty under the Act_:--and under this
Act, which is connected with the statute 8th of George I. cap. 2, it
seems that "_the keeper of a Faro Table may be prosecuted even for a
penalty of five hundred pounds_."

Notwithstanding these salutary laws, to the reproach of the Police of
the Metropolis, houses have been opened, even under the sanction of
high-sounding names, where an indiscriminate mixture of all ranks was
to be found, from the _finished sharper_ to the _raw inexperienced
youth_. And where all those evils existed in full force, which it was
the object of the Legislature to remove.

Though it is hoped that this iniquitous System of plunder, has of late
been somewhat restrained by the wholesome administration of the Laws,
under the excellent Chief Justice who presides in the High Criminal
Department of the Country, in consequence of the detection of
Criminals, through the meritorious vigilance and attention of the
Magistrates; to which the Author of this work, by bringing the evil so
prominently under the view of the Public, may flatter himself in
having been in some small degree instrumental: Still it is much to be
feared, that the time is not yet arrived which would induce him to
withhold the following narrative.

GAMING, although at all times an object highly deserving attention,
and calling for the exertions of Magistrates, never appeared either to
have assumed so alarming an aspect, or to have been conducted upon the
methodized system of _Partnership-Concerns_, wherein pecuniary
capitals were embarked, till about the years 1777 and 1778, when the
vast licence which was given to those abominable engines of fraud, EO
Tables, and the great length of time which elapsed before a check was
given to them by the Police, afforded a number of dissolute and
abandoned characters, who resorted to these baneful subterfuges for
support, an opportunity of acquiring property: This was afterwards
increased in low Gaming Houses, and by following up the same system at
Newmarket, and other places of fashionable resort, and in the Lottery;
until at length, without any property at the outset, or any visible
means of lawful support, a sum of money, little short of _One Million
Sterling_, is said to have been acquired by a class of individuals
originally (with some few exceptions) of the lowest and most depraved
order of Society. This enormous mass of wealth (acquired no doubt by
entailing misery on many worthy and respectable Families, and driving
the unhappy victims to acts of desperation and suicide,) is said to
have been afterwards engaged as a great and an efficient capital for
carrying on various illegal Establishments; particularly
Gaming-Houses, and Shops for fraudulent Insurances in the Lottery;
together with such objects of dissipation as the Races at Newmarket
and other places of _fashionable_ resort, held out: all which were
employed as the means of increasing and improving the ill-gotten
wealth of the parties engaged in these nefarious pursuits.

A System, grown to such an enormous height, had, of course, its rise
by progressive advances. Several of those who now roll in their gaudy
carriages, and associate with some men of high rank and fashion, may
be found upon the Registers of the Old Bailey; or traced to the
vagrant pursuit of turning, with their own hands, EO Tables in the
open streets; These mischievous Members of Society, through the wealth
obtained by a course of procedure diametrically opposite to Law, are,
by a strange perversion, sheltered from the operation of that Justice,
which every act of their lives has offended: they bask in the
sun-shine of prosperity; while thousands, who owe their distress and
ruin to the horrid designs thus _executed_, _invigorated_ and
_extended_, are pining in misery and want.

Certain it is, that the mischiefs arising from the rapid increase,
and from the vast extent of capital employed in these Systems of ruin
and depravity, have become great and alarming beyond calculation; as
will be evinced by developing the nature of the very dangerous
Confederacy which systematically moves and directs this vast Machine
of destruction--composed in general of men who have been reared and
educated under the influence of every species of depravity which can
debase the human character.

Wherever Interest or resentment suggests to their minds a line of
conduct calculated to gratify any base or illegal propensity; it is
immediately indulged. Some are taken into this iniquitous Partnership
for their dexterity in securing the dice; or in dealing cards at
Faro.--Informers are apprehended and imprisoned upon writs, obtained,
by perjury, to deter others from similar attacks. Witnesses are
suborned--officers of justice are bribed, wherever it can be done, by
large sums of money[34]--ruffians and bludgeon-men are employed to
resist the Civil Power, where pecuniary gratuities fail--and houses
are barricadoed and guarded by armed men: thereby offering defiance to
the common exertions of the Laws, and opposing the regular authority
of Magistrates.

[Footnote 34: An Affidavit, made not very long since in one of the
superior Courts of Justice, illustrates this observation in a very
striking degree. It is in these words--"That it is almost impossible
to convict persons keeping Gaming-Houses before the Magistrates, by
reason of the enormous wealth generally applied to the corruption of
unwilling evidence brought forward to support the charge--That on an
information exhibited against one of the Partners of a Gaming-House,
he got himself discharged by deterring some of the witnesses from
appearing, and by the perjury of another partner who was examined as a
witness, and for which he then stood indicted--That divers of these
Gaming-Houses were kept by practising attornies, who, by threatening
indictments for pretended Conspiracies, and other infamous means, have
deterred persons from prosecuting them."]

It is impossible to contemplate a Confederacy thus circumstanced, so
powerful from its immense pecuniary resources, and so mischievous and
oppressive from the depravity which directs these resources, without
feeling an anxiety to see the strong arm of the Law still further and
unremittingly exerted for the purpose of effectually destroying it.

Whilst one part of the immense property by which this confederacy was
so strongly fortified was employed in the establishment of
_Gaming-Houses_, holding out the most fascinating allurements to giddy
young _men of fortune_, and others, having access to money, by means
of splendid entertainments,[35] and regular suppers, with abundance of
the choicest wines, so as to form a genteel lounge for the dissipated
and unwary; another part of the capital was said to form the stock
which composes the various Faro-Banks which were to be found at the
routes of _Ladies of Fashion_: Thus drawing into this vortex of
iniquity and ruin, not only the _males_, but also the _females_ of the
thoughtless and opulent part of Society; who too easily became a prey
to that idle vanity which frequently overpowers reason and reflection;
and the delusion of which is seldom terminated till it is too late.

[Footnote 35: The expence of entertainments at a Gaming-House of the
highest class, during eight months, has been said to exceed _Six
Thousand Guineas_! What must the profits be to afford such a

Evil example, when thus sanctioned by apparent respectability, and by
the dazzling blandishment of rank and fashion, is so intoxicating to
those who have either suddenly acquired riches, or who are young and
inexperienced, that it almost ceases to be a matter of wonder that the
fatal propensity to Gaming should become universal; extending itself
over all ranks in Society in a degree scarcely to be credited, but by
those who will attentively investigate the subject.

At the commencement of the troubles in France, and before this Country
was visited by the hordes of Emigrants of all descriptions, who fixed
a temporary or permanent residence in this Metropolis, the number of
Gaming-Houses (exclusive of those that are select, and have long been
established by Subscription,) did not exceed above _four_ or _five_:
In the year 1797, not less than _thirty_ were said to be actually
open; where, besides _Faro_ and _Hazard_, the foreign games of
_Roulet_, and _Rouge et Noir_, were introduced, and where there
existed a regular gradation of establishment, accommodating to all
ranks; from the man of fashion, down to the thief, the burglar, and
the pick-pocket--where immense sums of money were played for every
evening, for eight months in the year.[36]

[Footnote 36: The latter part of the Affidavit, already mentioned,
also illustrates these assertions, and proves that they are but too
well founded: It states--"That Gaming-Houses have increased to such a
degree, that there were lately not less than six in one street near
the Hay-Market, at all which persons stood at the door to entice
passengers to play--That the generality of persons keeping these
houses are _prize-fighters_, and persons of a desperate description,
who threaten assassination to any person who will molest them."]

In a commercial Country, and in a great Metropolis, where from the
vast extent of its trade and manufactures, and from the periodical
issue of above Twenty Millions annually, arising from dividends on
funded security, there must be an immense circulation of property, the
danger is not to be conceived, from the allurements which are thus
held out to young men in business, having the command of money, as
well as to the clerks of merchants, bankers, and others concerned in
different branches of trade: In fact, it is well known, that too many
of this class resort at present to these destructive scenes of vice,
idleness, and misfortune.[37]

[Footnote 37: The same Affidavit further states--"That the principal
Gaming Houses at the West end of the Town have stated days on which
they have luxurious dinners, (Sunday being the chief day,) to which
they contrive to get invited merchants' and bankers' clerks, and other
persons intrusted with money; and that it has been calculated, (and
the calculation was believed not to be over-rated,) that the expences
attendant on such houses, amounted to £.150,000 yearly, and that the
keepers of such houses, by means of their enormous wealth, bid
defiance to all prosecutions, some of them having acquired from 50 to
£.100,000 each; considerable estates have been frequently won by them
in the course of one sitting."]

The mind shrinks with horror at the existence of a System in the
Metropolis, unknown to our ancestors, even in the worst periods of
their dissipation; when a _Ward_, a _Waters_, and a _Chartres_,
insulted public morals by their vices and their crimes: for then no
regular Establishments--no systematic concerns for carrying on this
nefarious trade, were known.--No Partnerships in Gaming-Houses, were
conducted with the regularity of Commercial Houses.

But these Partnerships have not been confined to Gaming-Houses alone.
A considerable proportion of the immense capital which the conductors
of the System possess, is employed periodically in the _two
Lotteries_, in _Fraudulent Insurances_, where, like the Faro Bank, the
chances are so calculated as to yield about 30 per cent. profit to the
Gambling proprietors; and from the extent to which these transactions
have been, and we fear still are carried, no doubt can be entertained
that the annual gains must be immense.--It has, indeed, been stated,
with an appearance of truth, that a single individual acquired no less
than £.60,000 during one English Lottery!

Although it is impossible to be perfectly accurate in any estimate
which can be formed; for in this, as in all other cases where
calculations are introduced in this Work, accuracy to a point is not
to be expected; yet when all circumstances are considered, there
appear just grounds to suppose that the following Statement, placing
the whole in one connected point of view, may convey to the Reader no
very imperfect idea of the vast and unparalleled extent to which this
horrid mischief had arrived; and to which, if not closely watched, it
may yet rise once more.


                                      Persons    Money     Yearly
                                      attached.  played    aggregate
                                                 for       lost and
                                                 nightly.  won.
                                                 £.        £.
  1. 7 Subscription Houses
     open one-third of the
     Year, or 100 nights    _suppose_ 1000       2000      1,400,000

  2. 15 Houses of a
     superior class
     one-third of the Year,
     or 100 nights            ----    3000       2000      3,000,000

  3. 15 Houses of an
     inferior class one-half
     of the Year, or 150
     Nights                   ----    3000       1000      2,225,000

  4. 6 Ladies' Gaming Houses
                   50 Nights  ----    1000       2000        600,000


  350 Insurance Offices at 100_l._
  a day average, during the 33 days
  of the Irish Lottery                   1,155,000

  400 Insurance Offices at 150_l._
  a day average, during the 33
  days[38] of the English Lottery        1,980,000
                                            Total   10,460,000

[Footnote 38: The longer the Lottery continues, the greater the evil.
A Lottery of 60,000 Tickets is therefore a much greater evil than one
of 50,000: and that in a ratio more than proportionate to the numbers
in each.]

This aggregate is only to be considered as shewing the mere
interchange of property from one hand to another; yet when it is
recollected that the operation must progressively produce a certain
loss, with not many exceptions, to all the innocent and unsuspecting
adventurers either at Pharo or the Lottery, with an almost uniform
gain to the proprietors; the result is shocking to reflect upon.--To
individual families in easy circumstances where this unfortunate mania
prevails, as well as to the mass of the people who are fascinated by
the delusion of the Lottery Insurances, it is the worst of all
misfortunes.--By seizing every opportunity to take advantage of this
unhappy bias, it is no uncommon thing to see the pennyless miscreant
of to-day become the opulent gambler of to-morrow: leaving the unhappy
sufferers often no alternative but exile, beggary, or a prison; or
perhaps, rendered desperate by reflecting on the folly of their
conduct, to end their days by suicide,[39] while wives, children, and
dependants are suddenly reduced from affluence to the lowest abyss of

[Footnote 39: The Gambling and Lottery transactions of one individual
in this great Metropolis, are said to be productive of from ten to
fifteen suicides annually.]

In contemplating these vast establishments of regular and systematic
fraud and depredation upon the Public, in all the hideous forms which
they assume, nothing is so much to be lamented as the unconquerable
spirit which draws such a multitude of the lower ranks of Society into
the vortex of the Lottery.

The agents in this iniquitous System, availing themselves of the
existence of the delusion, spare no pains to keep it alive; so that
the evil extends far and wide, and the mischiefs, distresses, and
calamities resulting from it, were it possible to detail them, would
form a catalogue of sufferings of which the opulent and luxurious have
no conception.

Of how much importance therefore is it to the Public at large, to see
these evils suppressed; and above all, to have this novel System
completely annihilated, by which Gambling Establishments have been
formed upon commercial principles of methodical arrangements, with
vast capitals employed for the most infamous and diabolical purposes.

Let those who have acquired wealth in this way be satisfied with what
they have gotten, and with the misery their gains have occasioned to
ruined thousands: let them abstain from employing it in channels
calculated to extend these evils. The Law is generally slow in its
operations: but it seldom fails to overtake the guilty at last.

To this Confederacy, powerful in wealth, and unrestrained by those
considerations of moral rectitude, which govern the conduct of other
men engaged in the common pursuits of life, is to be attributed those
vast additional hazards to which the young and inexperienced have been
subjected--Hazards, which not only did not exist before these
establishments were matured and moulded into System; but which were
considerably increased, from its becoming a part of the general
arrangements to employ men of genteel exterior, (and it is to be
feared too, in many instances of good connections) who, having been
ruined by the delusion, descended as a means of subsistence, to
accept the degrading office of seeking out those customers, whose
access to money rendered them proper objects to be ensnared.--For such
was the nature of this new System of destruction, that while a young
man entering upon life, conceived himself honoured by the friendship
and acquaintance of those who were considered to be men of fashion,
and of good connections, he was deluded by splendid entertainments
into the snare, which afterwards robbed him of his property and peace
of mind.

Such were the arrangements of this alarming and mischievous
Confederacy, for the purpose of plundering the thoughtless and
unwary.--The evidence given in the Court of King's Bench, in an
action, tried for Gaming, on the 29th November, 1796, served pretty
fully to develope the shocking System of fraud pursued, after the
inexperienced and unwary were entrapped into these receptacles of ruin
and destruction.[40]

[Footnote 40: The following is the substance of the most striking
parts of the Evidence of John Shepherd, in the action alluded to.

"The witness saw Hazard played at the Gaming-House of the defendant,
in Leicester-street.--Every person who was three times successful,
paid the defendant a Silver Medal, which he purchased from him on
entering the house, at eight for a guinea, and he received six or
seven of these in the course of an hour for the Box Hands, as it was
called. The people who frequented this house always played for a
considerable sum. Sometimes £.20 or £.30 depended on a single throw of
the Dice. The witness remembered being once at the defendant's
Gaming-House about three or four o'clock in the morning, when a
gentleman came in very much in liquor.--He seemed to have a great deal
of money about him.--The defendant said he had not intended to play,
but now he would set to with this fellow.--He then scraped a little
wax with his finger off one of the candles and put the Dice together,
so that they came seven every way. After doing this, he dropped them
into the box and threw them out, and afterwards drew all the money
away, saying he had won it.--_Seven_ was the main, and he could not
throw any thing but _seven_. The young gentleman said he had not given
him time to _bar_.--A dispute arose between the defendant and him. It
was referred to two or three persons who were round the table, and
they gave it in favour of the defendant. The gentleman said he had
lost upwards of £.70. The defendant said, _we have cleared him_. The
witness has seen a man pawn his watch and ring in several instances;
and once he saw a man pawn his coat and go away without it.

"After the Gaming Table was broken by the Bow-street Officers, the
defendant said it was too good a thing to be given up, and instantly
got another Table, large enough for twenty or thirty people. The
frequenters of this house used to play till day-light: and on one or
two occasions, they played all the next day. This is what the
defendant called, _sticking to it rarely_. The guests were furnished
with wine and suppers gratis, from the funds of the partnership, in
abundance. Sunday was a grand day. The witness has seen more than
forty people there at a time. The table not being sufficient for the
whole, half-a-crown used on such occasions to be given for a seat, and
those behind looked over the back of the others and betted."

The person above-mentioned (whose name was Smith) who pawned his coat,
corroborated the above evidence; and added, that he had seen a person
after he had lost all his money, throw off his coat and go away,
losing it also.]

While a vice, ruinous to the morals and to the fortunes of the younger
part of the Community who move in the middle and higher ranks of life
is suffered to be pursued in direct opposition to _positive
statutes_,--surely, blame must attach somewhere!

The idle vanity of being introduced into what is generally, but
erroneously, termed genteel society, where a fashionable name
announces an intention of seeing company, has been productive of more
_domestic misery_ and more _real distress_, _poverty_, and
_wretchedness_ to _families_ in this great City (who but for their
folly might have been easy and comfortable,) than many volumes could

A mistaken sense of what constitutes human happiness, fatally leads
the mass of the People who have the means of moving in any degree
above the middle ranks of life, into circles where Faro Tables and
other games at hazard are introduced in private families:--Where the
least recommendation (and Sharpers spare no pains to obtain
recommendations) is a passport to all who can exhibit a genteel
exterior; and where the young and the inexperienced are initiated in
every propensity tending to debase human character; while they are
taught to view with contempt every acquirement, connected with the
duties which lead to domestic happiness, or to those qualifications
which can render either sex respectable in the world.

When such infamous practices are encouraged and sanctioned by
high-sounding names,--when sharpers and black-legs find an easy
introduction into the houses of persons of fashion, who assemble in
multitudes together, for the purpose of playing at those most odious
and detestable games of hazard, which the Legislature has stigmatised
with such marks of reprobation, it is time for the Civil Magistrate
to step forward:--It is time for him to feel, that, in doing that duty
which the Laws of his Country impose on him, he is perhaps saving
hundreds of families from ruin and destruction; and preserving to the
infants of thoughtless and deluded parents that property which is
their birth-right: but which, for want of an energetic Police in
enforcing the Laws made for their protection, is now too frequently
squandered; and the mind is tortured with the sad reflection, that
with the loss of fortune, all opportunities (in consequence of idle
habits) are also lost, of fitting the unfortunate sufferer for any
reputable pursuit in life, by which an honest livelihood could be

In this situation, the transition from the plain gamester to the
fraudulent one, and from that to every other species of criminality,
is easily conceived: and it is by no means an unfair conclusion, that
this has been the fate of not a few who have been early introduced
into these haunts of idleness and vice; and who, but for such an
education, might have become useful members of the State.

The accumulated evils, arising from this source, are said to have been
suffered to continue, from a prevailing idea, that Persons of Rank and
their immediate associates were beyond the reach of being controlled,
by laws made for the mass of the People; and that nothing but capital
offences could attach to persons of this condition in life.

If these evils were, in fact, merely confined to Persons of rank and
fortune, and did not extend beyond that barrier where no general
injury could accrue to Society, there might be a shadow of excuse (and
it would be but a shadow) for not hazarding an attack upon the
amusements of the Great, where the energy of the Laws to controul
their oeconomy may be doubtful: but surely in the present case,
where the mischief spreads _broad_ and _wide_, no good Magistrate can
or ought to be afraid to do his duty, because persons in high life may
dare to sanction and promote offences of a nature the most mischievous
to Society at large, as well as to the peace, comfort, and happiness
of families.

If the exertions of the Magistracy are to be suspended until the
Higher Ranks see the frivolity, the shameful profligacy and the horrid
waste of useful time, as well as the cruel destruction of decent and
respectable families in that point of view which will operate as an
antidote to the evil, it is much to be feared that it must, under such
circumstances, become incurable.

But there are other inducements, more nearly allied to the occurrences
in humble life, which render it in a particular degree incumbent on
Magistrates to make trial, at least, whether there is not sufficient
energy in the law to control the hurtful vices of the higher, as well
as the middling, and inferior ranks of the People: The examples of the
great and opulent, operate most powerfully among the tribe of _menial
servants_ they employ; and these carry with them into the lower ranks
that spirit of gambling and dissipation which they have practised in
the course of their servitude; thus producing consequences of a most
alarming nature to the general interests of the Community. To the
contagion of such examples, is owing in a great measure the number of
persons attached to pursuits of this kind, who become the Swindlers,
Sharpers, and Cheats, of an inferior class, described in the preceding
Chapter: and from the same source spring up those Pests of Society,
_The Lottery Insurers_, whose iniquitous proceedings we shall in the
next place lay before the Reader.

These, with some exceptions, are composed of persons, in general very
depraved or distressed: the depredations committed on the Public by
their means are so ruinous and extensive as to require a consideration
peculiarly minute: in order to guard the ignorant and unwary, as much
as possible, against the fatal effects of that fraud and delusion,
which, if not soon checked, bid fair to destroy all remains of honesty
and discretion.--These Classes consist of

_Sharpers, who take Lottery Insurances_, by which means gambling,
among the higher and middling ranks, is carried on, to an extent which
exceeds all credibility; producing consequences to many private
families, otherwise of great worth and respectability, of the most
distressing nature; and implicating in this misery, the innocent and
amiable branches of such families, whose sufferings, arising from this
source, while they claim the tear of pity, would require many volumes
to recount; but silence and shame throw a veil over the calamity: and,
cherished by the hopes of retrieving former losses, or acquiring
property, in an easy way, the evil goes on, and seems even yet to
increase, in spite of every guard which the Legislature has repeatedly
endeavoured to establish.

With a very few exceptions all who are or have been proprietors of the
Gambling Houses are also concerned in the fraudulent Insurance
Offices; and have a number of Clerks employed during the drawing of
the two Lotteries, who conduct the business without risk in
counting-houses, where no insurances are taken, but to which books are
carried, not only from all the different Offices in every part of the
town, but also from the Morocco-Men; so called, from their going from
door to door with a book covered with red leather for the purpose of
taking insurances, and enticing the poor and the middle ranks to
become adventurers.

_Several of the Keepers of Insurance Offices, during the interval of
the drawing of the English and Irish Lotteries_ have invented and set
up private Lotteries, or Wheels, called by the nick-name of _Little
Go's_, containing Blanks and Prizes, which are drawn for the purpose
of establishing _a ground for Insurance_; the fever in the minds of
the lower order of the people is thus kept up, in some measure, all
the year round, and produces incalculable mischiefs; and hence the
spirit of gambling becomes so rooted from habit, that no domestic
distress, no consideration, arising either with the frauds that are
practised, or the number of chances that are against them, will
operate as a check upon their minds.

In spite of the high price of provisions, and of the care and
attention of the Legislature in establishing severe checks and
punishments for the purpose of preventing the evil of Lottery
Insurances, these criminal agents feel no want of customers; their
houses and offices are not only extremely numerous all over the
Metropolis; but in general _high-rented_; exhibiting the appearance of
considerable expence, and barricadoed in such a manner, with iron
doors and other contrivances, as in many instances to defy the arm of
the Law to reach them.

In tracing all the circumstances connected with this interesting
subject, with a view to the discovery of the cause of the great
encouragement which these Lottery Insurers receive, it appears that a
considerable proportion of their emolument is derived from _menial
servants_ in general, all over the Metropolis; but particularly from
the pampered male and female domestics in the houses of men of fashion
and fortune; who are said, almost without a single exception, to be in
the constant habit of insuring in the English and Irish Lotteries.

This class of _menials_, being in many instances cloathed as well as
fed by their masters, have not the same calls upon them as labourers
and mechanics, who must appropriate at least a part of their earnings
to the purpose of obtaining both food and raiment.

With a spirit of gambling, rendered more ardent than prevails in
vulgar life, from the example of their superiors, and from their idle
and dissipated habits, these servants enter keenly into the Lottery
business; and when ill luck attends them, it is but too well known
that many are led, step by step, to that point where they lose sight
of all moral principle; impelled by a desire to recover what they have
lost, they are induced to raise money for that purpose, by selling or
pawning the property of their masters, wherever it can be pilfered in
a little way, without detection; till at length this species of
peculation, by being rendered familiar to their minds, generally
terminates in more atrocious crimes.

Upon a supposition that one hundred thousand families in the
Metropolis keep two servants upon an average, and that one servant
with another insures only to the extent of twenty-five shillings each,
in the English, and the same in the Irish Lottery, the aggregate of
the whole will amount to HALF A MILLION STERLING.

Astonishing as this may appear at first view, it is believed that
those who will minutely examine into the Lottery transactions of their
servants, will find the calculation by no means exaggerated; and when
to this are added the sums drawn from persons in the middle ranks of
life, as well as from the numerous classes of labourers and artisans
who have caught the mania; it ceases to be a matter of wonder, that so
many Sharpers, Swindlers, and Cheats, find encouragement in this
particular department.

If servants in general, who are under the control of masters, were
prevented from following this abominable species of gambling; and if
other expedients were adopted, which will be hereafter detailed, a
large proportion of the present race of rogues and vagabonds who
follow this infamous trade, would be compelled to become honest; and
the poor would be shielded from the delusion which impels them to
resort to this deceitful and fraudulent expedient; at the expence
sometimes of pledging every article of household goods, as well as the
last rag of their own, and their children's wearing apparel, not
leaving even a single change of raiment!

This view of a very prominent and alarming evil, known to exist from a
variety of facts well established and evinced, among others, by the
pawnbrokers' shops overflowing with the goods of the labouring poor,
during the drawing of the three Lotteries, ought to create a strong
desire on the part of all masters of families, to exert their utmost
endeavours to check this destructive propensity; and to prevent, as
far as possible, those distresses and mischiefs which every person of
humanity must deplore. The misery and loss of property which springs
from this delusive source of iniquity, is certainly very far beyond
any idea that can be formed of it by the common observer.[41]

[Footnote 41: In consequence of a very accurate inquiry which has been
made, and of information derived from different sources, it appears
that fraudulent Lottery Insurances have not diminished. The Offices
are numerous all over the Metropolis, and are supposed to exceed four
hundred of all descriptions; to many of which there are persons
attached, called _Morocco Men_, who go about from house to house among
their former customers, and attend in the back parlours of Public
Houses, where they are met by customers who make insurances. It is
calculated that at these offices (exclusive of what is done at the
_licensed_ offices) premiums for insurance are received to the amount
of _eight hundred thousand pounds_, during the Irish Lottery, and
above _one million_ during the English; upon which it is calculated
that they make from 15 to 25 per cent. profit.--This infamous
confederacy was estimated, during the English Lottery of the year
1796, to support about 2000 agents and clerks, and nearly 7500 Morocco
Men, including a considerable number of hired _armed Ruffians_ and
_Bludgeon Men_: these were paid by a general association of the
Principal Proprietors of these fraudulent Establishments; who
regularly met in Committee, in a well-known public house in Oxford
Market, twice or thrice a week, during the drawing of the Lottery; for
the purpose of concerting measures to defeat the exertions of the
Magistrates, by alarming and terrifying, and even forcibly resisting,
the Officers of Justice in all instances where they could not be
bribed by pecuniary gratuities;--to effect which last purpose, neither
money nor pains were spared; and the wretched agents of these
unprincipled miscreants were, in many cases, prepared to commit
murder, had attempts been made to execute the Warrants of Magistrates;
as can be proved by incontestable evidence. It is greatly to be feared
that too much success attended these corrupt and fraudulent
proceedings, in violation and defiance of the Laws of the Kingdom.]

A general Association, or perhaps an act of Parliament, establishing
proper regulations, applicable to this and other objects, with regard
to menial servants, would be of great utility.

If a Legislative regulation could also be established, extending
certain restrictions to the members of the different _Friendly
Societies_ situated within the Bills of Mortality, with regard to
Fraudulent Lottery Insurances, above _seventy thousand families_ would
be relieved from the consequences of this insinuating evil; which has
been so fatal to the happiness and comfort of a vast number of
tradesmen and artisans, as well as inferior classes of labourers.[42]

[Footnote 42: The regulation proposed, is this--that every member
belonging to a Friendly Society, should be _excluded_ or _expelled_,
and deprived of all future benefits from the funds of that Society, on
proof of his having insured in any Lottery whatsoever, contrary to
law;--and that this rule should be general, wherever the Acts of
Parliament, relative to Friendly Societies, have taken effect.]

Such prohibitions and restraints would have a wonderful effect in
lessening the profits of the Lottery-Office Keepers; which, perhaps,
is the very best mode of suppressing the evil.--At present, the
temptation to follow these fraudulent practices is so great, from the
productive nature of the business, that unless some new expedient be
resorted to, no well-grounded hope can be entertained of lessening the
evil in any material degree.

In addition, therefore, to what has already been suggested on the
subject, other expedients have occurred to the Author; and some have
been suggested by persons well informed on this subject.

The Lottery in itself, if the poorer classes could be exempted from
its mischiefs, has been considered by many good Writers and Reasoners
as a fair resource of Revenue; by taxing the vices or follies of the
People, in a country where such a considerable proportion of the
higher and middling ranks are possessed of large properties in money,
and may be induced, through this medium to contribute to the
assistance of the State, what would (probably to the same extent) be
otherwise squandered and dissipated, in idle amusements.

It is a means also of benefit to the Nation, by drawing considerable
sums of money annually from foreign Countries, which are laid out in
the purchase of tickets.

In many respects therefore, it might be desirable to preserve this
source of Revenue if it can be confined to the purchase of Tickets,
and to persons of such opulence, as upon the abolition of the Lottery
could not probably be restrained from squandering their money in
another way, from which the State would derive no benefit.

The Lottery, on the plan upon which it is at present conducted, has
not yet ceased to be an evil of the utmost magnitude, and perhaps one
of the greatest nurseries of crimes that ever existed in any
country.--At the close of the English Lottery drawn in 1796, the Civil
Power was trampled upon and put to defiance in a most alarming and
shameful manner, disgraceful to the Police of the Metropolis. The
means used for this purpose have been already fully detailed; _ante p.
156 in the note_.

The profits of these Cheats and Swindlers were said to be immense
beyond all former example, during the Lottery drawn in the spring both
of 1796 and 1797; and of course, the Poor were never in a greater
degree plundered.

In calculating the chances upon the whole numbers in the wheels, and
the premiums which are paid, there is generally about 33 1-3d per
cent. in favour of the Lottery Insurers; but when it is considered
that the lower ranks, from not being able to recollect or comprehend
high numbers, always fix on low ones, the chance in favour of the
insurer is greatly increased, and the deluded Poor are plundered, to
an extent which really exceeds all calculation.

At no period is there ever so much occasion for the exertions of the
Magistracy, as during the drawing of the English and Irish Lotteries;
but it is to be feared, that even by this energy, opposed as it always
undoubtedly will be, by a System as well of corruption as of force
unexampled in former times, no proper check can be given, until by new
Legislative regulations, some more effectual remedy is applied.

The following expedients with the assistance of a superintending,
energetic, and well-regulated Police, it is to be hoped, might be the
means of greatly abridging this enormous evil, and of securing to
Government the same annual revenue, which is at present obtained, or
nearly so.

     "1. That the numbers of the Tickets to be placed in the
     Lottery Wheels shall not be _running numbers_, as heretofore
     used; but shall be _intermediate_ and _broken_; thereby
     preventing insurances from being made on specific numbers,
     from the impossibility of its being known, to any but the
     _holders of tickets, or the Commissioners_, what particular
     ticket at anytime remains in the wheel.

     "2. That all persons taking out licences to sell Lottery
     Tickets, shall (instead of the bond with two sureties for
     one thousand pounds, now entered into under the act of the
     22d George 3. cap. 47,) enter into a bond, with two sureties
     also, for £.50,000--which sum shall be forfeited, on due
     proof that any person, so licensed, shall have been,
     directly or indirectly, concerned in taking insurances
     contrary to law; or in setting up, or being connected in the
     profit or loss arising from any illegal insurance-office: or
     in employing itinerant Clerks, to take insurances on account
     of persons so licensed.

     "3. That besides the above-mentioned bond, all licensed
     Lottery Office Keepers shall, previous to the drawing of
     each Lottery, make oath before a Magistrate, that they will
     not, in the course of the ensuing Lottery, be concerned,
     either directly or indirectly, in setting up any illegal
     offices for the sale of tickets, or insurance of numbers,
     contrary to law: Which affidavit shall be recorded, and a
     certificate thereof shall be indorsed on the licence
     without which it shall not be valid. And that the affidavit
     may be produced in evidence, against persons convicted of
     illegally insuring; who shall in that event be liable to the
     punishment attached to perjury, and of course, to the
     ignominy of the pillory and imprisonment.

     "4. That all peace-officers, constables, headboroughs, or
     others, lawfully authorised to execute the warrants of
     Magistrates, who shall receive any gratuity, or sum of money
     from illegal Lottery Insurers, or from any person or
     persons, in consideration of any expected services in
     screening such offenders from detection or punishment,
     shall, on conviction, be rendered infamous, and incapable of
     ever serving any public office; and be punished by fines,
     imprisonment, or the pillory, as the Court, before whom the
     offence is tried, shall see proper.

     "5. That all persons who shall be convicted of _paying
     money_ on any contract for the benefit arising from the
     drawing of any Lottery Ticket, insured upon any contingency
     (not being in possession of the original ticket, or a legal
     share thereof) shall forfeit £.20 for every offence, to be
     levied by distress, &c.

     "6. That an abstract of the penalties inflicted by law on
     persons insuring, or taking illegal insurances in the
     Lottery, shall be read every Sunday, in all churches,
     chapels, meeting-houses, and other places of public worship,
     during the drawing of the Irish and English Lotteries
     respectively; with a short exhortation, warning the people
     of the consequences of offending against the law: And that a
     copy of the same shall be pasted up in different parts of
     Guildhall, and constantly replaced during the drawing of the
     Lottery; and also at all the licensed Lottery Offices within
     the Metropolis.

     "7. That a reward, not exceeding £.50 be paid to any person
     employed as a clerk or servant in any illegal Lottery
     Office, who shall be the means of convicting the actual or
     principal proprietor or proprietors of the said office, who
     shall not appear themselves in the management; also a sum
     not exceeding £.40 on conviction of a known and acting
     proprietor; and a sum not exceeding £.10 on conviction of
     any clerk or manager, not being partners.

     "8. That the punishment to be inflicted on offenders shall
     be fine, imprisonment, or the pillory; according to the
     atrocity of the offence, in the discretion of the Court
     before which such offenders shall be tried."

The following Plans have also been transmitted to the Author by
Correspondents who appear to be well-wishers to Society. They are here
made public, in hopes that from the whole of the suggestions thus
offered, some regulations may ultimately be adopted by the Legislature
towards effectually remedying this peculiarly dangerous and
still-increasing evil.


"It is proposed, that the _Prizes only_ should be drawn, and that
Seven Hours and a Half per Day should be the time of drawing, instead
of Five Hours, by which means a lottery of the same number of tickets
now drawn in thirty-five days, would be drawn in seven days and a
half; and each adventurer would have exactly the same chance as he has
by the present mode of drawing; since it is evidently of no
consequence to him whether all the blanks remain in the Number Wheel
undrawn, or an equal number of Blanks are drawn from a blank and prize
wheel; the chance of blank or prize on _each ticket_ being in either
case exactly the same.

"According to the usual mode of drawing, 50,000 tickets take about
thirty-five days in drawing, which is 1,420-6/7 per day.--By
increasing the time of each day's drawing, from five hours to seven
and a half, 2,131 tickets would be drawn each day; but as the reading
prizes above £.20 _thrice_, causes some little delay, I reckon only
2000 per day; at which rate 15,000 tickets, the usual proportion of
prizes in a Lottery of 50,000 tickets, would be drawn in seven days
and a half. Thus the _Period_ of Insurance would be nearly reduced to
one-fifth part of its present duration, and the _daily_ insurance on
_Blanks_, and _Blank and Prize_, which opens the most extensive field
for gambling, would be _entirely abolished_. Reducing, therefore, the
time of Insurance to one-fifth, and the numbers drawn to less than
one-third of what they have hitherto been, there could scarce remain
in Lotteries thus drawn, one-fifteenth part of the insurance as in
former Lotteries of an equal number of Tickets.--It is also worthy of
remark, that as all the late Lotteries have been thirty-five days at
least in drawing, the Insurance Offices had thirty-four to one in
their favour the first day, by which circumstance they were enabled to
tempt chiefly that class of people who can only gamble on the lowest
terms, and to whom gambling is most extensively pernicious, with a
very moderate premium, (_e.g._ about twelve shillings to return twenty
pounds) which increases daily by almost imperceptible degrees, and
thus insensibly leads them on to misery, desperation, and guilt.

"But in the proposed Plan, the Insurance Offices would have only six
days and a half to one in their favour the first day; so that they
must begin with a much higher premium than the generality of the
common people can advance, which premium must each day be very
considerably increased.--These considerations would undoubtedly
operate as an absolute prohibition, on far the greatest part of
Lottery Insurers; beside which, the great probability of numbers
insured being drawn each day, would deter even the Office Keepers from
venturing to insure so deeply, or extensively, as they have been
accustomed to do.

"Should it be objected, that if Insurance is thus abridged, or
prohibited, tickets will not sell, and the Lottery, as a source of
Revenue, must be abandoned: the following expedient may, it is
apprehended, effectually obviate such an objection.--

"Let Tickets, which cannot now be legally divided below a sixteenth,
be divisible down to a _Sixty-fourth_ share, properly stamped; which
regulation, while it would greatly benefit and encourage Licensed
Offices, would equally discountenance illegal Gamblers; and whilst it
permitted to the lower orders of the Community a fair chance of an
adventure in the Lottery on moderate terms, would co-operate with the
restrictions on Insurance to advance the intrinsic value, as well as
the price of tickets, which every illegal _Scheme_ evidently tends to

The preceding Plan appeared in the Appendix to the fifth edition of
this Treatise; in consequence of which the Author received the
following observations and which therefore he presents as--


"The Suggestions as far as they extend and relate to the shortening
the duration of the drawing are highly useful, but they fall short of
the object, and the Plan, if executed, would nearly prevent the sale
of tickets, and totally so that of shares, and consequently abolish
Lotteries altogether;--a consummation devoutly to be wished by every
friend to the public, but under the pecuniary influences, which
perhaps too much affect political considerations, little to be

"It will be necessary to exhibit only a plain Statement of the
proportionate chances in the wheel during the 7-1/2 days of drawing on
the Scheme of 50,000 Tickets, viz.--

              _Prizes._     _Blanks._

  1st.  Day    15,000   to   35,000    2-1/3 to a Prize
  2d.   ---    13,000   --   35,000
  3d.   ---    11,000   --   35,000
  4th.  ---     9,000   --   35,000
  5th.  ---     7,000   --   35,000
  6th.  ---     5,000   --   35,000
  7th.  ---     3,000   --   35,000
  last. ---     1,000   --   35,000    35 to a Prize.

"Hence it is evident, that on supposition the value of the Prizes
diminish by an equal ratio, every day of drawing, still the actual
value of the Prizes in proportion to the permanent number of the
Blanks will be diminished by the relative proportion increasing at the
rate of about 4666 Blanks every day after the first. Consequently it
must follow, that the premiums of insurance, as well as the price of
Shares and Tickets, instead of acquiring in their value _a very
considerable increase_, must be subject to a very considerable

"To maintain the foregoing Plan, No. I. which is a good ground-work
for lessening the evil, I take the liberty (says my Correspondent) of
suggesting the following improvement.

"After the Prizes are drawn each day, let the proportion of the
Blanks, namely, 4666 be drawn also. Let there be a suspension likewise
of five or seven days between each drawing for the sale of Tickets and
Shares, and to give time for insurance. It may be objected, that the
time being thus prolonged the inconvenience will remain the same; to
avoid which, the blank numbers so drawn, must be done secretly and
sealed up by the Commissioners, or, they may be drawn openly but not
unfolded or declared, and if necessary, made public after the drawing;
by which means the insurance against Blanks or Blank and Prize will be
equally abolished."


"The Evils of a Lottery are many.--The Advantages might, if well
regulated, be as numerous. According to the Schemes that have hitherto
prevailed the _principle_ has been wrong. Since the bait held out has
been the obtaining of an immense fortune, and the risk has been
proportionably great--Insurance has reigned unchecked by all penalties
and punishments that could be devised to the ruin and misery of
thousands. The price of tickets has been fluctuating, and fortunes
have been won and lost on the chance of the great Prizes keeping in
the Wheel: the £.20 prizes have always proved dissatisfactory, as
though there are only 2-1/2 prizes _on an average_ to a blank, yet
such is the uncertainty, that many have scores of tickets without
obtaining the proportionate advantage even from these low prizes. It
is thought, therefore, that a scheme which should offer considerably
more chances for prizes of and above £.50, and which should ensure a
return on all blanks, would be acceptable. If also it could be made to
prevent insuring of tickets and capitals, it seems to be the grand
desideratum in this branch of financeering.

"The principle on which these benefits may be obtained is this. There
should be a considerable number of moderate prizes, such as might be
fortunes, if obtained by the inferior ranks, and of consequence
sufficient to answer the risk of the rich. The tickets to be drawn
each day should be previously specified which may be done by
appropriating a certain share of the prizes to a certain number of
tickets. All the tickets not drawn prizes of £.50 or upwards shall be
entitled to a certain return, which would be superior to a chance for
a £.20 prize.


  _Number of Prizes._       _Value of each._         _Total Value._
                                     £.                    £.
            25                     5,000                125,000
            25                     1,000                 25,000
           100                       500                 50,000
           250                       100                 25,000
           600                        50                 30,000
         -----                                          -------
         1,000                                          255,000
        49,000--£.5 returned on each.                   245,000
        ------                                          -------
        50,000 Tickets.                                 500,000


"Let 2000 Tickets from No. 1, to 1999 inclusive, (with Number 50,000)
be put into a Wheel the first day, and proceed in the same manner
numerically for 25 days. In the other Wheel, each day let there be put
the following proportion of Prizes, viz.

                      £.                £.
     1               5000              5000
     1               1000              1000
     4                500              2000
    10                100              1000
    24                 50              1200
  ----                               ------
    40                               10,200
  1960.--£.5 to be returned on each.   9800
  ----                               ------
  2000 Tickets                       20,000

"In Lotteries where the lowest prizes have been of £.20 the blanks
have been the proportion of 2-1/2 to a prize. If therefore a person
had seven tickets they were entitled to expect only two £.20 prizes or
£.40. In this, however, they were frequently disappointed, and their
chance for a prize of £.50 or upwards has been as about 200 to 50,000.
By the above Scheme, if a person has seven tickets they are sure of a
return of £.35, and have the chance of 40 to 2000, or 1000 to 50,000
for a superior prize. The certainty of the numbers and the prizes to
be drawn each day would prevent insurance on those events, and every
ticket being a prize there could be no insurance against blanks.

"In fact, the Lottery might be drawn in one day,--thus: Let there be
twenty-five bags containing each 2000 numbers, either promiscuously
chosen or of stated thousands. Let there be also 25 bags each
containing the 40 prizes above appropriated to each day's drawing. Let
the Commissioners empty one bag of numbers and one of prizes into two
wheels. Let them draw 40 numbers out of the Number Wheel, and the 40
prizes out of the other. The remaining 1960 numbers to be entitled to
£.5 each.--Then let them proceed with other 2000 numbers in the same

       *       *       *       *       *

At all events, whether these Plans for reforming this enormous evil,
are or are not superior to others which have been devised, it is clear
to demonstration, that the present System is founded on a principle
not less erroneous than mischievous; and, therefore, it cannot too
soon be abandoned; especially since it would appear that the Revenue
it produces might be preserved, with the incalculable advantage to the
nation of preserving, at the same time, the morals of the people, and
turning into a course of industry and usefulness the labour of many
thousand individuals, who, instead of being, as at present, pests in
Society, might be rendered useful members of the State.


     _The Frauds arising from the manufacture and circulation of
     base Money:--The Causes of its enormous increase of late
     years.--The different kinds of false Coin detailed:--The
     Process in fabricating each species explained:--The immense
     Profits arising therefrom:--The extensive Trade in sending
     base Coin to the Country.--Its universal Circulation in the
     Metropolis.--The great Grievance arising from it to Brewers,
     Distillers, Grocers, and Retail Dealers, in particular, as
     well as the Labouring Poor in general.--The principal
     Channels through which it is uttered in the Country and in
     the Metropolis.--Counterfeit foreign Money extremely
     productive to the dealers.--A summary View of the Causes of
     the mischief.--The Defects in the present Laws
     explained:--And a Detail of the Remedies proposed to be
     provided by the Legislature._

The frauds committed by the fabrication of base Money, and by the
nefarious practices, in the introduction of almost every species of
Counterfeit Coin into the circulation of the Country, are next to be

The great outlines of this enormous evil having been stated in the
first Chapter, it now remains to elucidate that part of the subject
which is connected with _specific detail_.

One of the greatest sources of these multiplied and increasing frauds
is to be traced to the various ingenious improvements which have taken
place of late years, at Birmingham, and other manufacturing towns, in
mixing metals, and in stamping and _colouring_ ornamental buttons.

The same ingenious process is so easily applied to the coinage and
colouring of false money, and also to the mixing of the metals of
which it is composed, that it is not to be wondered at, that the
avarice of man, urged by the prospect of immense profit, has
occasioned that vast increase of counterfeit money of every
description, with which the Country is at present deluged.

The false coinages which have been introduced into circulation, of
late years, are _Guineas, Half-Guineas and Seven Shilling Pieces,
Crowns and Half-Crowns, Shillings, Sixpences, Pence, Halfpence, and
Farthings_, of the similitude of the coin of the realm: of foreign
coin, _Half Johannas, Louis d'ors, Spanish Dollars, French
Half-Crowns, Shillings and Sixpences, 30 Sol pieces, Prussian and
Danish Silver money, and other continental coins_; to which may be
added, _Sequins of Turkey, and Pagodas of India_. These foreign coins
except in the instance of the _Spanish Dollars_[43] issued by the
Bank of England in 1797, have generally been sold as articles of
commerce for the purpose of being fraudulently circulated in the
British Colonies or in Foreign Countries.

[Footnote 43: The circulation of stamped Spanish Dollars, in 1797,
gave rise to a very extensive coinage of counterfeit money of the same
species, which was generally executed in a very masterly manner, and
before the fraud was discovered vast quantities were in the hands of
many innocent members of the community. Several detections, however,
having checked the circulation, and silver bullion having fallen
greatly in price, those who were in the habit of dealing in base money
availing themselves of this circumstance, purchased Dollars in great
quantities at about 4_s._. 2_d._ which they instantly stamped and
circulated at 4_s._ 9_d._ and by which species of villainy large sums
of money were suddenly amassed.--One dealer in particular is said to
have made above £.5000 in six weeks. The Laws attaching no punishment
to this unforeseen offence, and the Author representing the
circumstances of the case to the Bank Directors, the whole were called
in, leaving, however, in the hands of the dealers a large surplus of
actual counterfeits,--which appears to have suggested to them the
expedient of finding a market in the British American Colonies and the
United States, where, in general, frauds are less likely to be
detected from the payments being made (particularly in the West India
islands) in dollars put up in bags containing a certain value in each.
However, they were fortunately defeated in this object by the timely
notice given, by the Author of this Treatise, to his Majesty's
Secretary of State, and the American Minister, and through these
respectable mediums commercial people were put upon their guard before
the intended fraud could be carried into effect.]

So dexterous and skilful have Coiners now become, that by mixing a
certain proportion of pure gold with a compound of base metal, they
can fabricate guineas that shall be full weight, and of such perfect
workmanship as to elude a discovery, except by persons of skill; while
the intrinsic value does not exceed thirteen or fourteen shillings,
and in some instances is not more than eight or nine. Of this coinage
considerable quantities were circulated some years since, bearing the
impression of George the Second: and another coinage of counterfeit
guineas of the year 1793, bearing the impression of his present
Majesty, has been for some years in circulation, finished in a
masterly manner, and nearly full weight, although the intrinsic value
is not above eight shillings: half guineas are also in circulation of
the same coinage: and lately a good imitation of the seven-shilling
pieces. But as the fabrication of such coin requires a greater degree
of skill and ingenuity than generally prevails, and also a greater
capital than most coiners are able to command, it is to be hoped it
has gone to no great extent; for amidst all the abuses which have
prevailed of late years, it is unquestionably true, that the guineas
and half-guineas which have been counterfeited in a style to elude
detection, have borne no proportion in point of extent to the coinage
of base _Silver_. Of this latter there are _five_ different kinds at
present counterfeited; and which we shall proceed to enumerate.

_The first of these are denominated_ Flats, from the circumstance of
this species of money being cut out of flatted plates, composed of a
mixture of silver and blanched copper. The proportion of silver runs
from one-fourth to one-third, and in some instances to even one-half:
the metals are mixed by a chemical preparation, and afterwards rolled
by flatting mills, into the thickness of _shillings_, _half-crowns_,
or _crowns_, according to the desire of the parties who bring the
copper and silver, which last is generally stolen plate. It is not
known that there are at present above one or two rolling mills in
London, although there are several in the Country, where all the
dealers and coiners of this species of base money resort, for the
purpose of having these plates prepared; from which, when finished,
_blanks_ or round pieces are cut out, of the sizes of the money meant
to be counterfeited.

The artisans who stamp or coin these blanks into base money are seldom
interested themselves. They generally work as mechanics for the large
dealers who employ a capital in the trade;--and who furnish the
plates, and pay about eight per cent. for the coinage, being at the
rate of one penny for each shilling, and twopence-halfpenny for each

This operation consists first in turning the blanks in a lathe;--then
stamping them, by means of a press, with dies of the exact impression
of the coin intended to be imitated:--they are afterwards rubbed with
sandpaper and cork; then put into aquafortis to bring the silver to
the surface; then rubbed with common salt; then with cream of tartar;
then warmed in a shovel or similar machine before the fire; and last
of all rubbed with _blacking_, to give the money the appearance of
having been in circulation.

All these operations are so quickly performed, that two persons (a man
and his wife for instance,) can completely finish to the nominal
amount of fifty pounds in shillings and half-crowns in two days, by
which they will earn each two guineas a day.

A shilling of this species, which exhibits nearly the appearance of
what has been usually called a Birmingham shilling, is intrinsically
worth from _twopence to fourpence_; and crowns and half-crowns are in
the same proportion. The quantity made of this sort of counterfeit
coinage is very considerable: it requires less ingenuity than any of
the other methods of coining, though at the same time it is the most
expensive, and of course the least profitable to the Dealer; who for
the most part disposes of it to the utterers, vulgarly called
_Smashers_, at from 28_s._ to 40_s._ for a guinea, according to the
quality; while these _Smashers_ generally manage to utter it again to
the full import value.

_The Second Species of counterfeit Silver money_ passes among the
dealers by the denomination of Plated Goods; from the circumstance of
the shillings and half-crowns being made of copper of a reduced size,
and afterwards plated with silver, so extended as to form a rim round
the edge. This coin is afterwards stamped with dies so as to resemble
the real coin; and, from the circumstance of the surface being pure
silver, is not easily discovered except by ringing the money on a
table: but as this species of base money requires a knowledge of
_plating_ as well as a great deal of ingenuity, it is of course
confined to few hands. It is however extremely profitable to those who
carry it on, as it can generally be uttered, without detection, at
its full import value.

_The Third Species of base Silver-money is called_ Plain Goods, and is
totally confined to shillings. These are made of copper blanks turned
in a lathe, of the exact size of a Birmingham shilling, afterwards
silvered over by a particular operation used in colouring metal
buttons; they are then rubbed over with cream of tartar and blacking,
after which they are fit for circulation.

These shillings do not cost the makers above one halfpenny each: they
are sold very low to the _Smashers_ or _Utterers_, who pass them where
they can, at the full nominal value; and when the silver wears off,
which is very soon the case, they are sold to the Jews as bad
shillings, who generally resell them at a small profit to customers,
by whom they are recoloured, and thus soon brought again into
circulation. The profit is immense, owing to the trifling value of the
materials; but the circulation, on account of the danger of discovery,
it is to be hoped is not yet very extensive. It is, however, to be
remarked, that it is a species of coinage not of a long standing.

_The Fourth Class_ of counterfeit silver-money is known by the name of
CASTINGS or CAST GOODS. This species of work requires great skill and
ingenuity, and is therefore confined to few hands; for none but
excellent artists can attempt it, with any prospect of great success.

The process is to melt blanched copper, and to cast it in moulds,
having the impression, and being of the size of a _crown_, a
_half-crown_, a _shilling_, or a _sixpence_, as the case may be; after
being removed from the moulds, the money thus formed is cleaned off,
and afterwards neatly silvered over by an operation similar to that
which takes place in the manufacture of buttons.

The counterfeit money made in imitation of shillings by this process,
is generally cast so as to have a _crooked appearance_; and the
deception is so admirable, that although intrinsically not worth _one
halfpenny_, by exhibiting the appearance of a _thick crooked
shilling_, they enter into circulation without suspicion, and are
seldom refused while the surface exhibits no part of the copper; and
even after this the itinerant Jews will purchase them at threepence
each though six times their intrinsic value, well knowing that they
can again be recoloured at the expence of half a farthing, so as to
pass without difficulty for their nominal value of twelve pence.--A
vast number of the sixpences now in circulation is of this species of

The profit in every view, whether to the original maker, or to the
subsequent purchasers (after having lost their colour,) is _immense_.

In fabricating Cast Money, the workmen are always more secure than
where presses and dies are used; because upon the least alarm, and
before any officer of justice can have admission, the counterfeits are
thrown into the crucible; the moulds are destroyed; and nothing is to
be found that can convict, or even criminate the offender: on this
account the present makers of cast money have reigned long, and were
they careful and frugal, they might have become extremely rich; but
prudence rarely falls to the lot of men who live by acts of

The _Fifth and last Species_ of base coin made in imitation of
silver-money of the realm is called Figs or Fig Things. It is a very
inferior sort of counterfeit money, of which composition, however, a
great part of the sixpences now in circulation are made. The
proportion of silver is not, generally speaking, of the value of one
farthing in half a crown; although there are certainly some
exceptions, as counterfeit sixpences have been lately discovered, some
with a mixture, and some wholly silver; but even these did not yield
the makers less than from 50 to 80 per cent. while the profit on the
former is not less than from five hundred to one thousand per cent.
and sometimes more.

It is impossible to estimate the amount of this base money which has
entered into the circulation of the Country during the last twenty
years; but it must be very great, since one of the principal Coiners
of stamped money, who some time since left off business, and made some
important discoveries, acknowledged to the Author, that he had coined
to the extent of _two hundred thousand pounds_ sterling in counterfeit
_half-crowns_, and other base silver money, in a period of seven
years. This is the less surprising, as two persons can stamp and
finish to the amount of from 200_l._ to 300_l._ a week.[44]

[Footnote 44: A _Liquid Test_ has been discovered by Mr. ALSTON, an
eminent Manufacturer, in Birmingham, of great worth and
respectability, which cannot fail to be of the greatest use in
detecting every species of counterfeit Gold and Silver money, whether
_plated_ or _washed_. This discovery is mentioned with pleasure by the
Author, as it is likely to be productive of much benefit to the
Public, in protecting the fair dealers against the frauds daily
practised upon them, in the circulation of base money.--The discovery
is instantaneous by a single touch, and the expence of the Liquid and
Apparatus is trifling.]

Of the Copper Money made in imitation of the current coin of the
realm, there are many different sorts sold at various prices,
according to the size and weight; but in general they may be divided
into two kinds, namely, the stamped and the plain halfpence, of both
which kind immense quantities have been made in London; and also in
Birmingham, Wedgbury, Bilston, and Wolverhampton, &c.[45]

[Footnote 45: A species of counterfeit halfpence made _wholly of
lead_, has been circulated in considerable quantities, coloured in
such a manner as even to deceive the best judges. They are generally
of the Reign of George II. and have the exact appearance of old Mint

The plain halfpence are generally made at Birmingham; and from their
thickness, afford a wonderful deception. They are sold, however, by
the coiners to the large dealers at about a farthing each, or 100 per
cent. profit in the tale or aggregate number. These dealers are not
the _utterers_; but sell them again by retail in _pieces_, or
_five-shilling papers_, at the rate of from 28_s._ to 31_s._ for a
guinea; not only to the Smashers, but also to persons in different
trades, as well in the Metropolis as in the Country Towns, who pass
them in the course of their business at the full import value.

Farthings are also made in considerable quantities, chiefly in London,
but so very thin that the profit upon this species of coinage is much
greater than on the halfpence, though these counterfeits are not now,
as formerly, made of base metal. The copper of which they are made is
generally pure. The advantage lies in the weight alone, where the
_coiners_, _sellers_, and _utterers_, do not obtain less than 200 per
cent. A well known coiner has been said to finish from sixty to eighty
pounds sterling a week. Of halfpence, two or three persons can stamp
and finish to the nominal amount of at least two hundred pounds in six

When it is considered that there are seldom less than between forty
and fifty coinages or private mints, almost constantly employed in
London and in different country towns; in stamping and fabricating
base silver and copper money, the evil may justly be said to have
arrived at an enormous height. It is indeed true that these people
have been a good deal interrupted and embarrassed from time to time,
by detections and convictions; but while the laws are so inapplicable
to the new tricks and devices they have resorted to, these convictions
are only _a drop in the bucket_: while such encouragements are held
out the execution of one rogue only makes room for another to take up
his customers; and indeed as the offence of selling is only a
misdemeanor it is no unusual thing for the wife and family of a
culprit, or convicted _seller_ of _base money_ to carry on the
business, and to support him luxuriously in Newgate, until the
expiration of the _year_ and _day's_ imprisonment, which is generally
the punishment inflicted for this species of offence.

It has been already stated [_page_ 16, &c.] that trading in base money
has now become as regular and systematic as any fair branch of

Certain it is, that immense quantities have been regularly sent from
London to the Camps during the summer season; and to persons at the
sea-ports and manufacturing towns, who again sell in retail to the
different tradesmen and others who pass them at the full _import_

In this nefarious traffic a number of the lower order of the German
Jews in London assist the dealers in an eminent degree, particularly
in the circulation of bad halfpence.

It has not been an unusual thing for several of these dealers to hold
a kind of market every morning, where from forty to fifty of these
German Jew boys are regularly supplied with counterfeit halfpence;
which they dispose of in the course of the day in different streets
and lanes of the Metropolis, for _bad shillings_, at about 3_d._ each.
Care is always taken that the person who cries bad shillings shall
have a companion near him who carries the halfpence, and takes charge
of the purchased shillings (which are not cut:) so as to elude the
detection of the Officers of the Police, in the event of being

The bad shillings thus purchased, are received in payment by the
employers of the boys, for the bad halfpence supplied them, at the
rate of four shillings a dozen; and are generally resold to
_Smashers_, at a profit of two shillings a dozen; who speedily
re-colour them, and introduce them again into circulation, at their
full nominal value.

The boys will generally clear from five to seven shillings a day, by
this fraudulent business; which they almost uniformly spend, during
the evening, in riot and debauchery; returning pennyless in the
morning to their old trade.

Thus it is that the frauds upon the Public multiply beyond all
possible conception, while the tradesman, who, unwarily at least if
not improperly, sells his counterfeit shillings to Jew boys at
threepence each, little suspects that it is for the purpose of being
returned upon him again at the rate of twelve-pence; or 300 per cent.
profit to the purchasers and utterers.

But these are not the only criminal devices to which the coiners and
dealers, as well as the utterers of base money, have had recourse, for
answering their iniquitous purposes.

Previous to the Act of the 37 Geo. 3. cap. 126, counterfeit French
crowns, half-crowns, and shillings, of excellent workmanship, were
introduced with a view to elude the punishment of the then deficient
Laws relative to Foreign Coin.

Fraudulent die-sinkers are to be found both in the Metropolis and in
Birmingham, who are excellent artists; able and willing to copy the
exact similitude of any coin, from the British guinea to the sequin of
Turkey, or to the Star Pagoda of Arcot. The delinquents have therefore
every opportunity and assistance they can wish for; while their
accurate knowledge of the deficiency of the laws, (particularly
relative to British Coin) and where the point of danger lies, joined
to the extreme difficulty of detection, operates as a great
encouragement to this species of treason, felony, and fraud; and
affords the most forcible reason why these pests of society still
continue to afflict the honest part of the community.

An opinion prevails, founded on information obtained through the
medium of the most intelligent of these coiners and dealers, that of
the counterfeit money now in circulation, not above one third part is
of the species of _Flats_ or _composition money_; which has been
mentioned as the most intrinsically valuable of counterfeit silver,
and contains from one fourth to one third silver; the remainder being
blanched copper.--The other two thirds of the counterfeit money being
_cast_ or _washed_, and intrinsically worth little or nothing, the
imposition upon the public is obvious. Taking the whole upon an
average, the amount of the injury may be fairly calculated at within
ten per cent. of a total loss upon the mass of the base silver money
now in circulation; which, if a conclusion may be drawn from what
passes under the review of any person who has occasion to receive
silver in exchange, must considerably exceed _one million sterling_!
To this we have the miserable prospect of an accession every year,
until some effectual steps shall be taken to remedy the evil.

Of the Copper Coinage, the quantity of counterfeits at one time in
circulation might be truly said to equal three fourth parts of the
whole, and nothing is more certain than that a very great proportion
of the actual counterfeits passed as Mint halfpence, from their size
and appearance, although they yielded the coiners a large profit.

Even at present the state both of the silver and copper coinage of
this kingdom (the copper pence only excepted) deserves very particular
attention, for at no time can any person minutely examine either the
one coin or the other, which may come into his possession, without
finding a considerable proportion counterfeit.

Until, therefore, a new coinage of halfpence and farthings takes place
upon the excellent plan adopted by Government, with respect to the
pence now partially in circulation, what must be the situation of the
retail dealers, the brewers, distillers, and many other classes of
industrious traders, who in the course of their business, are
compelled to receive depreciated counterfeit money?[46]

[Footnote 46: It is a curious fact, that although the number of Pence
which have been supplied by that admirable Artist, Mr. BOULTON, of
Birmingham, and which have been actually circulated amounts to Forty
Million of Pieces, making £.166,666. 12_s._ 4_d._ sterling, and which
is equal to 4_d._ for every inhabitant in this Island, according to
the largest computation: yet the quantity of halfpence (chiefly
counterfeits) which are found in actual circulation, are at least in
the proportion of forty to one. This must ever be the case until some
expedient, such as is hereafter recommended, shall be adopted for
calling them in, and substituting in their place a new Coinage of the
full standard weight: For it is evident that the Dealers and Tradesmen
at present hoard up the penny pieces, and only circulate the
counterfeit halfpence which they receive; the nuisance therefore
remains, and the coiners are thus encouraged to continue their
nefarious practices.]

The burden is not only grievous beyond expression, to those who have
no alternative but to take such base money in payment; but extends
indirectly to _the Poor_: in as much as the diminished value of such
coin, arising from its reduced or base quality taken in connection
with the quantities thrown into circulation, tends to enhance the
price of the first articles of necessity.

The labourer, the handicraftsman, and the working manufacturer, being
generally paid their weekly wages, partly in copper money of
depreciated value;--it is obvious that they must obtain less than they
would otherwise receive, were the coin of a higher standard; for the
retail dealers who furnish the poor with food, must shield themselves,
at least in part, against the unavoidable losses arising from base
money; by advancing the prices of their various commodities.

Nor are such advances made upon a principle which cannot be defended;
since it is evident that the relative value _even of the old copper
coin of the Mint_ to gold or silver, is nearly _twice its intrinsic
value_; and while such copper money cannot be paid into the receipt of
his Majesty's Exchequer, or received in payment by the officers of the
revenue, the burden and loss of a diminished coin fall entirely upon
the traders, (who are compelled to receive such money,) and upon the
labourers and mechanics through whose medium it is chiefly circulated.

While the disproportion thus stated between the denominative value of
copper and silver money is so very great, it is evident that the legal
coinage of copper must produce an immense profit; as _one pound_ of
copper estimated at 15 _pence_[47] will make as many halfpence, of the
legal coinage, as pass for _two shillings_.

[Footnote 47: A few years ago sheet-copper was as low as 11-1/2_d._ a
pound, and will probably be again at the same price on the return of
Peace. Indeed it has been even lower, although it has recently very
much advanced in price.]

This fact plainly shews the vast temptation which is held out to those
who carry on the counterfeit coinage, where the profit from the coiner
to the dealers, and from these dealers to the utterers, at the full
denominative value, must be in many instances from two to three
hundred per cent. When to this circumstance is added the security
which the deficiencies in the present laws hold out, the whole
operates as a kind of bounty to these fraudulent people, who cannot
resist the prosecution of a trade where the profit is so immense, and
where a coinage equally _pure and heavy_ as the old mint standard
would even be extremely productive.[48]

[Footnote 48: This observation does not apply to Mr. Boulton's New
Copper Coinage; for although some feeble attempts have been made to
counterfeit it, these can never go to a great extent, from its not
being a sufficient object of profit; besides the fraud is easily
detected, since each penny weighs an exact ounce: of course the
halfpence should weigh half an ounce, and the farthings one quarter of
an ounce, when these last two denominations are brought into
circulation; as it is expected they will be.]

In every view the evil at present arising from base money of every
denomination appears to be of the greatest magnitude--while its extent
will scarce be credited by any but those who have turned their
attention very minutely to the subject.

The trade of dealing in counterfeit coin acquires its greatest vigour
towards the end of March; for then the Lotteries are over, when
_Swindlers_, _Gamblers_, _Pretended Dealers in Horses_, _Travellers
with EO Tables_, and _Hawkers_ and _Pedlars_ go into the country,
carrying with them considerable quantities of base silver and copper
money; by which they are enabled, in a great degree, to extend the
circulation, by cheating and defrauding ignorant country people.

In the spring season too, the dealers in counterfeit coin begin to
make up their orders for the different country towns; and it is
supposed, upon good grounds, that there is now scarcely a place of any
consequence all over the kingdom where they have not their
correspondents; it is also a fact well established, that many of these
correspondents come regularly to the _Metropolis_, and also go to
Birmingham and the neighbouring towns once or twice a year for the
purpose of purchasing base money, where the evil is said to be
increasing even more than in London.

It very seldom happens, on account of the great demand, (especially of
late years) that the dealers have ever any considerable stock on hand.
The base money is no sooner finished, than it is packed up and sent to
customers in town and country; and with such rapidity has it been
fabricated, on occasions of pressing emergency, that a single dealer
has been known to procure from the coiners who worked for him, from
£.300 to £.500 for country orders, in the course of the week!

The lower ranks among the Irish, and the German Jews, are the chief
supporters of the trade of circulating base money in London;--there is
said to be scarce an Irish labourer who does not exchange his week's
wages for base money; taking a mixture of shillings, sixpences, and

The Jews principally confine themselves to the coinage and
circulation of copper; while the Irish women are the chief utterers
and colourers of base silver. A vast number of these low females have
acquired the mischievous art of colouring the bad shillings and
sixpences, which they purchase from the employers of Jew-boys, who cry
_bad shillings_.

It is somewhat singular that among the Jews, although many cases occur
where they appear to be coiners of copper money and dealers to a great
extent, yet scarce an instance can be adduced of their having any
concern in the coinage of base silver: neither are they extensive
dealers in any other base money than copper.

The Jews, however, deal largely in foreign coin, counterfeited in this
country; having been the chief means by which _Louis d'Ors_, _Half
Johannas_, as well as various silver coins, (particularly _Dollars_)
made of base metal, have been sent out of this country. It is through
the same channel that the Sequins of Turkey have been exported; and
also the Pagodas of India.[49]

[Footnote 49: See ante, p. 17, 18.]

In contemplating and in developing the causes of the vast accumulation
and increase of base money, which has thus deluged the country of late
years, the evil will be found to have proceeded chiefly from the want
of _a new coinage:--of laws, applicable to the new tricks and devices
practised by the coiners:--of proper checks upon fraudulent
Circulation:--of rewards for the detection and apprehension of
Offenders;--and of a sufficient fund to ensure the prompt execution of
the law; by a vigorous and energetic Police_, directed not only to the
execution of apposite laws in the detection and punishment of
offenders, but also to the means of prevention.

The vigour and energy requisite to put good and apposite laws in
execution for the suppression of crimes of every kind, but
particularly that of the coinage and circulation of base money, depend
much on the zeal and activity of the Magistrate: and on the affording
an adequate pecuniary resource, to enable him to reward men who may
undertake to risk their persons in the company of desperate and daring
offenders, in order to obtain that species of evidence which will
produce a conviction. Without such pecuniary resource, the law, as
well as the exertions of the Magistrate, becomes a dead letter: and
his efforts for the purpose of promoting the ends of public justice,
are crippled and lost to the Community.

In suppressing great evils, strong and adequate powers must be
applied, and nothing can give force and activity to these powers, but
the ability to reward liberally all persons engaged in the public
service, either as police officers, or as temporary agents for the
purpose of detecting atrocious offenders. The following ideas are
therefore suggested with a view to the important subject at present
under discussion.

The Coinage Laws (except those relating to copper money) which
contain the most important regulations in the way of prevention,
having been made a century ago, it is not to be wondered at, in
consequence of the regular progress of the evil, and the new
contrivances and artifices resorted to, in that period, that many
obvious amendments have become necessary. A consolidation of the whole
laws from the 25th of Edward the Third, to the 14th of his present
Majesty, would, perhaps, be the most desirable object; as it would
afford a better opportunity of correcting every deficiency, and of
rendering this branch of the criminal code, _concise_, _clear_,
_explicit_,--applicable to the existing evils, and to the means of

For the purpose, however, of more fully elucidating this proposition,
it will be necessary to state the existing laws, and what are
considered as the most apparent deficiencies therein.

We will begin by giving a short _Summary_ of the existing Laws.

  25 Edw. III. _stat._      These acts make counterfeiting the
     5, _cap._ 2.           gold and silver coin of the
  1 Mary, _stat._ 2, _c._   realm--counterfeiting foreign money,
    6.                      current within the realm--knowingly
  1 & 2 Ph. & Mary,         bringing false money into the realm
    _cap._ 11.              counterfeit to the money of England;
  5 Eliz. _cap._ 11.        or bringing in _any_ false and
  14 Eliz. _cap._ 3.        counterfeit money, current within
  18 Eliz. _cap._ 1.        the realm; in order to utter the
                            same here;--diminishing or
                            lightening any current (gold or
                            silver) coin--_High
                            Treason_.--Counterfeiting foreign
                            money, not current in the
                            kingdom--_Misprision of Treason_.

  8 & 9 Will. III.          These Acts contain a detail of
    _cap._ 26 (_made        the principal offences and punishments,
    perpetual by_ 7         upon which prosecutions
    Anne, _c._ 25)--9       are founded at present.
    & 10 Will. III.
    _c._ 21.

  7th of Queen Anne,        Allows 400_l._ a year for prosecuting
    _cap._ 24.              offenders; increased by 15
                            Geo. II. _c._ 28. § 10, to 600_l._

  15th of George II.        Amends some of the above laws, and
    _cap._ 28.              establishes new regulations relative
                            to the Copper Coinage.

  11th George III.          Makes further regulations respecting
    _cap._ 40.              the Copper Coinage; which, however,
                            have not been at all effectual.

Since the last edition of this work the following additions have been
made to the Statute Law on this subject.

By 37 Geo. III. _c._ 126, so much of 15 Geo. II. _c._ 28, as relates
to _halfpence and farthings_, and the statute 11 Geo. III. _c._ 40,
and all other acts relating to the copper money of this realm, are
extended to all such copper money as shall be coined and issued, by
the King's Proclamation.--This was for the purpose of protecting the
Coinage of _penny_ and _twopenny_ pieces made for Government by Mr.
Boulton, of Birmingham; and which it is believed have not yet been
counterfeited, at least to any great extent.

By the same statute, 37 Geo. III. _c._ 126, persons counterfeiting any
_foreign gold or silver coin_, tho' not current in this realm, are
made guilty of felony, punishable by seven years' transportation; as
are also persons bringing the same into the realm, with intent to
utter it.--A penalty is imposed on persons tendering _such_
counterfeit coin in payment, _or exchange_; for the first offence, six
months' imprisonment: for the second, two years; and on the third,
they are declared guilty of felony without Clergy.--Persons having
more than _five_ pieces of such counterfeit coin in their possession,
shall forfeit the same, and also a penalty of not more than £.5, nor
less than 40_s._ for each piece; or suffer three months'
imprisonment.--Justices are impowered to grant warrants for searching
suspected places, _for such counterfeit foreign coin_; which with the
tools and materials may be seized and carried before a Justice, who
shall secure the same as evidence: to be afterwards destroyed.

By statute 38 Geo. III. _c._ 59, the act 14 Geo. III. _c._ 42,
prohibiting the importation of light silver coin of this realm, was
revived and continued till June 1, 1799.--And by statute 39 Geo. III.
_c._ 75, it was made perpetual.

By statute 38 Geo. III. _c._ 67, _Copper Coin_ not being the legal
Copper Coin of this realm, and _all counterfeit gold or silver coin
whatever_, exported, or shipped for exportation, to Martinique or any
of the British Colonies in the West Indies or America, is declared to
be forfeited, and may be seized as under the laws respecting the
Customs.--And a penalty is imposed on persons exporting it, of £.200
and double the value of the coin.

We next proceed to state the deficiencies which still remain

     1. The punishment inflicted on the different offences
     specified in the Coinage Laws, do not seem to be adequate to
     the degree of enormity, in some instances; while in others,
     from being too severe, the law is not always put in
     execution. The sale of base Money (for instance) under the
     value it imports, is only punishable by a year's
     imprisonment; although in point of fact, it is well known,
     that the Sellers are the _Employers of the Coiners_; that
     with them this high offence originates, and but for them it
     would not have been committed: while the actual Coiners, who
     work for these Dealers merely as Journeymen, subject
     themselves to the punishment of Death.

     2. Prosecutions under the stat. 8 & 9 W. III. _c._ 26, are
     at present limited to commence within three months. This may
     often defeat justice, as offences committed in the country
     frequently cannot be tried in less than four, five, and in
     some cases nearly six months. [-->] _The limitation to
     twelve months would remove the difficulty._ [There is no
     such limitation in the statutes of 37 & 38 of Geo. III. just
     alluded to.]

     3. The words _Milled Money_ seemed necessary, in the minds
     of the makers of the act of 8 & 9 William III. _cap._ 26, to
     form the description of coin similar to the current Coin of
     the Realm; and that Act declares it to be felony to take,
     receive, pay, or put off _counterfeit milled Money_.--A
     considerable portion of counterfeit Coin is _cast_, and _not
     milled_. [-->] _The words_ counterfeit Money, Milled _or_
     not Milled, _would remove the ambiguity._

     4. It does not appear that any provision is clearly made, or
     punishment inflicted, for the offence of _uttering base
     silver Money in exchange_, as well as in payment: except
     under _stat._ 8 and 9 Will. III. _cap._ 26, where the
     expression of _counterfeited milled money_ is used, the
     ambiguity of which has already been noticed. The words in
     the _stat._ 15 Geo. II. _c._ 28. are, "any person who shall
     utter or tender in payment," and it seems that the word
     _utter_ cannot be detached from the subsequent words, "in
     payment." [The partial remedy applied in this particular in
     the instance of counterfeit _foreign gold and silver coin_,
     under 37 Geo. III. _c._ 126, should be extended to _all_
     cases of counterfeit money.]

     5. The laws peculiarly relating to the _Copper Coinage_,
     although more modern, have also been found to be extremely
     defective, and totally inadequate to their object. The Act
     of the 11th of his present Majesty, _cap._ 40, indeed,
     makes it felony to sell Copper Money of the similitude _of
     the current Money of the Realm_ at a less value than the
     denomination doth import; but the benefit of Clergy not
     being taken away, and no specific punishment being
     mentioned, the offenders are generally subjected only to a
     year's inprisonment, which proves no check whatever, as
     their families carry on business in the mean time; and if
     they sell _plain or evasive Halfpence_, or what are called
     _Irish Harps_, or mix them with _stamped Half-pence_,
     similar to the current Coin of the Realm, so that the
     stamped Coin does not exceed the value of what the
     denomination imports, it is doubtful whether the prosecution
     will not fail.

[-->] It is submitted, that a statute ought to be framed, declaring it
_Felony_, punishable by seven years' transportation: 1st. For any
person to make or manufacture any piece of Copper or other metal, with
or without any device whatsoever, with an intent that it shall pass as
the _Copper Monies of the Kingdoms of Great Britain or Ireland_. 2nd.
For any smith, engraver, founder, &c. or any person, except those
employed in the Mint, or authorized by the Treasury, to make or mend,
buy or sell, conceal or have in their possession, without a lawful
excuse, any puncheon, stamp, die, mould, &c. on which shall be
impressed, or with intent that there shall be impressed on the same,
any resemblance whatever, in part or in the whole, of such _Copper
Monies_. 3d. For any person to buy or sell, or offer to buy or sell,
or to utter or tender in payment, or to give or offer to give in
exchange, _thirty or more pieces of Copper_ in any one day; such piece
resembling or being intended to resemble, or passing or being intended
to pass as the current Copper Money of the said kingdoms.

That such proposed statute should also make it a misdemeanor
(punishable by a fine of 40_s._ for the first offence, £5. for the
second, and £10. for every subsequent offence) for any person to buy,
sell, utter, &c. any number _less than thirty_ of such pieces of
Copper, resembling or intended to resemble or pass, &c. as such
current Copper Money. The fines to be recoverable in a summary way
before one magistrate. This would reach Turnpike-men and others, who
wilfully pass bad Halfpence at one gate which are refused at another:
and would generally check the circulation of base Copper Money, which
has become an evil of great magnitude.

     6. The laws, as they now stand, are silent regarding
     Provincial Copper Coin, or what are called _Tokens_,
     representing an Halfpenny. It might perhaps be useful to
     legalize _Tokens_ or _Provincial Coins_ on three conditions.
     [-->] _1. That the Copper of which they are made shall be
     pure.--2. That this Coin shall be at least 10 per cent.
     heavier than Mr. Boulton's new Coinage.--3. That the parties
     circulating such Coin be responsible to the holders, for the
     value in Gold or Silver, when demanded: and shall stamp
     their names and an obligation to that purpose on the Coins,
     Tokens, or Medals so issued by them._--It would be necessary
     under such circumstances that every person, issuing Tokens
     or Medals, should take out a Licence for that purpose from
     the principal Officers of the Mint, as an authority for such
     Coinage: giving security at the same time to observe the
     above Conditions.

It may, however, be worthy consideration, whether these tokens should
not be wholly suppressed, and the offence of fabricating any Copper
pieces passing, or intended to pass "_as, for, or in lieu of_" the
lawful Copper Coin, be made felony: and that such tokens should in all
respects be considered as actual Counterfeit Coin, and treated
accordingly: or, at all events, that persons issuing and circulating
such tokens should be liable to a severe penalty; and bound to pay the
holder, on demand, the full denominated value.

     7. The mischievous agents of the Dealers in base Money, _the
     persons who keep Flatting-mills, and other machinery, for
     preparing, and rolling their metals, for being coined into
     base Money_, are not at present within the reach of
     punishment by any existing law. Although by preparing the
     metal for the subsequent process of stamping, they are in
     fact parties concerned, without whose aid the Coinage of
     what are called _Flats_, or milled money, could not be
     carried on.--The chief difficulty is in punishing persons
     for producing an article which may be turned into coach and
     harness ornaments, buttons, and many purposes as well as
     base Money.

[-->] With respect to this whole tribe of dangerous manufacturers,
whose trade and abilities are so liable to be perverted to iniquitous
purposes, it has been under consideration to regulate them, by
legislative measures, to the following effect: viz. "That no person,
except those employed in the mints, shall erect, set up, or use, or
knowingly have in possession any _cutting engine for cutting round
blanks by the force of a screw out of fatted bars or sheets of Copper,
or other metal_; or any _stamping press, fly, rolling mill, flatting
mill, or other instrument for stamping, flatting, or marking metals_,
or _which, with the assistance of any matrix, Stamp, or dye, will
stamp or mark Copper or other metals, or prepare the same for stamping
or marking_, without first giving notice thereof in writing to persons
authorized to keep an entry and registry thereof, containing the
Christian and Surnames of the owners of such instruments, and
describing the use thereof, and the house or other place in which the
same is intended to be erected, set up, used or kept; and to give the
like notice on any removal, under a certain penalty, recoverable as in
the case of Hair Powder, and other revenue laws."--It is believed, on
the best authority, that the Licence here proposed (especially as it
would subject the parties to no pecuniary burden) would meet the
approbation of the principal manufacturers, on account of the
facilities which it would afford in detecting and in embarrassing
those who set up machinery for unlawful purposes.

     8. No provision is made in any Act against, and consequently
     no punishment is inflicted on, the offence of _buying base
     money to recolour it_--[-->] This is a modern device, and
     may be remedied, as it seems, by enacting--"That every
     person who shall buy, take or receive any blank or round
     piece of blanched copper, mixed metal, or metal of any sort
     whatsoever, for the purpose of colouring the same, or
     causing the same to be coloured, or with intent or knowledge
     that the same shall or will be coloured, or which shall have
     been coloured, so as to pass for the current Gold or Silver
     Coins of Great Britain or Ireland, shall be punishable by a
     fine of £.20 and one month's imprisonment; and that any
     person who shall buy or sell, or offer to buy or sell any
     piece of blanched Copper, &c. which may formerly have passed
     as or for such current Gold or Silver Coin, shall be
     punishable by a fine of 40_s._ recoverable in a summary way;
     or by one month's imprisonment."--This last penalty will
     reach the Jew Boys, who cry bad shillings, and will prove,
     it is hoped, an effectual check by means of a very mild
     punishment upon shopkeepers, tradesmen, and others, who
     inadvertently sell defaced counterfeit shillings without
     reflecting that although they obtain 3_d._ in this traffick
     for what is not intrinsically worth one farthing, that the
     same counterfeits are again coloured, and received by them
     at the full value of 12_d._

     9. No existing law gives any power to Magistrates upon
     information on oath, to search for, or seize Counterfeit
     Coin of this realm in the custody or possession of _known
     Dealers_ or _reputed Utterers_; although these Dealers and
     Utterers are now the persons (and not the actual Coiners)
     who keep the base money: neither is there any power to seize
     base money conveying in coaches or waggons going into the
     country. Under this shelter the Dealers are enabled to hold
     markets for sale in their houses, where they frequently keep
     large stocks; and base money is also sent into the country
     without the least hazard of detection or seizure.

[-->] Here again the partial remedy introduced by 37 Geo. III. c. 126,
should be extended and applied.

     10. No power is directly given by any existing law, (not
     even by the modern Act last mentioned) though upon the most
     pointed information, to search the houses or workshops of
     coiners _in the night time_. Hence it is that _detection_
     becomes so difficult, and the evil increases, because the
     law in some measure shields the offenders from discovery.
     Since in Lottery offences (which are certainly greatly
     inferior in their enormity to Coining) a power is granted to
     break open houses in the night-time, surely no reason can be
     assigned why treasonable offences, in Coining base Money,
     should not in this respect be on the same footing. Unless a
     positive power is given to search in the night, and suddenly
     to force open doors or windows, it will be impossible to
     detect the Makers of Cast Money.

     11. The act 11 Geo. III. cap. 40. gives a power to
     Magistrates to issue their warrants to search for tools and
     implements used in the _Copper Coinage_, (with regard to
     Silver or Gold Coinage of this realm no such power is
     given); but, what is very singular, _no punishment whatever
     can be inflicted by any existing law_ on the owner or
     proprietor of such tools for making Copper Money, nor upon
     the person in whose house they are found; and if when such
     search is made, there should be found only _plain_
     Halfpence, or _Irish Harps_, or _evasive Halfpence_ or
     _Farthings, varying in the Stamp_ in any degree from the
     current Coin of the Realm, so as not to be of the exact
     similitude, (a practice which has now for some time very
     much prevailed) the act in question is defeated; inasmuch as
     the crime of felony does not attach to offences short of
     Coining _Copper Money of the similitude of the current Coin
     of the Realm_. The Coinage of base Copper therefore goes on
     with impunity; because it is owing to the carelessness of
     the parties themselves if ever they permit the law to reach

     12. The laws now in being give no power to seize Counterfeit
     Halfpence; either in the hands of the Dealers, who keep a
     kind of open market at their own houses every morning to
     supply Jew Boys, who cry bad Shillings, or in those of many
     others in various trades, who become the channels of
     circulation to a vast extent without risk or inconvenience.
     Neither does the statute law authorize the apprehension of
     Jew Boys, who go out every morning loaded with counterfeit
     Copper, which they exchange for bad shillings.

[-->] To remedy this part of the evil, it is proposed, "That on
complaint made to any one Justice of Peace upon oath, that there is
just cause to suspect that any person is concerned in making or using,
or has in their custody any unlawful puncheon, stamp, die, mould, &c.
made for the purpose, or which may be applied to the purpose, of
counterfeiting the Gold, Silver, or Copper Coin of the Kingdoms of
Great Britain or Ireland; or of making or manufacturing any pieces of
metal intended to pass as such coin, or any cutting engine for cutting
round blanks by means of force applied to a screw, or flatted bars of
metal, &c. or any wash or material which will produce the colour of
Gold or silver, or copper, or any round blank of base metal or mixed
metal, or of brass copper, or lead, so as to resemble such coin; or
who hath been concerned in buying, selling, taking in exchange,
receiving, or putting off any Gold, Silver, or Copper Money, not
melted or cut, at a lower rate or value than the same doth import,
such Justice may, by a warrant under his hand, cause the house,
out-house, and other places occupied by such suspected person to be
searched, _either by night or by day_; and if any of the articles
hereinbefore mentioned, or any counterfeit or pretended coin, blanks,
or round pieces of metal be found, the parties to be seized, and, with
the said articles, brought before a Justice, and such articles may be
afterwards used in evidence, and then broken, defaced, and disposed of
as the Court or Justices shall direct.

"That any Constable, Headborough, or Beadle, and every Watchman, while
on duty, may apprehend and detain all and every person or persons who
may be reasonably suspected of having and carrying, or any ways
conveying for the purpose of selling or trafficking in the same, any
counterfeited or forged Gold, Silver, or Copper Money, whether the
same shall resemble or be intended to resemble, or shall pass or be
intended to pass as and for the coin of the said kingdoms, or of any
foreign Country or State; or having in their possession, without
lawful excuse, any round blanks of base metal or mixed metal, &c. or
any pieces of Gold, Silver, Brass, Copper, or Lead, of a fit size and
figure to be coined, coloured, or converted into Counterfeit Money;
with power also to seize and detain the said Counterfeit Money,
blanks, &c. and convey the same, with the person or persons
apprehended, before one or more Justices; and if the party shall not
give a satisfactory account how the same came into their possession,
or shall not produce the party from whom it was received, he shall be
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by fine and imprisonment
in a summary manner."

     13. The statute 37 Geo. III. cap. 126. (see p. 194) has
     restrained the evil pointed out in former editions of this
     Treatise, respecting the counterfeiting of Foreign Gold and
     Silver Coin. It is to be wished, however, that the penalties
     imposed on the _exportation_ of such counterfeit Coin by 38
     Geo. III. cap. 67, could be further extended and enforced.

     14. It must here be repeated, that the great cause of the
     defect in the execution of the Laws against Coiners, is the
     want of a proper fund for Prosecutions and Rewards, and
     other expences for detecting Offenders.--The acts 7 Anne,
     cap. 24, and 15 Geo. II. cap. 28, allow only £.600 for the
     expence of prosecutions, which has never been increased for
     above half a century; although the offences, as well as the
     expence of detection and prosecutions, have increased, at
     least, six fold.

     15. The reward of £.40, given under the Acts 6 and 7 William
     III. cap. 17; 15 Geo. II. cap. 28, is construed to be
     limited only to the Conviction of actual Coiners and
     Clippers of Gold and Silver; and is not allowed to extend to
     colouring and finishing, as well as a number of other
     offences connected with _making_, _counterfeiting_, and
     _uttering base_ Money:--the reward for Copper Coin is by the
     said Act of 15 Geo. II. cap. 28, limited to £.10, and is by
     no means a sufficient encouragement to Officers to do their
     duty. _It would be a great improvement if a liberal sum were
     allowed by Parliament for detections, prosecutions, and
     rewards; to be paid on the report of the Judges who try the
     offenders, according to the merit and trouble of the
     apprehenders, prosecutors, and witnesses; whether there is a
     conviction or not._

The following rewards have been suggested as proper to make part of a
Bill now in a state of preparation, for the general Regulation of the
Coinage: and which is meant to include all the remedies before hinted
at and pointed out: a Legislative measure which must do honour to the
Minister who will carry it into execution.

  To persons contributing to the conviction
  of _Coiners of British or Foreign Coin, or
  persons plating with Gold or Silver_, or
  _persons colouring with wash_ or _materials
  to produce the colour of Gold or Silver_, any
  blanks or flats of metal, base or mixed,               £.  _s._ _d._
  to resemble the said current Coin                      40   0    0

  Convicting, &c. persons guilty of counterfeiting
  Copper money of these Kingdoms
  or of Foreign States, or colouring such
  Copper money to resemble the same                      20   0    0

  Convicting, &c. persons guilty of uttering
  counterfeit Gold and Silver Coin, and
  selling it at a lower rate than it imports             10   0    0

  Convicting, &c. persons guilty of buying
  or selling Counterfeit Copper money of
  Foreign States at a lower rate than it
  imports                                                10   0    0

To be paid without deduction or fee, within one month after such
conviction, on tendering a certificate to the Sheriff.

It is also proposed that the Treasury shall have power to issue out of
the Duties of Customs a sufficient sum of money for prosecuting
offenders against the Mint laws.

Whatever might be the effect of these amendments in the Mint laws, and
necessary as they appear to be, it is still to be feared that until a
new coinage of Silver money and Copper halfpence and farthings shall
take place, no legislative restrictions, regulations, or punishments,
can produce an effectual cure to this enormous evil; although, from
the many deficiencies which have been detailed, it is evident a great
deal of good may be done immediately in this way.

A coinage of Silver money is a great State question, which may require
a fuller consideration; but no doubt can be entertained of the
indispensable necessity of such a measure, as soon as circumstances
will admit.

If to a new coinage of _shillings_ and _sixpences_, should be added an
extensive coinage of silver money of the value of _four pence_ and
_three pence_, according to ancient usage, it would prove a great
convenience to the public, and remedy much of the inconvenience which
arises from the ponderous nature of Copper money; while a smaller
quantity would be required for circulation.

No doubt can be entertained of the nation deriving considerable
advantages from having increased the weight of copper coin, so as to
bring it as near as possible to the _intrinsic_ value of the metal of
which it is composed.

This arrangement will, it is hoped, ultimately prove the means of
effectually preventing counterfeits; and the copper, being a native
article produced in the country, may in time, through the medium of
_coined money_, become a profitable branch of commerce with foreign
nations; where even an extensive circulation may be insured, in
consequence of the _intrinsic_ and _denominative_ value being the
same, or nearly so.

This is exemplified in the policy of Sweden, where the copper dollar
being so heavy as to answer to sixpence sterling, has long been
exported; and forms a considerable, and even a profitable branch of
commerce to that nation.

In Russia the _Three Copee Piece_ is very nearly of the weight of six
English halfpence, yet its current value is only a small fraction
above one penny sterling;--and thus by issuing no copper coin where
the _denominative_ is not in proportion to the _intrinsic_ value,
every class of dealers who vend the necessaries of life are shielded
against loss; and every unnatural rise in the price of provisions for
the subsistence of the poor is of course prevented.

This principle seems to have been admitted by the Legislature; for
when the subject of Copper Money was under the consideration of the
House of Commons, at a period not very remote, the Journals shew that
an opinion then prevailed, "_that the most effectual means to secure
the Copper Coin from being counterfeited, was, that the denominative
value of such Coin should bear as near a proportion as possible to the
intrinsic_ value of the metal of which it was formed."[50]

[Footnote 50: Journal, House of Commons, Vol. xviii. p. 178.]

In fine, it is a question worthy of attention, whether in order to
prevent clamour, and to shut out at once all pretence for circulating
any of the old Copper money, _good or bad_, after the period when Mr.
Boulton shall be able to furnish a sufficient quantity of halfpence
and farthings for circulation, it might not be proper to consider how
far it would be practicable as a measure of State policy, to introduce
a clause into the proposed Bill, empowering the Treasury, within a
given time, to receive all the old Copper Coin, good and bad, at a
certain price per ton, allowing a _bonus_ to the honest holders of it
of 20 per cent. above the current price of Copper.--This would at once
clear the country of counterfeit halfpence and farthings, and would
reconcile the holders to the loss; while the pecuniary sacrifice to
Government would be more than compensated an hundred-fold by a
compleat and instant renovation of this species of coinage.--As the
chief part of the bad halfpence are good copper, they could be
recoined, or sold, as might appear most beneficial.

It is earnestly to be hoped that the further regulations proposed will
be adopted; and followed up, by an extensive coinage of Silver money,
so as to shield the honest part of the Community against a system of
fraud, rapid beyond all example in its growth, and unparalleled as to
its extent.[51]

[Footnote 51: It was suggested in a former edition of this work, that
a coinage of _seven shilling_ pieces of _gold_ would be of great
utility.--The expedient was adopted by Government at the end of the
year 1797.]

Certain it is, that base money contributes more to the support as well
as to the _increase_ of the number of those mischievous and abandoned
members of the community, who exist _wholly_ by different kinds of
fraud, than any other device which they pursue to enable them to live
in their present state of idleness and debauchery, and to indulge in
luxury and extravagance.

The increase is certainly astonishing, since it is known that in
London and the Country, there were some time since fifty-four actual
Coiners, and fifty-six large Dealers, besides, at least, ten Die
sinkers, whose _names_, _characters_, and pursuits, were perfectly
known; but these bear no proportion to the horde of smaller dealers
and utterers of base money in the Metropolis, and in most of the
commercial and manufacturing towns in the kingdom. Their numbers must
amount to several thousands. From being at present nuisances to
society, in the constant habit of defrauding the Public, they might be
rendered (through the application of the remedies proposed) useful
members of the State; by changing a life of idleness and crimes, for a
course of useful labour and industry.


     _The magnitude of the Plunder of Merchandize and Naval
     Stores on the River Thames.--The wonderful extent and value
     of the Floating Property, laden and unladen in the Port of
     London in the course of a year.--Reasons assigned for the
     rise and progress of the excessive Pillage which had so long
     afflicted the Trade of the River Thames.--The modes pursued
     in committing Depredations as the result of a regular
     System, which had been established through the medium of
     various classes of Criminal Delinquents, denominated--River
     Pirates--Night Plunderers--Light Horsemen--Heavy
     Horsemen--Game Watermen--Game Lightermen--Mudlarks--Game
     Officers of the Revenue--And Copemen, or Receivers of Stolen
     Property.--The devices practised by each Class in carrying
     on their criminal designs.--General Observations on the
     extent of the Plunder and number of Individuals implicated
     in this Species of Criminality.--The effects of the Marine
     Police in checking these Depredations.--The advantages which
     have resulted to Trade and Revenue from the partial
     experiment which has been made.--The further benefits to be
     expected when, by apposite Legislative Regulations, the
     System of Protection is extended to the whole Trade of the
     River.--General Reflections arising from the Subject._

The immense depredations committed on every species of Commercial
Property in the River Thames, but particularly on West India produce,
had long been felt as a grievance of the greatest magnitude;
exceedingly hurtful to the Commerce and Revenue of the port of London,
and deeply affecting the interest of the Colonial Planters, as well as
every description of Merchants and Ship-Owners concerned in the Trade
of the River Thames.

The subject of this Chapter will therefore be chiefly confined to a
detail of the causes, which produced these extraordinary and extensive
depredations, and the various means by which they were perpetrated;
and also to the remedies which have been successfully applied since
the publication of the preceding editions of this Work, for the
purpose of reducing within bounds, and keeping in check, this enormous
and growing evil; for certain it is, that previous to the
establishment of the Marine Police System, in the Month of July 1798,
the increase had been regular and progressive, while the easy manner
in which this species of property was obtained, generated an accession
of plunderers every year.

To those whose habits of life afford no opportunities of attending to
subjects of this nature, the details which are now to be given will
appear no less novel than extraordinary; and with respect to the
extent of the mischief in some instances perhaps incredible. The
West India Planters alone have estimated their losses by depredations
upon the River and in the Warehouses at the enormous sum of £.250,000
a year. It cannot be unreasonable then to suppose, that the extent of
the plunder on the other branches of Commerce, which form nearly 5-6th
parts of the whole value of Imports and Exports, could not be less
than £.250,000 more, making an aggregate upon the whole of Half a
Million sterling![52]

[Footnote 52: For a specific Estimate of the plunder on all branches
of trade carried on to and from the port of London, see "A Treatise on
the Commerce and Police of the River Thames: with a summary View of
the Laws of Shipping and Navigation:" (now in the press) by the Author
of this Work.]

Surprising as this may appear at first view, yet when, by a cool
investigation of the subject, it comes to be measured by the scale of
the astonishing Commerce which centers in the port of London,
(according to the annexed Abstract) and the vast extent of Floating
Property moving constantly upon the River Thames, and the adjacent
Wharfs and Quays subject to depredations; when by calculation it is
also found, that the whole amount of the aggregate plunder, great and
extensive as it appears to be, does not much exceed _three quarters
per cent._ on the value of the whole property exposed to danger: the
Reader will be reconciled to an estimate, which from the elucidations
contained in this chapter, will ultimately appear by no means to be



_Made up from the Public Accounts for one year, ending the 5th day of
January, 1798; but differing with regard to the value, from those
accounts; in which the price is estimated on data established many
years ago, when the articles of commerce imported and exported were
not rated at above half the sum they now fetch,_ exclusive _of duty._

_It is, therefore, to be understood that the following Estimate of
Foreign Articles is made up according to the_ present value, _as
nearly as it has been possible to ascertain it, by the payment of the
Convoy-duties, under the Act 38 Geo. 3. cap. 76--It exhibits a very
astonishing picture of the immense opulence and extent of the commerce
of the Metropolis; and accounts in a very satisfactory manner for the
vast resources of the Country, which have been manifested in so
eminent a degree in the course of the present and former wars._

  From whence    Number of Average  Value of Goods Value of Goods   Total Value of
  arrived.       vessels   Tonnage. Imported.      Exported.        Goods imported
                 including                                          and exported.
                                   £.        s. d. £.         s. d. £.         s. d.

  East Indies        53    41,456  6,544,402 10  2  3,957,905  5  1 10,502,307 15  3
  West Indies       346   101,484  7,118,623 12  8  3,895,313 18  7 11,013,937 11  3
   Colonies          68    13,986    290,894  4 10  1,347,250  1  7  1,638,144  6  5
  Africa and
   Cape of
   Good Hope         17     4,336     82,370 15  0    449,077 19  3    531,446 15  1
   Fishery           29     7,461    250,689  3  2         54 16  4    250,743 19  6
   Fishery           16     4,769     64,142  0  8          0  0  0     64,142  0  8
  United States
   of America       140    32,213  1,517,386  2  8  3,898,864 12  9  5,416,250 15  5
   and Turkey        72    14,757    390,794 19 10    118,914  3  7    509,709  3  5
  Spain             121    16,509    776,686 12  2    171,073  4  6    947,759 17  8
  Portugal          180    27,670    414,359  7  2    438,877 16  2    853,237  3  4
  France             56     5,573     15,951 17  8    859,974 16  0    875,926 13  8
   Flanders          66     5,104     21,027  3  2    118,064  2  2    139,091  5  4
  Holland           329    19,166    673,241 17  4  1,538,120  3  6  2,211,362  0 10
  Germany           235    37,647  2,658,011  8  2  8,014,260  3  0 10,672,271 11  2
  Prussia           608    56,955    220,827 14  0    211,662 12  0    432,490  6  0
  Poland             69    17,210    207,477  0  0     35,468 18  3    242,945 18  3
  Sweden            109    14,252    152,707  6 10    169,293 18  4    322,001  5  2
  Denmark and
   Norway           202    48,469     94,821  3  6    711,082 10  8    805,903 14  2
  Russia            230    56,131  1,565,118  7  6    452,106 16  7  2,017,225  4  1

    Jersey and
    Alderney         46     5,344    218,916 12  8     83,281 12  1    302,198  4  9
    Ireland         276    32,824  1,878,971  7  2    659,922 14  1  2,538,894  1  3

    Coal Trade     3676   650,000  1,700,000  0  0     10,000  0  0  1,710,000  0  0
     incl. Wales   5816   500,000  3,900,000  0  0  2,200,000  0  0  6,100,000  0  0
     Coasting       684    60,000    300,000  0  0    300,000  0  0    500,000  0  0
                 13,444 1,779,326 30,957,421  8  2 29,640,568  4  6 60,597,989 12  8

[Footnote 53: No rule being established, whereby the British Coasting
trade can be valued, the Estimate here given is grounded on the
supposition, that the value of each cargo must amount to a certain
moderate sum.--The aggregate of the whole is believed to exceed the
estimate considerably.]


                                          Ships and    Tonnage.
  Foreign and Coasting Trade as
  stated in the foregoing Table           13,268       1,773,326

  Value of Merchandize imported            £.30,957,421  8  2
  Value of Merchandize exported              29,640,568  4  6
  Total imported and exported                60,597,989 12  8

  To which add the Local Trade within
  the limits of the Port, in the Upper
  and Lower Thames, and the River Lea           235,000  0  0

  _With a view to give the mind of
  the Reader a competent idea of the
  whole of the property upon the River
  Thames, which is exposed to hazard,
  the following estimate is added_,

  1. Value of the Hull, Tackle, Apparel
  and Stores of 2144 British, and Coasting
  vessels, trading to the port of
  London, without including, as above,
  the repeated voyages                        8,825,000  0  0

  2. Value of the Hull, Tackle, and Stores
  of 3507 Lighters, Barges, Punts, Hoys,
  Sloops, &c. employed in the Trade of
  the Thames, River Lea, &c.                    350,000  0  0

  3. Value of 3349 Wherries, Bumboats,
  and Police Boats employed on the
  River, &c.                                     25,000  0  0
                                             70,032,989 12  8

  4. Value of Goods, including Coals,
  exposed in Craft and upon the Quays,
  to the risque of pillage on an average
  each day in the year; (Exclusive of the
  Public Arsenals, Ships of War, Gunboats,
  Transports, and Hoys, for conveying
  Navy, Victualing, and Ordnance Stores,
  nearly equal to five Millions more)           235,000  0  0
                              General Total  70,267,989 12  8

Let the mind only contemplate this proud view of the Commerce of a
Single River, unparalleled in point of extent and magnitude in the
whole world; where 13,444 ships and vessels discharge and receive in
the course of a year above three _Millions of Packages_, many of which
contain very valuable articles of merchandize, greatly exposed to
depredations, not only from the criminal habits of many of the aquatic
labourers and others who are employed, but from the temptations to
plunder, arising from the confusion unavoidable in a crowded port, and
the facilities afforded in the disposal of stolen property.--It will
then be easily conceived, that the plunder must have been excessive,
especially where from its analogy to smuggling, at least in the
conceptions of those who were implicated; and from its gradual
increase, the culprits seldom were restrained by a sense of the moral
turpitude of the offence; and where for want of a _Marine Police_
applicable to the object, no means existed whereby offenders could be
detected on the River.[54]

[Footnote 54: While every thing connected with the present state of
Europe, and the whole Commercial world, appears favourable for the
accomplishment of the aggrandisement of the port of London, by the
establishment of Docks (already in part adopted by the Legislature)
and by a general Warehousing System, there is no opinion more
erroneous and delusive than that which supposes that arrangements of
this kind will supersede the necessity of a Police for the protection
of the trade, and for the preservation of the public peace within
these extensive repositories.

In what manner are from two to three thousand labourers, who must be
frequently employed at the same time within these Docks, (and those
too of a class that have been accustomed to plunder, and are not
restrained by any sense of the turpitude of the action) to be
over-awed and controlled, if no Police shall be conceived necessary?

The risk would be immense to commercial property; and pillage, in
spite of the gates, and every precaution which could be taken, would
probably be as extensive as it has been from the Warehouses, or from
his Majesty's Dock Yards, where the want of an appropriate Police has
been the cause of many abuses.

Police as recently exemplified, is quite a new science in political
oeconomy, not yet perfectly understood; it operates as a restraint
of the most powerful kind upon all delinquents who would be restrained
by nothing else. To the system of vigilance which pervades the
criminal actions of labourers upon the River, joined to the imminent
danger of detection, is to be attributed the general success of the
Marine Police, in preventing depredations.

Wherever a proper Police attaches, good order and security will
prevail; where it does not, confusion, irregularity, outrages, and
crimes must be expected; wherever great bodies of aquatic labourers
are collected together, risk of danger from turbulent behaviour, will
be greater in proportion to the number of depraved characters, who,
from being collected in one spot, may hatch mischief, and carry it
into effect much easier in Docks than on the River. A Police only can
counteract this; and to the same preventive system will the commerce
of the Port be indebted for securing both the Docks and the Pool
against Conflagration. In fine, under every circumstance where
Property is exposed, a preventive Police must be resorted to, in order
to be secure.]

The fact is, that the system of River depredations grew, and ramified
as the Commerce of the Port of London advanced, until at length it
assumed the different forms, and was conducted by the various classes
of delinquents, whose nefarious practices are now to be explained
under their respective heads.

1st. _River Pirates._--This class was generally composed of the most
desperate and depraved characters, who followed aquatic pursuits.
Their attention was principally directed to ships, vessels, and craft
in the night, which appeared to be unprotected; and well authenticated
instances of their audacity are recounted, which strongly prove the
necessity of a vigorous and energetic Police. Among many other
nefarious exploits performed by these miscreants, the following may
suffice to shew to what extent their daring and impudent conduct
carried them.

An American vessel lying at East-lane Tier, was boarded in the night,
while the Captain and crew were asleep, by a gang of River Pirates,
who actually weighed the ship's anchor, and hoisted it into their boat
with a complete new cable, with which they got clear off.--The Captain
hearing a noise, came upon deck at the moment the villains had secured
their booty, with which they actually rowed away in his presence,
impudently telling him, they had taken away his anchor and cable, and
bidding him good morning. Their resources afforded them means of
immediate concealment. No Police then existed upon the River, and his
property was never recovered.

A similar instance of atrocity occurred about the same time, where the
bower anchor of a vessel from Guernsey was weighed, and, with the
cable, plundered and carried off in the same manner.

Although only these two instances of extraordinary audacity are
specified, others equally bold and daring could be adduced if the
limits of this Work would admit of it. When vessels first arrive in
the river, particularly those from the West Indies, they are
generally very much lumbered. Ships in this situation were considered
as the harvest of the River Pirates, with whom it was a general
practice to cut away bags of _Cotton_, _Cordage_, _Spars_, _Oars_, and
other articles from the quarter of the vessels, and to get clear off,
even in the day time as well as in the night. Before a Police existed
upon the River all classes of aquatic labourers having been themselves
more or less implicated in the same species of criminality, generally
connived at the delinquency of each other, and hence it followed, that
few or none were detected while afloat and the evil became so

It was frequently the practice of these River Pirates to go armed, and
in sufficient force to resist, and even to act offensively if they met
with opposition.--Their depredations were extensive among craft
wherever valuable goods were to be found; but they diminished in
number after the commencement of the war; and now since the
establishment of the Marine Police they have almost totally

On the return of peace, however, if a system of watchful energy is not
maintained, these miscreants must be expected (as on former occasions
on the termination of wars) to renew their iniquitous depredations in
great force, as numbers of depraved characters may then be expected to
be discharged from the Army and Navy.

2d. _Night Plunderers._--These were composed chiefly of the most
depraved class of watermen, who associated together in gangs of four
or five in number, for the purpose of committing depredations on the
cargoes of lighters and other craft employed in conveying goods to the
quays and wharfs. Their practice was to associate themselves with one
or more of the watchmen who were employed to guard these lighters
while cargoes were on board, and by the connivance of these faithless
guardians of the night, to convey away in lug boats every portable
article of merchandize, to which, through this medium, they often had
too easy access.

These corrupt watchmen did not always permit the lighters under their
own charge to be pillaged.--Their general practice was, to point out
to the leader of the gang those lighters that were without any guard,
and lay near their own, and which, on this account, might be easily
plundered. An hour was fixed on for effecting the object in view. The
Receiver (generally a man of some property) was applied to, to be in
readiness at a certain hour before day-light to warehouse the goods. A
lug boat was seized on for the purpose. The articles were removed into
it out of the lighter, and conveyed to a landing-place nearest the
warehouse of deposit. The watchmen in the streets leading to this
warehouse were bribed to connive at the villainy, often under pretence
that it was a smuggling transaction, and thus the object was effected.

In this precise manner was a quantity of ashes and hemp conveyed in
1798, to the house of an opulent Receiver. Several other cargoes of
hemp, obtained in the same manner, were conveyed up the river, and
afterwards carted in the day-time to the repositories of the
purchaser, till by the vigilance of the Police Boats, a detection took
place, and the whole scene of mischief was laid open.

This species of depredation went to a great extent, and when it was
considered that the very men who Were appointed to guard property in
this situation were themselves associates in the criminality, and
participated in the profit arising from the booty; and that matters
were so arranged as to secure the connivance of all those who were
appointed to situations with a view to detect and apprehend
delinquents; it ceases to be a matter of wonder, that the plunder in
this particular line was excessive.

In many instances where goods could not be plundered through the
connivance of watchmen, it was no uncommon thing to cut lighters
adrift, and to follow them to a situation calculated to elude
discovery where the pillage commenced. In this manner have whole
lighter loads even of coals been discharged at obscure landing places
upon the river, and carted away during the night.

Even the article of Tallow from Russia, which, from the unwieldiness
of the packages, appears little liable to be an object of plunder, has
not escaped the notice of these offenders: large quantities have been
stolen, and an instance has been stated to the Author, where a lighter
loaded with this article was cut from a ship in the Pool, and found
next morning with six large casks of tallow stolen, and two more
broken open, and the chief part plundered and carried away. In short,
while the river remained unprotected nothing escaped these marauders.

3d. _Light-Horsemen_, or Nightly Plunderers of West India ships.--This
class of depredators for a long period of time had carried on their
nefarious practices with impunity, and to an extent in point of value,
that almost exceeds credibility; by which the West India planters and
merchants sustained very serious and extensive losses.

The practice seems to have originated in a connection which was formed
between the Mates of West India ships[55] and the criminal Receivers,
residing near the river, who were accustomed to assail them under the
pretence of purchasing what is called _sweepings_, or in other words,
the spillings or drainings of sugars, which remained in the hold and
between the decks after the cargo was discharged. These sweepings were
claimed as a perquisite by a certain proportion of the Mates, contrary
to the repeated and express rules established by the Committee of
Merchants, who early saw the evils to which such indulgences would
lead, and in vain attempted to prevent it. The connivance, however, of
the Revenue officers became necessary to get these sweepings on
shore, and the quantity of spillings were gradually increased year
after year by fraudulent means, for the purpose of satisfying the
rapacity of all whose assistance and collusion was found necessary to
obtain the object in view.

[Footnote 55: It is not here meant to criminate all the Mates of ships
in this trade; for a large proportion are known to be men worthy of
the trust reposed in them.]

The connection thus formed, and the necessary facilities obtained,
from the sale of sweepings, recourse was at length had to the disposal
of as much of the cargo as could be obtained by a licence to nightly
plunderers, composed of Receivers, Coopers, Watermen, and Aquatic
Labourers, who having made a previous agreement with the Mate and
Revenue Officers, were permitted, on paying from thirty to fifty
guineas, to come on board in the night,--to open as many hogsheads of
sugar as were accessible,--and to plunder without controul. For this
purpose, a certain number of bags dyed black, and which went under the
appellation of _Black Strap_, were provided.--The Receivers, Coopers,
Watermen, and Lumpers, went on board at the appointed time, for all
these classes were necessary. The hogsheads of sugar and packages of
coffee, &c. were opened; the black bags were filled with the utmost
expedition and carried to the Receivers, and again returned to be
refilled until daylight, or the approach of it, stopped the pillage
for a few hours. On the succeeding night the depredations were again
renewed; and thus, on many occasions, from fifteen to twenty hogsheads
of sugar and a large quantity of coffee, and also in some instances
rum (which was removed by means of a small pump called a Jigger, and
filled into bladders with nozzels,) were plundered in a single ship,
in addition to the excessive depredations which were committed in the
same ships by the Lumpers or labourers who were employed during the
day in the discharge of the cargo.--Instances have been adduced, and
judicially proved, of various specific ships having been plundered in
an excessive degree in this manner; and it has been estimated upon
credible authority, that previous to the establishment of the Marine
Police, above one-fifth of the whole fleet suffered by nightly
plunder.--The ships subject to this species of depredation were
generally known from the characters of the Mates or Revenue Officers
who were on board, and were denominated _Game Ships_, where the
aquatic labourers, called Lumpers, would on every occasion agree to
work without wages, and even solicit their employers to be preferred
on these terms, trusting to a general licence to plunder for their

This nefarious traffic had long been reduced to a regular system. The
mode of negociation necessary to obtain all the requisite advantages
for carrying into execution these iniquitous designs, was not only
perfectly understood, but in most cases, where new Officers were to be
practised upon, a plan of seduction was resorted to which seldom
failed to succeed, when one or more of the old practitioners in this
species of criminality happened to be stationed in the ship.--In this
particular line of aquatic depredations, (which certainly was the most
mischievous,) scenes of iniquity have been developed, which, from
their extent and magnitude, could not have been credited had they
stood on any other foundation than that of regular judicial proofs.

4th.--_Heavy Horsemen_, otherwise denominated Lumpers of the most
criminal class, who generally selected ships where plunder was most
accessible, either from the criminal connivance of the Mates and
Revenue Officers, in permitting nightly plunder, or from the
carelessness or inattention of these Officers.

This class, many of whom occasionally assisted in the depredations
committed during the night, were exceedingly audacious and depraved.
They generally went on board of West India ships, furnished with
habiliments made on purpose to conceal sugar, coffee, cocoa, pimento,
ginger, and other articles, which they conveyed on shore in great
quantities, by means of an under waistcoat, containing pockets all
round, denominated a _Jemie_; and also by providing long bags,
pouches, and socks, which were tied to their legs and thighs under
their trowsers.

It is a well-established fact, which does not admit even of the shadow
of a doubt, that these miscreants, during the discharge of what they
called a _Game Ship_, have been accustomed to divide from three to
four guineas a-piece every night from the produce of their plunder,
independent of the hush-money paid to Officers and others, for
conniving at their nefarious practices.

Long habituated to this species of depredation, they became at length
so audacious, that it was found extremely difficult to controul them
where a disposition existed to protect the cargo from pillage, and
where no seduction had taken place.--And indeed, so adroit had this
class of Lumpers become, that no ship escaped plunder in a certain
degree, wherever they were employed, in spite of the greatest
vigilance and attention on the part of many of the shipmasters.

5th. _Game Watermen_, so denominated from the circumstance of their
having been known to hang upon West India ships under discharge for
the whole of the day, in readiness to receive and instantly convey on
shore _bags of sugar_, _coffee_ and _other articles_, pillaged by the
Lumpers and others in the progress of the delivery of the cargo, by
which they acquired a considerable booty; as they generally on such
occasions were employed to dispose of the stolen articles, under
pretence of their being a part of the private adventures of the crew,
for which service they usually pocketed one moiety of the price
obtained.--It was by such assistance that Mates, Boatswains,
Carpenters, Seamen, and Ship Boys, have been seduced, and even taught
to become plunderers and thieves, who would otherwise have remained
honest and faithful to the trust reposed in them. Many of the watermen
of this class were accustomed to live in a style of expence by no
means warranted, from the fair earnings of honest industry in the line
of their profession.--An instance has been known of an apprentice lad
in this line having kept both a mistress and a riding horse out of
the profits of his delinquency.

6th. _Game Lightermen._--This class, which is composed of the working,
or Journeymen Lightermen, who navigate the craft which convey West
India produce and other merchandize from the ships to the quays, are,
with some exceptions, extremely loose in their morals, and are ever
ready to forward depredations by the purchase or concealment of
articles of considerable value, until an opportunity offers of
conveying the property on shore. Many of these Lightermen, previous to
the establishment of the Marine Police, were in the constant habit of
concealing in the lockers of their lighters, _sugar_, _coffee_,
_pimento_, _ginger_, &c. which they received from Mates, and other
persons on board of West India ships.--These lockers are generally
secured by a padlock; they are calculated to hold and conceal
considerable quantities of goods, whether stolen or smuggled, which
were seldom taken out until after the discharge of the lighter, unless
in certain instances where skiffs attended them.--When completely
unladen, the practice has been to remove to the road where empty craft
usually lies a-breast of the Custom-house quay, and then carry away
the stolen or smuggled articles--and it has not seldom happened that
many of these Lightermen have, under pretence of watching their own
lighters while laden at the quays, or in connivance with the Watchmen
selected by themselves, actually plundered the goods under their
charge to a very considerable amount, without detection.

Nor does it appear that the nefarious practices of these Lightermen
have been confined to West Indian produce alone. Their criminal
designs were directed to almost every species of merchandize placed
under their charge; and the tricks and devices to which they were
accustomed to resort, clearly evinced that their plans for obtaining
pillage had long been systematized, and that they seldom permitted any
opportunity whereby they could profit by making free with property
under their charge to escape their attention. As a proof that this
assertion is well grounded, the following authenticated case, among
others which could be detailed, is stated as an instance of the
extreme rapacity of this class of men.--A Canada merchant, who had
been accustomed to ship quantities of oil annually to the London
market, finding (as indeed almost every merchant experiences) a
constant and uniform deficiency in the quantity landed, greatly
exceeding what could arise from common leakage, which his
correspondents were quite unable to explain; having occasion to visit
London, was resolved to see his cargo landed with his own eyes; so as,
if possible, to develope a mystery heretofore inexplicable, and by
which he had regularly lost a considerable sum for several years.
Determined therefore to look sharp after his property, he was in
attendance at the wharf in anxious expectation of a lighter which had
been laden with his oil on the preceding day; and which, for reasons
that he could not comprehend, did not get up for many hours after the
usual time.

On her arrival at the wharf, the proprietor was confounded to find the
whole of his casks stowed in the lighter with their bungs downwards.
Being convinced that this was the effect of design, he began now to
discover one of the causes at least, of the great losses he had
sustained; he therefore attended the discharge of the lighter until
the whole of the casks were removed, when he perceived a great
quantity of oil leaked out, and in the hold of the vessel, which the
Lightermen had the effrontery to insist was their perquisite. The
proprietor ordered casks to be brought, and filled no less than nine
of them with the oil that had thus leaked out. He then ordered the
ceiling of the lighter to be pulled up, and found between her timbers
as much as filled five casks more; thus recovering from a single
lighter-load of his property, no less than fourteen casks of oil,
that, but for his attendance, would have been appropriated to the use
of the Lightermen; who, after attempting to rob him of so valuable a
property, complained very bitterly of his ill usage in taking it from

7th. _Mud-Larks_, so called from their being accustomed to prowl
about, at low water, under the quarters, of West India ships; (or at
least that class which were denominated _Game_, these being mostly the
objects of pillage;) under pretence of grubbing in the mud for _old
ropes_, _iron_, and _coals_, &c. but whose chief object, when in such
situations, was to receive and conceal small bags of sugar, coffee,
pimento, ginger, and other articles, and sometimes bladders containing
rum, which they conveyed to such houses as they were directed, and for
which services they generally received a share of the booty.--These
auxiliaries in this species of pillage were considered as the lowest
cast of thieves; but from a general knowledge of the Receivers in the
vicinity, they frequently afforded considerable assistance to the
Lumpers, Coopers and others, who collected plunder in the progress of
the ships' delivery.

8th. _Revenue Officers._--Notwithstanding the laudable severity of the
Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs and Excise, in making examples
of their inferior servants by immediate dismission, on proof made of
any offence, or even neglect of duty; a certain class of these
officers, who are denominated _Game_, have found means to promote
pillage to a very extensive degree, not only in West India ships, but
also in ships from the East Indies, and in every ship and vessel
arriving and departing from the River Thames, of which it is to be
lamented, that too many proofs have been adduced. This class of
officers generally make a point of at least having the appearance of
being punctual and regular in their attendance upon their duty, and by
never being found absent by their superior officers obtain
preferences, where such can be given, with respect to those
particular ships which afford the best harvest, either from being
under the charge of Mates or others, with whom they have had criminal
transactions in former voyages, or from the cargo being of a nature
calculated to afford a resource for plunder. They are also generally
acquainted with the _Copemen_ or Receivers, with whom and the other
officers, after seducing the Mate, (if not already seduced) they
negociate for the purchase of whatever can be plundered.

In those seasons of the year, when the crouded state of the port
renders it necessary to have recourse to _extra_ and _Glut Officers_,
the general distress of this class of men, and the expectations most
of them have formed of advantages by being placed on board ships of a
certain description, render it an easy matter to seduce them; and by
such means had every obstruction been removed to the perpetration of
these excessive robberies, in all their ramifications, which had so
long afflicted the port of London.[56]

[Footnote 56: In the throng season of the year at least 900 inferior
Customhouse officers, and about 300 Excisemen, are stationed on board
of ships in the Port of London, besides 82 Customhouse watermen and 36
superior Officers who do duty on the River Thames. The fair allowance
of the established Tide Officers may be from 50_l._ to 55_l._ a year.
The preferable Officers having 3_s._ 6_d._ a day only when employed,
are supposed to receive wages for 2-3ds. of the year; while the extra
Officers, who have only 3_s._ a day, are not supposed to be employed
above half the year: and the Glutmen not more than two months in the
throngest part of the season.

Men in such situations having a trust committed to them of great
magnitude and importance, in the protection of a Revenue amounting to
more than Seven Millions, and receiving wages inferior to common
labourers, with pecuniary pressures upon them, arising from the wants
in many instances of large families, assailed on all hands by
temptations to connive at evil practices, as they relate both to the
Revenue and the Individual--What can be expected from them?--Humanity,
policy, and even justice pleads for an increase of salary, as the best
means of preserving their morals and increasing the Revenue. Other
Regulations through the medium of the Police System might be
established, whereby their purity might be secured, and the Revenue
eased of a considerable expence, by reducing the number employed at
present, often in promoting mischievous instead of useful purposes.]

9th. _Scuffle-Hunters_--so denominated probably from their resorting
in numbers to the quays and wharfs where goods are discharging, under
pretence of finding employment as labourers upon the landing places
and in the warehouses, and from the circumstance, of _disputes_ and
_scuffles_ arising about who should secure most plunder from broken
packages. This class of men, who may fairly be considered as the very
scum of society, frequently prowl about with long aprons, not so much
with a view to obtain employment, as for the purpose of availing
themselves of the confusion which the crowded state of the quays often
exhibits, and the opportunity of obtaining plunder; in which object
they have too frequently been successful, particularly when admitted
into the warehouses as labourers, where they have found means to
pilfer and carry away considerable quantities of sugar and other
articles, in which they were not a little countenanced, by similar
offences committed by journeymen coopers and others, who, under the
colour of sanctioned perquisites, abstract considerable quantities of
sugar, thereby subjecting the proprietors to an accumulated loss: for,
in addition to the first cost or price of the article, the duties
which have been paid form no inconsiderable part of the ultimate
value. It is only necessary to resort to the Journals of the House of
Commons, and the Appendix to the Report of the Dock Committee in 1796,
in order to be satisfied, that the plunder in the warehouses has been
excessive. And if credit is to be given to the evidence then brought
forward, and also to the affidavits of persons, who have worked for
many years in the sugar warehouses, the loss sustained on an
importation of 140,000[57] casks of sugar has not fallen much short of
£.100,000 a year.[58]

[Footnote 57: Sugar and Rum imported into the Port of London, from the
25th of March 1798 to the 25th of March 1799:--

                               Casks,   Casks,
  Islands.             Ships.  Sugar.   Rum.

  Jamaica              151     64,108   17,279
  Antigua               14      5,258      715
  St. Kitt's            14      6,137      755
  Barbadoes             17      7,961       65
  Granadoes             18      6,806      443
  Mountserat             6      2,742      568
  Nevis                  4      1,867      418
  Dominica              14      4,152      400
  St. Vincent           26     10,147      908
  Tortola                3        789      109
  Sundry Places,     }
  including captured }
  Islands, &c.       } 106     32,739    2,271
                       ---    -------   ------
                       373    142,760   23,931
                       ---    -------   ------]

[Footnote 58: Independent of the excessive pillage by the labourers in
the Warehouses, which has been rendered but too evident from the
detections of Offenders since the establishment of the Marine Police,
the samples alone, which on an average are said to amount to 12_lb._
per hhd. (instead of 1-1/2_lb._ per hhd. in conformity to the
Regulations of the West India Merchants, of the 12th of June 1789,)
make a net aggregate of 1,470,000 pounds of sugar, which at 10_d._ per
pound amounts to 61,250_l._ a year!]

10th. _Copemen or Receivers of Stolen Commercial Property._--This
mischievous class of men may be considered as the chief movers and
supporters of the extensive scene of iniquity which has been developed
and explained in the preceding pages of this Chapter. They were
heretofore extremely numerous, and divided into various classes.[59]
Those denominated _Copemen_ formed the junto of wholesale dealers, who
were accustomed to visit ships on their arrival, for the purpose of
entering into contract with such Revenue Officers or Mates as they had
formerly known or dealt with, and such others as they could by means
of friendly officers seduce to their views.

[Footnote 59: See the "Treatise on the Commerce and Police of the
River Thames," for a particular account of these classes.]

Their negociations were carried on in a language and in terms peculiar
to themselves; and commenced by settling the price of

  _Sand_ by which, in their cant language, was meant _Sugar_.
  _Beans_              or                           _Coffee_.
  _Pease_              --              _Pimento_ or _Pepper_.
  _Vinegar_            --          _Rum_ and _other Liquors_.
  _Malt_               --                              _Tea_.

It was their custom to afford assistance wherever such articles were
to be procured by providing _Black Straps_, (_i.e._, the long black
bags already mentioned) to contain sugar, and calculated to stow
easily in the bottom of boats, without being discovered on account of
the colour. They also procured bladders with wooden nozels for the
purpose of containing rum, brandy, geneva, and other liquors, and
furnished boats to convey the plunder from the ships during the night.

Some of these Receivers had acquired considerable sums of money by
their nefarious traffic, and were able to tempt and seduce those who
would permit them to plunder the cargo, by administering to their
wants by considerable advances of money which, however, rarely
amounted to a moiety of the value of the goods obtained, and
frequently not 1-4th part, particularly in the article of Coffee.

Other classes of Receivers purchased from the Lumpers, Coopers, &c.
after the property was landed, and being generally engaged in business
as small grocers or keepers of chandlers' shops, and old iron and junk
warehouses, they were accustomed to protect it in its transit, from
one criminal dealer to another, by means of false bills of parcels.

It would fill a volume to recount the various ramifications of this
nefarious traffic, and the devices used to defeat Justice and elude
the punishment of the Law.[60]

[Footnote 60: For the purpose of defraying the expence of prosecutions
for criminal offences upon the River Thames, and to raise a fund for
suborning evidence, and employing counsel for higher crimes, and of
paying the penalties under the Act of the 2d Geo. III. cap. 28.
commonly called the Bumboat Act; there existed a club composed of
_River Plunderers_, and _Lumpers_, _Coopers_, _Watermen_, and
_Receivers_, (denominated _Light-Horsemen_, _Heavy-Horsemen_, and
_Copes_,) from the funds of which the Law expences and the penalties
incurred by members of the fraternity were paid. By these iniquitous
means not a few notorious offenders escaped justice, while those who
were convicted of penalties for misdemeanors escaped the punishment of
imprisonment, and being thus screened from justice the culprits
(previous to the establishment of the Marine Police System) returned
to their evil practices without the least apprehension of any other
inconvenience than the payment of a fine of 40_s._ defrayed by the
Club. The New System, however, affording means of detection in the
ships where the offences were committed: what were formerly
misdemeanors are now treated as larcenies, which has operated most
powerfully in breaking up this atrocious confederacy, and in defeating
all the nefarious designs of the criminal delinquents of which it was
formed, some of whom, although apparently common labourers, resided in
handsome houses furnished in a very superior style for the rank in
life of the occupiers.

As a proof, among many others, of the enormous extent of the River
Plunder, the convictions for misdemeanors under the Act of the 2d Geo.
III. cap. 28. from August 1792 to August 1799, exceeded _two thousand
two hundred_; of which number about 2000 culprits paid the penalty;
partly from their own resources, but chiefly, it is believed, from the
funds of the club, amounting in all to about 4000_l._ in the course of
seven years.]

It extended to almost every article imported into, and exported from,
the port of London. But the dealings in stolen West India produce were
by far the most extensive; at the same time it appears from recent
investigation, that the _East India Company_ and the _Russian_ and
_American Merchants_, as well as the Importers of _Timber_, _Ashes_,
_Furs_, _Skins_, _Oil_, _Provisions_ and _Corn_, were also
considerable sufferers. The Coal Merchants have likewise sustained
losses to a great amount annually, while every species of goods
imported have been more or less subject to depredations.

Nor has the Export Trade on the River Thames been in any respect
secured against the rapacity of this phalanx of plunderers. Many
well-authenticated cases have recently been developed, which prove
that Hamburgh vessels outward bound, have been plundered to a
considerable amount,[61] particularly those which were laden with
sugar, coffee, and other West India produce. Outward-bound ships to
every part of the world have also been more or less objects of
plunder, to the numerous herds of delinquents who were employed upon
the River, aided by their associates in iniquity, the Receivers.

[Footnote 61: A Shipmaster in the trade a few months since was
compelled to pay 40_l._ for deficient sugars plundered by Lumpers and
others, who assisted in lading his vessel, notwithstanding his utmost
personal vigilance and attention while the sugars were taking on
board. A single Marine Police Officer would have prevented this. The
effect of their power in overawing delinquents, from the nature of the
system and the discipline peculiar to the institution, is not to be

To enter _into particulars_, or to detail specific instances, would
far exceed the limits prescribed for this branch of the general
catalogue of delinquency exhibited in this Work. Suffice it to say,
that the most satisfactory evidence can be adduced, that the system of
depredation which had so long prevailed, and which had advanced with
the growing Commerce of the Port, had pervaded every species of
Merchandize laden or discharged, as well as the Tackle, Apparel and
Stores of almost every ship and vessel arriving in, and departing
from, the River Thames.

Nor can it be a matter of wonder, that such pervading mischiefs should
have prevailed when it is known, that above 5000 individuals, employed
in various stationary situations upon the River, have, with a very few
exceptions, been nursed from early life in acts of delinquency of this

In a group so extensive there are unquestionably many different shades
of turpitude; but certain it is, that long habit, and general example,
had banished from the minds of the mass of the culprits implicated in
these offences, that sense of the criminality of the action, which
attaches to every other species of theft.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such was the situation of things in the Port of London, in the month
of July 1798, when the MARINE POLICE INSTITUTION, a wise and salutary
measure of Government, arose from the meritorious exertions of the
West India Merchants.

The object of this Establishment was to counteract these mischievous
proceedings, and by salutary arrangements _in the Science of Police_
to prevent in future a repetition of those crimes which had so long
contaminated the morals of the people, and operated as an evil of no
small weight and magnitude on the Trade of the River Thames.

How far this System, _planned_ and adapted to the exigencies of the
case, and carried into effort by the Author of these pages, assisted
by a very able and indefatigable Magistrate, and by many zealous and
active Officers, has been productive of the benefits which were in
contemplation, must be determined by an accurate examination of the
state of delinquency, among the aquatic labourers and others, employed
at present in ships and vessels in the River Thames; compared with
what existed previous to this Establishment, as detailed in the
preceding pages of this Chapter.

Although much yet remains to be done to prevent the renewal of those
criminal proceedings, which have by great exertions been happily in
many instances suppressed.--Although the Marine Police[62] has been
unquestionably crippled by the want of those apposite _Legislative_
Regulations, upon which its energy and utility, as a _permanent
Establishment_, must, in a great measure depend, yet the proofs of the
advantages which have resulted from it, not only to the West India
Trade[63] (for the protection of which it was originally instituted)
but also to the whole Commerce and Navigation of the Port of London,
are so decided and irrefragable, that specific details are
unnecessary, especially since Deputations of the most respectable
Merchants from the whole Commercial Body, sensible of the benefits
derived from the system have solicited the sanction of Government, for
the purpose of passing a Bill to extend the design, so as to afford
the same protection to the general Trade of the Port, which has been
experienced by the West India Planters and Merchants;[64] and
requesting to be permitted to defray the expence by an annual
assessment upon the Trade.

[Footnote 62: For a particular account of this Institution, see the
"Treatise on the Commerce and Police of the River Thames," already
alluded to.]

[Footnote 63: With respect to the advantages which have resulted in
the aggregate, to the West India Planters and Merchants, from this New
Institution, it is impossible to form any decided opinion; but
estimating the savings, on an average, at 28_lbs._ of sugar per hhd.
(which is only one half of what the Committee of West India Merchants,
in their Report to a General Meeting in 1798, supposed the plunderage
might have been formerly) it appears, upon this data, that the gain to
the Planters, Merchants, and the Revenue, on a very reduced estimate
as to the actual importation may be thus stated.--

                                    Saving      Saving
                                    to the      to the
                                    Planters.   Revenue.   TOTAL.

  On 115,000 casks of sugar, at
  28_lbs._ per cask                 £.97,012    £.25,150   £.122,162

  15,000 casks of rum, at three
  gallons each                         9,000      15,000      24,000

  Coffee, pimento, and other
  articles, suppose                    5,000      10,000      15,000
                                   ---------    --------   ---------
  Totals                           £.111,012    £.50,150   £.161,162

If credit is to be given to the general and specific proofs of the
depredations which took place before the establishment of the Marine
Police, and to the numerous documents which demonstrate the saving of
property, which has been the effect of this system of prevention, the
above estimate will not appear to be over-rated. In an importation
amounting to above £.8,000,000 sterling a year, it is not too much to
say that 1-1/2 per cent. on this sum may have been saved under a
system of such extreme vigilance, where every class of depredators
were defeated in their iniquitous designs, and deprived in a great
measure of the powers they formerly possessed, of doing mischief. The
probability is, that it has amounted to more, though the fact never
can be accurately ascertained.]

[Footnote 64: At a meeting of the Committee of the West India
Merchants appointed to manage the general concerns of the Trade, held
on the 4th of January 1799, It was


     "That this Committee are deeply impressed with a high sense
     of the singular advantages, which appear to have resulted to
     the Commerce of the Port of London in general, but
     particularly to the West India Planters and Merchants, in
     the protection afforded to their property by the exertions
     of _The Marine Police Institution_, as well as by the
     General System established for the prevention of pillage and
     plunder arising out of the measures for detection pursued by
     the Magistrates presiding at the Marine Police Office, by
     which, in the opinion of this Committee, great and extensive
     benefits have also resulted to his Majesty's Revenue."]

It may only be necessary in this place to state, that under all the
disadvantages and difficulties attending the execution of this design,
it may truly be said to have worked wonders in reforming the shocking
abuses which prevailed.--_The River Pirates do not now exist in any
shape.--The Nightly Plunderers, denominated Light Horsemen, have not
dared in a single instance to pursue their criminal designs.--The
Working Lumpers, denominated Heavy Horse, are no longer to be found
loaded with Plunder._--Watermen are not now as _formerly to be
recognized in clusters hanging upon the bows and quarters of West
India ships under discharge to receive plunder_.--Lightermen, _finding
nothing to be procured by attending their craft, are accustomed to
desert them until the period when they are completely laden.--Journeymen
Coopers do not wilfully demolish casks and packages as heretofore,
since no advantage is to be reaped from the spillings of sugar,
coffee, or other articles.--The Mud-Larks find it no longer an object
to prowl about ships at low water while under discharge, since the
resource for that species of iniquitous employment, which they were
accustomed to solicit, is no longer in existence.--The criminal class
of Revenue Officers, who had long profited (in many instances to an
enormous extent) by the nefarious practices which prevailed, have not
been able to suppress their rage against the New Police, by the
vigilance of which they feel themselves deprived of the means of
profiting by the system of plunder, which they had so perfectly
organized, and which, in collusion with the Revenue Watermen, they
were so well able to cover by availing themselves of their official
situations, on many occasions, in protecting to the houses of the
Receivers articles which were both stolen and smuggled_.

By means of a Police Guard upon the Quays, which forms a collateral
branch of the General System, _the Scuffle-hunters and Long-apron-men,
who were accustomed to prowl about for the purpose of pillage, have in
a great measure deserted the quays and landing-places; while the
Copemen and Receivers, finding from several examples which have been
made, that their former infamous pursuits cannot be continued without
the most imminent hazard, have, in many instances, declined business,
while not a few of these mischievous members of society have quitted
their former residences, and disappeared_.

Such has been the effect of the remedy which has been applied towards
the core of the enormous evil of River Plunder.

It is not, however, to be understood that this System has entirely
eradicated the pillage which prevailed, a circumstance not to be
expected, since the design was partial and limited in its nature, and
only intended for the protection of West India property, although very
extensive benefits have unquestionably arisen from its collateral
influence, and its energy, in terrifying thieves of every description
upon the River, and diminishing their depredations, which, but for the
dread of detection by means of the Police Boats in the night, would
unquestionably have been committed.

But while it is readily admitted that amidst the opposite attractions
of pleasure and pain, it is impossible to reduce the tumultuous
activity of such a phalanx of individuals to absolute order and
purity, who have been in many instances reared up in habits of
delinquency. And while it is a vain hope to expect that crimes can be
totally annihilated, where temptations assail the idle and the
dissolute, and religion and morality, or even in many instances, the
fear of punishment, does not operate as a restraint;--yet is it,
notwithstanding, clear to demonstration, from the effects produced by
the limited experiment which has been made, that the General Police
for the River Thames which is in contemplation, aided by the apposite
Legislative regulations which experience has suggested to be
necessary,[65] must in its operation, under the guidance of an able
and active Magistracy, so far diminish and keep down the depredations
which were committed, as to prove scarce a drop in the bucket, when
compared to the extensive and enormous evils which it has been the
object of the promoters of this new System to suppress.

[Footnote 65: For the specific provisions of _the Marine Police Bill_,
see the "Treatise on the Commerce Navigation Police of the River
Thames."--The object of this Bill is rather to prevent Crimes than to
punish; and where punishments on conviction are to be inflicted, they
are of a nature which, it is to be hoped, will operate sufficiently as
an example to diminish the evil, without the exercise of any great
degree of severity.]

Although in this arduous pursuit, the Author of this work has
experienced infinite difficulties and discouragements, yet is he
rewarded by the consciousness that he was engaged in an undertaking in
which the best interests of Society were involved:--that independent
of the pecuniary benefits derived by the State, and the Proprietors of
Commercial Property (which already have unquestionably been very
extensive,) he has been instrumental in bringing forward a great
preventive System, and by administering the Laws in conjunction with a
very zealous, able, and humane Magistrate,[66] in a manner rather
calculated to _restrain_ than to _punish_,[67] a multitude of
individuals, together with a numerous offspring, are likely to be
rendered useful members of the Body Politic, instead of nuisances in
Society.--The advantages thus gained (although his labours have been
in other respects gratuitous,) will abundantly compensate the
_dangers_, the _toils_, and the anxieties which have been experienced.
In the accomplishment of this object, both the interests of _humanity_
and _morality_, have been in no small degree promoted: unquestionably,
there cannot be a greater act of benevolence to mankind, in a course
of _criminal delinquency_, than that which tends to _civilize their
manners_;--_to teach them obedience to the_ Laws;--_to screen
themselves and their families from the evils and distress attendant on
punishment, by preventing the commission of crimes_; and _to lead them
into the paths of honest industry, as the only means of securing that
real comfort and happiness which a life of criminality, however
productive of occasional supplies of money, can never bestow_.--If it
shall be considered (as it certainly is) a glorious atchievement to
subdue a powerful Army or Navy, and thereby secure the tranquillity of
a State--is not the triumph in some degree analogous, where a
numerous army of delinquents, carrying on a species of warfare no less
noxious, if not equally hostile, shall not only be subdued by a mild
and systematic direction of the powers of the Law; but that the
conquered enemy shall be converted into an useful friend, adding
strength instead of weakness to the Government of the country?

[Footnote 66: John Harriott, Esq. the Resident Magistrate.]

[Footnote 67: So powerful was the effect of the preventive System,
wherever it was permitted to be applied, that no instance has occurred
in the course of more than fifteen months, since the Marine Police was
established, of sufficient grounds for a criminal prosecution having
taken place by the commission of any Larceny or Felony in ships or
craft under the immediate protection of the Institution.]

Such has been, at least, the result of the partial operations of the
Marine Police; and such will unquestionably be the issue of the
general measures which have been planned and arranged, when the
_Key-stone_ shall be finally laid to the fabric, by passing into a Law
the Bill which has been prepared for the extension of this design to
the protection of the whole trade of the port of London.[68]

[Footnote 68: As a proof of the approbation of the whole body of the
West India Planters at the General Meeting, not only of the System of
the Marine Police, but also of the Bill which has been prepared to
extend its influence to the general Trade of the River Thames, the
following extracts are inserted:

     _Extract from the Minutes of a Meeting of a Committee of the
     West India Planters and Merchants--London, June 7, 1799._


     "That this Committee is fully convinced that considerable
     advantages have been derived from the institution of the
     Marine Police in checking the depredations on West India
     produce on board ships in the River Thames; and consequently
     approves of the Bill for constituting the said _Marine
     Police_, with powers enlarged and more effective, and on a
     more extended plan, provided the Act for that purpose be in
     the first instance limited to the duration of three years,
     and that the whole expence of the Institution does not
     exceed Ten Thousand Pounds annually."

     _Extract from the Minutes of a General Meeting of the West
     India Planters, held by public Advertisement at Wright's
     Coffee-house, Soho-square, London, June 13, 1799._

     The Right Honourable Lord PENRHYN in the Chair.


     "That this Meeting confirms the Report of its Committee, and
     approves of the project of a Bill for the purposes, and
     within the limitations stated in that Report.


     "That Lord Penrhyn be requested to present to the Chancellor
     of the Exchequer the Report of a Committee of this Meeting,
     on the subject of the Marine Police Institution, and the
     Resolution of this meeting approving the said Report.


     "That Lord Penrhyn be requested to communicate the thanks of
     this Meeting to Mr. Colquhoun for the zeal, ability, and
     perseverance with which he has endeavoured to form an
     effectual check to the system of depredation which prevailed
     on the River Thames."]


     _Reflections on the Causes of the Existence and Continuance
     of the Frauds, Embezzlements, Peculation, and Plunder in his
     Majesty's Dock-Yards and other Public Repositories, and in
     the Naval Department in general.--Reasons why the Evil has
     not been suppressed.--A summary View of the Means employed
     in committing Offences of this Nature.--Reasons assigned why
     the Defalcation of this Species of Property must be
     extensive.--Illustrated by the immense Value, and by an
     Estimate, and general View, of the Public Property exposed
     to Hazard.--A summary View of the Laws which relate to
     Offences on Public Property; proofs adduced of their
     Deficiency.--Remedies proposed and detailed under the
     respective Heads of--1st. A Central Board of Police--2d. A
     Local Police for the Dock-Yards--3d. Legislative Regulations
     proposed in Aid of the Police System--4th. Regulations
     respecting the Sale of Old Stores--5th. The Abolition of the
     Perquisites of Chips--6th. The Abolition of Fees and
     Perquisites, and liberal Salaries in lieu thereof--7th. An
     improved Mode of keeping Accounts--8th. An annual Inventory
     of Stores in Hand--Concluding Observations._

Under the pressure of those accumulated wrongs, which constitute the
extensive frauds, embezzlements, pillage, and plunder, known and
acknowledged to exist in the Dock-Yards and other Public Repositories,
it is not easy, at first view, to assign a reason for that apparent
supineness, on the part of men of known honour and integrity, who have
heretofore presided, and who now preside at the Public Boards, in not
using the means necessary to remedy so great an evil.

This may possibly be accounted for, by the extreme difficulty which
men, constantly occupied in a laborious business, find in pursuing
inquiries, or forming arrangements, out of their particular sphere;
more especially when such arrangements require those powers of
business, and that species of legal and general information, which do
not usually attach to men whose education and habits of life have run
in a different channel.

Under such circumstances, it is scarcely to be wondered at, that
greater efforts have not been used, (for great efforts are
unquestionably necessary,) to correct those abuses, which have long
existed; and which have been progressively increasing; by means of
which, not only the property of the Public suffers a vast annual
diminution by frauds and embezzlements, but the foundation of all
morals is sapped; and the most baneful practices extend even to men
in the upper and middle ranks of Society, who are too seldom
restrained by any correct principle of rectitude in transactions,
where the interest of Government only is concerned; either in the
supplying, or afterwards in the taking charge of the custody of Public

When the object in view is to acquire money, the power of example,
sanctioned by usage and custom, will reconcile men by degrees, to
enormities and frauds which at first could not have been
endured.--Acting under this influence, it too often happens that a
distinction is made, as regards moral rectitude, in the minds of many
individuals, between _the property of the Nation_, and _private
property_.--While the most scrupulous attention to the rules of honour
prevails in the latter case, principles, the most relaxed, are yielded
to in the former.

And thus it is, that in such situations, inferior agents also, induced
by example, become insensibly reconciled to every species of fraud,
embezzlement, and peculation.

It is no inconsiderable source of the evil, that large gratuities are
given, under the colour of fees,[69] to those who can assist in
promoting the views of the fraudulent, or in guarding them against
detection.--What was at first considered as the wages of turpitude,
at length assumes the form, and is viewed in the light of a fair
perquisite of office.

[Footnote 69: Since the publication of the last edition of this work,
the Select Committee on Finance in the House of Commons, who have
derived immortal honour from their various and useful Reports, have
recommended the abolition of fees; and the Lords of the Admiralty, and
the Commissioners of the subordinate Boards, are entitled to the
thanks of their country, from the exertions they are using to carry
this measure into effect.]

In this manner abuses multiply, and the ingenuity of man is ever
fertile in finding some palliative.--Custom and example sanction the
greatest enormities: which at length become fortified by immemorial
and progressive usage: it is no wonder, therefore, that the superior
Officers find it an Herculean labour to cleanse the Augean stable.

A host of interested individuals opposes them. The task is irksome and
ungracious. The research involves in it matter of deep concern,
affecting the peace, comfort, and happiness of old servants of the
Crown or the Public, and their families; who have not perhaps been
sufficiently rewarded for their services; and who, but for such
perquisites, could not have acquired property, or even supported
themselves with decency.

It is an invidious task to make inquiries, or to impose regulations
which may ultimately affect the interest or the character of
dependants, who have heretofore, perhaps, been regarded as objects of
partiality or affection. Those whose duty it is to superintend the
departments, knowing their own purity, are unwilling to believe that
the same principle of rectitude does not regulate the conduct of
others in inferior situations: and matters, of apparently greater
importance, constantly forcing themselves upon their attention, the
consideration of such abuses is generally postponed: while those who
detect or complain of their existence, seldom meet with much
encouragement; unless some specific act of criminality is stated, and
then it is referred, as a matter of course, to the proper Law

These circumstances, however, only prove the necessity of some other
and more effectual agency to remove an evil, which (if the assertions
of those whose efficient situations give them access to the very best
information as to its extent and enormity are correct) _is of the
greatest magnitude_, and calls aloud for immediate attention.

To understand how this is to be accomplished, it will be necessary in
the first instance to develope the means which are employed to commit
these _abuses_, _frauds_, and _embezzlements_.--Then to take a general
view of the property exposed to depredation, and afterwards to examine
the nature and effect of the Laws and regulations now in being for the
purpose of preventing these evils; and last of all, to suggest

The abuses, frauds, and embezzlements, are multifarious, and are
perpetrated through the medium of a vast variety of agencies, which
naturally divide themselves into two distinct branches.

The first relates to frauds committed by the connivance and assistance
of Clerks, Store-keepers, and inferior officers in the Dock-yards, and
other repositories, and in ships of war and transports; in _receiving
and delivering Naval, Victualling, and Ordnance stores;--in
surveys;--in returns of unserviceable stores;--in_ what is called
_solving off stores;--in fraudulent certificates;--in the sale of old
stores_; and innumerable other devices; by which a number of
individuals are enriched at the Public expence; and a system of
plunder is supported by fraudulent documents and vouchers of articles
which have no existence but upon paper.

The second branch relates to the actual pillage of _new and old
Cordage, Bolts of Canvas, Sails, Bunting, Twine of all sorts,
Fearnought and Kersey, Leather and Hides, old and new Copper, Locks,
Hinges and Bolts, Copper Bolts and Nails in immense quantities,
Bar-Iron, old Iron, Lead and Solder, Ship's-Plank, Oars, Timber of
small sizes, Blocks, Quarterstuff, Candles, Tallow, Oil, Paint, Pitch,
Tar, Turpentine, Varnish, Rosin, Beer and Water Casks, Iron Hoops,
Biscuit Bags, Beer, Bread, Wine, Brandy, Rum, Oil, Vinegar, Butter,
Cheese, Beef, Pork, &c._--All these articles suffer a vast annual
diminution, by means of that plunder which has become habitual to a
number of the inferior servants of the Crown, who have in their
respective situations, access to such stores.[70]

[Footnote 70: It is by no means to be inferred from what is here
stated, that there are not, both among the furnishers and contractors
for Public Stores, as well as the Officers and Clerks employed in the
departments here alluded to, many individuals of great honour and
integrity.--It is to be hoped, the fraudulent are the smallest in
point of number, or that they will soon be so.]

This species of plunder is much encouraged by the difficulty of
detection: Vast quantities are constantly provided, and the
store-houses are generally full; it happens therefore as a matter of
course, that the articles which were recently deposited are issued
first; and hence many valuable stores, it is said, have remained
untouched and unseen for forty or fifty years, until a number of
articles perish or become unserviceable from length of time.--An
annual inventory, upon the plan suggested at the close of this
Chapter, rendered practicable by more extensive store-houses, would
remove this obvious inconvenience.

All stores being delivered under the authority of warrants signed by
the Commissioners and proper officers, the clerks, or in their absence
the foreman of the warehouses, where the articles stated in the
warrants are deposited, deliver the stores; and, if opportunities
offer, large additional quantities are said to be frequently sent out,
by the connivance of the inferior officers; sometimes stores are even
delivered two or three times over, under colour of the same warrant,
without discovery.

A similar System prevails with regard to stores sent to the public
repositories from dismantled ships of war and transports.

Many vessels in the coasting trade, and even ships of foreign nations,
it is said, touch at Portsmouth and Plymouth, merely for the purpose
of purchasing _cheap stores_;--and it is well known, that many dealers
in naval stores in the neighbourhood of the Dock-Yards are chiefly
supplied in this way.

The plan which prevails at present with regard to the sale of old
stores, not only proves a kind of safeguard to these fraudulent
dealers; but is also in itself subject to great abuses, from the
delivery of larger quantities than are actually included in the public
sales, by which the parties concerned are said frequently to pocket
considerable sums of money.[71]

[Footnote 71: See a plan for disposing of old stores with a view to
remedy the evil, in a subsequent part of this chapter.]

The artificers in the Dock-yards, availing themselves of their
perquisite of Chips, not only commit great frauds, by often cutting up
useful timber, and wasting time in doing so; but also in frequently
concealing, within their bundles of chips, copper bolts, and other
valuable articles, which are removed by their wives and children,
(and, as has appeared in judicial evidence, by boys retained for the
purpose) and afterwards sold to itinerant Jews, or to the dealers in
old iron and stores, who are always to be found in abundance wherever
the Dock-yards are situated.[72]

[Footnote 72: It seems evident, that the abolition of the perquisite
of Chips would be a great improvement, and prove the means of
correcting many gross abuses which at present prevail. In this
suggestion the Author is supported by the very able and decided
evidence of Brigadier-General Bentham, before the Select Committee of
the House of Commons on Finance, in 1798. [_See the 31st Report of
that Committee._] On a supposition that 3000 shipwrights are employed
in the several Dock-yards at the wages of 2_s._ 1_d._ with the
privilege of one bundle of chips each day, which, though not worth
more than 6_d._ to each shipwright, actually costs Government 1_s._
6_d._ because good and valuable timber is often cut down to make these
chips.--The following estimate will elucidate what has been stated:
and shew the benefits which Government would probably derive from the
abolition of this perquisite, even if the wages should be raised,
which are perhaps too low at present.

  3000 men, working 300 days in a year, entitled to
  900,000 bundles of chips at 1_s._ 6_d._                    £.67,500

  Time lost to Government in making up these chips,
  equal to 6_d._ per day                                       22,500

  Articles purloined and stolen, by being concealed
  within these bundles, and by women and children, who
  resort to the yards on pretence of carrying them
  away, supposed                                               50,000

  Deduct 6_d._ a day additional wages in lieu of the
  perquisite of chips; which, it is understood, the
  shipwrights would consider as an ample remuneration          22,500
                    Presumed gain by this arrangement       £.117,500]

The Naval, Victualing, and Ordnance Stores pillaged in the Dock-yards
and other public Repositories, and also from ships of war, transports,
and navy and victualing hoys, in the River Thames, and Medway, must
amount to a very large sum annually. The detections, particularly in
the victualing hoys and transports, since the establishment of the
Marine Police, prove the existence of the evil, and the wide field
which it embraces.

The vicinity of the Metropolis;--the assistance afforded by old iron
and store shops on the spot;--by carts employed _in this trade alone_,
constantly going and coming from and to the Capital;--by the advantage
of an easy and safe conveyance for ponderous and heavy articles, in
lighters and other craft passing up and down the River; and the
extensive chain of criminal connection, at every town and village on
the Thames and Medway, which a course of many years has formed, joined
to the ease with which frauds are committed, have combined to render
this nefarious traffic a very serious and alarming evil.

Among the multitude of persons concerned in it, some are said to keep
men constantly employed in untwisting the cordage, for the purpose of
removing the King's mark, or coloured stran, which is introduced into
it as a check against fraud; while others (as has been already
noticed) are, in like manner, employed in knocking the Broad Arrow out
of copper bolts, nails, bar iron, and other articles, on which it is
impressed, so as to elude detection.

It is scarcely to be credited, to what an extent the sale of the
cordage, sail-cloth, and other Naval articles, including victualing
stores, thus plundered, is carried, in supplying coasting vessels and
smaller craft upon the River Thames, at a cheap rate.[73]

[Footnote 73: When it is recollected, that 9176 coasting vessels, and
also 4268 traders to foreign parts, enter and clear in the
Custom-house of London, in the course of a year, independent of small
craft in the River; an inexhaustible resource for the sale of cheap
cordage, sail-cloth, and every other material, must be obvious at
first view.]

If the actual value of stores deposited at the different Dock-yards
and public Repositories in the course of a year, is to be considered
as a rule whereby a judgment may be formed of the extent of the losses
sustained by frauds, plunder, and embezzlement, it will be found to
be very erroneous, since a large proportion of what forms the great
aggregate loss sustained annually by Government, does not arise from
the actual stealing of stores, but from frauds committed in
fabricating documents both at home and abroad.

Reasons have already been assigned, why many individuals reconcile
their minds to devices, whereby they may be suddenly enriched at the
Public expence, who would be shocked at the idea of over-reaching an
individual. For the purpose, therefore, of estimating truly the
probable extent of the evil, a general view must not only be taken of
the Naval, Victualing, Ordnance, and other Stores at all times
deposited in the Public Arsenals, but also the stores and provisions
on board of the numerous ships of war, and transports, constantly
consuming and replacing in all quarters of the Globe; and to measure
the whole by the great annual expence, which is incurred in this
necessary service, _The Bulwark of Britain, and the Glory and Pride of
the Nation_.

Looking at the subject in this point of view, where the ramifications
are so extensive, and the opportunities so numerous, whereby in the
hurry and confusion of carrying on a most important public service,
frauds and embezzlements may be committed with impunity, the question
is, Whether measures are not practicable, whereby the public loss, by
the rapacity of individuals, may not lie greatly diminished, and what
system would be best adapted to the attainment of this object?

To illustrate this proposition it may be necessary to form an
estimate, in the first instance, of the stationary and floating
property belonging to his Majesty, in the different Public Arsenals
and ships of War.--The following statement is hazarded with this
particular view, not as an accurate detail of facts; for accuracy to a
point under the present circumstances is neither practicable nor
absolutely necessary. It is sufficient if it tends to elucidate and
explain an important point, on the subject of the frauds and
depredations committed on the public stores, which would not be
otherwise intelligible or useful to the public, to the extent which
the Author contemplates.--

_Estimate of Floating Naval, Victualing and Ordnance Stores, in the
different Repositories and Ships of War._

  Naval, Victualing   }
  and Ordnance Stores } at Deptford and Red House          £.1,800,000
                        Woolwich                               150,000
                        Sheerness                              100,000
                        Chatham                                200,000
                        Portsmouth                           1,300,000
                        Plymouth                               900,000
                        Ireland, Leith, and other parts         50,000
                      { in the Arsenals at Halifax,  }
                      { and the East and West Indies }         150,000
                        Gibraltar, Minorca, &c.                 50,000
                      { in 900 Ships of War and  }
                      { Transports in Commission }           2,300,000
                                                    Total  £.7,000,000

The annual pecuniary Supplies for the Navy may be estimated at
_Thirteen Millions a year_ during war; of which sum about _Six
Millions_ may be applicable to the pay of the Officers and Seamen, and
_Seven Millions_ to _Ships-Stores, Provisions, &c._ The last two,
namely, the stores and provisions being in a constant state of
movement, both at home and abroad, furnish abundant resource for
frauds and depredations, which may certainly be greatly diminished,
though perhaps impracticable to be eradicated entirely.

The object, therefore, is to devise means whereby this _diminution_
may be accomplished: and in pursuing this important inquiry, it will
be necessary to precede it by the following general view of the Laws
now in being, which relate to offences committed in the Naval and
other Public Departments.

     The Acts of the 31st of Elizabeth, (cap. 4.) and the 22d of
     Charles II. (cap. 5.) made it felony, without Benefit of
     Clergy, to steal or embezzle any of his Majesty's Military
     or Naval Stores or Provisions, above the value of Twenty

     By the 9 and 10 of William III. (cap. 41.) the Receivers of
     embezzled stores, or such as should have the same in their
     custody, are subject to a penalty of £.200.

     From this period, till the 1st of George the First, the
     attention of the Legislature does not seem to have been
     directed to this object; when by the statute, 1st Geo. I.
     stat. 2. cap. 25, the principal Officers or Commissioners of
     the Navy were authorized to issue warrants to search for
     Public Property stolen or embezzled, and to punish the
     Offenders by fine or imprisonment.

     A succeeding Act, (9 Geo. I. cap. 8.) empowered the Judges
     to mitigate the fine of £.200 imposed on persons having in
     their possession public stores, and to punish the offenders
     corporally, by causing them to be publicly whipped, or kept
     at hard labour for six months in the House of Correction;
     which certainly was a great improvement.

     By the Act 17 Geo. II. c. 40. jurisdiction was given to the
     Judges of Assize, and the General Quarter Sessions, to try
     the Offenders, and punish them by a fine not exceeding
     £.200, imprisonment for three months, and other corporal

     The Laws on this subject were further amended by the 9th of
     his present Majesty, cap. 35; by which the _Treasurer,
     Comptroller, Surveyor, Clerk of the Acts_, or any
     Commissioner of the Navy, are empowered to act as Justices,
     in causing Offenders to be apprehended and prosecuted. These
     powers were given with a view to establish a greater degree
     of energy in detections; but experience has shewn that the
     purpose has not been answered.

     The last Act which relates to the protection of the Public
     Stores, was made the 12th year of his present Majesty's
     reign (cap. 24.) and related solely to burning ships,
     warehouses, and naval, military, or victualing stores, in
     any of the dominions of the Crown; which offence is made
     felony without Benefit of Clergy.

A very superficial view of the above Laws will demonstrate their
insufficiency to the object of _Prevention_. And even if they were
complete, the task imposed on the public officers, who are on every
occasion to act as Justices, has proved from experience to be a
measure ill calculated to attain the object in view, namely, the
detection of offenders; otherwise the evil would not have
increased.--Other _remedies_ must therefore be applied. It is not,
however, by any single act of the Legislature, that the enormous
frauds and depredations in the Navy and Victualing Departments of his
Majesty's service, which the Commissioners and chief Officers, under
whose management they are placed, are so anxious to suppress,[74] can
be remedied: This important object must be obtained by a combination
of various salutary measures, calculated to afford collateral aid to
specific Legislative Regulations, and to secure their effectual
execution, by means which are now to be explained under their
respective heads.--

[Footnote 74: Much to the honour of the present Commissioners, both of
the Navy and Victualing, a most laudable zeal has been manifested to
suppress the frauds, embezzlements and pillage, which have so long
afflicted these departments of the public service. The following copy
of a letter from the Solicitor to the Navy Board to the Author of this
Work, is a strong proof, not only of the sense they entertain of the
evils which are felt to exist, but of the necessity of a speedy and
effectual remedy being applied.--

     "_Norfolk Street, 19 May, 1799._


     "THE Commissioners of the Navy having an intention of
     applying to Parliament, to extend and amend the Laws, for
     preventing the embezzlement and stealing of his Majesty's
     Naval Stores; and having directed me, in preparing the
     intended Bill, to attend to the suggestions and
     recommendations on the subject, in your excellent and
     valuable publication, I shall consider myself much obliged
     to you, as I am sure the Commissioners will, if you will, at
     your leisure, have the goodness to furnish me with any hints
     on the subject, which may have occurred to you, since the
     publication of your Treatise, and which you think may be
     worthy the attention of the Legislature.

     "I am, Sir, with respect,

     "Your most obedient humble Servant,


     "_P. Colquhoun, Esq._."]


By the Establishment of a Central Board of Police, on the Plan
strongly recommended by the Select Committee of the House of Commons
on Finance, in their 28th Report, ordered to be printed in June
1798:--It is there proposed to bring under regulations by licences,
all those classes of dealers in _old and second-hand ships'
stores--old iron and other metals_, and several other dangerous and
suspicious trades, the uncontrolled exercise of which, by persons of
loose conduct, is known to contribute to the concealment and
multiplication of crimes.--Infinite embarrassments would, through this
collateral medium, be placed in the way of those particular Dealers,
who reside in the vicinity of the Dock-yards, and who, by a variety of
criminal devices, while they are instrumental in doing much mischief,
have been able, in many instances, to elude Justice, and to carry on
their nefarious practices with impunity.

A Board of Police so organized, by means of Licences and subordinate
Officers, as to keep the conduct of these classes of delinquents in
view who, by giving facilities to the embezzlers and stealers of naval
and other stores, are the chief sources from whence the evil springs;
and with power to refuse Licences to those who are known to have been
guilty of criminal conduct; would operate very powerfully in limiting
these classes of dealers to the honest part of their trade, by which
infinite mischief would be prevented.


Salutary as the Central Board, recommended by the Select Committee on
Finance, must certainly be in controlling and checking the Naval
plunder, in common with the general delinquency of the whole country,
it would seem indispensably necessary, under circumstances where the
moving property is so extensive, and where there exists so many
resources and temptations leading to the commission of crimes, to fix
on some one person the responsibility of carrying the Laws into
effect, and of controlling and overawing the various classes of
Delinquents, whose attention is directed to the Dock-yards, as a means
of obtaining plunder: That for this purpose, one able and intelligent
Magistrate should preside in a Police Office, to be established by
Law, at or near the Dock-yards, at _Chatham_, _Portsmouth_, and
_Plymouth_, with an establishment consisting of _one Clerk, two House
and four Boat Constables_, with _two Police Boats_ attached to each
Office. One Magistrate would be sufficient at each Office, as
assistance from the neighbouring Justices could always be procured in
case of sickness, or absence, or where any judicial proceeding would
require two Magistrates.

No establishment would be necessary for the Dock-yards, and Public
Arsenal, at Deptford and Woolwich, as the great civil force, and the
number of boats attached to the Marine Police Office at Wapping, when
strengthened, extended, and improved in the manner which is proposed,
would be competent to carry into effect the Laws now in being, and
such as may hereafter be enacted, for the prevention and detection of
offences in every part of the River Thames, from London Bridge to the
Hope Point.

The Magistrate proposed to be established at Chatham, could
occasionally administer justice at Sheerness, while the Boat Officers
belonging to the Institution, might be employed advantageously in
traversing the River Medway, and in keeping a watchful eye on the
various Receivers of stolen goods, who reside in the vicinity of that
River, between the two Dock-yards.

At Portsmouth and Plymouth there would be regular employment for the
respective Magistrates, and the Boat and other Officers on these

These three Institutions may be conducted at an expence not exceeding
one thousand pounds a year each, viz:--

                                                      £.   _s._ _d._
  To the responsible resident Magistrate              300   0    0
  To his Clerk                                        100   0    0
  To the Constables, 6 in number, 50_l._ each         300   0    0
  To House Rent, Coal, Candles, Stationary,
    tear and wear of Boats, and Rewards for
    meritorious Services                              300   0    0
                                              Total  1000   0    0

Towards defraying this expence, the fees which would be received, and
the penalties inflicted for minor offences, under the Legislative
regulations hereafter to be proposed, would go a certain length in
reducing the expences of the three Police Institutions. But
considering the advantages likely to result from those Establishments,
were the expence to be incurred even _fifty times_ the amount of what
is estimated, it would in all probability be much more than
compensated by the savings to the Public, which will result from the
preservation of the Public property, independent of the advantages
which must arise from an improvement in the morals of a numerous class
of delinquents, who have long been in a course of criminal turpitude.

A Police System thus organized under the direction of a Magistrate in
each situation, whose attention would be solely confined _to this one
object_, could not fail to be productive of the greatest good,
especially when aided by officers, well selected and encouraged to be
_vigilant_ and _pure_ in their conduct, from the advantages they would
derive from a moiety of the pecuniary penalties, when offenders were
convicted, in addition to their salaries, thereby rendering their
situations comfortable and desirable, and fortifying them against
seduction and connivance with Receivers and Thieves, as too often has
been discovered to take place, with respect to parochial Constables
resident near the Dock-yards, by which Public Justice has been
frequently defeated. The terror which such a System would excite, and
the extensive evils a Boat Police are likely to prevent, can only be
conceived by those who have witnessed the effect of the Marine Police
on the River Thames.

But still apposite Legislative regulations will be necessary to give
full effect to this design, and the following heads are suggested as
likely to be productive of infinite public advantage, when passed into
a Law.


     1st. That persons having possession of _New Naval Stores_;
     or _Naval Stores not more than one-third worn_, with the
     King's mark thereon, shall be deemed guilty of receiving
     goods, knowing them to have been stolen, and on conviction
     may be transported for 14 years; with power, however, to the
     Court to reduce it to seven years, or to impose a fine, or
     punish the offender corporally at its discretion.

     2d. Defacing the King's Mark, on any of his Majesty's
     Stores, to be deemed felony, and punished by transportation
     for 7 or 14 years.

     3d. The powers and provisions of the Act of 2 Geo. 3. cap.
     28. _commonly called, The Bumboat Act_; and also, the
     general powers and provisions of the Thames Police Act, when
     it shall pass into a Law, to be extended to all his
     Majesty's Dock-yards, and to the Rivers and Creeks leading
     thereto, within the distance of 20 miles.

     4th. In all cases where the Crown or its Agents shall
     decline to prosecute persons, in whose possession the King's
     Stores shall be found, any one Justice before whom the
     offender is carried, may proceed as for an offence under the
     _Bumboat Act_, or the _Thames Police Act_ (by which maritime
     offences are to be more minutely explained) and if the party
     shall not give an account to the satisfaction of the
     Justice, how the said goods came into his possession, to be
     convicted of a misdemeanor, and subject to a fine of 40_s._
     or such other minor punishment as these Acts direct.

     5th. That all Marine Police Constables (whether the _Thames
     Police_, the _Medway Police_, or the _Police Offices_ at
     Portsmouth and Plymouth) shall have power to board all hoys
     and craft in the service of his Majesty, while employed in
     conveying stores, or in returning after such stores are
     delivered, for the purpose of searching the same; and in all
     cases, where stores are found which appear to have been
     abstracted from the cargo, or otherwise unlawfully obtained,
     to seize and convey the same, with the offender or
     offenders, (without prejudice to the service) before a
     Justice; and in case the Solicitor for the Crown, (on due
     notice given, shall decline to prosecute for the major
     offence) the parties in whose custody the stores were found,
     not giving a satisfactory account of obtaining the same,
     shall be convicted of a misdemeanor, and punished by fine or

     6th. The act of having _jiggers or small pumps, or bladders
     with or without nozzles, or casks for drawing off liquor in
     hoys or craft; of throwing goods over board when pursued to
     elude detection; of fabricating false bills of parcels, to
     cover suspected goods, and defeat the ends of Justice; of
     having goods in possession, suspected to be King's stores,
     and not giving a good account of the same_; of refusing to
     assist Marine Police Constables in the execution of their
     duty; of obstructing the said Officers; of damaging Police
     Boats, to be punished as misdemeanors, under the authority
     of the said Bumboat Act, and the proposed Thames Police Act;
     namely, by fine or imprisonment.

     7th. _Boats, craft, carts, carriages_, or _horses_, &c. from
     which stolen or embezzled King's stores shall be seized, to
     be forfeited, and disposed of as directed by the said Marine
     Police Bill.

     8th. In all cases where, in seizing stores, articles not
     having the King's mark shall be found intermixed with stores
     having such mark, the party in whose possession they are
     found shall be obliged to give an account, to the
     satisfaction of the Justice, by what means he obtained the
     unmarked stores, otherwise the same to be forfeited, and
     sent to his Majesty's Repositories.

     9th. Power to be granted to the Commissioners of the Navy,
     or any one Justice, to issue warrants, on proper information
     upon oath to Peace Officers, to search for King's stores,
     _without any proof of such stores being actually stolen,
     taken_, or _carried away_. The power of the Commissioners in
     this case to extend to all Counties in England.

     10th. The Laws relating to falsifying, erasing, or
     fabricating _documents, vouchers, books, accounts_, or
     _writings_, of any kind, with an intent to defraud his
     Majesty, to be revised and amended, so as to apply more
     pointedly to offences of this nature.

     11th. Persons in his Majesty's service in any of the
     Dock-yards or Public Arsenals, having King's stores in their
     possession, to the amount of 5_l._ value, and not being
     authorised to keep such stores, to be conclusive evidence of
     embezzlement, and to be punished by transportation.

     12th. As an encouragement to excite vigilance in Officers of
     Justice, it is humbly proposed, that the Commissioners of
     his Majesty's _Navy, Victualing, and other Departments_,
     should be authorised, and required by Law, to pay the
     following rewards for the conviction of offenders, on the
     certificate of Judges and Magistrates, before whom such
     convictions took place--

     40_l._ on Conviction for any Capital Offence.

     20_l._ on Conviction for Felony, punished--Transportation,
     Fine or Imprisonment, or Whipping, before a Superior Court.

     10_l._ for Misdemeanors, by Indictment before the Quarter or
     General Sessions of the Peace.

     2_l._ for Convictions before Justices for Minor Offences.

From such _Legislative Regulations_ infinite would be the advantages
which might reasonably be expected, when by the establishment of a
Naval Police System, their due and proper execution would be rendered
certain; and also, in all cases, where the evidence against offenders,
although perfectly conclusive as to the fact, may be deficient in some
points of legal nicety, by putting the _onus probandi_ on the
offender, and treating it as a minor offence: the ends of Public
Justice will, in a great measure, be answered by inflicting some
punishment on the offender, and however inferior it may be to what he
deserves, it will still have an excellent effect, since it is not so
much by severe punishments, as by the certainty of _some punishment_
being inflicted, and the obloquy of a conviction when offences are
committed, that Delinquents of this class are deterred from the
commission of crimes.

Having thus traced the outlines of such remedies, for the protection
of his Majesty's _Naval_, _Victualing_, Ordnance and other stores, as
certainly require Legislative Regulations; it remains now to consider,
what other measures may appear necessary, within the limits of the
authority with which the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are
invested, for the purpose of rendering the Preventive System complete.

Those which have occurred to the Author of this Work will be classed
under the following Heads:

     IV. _Regulations respecting the Sale of Old Stores._

     V. _The Abolition of the Perquisite of Chips._

     VI. _The Abolition of Fees and Perquisites of every
     description; to be recompensed by a liberal increase of

     VII. _An improved Mode of keeping Accounts._

     VIII. _An annual Inventory of Stores on hand._


The mode at present practised in disposing of unserviceable Naval and
Victualing Stores by Auction, in the Public Arsenals and Repositories,
is productive of infinite evils, independent of the cover which is
thereby afforded to many purchasers, of loose conduct, in protecting
them, by means of the certificates they obtain against the penalties
of the Law, as Receivers of stolen and embezzled goods of the same
species and quality; thereby not only defeating the ends of Public
Justice, but operating as an encouragement to these criminal dealers
to extend the iniquitous part of their trade, by holding out
facilities and incitements to those who have access to commit
depredations on the Public Property, which possibly would never have
otherwise taken place.

The Public Sales at the Dock-yards and other Repositories, draw
together men of loose and depraved morals; who, in order to obtain
bargains, do not hesitate (wherever it can be done) to seduce, by
means of pecuniary gratuities, the inferior officers and labourers
into the evil practice of mixing superior stores with unserviceable
articles, ordered to be made up in lots, so as to elude discovery. New
and valuable cordage has been detected coiled within old cables,[75]
while frauds also are practised as to the weight, and in the delivery
of greater quantities than are actually sold.--Such practices have
taken place in spite of the vigilance and attention of the superior
officers, by which a two-fold mischief arises,--in the immediate loss
which is sustained by the frauds thus practised, and in the cover
which is thus afforded for the protection of additional stores
purchased clandestinely; perhaps from the persons who have been thus
corrupted.--An evil so prominent, in the view of a very able and
penetrating Judge now upon the bench, as to induce him to declare
publicly in Court, immediately after a trial, where a notorious
offender (as many notorious offenders do) escaped Justice, under the
cover of his certificates: "That _Government had better burn their old
Stores than suffer them to be the means of generating so many
offences_"--or to the same effect.

[Footnote 75: An instance of this kind occurred about two years ago in
one of the principal yards, where a large quantity of new and valuable
Cordage was found concealed within the coils of a large unserviceable
Cable; which composed one of the lots in the Catalogue of the
Sale.--And thus a connection was discovered between the Criminal
Purchaser and the Labourers employed in making up the Lots.]

It is however humbly presumed that a remedy may be applied without the
destruction of such valuable materials; and the following suggestions
are offered with a view to this object.

_Plan for an improved mode of disposing of unserviceable Naval and
Victualing Stores._

     1st. That instead of selling those stores upon the spot
     where the criminal connections are formed, the Naval
     articles shall be made up in assorted lots suitable to the
     _London, Bristol, Liverpool, Whitehaven, Glasgow, Newcastle,
     and Hull_ Markets. That a responsible Agent should be
     appointed to conduct the sales at each of these
     _Ports_.--That they shall be men of the first respectability
     in the commercial line, who can give ample security for
     their fidelity in the execution of the trust reposed in
     them.--That they shall receive the stores at the yards or
     repositories where they are made up, and convey them to
     their respective Warehouses at their own expence: on having
     an allowance of _6 per Cent. for Freight-charges,
     Warehouse-rent, Insurance_ against _Sea-risk and Fire_, and
     all other expences; _and 4 per Cent. for commission on the
     amount of the Sales_.

That the said stores shall not on any pretence be sold to dealers, but
only to the _actual consumers_, or Rope Spinners to convert into small
cordage; _nor shall any certificate be granted to purchasers on any
pretence whatsoever_.

That accounts of sales shall be furnished monthly, and such sales
shall be accompanied by _a full remittance for the amount_, it being
always understood that no credit is to be allowed.

That at the end of each year, an inventory shall be transmitted on a
specific day to be fixed, of the whole stores on hand, and a general
account current shall be then furnished; in which shall be exhibited,
agreeable to a form to be prescribed, a complete view of the whole
transactions which have occurred during the preceding year, with a
full remittance for the balance due on the said account.

     2d. That the _Metalic Stores_ which are deemed unserviceable
     shall be deposited in a commodious Magazine in London, under
     the charge of a responsible Agent, competent to such a
     trust.--That it shall be his duty to employ proper
     Artificers to convert all that are capable of being
     converted into serviceable Stores, and when so renovated, to
     be returned to Deptford Yard.--And such Metalic Stores as
     are incapable of being converted into useful purposes at a
     moderate expence, so as clearly to demonstrate a saving to
     Government, shall be disposed of to founders and others, at
     the best price that can be obtained.

The Agent for Metalic Stores to be allowed 10 per Cent. on the value
as ascertained, by the original Invoice, founded on a survey and
valuation upon oath, and this to be in full of _Freight, Carriage,
Warehouse-rent, Insurance from fire, and all other expences,
including Commission for his trouble_, on all Stores that are again
converted to useful purposes; and 7-1/2 per cent. on the value of such
as are sold, in consequence of their being incapable of being rendered
useful; so as to make it the interest of the Agent to render as large
a portion useful as possible.

It is presumed that by an arrangement of this kind, an immense sum
will be saved to the Public annually; who would retain the
Contractor's profit in all cases where Old Stores are received back at
the price of old Metal, and again returned at the full contract price,
after a small expence is incurred in converting them into serviceable

     3d. That in consequence of the superior resource for the
     consumption of _Provisions, Casks_, &c. in London, the whole
     of the unserviceable Victualing Stores (except such as from
     their small value and bulky nature will not defray the
     expences of conveyance) shall be collected in a large
     repository in London, under the charge of an able and
     intelligent Agent, who shall give proper security for his
     faithful management; and conduct the sales upon the
     principles already explained _for ready money only_,
     rendering an account _and making his payments monthly_, and
     a final Account and Inventory at the end of the year; to be
     at the whole expence of removing the goods from the
     different Repositories to the Magazine in London; to be
     allowed 4 per Cent. Commission on the sales, and 6 per Cent.
     in lieu of all charges.

     4th. That the attention of the respective Boards may not be
     diverted from other objects by attending to the details,
     which will arise in the management of those establishments,
     a superintending Agent shall be appointed, who shall receive
     the directions of the different Boards, and correspond with
     the local Agents.--He shall moreover be the _Receiver
     General of the monthly remittances_, and shall immediately
     pay the same as directed by the Lords Commissioners of the
     Admiralty.--It will be his duty to arrange the shipping of
     Old Stores from the different Yards, in conformity to the
     wants or demands of the respective Agents, so as to keep up
     their several assortments, by conveying to each not only
     such articles, (as far as it can be done) as are most in
     demand, but also such as comparatively fetch the best
     price.--He shall receive the monthly and yearly accounts,
     and lay an abstract of the same before the Lords of the
     Admiralty, and the Navy and Victualing Board respectively,
     as they apply to their different departments, and shall be
     the general medium of communication from the respective
     Boards to the local Agents.--The superintending Agent shall
     transmit a regular invoice to the local Agents of all goods
     shipped:--Shall keep regular books and accounts of all
     transactions under his charge, and shall receive for his
     trouble _1 per cent._ on the Remittances or Payments which
     he may make, under the directions of the Lords of the

By this arrangement it will be the interest of all the parties
concerned, to render the sale as productive as possible; and as the
stores in question will constantly be exposed to sale, where the
demand for such articles is most extensive, the probability is, that
higher prices will be obtained than at present; and that upon the
whole, after paying all expences, a larger aggregate sum will be
received annually by Government, since, as the sales are only to be
made to the actual Containers, the Dealer's profit will make a part of
the Sale Price, and will be thereby secured to the Public. As men of
the first character and respectability may be expected to solicit for
such Commissions, no doubt can be entertained, either of the purity of
their conduct, or their exertions to sell to the best advantage. Their
credit and interest, and also the emulation between one Agent and
another, as to who shall make the best sales, will prove a powerful
stimulus and a strong ground of security.--Above all, the plan is easy
and practicable:--It imposes no trouble upon the superior or inferior
officers in the different Naval Departments, and no doubt can be
entertained, that while it shuts up all the avenues to fraud and
peculation, which at present operate so powerfully in facilitating the
stealing and embezzling of Naval and Victualing Stores, in the result
it will prove highly beneficial to Government.


The extensive evils arising from the permission granted to Artificers
in the Dock-yards, to convert chips to their own use, and to remove
them in bundles from the Dock-yards, having already been noticed, it
may only be necessary to add, that on the abolition of this
perquisite, which the Author has reason to believe is now in
contemplation, a liberal increase of wages should be made to the
Artificers in lieu thereof; and that hereafter Chips should not be
sold in the Yards by Public Auction, but removed to a place of deposit
at some small distance, and disposed of, not to the highest bidder,
but at such price as should be offered above the estimated value, and
by no means by contract.

By adopting this mode, the saving of _useful Timber, Time, and
Property_, which, through the medium of the existing practice, is
_purloined, lost and stolen_, would probably exceed any estimate that
has been formed from a view of the present abuses.

This measure, while it forms an important Link in the preventive
Chain, would appear to be easy and practicable.

If necessary the superintending Agent for unserviceable stores, whose
functions have already been explained, could take upon him the sole
management of the disposal of the chips at the different Yards, by
which a handsome sum might be obtained annually in aid of the
resources of the State, perhaps more than would be sufficient to pay
the additional wages of the Artificers, while no existing arrangement
in the Yards would be disturbed, nor any trouble given to the
Officers, who at present fill the respective Departments in those


The total Abolition of Fees guarded by the severest penalties, is an
important object in the preventive System: Until this is effected, it
will be in vain to expect purity of conduct. Under this pretext, men
of loose principles, in transactions with Government, seldom fail to
seduce from the strict line of their duty, _avaricious, extravagant,
or indigent Officers_, whose business it is to check and control the
receipt and delivery of property, and to _arrange, settle, and adjust
Accounts_, or _to form Public Documents_. The delusion and seduction
of these Officers is not seldom effected by the supposed liberality of
those whose business must pass through their hands; and they are not
at all times perfectly aware of the injury that is done to the Public.

It has already been observed, and it is a circumstance much to be
lamented, that in too many instances, where individuals have pecuniary
transactions with any of the Departments of Government, a dereliction
of principle is apparent which does not extend to the general
intercourse of society, and hence arises the necessity of _stronger
guards_, where the Public interest is concerned; and nothing appears
to be better calculated to counteract this baneful propensity in the
human mind than _the total abolition of fees and perquisites_.

It is said to be no uncommon thing to pay 300_l._ for a Clerk's
situation in the Dock-yards, where the salary does not exceed 30_l._
or 40_l._ a year; and it is known that some who hold such situations
live very expensively. It may be fairly asked, in what manner a person
so situated is to reimburse himself? the conclusion is obvious, and
the result has been already explained, which may perhaps be still
farther elucidated by stating the following fact:--

An Officer of Justice having discovered some instances of pillage and
peculation going forward in the course of the removal of old copper
and other articles, from a dismantled ship of war, complained to the
Store-keeper in the Dock-yard, whose province it was to have received
those articles into his charge, which were conveyed elsewhere.--He
replied thus: "D--n it, mind your own business.--Such things have
always been done, and will continue in spite of you and me; it will,
at any rate, last our time."

While the resources of Government are fully commensurate to the
liberal remuneration of its servants, so as to place them above all
temptations to abuse the trust reposed in them: and while such
remuneration is in itself no less politic than just, the object and
view of the Author of these pages differs widely from this faithless
servant of the Crown. The suggestions now offered, lead to measures,
which he now trusts to the honour and credit of those respectable
characters, at the head of the different departments, are in the best
train of being adopted, by the total abolition of Fees and
Perquisites, and a liberal Increase of Salary, in lieu of the
reduction of income, which such an arrangement will occasion: Such
salaries as will secure to the Nation those inestimable advantages,
which always result from _rectitude of conduct_, _zeal_, _accuracy_,
and _fidelity_, in the discharge of Public trusts committed to
subordinate Officers. It is by this and other wise and practicable
arrangements, that a confidence is to be established, "that the
resources of the State _will not only last our time_," but extend to
many generations; while the improvement of Public morals will
contribute, in an eminent degree, to the happiness and prosperity of
the country.


Under an impression, that very few improvements have been introduced,
since the establishment of the original System, for keeping the Navy
and Victualing Accounts, brought forward by KING JAMES II. when Duke
of York; while the frauds which have been committed by various
devices, prove some imperfections in the mode of accomptantship as now
practised, since no means appear to exist, whereby deficiencies can be
checked and discovered; it may be worthy of inquiry, whether many of
the modern improvements, which the vast extent of our Commerce has
introduced, might not be rendered useful in establishing new Checks,
by means of a System of Book-keeping, which would have the same effect
in detecting frauds, and discovering inaccuracies, as prevails in
arranging and closing the accounts of well-regulated Commercial
Establishments; adopting at the same time in the general detail,
particularly in the transit of stores, some of these excellent
regulations, which have been found so salutary and useful in the
system of the Excise. Of the practicability of improvements of this
nature there can be little doubt, since it merely depends on the
exercise of that _knowledge, attention_, and _assiduity_, which, when
properly exerted, has generally accomplished objects, which have often
appeared impracticable to minds uninformed, or not enlarged by an
extensive intercourse with the world, or a knowledge of the general
affairs of life:--But as this observation can in no respect apply to
the respectable and intelligent Individuals, who superintend the Great
Public Concerns, which have been subject to the various abuses, which
they feel so anxious to remedy, sanguine hopes are entertained, that
an improvement in the mode of keeping the Official Accounts may be
speedily carried into effect.


Supposing an accurate System of Book-keeping to be adopted, and to be
followed as a part of the proposed System of Accuracy, indispensably
necessary, _by an annual account of Stores_; the advantages resulting
from it are not to be estimated by the most sanguine mind. Independent
of the benefits which would arise from the general accuracy, which
would thus incircle the whole oeconomy of the design, discoveries
would be made wherever frauds or embezzlements took place, while the
labour and expence, which such a task might impose, would be
compensated one hundred fold, in the National advantages which it
would produce.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus has the Author briefly gone over the whole ground, which he had
assigned to himself, as comprehending every object on the subject of
the depredations on his Majesty's Stores, which appeared likely to
render his suggestions useful to his country, whether they relate to
improved Legislative Regulations requiring the aid of Parliament, or
to Measures competent for the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to
carry into effect. In the prosecution of this task he has been
stimulated in a particular degree, by the laudable and patriotic
disposition, which has been manifested to promote improvements in
Naval Police, and the honourable proofs he has received of a desire
to render his suggestions useful.

If the period should indeed arrive (and it is to be hoped it may soon
arrive) when these suggestions, or even a part of them, shall be acted
upon, in a manner calculated to promote the National Interest, the
Author of these pages will then feel himself gratified, and rewarded
by the pleasing reflection, that his well-meant labours, in placing an
important branch of the political oeconomy of the country in this
particular point of view, have not been in vain.


     _Receivers of stolen Goods more mischievous than
     Thieves;--the latter could not exist without the assistance
     of the former:--the Suppression therefore of Receivers would
     restore to Society, and to honest Industry, a great number
     who at present live by crimes.--The increase of Receivers of
     stolen Goods to be attributed to the imperfection of the
     Laws, and to the disjointed state of the Police of the
     Metropolis.--The number of common Receivers does not exceed
     sixty; of whom not above ten are persons of property able to
     purchase valuable articles.--Thieves, in many instances,
     settle with receivers before they commit
     robberies:--Receivers always benefit more than
     Thieves:--Their profit immense:--They are divided into two
     classes.--The immediate Receivers connected with Thieves,
     and those who keep shops and purchase from Pilferers in the
     way of trade:--The latter are extremely numerous.--The Laws
     are insufficient effectually to reach either class.--The
     existing statutes examined and briefly detailed, namely, the
     3d and 4th of William and Mary, cap. 9; the 1st Anne, cap.
     9; the 5th of Anne, cap. 31; 4 George I. cap. 11; 29 George
     II. cap. 30; 30 George II. cap. 24; 2 George III. cap. 28;
     10 George III. cap. 48; 21 George III. cap. 69; 22 George
     III. cap. 58.--Observations on these respective
     statutes.--Amendments and improvements suggested.--Means
     proposed to ensure the due execution of these improvements._

Having in the preceding Chapters completed the proposed explanation of
the various depredations and frauds upon the Public: It remains now,
in the order of the plan, to examine and follow up the progress of
this property, from the hands of _Thieves_, _Robbers_, _Cheats_, and
_Swindlers_, to that of _Receivers_, or first Purchasers of Goods
stolen or fraudulently obtained.

In contemplating the characters of all these different classes of
delinquents, there can be little hesitation in pronouncing the
_Receivers_ to be the most _mischievous of the whole_; inasmuch as
without the aid they afford, in purchasing and concealing every
species of property stolen or fraudulently obtained, Thieves, Robbers,
and Swindlers, as has already been frequently observed, must quit the
trade, as unproductive and hazardous in the extreme.

Nothing therefore can be more just than the old observation, "_that if
there were no Receivers there would be no Thieves_."--Deprive a thief
of a sale and ready market for his goods, and he is undone.

Let the strong arm of the law, and the vigour and energy of the Police
be directed in a particular manner against _Receivers_; and the chief
part of those robberies and burglaries, which are so much dreaded, on
account of the acts of violence which attend them, _would absolutely
cease to exist_:--and the resource for plunder being thus narrowed in
so great a degree, robberies on the highway would _alone_ seldom
answer the purpose of the adventurer; where the risk would be so
exceedingly multiplied, while the advantages were in the same
proportion diminished;--the result therefore would be, that in _the
suppression of the Receivers_, the encouragement to become Thieves and
Robbers would be taken away: and the present Depredators upon the
Public must either return to honest labour as useful members of the
State, or submit to be starved.

Obvious and desirable however as a measure of this sort would be, it
has never hitherto been put in practice. This has proceeded from a
variety of causes; one of the principal of which is the disjointed
state of the Police of the Metropolis, occasioned by a number of
jurisdictions clashing with each other, and preventing the full
operation of a proper system of vigilance and energy; which, with the
aid of apposite and improved laws and a superintending agency, could
not fail, either to root out all the Receivers of stolen Goods of any
consequence, or compel them to abandon their mischievous trade.

These observations apply to that class of Receivers alone, who are in
immediate connection with the thieves, burglars, and highway
robbers;--and who aid and assist them in the purchase and concealment
of whatever is stolen.--From the best information that can be
obtained, their number does not exceed _fifty_ or _sixty in all_; of
whom not more than ten, (whose names and places of abode are well
known) can be said to be persons of property who can raise money to
purchase articles of considerable value.

Aided by a well-regulated and energetic system of Police that might
pervade the whole Metropolis, how easy would it be, to compel these
large dealers to abandon the trade? The measure of watching their
houses day and night, would cost no great sum, and would embarrass the
thieves and burglars, more than any other system that could be

It rarely happens that thieves go upon the highway, or commit
burglaries, until the money they have previously acquired is
exhausted. Having laid their plans for new depredations, negociation
is frequently entered upon with the most favourite Receiver, who (to
use their own language) is likely to be _staunch_, and to keep their
secrets.--The plan is explained.--Some liquor is drunk to the good
luck of the enterprize, and the hour fixed when they are to return
with the booty: if plate is expected, the crucible is ready in a small
furnace, built for the purpose, instantly to melt it, and arrangements
are made for the immediate concealment of the other articles.--Of the
nature of these previous arrangements, something has already been said
in Chap. IV. on Burglary and Highway Robbery.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule, where the Receivers are
not trusted till the booty is acquired; and where it is in the first
instance removed to the houses of the thieves, or to those of some of
their friends; but it seldom remains longer than may be necessary to
obliterate the marks: for money must be procured. Most thieves are
improvident; their wants are therefore pressing--they _must_
sell--the Receiver knows this and makes his own terms;--and he of
course enjoys by far the largest share of the profit.

The plunder thus purchased, finds a ready vent through the extensive
connections of the Jew dealers, both in this Country and upon the
Continent: and from the facts already stated in the course of this
Work, it may easily be conceived that the trade is not only extensive,
but that the profit is immense, since it rarely happens (except in the
articles of plate,) that thieves receive to the amount of above
one-third; or one-fourth of the value of what is stolen.

The mass of the Receivers of stolen property in and near the
Metropolis, (exclusive of those more immediately concerned in
River-plunder, as stated in Chapter VIII. on that subject,) may be
classed in two divisions:

     "1. The Dealers already mentioned, as immediately connected
     with professed and notorious thieves, and who are their
     principal supporters, especially when apprehended and under
     prosecution. Many of these have themselves been originally
     thieves upon the town, _acquitted, pardoned, or discharged
     from the hulks_: who prefer the trade of a Receiver as less
     hazardous and more profitable, than that of a thief; and to
     conceal the fraud frequently set up _Chandlers-Shops_,
     _Coal-Sheds_, _Potatoe-Warehouses_, or _Old Iron-Shops_, and
     not seldom become _Masters of Public Houses_, that they may
     appear to have some _visible_ means of obtaining a
     livelihood. Those who have not been originally thieves
     generally keep shops in different branches of trade, some of
     whom are very opulent.

     "2. The Dealers in _Old Iron and other Metal--Rags--Old
     Wearing Apparel--Buyers, Refiners, and Workers of Gold and
     Silver--Dealers in Second-hand Furniture, and Building
     Materials, and that Class of Sharping Pawnbrokers who have
     connections with criminal people_.

     "The Dealers last mentioned are extremely numerous, and
     amount to several thousands in the Metropolis alone, some of
     whom are _innocent Receivers_, not aware that they are
     purchasing stolen articles;--others, _careless Receivers_,
     asking no questions, and purchasing every thing that is
     offered:--but a large proportion of _criminal Receivers_,
     who purchase every thing that is offered _in the way of
     trade_; well knowing, from the price and other
     circumstances, that the property was originally stolen."

As the Laws now stand, (numerous, and pointed as they appear to be) it
has been found from experience, that neither of these classes can be
easily reached; and hence it is that they have multiplied in so great
a degree, (particularly the small Receivers) within the last twenty
years, and may even be said to have reigned with impunity.

For the purpose of suggesting an effectual legislative Remedy, it
will be necessary to examine shortly the laws now in being, which are
applicable to this peculiar offence.--

By the Statute of the 3d and 4th of William and Mary, cap. 9, it is
enacted, "_that Receivers of stolen Goods, knowing them to be stolen,
shall be deemed Accessaries after the fact_."

But this offence being dependent on the fate of the Principal--a
Receiver, thus circumstanced, could not be tried till after the
conviction of such Principal; so that, however strong and conclusive
the evidence might be, the Receiver was still safe, unless the Thief
could be apprehended--and even if apprehended and put upon his trial,
if acquitted through any defect of evidence, the Receiver, (although
he had actually confessed the crime, and the goods found in his
possession, could be proved to have been stolen,) must be
acquitted:--this offence also, even if completely proved, applied only
to capital felonies, and _not to petty larceny_.

These defects were discovered, and partly remedied by the Statutes 1
Anne, cap. 9; and 5 Anne, cap. 31, which enact, "_That Buyers and
Receivers of stolen Goods, knowing them to be stolen, may be
prosecuted for a misdemeanor, and punished by fine and imprisonment;
though the Principal be not previously convicted of felony_."

This Act, 5 Anne, c. 31, also greatly improved the Laws applicable to
this species of offence by _empowering the Court to substitute a
corporal punishment instead of fine and imprisonment; and by
declaring, that if the felony shall be proved against the Thief, then
the Receiver shall be taken as Accessary, and shall receive judgment
of death; but the benefit of Clergy is reserved_.

The Laws being still found insufficient, the Statute of the fourth of
George the First, cap. 11, enacted, "_That Receivers of stolen Goods,
knowing them to be stolen, should, on conviction, be transported for
fourteen years; and that buying at an under value should be
presumptive evidence of such knowledge_:--and the same statute _makes
it felony (according to the nature of the felony committed in stealing
the Goods) for any person directly or indirectly to take a reward for
helping any person to stolen Goods; unless such person bring the felon
to his trial, and give evidence against him_."

But these amendments also proving ineffectual, and not being found to
apply immediately to persons receiving stolen _lead, iron, copper,
brass, bell-metal or solder_ taken from buildings, or from ships,
vessels, wharfs, or quays--It was enacted by the 29th of George the
Second, cap. 30, "_That every person who shall buy or Receive such
articles, knowing the same to be stolen, or who shall privately
purchase these respective metals by suffering any door, window, or
shutter, to be left open between sun-setting and sun-rising, or shall
buy or receive any of the said metals in any clandestine manner,
shall, on conviction, be transported for fourteen years, although the
principal felon has not been convicted_." Sec. 1.

The same Act _empowers one Justice to grant a warrant to search in the
day time for such metals suspected to be stolen, as by the oath of one
witness may appear to be deposited or concealed in any house or
place_; and if goods are found, the Act goes so far as _to empower two
Justices to adjudge the person having the custody of the same, guilty
of a misdemeanor, if he cannot produce the party from whom he
purchased, or give a satisfactory account how they came into his
possession; and the offender shall, for the first offence forfeit
40s. for the second 4l. and for every subsequent offence 6l._
Sec. 2; 6.

This Act also _empowers officers of justice (and watchmen while on
duty) to apprehend all persons suspected of conveying any stolen
metals, as already described, after sun-set or before sun-rise; and if
such persons cannot give a good account of the manner in which they
were obtained, two Magistrates are in like manner authorized to
adjudge them guilty of a misdemeanor, and they forfeit forty
shillings, &c._ Sec. 3; 6.

_The persons also to whom such articles are offered for sale or to be
pawned, where there is reasonable ground to suppose they were stolen,
are empowered to apprehend and secure the parties and the materials,
to be dealt with according to law. And if it shall appear even on the
evidence of the thief, corroborated by other testimony, that there was
cause to suspect the goods were stolen, and that the person to whom
they were offered, did not do his duty in apprehending the person
offering the same, he shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and
forfeit twenty shillings for the first offence: forty shillings for
the second, and four pounds for every subsequent offence_, Sec. 5, 6.
And so anxious has the Legislature been to suppress the evil of
stealing and receiving metals, that the 8th Section _entitles the
actual Thief to a pardon, on the discovery and conviction of two or
more of the Receivers_. And the 9th Section _screens from prosecution
any person stealing such metals, who shall discover the Receiver to
whom the same were delivered, so as a conviction may follow_.--In
spite, however, of these numerous and apparently effectual checks, it
is to be lamented that the evil has continued to increase.

In the following year it was provided by the Act 30th of George the
Second, cap. 24, _that it shall be lawful for any Pawnbroker, or any
other dealer, their servants or agents, to whom any goods shall be
offered to be pawned, exchanged, or sold, which shall be suspected to
be stolen, to seize and detain the persons offering the same, for the
purpose of being examined by a Justice; who is empowered, if he sees
any grounds to apprehend that the goods have been illegally obtained,
to commit the persons, offering the same, to prison for a period not
exceeding six days; and if on further examination, the Justice shall
be satisfied that the goods were stolen, he shall commit the offender
to prison, to be dealt with according to Law; and although it may,
under such circumstances, afterwards appear that the goods in question
were fairly obtained, yet the parties who seized the supposed offender
shall be indemnified_.--Sec. 7, 8.

It would have been useful if the principles of the first of these
excellent acts had extended to every kind of goods and chattels,
_horses_, _cattle_, _money_, and _Bank-notes_,[76] as well as to the
metals therein described. Indeed it is to be lamented, that the System
has not been to look at great features of abuse in _the gross_, so as
to meet every existing evil at once. Thus another partial Statute was
made, 2 George III. _c._ 28, extending the provisions of the 29th Geo.
II. _c._ 30. to goods, stores, or materials taken from ships in the
River Thames, by enacting, "_that all persons purchasing such goods,
knowing them to be stolen, or receiving the same in a concealed or
clandestine manner between sun-setting and sun-rising, shall be
transported for fourteen years, although the principal felon be not
convicted_:" but by the wording of this Act, it is doubtful if it
applies to receiving goods stolen from vessels not afloat in the

[Footnote 76: Vide Page 9.]

[Footnote 77: It was held in the trial of Moses Pike, at the Old
Bailey, in May, 1784, that to steal from a Barge aground in
Limehouse-Dock, was not within the meaning of the Act of 24th of
George the Second, cap. 45, which makes it felony to steal from any
vessel or craft upon a Navigable River, &c.]

The next Statute applicable to the Receivers of stolen goods, is the
10th of George III. cap. 48, by which it is enacted, "_that every
person who shall buy or receive any jewels, gold, silver, plate or
watches, knowing the same to be stolen, where such stealing was
accompanied by a burglary or highway robbery, may be tried as well
before as after the principal felon is convicted; and whether he be
in, or out of custody; and if found guilty, shall be transported for
fourteen years_."

Eleven years after passing of the above mentioned Statute, the
Legislature, appearing to be impressed with the great extent of the
depredations committed by persons stealing _pewter pots_, and desirous
to punish the Receivers, the Statute of the 21st of George the Third,
cap. 69, enacts, "_that every person who shall buy or receive any
pewter pot or other vessel, or any pewter in any form or shape
whatsoever, knowing the same to be stolen, or who shall privately buy
or receive stolen pewter, in a clandestine manner, between sun-setting
and sun-rising, shall on conviction, be transported for seven years,
or detained in the House of Correction, at hard labour for a term not
exceeding three years, nor less than one; and may be whipped not more
than three times; although the principal felon has not been

In the following Session of Parliament, the Statute 22 George III. c.
28. (said to have been framed by an able and experienced Lawyer and
Magistrate),[78] removed many of the imperfections of former Statutes,
and particularly that which respected Petty Larceny; by enacting,
"_that where any goods (except lead, iron, copper, brass, bell-metal,
or solder, the Receivers of which are punishable under the_ 29th
George II. c. 30. _noticed before, p. 295.) have been stolen, whether
the offence amount to Grand Larceny, or some greater offence, or to
Petty Larceny only; (except where the offender_ has been convicted _of
Grand Larceny, or some greater offence; when the Receiver must be
prosecuted as an Accessary, and under the 4th_ George I. c. 11, _may
be transported for fourteen years_; see page 295.)--_Every person who
shall buy or receive the same, knowing them to be stolen, shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished by fine, imprisonment, or
whipping, as the Quarter Sessions, who are empowered to try offenders,
or any other Court before whom they shall be tried, shall think fit,
although the Principal be not convicted; and if the felony amounts to
Grand Larceny, or some greater offence, and the person committing such
felony has not been before convicted, such offender shall be exempted
from being punished as Accessary, if the principal shall be afterwards
convicted_."--Sect. 1.

[Footnote 78: Mr. Serjeant ADAIR, then Recorder of London.]

This Act also empowers _one Justice to grant a warrant to search for
stolen goods in the day time, on oath being made that there are just
grounds of suspicion; and the person concealing the said goods, or in
whose custody they are found, shall in like manner be guilty of a
misdemeanor, and punished in the manner before-mentioned_.--Sect. 9.

The same Act extended the powers granted by former Acts relative to
metals, _to any other kind of goods: by authorizing peace officers
(and also watchmen while on duty) to apprehend all persons suspected
of carrying stolen goods after sun-setting and before sun-rising, who
shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and
imprisoned, not exceeding six, nor less than three months_.--Sec. 3.

Power is also given by this Act _to any person to whom goods,
suspected to be stolen, shall be offered to be sold or pawned, to
apprehend the person offering the same, and to carry him before a
Justice_.--Sec. 4.

And as an encouragement to young Thieves to discover the Receivers,
the same Act provides, _That if any person or persons being out of
custody, or in custody, if under the age of 15 years, upon any charge
of felony, within benefit of Clergy, shall have committed any felony,
and shall discover two Receivers, so as that they shall be convicted,
such Discoverer shall have pardon for all felonies by him committed
before such discovery_.

These various Acts of Parliament prove how very prominent the evil of
receiving stolen goods has been in the view of the Legislature.--It is
to be lamented however, that a more general and comprehensive view has
not been taken of the subject, by substituting, instead of the
piece-meal System which has been from time to time adopted, on
suggestions applicable only to particular cases, _one general law that
should have embraced every object_, and remedied every defect in the
existing Statutes, on this important subject of criminal

That these Laws, numerous as they are, and applicable as many of them
appear to be, have not been in any degree effectual, is clearly
manifested by the unquestionable increase of the evil, even to an
extent beyond all calculation.

Under such circumstances, where the Receiver is in reality the
greatest offender, and even the source from whence most of the
burglaries and highway robberies have their origin, the Thief being
not seldom his pupil--_Why should not the Receipt of Stolen Goods be
made an original offence?[79]--Why should not the rewards for
detection, and the punishment on conviction, be the same, in the case
both of the Receiver and the Thief?_

[Footnote 79: The general rule of the ancient Law is this;--that
Accessaries shall suffer the same punishment as Principals. If one be
liable to death, the other is also liable. BLACKSTONE.

In France, (before the Revolution) the offence of receiving stolen
goods was punished with death.]

In contemplating the best means of preventing depredations upon the
public, the simplest and perhaps the most effectual mode would be to
_make a stand at this particular point_; by bending the attention
_wholly_ to the means of destroying effectually _the trade of
Receiving stolen goods_; under the fullest conviction that by
accomplishing so valuable a purpose, thieving and swindling in all its
branches would also be, in a great measure, destroyed.

It is believed, that this object (difficult as it may appear) is
attainable, by well digested applicable laws, containing and enforcing
such regulations as would ensure a full and energetic execution.

The importance of a measure of this kind is so immense, that if even a
considerable part of one Session of Parliament were employed in
devising and legalizing a proper System, it would be time well and
usefully spent for the benefit of the Country.

The obvious means of remedy seem to lie within a narrow compass. The
first point to be obtained is the _Licensing_ all those dealers (some
of them already particularized in pages 292, 293), whose various
branches of trade are friendly to the encouragement of depredations;
and the putting them under the control of the _Central Board of
Police_, in the manner stated more fully in the concluding part of
this Work.--

The next step must be to consolidate and improve the Laws now in
being, relative to _Receivers of stolen goods_; by an arrangement
which shall render the whole _clear_ and _explicit_, and applicable to
all the evils which have been felt to exist.

And lastly to make the following additions to these Laws:

     "1. To make the receiving stolen goods an _original
     offence_; punishable in the same manner, in all cases, as
     the principal felony is punishable by Law.

     "2. The offence of receiving _money, bank notes, horses,
     cattle, poultry_, or _any matter_ or thing whatsoever, to be
     the same as receiving goods and chattels.

     "3. The persons committing any felony or larceny to be
     competent to give evidence against the Receiver, and _vice
     versa_; Provided that the testimony and evidence of such
     Principal Felon against the Receiver, or the evidence of the
     Receiver against the Principal Felon, shall not be of itself
     sufficient to convict, without other concurrent evidence:
     and that the offenders so giving evidence shall be entitled
     to his Majesty's pardon, and also to a reward of from 10_l._
     to 50_l._ as hereafter mentioned; unless they shall be found
     guilty of wilful and corrupt perjury.--_By this means the
     Thief will be set against the Receiver, and the Receiver
     against the Thief._

     "4. That rewards be paid for the detection and apprehension
     of Receivers as well as Thieves, in all cases whatsoever,
     according to the discretion of the Judge; _whether there
     shall be a conviction or not_; which reward shall not be
     less than _ten_ and may extend to _fifty pounds_.

     "5. That the various classes of dealers to be licensed shall
     enter into recognizance for their good behaviour: and that
     no licences be granted to persons having been convicted of
     felony or perjury, nor to any but such as can obtain and
     produce a certificate of good character.

     "6. That all such licensed dealers, as also _Publicans_,
     _Pawnbrokers_, &c. shall be subject to a penalty for
     concealing any stolen goods which may come into their
     possession, after the same are advertised;--or punished with
     transportation, if it can be made appear that such goods
     were purchased at an under value, being known to be stolen.

     "7. That all drivers of Hackney-Coaches, employed to take
     fares after twelve o'clock at night, shall be licensed by
     the Magistrates of the division; and shall enter into
     recognizance for their good behaviour, themselves and one
     surety in 50_l._ at least; and that every such coachman
     shall be obliged, whenever he carries any goods or
     valuables, to make a report of the same, on the following
     morning, to the Magistrate of his district, if no suspicion
     arises as to any improper or felonious intention; but in all
     cases where a felonious intention shall appear, the coachman
     to be authorized and required to call the assistance of the
     watchmen and patroles, and to seize and apprehend the
     parties, and lodge them and the goods in the nearest
     watch-house; there to be kept until brought before a
     justice, at the Public-Office of the district, on the
     following morning: And although it may ultimately appear
     that the coachman was mistaken and the parties innocent, yet
     where it shall be manifest to the Justice that he hath acted
     _bona fide_, he shall not be liable to any prosecution:[80]
     and if it shall appear that the goods so conveyed _were_
     stolen property, then the coachman shall be entitled,
     whether a conviction shall follow or not, to a reward of
     _two guineas_; and in all cases where a prosecution shall
     follow, he shall be entitled to such further reward as the
     Court shall think proper.

     [Footnote 80: Vide Act 30 Geo. II. cap. 24.]

     "8. That all watchmen or patroles who shall appear upon
     proper proof to connive at the commission of felonies[81] in
     the night time, or while they are on duty; or shall
     knowingly conceal any felonious removal of stolen goods, or
     goods suspected to be stolen, and conveying to Receivers'
     houses, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable
     to be _imprisoned_, _whipt_, or _put in the pillory_.--And
     in _all cases_ where such watchmen or patroles shall observe
     any goods or other articles conveyed in Hackney-coaches, or
     in any other manner, while they are upon duty, from one
     place to another, they shall report the same to the Justices
     at the nearest Public Office, in the morning: But if they
     shall have good grounds to suspect a felonious intention,
     and that the property is stolen, the goods and all the
     parties concerned shall be conveyed to the nearest
     watch-house, for the purpose of being brought before a
     Magistrate; and such watchmen (acting _bona fide_) shall not
     be liable to any prosecution in case of a mistake; and if a
     felony shall have been actually committed, they shall each
     be entitled to one guinea, besides their proportion of any
     future reward which may be ordered by the Court who shall
     try the offenders.[82]"

     [Footnote 81: An Officer of Police who was watching the
     house of a noted Receiver, in St. James's parish, being
     taken for a Thief by the watchmen, the latter entered into
     conversation with him, and naming the Receiver, he told the
     Officer that he being very liberal and kind to them, they
     did not disturb any person going to his house; and if he had
     any thing to carry there, he would step out of sight, so as
     to be able to say he had seen nothing.]

     [Footnote 82: Vide Act 30 Geo. II. cap. 24.]

In the formation of such a System, it is absolutely necessary that
care should be taken to secure a _regular_ and perfect _execution_, by
means of a proper superintendance and inspection:--without this, the
best laws will remain a _dead letter_.--Such has, in fact, been the
case in a great measure with respect to several of the very excellent
Statutes, now in force, relative to Receivers of stolen Goods; and
such also would be the case with regard to the laws relative to the
_Revenue_, if a System had not been established to secure their

If it be allowed that the prevention of crimes is at least of as much
importance to Society, as any consideration connected with partial
revenue:--if experience has shewn that, after the skill and ingenuity
of the ablest lawyers and the most profound thinkers have been
exhausted in framing laws to meet offences, which are daily committed;
these offences are progressively increasing:--Is it not clear to
demonstration, that some _active principle_ is wanting, which does not
at present exist, for the purpose of rendering these laws effectual?

This principle of activity is, (it is humbly apprehended,) only to be
established by the introduction of such a System of _regulation_, as
shall attach to all classes of dealers, who, in their intercourse
with Society, are in the train of encouraging either directly or
collaterally, transactions of _an immoral_, _a fraudulent_, or a
_mischievous nature_.

The idea is not new in the System of jurisprudence of the
country;--Publicans have long been under regulations prescribed by
Magistrates; Pawnbrokers also have been of late years regulated to a
certain extent by Statute.--Let the same principle be extended to the
other dealers alluded to; and let the Legislature, profiting by that
experience which has manifested the cause of the inefficacy of a vast
number of penal Statutes, establish such a system of _regulation_,
_inspection_, and _superintendance_, as will insure to the Public the
full benefits arising from good laws, administered with activity,
purity, and discretion.

Nothing can evince in a greater degree the necessity of _inspecting_
the execution of all _laws of regulation_ where the well-being of
Society is concerned, than the abuses which occur with regard to the
two classes just mentioned, namely, Public-houses and Pawnbrokers.--Many
excellent rules are established by the Legislature, and the
Magistrates; but while it is seldom the interest of the depraved or
dishonest part of these two classes to adhere to such rules, by what
means is the execution to be insured, so as to operate as a complete
protection to the Public?--surely not by the operation of the law
through the medium of common informers; since independent of the
invidious nature of the office, experience has shewn that the public
good rarely enters into the consideration of persons of this
description; who look merely to their own emolument, frequently
holding up the penalties as a rod by which money is privately
extorted, and the parties laid under contribution, for the purpose of
allowing them to continue in the practice of those abuses, which the
engine used for this nefarious purpose was meant to prevent.

The System of Inspection, thus strongly and repeatedly recommended,
while it remedied these corrupt practices, by preventing the existence
of the evil, could only be disagreeable to _Fraudulent Dealers_.

The honest and fair Tradesmen, as things are at present circumstanced,
are by no means on an equal footing with men who carry on business by
fraudulent devices.--Such fair traders who have nothing to dread,
would therefore rejoice at the System of inspection which is proposed,
and would submit to it cheerfully; as having an immediate tendency to
shield them from fraudulent competition, and to protect the Public
against knavery and dishonesty.


     _The prominent Causes of the increase of Crimes reviewed and
     considered:--Imputable in the first instance to deficient
     Laws and an ill-regulated Police:--To the unfortunate habits
     of the lower orders of the People in feeding their families
     in Ale-houses.--To the bad and immoral Education of
     Apprentices.--To the number of individuals broke down by
     misfortunes arising from want of Industry.--To idle and
     profligate Menial Servants out of place.--To the deplorable
     state of the lower orders of the Jews of the Dutch and
     German Synagogue.--To the depraved morals of Aquatic
     Labourers.--To the Dealers in old Metals--Second-hand Ships'
     Stores--Rags--Old Furniture--Old Building Materials--Old
     Apparel: and Cart-keepers for removing these articles.--To
     disreputable Pawnbrokers.--And finally to ill-regulated
     Public-houses, and to the Superabundance of these
     receptacles of idleness and vice.--Concluding Reflections on
     the evils to the State and the Individual, which arise from
     the excesses of the Labouring People._

In contemplating the mass of turpitude which is developed in the
preceding Chapters, and which exhibit afflicted Society, groaning
under a pressure of evils and Public wrongs, which, but for the
different views which have been taken of the subject, could not have
been conceived to exist; it may be truly affirmed in the first
instance, that much is to be imputed to deficient and ill-executed
Laws, arising chiefly from the want of a proper System of Police.

Offences of every description have their origin in the vicious and
immoral habits of the people, and in the facilities which the state of
manners and society, particularly in vulgar life, afford in generating
vicious and bad habits.

In tracing the progress of those habits which are peculiar to the
lower orders of the Community in this great Metropolis, from infancy
to the adult state, the cause will be at once discovered, why that
_almost universal_ profligacy prevails, which, by being productive of
so much evil to the unfortunate Individuals as well as the Community
at large, cannot be sufficiently deplored.

Before a child is perhaps able to lisp a sentence, it is carried by
its ill-fated mother to the tap-room of an ale-house;[83] in which are
assembled multitudes of low company, many of whom have been perhaps
reared in the same manner. The vilest and most profane and polluted
language, accompanied by oaths and imprecations, is uttered in these
haunts of idleness and dissipation.--Children follow their parents
during their progress to maturity, and are almost the constant
witnesses of their besotted courses.--Reduced, from their unfortunate
habits, to the necessity of occupying a miserable half furnished
lodging from week to week, there is no comfort at home.--No knowledge
of frugal cookery exists, by which a nourishing and palatable meal can
be provided, and frequently a sufficiency of fuel for that purpose is
not accessible.--A succedaneum is found in the ale-house at three
times the expence.--A common fire is provided for the guests,
calculated to convey that warmth which could not be obtained at home;
and food[84] and liquor is furnished at an expence which too seldom
leaves any part of the weekly earning for cloathing, and none at all
for education.--In this manner is a large proportion of what may be
denominated the lowest classes of the people reared in the
Metropolis;[85] and the result is, that while many of the adults are
lost to the state by premature death, from sottishness and
irregularity, not a few of their offspring are never raised to
manhood: But this is not all:--when by means of strong constitutions,
they survive the shocks which nature has sustained in its progress to
maturity under the influence of habits so exceedingly depraved, they
are restrained by no principle of morality or religion,[86] (for they
know nothing of either,) and only wait for opportunities, to plunge
into every excess and every crime.

[Footnote 83: It is even a practice with not a few of the labouring
families in the Eastern part of the Town, to take lodgings in

[Footnote 84: Such is the thoughtless improvidence of this class of
the labouring people, that they are generally the first who indulge
themselves by eating Oysters, Lobsters, and Pickled Salmon, &c. when
first in Season, and long before these luxuries are considered as
accessible to the middle ranks of the Community; whose manners are
generally as virtuous as the others are depraved.]

[Footnote 85: It is not to be inferred from this statement, that there
are not to be found even among the lower classes of the labouring
People in the Metropolis, many instances of honest and virtuous Poor,
whose distresses are to be attributed to the calamity of a failure of
employment, bad health, death of Parents or Children, and other causes
which human prudence cannot prevent; and particularly where the want
of opulent Inhabitants in several of the Eastern Parishes, renders it
necessary to assess _Indigence_ for the support of _Poverty_.--To
these Parishes and Hamlets the Poor resort, both from the nature of
their employments, and the impossibility of finding habitations any
where else.--They have perhaps no legal settlement where they reside,
or the funds of the Parish can afford but a very scanty and inadequate
relief. Depressed with sickness, and broke down and dispirited by
extreme poverty, the little furniture and apparel of Man, Woman, and
Child, is carried to the Pawn-broker's to obtain a scanty pittance for
the immediate support of life, until at length there does not remain
what is sufficient to cover nakedness.--In these miserable mansions
the Author has himself frequently witnessed scenes of distress, which
would rend the heart of the most unfeeling of the human species.--A
temporary and partial expedient has through the benevolence of the
Publick, been administered in the excellent institutions of
_Soup-houses_: but until the funds of the different Parishes can be
made _one Common Purse_, and an intelligent management substituted in
the place of an ignorant and incompetent superintendance, the evil
will not diminish.--To the opulent part of the Community the burden
would never be felt.--At present, where the most indigent are
assessed, the rates are double and treble those in the rich
Parishes.--It is principally to this cause, that Poverty is no where
to be found in so great a degree, cloathed in the garb of the
extremest misery and wretchedness, as in the Metropolis.--And it is to
this cause also, joined to various others explained in this Chapter,
_that above Twenty Thousand miserable Individuals of various classes,
rise up every morning without knowing how, or by what means they are
to be supported, during the passing day; or where, in many instances,
they are to lodge on the succeeding night_.]

[Footnote 86: The Author has often had occasion to witness the extreme
ignorance of the younger part of this class, when called upon to give
evidence in judicial proceedings.--Of the nature of an oath they had
not the least conception,--nor even of the existence of a Supreme

Profligate and depraved as the lower orders of the People appear to
have been for several centuries in this great Metropolis, it would
seem that the practice of married females resorting to Public-houses,
and mixing generally in tap-rooms with the idle and dissolute, is an
evil habit of a very modern date; for the period is not even too
remote to be recollected, since it was considered as disgraceful for
Females who pretended to any degree of modesty to be seen in a
Public-house.--It is however now to be lamented that the obloquy of
thus exposing themselves has as little influence, as the rude and
obscene language they uniformly hear uttered.

_Another cause_ of the increase of crimes, may be traced to the bad
and immoral education of Apprentices to Mechanical employments.

Although many of their Masters may not be, and certainly are not,
composed of the class whose manners have just been depicted, yet their
habits lead them too generally to Public-houses, where no
inconsiderable proportion of their earnings are expended;--where low
gaming is introduced, producing ruin and distress to many families
even among the inferior ranks, who might otherwise have moved through
life with credit and reputation.

The force of such an example on young minds is obvious.--No sooner
does an apprentice advance towards the last year of his time than he
thinks it incumbent upon him to follow the example of his master, by
learning to _smoke_.--This accomplishment acquired (according to his
conception), he is a fit associate for those who frequent
Public-houses. He resorts at first to those of a lower class, to avoid
his master or his relations.--There he meets with depraved company;
while he conceives he is following only the example of those whose
manners and habits he has been taught, by example, to imitate, he is
insensibly ensnared.--Having arrived at the age of puberty, and
meeting profligate females in those haunts of idleness, his passions
become inflamed.--The force of evil example overpowers him.--He too
becomes depraved.--Money must be procured to administer to the new
wants which are generated by depravity.--Aided by the facilities held
out by Old Iron Shops, he pilfers from his master to supply those
wants, or associates himself with Thieves, whose acquaintance he made
in progress of his seduction.[87]

[Footnote 87: In the course of the Author's investigations, in his
official situation as a Magistrate, he actually discovered that clubs
of apprentice-boys were harboured in Public-houses, for the purpose of
supporting their fellow-apprentices who ran away from their masters.
The means of thus indulging themselves in lewdness and debauchery was
obtained by pilfering from their Masters, and disposing of the
property at Old Iron Shops.]

Under the circumstances thus stated, where so many temptations assail
the young and inexperienced, the transition from innocence to guilt is
easy to be conceived.--And in a Metropolis where there are seldom
fewer than 150,000 apprentices bound to mechanical employments, the
crimes which spring from this source must be very extensive.--That
there are, however, many good and virtuous young men among the class
of apprentices, who, from a better education, or being under the
control of reputable masters, and attentive parents, escape the snare,
or resist these temptations, is _certain_; and fortunate too for the
best interests of Society. It is to be lamented, however, that the
major part, and particularly parish apprentices, have not always these
advantages; and hence it is that so many become disorderly, and
require the interference of legal authority and punishment for the
purpose of compelling obedience and good conduct.[88]

[Footnote 88: It is to be feared that much evil arises from the want
of attention on the part of Masters among the superior classes of
Tradesmen with respect to their apprentices, who too seldom consider
the morals of their apprentices as a matter in which they have any
concern.--It is even the practice to allow apprentices a certain sum
of money weekly, for the purpose of enabling them to provide
themselves out of doors, and to prevent the trouble of boarding them
in the house. If it were possible for a Master, after exerting all his
ingenuity, to invent one mode more likely than another to ruin his
apprentices, it is by adopting this plan. If he means to subject
himself to great risques with respect to the security of his property,
he will permit his apprentice, at the age of puberty when open to
seduction, to be at large in this great Town, where he is liable to be
assailed by swindlers, cheats, and sharpers, who, availing themselves
of the inexperience of youth, may corrupt the mind, and give it a
wrong bias. The dangers arising from allowing apprentices to victual
out of doors, extend much farther than masters are generally aware of:
and they who suffer it do great injury to themselves, and even great
injustice to their apprentices, whose morals they are virtually, at
least, bound to preserve pure. This is not to be expected where
apprentices are not under the eye of the master at Meal-times. Their
Sundays, in such cases, are their own, which they waste in idleness,
not seldom in water-parties on the River, where they are introduced
into low and bad company, which gives frequently a taint to their
manners of the most injurious nature. The result is, that their
master, without reflecting that he himself was the cause of their
idleness, withdraws his confidence, and turns them adrift after their
time expires, if not before; and in the end ruin, as might well be
expected, inevitably ensues.]

_Another cause_ of the increase of crimes, arises from the number of
individuals in various occupations among the lower and middling ranks
of life, (and which must naturally be expected in a large Metropolis)
who, from their own mismanagement and want of industry, or attention
to their business, are suddenly broke down, and in some degree
excluded from the regular intercourse with Society. Unable to find
employment, from want of character, or want of friends, with constant
demands upon them for the means of subsistence to themselves and
families, they resort to Public-houses, under the influence of
despondency, or to kill time which hangs heavy upon them.

In these haunts of depravity they meet persons who perhaps have been
in the like circumstances; but who have resorted to illegal Lottery
Insurances, and other swindling devices for subsistence, under whose
banners they inlist; and thus strengthen the phalanx of low gamblers,
swindlers, and cheats, whose various pursuits have been developed in
this Work.--From one vice to another the transition is easy when the
mind becomes depraved, and the pursuits which are ultimately followed,
depend in a considerable degree on the persons with whom this class of
men associate.--If at the low gaming-houses, to which from idle habits
they are led to resort, they meet with highwaymen and footpads, they
are easily persuaded to become associates in their iniquitous
pursuits; or if in the wide range of their acquaintance, by living
chiefly in Public-houses, they become acquainted with venders of base
money, they enter with equal facility into their views, as a means of
supplying their pecuniary wants.

In cases where they have been bred to ingenious mechanical
employments, they embrace, wherever a proper opportunity offers, such
propositions as may be made them, to become forgers of Bank Bills and
Notes, and Coiners of Counterfeit Money.

Such is the lamentable progress of vice in the human mind, that by
degrees it embraces eagerly what could not have been indured at the
commencement of the career.

_Another cause_ of the increase of Crimes in the Metropolis and its
environs, may be traced to the situation of idle and profligate menial
servants out of place, and destitute of the means of obtaining
situations from the loss of character.--These too, seek for resources
in Public-houses, where they soon become the associates of Thieves,
Pickpockets, Burglars, and Highwaymen; and it is believed to be
chiefly from this class, particularly _Riding Footmen_, and
_Postillions_, that the corps of Highway Robbers is constantly
recruited.--While others less skilled in horsemanship become Footpads,
Burglars, and Pickpockets.

With the major part of this class the transition is easy--depravity
had previously taken hold of their minds--every other resource has
failed them, and to this they resort, as soon as they can find means,
to enlist in any gang that will receive them, where, to those who
confine themselves chiefly to burglaries, their knowledge of the
interior of the houses of their former masters, and their probable
acquaintance with some of the female servants, will be a considerable
recommendation, and even a ground of seduction.

_Another Cause_, and no inconsiderable one, of the progress and
increase of crimes may be developed, by contemplating the deplorable
state and condition of the lower order of the Jews in the Metropolis,
who are of the Society of the Dutch Synagogue.[89]--Totally without
education, and very seldom trained to any trade or occupation by which
they can earn their livelihood by manual labour:--their youths
excluded from becoming apprentices, and their females from hiring
themselves generally as servants, on account of the superstitious
adherence to the mere ceremonial of their persuasion, as it respects
meat not killed by Jews, nothing can exceed their melancholy
condition, both with regard to themselves and Society. Thus excluded
from these resources, which other classes of the Community possess,
they seem to have no alternative but to resort to those tricks and
devices, which ingenuity suggests, to enable persons without an honest
means of subsistence to live in idleness.

[Footnote 89: Another class of Jews which belong to the Portuguese
Synagogue are generally opulent and respectable, and hold no community
with the others; they use a different Liturgy and their language is
even different; their number does not exceed three thousand; they
never intermarry with the Jews of the Dutch Synagogue.--They generally
pride themselves on their Ancestry, and give their Children the best
education which can be obtained in the countries where they
reside.--While the Dutch Jews (or rather _the German Dutch Jews_) get
no education at all. Even the most affluent of them are said to be
generally unable either to read or write the language of the country
which gave them birth.--They confine themselves to a Bastard or vulgar
Hebrew which has little analogy to the original. The Portuguese
Synagogue has been established in England ever since the
Usurpation.--Their place of worship is in Bevis Marks.--The Members of
it being mostly wealthy are extremely attentive to their poor, among
whom there is said not to be a single beggar or itinerant.--The
Brokers upon the Exchange of the Jewish Persuasion, are all or chiefly
of the Portuguese Synagogue. Their number is limited to _Twelve_ by a
particular Act of Parliament.--Originally this privilege was given
gratis by the Lord Mayor, but afterwards 100_l._ was required, which
has gradually increased to _One Thousand Guineas for each Broker_.

The schism between the two classes of Jews prevail all over the world,
though the rational Jews treat the distinction as absurd.

The German Dutch Jews, who may amount to from twelve to fifteen
thousand have Six Synagogues, the principal of which are in _Duke's
Place, Leadenhall Street_, and _Church Row, Fenchurch Street_. They
observe the particular ritual of the German Synagogue, and also
include the _Polish_, _Russian_, and _Turkish Jews_, established in
London.--With the exception of three or four wealthy Individuals, and
as many Families who are in trade on the Royal Exchange, they are in
general a very indigent class of people, through whose medium crimes
are generated to a considerable extent.--Their Community is too poor
to afford them adequate relief, whence they have resorted to the
expedient of lending them small sums of money at interest to trade
upon, which is required to be repaid monthly or weekly, as the case
may be. Otherwise they forfeit all claim to this aid.--The reproach
arising from their evil practices and idleness, is said to have
engaged the attention of the respectable part of both Synagogues with
a view to a remedy, but all their attempts have been heretofore

The habits they thus acquire are the most mischievous and noxious to
the Community that can be conceived.--Having connexions wherever the
Dock-yards are situated, as well as in several other large trading
towns in the Kingdom, they become in many respects the medium through
which stolen goods are conveyed to and from the Metropolis; and as
their existence depends on this nefarious traffick, they keep alive a
System of Fraud and Depredation which, perhaps, is generated in a
greater degree by their peculiar situation in respect to Society, than
by any actual disposition on their parts to pursue these nefarious

Even the system of supporting the poor of this Community, by lending
them small sums of money by which they may support themselves by a
species of petty traffick, contributes in no small degree to the
commission of crimes; since in order to render it productive to an
extent equal to the wants of families who do not acquire any material
aid by manual labour, they are induced to resort to unlawful means by
dealing in stolen goods and in counterfeit money, by which they become
public nuisances in the Countries where they receive an asylum.

As there appears in reality to be no distinction made by the rational
part of the Jewish persuasion, between the Portuguese and the Dutch
Synagogues, it is earnestly to be hoped that the opulent and
respectable of the former Community will lend a helping hand in
devising some means of rescuing this part of the Nation of the Jews
who reside in England, from the reproach, which it is to be feared,
has been too justly cast upon them. Policy dictates the measure, while
humanity ardently pleads for it.--In so good a work every man of
feeling, be his religious persuasion what it may, will join in
promoting and carrying into effect a measure so beneficial to the
Community at large, by devising some means to render their labour
productive; since it is clear to demonstration that to the idle habits
of this numerous class of people, is to be ascribed a considerable
proportion of the petty crimes, as well as some of the more atrocious
offences by which the Metropolis and the Country is afflicted.

_Another cause_ of the increase and multiplication of crimes has
arisen from the depraved morals of the Aquatic labourers and others,
employed on the wharfs and quays, and in ships, vessels, and craft,
upon the River Thames; and from the want, _until lately_, of an
appropriate Preventive System to check these depredations.

The analogy between actual pillage and smuggling in the conception of
nautical labourers, and the uncontrolled habit of plunder which too
long existed, trained up myriads of delinquents who affixed in their
minds no degree of moral turpitude to the offence; which of course
extended itself both with respect to Commercial and Public Property
beyond all bounds, until a remedy was imperiously called for, and at
length applied by means of an experimental System of Police applicable
to that object.

_Another cause, and certainly none of the least_, which has tended to
facilitate the commission of crimes, has been the want of a proper
control over persons of loose conduct and dishonest habits, who have
opened shops for the purchase and sale of _Old iron_, and _other
metals--Old stores--Rags--Old furniture--Old building materials, and
second-hand wearing apparel, and other goods_;--and _also
cart-keepers_ for the collection and removal of these articles from
place to place.

The easy and concealed mode of disposing of pilfered articles, through
the medium of these receptacles, has tended more to the corruption of
the morals of youth, and to the multiplication of crimes, than it is
possible to conceive; nor has the mode of Licensing _Pawnbrokers_,
without a due regard to character and a more effectual control, been
in many respects less mischievous to the Community.--To the reputable
part of this class of dealers it is degrading and even cruel that the
reproach and stigma, arising from the nefarious practices of the
fraudulent, should unavoidably in the public mind, attach upon those
that are blameless, and fair in their dealings.--While the law admits
of no power of discrimination, and no means of excluding improper
characters exist, the evil must continue; and while it remains on the
present footing, it must also be considered as no inconsiderable
medium, by which both petty and more atrocious crimes are produced.

_But perhaps the greatest source of delinquency and crimes is to be
ascribed to ill-regulated Public Houses_, conducted by men of loose
conduct and depraved morals--Since it is in these receptacles that the
corruption of morals originates.--It is here that the minds of youth
are contaminated, and the conspiracies for the purpose of committing
frauds and depredations on the Public formed and facilitated.

A disorderly and ill-regulated Public-house, therefore, is one of the
greatest nuisances that can exist in civil Society.--Innumerable are
the temptations which are to be found in these haunts of idleness to
seduce the innocent, and to increase the resources of the
evil-disposed to do mischief.

Whatever tends to promote vice and dissipation, whether arising from
low gaming, by means of cards, dice, dominós, shuffleboard, and other
sedentary games; or fraudulent insurances in the lottery, calculated
to fascinate and seduce the unwary, and to poison the minds of all
ranks in the humble walks of vulgar life, is here to be found; in
spite of every laudable precaution, exercised by Magistrates, under
the present System of Police applicable to this object.--Even
Prostitutes of the lowest cast are not seldom introduced, where the
gains of the landlord are thereby to be promoted.

It is in these receptacles that Thieves and Robbers of every
description hold their orgies, and concert and mature their plans of
depredation on the peaceful Subject; and here too it not unfrequently
happens, that their booty is deposited and concealed.

It is here also that markets are held for the sale of Base Money,
where every facility is afforded for the purpose of concealment, and
assistance in escaping justice.

In fact, there is scarce any moral evil by which _Society is
afflicted--the mind debauched--the virtuous parent_ and _master
distressed_, and the _ruin of families and individuals affected_,
which is not generated in Public-houses.

At present, in the Metropolis and its environs, there are at least
five thousand of these receptacles, of which it is computed that about
one thousand change tenants from once to three times a year.--Hence it
follows that not less than two thousand individuals are in a floating
state, either from one Public-house to another, or perhaps, more
frequently, from the Alehouse to a Gaol.

When a depraved character loses his licence in one division of the
Metropolis, he generally finds means to obtain admission in another
where he is not known. The separation of jurisdictions without a
centre point, and the numerous changes which are constantly taking
place, preclude the possibility of detection; while the facility, with
which the worst characters obtain the certificates required by law,
(which are too often signed, without the least previous inquiry, by
the Clergyman and Parish Officers as a matter of course,) enable them
to effect their purpose; and such houses being generally of the
inferior class in point of trade, every species of disorder is
permitted for the purpose of obtaining custom. This is soon discovered
by those who have criminal objects in view; and to such houses they
generally resort, where it has sometimes been discovered that the
Landlord himself belongs to the gang; _and_ that he has become a
Publican the better to facilitate its designs. That the Ale-houses are
yet by far too numerous, is incontestibly proved by the frequent
changes which take place in so large a proportion in the course of a
year, while the irregularities which prevail render it equally clear
that a more general control is necessary to prevent the mischiefs
which have been detailed.

It is chiefly in houses where the trade is inadequate to the support
of the establishment that the greatest disorders prevail, as in such
cases every lure is held out to invite customers, and to entice them
to expend money.--And in return for this, where the Landlord is not
himself of the fraternity of Thieves or Receivers, he is induced at
least to afford them his assistance, as a medium of concealment.

If a plan could be devised, with equal advantage to the Revenue, by
the introduction of more innocent and less noxious gratifications,
whereby the lower ranks of the people could be gradually led into
better habits, much benefit would arise to the State, both with
respect to health and morals.

The quantity of Beer, Porter, Gin, and Compounds, which is sold in
Public-houses in the Metropolis and its environs, has been estimated,
after bestowing considerable pains in forming a calculation, at nearly
3,300,000_l._ a year.[90]

[Footnote 90: In a Tract entitled 'Observations and Facts relative to
Public-Houses,' by the Author of this Work, the mode of conducting
Ale-houses in the Metropolis, and the evils arising from this source
of iniquity and idleness is very fully explained. By this publication
it is discovered, after much investigation, that there is consumed and
sold in the 5000 Public-houses in and round the Metropolis:

  158,400,530 pots of Porter, Ale, and Twopenny     £.2,311,466 15 10

  Gin and Compounds from the Distillers and
  Rectifiers                                            975,000  0  0
                                                      3,236,466 15 10

  To which add Pipes, Tobacco, &c. at least             113,533  4  2
                                             Total  £.3,310,000  0  0]

This immense sum, equal to double the Revenue of some of the Kingdoms
and States of Europe, independent of other evil consequences in
producing indigence and promoting crimes, must in a certain degree
debilitate manhood--in lessening the powers of animal life, and in
shortening its duration long before the period arrives, when an adult
ceases to contribute by his labours to the resources of the State. In
this point of view, independent of considerations of a moral tendency,
and of all the other train of evils which have been detailed, it would
seem of importance, as a political measure, to check the growing
propensity to consume a greater quantity of Porter, Beer, and ardent
Spirits, than is necessary to health.--To the State, indeed, it
creates a Revenue; but it is a Revenue too dearly purchased if it
wastes the human species--if it deprives the nation, prematurely, of
the benefit of their labour, and occasions infinitely greater
pecuniary pressures in the support of an indigent and helpless
offspring, who must be reared again to manhood at the expence of the
Public; not to speak of the grain, labour, fuel, &c. unnecessarily
consumed in creating this poison to the health, the morals, and
comforts of the poor.[91]--However unpopular it may appear in the
view of those who have not fully considered the subject, it may be
clearly demonstrated that a triple duty on Malt Spirits, and a much
higher duty on Strong Beer and Porter would be an act of the greatest
humanity on the part of the Legislature.--The present Revenue might
thus be secured, while that which is even of more importance to a
State than any other consideration would be preserved--_the health and
morals of the labouring people_. It is a mistaken notion, that a very
large quantity of Malt Liquor is necessary to support labourers of any
description.--After a certain moderate quantity is drank, it enervates
the body, and stupefies the senses.--A Coal-heaver who drinks from 12
to 16 pots of Porter in the course of a day, would receive more real
nourishment, and perform his labour with more ease and a greater
portion of athletic strength, if only one-third of the quantity were
consumed. He would also enjoy better health, and be fitter for his
labour the following day. On a supposition that the excesses in which
perhaps 200,000 of the labouring people in the Metropolis _indulge_,
shortens the natural period of their existence only five years each on
an average, the labour of one million of years is lost in the lives
of this class of men, after the expence is incurred in rearing them to
maturity, which, during a period of 36 years of adult labour, at
25_l._ a year, establishes a deficiency to the Community of
_Twenty-five Millions sterling_: independent of the numerous other
train of evils, which arise to a nation from idle, dissolute and
immoral habits, by which the rising generation is contaminated, and
great inconvenience imposed on the innocent and peaceful subject, from
the increase of crimes which are generated through this medium.

[Footnote 91: It is a curious and important fact, that during the
period when Distilleries were stopped in 1796 and 1797, although
Bread, and every necessary of life was considerably higher than during
the preceding year, the Poor in that quarter of the Town where the
chief part reside were apparently more comfortable, paid their rents
more regularly, and were better fed than at any period for some years
before;--even although they had not the benefit of the extensive
charities which were distributed in 1795. This can only be accounted
for by their being denied the indulgence of Gin, which had become in a
great measure inaccessible from its very high price. It may fairly be
concluded, that the money formerly spent in this imprudent manner had
been applied in the purchase of provisions and other necessaries to
the amount of some hundred thousand pounds.--The effects of their
being deprived of this baneful Liquor was also evident in their more
orderly conduct.--Quarrels and assaults were less frequent, and they
resorted seldomer to the Pawnbrokers' shops: and yet during the chief
part of this period Bread was 15_d._ the Quartern Loaf, and Meat
higher than the preceding year, particularly Pork, which arose in part
from the stoppage of the Distilleries; but chiefly from the scarcity
of Grain.]

It is to be lamented, that in pursuing this subject, new sources
giving origin and progress to crimes press upon the mind in the course
of the inquiry. To the catalogue already detailed may be added,
_Gaming-Houses_ of every description, particularly _houses of the
lower cast_; but as this subject has been very fully handled in a
preceding Chapter, it will be unnecessary to do more than place it in
the general list of causes, which have contributed exceedingly to the
evils, which have afflicted Society in this Metropolis, and which can
only be remedied by a _Responsible Police_, attaching particularly
upon this baneful propensity by appropriate regulations.

Next to Gaming, Illicit Trade or Smuggling may be mentioned as a very
productive source of criminality. The vast extent of the Trade and
Revenues of the Country; its insular situation, and the temptations
arising from the magnitude of the duties, contribute exceedingly to
the corruption of morals, not only of these engaged in illicit
pursuits, but it is to be lamented also of the inferior officers
themselves, whose duty it is to prevent this evil.

Severe and pointed as the laws unquestionably are with an immediate
view to the prevention of this evil, experience proves how ineffectual
they have been, since every idle and profligate character becomes a
smuggler. But it is not merely the offence of smuggling as it relates
to the revenue, which is to be deplored as a grievance to the Public,
since those on the Sea Coasts of the kingdom, concerned in such
pursuits, are generally of ferocious habits, which produce such
excesses and depredations upon the unfortunate, when suffering the
calamity of shipwreck, as would disgrace the rudest savages.

With contaminated minds, depraved hearts, men given up to such warfare
upon helpless humanity, become fit instruments for every species of
criminality.--_Vagabonds by trade_, the transition from one offence to
another is easy, and hence through this medium many culprits are added
to the general catalogue of delinquency, which nothing can check or
prevent but a System of Police, attaching responsibility _some-where
instead of no-where as at present_.

Crimes are also generated in no inconsiderable degree, by the evil
examples exhibited in _Prisons_, and by the length of time persons
charged with offences are suffered to remain in gaols previous to
their trial, particularly in the counties adjoining the Metropolis,
where they frequently are in confinement five and six months before
the assizes.--If they were novices in villainy before, the education
they receive in these seminaries, in the event of their escaping
justice, returns them upon society, completely proselyted and
instructed in the arts of mischief and depredation.

Nor have the unequal scale of punishments, and the ultimate
unconditional pardons, dictated no doubt by the purest motives of
humanity, a less tendency to generate new crimes. Encouraged by the
chances of escaping free, _even after conviction_, many delinquents
pursue their evil courses, trusting ultimately to this resource, if
other devices shall fail.

To shew mankind that crimes are sometimes wholly pardoned, and that
punishment is not the necessary consequence, is to nourish the
flattering hope of impunity, and is the cause of their considering
every punishment which is actually inflicted, as an act of injustice
and oppression.

Let the Legislator be _tender_, _indulgent_, and _humane_; but let the
Executors of the Laws be inexorable in punishing;--at least to a
certain extent.


     _The Consideration of the causes of the progress and
     increase of Crimes pursued.--The condition of the unhappy
     Females, who support themselves by Prostitution--Their
     pitiable Case.--The progress from Innocence to Profligacy
     explained.--The morals of Youth corrupted by the multitudes
     of Prostitutes in the streets.--These temptations excite
     desires which suggest undue means of obtaining
     money.--Apprentices and Clerks are seduced--Masters are
     robbed--Parents are afflicted.--The miserable consequences
     of Prostitution explained.--The impossibility of preventing
     its existence in a great Metropolis.--The propriety of
     lessening the Evil:--By stripping it of its indecency and
     much of its immoral tendency.--The shocking indecency which
     has lately been suffered by Prostitutes at the
     Theatres.--The number of Prostitutes in the Metropolis
     estimated--Suggestions for rendering the consequences
     arising from Female Prostitution less noxious to
     Society.--The advantages of the measure in reducing the mass
     of turpitude.--Reasons offered why the interests of Morality
     and Religion will be promoted by prescribing Rules with
     respect to Prostitutes.--The example of Holland, Italy, and
     the East Indies quoted.--Strictures on the offensive manners
     of the Company who frequent Public Gardens:--Imputable to
     the want of a proper Police.--Tea Gardens under a proper
     Police might be rendered beneficial to the State.--The
     Ballad Singers might also be rendered instruments in giving
     a right turn to the minds of the Vulgar.--Crimes generated
     by immoral Books and Songs.--Responsibility as it relates to
     the execution of the Laws rests no where at present.--The
     nature and advantages of the Police System explained._

In addition to the prominent causes, which contribute to the origin
and the increase of crimes, which have been developed in the preceding
Chapter, there are other sources of a minor nature still to be traced,
from which infinite evils to the Community spring.

Among these the most important is, the state and condition of the
unhappy Females, who support themselves by Prostitution in this great

In contemplating their case, it is impossible to avoid dropping a tear
of pity.--Many of them perhaps originally seduced from a state of
innocence, while they were the joy and comfort of their unhappy
parents. Many of them born and educated to expect a better fate, until
deceived by falsehood and villainy, they see their error when it is
too late to recede. In this situation, abandoned by their relations
and friends; deserted by their seducers, and at large upon the world;
loathed and avoided by those who formerly held them in estimation,
what are they to do? In the present unhappy state of things they seem
to have no alternative, but to become the miserable instruments of
promoting and practising that species of seduction and immorality, of
which they themselves were the victims.[92] And what is the
result?--It is pitiable to relate.--They are compelled of necessity to
mingle with the abandoned herd, who have long been practised in the
walks of infamy, and they too become speedily polluted and
depraved.--Oaths, imprecations, and obscene language, by degrees,
become familiar to their ears, and necessity compels them to indure,
and at length to imitate, and practise in their turn, upon the unwary
youth, who too easily falls into the snare.

[Footnote 92: It is in the first stage of Seduction, before the female
mind becomes vitiated and depraved, that Asylums are most useful. If
persons in this unhappy situation had it in their power to resort to a
medium, whereby they might be reconciled to their relations, while
uncontaminated by the vices attached to _General Prostitution_,
numbers, who are now lost, might be saved to Society.]

Thus it is from the multitudes of those unhappy Females, that assemble
now in all parts of the Town, that the morals of the youth are
corrupted. That unnecessary expences are incurred; and undue, and too
often criminal, means are resorted to, for the purpose of gratifying
passions, which but for these temptations, which constantly assail
them in almost every street in the Metropolis, would not have been
thought of. Through this medium _Apprentices, Clerks and other persons
in trust_ are seduced from the paths of honesty--Masters are
plundered, and Parents are afflicted; while many a youth, who might
have become the pride of his family--a comfort to the declining years
of his Parents, and an ornament to Society, exchanges a life of Virtue
and Industry, for the pursuits of the Gambler, the Swindler, and the
Vagabond. Nor is the lot of these poor deluded females less
deplorable. Although some few of them may obtain settlements, while
others bask for a while in the temporary sun-shine of ease and
splendour, the major part end a short life in misery and wretchedness.

What has become of the multitudes of unfortunate females, elegant in
their persons, and sumptuous in their attire, who were seen in the
streets of the Metropolis, and at places of public Amusement twenty
years ago? Alas! Could their progress be developed, and their ultimate
situations or exit from the world disclosed, it would lay open a
catalogue of sufferings and affliction, beyond what the most romantic
fancy could depict or exhibit to the feeling mind.

Exposed to the rude insults of the inebriated and the vulgar:--the
impositions of brutal officers and watchmen, and to the chilling
blasts of the night, during the most inclement weather, in thin
apparel, partly in compliance with the fashion of the day, but more
frequently from the pawnbroker's shop rendering their necessary
garments inaccessible--diseases, where their unhappy vocation does not
produce them, are generated. No pitying hand appears to help them in
such situations. The feeling parent or relation is far off. An
abandoned monster of the same sex, inured in the practice of infamy
and seduction, instead of the consolation which sickness requires,
threatens to turn the unhappy victim out of doors, when the means of
subsistence are cut off, and the premium for shelter is no longer
forth-coming; or perhaps the unfeeling landlord of a miserable
half-furnished lodging afflicts the poor unhappy female, by
declarations equally hostile to the feelings of humanity, till at
length turned out into the streets, she languishes and ends her
miserable days in an hospital or a workhouse, or perhaps perishes in
some inhospitable hovel alone, without a friend to console her, or a
fellow-mortal to close her eyes in the pangs of dissolution.

If no other argument could be adduced in favour of some arrangements,
calculated to stop the progress of Female Prostitution, Compassion for
the sufferings of the unhappy victims would be sufficient; but other
reasons occur equally powerful, why this evil should be controlled.

To prevent its existence, even to a considerable extent, in so great a
Metropolis as London, is as impossible as to resist the torrent of the
tides. It is an evil therefore which must be endured while human
passions exist: but it is at the same time an evil which may not only
be lessened, but rendered less noxious and dangerous to the peace and
good order of society: it may be stript of its indecency, and also of
a considerable portion of the danger attached to it, to the youth of
both sexes.

The lures for the seduction of youth passing along the streets in the
course of their ordinary business, may be prevented by a Police,
applicable to this object, without either infringing upon the feelings
of humanity or insulting distress; and still more is it practicable to
remove the noxious irregularities, which are occasioned by the
indiscreet conduct, and the shocking behaviour of Women of the Town,
and their still more blameable paramours, in openly insulting Public
Morals; and rendering the situation of modest women at once irksome
and unsafe, either in places of Public Entertainment, or while passing
along the most public streets of the Metropolis, particularly in the

This unrestrained licence given to males and females, in the Walks of
Prostitution, was not known in former times at places of public
resort, where there was at least an affectation of decency. To the
disgrace, however, of the Police the evil has been suffered to
increase; and the Boxes of the Theatres often exhibit scenes, which
are certainly extremely offensive to modesty, and contrary to that
decorum which ought to be maintained, and that protection to which the
respectable part of the Community are entitled, against indecency and
indecorum, when their families, often, composed of young females,
visit places of public resort.

In this instance, the induring such impropriety of conduct, so
contrary to good morals, marks strongly the growing depravity of the
age. To familiarize the eyes and ears of the innocent part of the sex
to the scenes which are often exhibited in the Theatres, is tantamount
to carrying them to a school of vice and debauchery--

     Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
     That to be hated needs but to be seen;
     Yet seen too oft--familiar with her face,
     We first endure--then pity--then embrace.

For the purpose of understanding more clearly, by what means it is
possible to lessen the evils arising from Female Prostitution in the
Metropolis, it may be necessary to view it in all its ramifications.

In point of extent it certainly exceeds credibility: but although
there are many exceptions,--the great mass, (whatever their exterior
may be,) are mostly composed of women who have been in a state of
menial servitude, and of whom not a few, from the love of idleness and
dress, with (in this case) _the misfortune of good looks_, have partly
from inclination, not seldom from previous seduction and loss of
character, resorted to Prostitution as a livelihood.

They are still, however, objects of compassion, although under the
circumstances incident to their situation they cannot be supposed to
experience those poignant feelings of distress, which are peculiar to
women who have moved in a higher sphere and who have been better

_The whole may be estimated as follows:_

  1. Of the class of Well Educated women it is
     earnestly hoped the number does not exceed                  2,000

  2. Of the class composed of persons above the rank
     of Menial servants perhaps                                  3,000

  3. Of the class who may have been employed as
     Menial Servants, or seduced in very early life, it
     is conjectured in all parts of the town, including
     Wapping, and the streets adjoining the River,
     there may not be less, who live wholly by Prostitution,
     than                                                       20,000

  4. Of those in different ranks in Society, who live
     partly by Prostitution, including the multitudes
     of low females, who cohabit with labourers and
     others without matrimony, there may be in all, in
     the Metropolis, about                                      25,000
                                                         Total  50,000

When a general survey is taken of the Metropolis--The great numbers
among the higher and middle classes of life, who live unmarried--The
multitudes of young men yearly arriving at the age of puberty--The
strangers who resort to the Metropolis--The seamen and nautical
labourers employed in the Trade of the River Thames, who amount at
least to 40,000--And the profligate state of Society in vulgar life,
the intelligent mind will soon be reconciled to the statement, which
at first view would seem to excite doubts, and require investigation.

But whether the numbers of these truly unfortunate women are a few
thousands less or more is of no consequence in the present discussion,
since it is beyond all doubt, that the evil is of a magnitude that is
excessive, and imperiously calls for a remedy.--Not certainly a remedy
against the possibility of Female Prostitution, for it has already
been stated, that it is a misfortune that must be endured in large
societies.--All that can be attempted is, to divest it of the faculty
of extending its noxious influence beyond certain bounds, and restrain
those excesses and indecencies which have already been shewn to be so
extremely noxious to society, and unavoidably productive of depravity
and crimes.

The Author is well aware, that he treads on tender ground, when in
suggesting any measure, however salutary it may be in lessening the
Calendars of Delinquency, _it_ shall have the appearance of giving a
Public sanction to Female Prostitution.

Under the influence of strong prejudices long rooted in the human
mind, it may be in vain to plead _plus apud me ratio valebit quàm
vulgi Opinio_.

If however the political maxim be true--_Qui non vetat peccare, cum
possit, jubet_--it certainly follows, that by suffering an evil to
continue, when we have it in our power, in a great measure, to lessen
or prevent it, we do _violence to reason_ and _to humanity_.--That a
prudent and discreet regulation of Prostitutes in this great
Metropolis, would operate powerfully, not only in gradually
diminishing their numbers, but also in securing public morals against
the insults to which they are exposed, both in the open streets and at
places of public entertainment, cannot be denied.

That young men in pursuit of their lawful business in the streets of
this Metropolis, would be secured against that ruin and infamy, which
temptations thus calculated to inflame the passions, have brought upon
many, who might otherwise have passed through life as useful and
respectable members of Society, is equally true:--While _frauds_,
_peculations_ and _robbery_, often perpetrated for the purpose of
supporting those unhappy women, with whom connections have been at
first formed in the public streets (and in which they themselves are
not seldom the chief instruments) would be prevented.

Were such proper regulations once adopted, the ears and eyes of the
wives and daughters of the modest and unoffending citizens, who cannot
afford to travel in carriages, would no longer be insulted by gross
and polluted language, and great indecency of behaviour, while walking
the streets. Indeed it is to be feared, that the force of evil
example, in unavoidably witnessing such scenes, may have debauched
many females, who might otherwise have lived a virtuous and useful

Whatever consequences might be derived from a total removal of
Prostitutes (if such a measure could be conceived practicable) with
respect to the wives and daughters, who compose the decent and
respectable families in the Metropolis, this apprehension is allayed
by the proposed measure. While virtue is secured against seduction,
the misery of these unhappy females will also be lessened. Their
numbers will be decreased, and a check will be given, not only to
female seduction by the force of evil example, but to the extreme
degree of depravity, which arises from the unbounded latitude which is
at present permitted to take place, from the unavailing application of
the laws, made for the purpose of checking this evil. If it were
either politic or humane to carry them into effect, the state of
society where such members are congregated together render it

Although by the arrangement proposed, a kind of sanction would, in
appearance, be given to the existence of Prostitution, no ground of
alarm ought to be excited, if it shall be proved, that it is to lessen
the mass of turpitude which exists; that it is to produce a solid and
substantial good to the Community, which it is not possible to obtain
by any other means.

What therefore can rationally be opposed to such an arrangement? Not
surely Religion, for it will tend to advance it: Not Morality, for the
effect of the measure will increase and promote it; not that it will
sanction and encourage what will prove offensive and noxious in
society, since all that is noxious and offensive is by this
arrangement to be removed.--Where then lies the objection?--_In vulgar
prejudice only._--By those of inferior education, whose peculiar
habits and pursuits have generated strong prejudices, this excuse may
be pleaded; but by the intelligent and well-informed it will be
viewed through a more correct medium.

Ingenuous minds are ever open to conviction; and it is the true
characteristic of virtuous minds, where they cannot overcome or
destroy, to lessen as much as possible the evils of human life.

To the numerous unhappy females in the Metropolis who live by
Prostitution, this observation peculiarly applies.--The evil is such
as must be endured to a certain extent--because by no human power can
it be overcome; but it can certainly be very much diminished--perhaps
only in one way--namely, _by prescribing rules_--"Thus far shall you
go, and no farther"--the rules of decorum shall be strictly preserved
in the streets and in public places. In such situations Women of the
Town shall no longer become instruments of seduction and debauchery.

It may be asked, will not all this promote the cause of religion and
morality:--admitted; but could not this be done without giving the
sanction of the Legislature to pursuits of infamy. The answer is
obvious:--the Legislature has done every thing already short of this,
to effect the object; but instead of promoting good, the evil has
increased; and it is to be lamented _that it is daily increasing_.--Instead
of the walks of Prostitutes being confined as formerly, to one or two
leading streets in Westminster, they are now to be found in every part
of the Metropolis--even within the jurisdiction of the city of London;
where the dangers arising from seduction are the greatest, they
abound the most of all of late years.

In adopting the proposed measure, the example of Holland may be
quoted, where, under its former Government, the morals of the people
in general were supposed the purest of any in Europe, while the Police
System was considered as among the best. Italy has also long shown an
example, where Prostitutes were actually Licensed, with a view to
secure Chastity against the inroads of violence, and to prevent the
Public eye from being insulted by scenes of lewdness and indecorum.

Female Chastity, which is highly regarded by the natives of India, is
preserved by rearing up a certain class of females, who are under the
conduct of discreet Matrons, in every town and village; and with whom,
under certain circumstances, an indiscriminate intercourse is
permitted--a measure of political necessity. Their morals, however, in
other respects are strictly guarded, and their minds are not
susceptible of that degree of depravity which prevails in Europe. They
are taught the accomplishments of singing and dancing--they exhibit at
public entertainments, and are even called upon to assist at religious

The unrestrained latitude which is permitted to unfortunate females in
this Metropolis, is certainly an inlet to many crimes.

The places of resort in Summer, and particularly the Public Gardens,
which were formerly an innocent relaxation to sober and discreet
families, can now no longer be attended with comfort or satisfaction,
from the offensive manners of the company who frequent such places.

It is not that the Gardens are in themselves a nuisance, or that to
the inferior exhibitions any blame is to be imputed; for both might be
rendered the medium of that rational recreation so necessary both for
the health and comfort of the middling or lower ranks of the people,
to whom _policy_ and _reason_ must admit occasional amusements are
necessary.--If so, what can be more innocent, or better calculated for
health and occasional recreation than the assemblage of decent people
in a Tea Garden?--

Many of them, however, have been shut up, and this recreation denied
to the people, because Prostitutes resorted to those places; insulted
public morals,--promoted lewdness and debauchery, and banished modest
and decent families.

This, if the true cause was developed, is not to be imputed to the
place, which in itself was favourable to the innocent amusement of the
people, but to a deficiency in the Police System.--It was not the
Gardens nor their Keepers that offended.--The evil arose from the want
of proper regulations, to restrain these excesses and to keep them
within bounds.

Such places of resort under appropriate Police regulations, might be
rendered a considerable source of revenue to the State, while they
added greatly to the comfort and innocent recreation of the
People.--By shutting up the Gardens the People are driven to the
Ale-houses, where both air and exercise, so necessary to health, are
denied them, and where the same excesses often prevail, tending in a
still greater degree, to the corruption of morals.

Wherever multitudes of people are collected together, as in a great
Metropolis like London, amusements become indispensably
necessary.--And it is no inconsiderable feature in the science of
Police to encourage, protect, and controul such as tend to innocent
recreation, to preserve the good humour of the Public, and to give the
minds of the People a right bias.

This is only attainable through the medium of a well-regulated
Police.--It is perfectly practicable to render Public Gardens as
innocent and decorous as a Private Assembly: although under the
present deficient System they are the greatest of all nuisances.--Decent
and respectable families are compelled to deny themselves the
privilege of visiting them, because no restraint is put upon
indecency, and vice reigns triumphant.

It is because things are either done by halves, or nothing is done at
all to secure the privileges of innocence, that the sober and harmless
part of the community are compelled to forego those recreations which
contributed to their comfort: while the young and thoughtless,
heedless of the consequences and inexperienced as to the effect, rush
into the vortex of dissipation, and unable to discriminate, become
victims to the licentiousness which is suffered to prevail.

Since recreation is necessary to Civilized Society, all Public
Exhibitions should be rendered subservient to the improvement of
morals, and to the means of infusing into the mind a love of the
Constitution, and a reverence and respect for the Laws.--How easy
would it be under the guidance of an appropriate Police, to give a
right bias through the medium of Public amusements to the dispositions
of the People.--How superior this to the odious practice of besotting
themselves in Ale-houses, hatching seditious and treasonable designs,
or engaged in pursuits of the vilest profligacy, destructive to health
and morals.

Even the common Ballad-singers in the streets might be rendered
instruments useful under the controul of a well-regulated Police, in
giving a better turn to the minds of the lowest classes of the
People.--They too must be amused, and why not, if they can be amused
innocently.--If through this medium they can be taught loyalty to the
Sovereign, love to their Country, and obedience to the Laws, would it
not be wise and politic to sanction it?

If in addition to this, moral lessons could occasionally be conveyed,
shewing in language familiar to their habits, the advantages of
_Industry and Frugality_--The pleasure of living independent of the
Pawnbroker and the Publican--The disgrace and ruin attached to
drunkenness and dishonesty, and the glory and happiness of a _good
Husband_, a _good Father_, and _an honest Man_, might it not
reasonably be expected, that in a religious as well as a moral point
of view, advantages would be gained, while the people were both
instructed and amused?

Crimes have been generated in a considerable degree both by immoral
and seditious books and songs.--It is true the laws are open to
punishment. The road however to justice, with respect to the former,
is circuitous and difficult, while in the latter case their execution
is felt to be _harsh_, _severe_, and _ultimately ineffectual_: hence
licentious and mischievous Publications prevail, and Ballad-singers
are suffered often to insult decency, and to disseminate poison in
every street in the Metropolis.

Like many other evils they remain in spite of the statutes made to
prevent them.--They were evils suffered centuries ago where the laws
proved equally unavailing: but the state of society and manners
rendered them less dangerous.

In the Machine of Government there are many component parts where
responsibility attaches;--_but with respect to objects of Police, it
would seem at present to rest no where_, and hence is explained at
once, the want of energy in the execution of our laws, and why so many
excellent Statutes remain a dead letter.--To live encircled by _fears_
arising from uncontrolled excesses of the human passions, either
leading to turpitude or terminating in the commission of crimes, _is
to live in misery_.--Police is an improved state of Society, which
counteracts these excesses by giving energy and effect to the law. It
is like the Mechanical power applied to an useful Machine, devoid of
which, it remains without motion, or action, and without benefit.

"Government," _says the benevolent Hanway_, "originates from the love
of order.--Watered by Police it grows up to maturity, and in course of
time spreads a luxuriant comfort and security.--Cut off its branches,
and the mere trunk, however strong it may appear, can afford no


     _Indigence a cause of the increase of Crimes.--The System
     with respect to the Casual Poor erroneous.--The miserable
     condition of many who seek for an Asylum in the
     Metropolis.--The unhappy State of broken-down Families, who
     have seen better days.--The effect of Indigence on the
     Offspring of the Sufferers.--The discovery of the Children
     of unfortunate Families applying for Soup at the
     Establishments.--The unparalleled Philanthropy of the
     opulent Part of the Community.--Estimate of the Private and
     Public Benevolence amounting to 850,000l. a year.--The
     noble Munificence of the Merchants.--An Appeal to the
     exalted virtue of the Opulent, who have come forward in acts
     of Humanity.--The deplorable State of the Lower Ranks
     attributed to the present System of the Poor Laws.--An
     Institution to inquire into the Causes of Mendicity in the
     Metropolis explained.--The State of the Casual Poor
     resumed.--The abuses and inefficacy of the relief
     received.--A new System proposed with respect to them and
     Vagrants in the Metropolis.--Its advantages explained.--The
     distinction between Poverty and Indigence explained.--The
     Poor divided into five Classes, with suggestions applicable
     to each.--The evil Examples in Workhouses a great cause of
     the Corruption of Morals.--The Statute of 43 Elizabeth
     considered.--The defective System of Execution
     exposed--Confirmed by the opinion of Lord Hale.--A partial
     Remedy proposed in respect to Vagrant and Casual Poor.--A
     Public Institution recommended for the care of this class of
     Poor, under the direction of three Commissioners.--Their
     Functions explained.--A Proposition for raising a Fund of
     5230l. from the Parishes for the support of the
     Institution, and to relieve them from the Casual
     Poor.--Reasons why the Experiment should be tried.--The
     assistance of Sir Frederick Eden, and other Gentlemen of
     talents, who have turned their thoughts to the Poor,
     attainable.--The advantages which would result to the
     Community, from the united Efforts of men of investigation
     and judgment, previous to any final Legislative

Indigence, in the present state of Society, may be considered as a
principal cause of the increase of Crimes.

The System which prevails in the Metropolis, with respect to these
unfortunate individuals who are denominated the _Casual Poor_, will be
found on minute inquiry to be none of the least considerable of the
causes, which lead to the corruption of morals, and to the
multiplication of minor offences in particular.

The number of persons, who with their families, find their way to the
Metropolis, from the most remote quarters of Great Britain and
Ireland, is inconceivable. In hopes of finding employment they incur
an immediate and constant expence, for lodging and subsistence, until
at length their little all is in the Pawnbrokers' shops, or sold to
raise money for the necessaries of life. If they have been virtuously
brought up in the country, despondency seizes upon their minds, in
consequence of the disappointments and hardships, their adventurous or
incautious conduct has doomed them to suffer; which as it applies to
the most deserving of this class, who will not steal, and are ashamed
to beg, often exceeds any thing that the human mind can conceive.

Their Parochial Settlements are either at a great distance, or perhaps
as natives of Scotland or Ireland, they are without even this
resource. The expence of removing, as the Law directs, is too serious
a charge to be incurred by the parish where accident has fixed them.
They are treated with neglect and contumely by the parochial Officers;
and even occasionally driven to despair. Willing to labour, but bereft
of any channel or medium through which the means of subsistence might
be procured. It is assigned to no person to hear their mournful tale,
who might be able to place them in a situation, where they might gain
a subsistence; and under such circumstances it is much to be feared,
that not a few of them either actually perish for want, or contract
diseases which ultimately terminate in premature death.

Such is frequently the situation of the more decent and virtuous class
of the labouring people, who come to seek employment in the
Metropolis. The more profligate who pursue the same course have
generally other resources. Where honest labour is not to be procured,
they connect themselves with those who live by petty or more atrocious
offences, and contribute in no small degree to the increase of the
general phalanx of delinquents. The young female part of such families
too often become prostitutes, while the males pursue acts of
depredation upon the Public, by availing themselves of the various
resources, which the defects in the Police System allow.

In addition to the families who thus resort to the Capital, young men
frequently wander up who have become liable to the penalties of the
laws, in consequence of being unable to find security for the support
of a natural Child in their own parish; or who perhaps have incurred
the punishment due to some other offence.--Without money, without
recommendations, and bereft of friends, and perhaps afraid of being
known, they resort to low public houses, where they meet with thieves
and rogues, who not unfrequently in this way recruit their gangs, as
often as the arm of Justice diminishes their numbers.

But it is to be lamented, that in contemplating the mass of indigence,
which, in its various ramifications, produces distresses more
extensive and more poignant than perhaps in any other spot in the
world, (Paris excepted) its origin is to be traced in almost every
rank of Society; and though sometimes the result of unavoidable
misfortune, is perhaps more frequently generated by idleness,
inattention to business, and indiscretion. But at all events, the tear
of pity is due to the helpless and forlorn offspring of the criminal
or indolent, who become objects of compassion, not only as it relates
to their immediate subsistence; but much more with respect to their
future situations in life. It is in the progress to the adult state,
that the infants of parents, broken down by misfortunes, almost
unavoidably learn, from the pressure of extreme poverty, to resort to
devices which early corrupt their morals, and mar their future success
and utility in life. Under the influence of these sad examples, and
their necessary consequences, do many females become Prostitutes, who
in other circumstances, might have been an ornament to their sex,
while the males, by contracting early in life habits that are
pernicious, become, in many instances, no less noxious to Society.
Familiarized in infancy to the Pawnbroker's shop, and to other even
less reputable means of obtaining temporary subsistence, they too soon
become adepts in falsehood and deceit. Imperious necessity has given
an early spring to their ingenuity. They are generally full of
resource, which in good pursuits might render them useful and valuable
members of the Community: but unhappily their minds have acquired a
wrong bias, and they are reared insensibly in the walks of vice,
without knowing, in many instances, that they are at all engaged in
evil pursuits.

In all these points of view, from indigence is to be traced the great
Origin and the Progress of Crimes.

In attending the different _Soup Establishments_ (where 50,000
indigent families, at the expence of one halfpenny per head, have a
meal furnished every day during the winter)[93] the Author has
observed, with a mixture of pain and satisfaction, particularly at one
of them, the children of unfortunate and reduced families, who, from
their appearance, have moved in a higher sphere, the humble suitors
for this frugal and nourishing aliment.

[Footnote 93: See page 81 and 82 for an account of this Charity.]

To have contributed in any degree to the relief of distress rendered
painful in the extreme from the recollection of better days, is an
ample reward to those benevolent individuals, who have joined in the
support and conduct of an undertaking, of all others the most
beneficial that perhaps was ever devised, for the purpose of assisting
and relieving suffering humanity.

While the wretchedness, misery and crimes, which have been developed,
and detailed in this work, cannot be sufficiently deplored, it is a
matter of no little exultation, that in no country or nation in the
world, and certainly in no other Metropolis, does there exist among
the higher and middle ranks of Society, an equal portion of
Philanthropy and Benevolence.--Here are to be discovered the extremes
of vice and virtue, strongly marked by the existing turpitude on one
hand, and the noble instances of charitable munificence, displayed by
the opulent part of the Community, on the other.

Nothing can place this in a stronger point of view, and perhaps
nothing will astonish strangers more than the following summary
Estimate of the various Institutions, supported chiefly by Voluntary
Contributions, in addition to the legal Assessments, all tending to
ameliorate and better the condition of human life, under the
afflicting circumstances of indigence and disease.[94]

[Footnote 94: For a specific account of these Institutions, see the
Chapter on Municipal Police.]


  1. Asylums for the Relief of Objects of Charity             £.
     and Humanity                                           30,000

  2. Asylums and Hospitals, for the Sick, Lame, and
     Diseased                                               50,000

  3. Institutions for Benevolent, Charitable, and
     Humane Purposes                                       205,000

  4. Private Charities                                     150,000

  5. Charity Schools for Educating the Poor                 10,000

  6. To which add the annual Assessments for the
     Poor Rates, paid by the Inhabitants of the
     Metropolis and its Environs                           255,000

  Total estimated amount of the annual Sums paid
  for the support and benefit of the Poor in the         ---------
  Metropolis, &c.                                        £.700,000

  7. Besides the endowed Establishments, for which
     the Poor are chiefly indebted to our Ancestors        150,000
                                                  Total  £.850,000

In addition to this, it is highly proper to mention the noble
benevolence, which has been displayed by the Opulent of all ranks, but
particularly the Merchants, in the very large sums which have been, at
various times, subscribed for the relief of the brave men, who have
been maimed and wounded, and for the support of the widows, orphans,
and relations of those who have meritoriously lost their lives in
fighting the battles of their country.

Such exalted examples of unbounded munificence the history of no other
nation records.

It is to this source of elevated virtue, and nobleness of mind, that
an appeal is made, on the present occasion, in behalf of those unhappy
fellow-mortals; who, in spite of the unexampled liberality which has
been displayed, still require the fostering hand of Philanthropy.

The cause of these distresses has been explained; and also the evils
which such a condition in human life entails upon Society. It is not
pecuniary aid that will heal this _gangrene_: this _Corruption of
Morals_. There must be the application of a correct System of Police,
calculated to reach the root and origin of the evil.--Without
_System_, _Intelligence_, _Talents_, and _Industry_, united in all
that relates to the affairs of the Poor, millions may be wasted as
millions have already been wasted, without bettering their condition.
In all the branches of the Science of Political Oeconomy, there is
none which requires so much skill and knowledge of men and manners, as
that which relates to this particular object: and yet, important as it
is to the best interests of the Community, the management of a
concern, in which the very foundation of the national prosperity is
involved, is suffered to remain, as in the rude ages, when Society had
not assumed the bold features of the present period,--in the hands of
changeable, and in many instances, unlettered agents; wholly
incompetent to a task at all times nice and difficult in the
execution, and often irksome and inconvenient.

One great feature of this evil, on which it is deplorable to reflect,
is, that nearly one million of the inhabitants of a country, the
utmost population of which is supposed to be short of nine millions,
should be supported in part or in whole by the remaining eight.

In spite of all the ingenious arguments which have been used in favour
of a System admitted to be wisely conceived in its origin, the effects
it has produced incontestably prove, that with respect to the mass of
the Poor, there is something radically wrong in the execution.

If it were not so, it is impossible that there could exist in the
Metropolis such an inconceivable portion of human misery, amidst
examples of munificence and benevolence unparalleled in any age or
country in the world.

Impressed with these sentiments, so far as they apply to the state of
indigence in the Metropolis, a design has been sanctioned by the
_Benevolent Society for bettering the Condition of the Poor_, the
object of which is to establish a department for inquiring into the
history, life, and the causes of the distress of every person who asks
relief in any part of the Metropolis: not with a view to support these
unfortunate persons in idleness and vice; but to use those means which
talents, attention, and humanity can accomplish--(means which are
beyond the reach of parochial officers), for the purpose of enabling
them to assist themselves.[95]

[Footnote 95: An office has for some time past been instituted under
the direction of _Mathew Martin, Esq._ assisted by one or two
philanthropic individuals, for inquiring into cases and causes of
distress.--The generality of the poor persons have been invited to the
office by the distribution of tickets, directing them when and where
they are to apply. On such occasions a small relief has been afforded,
arising from a fund constituted by private benevolence;--but the chief
advantage which these poor people have derived has been from the
consolatory advice given them, and still more from the assistance
afforded by the indefatigable industry, and laudable zeal of Mr.
Martin, in getting those into workhouses who have parochial
settlements in the Metropolis, or assisting in procuring the means of
passing them to their parishes, where such settlements are in the
country. Seasonable pecuniary relief has been also extended in certain
cases, and small loans of money, made to enable those who are able to
work to redeem their apparel, and tools to rescue them from
despondence, and to help themselves by their own labour, in such
employments as they could either themselves obtain, or as could be
procured for them.

From the beginning of the year 1796 to the end of the year 1797, Mr.
Martin investigated the cases of 120 poor persons, who attended him in
consequence of the tickets which were distributed.--Of these 21 were
men; the greater part maimed or disabled by age or sickness, only two
of whom had any legal settlement in London.--Of the women, 99 in
number, 48 were widows, about one-third were aged--some crippled, and
others distressed for want of work, while many were embarrassed by
ignorance of the mode of obtaining parochial relief, or by the fear of
applying for it--of the wives, in most cases, the difficulty arose
from want of work or incapacity of doing it, on account of a child in
arms. There were cases of very great distress. Above half had two or
more children. Some of them infants, and the chief part too young to
work. Of the women 24 claimed settlements in London and
Westminster--33 in different parts of England--22 belonged to Scotland
and Ireland, and the remaining 20 said they could give no account of
their place of settlement. In most instances by an application to
their parishes, and in some to their friends, Mr. Martin was enabled
to obtain effectual relief to all of them; the gift of a little food,
and hearing their melancholy story, afforded some comfort; and had a
small fund been appropriated to this object, it might have been
possible to have enabled those who were in health to have earned a
livelihood. See 12th Report of the _Society for bettering the
Condition of the Poor_.]

In the Metropolis the Magistrates interfere very little in parochial
relief, except when appeals are made to them in particular cases, or
when called upon to sign orders of removal, which is generally done as
a matter of course. Hence it is that the poor are left almost entirely
to the management of the Parochial Officers for the time being, who
frequently act under the influence of ignorance or caprice, or are
irritated by the impudent importunity of the profligate Gin-drinking
poor. These Officers also, it is to be remembered, have private
affairs which necessarily engage the chief part of their attention,
and are frequently no less incapable than unwilling to enter on those
investigations which might enable them to make the proper
discriminations: the modest and shame-faced poor are thus frequently
shut out from relief, while the vociferous and idle succeed in
obtaining pecuniary assistance, which is soon improvidently

The distress which is thus shewn to prevail, by no means arises from
the want of competent funds:--the misfortune is, that from the nature
of the present mode of management it is not possible to apply these
funds beneficially for the proper relief of those for whom they were
intended. A much more moderate assessment, under a regular and proper
management, would remove great part of the evil.

The expence of the class of persons denominated _Casual Poor_, who
have no settlement in any parish in the Metropolis, amounts to a large
sum annually.--In the united parishes of St. Giles in the Fields, and
St. George, Bloomsbury, this expence amounted to 2000_l._ in the year
1796. It arose from the support of about 1200 poor natives of Ireland,
who but for this aid must have become vagrants. The shocking abuse of
the vagrant passes previous to the year 1792, produced the Act of the
32 Geo. III. cap. 45. which requires that Rogues and Vagabonds should
be first publicly whipt, or confined seven days in the House of
Correction, (females to be imprisoned only, and in no case whipped)
before they are passed, as directed by the Act of the 17 Geo. II. c.
5. Hence it is that so many who are either on the brink of vagrancy
or have actually received alms, are permitted to remain a burden on
the parishes; the Magistrates being loth to incur the charge of
inhumanity, by strictly following the letter of the Act, in whipping
or imprisoning poor miserable wretches, whose indigence have rendered
relief necessary.

In all the 146 parishes within and without the walls, including the
Bills of Mortality, &c. it is not improbable that the casual charity
given in this way may amount to 10,000_l._ a year.

The loose manner in which it is given, and the impossibility either of
a proper discrimination, or of finding in the distributing these
resources, that time for investigation which might lead to the solid
benefit of the Pauper, by restoring him to a capacity of earning his
own livelihood, makes it highly probable that instead of being useful,
this large sum is perhaps hurtful, to the major part of the poor who
receive it. The trifle they receive, from being injudiciously given,
and frequently to get rid of the clamour and importunity of the most
profligate, is too often spent immediately in the Gin-shop.--No
inquiry is made into the circumstances of the family--No measures are
pursued to redeem the apparel locked up in the Pawnbrokers' shop,
although a small sum would frequently recover the habiliments of a
naked and starving family--no questions are asked respecting the means
they employ to subsist themselves by labour; and no efforts are used
to procure employment for those who are willing to labour, but have
not the means of obtaining work.

Hence it is that poverty, under such circumstances, contributes in no
small degree to the multiplication of crimes. The profligate thus
partly supported, too often resorts to pilfering pursuits to fill up
the chasm, and habits of idleness being once obtained, labour soon
becomes irksome.

Why should not the whole nation, but particularly the Metropolis, be
considered, so far at least as regards the vagrant and casual Poor, as
one family, and be placed under the review of certain persons who
might be considered as worthy of the trust, and might devote their
time sedulously to that object?--Were such an establishment,
instituted, and supported in the first instance by a sum from each
parish, equal to the casual relief they have each given on an average
of the five preceding years, with power to employ this fund in
establishing Houses of Industry, or Work-rooms, in various parts of
the Metropolis, where the Poor should receive the whole of their
earnings and a comfortable meal besides:--it is highly probable that
while the expence to the parishes would gradually diminish, beggary
would be annihilated in the Metropolis--the modest and deserving Poor
would be discovered and relieved, while the idle and profligate, who
resorted to begging as a trade, would be compelled to apply to honest
labour for their subsistence.

This is a point in the political oeconomy of the Nation highly
important, whether it relates to the cause of humanity or to the
morals of the people, upon which all good Governments are
founded.--That such an institution is practicable is already proved
from the partial experiments that have been made. That the advantages
resulting from it would be great beyond all calculation, is too
obvious to require elucidation.

While it operated beneficially to the lower classes of the people and
to the State, it would relieve Parochial Officers of a very irksome
and laborious task, perhaps the most disagreeable that is attached to
the office of an Overseer in the Metropolis.

To give this branch of Police vigor and effect, the aid of the
Legislature would be necessary; which would be easily obtained when
the measure itself was once thoroughly understood, and it could not
then fail to be as popular as it would unquestionably be useful.

They who from their habits of life have few opportunities of
considering the state of the Poor, are apt to form very erroneous
opinions on the subject.

By _the Poor_ we are not to understand the whole mass of the people
who support themselves by labour; for those whose necessity compels
them to exercise their industry, become by their poverty the actual
pillars of the State.

Labour is absolutely requisite to the existence of all Governments;
and as it is from the Poor only that labour can be expected, so far
from being an evil they become, under proper regulations, an
advantage to every Country, and highly deserve the fostering care of
every Government. It is not _Poverty_ therefore, that is in itself an
evil, while health, strength, and inclination, afford the means of
subsistence, and while work is to be had by all who seek it.--The evil
is to be found only in _Indigence_, where the strength fails, where
disease, age, or infancy, deprives the individual of the means of
subsistence, or where he knows not how to find employment when willing
and able to work.

In this view _the Poor_ may be divided into five Classes:--

     _The first Class_ comprehends what may be denominated _the
     useful Poor_, who are able and willing to work--who have
     already been represented as the pillars of the State, and
     who merit the utmost attention of all Governments, with a
     direct and immediate view of preventing their _poverty_ from
     descending unnecessarily into _indigence_. As often as this
     evil is permitted to happen, the State not only loses an
     useful subject, but the expence of his maintenance must be
     borne by the Public.--The great art, therefore, in managing
     the affairs of the Poor, is to establish Systems whereby the
     poor man, verging upon indigence, may be propped up and kept
     in his station. Whenever this can be effected, it is done
     upon an average at one-tenth of the expence at most that
     must be incurred by permitting a family to retrograde into
     a state of indigence, where they must be wholly maintained
     by the Public, and where their own exertions cease in a
     great measure to be useful to the Country.

     _The second Class_ comprehends the _vagrant Poor_, who are
     able but not willing to work, or who cannot obtain
     employment in consequence of their bad character. This class
     may be said to have descended from poverty into beggary, in
     which state they become objects of peculiar attention, since
     the State suffers not only the loss of their labour, but
     also of the money which they obtain by the present
     ill-judged mode of giving charity. Many of them, however,
     having become mendicants, more from necessity than choice,
     deserve commiseration and attention, and nothing can promote
     in a greater degree the cause of humanity, and the real
     interest of the Metropolis, than an establishment for the
     employment of this class of indigent Poor, who may be said
     at present to be in a very deplorable state, those only
     excepted who make begging a profession. It is only by a
     plan, such as has been recommended, that the real indigent
     can be discovered from the vagrant, and in no other way is
     it possible to have that distinct and collected view of the
     whole class of beggars in the Metropolis, or to provide the
     means of rendering their labour (where they are able to
     labour) productive to themselves and the State.--And it may
     be further added with great truth, that in no other way is
     it possible to prevent the offspring of such mendicants from
     becoming _Prostitutes_ and _Thieves_.

     If, therefore, it is of importance to diminish crimes, and
     to obstruct the progress of immorality, this part of the
     Community ought to be the peculiar objects of a branch of
     the National Police, where responsibility would secure an
     accurate execution of the System. This measure ought to
     begin in the Metropolis as an experiment, and when fully
     matured might be extended with every advantage to the

     _The third Class_ may be considered under the denomination
     of the _Indigent Poor_, who from want of employment,
     _sickness, losses_, insanity or disease, are unable to
     maintain themselves.

     In attending to this description of Poor, the first
     consideration ought to be to select those who are in a state
     to re-occupy their former station among the labouring Poor;
     and to restore them to the first class as soon as possible,
     by such relief as should enable them to resume their former
     employments, and to help themselves and families.

     Where insanity, or temporary disease, or infirmity actually
     exist, such a course must then be pursued as will enable
     such weak and indigent persons, while they are supported at
     the expence of the Public, to perform such species of
     labour, as may be suited to their peculiar situations,
     without operating as a hardship, but rather as an
     amusement. In this manner it is wonderful how productive the
     exertions of even the most infirm might be rendered.--But it
     must be accomplished under a management very different,
     indeed, from any thing which prevails at present.

     _The fourth Class_ comprehends the _aged and infirm_, who
     are entirely past labour, and have no means of
     support.--Where an honest industrious man has wasted his
     strength in labour and endeavours to rear a family, he is
     well entitled to an asylum to render the evening of his life
     comfortable. For this class the gratitude and the humanity
     of the Community ought to provide a retreat separate from
     the profligate and vagrant Poor. But, alas! the present
     System admits of no such blessing.--The most deserving most
     submit to an indiscriminate intercourse in Workhouses with
     the most worthless: whose polluted language and irregular
     conduct, render not a few of those asylums as great a
     punishment to the decent part of the indigent and infirm as
     a common prison.

     _The fifth Class_ comprises the _Infant Poor_, who from
     extreme indigence, or the death of parents, are cast upon
     the public for nurture. One fifth part of the gross number
     in a London Workhouse is generally composed of this class.
     Their moral and religious education is of the last
     importance to the Community. They are the children of the
     Public, and if not introduced into life, under circumstances
     favourable to the interest of the State, the error in the
     System becomes flagrant.--Profligate or distressed parents
     may educate their children ill; but when those under the
     charge of Public Institutions are suffered to become
     depraved in their progress to maturity, it is a dreadful
     reproach on the Police of the Country.--And yet what is to
     be expected from children reared in Workhouses, with the
     evil examples before them of the multitudes of depraved
     characters who are constantly admitted into those
     receptacles? Young minds are generally more susceptible of
     evil than of good impressions; and hence it is that the
     rising generation enter upon life with those wicked and
     dangerous propensities, which are visible to the attentive
     observer in all the walks of vulgar life in this great

The limits of this Treatise will not permit the Author to attempt more
than a mere outline on the general subject of the Poor; a System of
all others the most difficult to manage and arrange with advantage to
the Community; but which is at present unhappily entrusted to the care
of those least competent to the task.

The principle of the Statute of the 43d of Elizabeth is certainly
unobjectionable; but the execution, it must be repeated, is defective.
In short, no part of it has been effectually executed, but that which
relates to raising the assessments. It is easy to make Statutes; but
omnipotent as Parliament is said to be, it cannot give _knowledge_,
_education_, _public spirit_, _integrity_ and _time_, to those
Changeable Agents whom it has charged with the execution of the Poor

In the management of the affairs of the State, the Sovereign wisely
selects men eminent for their talents and integrity:--Were the choice
to be made on the principle established by the Poor Laws, the Nation
could not exist even a single year.

In the private affairs of life, the success of every difficult
undertaking depends on the degree of abilities employed in the
management. In the affairs of the Poor, the most arduous and intricate
that it is possible to conceive, and where the greatest talents and
knowledge is required, the least portion of either is supplied. How
then can we expect success?--The error is not in the original design,
which is wise and judicious. The 43d of Elizabeth authorizes an
assessment to be made for three purposes.

     1st. To purchase Raw Materials to set the Poor to work, who
     could not otherwise dispose of their labour.

     2d. To usher into the world, advantageously, the Children of
     poor people, by binding them apprentices to some useful

     3d. To provide for the lame, impotent and blind, and others,
     being poor and not able to work.

Nothing can be better imagined than the measures in the view of the
very able framers of this act: but they did not discover that to
execute such a design required powers diametrically opposite to those
which the law provided. The last two centuries have afforded a series
of proof of the total inefficacy of the application of these powers,
not only by the effects which this erroneous superintendence has
produced; but also from the testimony of the most enlightened men who
have written on the subject, from the venerable Lord Hale to the
patriotic and indefatigable Sir Frederick Eden. But the strongest
evidence of the mischiefs arising from this defective execution of a
valuable System, is to be found in the Statute Books themselves.[96]

[Footnote 96: In the Preamble of the Statute on 3 & 4 _William_ and
_Mary_ _cap._ 11. and particularly § 11 of that Act, in which the
sense entertained by Parliament, of the shocking abuses of the Statute
of Elizabeth, "through the unlimited power of Parish Officers," is
very forcibly expressed--the truths there stated are found to have
full force, even at the distance of more than a Century.]

"The want of a due provision," says Lord Hale, "for the relief and
education of the Poor in the way of _industry_, is what fills the
gaols with Malefactors, the Country with idle and unprofitable
persons, that consume the stock of the Kingdom without improving it;
and that will daily increase even to a desolation in time--and this
error, in the first concoction, is never remediable but by gibbets and

That this will continue to be the case under any species of changeable
management, however apparently correct in theory the System may be,
must appear self-evident to every man of business and observation,
whose attention has been practically directed to the general operation
of the present mode in various parishes, and who has reflected deeply
on the subject.

But to return to the immediate object of inquiry, namely, the means of
more effectually preventing the numerous evils which arise from
indigence and mendicity in the Metropolis, whether excited by idleness
or extreme and unforeseen pressures: Under every circumstance it would
seem impracticable without any burthen upon the Public, to provide for
all such at least as are denominated Casual Poor (from whom the
greatest part of this calamity springs) by adopting the following or
some similar plan, under the sanction of Government, and the authority
of the Legislature.

     That a Public Institution shall be established in the
     Metropolis, with _three Chief Officers_, who shall be
     charged with the execution of that branch of the Police,
     which relates to STREET BEGGARS, and those classes of Poor
     who have no legal settlements in the Metropolis, and who now
     receive casual relief from the different Parishes, where
     they have fixed their residence for the time;--and that
     these principal Officers, (who may be stiled _Commissioners
     for inquiring into the Cases and Causes of the Distress of
     the Poor in the Metropolis_) should exercise the following


     1st. To charge themselves with the relief and management of
     the whole of the _Casual Poor_, who at present receive
     temporary aid from the different Parishes, or who ask alms
     in any part of the Metropolis or its Suburbs.

     2d. To provide Work-rooms in various central and convenient
     situations in the Metropolis, where persons destitute of
     employment may receive a temporary subsistence for labour.
     To superintend these work-houses, and become responsible for
     the proper management.

     3d. To be empowered to give temporary relief to prop up
     sinking families, and to prevent their descending from
     poverty to indigence, by arresting the influence of
     despondency, and keeping the spirit of industry alive.

     4th. To assist in binding out the Children of the Poor, or
     the Unfortunate, who have seen better days, and preventing
     the females from the danger of becoming Prostitutes, or the
     males from contracting loose and immoral habits, so as if
     possible to save them to their parents, and to the state.

     5th. To open offices of inquiry in different parts of the
     Metropolis, where all classes of indigent persons, who are
     not entitled to parochial relief, will be invited to resort,
     for the purpose of being examined, and relieved according
     to the peculiar circumstances of the case.

     6th. To exercise the legal powers, through the medium of
     Constables, for the purpose of compelling all Mendicants,
     and idle destitute Boys and Girls who appear in the streets,
     to come before the Commissioners for examination; that those
     whose industry cannot be made productive, or who cannot be
     put in a way to support themselves without alms, may be
     passed to their Parishes, while means are employed to bind
     out destitute Children to some useful occupation.

     7th. To keep a distinct Register of the cases of all
     Mendicants or distressed individuals, who may seek advice
     and assistance, and to employ such means for alleviating
     misery, as the peculiar circumstances may suggest--never
     losing sight of indigence, until an asylum is provided for
     the helpless and infirm, and also until the indigent, who
     are able to labour, are placed in a situation to render it

     8th. That these Commissioners shall report their proceedings
     annually, to his Majesty in Council, and to Parliament; with
     abstracts, shewing the numbers who have been examined--How
     disposed of--The earning of the persons at the different
     Work-rooms--The annual expence of the Establishment;
     together with a general view of the advantages resulting
     from it; with the proofs of these advantages.

Towards defraying the whole expence of this Establishment it is
proposed, that (in lieu of the Casual Charity, paid at present by all
the Parishes in the Metropolis, which under this System will cease,
together with the immense trouble attached to it,) each Parish in the
Metropolis shall pay into the hands of the Receiver of the Funds of
this _Pauper Police Institution_, a sum equal to what was formerly
disbursed in casual relief, which for the purpose of elucidation, is
estimated as follows:--

                                                         £.  _s._ _d._
   97 Parishes within the Walls,
      average 10_l._ each                                970  0    0

   16 Parishes without the Walls, in London and
      Southwark, average 60_l._ each                     960  0    0
                                                     £.1,930  0    0

   23 Out-parishes in Middlesex and Surry,
      average 100_l._ each                             2,300  0    0

   10 Parishes in Westminster,
      average 100_l._ each                             1,000  0    0
  ---                                                ---------------
  146                                                £.5,230  0    0

This sum (which is supposed to be not much above one half of the
average Annual disbursements of the 146 Parishes above-mentioned;
especially since it has been shewn, that the expence in St. Giles' and
St. George Bloomsbury alone, has been 2000_l._ in one year) will
probably, with oeconomy and good management, be found sufficient for
all the relief that is required; more especially as the object is not
to maintain the indigent, but to put them in a way of supporting
themselves by occasional pecuniary aids well and judiciously applied.

The experiment is certainly worth trying. In its execution some of the
most respectable and intelligent individuals in the Metropolis, would
gratuitously assist the Commissioners, who as taking responsibility
upon them, in the direction of a most important branch of Police,
ought undoubtedly to be remunerated by Government, especially as it is
scarcely possible to conceive any mode in which the Public money could
be applied, that would be productive of such benefit to the State.

If that utility resulted from the design, which may reasonably be
expected, it would of course extend to other great towns, as the
private _Soup Establishments_ have done, and the condition of the poor
would undergo a rapid change. The destitute and forlorn would then
have some means of communicating their distress, while information and
facts of the greatest importance, to the best interests of Society,
would spring from this source.

With respect to the general affairs of the poor, much good would arise
from consolidating the funds of all the parishes in the Metropolis.

The poor for instance, who are supported from the parochial funds of
Bethnal Green, and other distressed parishes in the eastern parts of
the Metropolis, are the labourers of the citizens and inhabitants of
the 97 Parishes within the Walls, who, although opulent pay little or
nothing to the Poor, since the city affords no cottages to lodge them.

Why, therefore, should not the inhabitants of the rich parishes
contribute to the relief of the distresses of those who waste their
strength in contributing to their _ease_, _comfort_, and _profit_? In
several of the most populous Parishes and Hamlets in the eastern part
of the Town, the Poor may actually be said to be assessed to support
the indigent. In the very populous Hamlet of Mile-End New Town, where
there is scarcely an inhabitant who does not derive his subsistence
from some kind of labour, the rates are treble the assessments in
Mary-le-bone, where opulence abounds. Nothing can exceed the
inequality of the weight for the support of the Poor in the
Metropolis; since where the demand is greatest, the means of supply
are always most deficient and inadequate.

Certain it is that the whole system admits of much improvement, and
perhaps at no period, since the Poor Laws have attracted attention,
did there exist so many able and intelligent individuals as at
present, who have been excited by motives of patriotism and
philanthropy, to devote their time to the subject.

At the head of this most Respectable Group stands Sir FREDERICK EDEN;
a gentleman, whose entrance into life, has been marked by a display of
the most useful talents, manifested by an extent of labour and
perseverance, in his elaborate work on the Poor, which may be said to
be unparalleled in point of information, while it unquestionably
exhibits the respectable Author as a character in whose patriotism and
abilities the State will find a considerable resource, in whatever
tends to assist his Country, or to improve the condition of Human

To the Lord Bishop of Durham, the Earl of Winchelsea, Count Rumford,
Sir William Young, Thos. Ruggles, Esq. William Morton Pitt, Esq.
Jeremy Bentham, Esq. Robert Saunders, Esq. Thomas Bernard, Esq.
William Wilberforce, Esq. Rowland Burdon, Esq. the Rev. Dr. Glasse,
the Rev. Thomas Gisburn, the Rev. Mr. Howlet, Mr. Davis, Mr. Townsend,
Arthur Young, Esq. and William Sabatier, Esq. as well as several other
respectable living characters, who have particularly turned their
thoughts to the subject of the Poor, the Public are not only already
much indebted, but from this prolific resource of judgment, talents,
and knowledge, much good might be expected, if ever the period shall
arrive when the revision of the Poor Laws shall engage the attention
of the Legislature.

The measure is too complicated to be adjusted by men, who have not
opportunities or leisure to contemplate its infinite ramifications.

It is a task which can only be executed with accuracy by those, who
completely understand the subject as well in practice as in theory,
and who can bestow the time requisite for those laborious
investigations, which must be absolutely necessary to form a final
opinion, and to report to Parliament what is most expedient, under all
circumstances, to be done in this important National Concern.

Happy is it for the country, that a resource exists for the attainment
of this object, than which nothing can contribute, in a greater
degree, to the prevention of Crimes, and to the general improvement of
Civil Society.


     _The state of the Police, with regard to the detection of
     different classes of offenders, explained.--The necessity,
     under the present circumstances, of having recourse to the
     known Receivers of stolen Goods, for the purpose of
     discovering Offenders, as well as the property stolen.--The
     great utility of Officers of Justice as safeguards of the
     Community.--The advantages to be derived from rendering them
     respectable in the opinion of the Public. Their powers, by
     the common and statute law, are extensive.--The great
     antiquity of the Office of Constable, exemplified by
     different Ancient Statutes.--The authority of Officers and
     others explained, in apprehending persons accused of
     felony.--Rewards granted in certain cases as encouragements
     to Officers to lie vigilant:--The statutes quoted,
     applicable to such rewards, shewing that they apply to ten
     different offences.--The utility of parochial Constables,
     under a well-organized Police, explained.--A fund for this
     purpose would arise from the reduction of the expences of
     the Police by the diminution of Crimes.--The necessity of a
     competent fund explained.--The deficiency of the present
     System exemplified in the effect of the presentments by
     Constables to the Grand Inquest.--A new System
     proposed.--The functions of the different classes of
     Officers, explained.--Salaries necessary to all.--The System
     of rewards, as now established, shewn to be radically
     deficient; exemplified by the circumstance, that in 1088
     prisoners, charged at the Old Bailey in one year, with 36
     different offences, only 9 offences entitled the
     apprehenders to any gratuity:--Improvements suggested for
     the greater encouragement of Officers of Justice.--1043
     Peace Officers in the Metropolis and its vicinity, of whom
     only 90 are stipendiary Constables.--Little assistance to
     be expected from Parochial Officers, while there exists no
     fund for rewarding extraordinary services.--Great advantages
     likely to result from rewarding all Officers for useful
     services actually performed.--The utility of extending the
     same gratuities to Watchmen and Patroles.--Defects and
     abuses in the System of the Watch explained.--The number of
     Watchmen and Patroles in the Metropolis estimated at
     2044:--A general System of superintendance suggested.--A
     view of the Magistracy of the Metropolis.--The efficient
     duty shewn to rest with the City and Police
     Magistrates.--The inconvenience of the present
     System.--Concluding Observations._

As it must be admitted, that the evils arising from the multiplied
crimes detailed in the preceding Chapters, render a correct and
energetic System of Police with regard to the _detection_,
_discovery_, and _apprehension_ of offenders, indispensably necessary
for the safety and well-being of Society; it follows of course, in
the order of this Work, to explain _how this branch of the public
service is conducted at present, the defects which are apparent,--and
the means of improving the System_.

When robberies or burglaries have been committed in or near the
Metropolis, where the property is of considerable value, the usual
method at present, is to apply to the City Magistrates, if in London;
or otherwise, to the Justices at one of the Public Offices,[97] and to
publish an Advertisement offering a reward on the recovery of the
articles stolen, and the conviction of the offenders.[98]

[Footnote 97: It is a well-known fact, that many persons who suffer by
means of small Robberies, afraid of the trouble and expence of a
prosecution, submit to the loss without inquiry; while others from
being strangers to the laws, and to the proper mode of application,
fall into the same mistake; this, by proving a great encouragement to
thieves of every class, is of course an injury to the Public.--In all
cases where robberies are committed, the parties sustaining the loss
have only to inquire for the nearest Public Office, and apply there,
and state the case to the sitting Magistrates, who will point out the
proper mode of detection; every assistance through the medium of
constables, will then be given for the purpose of recovering the
property and apprehending the offenders.--The same assistance will be
afforded by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, sitting at the Mansion-house
and Guildhall, whenever the offence is committed within the limits of
the City of London.]

[Footnote 98: It had been usual for many years previous to 1752, when
robberies were committed, to make a composition of the felony, by
advertising a reward to any person who would bring the property
stolen, to be paid without asking any questions; but the pernicious
consequences of recovering goods in this way from the encouragement
such advertisements held out to thieves and robbers of every
description, became so glaring and obvious, that an Act passed the
25th year of George II. cap. 36. _inflicting a penalty of 50l. on
any person_ (including the printer and publisher) _who shall publicly
advertise a reward for the return of stolen goods with "no questions
asked," without seizing the person producing the goods stolen:--or who
shall offer to return to any pawnbroker, or other person, the money
lent thereon, or any other reward for the return of the articles

In many cases of importance, to the reproach of the Police, recourse
is had to noted and known Receivers of stolen Goods for their
assistance in discovering such offenders, and of pointing out the
means by which the property may be recovered: this has on many
occasions been productive of success to the parties who have been
robbed; as well as to the ends of public justice; for however
lamentable it is to think that Magistrates are compelled to have
recourse to such expedients, yet while the present System continues,
and while robberies and burglaries are so frequent, without the means
of prevention, there is no alternative on many occasions _but to
employ a thief to catch a thief_.

It is indeed so far fortunate, that when the influence of Magistrates
is judiciously and zealously employed in this way, it is productive in
many instances of considerable success, not only in the recovery of
property stolen, but also in the detection and punishment of atrocious

Wherever activity and zeal are manifested on the part of the
Magistrates, the Peace Officers, under their immediate direction,
seldom fail to exhibit a similar desire to promote the ends of public
justice. And when it is considered that these Officers, while they
conduct themselves with purity, are truly _the safeguards of the
Community_, destined to protect the Public against the outrages and
lawless depredations of a set of miscreants, who are the declared
enemies of the State, by making war upon all ranks of the body
politic, who have property to lose;--they have a fair claim, while
they act properly, to be esteemed as "_the civil defenders of the
lives and properties of the People_."

Every thing that can heighten in any degree the respectability of the
office of _Constable_, adds to the security of the State, and the
safety of the life and property of every individual.

Under such circumstances, it cannot be sufficiently regretted that
these useful constitutional officers, destined for the protection of
the Public, have been (with a very few exceptions) so little regarded,
so carelessly selected, and so ill supported and rewarded for the
imminent risques which they run, and the services they perform in the
execution of their duty.

The common Law, as well as the ancient Statutes of the kingdom, having
placed extensive powers in the hands of _Constables_ and _Peace
Officers_;--they are, in this point of view, to be considered as
_respectable_;--and it is the interest of the Community, that they
should support that rank and character in society, which corresponds
with the authority with which they are invested.--If this were
attended to, men of credit and discretion would not be so averse to
fill such situations; and those pernicious prejudices, which have
prevailed in vulgar life, and in some degree among the higher ranks in
Society, with regard to _thief-takers_, would no longer operate; for
it is plain to demonstration, "_that the best laws that ever were made
can avail nothing, if the Public Mind is impressed with an idea, that
it is a matter of infamy, to become the casual or professional agents
to carry them into execution_."

This absurd prejudice against the office of Constable, and the small
encouragement which the major part receive, is one of the chief
reasons why unworthy characters have filled such situations; and why
the public interest has suffered by the increase of crimes.

The office of Constable is as old as the Monarchy of England;--and
certainly existed in the time of the Saxons.[99]--The law requires
that he should be _idoneus homo_: or in other words, _to have honesty
to execute the office without malice, affection, or partiality;
knowledge to understand what he ought to do; and ability, as well in
substance or estate, as in body_, to enable him to conduct himself
with utility to the public.

[Footnote 99: Fineux.]

The Statute of Winchester, made in the 13th year of Edward the First
(anno 1285) appoints two Constables to be chosen in every Hundred; and
such seems to have been the attention of the Legislature to the Police
of the Country at that early period of our history, "_that suspicious
night-walkers are ordered to be arrested and detained by the

[Footnote 100: Winton, chap. 4.]

The Statute of 5 Edward III. _cap._ 14, (anno 1332) empowers
Constables "_to arrest persons suspected of man-slaughter, felonies,
and robberies, and to deliver them to the Sheriff, to be kept in
prison till the coming of the Justices_:" and another Act of the 34th
of the same reign, _cap._ 1, (made anno 1361,) empowers Justices,
(_inter alia_) "_to inquire after wanderers, to arrest and imprison
suspicious persons, and to oblige persons of evil fame to give
security for good behaviour; so that the People may not be troubled by
rioters, nor the peace blemished; nor Merchants and others travelling
on the highways be disturbed or put in peril by such offenders_."

By the common law, every person committing a felony may be arrested by
any person whomsoever present at the fact, who may secure the prisoner
in gaol, or carry him before a Magistrate,[101]--and if a prisoner
thus circumstanced, resists and refuses to yield, those who arrest
will be justified in the beating him,[102] or, in case of absolute
necessity, even killing him.[103]

[Footnote 101: Hale.]

[Footnote 102: Pult. 10, a.]

[Footnote 103: Hale.]

In arresting persons on suspicion of a felony, actually committed,
_common fame_ has been adjudged to be a reasonable cause.[104]

[Footnote 104: Dalton.]

There are four methods, known in law, by which Officers of Justice,
as well as private individuals, may arrest persons charged with
felony.--1. _By the warrant of a Magistrate._--2. _By an Officer
without a warrant._--3. _By a Private Person without a warrant._--And
4. _By Hue-and-Cry._[105]

[Footnote 105: Blackstone.]

When a warrant is received by an Officer, he is bound to execute it,
so far as the jurisdiction of the Magistrate and himself extends.--But
the _Constable_ having great original and inherent authority, may,
_without warrant_, apprehend any person for a breach of the Peace: and
in case of felony, _actually committed_, he may, on probable
suspicion, arrest the felon: and for that purpose (as upon the warrant
of a Magistrate,) he is authorised to break open doors, and even
justified in killing the felon, if he cannot otherwise be taken.[106]

[Footnote 106: Blackstone.]

All persons present, when a felony is committed, are bound to arrest
the felon, on pain of fine and imprisonment, if he escapes through
negligence of the by-standers; who will (the same as a constable) in
such case be justified in breaking open doors, to follow such felon,
and even to kill him if he cannot be taken otherwise.[107]

[Footnote 107: Blackstone.]

The other species of arrest is called _Hue-and-Cry_, which is an
_alarm raised in the country_ upon any felony being committed. This
was an ancient practice in use as far back as the reign of Edward the
First, (1285) by which, in the then infant state of society, it
became easy to discover criminal persons flying from justice.

However doubtful the utility of this ancient method of detecting
offenders may be, in a great Metropolis, in the present extended state
of Society, it is plain, that it has been considered as an important
regulation of Police so late as the 8th George II. (1735;) since it
was enacted in that year, (stat. 8, George II. cap. 16.) that the
Constable who neglects making _hue-and-cry_, shall forfeit five
pounds; and even the district is liable to be fined (according to the
law of Alfred) if the felony be committed therein, and the felon
escapes.[108] This, however, applies more particularly to the country,
and where the practice cannot fail to be useful in a certain degree.

[Footnote 108: Blackstone.]

When a _hue-and-cry_ is raised, every person, by command of the
Constable, must pursue the felon, on pain of fine and imprisonment.

In this pursuit also, Constables may search suspected houses if the
doors be open: _but unless the felon is actually in the house_, it
will not be justifiable to use force; nor even then, except where
admittance has been demanded and refused.

A Constable, even without any warrant, may break open a door for the
purpose of apprehending a felon; but to justify this measure, he must
not only shew that the felon was in the house, but also that access
was denied after giving notice that he was a Constable, and demanding
admittance in that capacity.[109] In the execution of the warrant of a
Magistrate, the Officer is certainly authorized to break open the
doors of the felon, or of the house of any person where he is
concealed.--The first is lawful under all circumstances; but forcibly
entering the house of a stranger may be considered as a trespass, if
the felon should not be there.[110]

[Footnote 109: Hale.]

[Footnote 110: Hale.]

Such are the powers with which Constables are invested,--and which
are, in many instances, enforced by penalties; that public justice may
not be defeated.[111]

[Footnote 111: It may not be improper in this place to hint, that
there is a deficiency in the present state of the Law, which calls
aloud for a remedy. None can be arrested on a Sunday, but for felony
or breach of the peace (except in certain cases, where their guilt has
been previously decided on, as in _Escape_, &c.) By this means
Lottery-Vagrants, Gamblers, Sharpers, and Swindlers, bid defiance to
the Civil Power on that day; while a person guilty of pushing or
striking another in an accidental squabble, may be arrested and

In addition to this, the wisdom of the Legislature, as an
encouragement to officers and others to do their duty in apprehending
and prosecuting offenders, has granted rewards in certain cases;

  4 Will. & Mary,    1. For apprehending, and prosecuting           £.
  c. 8; and 6        to conviction, every robber, on the
  Geo. I. c. 23.     highway, including the streets of the
                     Metropolis, and all other towns, a reward
                     of 40_l._ besides the _horse_, _furniture_,
                     _arms_, and _money_, of the said robber,
                     if not stolen property: to be paid
                     to the person apprehending, or if killed
                     in the endeavour, to his Executors.            40

                     And the Stat. 8 Geo. II. c. 16. superadds
                     10_l._ to be paid by the Hundred
                     indemnified by such taking.

  6 & 7 Will. and    2. For apprehending, and prosecuting
  Mary, c. 17;       to conviction every person who
  and 15 & 16        shall have counterfeited, clipped, washed,[112]
  Geo. II. c. 28.    filed, or diminished the current
                     coin; or who shall gild silver to make
                     it pass as gold, or copper, as silver,--or
                     who shall utter false money, (being
                     the third offence) or after being once
                     convicted of being a common utterer,
                     &c. a reward of                                40

                     3. For apprehending, and prosecuting
                     to conviction, every person counterfeiting
                     copper money, a reward of                      10

  10 and 11 Will.    4. For apprehending, and prosecuting
  III. c. 23.        to conviction, every person privately
                     stealing to the value of 5_s._ from any
                     _shop_, _warehouse_, or _stable_, a Tyburn
                     ticket,[113] average value, about              20

  10 & 11 Will.      5. For apprehending, and prosecuting
  III. c. 23.        to conviction, every person charged
  5 Ann. c. 32.      with a burglary, a reward of 40_l._ (to
                     the apprehender, or if killed, to his
                     executors) in money, and a Tyburn
                     ticket, 20_l._                                 60

                     6. For apprehending, and prosecuting
                     to conviction, every person charged
                     with house-breaking in the day-time,
                     40_l._ in money, and a Tyburn ticket           60

                     7. For apprehending, and prosecuting
                     to conviction, any person charged
                     with horse-stealing, a Tyburn Ticket           20

  6 Geo. I.          8. For apprehending, and prosecuting
  c. 23.             with effect, a person charged with
                     the offence of compounding a felony,
                     by taking money to help a person to
                     stolen goods, without prosecuting and
                     giving evidence against the felon              40

  14 Geo. II.        9. For apprehending, and prosecuting
  c. 6.              with effect, a person charged with
  15 Geo. II.        stealing, or killing to steal, any sheep,
  c. 34.             lamb, bull, cow, ox, steer, bullock,
                     heifer, or calf                                10

  16 Geo. II.        10. For apprehending, and prosecuting
  c. 15.             with effect, persons returning from
  8 Geo. III.        transportation                                 20
  c. 15.

[Footnote 112: In consequence of some doubts which have been started
relative to washed money, the reward in this case is not paid; it is
confined entirely to the conviction of _Coiners_.]

[Footnote 113: This is a Certificate which may be assigned _once_,
exempting the person who receives it, or his immediate assignee, from
all offices within the parish or ward where the felony was committed.
In some parishes it will sell from 25_l._ to 30_l._ In others it is
not worth above 15_l._ to 18_l._ according to local situation.]

These rewards apply to ten different offences, and ought, no doubt, to
be a considerable spur to Officers to do their duty; but it may be
doubted whether this measure has not, in some degree, tended to the
increase of a multitude of smaller crimes which are pregnant with the
greatest mischiefs to Society.--It is by deterring men from the
commission of _smaller_ crimes (says the Marquis Beccaria) that
_greater_ ones are prevented.

If small rewards were given in cases of _Grand Larceny_, (now very
numerous,) as well as of several other felonies, frauds, and
misdemeanors, a species of activity would enter into the system of
detection, which has not heretofore been experienced.

While rewards are limited to higher offences, and CONVICTION _is the
indispensable condition upon which they are granted_, it is much to be
feared that lesser crimes are overlooked; and the Public subjected, in
many instances, to the intermediate depredations of a rogue, from his
first starting upon the town until he shall be worth 40_l._

This system of giving high rewards only on conviction, also tends to
weaken evidence: since it is obvious that the Counsel for all
Prisoners, whose offences entitle the Prosecutors and Officers to a
reward, generally endeavour to impress upon the minds of the Jury an
idea, that witnesses, who have a pecuniary interest in the conviction
of any offender standing upon trial, are not, on all occasions,
deserving of full credit, unless strongly corroborated by other
evidence; and thus many notorious offenders often escape justice.

By altering the system entirely, and leaving it in the breast of the
Judge who tries the offence, to determine what reward shall be
allowed, with a power to _grant_ or _withhold_, or to _limit_ and
_increase the same_, according to circumstances connected with the
trouble and risk of the parties, _whether there is a conviction or
not_, a fairer measure of recompence would be dealt out;--the public
money would be more beneficially distributed,[114] so as to excite
general activity in checking every species of criminality;--and the
objections, now urged against Officers and Prosecutors as interested
witnesses, would, by this arrangement, be completely obviated.

[Footnote 114: The expence to the Public for rewards paid by the
Sheriffs of the different Counties for 12 years, from 1786 to 1797
inclusive, appears from the Appendix of the 28th Report of the Select
Committee on Finance, page 104, to stand thus:

  1786               £.10,840
  1787                 15,060
  1788                  6,590
  1789                  7,340
  1790                  8,970
  1791                  6,050

  1792                £.7,330
  1793                  8,160
  1794                  7,140
  1795                  3,290
  1796                  4,010
  1797                  9,650
  Total in 12 years, £.94,430.]

For the purpose of elucidating these suggestions, it may be useful to
examine the different offences which constitute the aggregate of the
charges made against criminals arraigned at the Old Bailey, in the
course of a year.

With this view the following statement is offered to the consideration
of the Reader.--It refers to a period of profound peace (as most
likely to exhibit a true average) and contains a register of the
trials, published by authority, including eight sessions from
September 1790 to 1791. From this it appears that 1088 prisoners were
tried for different offences in that year, and that 711 were
_discharged_! and yet, striking as this may appear, it may be asserted
on good grounds, that the following melancholy Catalogue (extensive as
it seems to be) does not probably contain even _one-tenth part_ of the
offences which are actually committed!

    6  For Treason in making false money                            £.
       _A reward in money on conviction amounting for each to_      40

   81  Highway Robberies
       _A reward (besides the highwayman's property) for each_      40

   41  Burglaries
       _A reward 40l. besides a Tyburn ticket worth 20l._           60

   10  House Breaking in the day time
       _A reward 40l. besides a Tyburn ticket worth 20l._           60

   23  Stealing goods to the value of 5_s._ from a shop, &c.
       _A Tyburn ticket value as above, average_                    20

    3  Coining Copper Money
       _A reward in money_                                          10

   17  Horse stealing
       _A reward in a Tyburn ticket, average value_                 20

   10  For Stealing Cattle and Sheep
       _A reward in money_                                          10

    2  Returning from Transportation
       _A reward in money_                                          20
  193  Prisoners tried for offences entitling the apprehenders to
  ---  rewards on conviction; and 895 also tried, for which
       no rewards are allowed, _viz._

   10  for Murders
    4  Arson
   10  Forgeries
    2  Piracies
    4  Rapes
  642  Grand Larcenies[115]
   32  Stealing privately from persons
   13  Shop-lifting under 5_s._
   16  Ripping and stealing Lead
   12  Stealing Pewter Pots
   22  Stealing from furnished Lodgings
    1  Stealing Letters
    1  Stealing a Child
   22  Receiving Stolen Goods
    9  for Dealing in and uttering base Money
    1  Sodomy
    7  Bigamy
    6  Perjuries
    6  Conspiracies
    3  Fraudulent Bankrupts
   15  Frauds
    9  Misdemeanors
    1  Assaulting, and cutting Clothes
    1  Smuggling
    7  Obstructing Revenue Officers
    1  Wounding a Horse maliciously
   38  Assaults
   89, Total.

  193  For which rewards were paid.

  445  Prisoners from the late Sheriffs.
  Aggregate number 1533

[Footnote 115: Grand Larceny is defined to be a felonious and
fraudulent taking away by any person, of the mere personal goods of
another, above the value of _twelve pence_.--1 _Hawk. P.C._ _c._ 33. §

  _Disposed of as follows, viz._

  Executed                          32
  Died                              25
  Sent to the Hulks                  2
  Transported                      517
  Removed to other Prisons          95
  Transferred to the new Sheriffs  151
  Discharged upon the town         711

Thus it appears that murders, as well as several other very atrocious
crimes, are committed, where officers of justice are not entitled to
any reward for their trouble and risque in apprehending the offenders.

Receivers of stolen Goods in particular, who, as has been repeatedly
stated, are _the nourishers and supporters of thieves_, and who, of
all other offenders, are of that class where the greatest benefit to
the public is to arise from their discovery and apprehension, seem to
be totally overlooked.

If it should be thought too loose a system to allow rewards _not
exceeding a certain sum in any one case_, to be distributed according
to the discretion of the Judges who try the offence; perhaps it might
be possible _to form a scale of premiums_ from _one guinea up to fifty
pounds_, which, by holding out certain encouragement _in all cases
whatsoever_, might not only excite a desire on the part of men of some
property and respectability to become Officers of Justice: but would
create that species of _constant vigilance and attention_ to the means
of apprehending every class of offenders, which cannot be expected at
present, while the rewards are so limited.

The _Officers of Justice_, (parochial and stipendiary) who are
appointed to watch over the Police of the Metropolis and its environs,
in keeping the peace, and in detecting and apprehending offenders,
amount at present (as near as possible) to 1040 individuals, under
five separate jurisdictions, _and are arranged as follows_:


  _London, 1st._  { The City of London in   } City Marshals     2
                  { 25 Wards, exclusive of  } Marshals' Men     6
                  { Bridge Without.         } Beadles          36

                                            { Principals       98
                  Parochial Constables      { Substitutes     145
                                            {                 --- 243
                                            { Extra Officers   32
                                                              --- 319

  _Westminster,   { The City and Liberty    } High Constable    1
  2d._            { of Westminster, 9       }
                  { parishes and 2          } Parochial
                  { precincts               }   Constables     70
                                                              ---  71

  _Middlesex,     { The Division of         } High Constable    1
  3d._            { Holborn, in Middlesex,  } Parochial
                  { joining the Metropolis, }   Constables &
                  { in 13 parishes,         }   Headboroughs   78
                  { liberties, and manors   }                  --  79
                  { The Division of         } High Constable    1
                  { Finsbury, in Middlesex, } Parochial
                  { joining the Metropolis  }   Constables &
                  { 4 parishes and          }   Headboroughs   68
                  { 1 liberty               }                  --  69
                  { The Division called     } High Constable    1
                  { the Tower Hamlets,      } Parochial
                  { including the eastern   }   Constables &
                  { part of the Metropolis, }   Headboroughs  217
                  { and comprehending 10    }                 --- 218
                  { parishes, 4 hamlets, 1  }
                  { liberty, and            }
                  { 2 precincts             }

  _Tower Liberty, { The liberty of the      } High Constable    1
  4th._           { Tower of London,        } Constables &
                  { being a separate        }   Headboroughs   16
                  { jurisdiction            }                  --  17

                  The Division of           } High Constable
                  Kensington, Chelsea, &c.  } Parochial
                  comprehending 2 parishes  }   Constables &
                  and 3 hamlets             }   Headboroughs  ---  22

  _Surry, 5th._   { The Borough of          } High Constable    1
                  { Southwark, &c.          } Constables       87
                  { comprehending 9         }                  --  88
                  { Parishes.               }
                                        Total Parochial Officers  883

  To which are to be added the stated Officers of Police,
  specially appointed for the purpose of preventing crimes,
  and of detecting and apprehending offenders.

  1. The establishment at Bow-Street, under the
  direction of the three Magistrates presiding at
  that Office, viz. Constables                                  6

  and (under the direction of Sir W. ADDINGTON,
  Knt.) Patroles for the Road                                  68
                                                               --  74

  2. The establishment of seven Public Offices by
  the Act of the 32d of his present Majesty,
  cap. 53, under the direction of three Magistrates
  at each Office, viz.

  Constables at the Public Office, Queen-Square                 6
                                   Marlborough-St.              6
                                   Hatton Garden                6

  Constables at the Public Office, Worship-Street               6
                                   Whitechapel                  6
                                   Shadwell                     6
                                   Union Hall, Southw.          6
                                                               --  42
                             Total Civil Force in the Metropolis  999

  To which add the Civil Force of the Thames Police
  Establishment;[116] established in July 1798,
  under the sanction of Government                                 41
                                                          Total  1040

[Footnote 116: The Thames Police Establishment fluctuates according to
the Season of the year, and the number of West India ships on the

  The permanent force in House Constables, Boat Surveyors,
  and Water Officers, &c. is                                       41

  The fluctuating Civil Force in { Ship Constables                150
                                 { Quay Guards                     30
  Total Civil Force of the Marine Police Establishment
  when the West-India Fleets are in port                          221]

Of these 1040 Officers the Reader will observe, that only 89
(exclusive of the thirty-two extra officers in the City of London; and
the sixty-eight patroles at Bow-street; making in the whole no more
than 189,) _are Stipendiary Officers_, particularly pledged to devote
their whole time to the service of the Public:--and hence a question
arises, Whether so small a number are sufficient for the purpose of
watching and detecting the hordes of villains who infest the
Metropolis, and who must be considerably increased on the return of

Little assistance can be expected under the present System from
parochial officers; who, depending on their daily labour principally
for their support, can afford to devote no more time than is
absolutely necessary for their indispensable duties, during the 12
months they are in office: and more especially since Magistrates have
no power, or funds, to remunerate such parochial officers for
extraordinary exertions in the Public service, however meritorious
they may be;--hence it is, that their zeal and activity are checked in
many instances; when under proper regulations (such as are hereafter
suggested) and subject to a certain degree of control and discipline,
and properly remunerated for their services they might be rendered
extremely useful. These facts, joined to the further elucidation of
this particular branch of the subject, it is earnestly to be hoped,
may produce an arrangement of more _energy_ and _effect_ than exists
under the present system.

Officers of Justice, who are subjected not only to considerable risks,
but also to want of rest, and to the inconvenience of being exposed
much in the night-time, ought certainly to be liberally paid; so as to
make it an object to _good_ and _able men_ even to look up to such

It having been thus shewn that the Stipendiary Constables are so
inconsiderable in point of numbers, and their duty confined to
particular objects, it follows that on the parochial officers the
Public ought, in a considerable degree, to depend for the general
prevention of offences, and particularly for defeating the crafty and
iniquitous devices which are resorted to for the purpose of evading
the operation of justice.--These men also from their local knowledge
are, or ought to be, best qualified to procure accurate information,
and to supply what may be necessary to enable Magistrates to discharge
their duty with advantage to the Community, and by this means they
might be rendered useful auxiliaries to the existing Police.

It would seem, therefore, of the highest importance that arrangements
should be formed, calculated to give to these constitutional
safe-guards of the peaceful subject, that utility, energy, and effect,
which originally resulted from the exercise of their functions,--which
the present state of Society imperiously calls for, and without which
the preventive System of Police can never be effectual.

On looking accurately into the nature and effect of the institution of
Constables, it will be found that the vigor and efficacy of the Civil
Power, the security of innocence,--the preservation of good order, and
the attainment of justice, depend in a great measure on the accuracy
of the System, with respect to these Officers assigned to keep the
peace in the respective parishes of the Metropolis; and it is because
the original spirit of the design has been, in so many instances,
abandoned that crimes have multiplied, and that the public are so

The evil, however, admits of practicable remedies, which the
Superintending Board of Police, recommended by the Select Committee
of the House of Commons, might considerably facilitate, by methodizing
the general design, and giving strength, intelligence, and uniformity
to the whole.

Preparatory to this object, however, the System in the respective
parishes must be greatly improved, before a co-operation can be
expected that will prove extensively beneficial to the Public.

The first step to be pursued, is to establish a fund for the
remuneration of Constables of every description. It will not be
difficult to demonstrate that a resource may be found for this
purpose, which will not impose any new burden on the Country, provided
these Officers do their duty.

The enormous expence at present incurred, and which is either defrayed
from the County Rates, or the general Revenue of the Country, arises
chiefly after offenders are detected and punished. Out of 234,153_l._
a year stated by the Committee on Finance, to be the annual amount of
the Police expences, only 26,183_l._ is incurred previous to
detection.--By diminishing crimes, therefore, the chief part of the
burden upon the Country will be taken away; and hence in this saving
will be established a resource for the remuneration of those who may
contribute to so important an object.

The present expenditure of the County Rates for criminal offences, is
estimated to amount to 50,000_l._ a year. In proportion as offences
diminish, through the medium of a well-organized and energetic
Police, will this burden upon the Poor Rates also be diminished.

Independent, therefore, of the policy of improving the system with
respect to parochial Constables, by attaching a greater degree of
responsibility to their situation, and introducing that discipline and
systematic activity, which can alone render their services
effectual--the plan may even be recommended as a proper arrangement in
point of oeconomy.

It is in vain to expect energy or attention in the execution of any
Public duty, unless there be that personal responsibility which is not
to be obtained without emolument. To render Officers of Justice,
therefore, useful to the Public, they must be stimulated by
interest:--they must, in fact, be paid for devoting a portion of their
time to the comfort and security of others. The Law may inflict, and,
indeed, has inflicted, penalties for the neglect of specific duties;
but this will not establish that sort of Police which the present
state of Society requires.--This is strongly exemplified in what may
not be improperly called the _Mockery of Police_, which is exhibited
in the periodical presentments by Constables, of public grievances and
nuisances, before the Grand Inquest, four times a year at
Westminster-hall, and twice before the Magistrates of the Sessions
held at Guildhall in the City of Westminster. These presentments,
although in themselves of the highest importance, have degenerated
into what may now be considered as an useless and burdensome
formality; at best it is a tedious, expensive, and circuitous, mode of
removing nuisances and inconveniences, and so ill-suited to the
present state of Society, that several modern parochial Acts have
given relief in a summary way before Magistrates.

The fact is, that in a great majority of instances where presentments
are made, the evils they describe, though often highly prejudicial,
are suffered to accumulate with increasing malignity, at the same time
frequently generating other mischiefs and pressures of a tendency
equally pernicious to the Community.

It is admitted, that the proper Officer of the Crown notifies to the
parties implicated in the presentment, the determination of the
Inquest; but a prosecution seldom ensues. The Constable has neither
money nor time to follow it up; and the matter is discharged when the
customary term expires, on the payment of a Fee of 16_s._ 9_d._ or
more, according to the length of the presentment; and thus the
business terminates in the emolument of an individual, and in the
continuance of the abuse.

The same system prevails at the Sessions at Westminster. When Juries
make presentments of nuisances or evils in their respective districts,
the Constables have general orders to prosecute, which is not done;
and, indeed, to compel an Officer serving gratuitously, to incur an
expence for the Public interest which he cannot afford, would be an
act of manifest injustice; and unless a fund be provided in numerous
cases, he must be under the necessity of declining such prosecutions.

But would it not be far better to bring such minor offences at once
under the cognizance of Magistrates, with the power of appeal to the
Quarter Sessions?--This is already the case in Spitalfields, under a
parochial Act, where nuisances and annoyances are in consequence
instantly removed. Matters of much greater importance are submitted to
the same authority. The advantage in this case would be, that justice
would be promptly administered at a small expence, and the evil would
be put an end to, instead of remaining as at present a reproach to the
Police, arming at the same time every noxious and bad member of
Society, with a kind of licence to do offensive acts to the
neighbourhood, and the Public at large, with impunity.

To render parochial Constables useful, rules must be established to
compel every qualified person to serve in his turn, or pay a fine. No
person should be empowered to offer a Substitute.--It is of the
highest importance that an Office invested with so much power should
be executed by reputable men, if possible of pure morals, and not with
hands open to receive bribes.--This important office in the Metropolis
at least, has too long been degraded by the introduction, in many
instances, of men of loose principles, undeserving of public
confidence. The reason is obvious:--A man in the more reputable
classes on whom the lot may fall, surrenders his functions to a
Substitute who probably makes the office a trade;--performs the
service of the year for four or five Guineas, trusting to other
emoluments, many of which are obtained by corruption, to enable him to

To render this branch of Police pure and efficient, an Act of
Parliament should enforce the following or similar regulations:

     1st. To assign a competent number of local Constables to
     each parish, in proportion to the number of inhabited
     houses; to be chosen by the whole number of qualified
     inhabitants paying parish Rates--to be presented to the
     Court Leet, or to the Magistrates of the Division, according
     to a prescribed rule, which shall preclude the possibility
     of exemptions or preferences; for which purposes the
     qualifications shall be clearly defined in the Act.--Thus
     might the abuses which at present prevail, in the selection
     and choice of Constables, cease to be felt and complained
     of: an equal distribution of the burden would take place,
     and the duty be confined to men sufficiently respectable, to
     establish in the Public mind a confidence that it would be
     executed with fidelity, and an attention to the Public

     2d. That with a view to that necessary discipline, and
     knowledge of the duty to be performed, without which
     Officers of Justice can be of little use, and may often be
     converted into instruments of oppression by an abuse of
     power; the High-Constable of the Division shall become _a
     responsible permanent Officer_, with a competent Salary; and
     shall have under his direction certain subordinate Officers,
     not exceeding _one for a large Parish_, and _one for every_
     25 _Constables in any number of smaller Parishes, Hamlets,
     Precincts, and Liberties_, who shall be stiled _the
     Parochial Chief Constable_, whose situation shall also _be
     permanent_, with a moderate Salary, and who shall each be
     _responsible_ for the execution of the regular duty which
     may be assigned to the petty Constables, either by the Act
     of Parliament, or by the Commissioners of Police, having
     powers for that purpose granted by law.--That a certain
     stipend or gratuity for trouble, shall also be paid to each
     of the petty Constables, in consideration of the ordinary
     duty they are bound to perform, besides 5_s._ a day for all
     extraordinary duty. That among other things it shall be the
     business of the parochial Chief Constable to instruct the
     petty Constables in their duty--to attend them in their
     perambulations, and to marshal them on receiving a precept
     from the High-Constable, or an order from two Magistrates,
     in case of any tumult or disorder requiring their
     interference--to impress upon their minds the necessity of
     purity, vigilance, and attention to orders--and of being
     humane, prudent and vigorous, in the execution of such
     duties as belong to their functions.--That they shall
     instantly assemble on any alarm of Fire.--That the
     Public-houses, in the parish or district, shall be visited
     regularly; and also the Watchmen while upon duty, and
     regular returns made to the Police Magistrates of the
     District, stating the occurrences of the night. That
     wherever suspicious characters reside in the parish, who
     have no visible means of supporting themselves, the utmost
     vigilance shall be exercised in watching their conduct, to
     prevent as much as possible the commission of crimes, and to
     preserve peace and good order in the parish; and wherever
     the execution of any specific law depends on Constables, the
     utmost attention to be manifested in giving it effect, and
     preventing it from remaining a dead Letter.--That care be
     taken to make regular, impartial, and accurate returns of
     Jurors; and of persons eligible to serve in the
     Militia;--and that immediate cognizance be also taken of all
     nuisances and annoyances, and timely notice given to
     Magistrates of all occurrences threatening to disturb the
     Public peace, or to overturn the established Government of
     the Country.

     3d. That the different High Constables should return to the
     Commissioners of Police annually, after a change of Officers
     has taken place, a list of the number of persons who compose
     the Civil Force, under their direction in their respective
     divisions; and regularly, every quarter, a list of the
     Publicans, with such facts as have occurred, respecting
     their orderly or disorderly conduct in the management of
     their Houses.--The state of the Division with respect to
     Prostitutes--to the situation of the Poor for the preceding
     quarter, and their resource for employment.--The number and
     nature of the offences committed in the District during the
     preceding quarter, and the detections of the delinquents,
     shewing how many offenders have been discovered, and how
     many have escaped justice, and stating the means used and
     using to detect such as are at large, charged with specific
     offences within the division: so as to bring under the
     review of the Central Board a clear statement of the
     criminal Police in every part of the Metropolis on the first
     day of each quarter, with such other information as the
     Commissioners may require.

     4th. It is humbly suggested, that the Salaries and
     allowances to be paid to the _High Constables_ and
     _parochial Chief Constables_ should be paid out of the
     General Police Fund, under the Management of the Board, and
     the gratuities and allowances to the petty Constables out of
     the County Rate.

It might be expedient that the Stipend of the petty Constables should
be very moderate, and that their remunerations should, partly at
least, arise from _premiums_ and _gratuities_, granted by the Judges
and Magistrates, for meritorious services to the Public, _actually
performed_; for which there would so many opportunities occur, that no
fit man, acting as a Constable under such a system, and doing his duty
conscientiously, need be under any apprehension of obtaining a very
comfortable livelihood.

The invariable rule of rewarding, in every case where it can be made
appear that any useful Public service has been performed, would have a
most wonderful effect in preventing crimes: The expence, if
judiciously and oeconomically managed, need not exceed, in any
material degree, _the present aggregate_ of what is disbursed in
different ways, in all the branches of the Police and Criminal
Establishment; it might, in fact, be defrayed, as well as every other
charge, _by the Police itself_, under the direction of the _Central
Board_, hereafter more particularly alluded to, from the produce of
the _Licences_ proposed to be granted for regulating particular
classes of Dealers, by whose aid and assistance, in supporting Thieves
and Pilferers, such a system is rendered necessary.

Nor should the rewards be wholly confined to Officers of Justice,
either _parochial or stipendiary_. The Public Good requires, that they
should extend also to Watchmen and Patroles, who should have every
reasonable encouragement held out to them to be honest and vigilant,
by small premiums paid down immediately, for every service they may
render the Public; either in detecting or apprehending persons who are
guilty of felonies, or other offences against the public peace.

At present, the watchmen destined to guard the lives and properties of
the inhabitants residing in near _eight thousand_ streets, lanes,
courts, and alleys, and about 160,000 houses, composing the whole of
the Metropolis and its environs, are under the direction of no less
than above seventy different Trusts; regulated by perhaps double the
number of local acts of Parliament, (varying in many particulars from
one another,) under which the _directors_, _guardians_, _governors_,
_trustees_, or _vestries_, according to the title they assume, are
authorised to act,--each attending only to their own particular
_Ward_, _Parish_, _Hamlet_, _Liberty_, or _Precinct_; and varying the
payment according to local circumstances, and the opulence of the
particular district, from 8-1/2_d._ up to 2_s._ each night.[117]

[Footnote 117: There is, in some respect, an exception to this rule,
with regard _to the City and Liberty of Westminster_, and the parishes
of _St. Clement Danes_,--_St. Mary le Strand_,--_The Savoy_, The
united parishes of _St. Giles_ and _St. George, Bloomsbury_,--The
united parishes of _St. Andrew, Holborn above the Bars_, and _St.
George the Martyr_, and the liberty of _Saffron Hill_, _Hatton
Garden_, and _Ely Rents_.--The Act of the 14th George III. cap. 90,
contains regulations applicable to the whole of these Parishes and
Liberties, fixing the _minimum_ of watchmen at 523, and patroles at 56
men, for the _whole_; but leaving the management still to the
inhabitants of each respective Parish or Liberty. The same act fixes
the _minimum_ of wages at 1_s._ a night, and patroles 15_d._ In the
City of London, the salaries given to watchmen vary in each Ward, from
13_l._ to 18_l._ 19_l._ 20_l._ 21_l._ 7_s._ 23_l._ 8_s._ up to 26_l._
and patroles are allowed from 13_l._ to 35_l._ and 40_l._ a year.]

The encouragement being, in many instances, so small, few candidates
appear for such situations, who are really, in point of character and
age, fit for the duty which ought to be performed; the managers have
therefore no alternative but to accept of such aged, and often
superannuated, men, living in their respective districts, as may offer
their services; this they are frequently induced to do from motives of
humanity, to assist old inhabitants who are unable to labour at any
mechanical employment, or perhaps with a view to keep them out of the
workhouse, and to save the expence of maintaining them.

Thus circumstanced, and thus encouraged, what can be expected from
such watchmen?--

Aged in general;--often feeble:--and almost, on every occasion, half
starved, from the limited allowance they receive; without any claim
upon the Public, or the least hope of reward held out, even if they
perform any meritorious service, by the _detection of Thieves and
Receivers of stolen Goods_, or idle and disorderly persons: and above
all, _making so many separate parts of an immense system, without any
general superintendance, disjointed from the nature of its
organization_, it is only a matter of wonder, that the protection
afforded is what _it really is_.[118]--Not only is there small
encouragement offered for the purpose of insuring fidelity, but as has
been already shewn innumerable temptations are held out to dishonesty,
by Receivers of stolen Goods, to the watchmen and patroles in their
vicinity; as well as by thieves and housebreakers in all situations
where they contemplate the commission of a burglary.

[Footnote 118: This proves how highly meritorious the conduct of the
_Managers_ and _Trustees_ of this branch of the Police of the
Metropolis must, in many instances, be. There can indeed be no manner
of doubt, but that great advantages arise from dividing the labour,
where all the benefits of local knowledge enter into the system.--So
far as this goes, it ought not to be disturbed. But it is also
necessary to consider the Metropolis as a _great Whole_, and to
combine the organs of Police which at present exist, in such a manner,
by a general superintendance, as to give equal encouragement, and to
instil one principle of universal energy into all its parts.]

Money is also received from disorderly persons in the night, to permit
them to escape from the just punishment of the Laws; while on the
other hand, unfortunate females are often cruelly oppressed and laid
under contribution, for permission to infringe the very laws, which it
is the duty of these nocturnal guardians of the Police to put in

Excepting in the city of London, under the jurisdiction of the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen, (where there are, in the 25 wards, 765 watchmen,
and 38 patroles) and the parishes and liberties combined by the act of
the 14th Geo. III. cap. 90, it will not be easy to ascertain the exact
number of watchmen, &c. employed by the great variety of different
Trusts, in every part of the Metropolis; more especially, as in
several instances they vary in their numbers according to the season
of the year, and other circumstances; but the following statement is
believed to be very near truth:--

                                                        and Patroles._

  25 Wards in the City of London                              803

  11 Parishes, &c. in the City and Liberty of
     Westminster                                              302

  13 Parishes, &c. in the Division of Holborn                 377

   5 Parishes, &c. in that part of the Division of
     Finsbury which joins the Metropolis                      135

   7 Parishes, &c. in the Division of the Tower
     Hamlets                                                  268

   1 Liberty of the Tower of London                            14

   5 Parishes and Hamlets, being part of the Division
     of Kensington, near the Metropolis                        66

   9 Parishes in the Borough of Southwark                      79
                      Total Beadles, Watchmen, and Patroles  2044[119]

[Footnote 119: Watch-houses are now placed at convenient distances all
over the Metropolis; where a parochial constable attends, in rotation,
every night, to receive disorderly and criminal persons, and to carry
them before a Magistrate next morning.--In each watch-house also (in
case of fire) the names of the turn-cocks, and the places where
engines are kept, are to be found. This circumstance is mentioned for
the information of strangers unacquainted with the Police of the
Metropolis; to whom it is recommended, in case of fire, or any
accident or disturbance requiring the assistance of the Civil Power,
to apply immediately to the Officer of the night, at the nearest
watch-house, or to the watchmen on the beat.]

Nothing can certainly be better calculated for _complete protection_
against acts of violence in the streets, than _the System of a
well-regulated Stationary Watch_; composed of fit and able-bodied
men, properly controlled and superintended: and from the number of
persons already employed, independent of private Watchmen, it would
seem only to be necessary to lay down apposite legislative rules, with
respect to _age or ability_, _character_, _wages_, _rewards for useful
services_, and _general superintendance_, in order to establish that
species of additional security, which would operate as a more
effectual means of preventing crimes within the Metropolis.

Let the same system of moderate rewards also be extended to
beadles,[120] for useful Public service _actually performed_, as is
proposed with regard to officers of justice, watchmen, and patroles;
and much good will arise to the community, without any great
additional expence.

[Footnote 120: Beadles are, in many instances, employed at present as
local superintendants of the watch, within their respective Parishes.]

It is in vain to expect that the Public can be well served, unless the
emolument becomes an object to good and able men; but these
extraordinary rewards (as has already been observed) should always
depend upon the vigilance and exertion of the parties themselves, in
detecting offenders of every description: and should be paid, on its
appearing to the Magistrate, that no _impropriety_ or _indiscretion_
has marked their conduct. If, on the contrary, they should be proved
to have acted oppressively or improperly, a power of immediate
dismission and punishment should, in all instances, be lodged in
Justices of the Peace, to be exercised according to the nature of the

Having thus stated the civil force of the Metropolis, in
peace-officers, watchmen and patroles, making an aggregate of 3084
men--it may be necessary and useful to give such information relative
to the Magistracy, as may tend to shew the present state of the
Police, and to illustrate what remains to be further suggested on the
subject of its improvement; for the preservation of the Public peace,
and the _detection_ and _apprehension_ of every class of offenders.

       *       *       *       *       *

There exist at present no less than _five_ separate jurisdictions
within the limits of the Metropolis--namely,--


  1. The City of London, where there are, including
     the Lord Mayor, 26 Aldermen, who have an exclusive
     jurisdiction within the ancient limits                         26

  2. The City and Liberty of Westminster--where there
     are upwards of 100 Justices of the Peace, who have
     jurisdiction only in that particular District; but
     where the Magistrates of the County of Middlesex have
     an equal jurisdiction.--The number resident, of those
     who are not Magistrates of Middlesex, is supposed to
     be about                                                       50

  3. That part of the Metropolis, which is situated in the
     county of Middlesex, where there are about 800 Justices,
     including the Princes of the Royal Family--many
     of the Nobility--Great Officers of State--Members
     of Parliament--and other Gentlemen of respectability;--of
     those in the commission about 200 have qualified;
     and of these who have taken out their _Dedimus
     Potestatum_, only about 150 reside in or near the
     Metropolis                                                    150

  4. That district of the Metropolis lying near, or
     particularly belonging anciently to the Tower of London,
     comprehending about 750 houses--where the Magistrates
     (52 in number) have an exclusive jurisdiction,
     and hold separate Sessions of the Peace.--The number
     who are not Magistrates in Middlesex, is                       31

  5. The Borough of Southwark, and that part of the Metropolis
     adjoining thereto, within the Bills of Mortality--where
     the City Magistrates have jurisdiction, besides
     the whole of the Magistrates of the County of
     Surry--namely--132, but of whom not more than 28 reside
     in Southwark, and 15 in London, &c. (in all)                   43
                                                      Total about  300

But, notwithstanding the great number of respectable names, which are
in the different commissions in and near the Metropolis; and although
all who have qualified have equal jurisdiction with the Police
Justices, within their respective districts; yet the efficient
duty for the whole of the Metropolis, so far as it relates to the
detection of offenders, is principally limited to two classes of

  1. The 26 Aldermen of London, whose jurisdiction is
     confined to the ancient limits of the City, comprehending
     25 Wards, in which are 21,642 houses on the London
     side, and Bridge Ward without, in the Borough                  26

  2. The established Magistrates, three of whom preside
     at each of the seven Public Offices, appointed by the Act
     of the 32d of his present Majesty, cap. 53. viz.--

     1.  Public Office, Queen's-Square, Westminster          3
     2.  Public Office, Marlborough-Street                   3
     3.  Public Office, Hatton-Garden                        3
     4.  Public Office, Worship-Street, Shoreditch           3
     5.  Public Office, Whitechapel                          3
     6.  Public Office, Shadwell                             3
     7.  Public Office, Union-Street, Southwark              3

     8.  Existing (previous to the Act) at the Public
         Office, Bow-Street                                  3

     9.  The Thames Police Institution at Wapping, for
         the River only                                      2
                                                            --      26

                  Total efficient Magistrates who sit in rotation,  --
                  daily, in the Metropolis                          52

The jurisdiction of the Magistrates presiding at the seven Public
Offices, not only extends to Westminster and Middlesex; (and, in most
instances, lately, to the liberty of the Tower:) but also to the
counties of Surry, Kent, and Essex, from which considerable advantages
in the prompt detection and apprehension of offenders have accrued to
the Public: The only difficulty that now remains to be removed, with
respect to the clashing of jurisdictions, is that which regards the
city of London; where, from its contiguity, and immediate and close
connection with every other part of the Metropolis, considerable
inconveniences and injuries to the public are felt, not only from the
circumstance of the jurisdiction of the City Magistrates not being
extended over the _whole_ of the Metropolis, as well as the four
adjoining counties; but also from the Police Magistrates having no
authority quickly to follow up informations, by issuing warrants to
search for property, and to apprehend persons charged with offences in
the City. The whole difficulty resolves itself into a mere matter of
_punctilio_, founded perhaps on ill-grounded jealousy, or
misapprehension, which a little explanation would probably remove.

Where the object is to do good;--and where not even the shadow of harm
can arise, no limits should be set to local jurisdictions; especially
where privileges are proposed to be given; (as in this case, to the
city of London;)--and where none are to be taken away.

For the purpose of establishing a complete and well-connected System
of _detection_, some means ought certainly to be adopted, more closely
to unite the City and Police Magistrates,[121] that they may, in a
greater degree, go hand in hand in all matters regarding the general
interest of the Metropolis and its environs; making the suppression of
crimes one common cause, and permitting no punctilio, regarding
jurisdiction, to prevent the operation of their united energy in the
prompt detection of offenders; This, from the extended state of
Commerce and Society, and the great increase of property, is now
rendered a measure in which the inhabitants of the whole Metropolis,
as well as the adjacent villages, have a common interest. It is an
evil, which affects all ranks, and calls aloud for the speedy adoption
of some effectual remedy.

[Footnote 121: The Select Committee of the House of Commons, in their
28th Report, 1798, on Finance, have strongly recommended a Concurrent
Jurisdiction; and also, that two Police Offices should be established
in London, upon the plan of the others, with Magistrates to be
appointed by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen.]


     _The prevailing practice explained, when offenders are
     brought before Magistrates.--The necessary caution, as well
     as the duty of Magistrates in such cases
     explained.--Professed thieves seldom intimidated when put
     upon their trial, from the many chances they have of
     escaping.--These chances shortly detailed.--Reflections on
     the false humanity exercised by prosecutors towards
     prisoners.--Their rudeness and cruelty, when engaged in acts
     of criminality.--The delays and expences of prosecutions, a
     great discouragement, inducing sufferers to put up with
     their loss, in silence.--How the inconvenience may be
     remedied.--An account of the different Courts of Justice,
     appointed for the trial of offences committed in the
     Metropolis.--Five inferior and two superior Courts.--A
     statement, shewing the number of prisoners convicted and
     discharged during the last year.--Reflections on this sad
     catalogue of depravity.--A radical defect somewhere.--The
     great purity of the Judges of England.--The propriety of a
     co-operation with them, in whatever shall tend to promote
     the ends of Public Justice.--This object to be attained, in
     the greatest possible degree, by means of an authorised
     Public Prosecutor.--The advantages of such an institution,
     in remedying many abuses which prevail in the trial of
     offenders.--From 2500 to 3000 persons committed for
     trial, by Magistrates, in the Metropolis, in the course of a
     Year.--The chief part afterwards returned upon Society._

Arriving at that _point_ in the progress of this Work, where persons
accused of offences are detected and brought before Magistrates for
examination, ultimately to be committed for trial, if the evidence
shall be sufficient:--It is proper to explain the prevailing practice
under such circumstances.

The task, in this case imposed upon the Magistrate, is arduous and
important; requiring not only great purity of conduct, a profound
knowledge of mankind, and of the common affairs of life; but in a more
peculiar manner those powers of discrimination which may enable him to
discover how far criminality attaches to the party accused; and
whether there are grounds sufficient to abridge for a time, or
ultimately to deprive the prisoner of his liberty, until a Jury of his
country shall decide upon his fate.

It frequently happens that persons accused of crimes are apprehended
under circumstances where no doubt can rest on the mind of the
Magistrates as to the guilt of the prisoner; but where the legal
evidence is nevertheless insufficient to authorize an immediate
commitment for trial.

In these instances, (while he commits _pro tempore_,) he is called
upon in a particular manner to exert the whole powers of his mind, by
adopting such judicious measures as shall be the means of detecting
the offenders; by discovering the goods or property stolen, or by
admitting such evidence for the Crown as may, with other corroborating
testimony, prevent the ends of justice from being defeated.

Where a Magistrate proceeds with indefatigable zeal and attention, and
at the same time exercises good judgment, he will seldom fail of
success; for in this case a similar spirit will animate the officers
under his controul, whose activity and industry are generally in
proportion to that manifested by their superiors.

Much as every active Magistrate must regret that deficiency of
pecuniary resource, which, under the present system, prevents him from
rewarding those who must occasionally be employed to detect notorious
offenders, this circumstance ought not to abate this zeal in any
respect; since by perseverance it generally happens, that every good
and proper arrangement for the immediate advantage of the Public, may
be ultimately obtained.

The Magistrate having done his duty by committing an offender for
trial, satisfied of his guilt and the sufficiency of the evidence to
convict him: and having also bound over the prosecutor and the
witnesses as the Law directs, to attend the Grand Jury, and (if a bill
be found) to prosecute and give evidence upon the indictment; it might
appear to the common observer, that the culprit's case becomes
hopeless and forlorn.

This, however, is by no means a stage in the progress that intimidates
a professed thief; he feels and knows that, although guilty of the
crime laid to his charge, he has many chances of escaping; and these
chances unquestionably operate as encouragements to the commission of

His first hope is, that he shall intimidate the Prosecutor and
Witnesses, by the threatenings of the gang with whom he is
connected;--his next that he may compound the matter; or bribe or
frighten material witnesses, so as to keep back evidence; or induce
them to speak doubtfully at the trial, though positive evidence was
given before the Magistrate; or if all should fail, recourse is had to
perjury, by bringing the Receiver, or some other associate, to swear
an _alibi_.

Various other considerations also operate in strengthening the hopes
of acquittal; partly arising from the vast numbers who are discharged
or acquitted at every Session of gaol-delivery; and partly from the
carelessness and inattention of Prosecutors, who are either unable or
unwilling to sustain the expence of Counsel to oppose the arguments
and objections which will be offered in behalf of the prisoner: or are
soured by loss of valuable time, experienced, perhaps in former
prosecutions;[122]--or ultimately from a dread entertained by timid
persons, who foolishly and weakly consider themselves as taking away
the life of a fellow-creature, merely because they prosecute or give
evidence; not reflecting that it is the _Law_ only that can punish
offenders, and _not_ the individual prosecutor or witnesses.

[Footnote 122: It is true, that by the Acts of 25th Geo. II. cap. 36,
and 18th Geo. III. cap. 13, the expences of the prosecutors and
witnesses are to be paid; and also (if the parties shall appear to be
in poor circumstances) a reasonable allowance made for trouble and
loss of time; but this is connected with the regulations of the
Justices, confirmed by one of the Judges of Assize, which vary
according to local circumstances, and it is also necessary to plead
poverty in order to be remunerated for loss of time: _but as the poor
seldom suffer by thieves_, these Acts appear to have had little effect
in encouraging prosecutors to come forward; and it is believed few
applications are made excepting in cases of real poverty.--In the
County of Middlesex there is an exception; where witnesses are
directed to be paid by the Overseers of the Poor of the Parish, where
the person was apprehended; but this mode of payment is seldom if ever
adopted.--The fund, however, which the Legislature has thus provided,
if oeconomically and judiciously applied by a Public Prosecutor,
would remove many difficulties, without any material addition to the
county rates.]

False Humanity, exercised in this manner, is always cruelty to the
public, and not seldom to the prisoners themselves.--All depredations
upon property are _public wrongs_, in the suppression and punishment
of which it is the duty of every good man to lend his assistance; a
duty more particularly incumbent upon those who are the immediate
sufferers: through their means only can Public Justice operate in
punishing those miscreants, by whom the innocent are _put in fear,
alarmed and threatened with horrid imprecations--with loss of life by
means of loaded pistols_; or bodily injury, from being hacked with
cutlasses, or beaten with bludgeons--under circumstances where neither
age nor sex is spared.--

Yet experience has shewn that these arguments, powerful as they are,
are insufficient to awaken in the mind of men that species of Public
spirit which shall induce sufferers in general, by robberies of
different kinds, to become willing prosecutors, under the various
trying delays of Courts of Justice; and frequently with the trouble of
bringing a number of witnesses from the country, who are kept in
attendance on the court perhaps several days together, at a very
considerable expence.

Such a burden imposed upon the subject, in addition to the losses
already sustained, in a case too where the offence is of a public
nature, is certainly not easily reconcileable with that spirit of
justice, and attention to the rights of individuals, which forms so
strong a general feature in the Jurisprudence of the Country.

From all these circumstances it happens that innumerable felonies are
concealed, and the loss is suffered in silence as the least of two
evils; by which means thieves are allowed to reign with impunity,
undisturbed, and encouraged to persevere in their evil practices.

Nothing, it is to be feared, can cure this evil, and establish a
general system of protection, but a vigorous Police; strengthened and
improved by the appointment of Deputy-Prosecutors for the Crown,
acting under the Attorney-General for the time being. An establishment
of this sort, even at a very small salary, would be considered as an
honourable _entré_ to many young Counsel; who, in protecting the
Public against the frauds, tricks, and devices of old and professed
thieves, by which at present they escape punishment, might keep the
stream of justice pure, and yet allow no advantage to be taken of the

[Footnote 123: The propriety of this suggestion is sanctioned by the
recommendation of the Finance Committee of the House of Commons in
their 27th and 28th Report; and forms part of that System of general
controul and arrangement for the prevention of crimes, stated more at
large in a subsequent Chapter.]

As it must be admitted on all hands, that it is the interest of the
Public that no guilty offender should escape punishment;--it seems to
be a position equally clear and incontrovertible, that wherever, from
a defect in the system of prosecutions, or any other cause, a prisoner
escapes the punishment due to his crimes, substantial justice is
wounded, and public wrongs are increased.

It has been already stated in the preceding Chapter, that there are
five separate Jurisdictions in the Metropolis, where Magistrates
exercise limited authority.--Of course, there are five inferior Courts
of Justice, where lesser offences, committed in London and its
vicinity, are tried by Justices of the Peace.

     1. The general and Quarter Sessions of the Peace; held eight
     times a year, by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, at
     Guildhall--_for the trial of small Offences committed in

     2. The Quarter Sessions of the Peace; held four times a year
     at Guildhall, Westminster, by the Justices acting for that
     City and Liberty--_for the trial of small Offences committed
     in Westminster only_.

     3. The General and Quarter Sessions of the Peace; held eight
     times a year, at the New Sessions House on
     Clerkenwell-Green, (commonly called Hicks's Hall) by the
     Justices only of the County of Middlesex--_for the trial of
     small Offences committed in Middlesex and Westminster_.

     4. The General Quarter Sessions of the Peace; held in the
     Sessions-House in Well-Close-Square, by the Justices for the
     Liberty of the Tower of London--_for the trial of small
     Offences committed within the Royalty_.

     5. The Quarter Sessions of the Peace; held by the Justices
     for the County of Surry, at the New Sessions House at
     Newington, Surry, in January;--At Reigate, in April;--At
     Guildhall, in July;--and Kingston-upon-Thames, in October,
     each year;--_where small Offences committed in Southwark and
     the Neighbourhood are tried_.

These five inferior Courts of Justice take cognizance of _Petty
Larcenies, Frauds, Assaults, Misdemeanors, and other offences
punishable by fine, imprisonment, whipping, and the pillory_:--and in
certain cases, the power of the Justices extends to transportation.

The higher and more atrocious offences committed in London and
Middlesex, are tried at the Justice-Hall, in the Old Bailey; by a
special commission of Oyer and Terminer to the Lord Mayor, and a
certain number of the Judges, with the Recorder and Common Serjeant of
the City of London.

Offences of this latter degree of atrocity, perpetrated in that part
of the Metropolis which is situated in the Borough of Southwark and
County of Surry, are tried at the assizes, held twice a year at
_Kingston-upon-Thames_, _Croydon_, or _Guildford_.[124]

[Footnote 124: Considerable inconvenience arises (and, indeed, great
hardship, where prisoners are innocent) from the length of time which
must elapse, where offences have been committed in Southwark, before
they can be brought to trial; either for inferior or more atrocious
crimes. In the former case, prisoners must remain till the Quarter
Sessions, (there being no intermediate General Sessions of the Peace)
and in the latter case till the Assizes, held only twice a year; this
occasions a confinement, previous to trial, lengthened out, in some
instances, to three, four, five, and even nearly to six months.]

Thus it appears, that five inferior and two superior Tribunals of
Justice are established for trying the different crimes committed in
the Metropolis.

As it may be useful, for the purpose of elucidating the suggestions
already offered upon this branch of the subject, that a connected view
of the result of these _Trials_ should make a part of this Work;--the
following Abstract, (including the discharges of Prisoners by
Magistrates) has been made up for this immediate purpose: from
authentic documents obtained from the keepers of the eight different
prisons and houses of correction in the city of London, and in the
counties of Middlesex and Surry.

It applies to the period, from September, 1794, till September, 1795,
which is chosen as a sort of medium between Peace and War.

It is impossible to contemplate this collected aggregate of the
prisoners annually discharged upon the Public, without feeling a
strong anxiety to remedy an evil rendered extremely alarming, from the
number which composes the dismal catalogue of Human Depravity.

Every inquiry in the progress of this Work proves a radical defect

While the public tribunals are filled with Judges, the purity of whose
conduct adds lustre to their own and the national character, why
should not every subordinate part of the Criminal Jurisprudence of the
Country be so organized, as to co-operate, in the greatest possible
degree, with the efforts of those higher orders of the Magistracy in
accomplishing the purposes of substantial justice?

Nothing could tend more to promote this object, than the appointment
already proposed of a Public Prosecutor for the Crown.

An institution of this kind would terrify the hordes of miscreants now
at open war with the peaceable and useful part of the Community, in a
greater degree than any one measure that could possibly be adopted.

It would be the means of destroying those hopes and chances which
encourage criminal people to persevere in their depredations upon the

A Summary View of the Prisoners _committed_, _tried_, _punished_,
_disposed of_, and _discharged_ in the Metropolis, in _One Year_,
ending in October, 1795.

_Number of prisoners, punished and disposed of._

   |Names of   |Died
   |Prisons    |  |Capitally convicted[A]
   |           |  |  |Sentenced to Transportation[B]
   |           |  |  |   |Imprisoned in Newgate
   |           |  |  |   |  |Imprisoned in Bridewell Hospital
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |Imprisoned in the House of
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |Correction of Middlesex
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |Imprisoned in Tothil-Fields
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |Bridewell
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |Imprisoned in Surry Goals
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |Sent to the Philanthropic
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |and Marine Societies
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |Sent to serve his
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |Majesty in the Navy
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |and Army
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |Passed to
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |Parishes
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |Sent to
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |Hospitals
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |Total
   +--         |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |Newgate    | 7|51|153|85|   |54|  |20|  | 39|    |   | 409
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  L|Poultry    |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  O|Compter    |  |  |   |  |334|  |  |  |10| 44|  72|   | 460
  N|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  D|Giltspur   |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  O|Compter    |  |  |   |  |249|  |  |  |  | 75| 125| 44| 493
  N|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |Bridewell  |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |Hospital   | 4|  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   | 835| 44| 883
   +--         |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   +--         |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |New Prison |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  M|Clerkenwell| 5|  |  3|  |   |  |  |  |  | 58|    |   |  66
  I|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  D|House of   |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  D|Correction |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  L|in Cold    |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  E|Bath       |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  S|Fields     | 4|  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   | 128|   | 132
  E|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  X|Tothil-    |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |Fields     |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |Bridewell  | 2|  |  7|  |   |  |37|  |  |   | 122| 26| 194
   |           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   +--         |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   +--         |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  S|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  U|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  R|New Goal,  |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
  R|Southwark  |  |10| 11|  |   |  |  |16|  |   |    |  1|  38
  Y|           |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   +--         |  |  |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |   |    |   |
   |           +--+--+---+--+---+--+--+--+--+---+----+---+---------
   |           |22|61|174|85|583|54|37|36|10|216|1282|115|2675
   |           +--+--+---+--+---+--+--+--+--+---+----+---+---------

[Footnote A: 16 executed]

[Footnote B: 106 transported]

_Number of Prisoners discharged by the Magistrates, and from the Eight
Gaols, in One Year._

   |Names of   |Discharged by Magistrates for want of Proof
   |Prisons    |    |Discharged by Proclamation and Gaol Delivery
   |           |    |   |Discharged by Acquitals [Transcriber's Note: Acquittals]
   |           |    |   |   |Discharged after being whipt
   |           |    |   |   |  |Discharged after being fined
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |Discharged after suffering
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |imprisonment
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |Apprentices discharged
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |Offenders bailed out
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |of Prison
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |Discharged
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |by Pardon
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |Total
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |discharged
   +--         |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |Newgate    |    |134|272|12|11| 20|   |   |129| 578
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  L|Poultry    |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  O|Compter    | 199|   |   |  |  |   |   | 27|   | 226
  N|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  D|Giltspur   |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  O|Compter    | 287| 10| 10|  |45| 11|   |114|   | 477
  N|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |Bridewell  |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |Hospital   |    |   |   |  |  |249| 38|   |   | 287
   +--         |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   +--         |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |New Prison |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  M|Clerkenwell| 237|170| 35| 9|  |   |  9|   |127| 587
  I|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  D|House of   |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  D|Correction |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  L|in Cold    |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  E|Bath       |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  S|Fields     | 568|231| 60|  |  |353|111|   |   |1323
  E|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  X|Tothil-    |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |Fields     |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |Bridewell  | 253|274|  6| 1|  | 27|   |154|   | 715
   |           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   +--         |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   +--         |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  S|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  U|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  R|New Goal,  |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
  R|Southwark  | 130| 74| 35| 2|  | 28|   |   |   | 269
  Y|           |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   +--         |    |   |   |  |  |   |   |   |   |
   |           +----+---+---+--+--+---+---+---+---+--------------
   |           |1674|893|418|24|56|697|149|422|129|4462
   |           +----+---+---+--+--+---+---+---+---+--------------

     N.B. Although the Author has been at infinite pains to
     render this Summary as exact as possible, yet from the
     different modes adopted in keeping the accounts of Prisons,
     he is not thoroughly satisfied in his own mind that the View
     he has here given is accurate, to a point.--He is, however,
     convinced that it will be found sufficiently so for the

     [To face page 430.]

It would not only remove that aversion which Prosecutors manifest on
many occasions, to come forward, for the purpose of promoting the ends
of public justice; but it would prevent, in a great measure, the
possibility of compounding felonies, or of suborning witnesses.[125]

[Footnote 125: Notwithstanding the severity of the Law, the
composition of felonies and misdemeanors is carried to a much greater
height than it is almost possible to believe; and various artifices
are resorted to, to elude the penalties.--An instance occurred in
August 1792; where a Jew was ordered to take his trial for a rape,
committed on a married woman.--The offence appeared, on examination,
to be extremely aggravated.--The Grand Jury however did not find a
bill; which was thought a very singular circumstance, as the proof had
been so clear before the Magistrate. The reasons were afterwards
sufficiently explained; which show, what corrupt practices, artifices,
and frauds will be used to defeat the ends of justice:--In consequence
of a previous undertaking between the Jew and the husband of the woman
who had been so grossly abused, a sum of £.20 was left in the hands of
a publican, which the prosecutor was to receive if the bill was not
found. In this confidence the woman gave a different evidence from
that which she had given before the Magistrate. The Jew, however,
cheated both the husband and the wife; for he no sooner discovered
that he was safe, than he demanded the money of the publican and
laughed at the prosecutor.]

It would also be the means of counteracting the various tricks and
devices of old thieves; and occasion an equal measure of Justice to be
dealt out to them, as to the novices in crimes:--It would do more,--It
would protect real innocence,--for in such cases the Public Prosecutor
would never fail to act as the friend of the prisoner.

The prevailing practice in criminal trials, in the true spirit of
mildness and humanity, induces the Judge to act in some degree as
counsel for the prisoner.--Without a Prosecutor for the Crown,
therefore, every trifling inaccuracy in the indictment is allowed to
become a fatal obstacle to conviction;[126] circumstances which would
frequently throw great light upon the charges, are not brought under
the review of the jury, and thus public justice is defeated.

[Footnote 126: In criminal cases, a defective indictment is not aided
by the verdict of a Jury, as defective pleadings are in civil cases.
Indeed wherever life is concerned, great strictness has been at all
times observed. That able and humane Judge, SIR MATTHEW HALE,
complained above a century ago,[C] "_That this strictness has grown to
be a blemish and inconvenience in the law and the administration
thereof; for that more offenders escape by the over-easy ear given to
exceptions in indictments, than by their own innocence: and many times
gross murders, burglaries, robberies, and other heinous and crying
offences remain unpunished, by those unseemly niceties; to the
reproach of the Law, to the shame of the Government, to the
encouragement of villainy, and to the dishonour of God_."[D]]

[Footnote C: He died 1676.]

[Footnote D: Hale, P.C. 193.]

Upon an average, the Magistrates of the Metropolis commit annually,
(out of many times that number who are equally objects of punishment,)
from about 2500 to 3000 persons, male and female, for trial, at the
seven different Courts of Justice in and near the Metropolis; charged
with a variety of felonies, misdemeanors, and other petty offences.
But after fully convincing their own minds, from a careful, and in
many instances, a most laborious investigation, that the parties are
guilty, they are obliged, from experience, to prepare themselves for
the mortification of seeing their labour and exertions in a great
measure lost to the Community: the major part of these criminals being
returned upon Society, without any effectual steps adopted for their
reformation, or any means used for the prevention of a repetition of
their crimes. A considerable proportion of this wretched number may
have suffered perhaps a slight punishment for their demerits; but
which produces no effect that is not ultimately mischievous to the
Community; since it serves merely to initiate them, in a greater
degree, in the knowledge and means of committing new acts of fraud and

To establish a System calculated to prevent criminals from returning
to their evil practices after punishment is the very essence of good
Police; but notwithstanding its importance to the Community, no
measures have ever yet been adopted, calculated to attain so desirable
an object.--It is however ardently to be hoped, that the period is
fast approaching, when this great desideratum will be in a certain
degree obtained; and that the suggestions offered in the subsequent
Chapters, may tend to accelerate the renovation of this forlorn and
miserable class of outcasts, by means of an appropriate _Penitentiary


     _On Punishments.--The mode authorized by the ancient
     laws.--The period when Transportation commenced.--The
     principal crimes enumerated which are punishable by
     Death.--Those punishable by Transportation and
     Imprisonment.--The courts appointed to try different degrees
     of crimes.--Capital punishments, extending to so many
     offences of an inferior nature, defeat the ends of
     justice.--The system of Pardons examined:--their evil
     tendency.--New regulations suggested with regard to Pardons
     and Executions.--An historical account of the rise and
     progress of Transportation.--The expedients resorted to,
     after the American War put a stop to that mode of
     punishment.--The System of the Hulks then adopted.--Salutary
     Laws also made for the erection of Provincial and National
     Penitentiary Houses.--The nature and principle of these Laws
     briefly explained.--An account of the Convicts confined in
     the Hulks for twenty-two years.--The enormous expence of
     maintenance and inadequate produce of their labour.--The
     impolicy of the system exposed by the Committee on
     Finance.--The system of Transportation to New South Wales
     examined.--Great expence of this mode of
     punishment.--Improvements suggested, calculated to reduce
     the expence in future.--Erection of one or more National
     Penitentiary Houses recommended.--A general view of the
     County Penitentiary Houses and Prisons:--their inefficacy
     in reforming Convicts.--The labour obtained uncertain, while
     the expence is enormous.--The National Penitentiary House
     (according to the proposal of Jeremy Bentham, Esq.)
     considered.--Its peculiar advantages over all others which
     have been suggested, with respect to health, productive
     labour, and reformation of Convicts.--General reflections on
     the means of rendering imprisonment useful in reforming
     Convicts.--Concluding observations._

Imperfect in many respects as the criminal Law appears, from what has
been detailed and stated in the preceding Chapters, and much as the
great increase of capital offences, created during the last and
present Century, is to be lamented:--it cannot be denied that several
changes have taken place in the progress of Society, favourable to the
cause of humanity, and more consonant to reason and justice, in the
appropriation and the mode of inflicting punishments.

The Benefit of Clergy, which for a long period exempted clerical
people only, from the punishment of death in cases of felony, was by
several statutes[127] extended to _peers_, _women_, and all persons
_able to read_; who, pleading their Clergy, suffered only a corporal
punishment, or a year's imprisonment; and those men who _could not
read_, if under the degree of peerage, were hanged.[128]

[Footnote 127: 1 Edward VI. cap. 12: 21 Jac. I. cap. 6: 3 and 4
William and Mary, cap. 9: 4 and 5 William and Mary, cap. 24.]

[Footnote 128: Blackstone.]

This unaccountable distinction was actually not removed until the 5th
of Queen Anne, cap. 6, which extended the benefit of clergy to all who
were intitled to ask it, _whether they could read or not_.[129]

[Footnote 129: The benefit of Clergy originated in injustice and
inhumanity, and can only be palliated by the rude state of society,
when so disgraceful a privilege was legalized and interwoven in the
criminal code.--It partakes of the nature of a compromise with
villainy.--It perplexes the system of criminal jurisprudence; and
since its sting is taken away it would be an improvement to
discontinue it totally.]

In the course of the present century, several of the old sanguinary
modes of punishment have been either, very properly, abolished by acts
of parliament, or allowed, to the honour of humanity, to fall into
disuse:--such as _burning alive (particularly women) cutting off hands
or ears, slitting nostrils, or branding in the hand or face_; and
among lesser punishments, fallen into disuse, may be mentioned _the

The punishment of death for felony (as has already been observed) has
existed since the reign of Henry I. nearly 700 years.--Transportation
is commonly understood to have been first introduced, anno 1718, by
the act of the 4th George I. cap. 11; and afterwards enlarged by the
Act 6th of George I. c. 23, which allowed the court a discretionary
power to order felons who were by law entitled to their clergy, to be
transported to the American plantations for seven or fourteen years,
according to circumstances.[130]

[Footnote 130: It is said that exile was first introduced as a
punishment by the Legislature in the 39th year of Queen Elizabeth,
when a statute (39 _Eliz._ _c._ 4.) enacted that such rogues as were
dangerous to the inferior people should be banished the realm, _Barr.
Ant. Stat._ 269: and that the first statute in which the word
Transportation is used is the 18th of _Charles_ II. _c._ 3. which
gives power to Judges at their discretion either to execute or
transport to America _for life_ the Moss-Troopers of _Cumberland_ and
_Northumberland_; a law which was made perpetual by the Act 31 _Geo._
II. _c._ 42. 2 WOODD. 498.]

Since that period the mode of punishment has undergone several other
alterations; and many Crimes which were formerly considered of an
inferior rank, have been rendered capital: which will be best
elucidated by the following Catalogue of Offences, divided into six
classes according to the Laws now in force.

       *       *       *       *       *

     1. CRIMES _punishable by the_ Deprivation of Life; _and
     where, upon the Conviction of the Offenders the sentence of
     Death must be pronounced by the Judge.--Of these, it has
     been stated, the whole, on the authority of Sir William
     Blackstone, including all the various shades of the same
     offence, is about 160 in number._

     _The principal are the following:_

     Treason, and Petty Treason; _See page_ 38, &c. Under the
     former of these is included the Offence of Counterfeiting
     the Gold and Silver Coin, _See page_ 191-211.

     Murder, _See page_ 44, &c.

     Arson, or wilfully and maliciously burning a House, Barns
     with Corn, &c. _See page_ 56.

     Rape, or the forcible violation of chastity, &c. _See page_

     Stealing an Heiress, _See page_ 48.

     Sodomy, a crime against nature, committed either with man or
     beast, _See page_ 46.

     Piracy, or robbing ships and vessels at sea: under which is
     included, the Offences of sailors forcibly hindering their
     captains from fighting, _See page_ 55, 56.

     Forgery of Deeds, Bonds, Bills, Notes, Public Securities,
     &c. &c. Clerks of the Bank embezzling Notes, altering
     Dividend Warrants: Paper Makers, unauthorised, using moulds
     for Notes, &c.

     Destroying Ships, or setting them on Fire, _See page_ 57.

     Bankrupts not surrendering, or concealing their Effects

     Burglary, or House Breaking in the night time, _See page_

     Highway Robbery

     House Breaking in the day time, _See page_ 54, 55.

     Privately Stealing or Picking Pockets above one Shilling

     Shop Lifting above Five Shillings, _See page_ 55.

     Stealing Bonds, Bills, or Bank Notes

     Stealing Bank Notes, or Bills from Letters

     Stealing above 40_s._ in any House, _See page_ 55.

     Stealing above 40_s._ on a River

     Stealing Linen, &c. from Bleaching Grounds, &c. or
     destroying Linen therein

     Maiming or Killing Cattle maliciously. _See_ the Black Act,
     9 Geo. I. cap. 22.

     Stealing Horses, Cattle or Sheep

     Shooting at a Revenue Officer; or at any other person, _See_
     the Black Act

     Pulling down Houses, Churches, &c.

     Breaking down the head of a Fish-Pond, whereby Fish may be
     lost, (_Black Act_)[131]

     [Footnote 131: The unwillingness which it must be expected a
     Jury would have to convict a man capitally for _this
     offence_, might be adduced among many other instances, to
     show to what extent public justice is defeated, merely from
     the severity of the laws, and the want of a Scale of
     punishments proportioned to the offences.]

     Cutting down Trees in an Avenue, Garden, &c.

     Cutting down River or Sea Banks.

     Cutting Hop Binds

     Setting fire to coal mines

     Taking a Reward for helping another to Stolen Goods, in
     certain cases, _See page_ 295

     Returning from Transportation; or being at large in the
     Kingdom after Sentence

     Stabbing a Person unarmed, or not having a weapon drawn, if
     he die in six months

     Concealing the death of a Bastard Child

     Maliciously maiming or disfiguring any person, &c. lying in
     wait for the purpose, _See page_ 50.

     Sending Threatening Letters (Black Act)

     Riots by twelve or more, and not dispersing in an hour after

     Being accessaries to Felonies deemed capital

     Stealing Woollen Cloth from Tenter Grounds

     Stealing from a Ship in Distress

     Government Stores, embezzling, burning or destroying in
     Dock-Yards; in certain cases, _See pages_ 261-263

     Challenging Jurors above 20 in capital felonies; or standing

     Cottons selling with forged Stamps

     Deer-Stealing, second offence; or even first offence, under
     Black Act, not usually enforced

     Uttering counterfeit Money, third offence

     Prisoners under Insolvent Acts guilty of perjury

     Destroying Silk or Velvet in the loom; or the Tools for
     manufacturing thereof; or destroying Woollen Goods, Racks or
     Tools, or entering a House for that purpose

     Servants purloining their Masters' Goods, value 40_s._

     Personating Bail; or acknowledging fines or judgments in
     another's name

     Escape by breaking Prison, in certain cases

     Attempting to kill Privy Counsellors, &c.


     Smuggling by persons armed; or assembling armed for that

     Robbery of the Mail

     Destroying Turnpikes or Bridges, Gates, Weighing Engines,
     Locks, Sluices, Engines for Draining Marshes, &c.

     Mutiny, Desertion, &c. by the Martial and Statute Law

     Soldiers or Sailors enlisting into Foreign Service

            *       *       *       *       *

     2. CRIMES _denominated_ Single Felonies; _punishable by
     Transportation, Whipping, Imprisonment, the Pillory, and
     Hard Labour in Houses of Correction, according to the Nature
     of the offence._

     _The principal of which are the following:_

     Grand Larceny, which comprehends every species of Theft
     above the value of One Shilling, not otherwise distinguished

     Receiving or buying Stolen Goods, Jewels and Plate. _See
     page_ 299

     Ripping and stealing Lead, Iron, Copper, &c. or buying or
     receiving, _See page_ 295

     Stealing (or receiving when stolen) Ore from Black Lead

     Stealing from Furnished Lodgings

     Setting fire to Underwood

     Stealing Letters, or destroying a Letter or Packet,
     advancing the Postage, and secreting the Money

     Embezzling Naval Stores, in certain cases, _See pages_

     Petty Larcenies, or Thefts under one Shilling

     Assaulting with an intent to Rob

     Aliens returning after being ordered out of the kingdom

     Stealing Fish from a Pond or River--Fishing in inclosed
     Ponds, and buying stolen Fish

     Stealing Roots, Trees, or Plants, of the value of 5_s._ or
     destroying them

     Stealing Children with their apparel

     Bigamy, or Marrying more Wives or Husbands than one (now
     punishable with transportation)

     Assaulting and Cutting, or Burning Clothes

     Counterfeiting the Copper Coin, &c.--_See page_ 191-211

     Marriage, solemnizing clandestinely

     Manslaughter, or killing another without Malice, &c. _See
     page_ 44

     Cutting or Stealing Timber Trees, &c. &c. &c.

     Stealing a Shroud out of a Grave

     Watermen carrying too many passengers in the Thames, if any

            *       *       *       *       *

     3. OFFENCES _denominated_ Misdemeanors, _punishable by Fine,
     Imprisonment, Whipping, and the Pillory._

     _The principal of which are the following:_

     Perjury, or taking a false Oath in a judicial proceeding,

     Frauds, by Cheating, Swindling contrary to the rules of
     common honesty, &c. &c.

     Conspiracies, for the purpose of injuring or defrauding

     Assaults by striking or beating another person, &c.

     Stealing Dead Bodies

     Stealing Cabbages, Turnips, &c. growing

     Cutting and stealing Wood and Trees

     Robbing Orchards and Gardens

     Stealing Deer from Forests

     Stealing Dogs

     Setting fire to a House to defraud the Insurance Office

     Making and selling Fire-Works and Squibs

     Throwing the same when on fire about the streets

     Uttering Base Money

     Selling Base Money under its denominated value

     Embezzlement in the Woollen, Silk, and other Manufactures

     Offences by Artificers and Servants in various Trades

     Combinations and Conspiracies for raising the price of
     Wages, &c. (_See stat._ 39 _Geo._ III. _c._ 81)

     Smuggling Run Goods, and other Frauds relative to the Excise
     and Customs

     Keeping Bawdy Houses and other Disorderly Houses

            *       *       *       *       *

     4. IDLE and Disorderly Persons _described by the Act of the
     17th Geo. II. cap. 5. and subsequent Acts_; punishable with
     one Month's Imprisonment--_namely_,

     1. Persons threatening to run away and leave their wives and
     children on the Parish

     2. Persons who tipple in Ale Houses, and neglect their
     Families, &c. as described in the 3d Geo. III. cap. 45

     3. Persons who shall unlawfully return to the Parish or
     place from which they have been legally removed, without
     bringing a Certificate

     4. Persons, who not having wherewithal to maintain
     themselves, live idly without employment, and refuse to work
     for the usual Wages

     5. Persons begging in the streets, highways, &c.

            *       *       *       *       *

     5th. ROGUES and VAGABONDS _described by the said Act of the
     17th Geo. II. cap. 5. and subsequent Acts_; punishable by
     Six Months' Imprisonment--namely,

     1. Persons going about as Patent Gatherers or Gatherers of
     Alms, under pretence of Loss by Fire, or other casualty.

     2. Fencers, Bearwards, Strolling Players of Interludes, or
     other Entertainments

     3. Minstrels, (except those licensed by the Lord Dutton in

     4. Persons pretending to be, and wandering in the habit of,

     5. Fortune-Tellers, pretending Skill in Physiognomy,
     Palmistry, &c. or using any subtle craft to deceive and
     impose on others

     6. Persons playing or betting at any unlawful Games or Plays

     7. Persons who run away, and leave their Wives and Children
     upon the Parish

     8. Petty Chapmen and Pedlars wandering abroad without a

     9. Persons wandering abroad, and lodging in Ale-Houses,
     Out-Houses, or the open Air, and not giving a good account
     of themselves

     10. Persons wandering abroad, and pretending to be Soldiers
     or Sailors, without proper Certificates from their Officers,
     or Testimonials from Magistrates

     11. Persons wandering abroad, pretending to go to work in
     Harvest, without a proper Certificate from the Parish

     12. Persons having Implements of House-breaking or Offensive
     Weapons, with a Felonious intent

     13. Persons concerned in illegal Lottery Transactions, as
     described in the Lottery Acts, 27th, 33d, 34th, and 35th
     Geo. III.

            *       *       *       *       *

     6th. INCORRIGIBLE ROGUES, _punishable with Two Years'
     Imprisonment and Whipping, or Transportation for Seven
     Years, if they break out of Prison--namely_,

     1. Persons stiled End-Gatherers, buying, collecting, or
     receiving Ends of Yarn in the Woollen Branch, against the
     stat. 13 Geo. I. cap. 23.

     2. Persons, who being Rogues and Vagabonds, have escaped
     after being apprehended, or who shall refuse to be examined
     by a Magistrate, or who shall give a false account of
     themselves after being warned of their punishment

     3. Persons who shall escape out of any House of Correction
     before the period of their imprisonment empires

     4. Persons, who being once punished as Rogues and Vagabonds,
     shall again commit the same offence.

     [-->] _There are a great many other trivial Offences
     denominated Misdemeanors, subject to pecuniary Fines, which
     it is not easy to enumerate. Since almost every statute,
     whether public or private, which passes in the course of a
     Session of Parliament, creates new offences--the shades vary
     as Society advances, and their number is scarcely within the
     reach of calculation._

The crimes mentioned in the first and second classes of the foregoing
Enumeration (except Petty Larceny) are always tried by the Superior
Courts:--The offences specified in the third class, as also Petty
Larceny, and every species of misdemeanor and vagrancy, are generally
tried, (with some few exceptions) by the Justices in their General and
Quarter Sessions, where, in certain cases in Middlesex, they act under
a commission of Oyer and Terminer. The Magistrates in Petty Sessions,
and in several instances a _single Magistrate_, have also the power of
convicting in a summary way, for a variety of small misdemeanors, and
acts of vagrancy: and of punishing the delinquents with fine and

It generally happens in the Metropolis, that out of from 2000 to 2500
prisoners who are tried for different crimes, in the various Courts of
Justice, above 5-6th parts are for larcenies, acts of vagrancy, and
smaller offences; where the Benefit of Clergy, either attaches, or
does not apply at all. The major part are, of course, returned upon
Society, after a short imprisonment, or some corporal punishment, too
frequently to renew their depredations on the public.--But a vast
proportion (as has already been shewn) are always acquitted.[132]

[Footnote 132: All endeavours towards the prevention of crimes will
ever be attended with unconquerable difficulty, until some general
House of Industry can be established in the Metropolis: where persons
discharged for petty offences, as well as strangers and others out of
work, may have an opportunity of finding, at least a temporary
employment, sufficient to maintain them. An Institution of this sort
would be a work of great charity and humanity; and it is earnestly to
be hoped, that the view of the subject given in this Work may induce
the Legislature to form a Police Establishment, calculated to promote
such a multitude of good and useful objects;[E] more especially as
with proper management it would very soon pay itself.]

[Footnote E: Vide _page_ 99 _n._]

In order to form a judgment of the proportion of the more atrocious
offenders tried at the Old Bailey: the number acquitted; and the
specific punishments inflicted on the different offences in case of
conviction, one year has been selected; a year in which it was natural
to expect from the immense, and indeed, unparalleled bounties which
were given for seamen and soldiers, that the number of thieves and
criminals would be greatly reduced,--namely--_from the month of
April_, 1793, _to the month of April_, 1794,--including eight Sessions
at the Old Bailey--

The following Table shews in what manner 1060 prisoners, put on their
trials during that period, were disposed of.[133]

[Footnote 133: In the year 1795, 1894 prisoners were tried at the Old
Bailey, and the different Assizes in the Country, exclusive of a much
greater number at the General and Quarter Sessions of the Peace, in
the different Counties. These trials in the Superior Courts of
Judicature, produced the following results:--

                                      London.  in the     Total.

  Received Sentence of Death            44       174       218
      "       "     "  Transportation   84       159       243
  Imprisoned and Whipt                 129       411       540
  Judgment respited to serve
    his Majesty                         23        25        48
  Acquitted                            150       351       501
  Discharged for want of
    Prosecutors                         91       253       344
                                       ---      ----      ----
                                       521      1373      1894]

The Crimes for which the different Offenders were tried, were these

  Murder             46   Felony       315   Manslaughter  29
  Arson               5   Larceny      998   Bigamy         3
  Burglary          101   Receiving          Beastiality    2
  Robbery            58   stolen Goods  61   Rape           9
  Horse and Cattle        Frauds and         Perjury        2
  stealing          108   Misdemeanors 101   Sedition       2
  Forgery            16   Rogues and                      ---
  Coining            17   Vagabonds     21                 47
                    ---               ----                ---
                    351               1496
                    ---               ----

_A_ TABLE, _shewing the Prisoners tried at the Old Bailey, from April
1793, to March 1794, inclusive._

               |Persons committed for trial.
               |    |Of whom, acquitted and discharged.
               |    |     |Prisoners convicted, and their Punishments.
               |    |     |Death.
               |    |     |  |Transported for 14 years.
  London,      |    |     |  | |Transported for 7 years.
  Middlesex,   |    |     |  | |   |Whipt & Imprisoned.
  and          |    |     |  | |   |  |Imprisoned 6 months and
  Westminster. |    |     |  | |   |  |upwards.
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |Imprisoned 3 months
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |& otherwise disposed of.
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |Sent to serve
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |the King.
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |Judgment
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |respited
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |  |Total
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |  |punished.
  London       |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |  |
  Sessions     | 199|   70| 6|1| 50|10|29|20| 8| 5|129
               |    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |  |
  Middlesex and|    |     |  | |   |  |  |  |  |  |
  Westminster  | 861|  497|62|1|117|38|51|49|30|16|364
               |1060|  567|68|2|167|48|80|69|38|21|493
               |    |[134]|  | |   |  |  |  |  |  |

[Footnote 134: The acquittals will generally be found to attach mostly
to small offences which are punishable with death: where Juries do not
consider the crime deserving so severe a punishment, the delinquent
receives no punishment at all. If all were convicted who were really
guilty of these small offences, the number of victims to the severity
of the Law would be greatly increased.]

Thus it appears, that in London only, of 1060 prisoners, tried in the
course of a year, only 493 were punished; of whom 197, after a
temporary confinement, would return upon the Public, with little
prospect of being better disposed to be useful to Society, than
before.--It may be estimated that in all England, including those
offenders who are tried at the County Sessions, upwards of five
thousand individuals, charged with criminal offences, are thrown back
upon Society every year.--

But this is not all,--for according to the present System, out of
about _two hundred_ and upwards who are, upon an average every year,
doomed to suffer the punishment of death, _four-fifths_ or more are
generally pardoned[135] either on condition of being transported, or
of going into His Majesty's service, and not seldom without any
condition at all.

[Footnote 135: As punishments became more mild, clemency and pardons
became less necessary.--Clemency is a virtue that ought to shine in
the code, and not in the private judgment.--The Prince in pardoning
gives up the Public Security in favour of an individual; and by the
exercise of this species of benevolence proclaims a public act of
impunity.--Let the Executors of the Laws be inexorable; but let the
Legislature be tender, indulgent and humane.

BECCARIA, cap. 46.]

Hence it is, that, calculating on all the different chances,
encouragements to commit crimes actually arise out of the System
intended for their prevention:--_first, from the hope of avoiding
detection and apprehension;--secondly, of escaping conviction, from
the means used to vitiate and suborn the evidence;--thirdly, from the
mercy of the Jury, in considering the punishment too severe;--and
fourthly, from the interest of persons of rank or consideration,
applying (under circumstances where humanity becomes the friend of
every person doomed to die), for the interference of Royal Mercy, by

God forbid that the Author of these pages should do so much violence
to his own feelings, as to convey an idea hostile to the extension of
that amiable Prerogative vested in the Sovereign; and which His
Majesty has exercised with a benevolent regard to the feelings of
Humanity, and a merciful disposition truly characteristic of the mind
of a great and good King.

These animadversions are by no means pointed against the exercise of a
privilege so benign, and even so necessary, in the present state of
the Criminal Law;--they regard only the impositions which have been
practised upon so many well-intentioned, respectable, and amiable
Characters, who have, from motives of humanity, interested themselves
in obtaining _free pardons for Convicts_, or _pardons on condition of
going into the Army or Navy_.

If these humane individuals, who exert themselves in applications of
this sort, were to be made acquainted with one half of the gross
impositions practised upon their credulity, or the evil consequences
arising to Society from such pardons, (particularly unconditional
pardons) they would shudder at the extent of the cruelty exercised
towards the Public, and even, in many instances, to the Convicts
themselves, by this false humanity.

In a Country, where, from the great caution which mingles in that part
of the Criminal Jurisprudence which relates to the trial of
Offenders,--it is scarcely possible that an honest or an innocent
person can be convicted of a capital offence.[136]--It would seem to
be a good criterion, that the Royal Mercy should only be extended on
two indispensable conditions.

[Footnote 136: It is not here meant to say there have not been some
instances, and even one of a recent date, where an innocent man may be
convicted; but they are certainly very rare, and when discovered, the
Royal mercy, of course, relieves the unfortunate person.]

     1. _That the Convict under sentence of death should, for the
     sake of Public Justice, (and to deter others from the
     commission of crimes) discover all his accomplices, and the
     robberies, or other crimes he has committed._

     2. _That he should be transported; or make retribution to
     the parties he has injured by being kept at hard labour for
     life; or until ample security shall be given for good
     behaviour after such retribution is made._

The precaution not having been used of knowing _for certain_, before
pardons were granted, whether the parties were fit for His Majesty's
service or not; the Convicts themselves carefully concealing every
kind of bodily infirmity;--and the pardons containing no eventual
condition of ultimate Transportation, in case the persons should be
found unfit for the Army or Navy;--the result has been, that many
Convicts, who have been since actually Thieves upon the Town, were
almost instantly thrown back upon the Public.--Some, even before they
were attested by the Magistrate, in consequence of the discovery of
bodily incapacity; and others, in a very short time after they had
gone into His Majesty's Service, from the like unfitness being
discovered; from some artful device practised to procure a
discharge--or from desertion.--A professed Thief is never deficient in
that species of artifice and resource which is necessary to rid him of
any incumbrance.

This, however, is seldom taken into the calculation when Humanity
urges philanthropic Characters to interest themselves in behalf of
Criminals; nor could it perhaps otherwise have been known, or
believed, that so many of these outcasts of Society have found means
again to mingle with the mass of the people.

What impression must these facts make on the intelligent mind!--will
they not warrant the following conclusion?

     1. That every individual, restored to Society in this way,
     is the means of affording a species of encouragement,
     peculiarly calculated to bring others into the same dreadful
     situation, from which the unhappy Convict is thus rescued.

     2. That for this reason every pardon granted, without some
     lesser punishment, or removing the convicts from Society, is
     a link broken in the chain of justice, by annihilating that
     united strength which binds the whole together.

     3. That by removing the terror of punishments by frequent
     pardons, the design of the Law is rendered in a great
     measure ineffectual; the lives of persons _executed_ are
     thrown away, being sacrificed rather to the vengeance of the
     Law than to the good of the Public; and no other advantage
     is received than by getting rid of one thief, whose place,
     (under present circumstances,) will speedily be supplied by

[Footnote 137: That able and excellent Magistrate, the late Henry
Fielding, Esq. (to whose zeal and exertions in the exercise of the
duties of a Justice of the Peace, in the Metropolis, the Public were
under infinite obligations)--manifested, half a century ago, how much
he was impressed with the injuries arising from frequent
pardons.--Those who will contemplate the character and conduct of this
valuable man, as well as that of his brother, the late Sir John
Fielding, will sincerely lament that their excellent ideas, and
accurate and extensive knowledge upon every subject connected with the
Police of the Metropolis, and of the means of preventing crimes, were
not rendered more useful to the Public. It is to be hoped, however,
that it is not yet too late, since the state of Society, and the
progress and increase of crimes, call loudly for the establishment of
a responsible preventive System.]

Nothing can sanction the punishment of death for crimes short of
murder, _but the terror of the example operating as the means of
prevention_.--It is upon this principle alone that one man is
sacrificed to the preservation of thousands.--Executions, therefore,
being exhibited as seldom as a regard to the public interest really
required, ought to be rendered as _terrific_ and _solemn_ to the eyes
of the people as possible.

The punishment now in use, considered in point of law to be next to
that of deprivation of life, is _Transportation_.

It has been already mentioned that Parliament authorized this species
of punishment in the year 1718--when the general plan of sending
Convicts to the American Plantations was first adopted. This System
continued for 56 years; during which period, and until the
commencement of the American War in 1775, great numbers of Felons were
sent chiefly to the Province of Maryland. The rigid discipline which
the colonial Laws authorized the masters[138] to exercise over
servants, joined to the prospects which agricultural pursuits, after
some experience was acquired, afforded to these _Outcasts_, tended to
reform the chief part; and after the expiration of their servitude,
they mingled in the Society of the Country, under circumstances highly
beneficial to themselves and even to the Colony. Possessed in general
(as every adroit thief must be) of good natural abilities, they
availed themselves of the habits of industry they acquired in the
years of their servitude--became farmers and planters on their own
account; and many of them, succeeding in these pursuits, not only
acquired that degree of respectability which is attached to property
and industry; but also in their turn became masters, and purchased
the servitude of future Transports sent out for sale.[139]

[Footnote 138: By the Acts 4 George I. c. 11, and 6 George I. c. 23,
the persons contracting for the transportation of convicts to the
Colonies, or their assigns, had an interest in the service of each,
for seven or fourteen years, according to the term of transportation.]

[Footnote 139: For some years previous to the commencement of the
American War, the adjudged services of convicts became so valuable in
Maryland, that contracts were made to convey them without any expence
whatsoever to Government, who had formerly allowed 5_l._ a head; for
the reasons already assigned, they generally were more adroit, and had
better abilities than those who voluntarily engaged themselves to go
to America.]

The Convicts having accumulated greatly in the year 1776, and the
intercourse with America being shut up, it became indispensably
necessary to resort to some other expedient; and in the choice of
difficulties the System of the _Hulks_ was suggested, and first
adopted under the authority of an Act of the 16th of his present

The Legislature, uncertain with regard to the success of this new
species of punishment, and wishing to make other experiments, by an
Act of the same Session,[140] empowered the Justices of every county
in England to prepare Houses of Correction for the reception of
Convicts under sentence of death, to whom his Majesty should extend
his Royal Mercy, to be kept at hard labour for a term not exceeding
ten years.

[Footnote 140: 16 George III. cap. 43, sect. 1st, 3d, and 11th.]

The same Act, among many other excellent regulations, ordered the
Convicts to be kept separate, and not allowed to mix with any
offenders convicted of crimes less than Larceny--and that they should
be fed with coarse inferior food, water, and small beer, without
permission to have any other food, drink, or cloathing, than that
allowed by the Act, under certain penalties:--they were to be clothed
at the public expence.

And as an encouragement to these delinquents, while such as refused to
work were to receive corporal punishment, those who behaved well had
not only the prospect held out of shortening the period of their
confinement, but also were to receive decent clothes, and a sum of
money not less than _forty shillings_, nor more than _five pounds_,
when discharged.

This well-intentioned Act[141] (which certainly admits of many
improvements), was followed up, three years afterwards, by another
Statute, (19 Geo. III. cap. 74,) which had two very important objects
in view.

[Footnote 141: An enormous expence has been incurred in building
Penitentiary-Houses in various Counties, and many philanthropic
individuals have exerted their best endeavours to carry this Act into
execution; but it is to be lamented, that crimes have been by no means
diminished. The fact is, that the System is erroneous--Responsibility
is no where established.--No uniformity of System prevails, and no
general superintendance or center point exists.--Like the Poor Laws,
the only part of the Act which is rigidly carried into execution is
raising a fund, which, without imputing blame to Magistrates (for the
error is in the System), has increased the expence of this branch of
the Police of the Country very far beyond what could have been
conceived--and it now becomes a heavy burden upon many of the
Counties.--The reform began at the wrong end.--The same expence
applied in establishing a System of Preventive Police, ought to render
numerous penitentiary houses in a great measure unnecessary.]

The first was to erect, in some convenient common or waste ground, in
either of the counties of _Middlesex_, _Essex_, _Kent_, or _Surry_,
_Two large Penitentiary Houses_, the one to hold 600 _male_, and the
other 300 _female Convicts_, with proper _storehouses_, _workhouses_,
and _lodging-rooms_; an _infirmary_, _chapel_, and _burying-ground_; a
_prison_, _kitchen_, _garden_, and _air-grounds_: with proper
_offices_, and other _necessary apartments_.

The expence of these grounds and erections was to be paid out of the
treasury; and his Majesty was empowered to appoint three persons as a
Committee of Management for regulating the Establishment; under the
controul of the Justices of the Peace of the County, and Judges of
Assize, with power to appoint a _clerk_, _governor_, _chaplain_,
_surgeon_, or _apothecary_, _store-keepers_, and _task-masters_; and
also a _matron_ for the females;--and to allow salaries to each, which
were to be paid out of the profits of the work, to be performed by the

As soon as the buildings should be completed, the Court, before whom
any person was convicted for a transportable offence, might, in lieu
thereof, order the prisoner to be punished by confinement, in any of
these Penitentiary Houses, there to be kept to hard labour in the
proportion of 5 _years_ instead of 7 _years' transportation_, and not
exceeding 7 years in lieu of 14 _years' transportation_; limiting at
the same time the number of Convicts to be sent annually from the
Circuits in the Country, and from the different Sessions in the

This Act lays down various specific rules for the government of the
Establishment, and for the employment of the Prisoners; and the
following works, as being of the most servile kind and least liable to
be spoiled by ignorance, neglect, or obstinacy, are selected, namely--

  1. Treading in a wheel for moving machinery.
  2. Drawing in a capstan, for turning a mill or engine.
  3. Sawing stone
  4. Polishing marble
  5. Beating hemp
  6. Rasping logwood
  7. Chopping rags
  8. Making cordage
  9. Picking oakum
  10. Weaving sacks
  11. Knitting nets,
  &c. &c.

The food of the different offenders, as in the former Act, was limited
to bread and any coarse meat, with water and small beer; and the
Prisoners were to be cloathed in uniform apparel, with badges affixed,
agreeable to the Institution.

Certain other rules were established for the discipline of the house,
under the direction of the Committee to be appointed by his Majesty;
who were to attend every fortnight, and to have power to reward such
offenders as should appear most diligent and meritorious, by giving
them a part of their earnings, to be applied for the use of themselves
end families.

And when an offender should be discharged, decent clothing was to be
delivered to him; with a sum of money for present subsistence, not
less than _twenty shillings_, nor more than _three pounds_.

The second purpose of this Act (and which is the only part of it which
was ever carried into effect), regards _the continuation of the System
of the Hulks_.

It declares that for the more effectual punishment of atrocious male
offenders liable to be transported, the Court may order such Convicts
as are of proper age, and free from bodily infirmity, to be punished
by being kept on board ships or vessels; and employed in hard labour
in raising sand, soil, and gravel, and cleansing the River Thames, or
any other river, or port, approved by the Privy Council; or in any
other works upon the banks or shores of the same, under the direction
of superintendants approved of by the Justices, for a term not less
than _one_ year, nor more than _five_; except an offender be liable to
transportation for 14 years, in which case his punishment may be
commuted for 7 years on board the Hulks.

The mode of feeding is the same as already explained, and the clothing
is to be at the discretion of the superintendant. A similar
discipline, varied only by local circumstances, is also established;
and on the discharge of any of the convicts, they are to receive for
present subsistence from 20_s._ to 3_l._ according to circumstances.

The concluding part of the Act obliges the governors and
superintendants of the two Establishments to make annual returns to
the Court of King's Bench: and also authorizes his Majesty _to appoint
an Inspector of the two Penitentiary Houses, of the several vessels or
hulks on the River Thames, and of all the other gaols and places of
criminal confinement within the City of London and County of
Middlesex_; these Inspectors are personally to visit every such place
of confinement at least once a quarter, to examine into the
particulars of each, and to make a return to the Court of King's
Bench, of the _state of the buildings--the conduct of the
officers--treatment of the prisoners--state of their earnings and
expences_--and to follow up this by a report to both Houses of
Parliament, at the beginning of each Session.

It is much to be lamented that neither of these two salutary Acts, so
far as regarded _National Penitentiary Houses_, which seemed to hold
out so fair a prospect of employing convicts, in pursuits connected
with _productive labour_, _industry_, and ultimate _reformation_,
without sending them out of the kingdom, have been carried into
execution. In the year 1784, the System of Transportation was again
revived, by the Act of the 24th Geo. III. Stat. 2. cap. 56; "which
empowers the Court, before whom a male Felon shall be convicted, to
order the prisoner to be transported beyond seas, either within his
Majesty's dominions or elsewhere; and his service to be assigned to
the contractor who shall undertake such transportation."

The same Act continues the System of the Hulks for a further length of
time; by directing the removal of Convicts, under sentence of death,
and reprieved by his Majesty, and also such as are under sentence of
Transportation (being free from infectious disorders) to other places
of confinement, either inland, or on board of any ship or vessel in
the river Thames, or any other navigable river; and to continue them
so confined until transported according to law, or until the
expiration of the term of the sentence should otherwise entitle them
to their liberty.

This plan of Transportation, through the medium of contractors,
although some Felons were sent to Africa,[142] does not appear to have
answered; from the great difficulty of finding any situation, since
the Revolution in America, where the service of Convicts could be
rendered productive or profitable to Merchants, who would undertake to
transport them; and hence arose the idea of making an Establishment
for these outcasts of Society in the infant colony of New South
Wales, to which remote region it was at length determined to transport
atrocious offenders.--Accordingly, in the year 1787, an Act passed,
(27 Geo. III. cap. 2,) authorizing the establishment of a Court of
Judicature for the trial of offenders who should be transported to New
South Wales.

[Footnote 142:

  In 1785, George Moore, Esq. received for
             transporting convicts           £.1,512  7 6

           John Kirby for expences               540 19 4

     1786, John Kirby; further expences          578 10 1

           Anthony Calvert for Transportation    286 14 0

           Thomas Cotton, Esq. Cloathing,
             &c.                                 303  2 7
                                             £.3,721 13 6[F]]

[Footnote F: See Appendix (L. i.) to the 28th Report of Select
Committee on Finance.]

Another Act of the following year, (28 Geo. III. cap. 24,) empowered
his Majesty, under his Royal Sign Manual, to authorize any person to
make contracts for the Transportation of offenders, and to direct to
whom security should be given for the due performance of the contract.

By the Act of 30 George III. cap. 47, the Governor of the Settlement
may remit the punishment of offenders there: and on a certificate from
him their names shall be inserted in the next General Pardon.

Under these various legislative regulations, the two Systems of
Punishment, namely, the _Hulks_ and _Transportation_ to New South
Wales, have been authorized and carried into execution.

The System of the Hulks commenced on the 12th day of July, in the year
1776; and from that time until the 12th of December 1795,
comprehending a period of nineteen years, 7999 Convicts were ordered
to be punished by hard labour on the river Thames, and Langston and
Portsmouth harbours, which are accounted for in the following manner:

  1. Convicts ordered to hard labour on the
  River Thames, from 12th July 1776, to the
  12th January, 1778                                        2024

  2. Convicts, _under sentence of Transportation_,
  put on board the Hulks on the River Thames,
  from 11th January, 1783, to 12th December,
  1795                                                      4775

  3. _Deduct_, under sentence of Transportation,
  put on board the Hulks in Langston and
  Portsmouth Harbours, received from the
  Hulks at Woolwich, on the 20th of June,
  1791                                                       466
                                                            ----  4309

  Additional Convicts sent from different prisons
  to Portsmouth and Langston from 1791,
  to 1st December, 1795                                     1200

  To which, add those from Woolwich as above                 466
                                                            ----  1666
                                                           Total  7999
  Of the above convicts there have been
    Discharged                                        1610
    Pardoned                                           790
    Escaped                                            130
                                                      ----  2530
  Removed to other Gaols                                      17
  Transported to New South Wales                            2207
  Died[143]                                                 1946

  And there remain in the Hulks on the
  Thames                                               523

  And at Langston Harbour                              776
                                                      ----  1299
                                                  Total as above  7999

[Footnote 143: A malignant fever, at one period, carried off a vast
number, in spite of every effort to prevent it.]

By a subsequent account laid before the Select Committee of the House
of Commons on Finance, and stated in Appendix, M. of their 28th
Report, dated the 26th of June, 1798, it appears that the number of
Convicts stood thus:

  In the Hulks on the Thames, at Woolwich   501
  At Portsmouth                             948
                                    Total  1449

     Besides 415 under Sentence of Transportation in the
     different Gaols, making in all 1864.

From the same authentic Documents, (pages 115, 116,) it appears, that
of these Convicts, the following numbers will be discharged upon
Society in the succeeding 13 years:[144]

                     Portsmouth.    Woolwich.
  In 1800               140            115
     1801               106             43
     1802               127             26
     1803               107             46
     1804               149             77
     1805                33              3
     1806                 1              1
     1807                 1              1
     1808                 1              1
     1809                 1              0
     1810                 1              0
     1811                10              4
     1812                 1              0
                        ---  678       ---  317
     For life            76             22

[Footnote 144: See page 98 of this volume, for an Account of the
Convicts enlarged the preceding eight years,

  in all                     1383
  To be discharged as above   995
                      Total  2378]


  Convicts discharged from the Hulks, from 1792 to
  1799 inclusive (_See page 98 of this Treatise_)           1383

  To be discharged from the Hulks at Langston chiefly
  in 6 years                                                 678

  From Woolwich, chiefly within the same period              317
                                                     Total  2378

In the same authentic Documents, namely the Appendix (L. 1 & 2) page
103 of the 28th Report of the Select Committee on Finance, a Statement
is given of the Expence which has been incurred by Government, "for or
in respect of the Conviction, Confinement, and Maintenance of
Convicts, from the 1st January, 1775, to the year ending the 31st
December, 1797," of which the following is an abstract:

  1 Jan. 1775 to 1 Jan.  1776 paid at the Exchequer  £.8,660  0  0
   --    1776     --     1777          --              7,950 16 10
   --    1777     --     1778          --             13,676 14  5
   --    1778     --     1779          --             17,939 18  0
   --    1779     --     1780          --             22,292 11  1-1/2
   --    1780     --     1781          --             21,034  0  1-1/2
   --    1781     --     1782          --             18,686 19  0
   --    1782     --     1783          --             22,320 10  9
   --    1783     --     1784          --             17,669  3 11
   --    1784     --     1785          --             31,555 18 11
   --    1785     --     1786          --             32,343 17  7
   --         to 7 March 1786          --              9,353 17  0

          To 31 December 1786                         22,282 18  4
                         1787                         33,927  9  7
                         1788                         34,059 14  8
                         1789                         62,656 15  5
                         1790                         46,865  4  6
                         1791                         43,840  9  0
                         1792                         22,300 12  7
                         1793                         25,403 16  0
                         1794                         25,751  3  7-1/2
                         1795                         14,195  7  4-1/2
                         1796                         36,174  7  9
                         1797 }                     { 19,506 15 11
                         1797 }                     { 12,574  0  0
  Total Expence of Convicts in the }
  Hulks, from the Commencement     }               £.623,022 14  5
  of the System to 1 January 1798  }

The Contractors for the Convicts at Woolwich and Langston Harbour, (as
appear from documents laid before the House of Commons) entered into
an agreement with the Lords of the Treasury obliging themselves for
_the consideration of 1s. 3d. per day_, (being 22_l._ 16_s._ 3_d._
a year _for each Convict_,) to provide at their own cost or charge,
_one_ or more _Hulks_, to keep the same in proper repair, to provide
proper Ship's Companies for the safe Custody of such Convicts; and
sufficient _meat_, _drink_, _clothing_ and _medical assistance_, for
the Convicts; as also to sustain all other charges (excepting the
expence of the _Chaplain_, _Coroner_, and bounties to discharged
Convicts;[145]) obeying, at the same time, all the orders of his
Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department,
respecting the Convicts. A subsequent contract was made at 14-1/2_d._
which reduced the expence to 22_l._ 1_s._ 0-1/2_d._ per man: and which
is the allowance made to the present Contractors.

[Footnote 145: This expence, by an account laid before the House of
Commons, for one Year, ending the 15th Feb. 1792, appears to be--

  Expence of Chaplain, Coroner, and Bounties
  for Convicts at Woolwich                    £.221 17  4

  At Langston and Portsmouth Harbours           153 19  8
                                       Total  £.375 17  0]

The terms of these contracts appear to be as favourable for Government
as could reasonably be expected, under all circumstances; and it would
appear, that some advantages are reaped by the Public, as the
documents laid before the House of Commons in 1792 and 1798, shew that
the labour performed by the Convicts is productive in a certain
degree.--The following Statements explain how their labour is

  From the 1st of January 1789 to the 1st of
  January 1792, it appears that 653,432 days'
  work had been performed at Langston Harbour,
  Portsmouth, and Woolwich Warren;
  which being estimated at 9_d._ a day, is               £.24,503 14 0


  From the 1st of January 1789 to the 1st of January
  1792, it also appears that 260,440
  days' work had been performed at the
  Dock yard at Woolwich; which being
  partly performed by artificers in a more
  productive species of labour, is estimated
  at 1_s._ a day                                           13,022  0 0
  Total value of Convicts' labour in 3 years             £.37,525 14 0

It appears from the 28th Report of the Select Committee on Finance,
Appendix, No. 7 and 8--

  That the work done by Convicts confined on
  board the Hulks in Langston Harbour,
  during the year 1797, was performed by
  about 421 convicts upon a daily average,
  and computing the labour of each artificer
  at 19_l._ 8_s._ 9_d._ per annum, and each
  labourer at 11_l._ 13_s._ 3_d._ it will
  amount to                                         £.5,997  18  3

  The work performed in the same year by
  about 250 convicts, confined on board the
  Hulks at Portsmouth, computed as above
  will amount to                                      3,226  15  0
                                                      9,224  13  3

  From which is to be deducted, to make the
  amount correspond with the valuation
  made by the Ordnance Board                          1,440   5  3
                                                    £.7,784   8  0

  The work done by convicts, confined on board
  the _Prudentia_ and _Stanislaus_ Hulks at
  Woolwich Dock-yards and Warren, performed
  by 359 convicts, rated at 1_s._ and
  1_s._ 2_d._ for labourers, and 1_s._ 5_d._
  per day for artificers, is calculated to
  amount to                                           6,578   4  7
                                                   £.14,362  12  7

  Deduct allowances made, and articles supplied,
  by the Board of Ordnance                            1,498  14 10-1/2
  Total Estimate of the value of the labour of
  Convicts in 1797                                 £.12,863  17  8-1/2

Upon this last statement the Select Committee on Finance (whose
various elaborate Reports on the State of the Nation, do them immortal
honour as Patriots and Legislators) very justly observe, that it is
extremely difficult to calculate the value of labour, performed under
such circumstances, with any degree of accuracy; and after several
views of the subject a conclusion is drawn, that the net expence to
the Public, for the maintenance of 1402 convicts in 1797, after
deducting the estimated value of labour, amounted to 20,878_l._ 14_s._
10-1/2_d._ being at the rate of 14_l._ 17_s._ 9-1/2_d._ per man.

It appears, however, that out of the whole number of 1402 maintained
in 1797, only 1030 were actually employed. The labour of the remaining
370 was, therefore, in a great measure, lost to the Community.

At any rate, the value of this species of labour must be precarious,
and the advantages resulting from it problematical.

Since the mere "possession of so many idle hands will sometimes be a
temptation to engage in works, which but for this inducement, would
not recommend themselves by their intrinsic utility."[146]

[Footnote 146: See 28th Report of Finance Committee, page 17.]

While it is admitted, that considerable improvements have been made
with regard to the reduction of the expence; that provision has also
been made for religious and moral instruction, by established
salaries to chaplains;--and that the contractors have honourably
performed their part of the undertaking; it is much to be lamented,
that this experiment has not been attended with more beneficial
consequences to the Public; not only in rendering the labour of the
convicts productive in a greater degree, so as at least to be equal to
the expence; but also in amending the morals of these miserable
out-casts; so that on their return to Society, they might, in some
respect, atone for the errors of their former lives, by a course of
honest industry, useful to themselves and to their country. On the
contrary, experience has shewn, that although an expence exceeding
623,000_l._ has been incurred by Government in the course of 22 years,
most of them, instead of profitting by the punishment they have
suffered (forgetting they were under sentence of death, and undismayed
by the dangers they have escaped) immediately rush into the same
course of depredation and warfare upon the public: nay, so hardened
and determined in this respect have some of them been, as even to make
proposals to their old friends, the Receivers, previous to the period
of their discharge, to purchase their newly acquired plunder. It has
already been shewn, that those few also, who are less depraved, and
perhaps disposed to amend their conduct, can find no resource for
labour; and are thus, too frequently, compelled, by dire necessity, to
herd with their former associates in iniquity, and it is much to be
feared, that the chief part of the multitudes, who have been
periodically discharged, have either suffered for new offences, or are
actually at present afflicting Society by reiterated depredations.[147]

[Footnote 147: See the Examination of the Author before the Select
Committee of the House of Commons.]

After maturely considering the enormous expence, and the total
inefficacy of the System of the Hulks, aided by the new lights which
have been thrown upon the subject by the important documents called
for by the Select Committee on Finance, it appears clear to
demonstration, that it would be for the interest of the Country to
abandon the present System; and the Author heartily joins in the
opinion expressed by those respectable members of the Legislature,--"_That
our principal places of Confinement, and modes of Punishment, so far
from the Conversion and Reformation of the Criminal, tend to send him
forth at the expiration of the period of his imprisonment more
confirmed in vice; and that the general tendency of our oeconomical
arrangements upon this subject, is ill calculated to meet the
accumulating burdens, which are the infallible result of so much error
in the System of Police_."

Having thus explained the nature and effect of the punishment
inflicted on convicts, through the medium of the Hulks, and also the
expence attending these establishments; it will be necessary in the
next place, to examine the authentic documents, as they relate to the
transportation of Felons to New South Wales.

From the Appendix, page 122, of the 28th Report of the Select
Committee on Finance, printed the 26th of June 1798, it appears that
the number of Convicts sent to New South Wales and Norfolk Island[148]
from the year 1787 to the year 1797 inclusive, stood thus:--

          Men and
           Women.   Children.  TOTAL.
  1787      778        17       795
  1789     1251        22      1273
  1790     2029         9      2038
  1791      408        11       419
  1792      412         6       418
  1794       82         2        84
  1795      133         3       136
  1796      279        13       292
  1797      393        10       403
           ----        --      ----
           5765        93      5858

[Footnote 148: Norfolk Island is a small fertile spot, containing
about 14,000 acres of land, situated about 1200 miles distant from
Sydney Cove in New South Wales, where the seat of Government is

It appears also from another document in the same Report (being the
last return of Convicts in the two Settlements) that their numbers
stood as stated in the following Table,--

                 Convicts  |Convicts  |Convicts   |Total     |Total
                           |Victualled|Emancipated|          |Men
                           |          |           |          |and
                 Men  Women|Men  Women|Men   Women|Men  Women|Women
  In New South }           |          |           |          |
  Wales on the }           |          |           |          |
  31 Aug. 1796 } 1633   755|  78     5|  20      9|1731   769|2500
                           |          |           |          |
  In Norfolk   }           |          |           |          |
  Island on the}           |          |           |          |
  22 Oct. 1796.}  379   167|  53     0|  12      3| 444   170| 614
                 ----   ---| ---     -|  --     --|----   ---|-----
                 2012   922| 131     5|  32     12|2175   939|3114

  To which add the Convicts sent in 1796 and 1797,
  including Children                                           695
                                                       Total  3809

The diminution of Convicts from 5858 to 3809 is to be accounted for,
by a certain proportion leaving the Settlement after the expiration of
their time, and also by deaths,[149] which in the natural course of
things must be expected.

[Footnote 149: In 21 months after the arrival of the first Convicts in
May 1788, there were 77 deaths and 87 births in the whole Settlement.]

In resorting to this mode of disposing of Convicts, which at the time
must be considered as a choice of difficulties, a very large sum of
money has been expended.--Certainly much more than could have been
foreseen at the commencement: Since it appears from the 28th Report of
the Select Committee on Finance, who certainly have bestowed infinite
pains in the investigation, that the total amount exceeds _One Million
Sterling_, as will be seen from the following Statement, extracted
from page 120 of that 28th Report, viz:

  Disbursed for 5858 Convicts including 93 Children, transported
  to New South Wales

                                               £.   _s._ _d._
  In 1786                                    28,346   3    6
  -- 1787                                    29,242  11   10-1/2
  -- 1788                                    18,008   9    2
  -- 1789                                    88,057  18    2
  -- 1790                                    44,774   4    6-1/4
  -- 1791                                   129,019  19   10-3/4
  -- 1792                                   104,588   2    3-3/4
  -- 1793                                    69,961  16    6-1/2
  -- 1794                                    79,381  13   11-1/2
  -- 1795                                    75,280  19    0-3/4
  -- 1796                                    83,854  18    0
  -- 1797                                   120,372   4    8-3/4
  To which add the total Naval Expences     166,341   4   11
            Total Expences in 12 Years  £.1,037,230   6    7-3/4

Specification of the heads of Expences above stated--

  Expences of the first Establishment of the
  Settlement and Transportation of Convicts         264,433  11  0

  Expences of Victualing Convicts and the
  Settlement from hence                             186,270   1  3-1/4

  Expences of Cloathing, Tools, and Sundry
  Articles                                          116,658  15  3

  Bills drawn for the purchase of Provisions,
  &c. for the use of the Colony                     138,225   9  8-3/4

  Expence of the Civil Establishment                 48,134   0  2-1/4

  Expence of the Military Establishment              94,993  11  3

  Expence of the Marine Establishment                22,173  13  0-1/2

  Naval Expences as above                           166,341   4 11
                                         Total  £.1,037,230   6  7-3/4

Thus it appears, that in executing the sentence of the Law on 5765
Convicts more than One Million Sterling has been expended, nearly
equal to 180_l._ for each Convict, exclusive of the expence incurred
by the Counties, and by Government in the maintenance at home; and
without taking into the account the very considerable charge, which
must have been borne by the private Prosecutors in bringing these
Offenders to Justice.

The Select Committee in their laborious investigation of the effects
of this System, very justly observe, "that the numbers of the Convicts
do not appear to have kept pace with the increase of the
expence."--They proceed to state (page 27 of the Report) "that after a
trial of twelve years, it seems not too early to inquire whether the
peculiar advantages likely to arise from this plan are such as may be
considered as compensating for its probable expence. The security held
out by the difficulty of return on the part of the convicts is the
only advantage that strikes the eye: but the nature of this advantage,
the amount of it, and the certainty of it, seem not altogether
undeserving of inquiry; nor whether a security of the same sort more
at command, and more to be depended on, might not be purchased on less
exceptionable terms. It may be also worthy of inquiry (add the
Committee) whether the advantages looked for, from this establishment
may not be dependent on its weakness? and whether as it grows less
disadvantageous in point of finance, it will not be apt to grow less
advantageous in the character of an instrument of Police? The more
thriving the Settlement the more frequented: The more frequented the
less difficulty of return.--The more thriving too the less terrible.
To persons in some circumstances;--to persons who otherwise would have
been disposed to emigrate, it may loose [Transcriber's Note: lose] its
terrors altogether, especially if by money or other means the
servitude be avoidable. This inconvenience had already become sensible
in the instance of the comparatively old planted Colonies. Many,
though innocent, went thither voluntarily, even at the price of
servitude, while others under the notion of punishment, were sent
thither for their crimes; so that while to some the emigration remains
a punishment, to others it may become an adventure; but a punishment
should be the same thing to all persons, and at all times."

Contingencies, the Committee remark, may diminish the utility of the
Establishment, or may increase the expence. "Bad seasons, and the
destruction of the vegetable part of the stock of food: Mortality
among the as yet scanty stock of cattle.[150] Mischief from the
natives,--from insurrection among the convicts, or from the enemy.

[Footnote 150: An account of the Live Stock in the possession of, and
Land in cultivation by, Government, and the Officers civil and
military, 1st September 1796, extracted from page 123, of the above
Report of the Select Committee on Finance.

                                      Civil and
                         Government.  Officers.  Settlers.  Total.

  Mares and Horses           14          43         0          57
  Cows and Cow Calves        67          34         0         101
  Bulls and Bull Calves      37          37         0          74
  Oxen                       46           6         0          52
  Sheep                     191        1310        30        1531
  Goats                     111        1176       140        1427
  Hogs                       59         889       921        1869
                           ----        ----      ----        ----
                            525        3495      1091        5111[G]
                           ----        ----      ----        ----

[Footnote G: In addition to the above Stock 61 head of Cattle were
discovered in the year 1795, about 50 miles S.W. of the town of
Sydney, which must have been produced from three Cows which strayed
from the Settlement in 1788. This proves that at least one of the Cows
at the time must have been big with a Bull Calf, and also gives the
data for calculating the rate of the increase.]

  Land in cultivation, viz:--      Acres.

  Government                       1700
  Civil and Military Officers      1172
  Settlers                         2547

The above 1700 acres were unemployed in 1796, on account of the want
of public labourers, and the many buildings required--about 4-5th
parts of the 1172 acres were sown with wheat--much timber cut, but not
burnt off, on the 2547 acres belonging to the settlers.]

"Here, as at Sierra Leone, malice may produce an expedition of
devastation. The illusions to which the spirit of rapine is so much
exposed may give birth to an enterprize of depredation; apprehensions
of any such event entertained here would necessarily give birth to
preparations of defence. The apprehensions may be well or ill
grounded--the measures taken for defence successful or unsuccessful;
but the expence in the mean time is incurred. The distance is
unexampled, and all danger as well as all expence swells in proportion
to the distance: these topics appear to merit consideration.

"Another circumstance is, that the labour of the whole number of
persons sent to these colonies, whether as Convicts or Settlers, _is
entirely lost to the Country_, nor can any return, to compensate such
a loss, be expected till that very distant day, when the improved
state of the Colony may, by possibility, begin to repay a part of the
advance, by the benefits of its trade.

"Supposing abundance established, and remaining for ever without
disturbance, it may be deserving of consideration, in what shape and
in what degree, and with what degree of assurance, Government, in
point of Finance, is likely to profit by the abundance: for the stock
of the individuals, which each individual will consume, lay up or
sell, is on his own account; is not the Stock of Government. The
saving to Government depends upon the probity and zeal, and
intelligence of the Bailiffs in Husbandry, acting without personal
interest in the concern at that immense distance."

After opinions so decided, the result of an inquiry, aided by
extensive information, and conducted by men of talents and judgment,
it would ill become the Author of this Work to offer (if he could
suggest,) additional arguments to prove the disadvantages which have
attended, and which are likely to attend the transportation of
Convicts to New South Wales. Although with regard to mere
_subsistence_, there may be a prospect (and it is yet a distant one),
of the Colony becoming independent of supplies from this Country; yet
with respect to most other articles its wants will experience no
diminution, and having once engaged in the project, humanity requires
that the Settlement should be supplied at the expence of the Nation.

When the measure of establishing this Colony was adopted, a hope was
probably entertained that while the great difficulty and expence of
the passage home, joined to the fertility of the soil and the
salubrity of the climate, might induce convicts to remain after the
expiration of the period specified in their sentence, so as not to
become offensive again to their native Country; the removal to an
unknown region, inhabited by Savages, and situated at such a remote
distance from Great Britain would exhibit this species of punishment
in so terrific a light as to operate powerfully in preventing crimes.

Experience, however, has shewn that this salutary effect has not been
produced, and that crimes are not to be diminished by the dread of
punishment in any shape. This great desideratum is only to be attained
by a well-regulated Police, calculated to destroy the sources from
whence evil propensities spring, and to remove the facilities by which
criminality is nourished and assisted.

Under the present circumstances, where the mind continues depraved,
and where the harvest is so prolific, it ceases to be a matter of
wonder that a considerable proportion of the convicts transported to
New South Wales, have found their way back to their native
Country;--and that not a few of them have again afflicted Society by
renewing their depredations on the Public.--It is, indeed, lamentable
to reflect, that after the extreme labour which has been bestowed, and
the unparalleled expence which has been incurred, no effect whatsoever
favourable to the interest of the Community, or to the security of
innocence, has been produced. Looking back to the period when
Government was relieved of the expence of Convicts, almost of every
description under sentence of Transportation, and reflecting on the
enormous expence which has been incurred since the channel of
disposal, through the medium of the late American Colonies, has been
shut up; considering that within the short period of twenty-five years
no less a sum than 1,663,974_l._[151] has been expended in
transporting and maintaining about 15,000 Convicts, which would have
cost nothing under the old System;--it cannot be sufficiently
lamented, that so liberal a provision had not been employed in
establishing Systems of Prevention. One fourth part of this enormous
sum expended in a proper establishment of Preventive Police, would
probably have rendered transportation and punishment in a
considerable degree unnecessary, while the Country would have
benefitted by the industry of a large proportion of these outcasts,
who would then have been compelled to earn an honest livelihood by
their labour.

[Footnote 151:

  Expence of maintaining about 9000 Convicts in
  the Hulks, from January 1, 1795, to January 1,
  1798                                                    £.  623,022

  Expence of Transporting Convicts in 1785 and 1786             3,722

  Expence of Transporting and Maintaining Convicts
  from 1786 to 1797, New South Wales                        1,037,230
                                                   Total  £.1,663,974]

Deploring the mass of turpitude which has drawn from the resources of
the Country so enormous a portion of wealth, it is no little
consolation to be able to look forward to a measure recommended by the
Select Committee, and in the train of being adopted by Government,
which holds out so fair a prospect not only of gradually diminishing
this expence in future, but also of rendering the labour of Convicts
productive, and of securing the Public against the repetition of those
depredations which have been rather increased than prevented, by the
System of punishments which have been heretofore adopted.

The advantages in contemplation are to be attained by carrying into
effect a _proposal for a new and less expensive mode of employing and
reforming Convicts_, which has been offered to the consideration of
Government by JEREMY BENTHAM, Esq. and which appears to have been
fully investigated by the Finance Committee, who state it (p. 20, of
Report 28,) "to be no small recommendation to the plan, that the
Contractor proposes to employ the prisoners on his own account,
receiving a proportionally smaller sum from the Public for their
maintenance.--That the great and important advantages which
distinguish that plan from any other which has been hitherto
suggested, consist in the certain employment and industrious
livelihood which it insures to those whose terms of confinement are
expired. In the responsibility which the Contractor proposes to take
upon himself, for the future good behaviour of Criminals entrusted to
his care, even when they shall be no longer under his control: in the
publicity which is meant to be given to the whole conduct and effect
of the Establishment, _moral_, _medical_, and _oeconomical_, as well
by an annual report of the state and proceedings, as by the constant
facility of inspection, which will in an unusual manner be afforded by
the very form and construction of the building, upon which the prompt
and easy exercise of the superintending power of the Governor himself
principally depends."

These advantages appear to the Committee of more importance, when the
periods of the enlargement of the several Convicts now on board the
Hulks are taken into consideration. The pernicious effects produced
upon the unfortunate persons confined in these seminaries of vice; and
the circumstance of 1411 destined to be enlarged in the course of 7
years, to afflict the Society from which they have been separated--the
Committee consider as deserving of very serious consideration: and
they conclude their view of the subject by expressing, an uncommon
degree of solicitude, that no delay should take place in the execution
of the contract with Mr. Bentham, "because it would deprive the Public
for a longer time of the benefits of a plan, which they cannot but
look to as likely to be productive of the most essential advantage,
both in point of oeconomy and Police."

The object in view is by the aid of ingenious machinery, to render the
labour of every class of Convicts so productive to the Contractor, as
to admit of their being maintained at 25 per cent. less than the
expence incurred on board the Hulks; while a rational prospect is held
out of reforming these Convicts and returning them upon Society, not
only with purer morals, but with the knowledge of some trade or
occupation by which they may afterwards earn their bread;--but this is
not all.--The proposer of this important design insures to the
Convicts, after the expiration of their time, the means of obtaining a
_livelihood_; by setting up a _Subsidiary Establishment_, into which
all who found themselves otherwise destitute of employment would be
admitted, and where they would be continued in the exercise of the
trades in which they were employed during their confinement.

It is, however, impossible to do justice to the merit of this
_Proposal_, without laying it wholly before the Public. It seems to
embrace every object calculated to remove the errors and difficulties
of the present System, while it promises in a short time to relieve
the Finances of the Country from the enormous and unparalleled expence
which is incurred by the Establishment of the Hulks, and by
Transportation to New South Wales.

       *       *       *       *       *




The Author, having turned his thoughts to the Penitentiary System from
its first origin, and having lately contrived a Building in which any
number of persons may be kept within the reach of being inspected
during every moment of their lives, and having made out, as he
flatters himself, to demonstration, that the only eligible mode of
managing an Establishment of such a nature, in a Building of such a
construction, would be by _Contract_, has been induced to make public
the following Proposal for Maintaining and Employing Convicts in
general, or such of them as would otherwise be confined on board the
Hulks, for 25 per cent. less than it costs Government to maintain them
there at present; deducting also the average value of the work at
present performed by them for the Public: upon the terms of his
receiving the produce of their labour, _taking on himself the whole
expence of the_ BUILDING, _fitting up and stocking_,[152] without any
advance to be made by Government for that purpose, requiring only that
the abatement and deduction above-mentioned shall be suspended for the
first year.

[Footnote 152: All these articles taken into the account, the
originally-intended Penitentiary Houses on the late Mr. Blackburne's
plan, would not have cost so little as £.200 per man:--for 1000
Prisoners, £.200,000: exclusive of the whole _annual_ expence of
maintenance, &c. to an unliquidated amount.]

Upon the above-mentioned Terms, he would engage as follows:

     I. To furnish the Prisoners with a constant supply of
     wholesome _Food_, not limited in quantity, but adequate to
     each man's desires.

     II. To keep them _clad_ in a state of tightness and
     neatness, superior to what is usual even in the Improved

     III. To keep them supplied with _separate Beds_ and Bedding,
     competent to their situations, and in a state of cleanliness
     scarcely any where conjoined with liberty.

     IV. To insure to them a sufficient supply of artificial
     _warmth_ and _light_, whenever the season renders it
     necessary: and thereby save the necessity of taking them
     prematurely from their work, at such seasons (as in other
     places) as well as preserve them from suffering by the
     inclemency of the weather.

     V. To keep constantly from them, in conformity to the
     practice so happily received, every kind of _strong_ and
     spirituous liquor; unless where ordered in the way of

     VI. To maintain them in a state of inviolable, though
     mitigated seclusion, in _assorted_ companies, without any of
     those opportunities of promiscuous association, which in
     other places, disturb, if not destroy, whatever good effect
     can have been expected from occasional solitude.

     VII. To give them an interest in their work, by allowing
     them a share in the produce.

     VIII. To convert the prison into a _school_, and, by an
     extended application of the principle of _the Sunday
     Schools_, to return its inhabitants into the world
     instructed, at least as well as in ordinary schools, in the
     most useful branches of vulgar learning, as well as in some
     trade or occupation, whereby they may afterwards earn their
     livelihood. Extraordinary culture of extraordinary talents
     is not, in this point of view, worth mentioning: it would be
     for his own advantage to give them every instruction by
     which the value of their labour may be increased.

     IX. To pay a penal sum for every _escape_, with or without
     any default of his, irresistible violence from without
     excepted; and this without employing _irons_ on any
     occasion, or in any shape.

     X. To provide them with _spiritual_ and _medical_
     Assistants, constantly living in the midst of them, and
     incessantly keeping them in view.

     XI. To pay a sum of money for every one who _dies_ under his
     care, taking thereby upon him the insurance of their lives
     for an ordinary premium: and that at a rate grounded on an
     average of the number of deaths, not among imprisoned
     Felons, but among persons of the same ages in a state of
     liberty within the Bills of Mortality.

     XII. To lay for them the foundation-stone of a _provision
     for old age_, upon the plan of the _Annuity Societies_.

     XIII. To insure to them a _livelihood_, at the expiration of
     their terms, by setting up a _Subsidiary Establishment_,
     into which all such as thought proper, should be admitted,
     and in which they would be continued in the exercise of the
     trades in which they were employed during their confinement,
     without any further expence to Government.

     XIV. To make himself personally responsible for the
     reformatory efficacy of his management, and even make
     amends, in most instances, for any accident of its failure,
     by paying a sum of money for every Prisoner convicted of a
     Felony after his discharge, at a rate, increasing according
     to the number of years he had been under the Proposer's
     care, viz. a sum not exceeding 10_l._ if the Prisoner had
     been in the Penitentiary Panopticon _one_ year: not
     exceeding 15_l._ if _two_ years; not exceeding 20_l._ if
     _three_ years; not exceeding 25_l._ if _four_ years; not
     exceeding 30_l._ if _five_ years or upwards: such sum to be
     paid immediately on conviction, and to be applied to the
     indemnification of the persons injured by such subsequent
     offence, and to be equal in amount to the value of the
     injury, so long as it did not exceed the sums respectively
     above specified.

     XV. To present to the Court of King's Bench, on a certain
     day of every Term, and afterwards print and publish, at his
     own expence, a Report, exhibiting, in detail, the state,
     not only moral and medical, but economical, of the
     Establishment; showing the whole profits, if any, and in
     what manner they arise; and then and there, as well as on
     any other day, upon summons from the Court, to make answer
     to all such questions as shall be put to him in relation
     thereto, not only on the part of the Court or Officer of the
     Crown, but, by leave of the Court, on the part of any person
     whatsoever; questions, the answer to which might tend to
     subject him to conviction, though it were for a capital
     crime, not excepted: treading under foot a maxim, invented
     by the guilty for the benefit of the guilty, and from which
     none but the guilty ever derived any advantage.

     XVI. By neatness and cleanliness, by diversity of
     employment, by variety of contrivance, and above all, by
     that peculiarity of construction, which, without any
     unpleasant or hazardous vicinity, enables the whole
     Establishment to be inspected at a view, from a commodious
     and insulated room in the centre, the Prisoners remaining
     unconscious of their being thus observed, it should be his
     study to render it a spectacle such as persons of all
     classes would, in the way of amusement, be curious to
     partake of: and that, not only on Sundays, at the time of
     Divine Service, but on ordinary days, at meal-times, or
     times of work: providing thereby a _system of
     superintendance, universal, unchargeable and uninterrupted_,
     the most effectual and _indestructible_ of all securities
     against abuse.

Such are the methods that have occurred to him for accomplishing that
identification of "_interest with duty_," the effectuating of which,
in the person of the Governour, is declared to be one of the leading
objects of the Penitentiary Act.--[19 GEO. III. ch. 74.]

The station of Gaoler is not in common account a very elevated one:
the addition of Contractor has not much tendency to raise it. He
little dreamt, when he first launched into the subject, that he was to
become a suitor, and perhaps in vain, for such an office. But
inventions unpractised might be in want of the inventor: and a
situation, thus clipped of emoluments, while it was loaded with
obligations, might be in want of candidates. Penetrated, therefore,
with the importance of the end, he would not suffer himself to see any
thing unpleasant or discreditable in the means.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Outline of the Plan of Construction alluded to in the above

The Building _circular_--about the size of _Ranelagh_--The Prisoners
in their Cells, occupying the Circumference--The Officers, (Governor,
Chaplain, Surgeon, &c.) the Centre.

By _Blinds_, and other contrivances, the Inspectors concealed (except
in as far as they think fit to show themselves) from the observation
of the Prisoners: hence the sentiment of a sort of invisible
omnipresence.--The whole circuit reviewable with little, or, if
necessary, without any change of place.

_One_ Station in the Inspection-Part affording the most perfect view
of every Cell, and every part of every Cell, unless where a screen is
thought fit occasionally and purposely to be interposed.

     Against _Fire_ (if, under a system of constant and universal
     inspection, any such accident could be to be apprehended,) a
     pipe, terminating in a flexible hose, for bringing the water
     down into the central Inspection-Room, from a cistern, of a
     height sufficient to force it up again by its own pressure,
     on the mere turning of a cock, and spread it thus over any
     part within the Building.

For _Visitors_, at the time of Divine service, an _Annular Gallery_,
rising from a floor laid immediately on the cieling of the Central
Inspection-Room, and disclosed to view, by the descent of a central
_Dome_, the superior surface of which serves, after descent, for the
reception of Ministers, Clerk, and a select part of the Auditory: the
Prisoners all round, brought forward, within perfect view and hearing
of the Ministers, to the front of their respective Cells.

_Solitude_, or _limited Seclusion_, _ad libitum_.--But, unless for
punishment, limited seclusion in assorted companies is preferred: an
arrangement, upon this plan alone, exempt from danger. The degree of
_Seclusion_ fixed upon may be preserved, in all places, and at all
times, _inviolate_. Hitherto, where solitude has been aimed at, some
of its chief purposes have been frustrated by occasional associations.

     The _Approach_, _one_ only--_Gates_ opening into a walled
     _avenue_ cut through the area. Hence, no strangers near the
     building without _leave_, nor without being _surveyed_ from
     it as they pass, nor without being known to come _on
     purpose_. The gates, of _open_ work, to _expose hostile_
     mobs: On the other side of the road, a wall with a branch of
     the road behind, to _shelter peaceable_ passengers from the
     fire of the building. A mode of fortification like this, if
     practicable, in a city, would have saved the _London
     Prisons_, and prevented the unpopular accidents in _St.
     George's Fields_.

     The _surrounding Wall_, itself surrounded by an open
     palisade, which serves as a fence to the grounds on the
     other side.--Except on the side of the Approach _no public
     path_ by that fence.--A _Centinel's Walk_ between; on which
     no one else can set foot, without forcing the fence, and
     declaring himself a trespasser at least, if not an enemy. To
     the four walls, four such walks _flanking_ and _crossing_
     each other at the ends.--Thus each Centinel has two to check

In contemplating the whole of this important design, it is impossible
to avoid congratulating the Public on the prospect which now opens by
a recent vote of Parliament,[153] for the purpose of carrying it
speedily into effect.

[Footnote 153: At the close of the Session in June 1798, the House of
Commons voted 36000_l._ to Mr. Bentham, toward the expence of carrying
his plan into execution. See the Appropriation Act, 39 Geo. III. c.

It comprizes in its structure every thing humanity can dictate, or
which a mind full of resource, and a judgment matured by great depth
of thought could suggest, for the purpose of relieving Society from a
dreadful and oppressive evil.

It is even to extend comforts to offenders in the course of
punishment; and they are to be returned to Society after the period
expires, not as at present, polluted and depraved beyond what the
human mind can conceive; but impressed with the force of religious and
moral instructions, with an abhorrence of their former course of life,
and with a resource for obtaining an honest livelihood by the trade or
occupation which they were taught during their confinement.--And if
employment should fail, when at liberty to make their own election, an
asylum is provided, into which they will be admitted, and where they
may continue to exercise the trades in which they were employed during
their confinement, with certain advantages to themselves.

These Convicts are, moreover, while in confinement, to have an
interest in the work they perform, by being allowed a share of the
produce, which may be either partly or wholly applied in laying the
foundation-stone of a provision for old age, upon the plan of the
Annuity Societies, which is to form one of the oeconomical
arrangements of this excellent Establishment.

Among many other advantages calculated to improve the morals of
delinquents, and to render them useful to Society, it will possess,
after a certain period, the singular faculty of extending to the
Public these incalculable benefits, _perhaps without any expence
whatsoever_; since it may be reasonably expected, that by training
both Sexes to productive labour, extended and rendered valuable by the
proposed introduction of ingenious machinery, it will hereafter become
an object of advantage to new Contractors, (after the System is fully
matured, and the profits arising from it clearly ascertained), to take
upon them the conduct of the design, without stipulating for any
annuity or assistance whatsoever from Government. Nay, the certainty
of this profit, and its magnitude arising from labour alone, may,
perhaps, ultimately even create a competition of Contractors, who,
instead of _receiving_, will be induced to _offer_ a premium to
Government for the appointment to the situation; the value of which
will be evidenced by the increasing annual profits.

It is, indeed, highly probable, that as the Institution advances to
maturity, under a plan so admirably adapted to render labour
productive in the greatest possible degree; in the same manner will
the profits gradually increase year after year until they shall be
rendered obvious and certain, and not as at present depending on
speculative opinions.

The proposed annual report to the Court of King's Bench, through which
medium the progressive profits will be generally promulgated, will
create notoriety, and excite attention; and it is by no means
improbable, that when the contract becomes open, by the decease of
the two Gentlemen to whom the Public are to be indebted for this
invention, that it will acquire _a precise value_, like any other
saleable commodity.

This was exemplified in the instance of Convicts sent to America,
which for a great length of time cost Government a large sum annually,
until a discovery of the profits, arising from the disposal of the
services of Felons, created a competition, which eased the Public of
every expence whatsoever on account of their Transportation.

But these are not the only advantages which the Country will derive
from this new Penitentiary System. Its success will rapidly change the
oeconomy of the many unproductive Houses of Correction, which have
been erected at an enormous expence to the different Counties, under
the Act of the 16th of Geo. III. cap. 43. Those in the management of
these respective Establishments will gladly follow an example which
mingles in so great a degree--_humanity with reform and profit_,
thereby holding out a prospect both of diminishing crimes, and
reducing the County Rates, now estimated by the Finance Committee at
_fifty thousand pounds a year_ for prisons, and criminal Police alone.

Such are some of the benefits which may be reasonably expected to
arise from the proposed Penitentiary System. If they shall be realized
to the extent which is contemplated, so as to render transportation,
as well as the Hulks, unnecessary, the pecuniary saving to Government
in twenty years will be immense. This may be ascertained by referring
to a preceding page, where the disbursements in the criminal
department are inserted, which have taken place since the commencement
of the American war, which rendered a new System necessary. If to this
sum is added the expences incurred by the Counties, it will probably
be found to have exceeded _Two millions sterling in all_.

But still further advantages may be contemplated in addition to those
of a pecuniary nature.--By retaining delinquents in the Country, and
rendering their labour profitable to the State, a new source of wealth
is opened which never existed at any former period, since the labour
of convicts transported, whether to America or New South Wales, has
been totally unproductive to the Country.

The success of such a design, once clearly manifested, would give a
new and favourable turn to the System of Punishments. Labour would be
exacted in almost every case, not more for the benefit of the State
than the advantage of the Prisoner, since labour and reform generally
go hand in hand.--Without the aid of labour, it is in vain to expect
an improvement in the morals or habits of delinquents--without an
asylum to which discharged prisoners can resort for employment, their
punishment produces no advantage. On the contrary, the vices of a
Gaol send them forth more hardened in iniquity, and greater adepts in
the trade of thieving than before.

Nothing, therefore, can be more hostile to the diminution of crimes
than the present mode of punishment for small offences, by a short
imprisonment, without being employed in useful and productive labour.

Under this defective System the different Gaols in the Metropolis and
the Kingdom, are periodically vomiting forth hordes of Minor
Delinquents, who serve as recruits to the more desperate gangs, and
remain in a course of turpitude until cut off by the commission of
higher offences. Some exceptions, doubtless, there are; but while the
resource for honest labour is so effectually shut out, many who have
totally lost character, and are without friends, seem to have no other

To all who may be confined in the proposed Penitentiary Establishment,
this difficulty will be removed.--A difficulty in the present state of
things, the magnitude of which cannot be estimated, since it generates
most of those evils to which are to be attributed the extensive
corruption of morals, and the increase and multiplication of crimes.

Upon the whole, it would be expedient to give full effect to the new
Penitentiary System as soon as possible; which, to use the language of
the Select Committee, (p. 30.) "seems to bid fairer than any other
that was ever yet offered to the Public, to diminish the Public
expenditure in this branch, and to produce a salutary reform in the
objects of the proposed institution."

At the same time for the purpose of rendering the System of
Punishments useful in the greatest possible degree to the Community,
and that they may operate, in the fullest extent, as an example,
tending to the prevention of crimes, it would seem that the following
general principles should be adopted.

     1st. That examples of punishment by death, (except, perhaps,
     in cases of Murder), should only take place twice a year:
     and that the impression upon the Public mind may be stronger
     from the less frequency of such painful exhibitions, they
     ought on all occasions to be conducted with a degree of
     solemnity suited to the object in the view of the
     Legislature, when the life of a fellow-creature is
     sacrificed, that it may really prove useful in deterring
     others; and not be contemplated with indifference, as is too
     often the case at present, without making the least
     impression, or being in any degree beneficial to the great
     ends of Public justice.

     2d. That the System of the Hulks should be at once wholly
     abandoned, as a source of great expence, producing in the
     result infinitely more evil than good, and thereby
     exhausting the Finances of the Country without any one
     beneficial consequence.

     3d. That Transportation to New South Wales and Norfolk
     Island, should be limited to a few of the most depraved,
     incorrigible, and irreclaimable Convicts, whose vicious and
     ungovernable conduct, while under the discipline of a
     Penitentiary House, rendered their reform hopeless.--That
     shipments should only take place once in three years, and
     that the Civil and Military Establishment of the Colony
     should be gradually reduced, so as to bring the National
     Expenditure on this branch of Police within moderate bounds.

     4th. That every thing should be done to accelerate the
     erection of National Penitentiary Houses.--That their
     capacity, including appendages, should be equal to the
     accommodation of 3,500 Convicts of all descriptions, so as
     to admit of different degrees of treatment and labour,
     according to the _age, sex, and state of health of the

     5th. That the local Penitentiary Houses in the different
     Counties, destined for the Punishment of persons convicted
     of Larcenies, and other minor offences, should be conducted,
     as nearly as possible, upon the plan of the National
     Establishments; and also by contract, under circumstances
     where the labour of the Convicts may, by the resources of
     the Contractor, be rendered (without hardship) equal, or
     nearly equal, to the expence; a measure conceived to be
     almost, in every instance, practicable, where knowledge of
     business, stimulated by interest, shall form an ingredient
     in the executive management.

     6th. That there should be attached to each County
     Penitentiary House, a Subsidiary Establishment, into which
     all discharged prisoners should be admitted who choose it,
     and where they might be continued in the exercise of the
     trades in which they were employed during their confinement,
     and for which they should receive wages in proportion to
     their earnings, until they could otherwise find a settled
     employment through an honest medium: thus giving those who
     are desirous of reforming an opportunity of sheltering
     themselves from the dangers of relapse, which arise from
     being afloat upon the Public--idle, and without the means of

In carrying the Penitentiary System into effect, it ought not to
escape notice, that the hardship imposed on Convicts, with respect to
manual labour, would be no more than every honest artisan who works
industriously for his family, must, during the whole course of his
life, impose upon himself. The condition of a Convict would, even in
some respects, be superior, inasmuch as he would enjoy medical
assistance, and other advantages tending to the preservation of
health, which do not attach to the lower classes of the people, whose
irregularities not being restrained, while their pursuits and labours
are seldom directed by good judgment and intelligence, often produce
bad health, and extreme indigence and distress.

The difficulty which has heretofore been experienced with respect to
productive labour in the Provincial Houses of Correction will vanish,
when the System shall be exemplified in the National Penitentiary
Establishment. To conduct a Plan of this nature with advantage to the
Public and to the individual, an assemblage of _qualities_,
_dispositions_, and _endowments_, which rarely meet in one man, will
be necessary--namely, _education, habits of business, a knowledge of
the common affairs of life--an active and discriminating
mind--indefatigable industry--the purest morals, and a philanthropic
disposition, totally divested of those hurtful propensities which lead
to idle amusements_.

Such men are to be found, and would come forward, as Contractors, with
ample security as often as opportunities offered, after the System
became matured. It is only by the uncontrolled energy of talents,
where duty and interest go hand in hand, that labour is to be obtained
from Convicts.--No fluctuating management, nor any superintendance
whatsoever, where a spring is not given to exertion by motives of
interest, can perfect any Penitentiary design; or, indeed, any design
where profit is to be derived from labour. Hence the ill success of
almost all the well meant establishments with respect to the Poor,
and to most of the local Penitentiary Houses. In some instances a few
establishments at first hold out prospects of success; but at length
they dwindle and decay, and in the result they have mostly all been
unprofitable. The death or removal of an active or philanthropic
Magistrate produces a languor, which terminates often in the ruin or
the abandonment of the design.

The National Penitentiary System is guarded against this contingency;
and until the local Establishments can enjoy equal advantages, success
in any degree is scarcely to be expected, and _permanent success_ is
altogether hopeless.

The object to be attained is of great magnitude.--Let an appeal be,
therefore, made to the good sense of the country, and to the feelings
of humanity in behalf of an unfortunate and noxious class of
individuals. Let the effects of the present System be candidly
examined, in opposition to the benefits which may result from that
which is proposed, and let the decision be speedy, that Society may no
longer be tormented by the evils which arise from this branch of the
Police of the country.

The suggestions which are thus hazarded on the subject of punishments,
are by no means the refinements of speculation doubtful and uncertain
in their issue.

The System accords either with what has been already enacted by the
Legislature or recommended by the Finance Committee. And the whole
has been admitted to be practicable under an able and permanent
superintendence. A hope may, therefore, be indulged, that where the
interest of Society and the cause of Humanity is so deeply concerned,
a design which holds out so many advantages, will experience that
general support which it unquestionably merits; since its object is
not only to reclaim the Out-casts of the present generation, but also
to rescue thousands yet unborn from misery and destruction.


     _The Police of the Metropolis examined--Its organization
     explained, with regard to that branch which relates to the
     prevention and suppression of Crimes.--The utility of the
     new System, established in 1792, examined and
     explained.--Reasons assigned why this System has not tended,
     in a greater degree, to the suppression and prevention of
     atrocious Crimes--Its great deficiency from the want of
     funds, by which Magistrates are crippled in their exertions,
     with regard to the detection and punishment of
     Offenders.--Reasons in favour of a New System.--The Police
     of the City of London (as now constituted) explained and
     examined.--Suggestions relative to established Justices, and
     the benefits likely to result from their exertions in
     assisting the City Magistrates: from whose other engagements
     and pursuits, that close and laborious attention cannot be
     expected which the Public interest requires.--The
     Magistrates of London the most respectable, perhaps, in the
     world.--The vast labour and weight of duty attached to the
     chief Magistrate.--The Aldermen have certain duties assigned
     them, which ought not, in justice to be augmented, as they
     act gratuitously.--The benefits which result to the
     Community from established Police Magistrates, considered in
     different points of view; and exemplified in the advantages
     which have arisen from the System under the Act of
     1792.--General Reflections on the advantages which would
     arise from the various remedies which have been proposed in
     the course of this Work.--These benefits, however, only of a
     partial nature, inadequate to the object of complete
     protection, for want of a centre-point and superintending
     Establishment, under the controul of the first Minister of
     Police.--Reasons assigned in favour of such a System.--The
     advantages that would result from its adoption.--The ideas
     of enlightened Foreigners on the Police of the Metropolis
     explained.--Reflections suggested by those
     ideas.--Observations on the Police of Paris previous to the
     Revolution in France: elucidated by Anecdotes of the Emperor
     Joseph the Second and Mons. de Sartine.--The danger of an
     inundation of Foreign Sharpers and Villains on the return of
     Peace.--The situation of Europe requires, and the necessity
     of a well-regulated Police points out the utility of, a
     Central Board of Commissioners for Managing the
     Police.--This measure recommended by the Select Committee of
     Finance, since the publication of the last Edition of this

Having in the preceding Chapters endeavoured to bring under the review
of the Reader, not only those prominent causes which have occasioned
that great increase of Public Wrongs, which every good man must
deplore, but also the _various classes of delinquents_ which compose
the melancholy catalogue of human depravity; having also stated such
observations and facts, relative to _detection_, _trials_, and
_punishments_, as seemed to be necessary for the purpose of
elucidating a subject of great importance to be understood; it remains
now to explain and develope the _System_ hitherto established for the
purpose of protecting the Public against those enormities; and from
which is to be expected that energy, and those exertions, which have
been shewn to be so indispensably necessary, for the suppression and
prevention of crimes.

The POLICE _of this great Metropolis_ is undoubtedly a System highly
interesting to be understood, although heretofore (as far as the
Author has had access to know) it has never been, at any period, fully
explained through the medium of the press;--and hence it is, that a
vast proportion of those who reside in the Capital, as well as the
multitude of strangers who resort to it, have no accurate idea of the
principles of organization, which move so complicated a machine.

It has been already stated in a preceding Chapter, that twenty-six
Magistrates, forming that respectable body, comprehending the
Lord-Mayor and Aldermen,[154] sit in rotation every forenoon, at the
Mansion-house, and at Guildhall, and take cognizance of all matters
of Police within the ancient jurisdiction of the City of London; while
twenty-six established Magistrates appointed for every other part of
the Metropolis,[155] including the River Police, having particular
offices or courts of justice assigned them at convenient distances in
Westminster, Middlesex, and Surry, sit every day (Sunday excepted)
both in the morning and evening, for the purpose of executing all the
multifarious duties, connected with the office of a Justice of the
Peace, which unavoidably occur in large societies.[156]

[Footnote 154: The following are the names of the Aldermen at present
in the Magistracy of the City; arranged according to their Seniority.

  1761  Right Hon. Thos. Harley,      Bridge Ward Without
    72  Sir Watkin Lewis, Knt.        Lime-street
    72  Sir William Plomer, Knt.      Bassishaw
    74  Nathaniel Newnham, Esq.       Vintry
    82  John Boydell, Esq.            Cheap
    84  Paul Le Mesurier, Esq.        Dowgate
    84  Brock Watson, Esq.            Cordwainers
    85  Thomas Skinner, Esq.          Queenhithe
    85  William Curtis, Esq.          Tower
    86  William Newnham, Esq.         Farringdon Within
    86  G.M. Macauley, Esq.           Coleman-street
    89  J.W. Andersen, Esq.           Aldersgate-street
    90  Harvey C. Combe, Esq.         Aldgate
    90  Sir Richard Carr Glyn, Knt.   Bishopsgate-street
    93  William Staines, Esq.         Cripplegate
    95  Sir John Eamer, Knt.          Langborne
    96  Sir William Herne, Knt.       Castle-Baynard
    96  Robert Williams, Esq.         Cornhill
    97  Charles Hamerton, Esq.        Bread-street
    98  Charles Price, Esq.           Farringdon Without
    98  Peter Perchard, Esq.          Candlewick
    98  Thomas Cadell, Esq.           Walbrook
    98  George Hibbert, Esq.          Bridge Within
    98  James Shaw, Esq.              Portsoken
    98  John Perring, Esq.            Broad-street
    99  William Leighton, Esq.        Billingsgate

Sir John William Rose, Knt. Recorder of London, a Magistrate, holding
rank above the Aldermen who have not served the office of Lord
Mayor.--He assists at the General and Quarter Sessions of the Peace,
and in the principal affairs of the City; but does not sit in

Richard Clark, Esq. Chamberlain, acting judicially with respect to

Mr. Newman, Clerk to the Lord-Mayor, or Sitting Alderman at the

Mr. Whittle, Clerk to the sitting Alderman at Guildhall.]

[Footnote 155: The following are the Public Offices in the Metropolis;
(exclusive of the City of London;) and the respective Magistrates who
_preside_, and the Clerks who _officiate_ at each.


    Bow-street,      Sir William Addington, Knt. }
    Covent Garden.   Nicholas Bond, Esq.         } _Magistrates_.
                     Richard Ford, Esq.          }
                     Mess. Lavender and Davies, _Clerks_.

    The following seven Public Offices were established by the
    Act 32 Geo. III. cap. 53. and continued for 5 years by 36
    Geo. III. cap. 75.

    Queen's Square,  Cranley Thomas Kerby, Esq. }
    St. Margaret's   Henry James Pye, Esq.      } _Magistrates_.
    Westminster.     Patrick Colquhoun, Esq.    }
                     Mess. Arthur Gliddon and J. Jones, _Clerks_.

    Great Marl-      Nathaniel Conant, Esq.  }
    borough-street,  John Scott, Esq.        } _Magistrates_.
    Oxford Road.     Phillip Neave, Esq.     }
                     Mess. H.P. Butler and J. Thornton, _Clerks_.


    Hatton Garden    William Bleamire, Esq. }
    Holborn.         Aaron Graham, Esq.     } _Magistrates_.
                     Robert Baker, Esq.     }
                     Mess. A. Todd and W. Upton, _Clerks_.

    Worship-street,  John Floud, Esq.      }
    Finsbury-Squ.    William Brodie, Esq.  } _Magistrates_.
                     John Nares, Esq.      }
                     Mess. Chas. Lush and J. Chalmers, _Clerks_.

    Lambeth-street,  Rice Davies, Esq.      }
    Whitechapel.     Henry Reynett, D.D.    } _Magistrates_.
                     Daniel Williams, Esq.  }
                     Mess. John Smith and J. Bailey, _Clerks_.

    High-street,     George Storie, Esq. }
    Shadwell.        John Staples, Esq.  } _Magistrates_.
                     Rupert Clarke, Esq. }
                     Mess. J. Rowswell and G. Skeen, _Clerks_.


    Union-street,    Gideon Fournier, Esq.         }
    Southwark.       Benjamin Robinson, Esq.       } _Magistrates_.
                     Richard Carpenter Smith, Esq. }
                     Mess. D. Campbell and J.A. Jallicoe, _Clerks_.

  Marine Police,     P. Colquhoun, Esq. superintending Magistrate,
  Wapping New          gratis
  Stairs.            John Harriot, Esq. Resident Magistrate
                     Henry Lang, Esq. Chief Clerk
                     William Brooke, Cashier
                     Three Junior Clerks, and Ten Surveyors, &c.

N.B. The whole Fees and Penalties taken and received at the seven
Offices, established by 32 Geo. III. cap. 53. are paid into the
_Receiver_ on account of the Public, and the whole expences of the
Establishments are defrayed from the funds placed in his hands for
that purpose.]

[Footnote 156: The Marine Police Magistrates, on account of the extent
of the Establishment, and the number of River Officers under their
Control, never leave the Office from the time that business commences
in the morning until a late hour in the evening.]

This Institution of established Justices (except with regard to the
three Magistrates at Bow-street, and the Justices at the Marine Police
Office,) was suggested to the Legislature, in consequence of the
pressure felt by the Public, from the want of some regular and
properly-constituted Tribunals for the distribution of justice; where
the System should be uniform; and where the purity of the Magistrates,
and their regular attendance, might insure to the People, the
adjustment of their differences, at the least possible expence; and
the assistance of gratuitous advice in every difficulty; as well as
official aid, in all cases within the sphere of the Magistrates in
their respective districts.

The duty of these established Magistrates, (in conjunction with
other Justices of the Peace, who find it convenient to give
their assistance,) extends also to several important judicial
proceedings; where, in a great variety of instances, they are
empowered and required to _hear_ and _determine_, in a summary way;
particularly in cases relative to the _customs, excise, and
stamps--the game laws--hawkers and pedlars--pawn-brokers--friendly
societies--highways--hackney coaches, carts, and other carriages--Quakers
and others refusing to pay tythes--appeals of defaulters in parochial
rates--misdemeanors committed by persons unlawfully pawning property
not their own--bakers for short weight, &c.--journeymen leaving their
services in different trades--labourers not complying with their
agreements--disorderly apprentices--alehouse keepers keeping
disorderly houses--nuisances by different Acts of Parliament--acts of
vagrancy by fraudulent lottery insurers--fortune-tellers; or persons
of evil fame found in avenues to public places, with an intent to
rob--As well as a multitude of other offences, in which Justices have
power to proceed to conviction and punishment, either by fine or

The duty of the Magistrates also extends to a vast number of other
objects, such as _licencing Public Houses_, and establishing Rules and
Orders for Publicans,[157] _watching over the conduct of
Publicans--swearing in, charging and instructing parochial constables
and headboroughs from year to year, with regard to their duty--issuing
warrants for privy searches; and in considering the cases of persons
charged with being disorderly persons, or rogues and vagabonds, liable
to be punished under the Act of the 17th of George II. cap. 5, and
subsequent acts of Parliament--in making orders to Parish Officers,
Beadles, and Constables, in a variety of cases--in Parish Removals--in
billeting soldiers--in considering the cases of poor persons applying
for assistance, or admission to workhouses--in granting certificates
and orders to the wives of persons serving in the Militia_, and also
_in attesting recruits, for the Army--in attending the General and
Quarter Sessions of the Peace, and in visiting the Workhouses,
Bride-wells, and Prisons_.[158]

[Footnote 157: See Tract on Public Houses, by the Author of this

[Footnote 158: The Magistrates at the Marine Police confine their
attention almost wholly to the cognizance of offences, either
committed on the River, or connected with Maritime Affairs, and his
Majesty's Stores in the Public Arsenals.]

In addition to these various duties, many criminal cases occur in the
course of a year, which are examined for the purpose, if necessary, of
being sent to superior tribunals for trials:--such as charges of
_Treason, Murder, Coining, and uttering Base Money, Arson,
Manslaughter, Forgery, Burglary, Larceny, Sedition, Felonies of
various descriptions, Conspiracies, Frauds, Riots, Assaults, and
Misdemeanors of different kinds_:--all which unavoidably impose upon
every official Magistrate, a weight of business requiring great
exertion, and an unremitting attention to the Public Interest, in the
due execution of this very important Trust.

When the Police System was first established in the year 1792, the
public mind became impressed with an idea that the chief, if not the
only, object of the institution was to prevent _Robberies_,
_Burglaries_, and other _atrocious Offences_; and that the suppression
of those crimes, which bore hardest upon Society, and were most
dreaded by the Public at large, was to be the result. These
expectations shewed, that neither the powers nor authorities granted
by the Act of Parliament, nor the other duties imposed upon the
Magistracy of the Police, were understood. For this Statute (useful as
it certainly is in a very high degree in many other respects,) does
not contain even a single regulation applicable to the prevention of
crimes; except that which relates to the apprehension of suspected
characters, found in the avenues to public places, with intent to
commit felony; who are liable to be punished as rogues and
vagabonds,--and even this provision does not extend to the city of

But this is not all--an establishment has been created, without the
most necessary of all engines to give vigour and effect to the
exertions of the Magistrates; namely, a pecuniary Fund to defray the
expences of detecting criminals, and of rewarding those who bring
informations useful to Public Justice. The expence of each Public
Office being restricted to _two thousand pounds_ a year, and the
establishment in _salaries_, _rents_, _taxes_, and other
_contingencies_ exhausting that sum, nothing remains for one of the
most necessary purposes of the Institution--the _Prevention_ and the
_Suppression of Crimes_.[159]

[Footnote 159: It is by no means to be understood, that this
deficiency arose from any want of real attention or public spirit on
the part of the respectable individuals who framed and promoted this
act. It was perhaps as much as could reasonably be expected at the
time, until the public mind could be more fully informed. It was by
the operation of this act, that a correct view of the improvements
necessary to complete the System, were to be obtained. This first step
was, therefore, of great importance; and it is but justice to state,
that to the Authors of this Act the Public will be indebted for every
subsequent arrangement, which may be adopted for perfecting the Police
of the Metropolis.]

It is in vain to expect that either vigour or energy can enter into
that part of the System, where a great deal of _both_ is necessary,
_without Funds_.

If criminals, at war with the Community, are to be detected--if risks
are to be run to effect this purpose--if it is to be done, (as it must
frequently be) at the hazard of the loss of health, and _even of
life_, by watching desperadoes in the night time--if accurate
informations are necessary, either to discover where stolen property
is deposited, or where the delinquents are to be found; a Fund must be
provided, or the Public cannot be protected. Those, whose province it
is to watch over the Police must not expect that men, capable of
giving them useful information, will return a second time, if they
have not some adequate reward bestowed upon them for their labour,
risk, and trouble. Without such power of granting small rewards, (so
far as that part of his duty which relates to the discovery of
property plundered, and the detection of the offenders is of
importance to the Public,) a Magistrate is placed in the situation of
a person pledged to work, _without tools or implements of labour_, by
which he can in any respect accomplish his purpose. And hence it is,
that among the numerous causes assigned in the course of this Work,
for the increase of Crimes,--this is none of the least.

Not that it is meant that any additional burthen on the Public, by an
extensive expenditure of money, would be necessary--A very moderate
sum judiciously and oeconomically laid out, would bring to
Commissioners of the Police, or to the _disbursing Magistrates_,
through some medium or other, an early account of most of the
depredations committed upon the Public, as well as every circumstance
relative to coiners and sellers of base money.--This would lead to the
detection and apprehension of most of the offenders; and thereby
strike such an universal terror, as (assisted by the other salutary
regulations proposed in this Work) would soon reduce the number of
Thieves, Coiners, and other delinquents; and thus, of course, diminish
the ultimate and great additional expence which follows conviction, in
all cases where felons are in the course of punishment.

In this view of the subject, it would prove a Regulation calculated
greatly to reduce the aggregate expence; for surely, if _a few
guineas_ judiciously laid out, in the first instance, would save
_fifty_ afterwards to the State, it must be a wise and a good
arrangement; and in this way it would probably operate. But this would
not be the only saving to the Nation: by preventing crimes, all those
concerned in projects of mischief must, instead of preying upon the
industry of others, assist the State, by contributing their share to
the national stock of labour.

Next to the want of a sufficient pecuniary Fund, the most obvious
deficiency in the present System of executive Police in the
Metropolis, is that which regards the Magistracy of the City of
London; _where the case is precisely reversed_; for _there_ the funds
for the detection and discovery of offenders, may be made as ample as
the Corporation shall think fit; but the want of a _Stipendiary
Establishment_ must prevent the operation of that System of vigour and
energy, which the increase of Criminals and the present state of
Society demand.

The Magistrates of the City of London form a body, perhaps the most
_respectable_, and _independent_ of any in the world; but besides the
unavoidable, important, and multiplied affairs of the Corporation, in
attending the various Courts of the Lord-Mayor--Aldermen--Common
Council--Common Hall--Wardmotes--Conservancy--Courts of
Requests--Court of Orphans--and General and Quarter Sessions of the
Peace, and Justice Hall at the Old Bailey, they have avocations and
engagements in business, which must necessarily occupy their minds.
It cannot, therefore, reasonably be expected, that they should forego
their own important private interests, and bestow upon the business of
the Public that attention which their situation as Magistrates seems
to require.[160]

[Footnote 160: The Author having had occasion to represent to a late
Chief Magistrate, of great talents and respectability, the enormous
evil arising from _base coin_:--He very judiciously observed, that to
do any good in protecting the Public against this species of offence,
_it would require the mind of a Magistrate to be given up to that
object alone_. This pointed and accurate remark is sufficient to
elucidate, in an eminent degree, the necessity of Magistrates with
salaries, in all large Communities.]

The Chief Magistrate cannot, in the nature of things, while the
immense load of municipal affairs, joined to his own private concerns,
presses constantly upon his mind, bestow either time or attention in
considering the cases of delinquents brought before him; or in
following up informations, and devising plans necessary to detect
offenders; and yet this detail of duty, even from the pass-vagrant to
the most atrocious villain, is imposed on him, by ancient immemorial
custom and usage; at the very moment when he is overpowered with other
official business, of great magnitude and importance; which can be
transacted by no other person. Hurried with constant engagements,
inseparable from the functions and dignity attached to his high
office, and the general government of the City, a Lord-Mayor is just
beginning to understand the duties attached to the Chief Magistracy,
at the period when he must lay it down.

The other Magistrates of the City having had a precise line of duty
anciently chalked out, when Commerce and Society had made less
progress, the same System continues; nor would it be proper to expect
an augmentation of labour, or a greater proportion of time, from
Magistrates who serve the Public gratuitously.--The unremitting
attendance and indefatigable industry, which the Public interest
requires, it would be vain and unjust to expect, from any but
Magistrates selected for that purpose, and that only.[161]

[Footnote 161: The Select Committee of the House of Commons on
Finance, in their 28th Report (already repeatedly quoted), appear to
be very strongly impressed with the necessity of Police Magistrates,
and a Concurrent Jurisdiction for the City of London.--They express
themselves in the following words: "It is further to be stated, that a
considerable defect is felt in the Police of the Metropolis, from the
limited jurisdiction of the present Magistrates in every part of it,
and from the want of an Institution similar to that of the Police
Offices to be established in the City of London, as was originally
intended and proposed: that the delay which necessarily takes place in
obtaining the sanction of the local Magistracy in either case, to the
warrants of those presiding in other districts, operates in all cases
to the advantage of offenders against the Laws, and to the obstruction
of Public Justice: add to which, that the numerous and important
avocations, both public and private, of the truly respectable
Magistracy of the City, is too often inconsistent with that constant
and unremitting attention which the due preservation of the Police of
the Metropolis requires. That it would be unfortunate indeed if any
local jealousy founded upon no just grounds, though entertained by
honourable minds, should continue to deprive even the Inhabitants of
the City itself, as well as those of the rest of the Metropolis, of
that security which a more permanent attendance, and a perfect
intercommunity of Jurisdiction in Criminal matters between the
Magistrates of every part of the Metropolis, and of the five adjoining
Counties, could not fail to produce."--See p. 13, 28th Report, 26th of
June, 1798.]

With the increase of those blessings which are supposed to arise from
a course of prosperity and wealth, there is generally an increase also
of _evils_ and _inconveniences_; and hence it is that while an influx
of riches preponderates in _one scale_, an augmentation of crimes acts
as a counterbalance in the _other_:--thus requiring the constant and
progressive application of such antidotes and remedies as will
preserve the _good_, while the _evil_ is diminished or kept within

It seems that the Metropolis is now in that situation where the active
and unceasing attention of Magistrates with salaries, has become
necessary to promote a vigorous and energetic execution of the Law,
for the general protection of property, and the safety of

[Footnote 162: If this were the case, neither the Bank, nor the
avenues to every part of Cheapside, &c.[H] would be beset with gangs
of rogues and sharpers, both men and women, who support themselves
principally by the resource which the vast amount of moving property,
in money and portable goods, affords them, in this part of the
Metropolis; where, it appears, capital offenders are rarely detected;
since, at the Old Bailey, those convicted in the course of a year,
from the City and County, run in the proportion of about 1-7th part
for London, and 6-7th parts for Middlesex.[I]]

[Footnote H: See p. 106.]

[Footnote I: Vide Table, p. 429.]

Contemplating the various existing evils detailed in this Work, and
which form so many prominent features of Police, requiring the
constant and watchful eye of the Magistrate, it seems clear to
demonstration, that unless official duties become the sole business
and pursuit of the parties engaged in them, the Public Interest must
suffer; and (although imperceptible in their progress), Crimes will
increase and multiply; at a time when the comfort, happiness and
security of Society, require that they should be diminished.

In consequence also of the great accumulation of the Statute Laws,
requiring the attention of Justices in a vast number of instances,
which did not occur a century ago, their duty has so multiplied as to
require the _whole time_ of Magistrates acting in all great Societies;
an observation which applies not merely to the Metropolis, but to many
large Provincial Towns. It follows, therefore, almost as a matter of
course, that Stipendiary Justices have become indispensably

[Footnote 163: In the measures finally proposed by the Finance
Committee, in the 9th Article (page 30), they recommend it to
Parliament, "That two additional Offices of Police should be
established in the City, consisting each of three Magistrates, to sit
at the Mansion-house, and at Guildhall, for the purpose of assisting
the Lord-Mayor and the Court of Aldermen: such Magistrates to be named
by the Lord-Mayor and Court of Aldermen; and paid out of the General
Funds arising from the proposed regulations; to sit permanently, as at
the other Offices, with Commissions from the Crown, extending over the
whole Metropolis, and the counties of Middlesex, Kent, Essex, and

If men of business, integrity, and talents, could once be prevailed on
to accept of such employments, and execute the trust reposed in them
with zeal and attention to the public interest, and with firm and
independent minds, attached to no Party, infinite advantages must
result to the Community from their services.[164]

[Footnote 164: A Police Magistrate has nothing to do with the politics
of the Country; and he is incapable, and unworthy of the trust reposed
in him, if he permits any bias, or influence, but that which is
immediately connected with a correct and chaste execution of the Laws,
to take hold of his mind.--It is only by this line of conduct, that he
can either render himself useful or respectable.]

Where men of this description pledge themselves, as they must
necessarily do, to give up every other pursuit, assiduously and
constantly to execute the laborious duties of a Police Magistrate;
Justice also requires that the reward should be commensurate to the
sacrifices which are made. It is the interest of the Community that it
should be so: for in the present extended state of Commerce and
Society, no gratuitous System can ever be expected to answer any
purpose of real utility.

While the higher order of Magistrates receive the just reward of their
useful labour, bestowed in the exercise of their functions in
promoting the public good--where can be the impropriety of extending
the same species of remuneration to inferior Magistrates; who must
devote even a greater portion of time and attention to the
multifarious duties assigned them?

The office of _Assistant Magistrates_ in the City might be assigned to
six active and honourable men, who would give _their whole attention
to_ the criminal department of the Police. The proceedings of these
Magistrates should be sanctioned by the presence of the Aldermen, as
often as one or more could conveniently attend; on which occasions
they would necessarily preside, as holding within their own district,
the highest rank in the Magistracy.

The difference in point of benefit to the Community between a _Mind_
constantly occupied in objects of public utility, and that which is
only occasionally employed, is great beyond all possible
calculation.--Nor is the measure without precedent, even in the City
of London, since the Recorder may, in his high office, be fairly
considered in the light of a Magistrate with a salary.

Ready on every occasion at their Sittings in the morning and evening,
to offer their advice or assistance to the labouring people, as well
as all ranks of the Community, who apply for it--to adjust their
differences, and to protect them against wrongs and oppressions:
prepared also, as a matter of business, to receive and follow up
informations where crimes have been committed, and never to lose sight
of the object while it is practicable to attain it; these Assistant
Magistrates would afford incalculable advantages to the City: which
would be still farther increased, if a System of co-operation of the
other Police Magistrates were established, upon a plan which would
unite their energy, and render their jurisdiction co-extensive. (See
_ante_ pages 419, 420).

It is a well-known fact, that since the establishment of Police
Magistrates for Westminster, and the parts of Middlesex and Surry,
contiguous to the City of London, great benefits have been experienced
from the assistance and advice which have been afforded to the
indigent, and the ignorant.

Many quarrels and little law-suits have been prevented, and
innumerable differences immediately reconciled without any expence.

It is in this manner that Magistrates, acting up to the spirit of
their Public Duty, and bestowing their _whole_ attention upon whatever
relates to that duty, confer those obligations upon the Community
which no moderate remuneration can repay.

The office of a Police Magistrate is not like other public
situations:--for the business is multifarious, seldom admits of any
recess or a vacation.--It is, or ought to be, _constant_, _laborious_,
and without _intermission_.[165]

[Footnote 165: In the month of October, 1793, a respectable Committee,
representing the great body of the Manufacturers in Spitalfields,
waited on His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home
Department, with an Address of Thanks for the Establishment of the
Police System; the substance of which is as follows:

"That it is the opinion of this Society, that great benefits have
arisen, with regard to the security of property, from the correct and
regular manner in which the judicial business has been conducted by
the Magistrates of Police; in consequence of whose vigilance and
attention, an effectual check has been given to a System of
depredation which heretofore occasioned a loss of many thousands per
annum to the Silk Manufacturers:"--And it was Resolved,--"That the
Thanks of this Society are due to the Right Honourable Henry Dundas,
one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State; and also to Mr.
Burton, and the other Members of Parliament, who proposed and
supported the Police System, for the share they had in the
establishment of a judicial Tribunal, which has been found to extend,
to the Silk Manufacturers, many advantages in a just and proper
execution of the Laws which were not heretofore experienced."]

But with all these advantages, even improved by competent funds
appropriated to the different Public Offices, still a _Centre-point_
is wanted to connect the whole together, so as to invigorate and
strengthen every part, by a superintending Establishment, under the
immediate controul of the Secretary of State for the Home Department:
There, indeed, the constitutional superintendence of the Police of the
Metropolis, as well as of the whole country, rests at present; but
from the vast weight and increase of other Public Business, connected
with the general affairs of the State, foreign, colonial, and
domestic, it has been found impracticable to pursue that particular
System which has now become, more than ever, necessary for the
detection of criminals. It seems then, that in executing a task so
complicated and multifarious, a delegation of subordinate _Responsible
Management_ to a _Central Board of Police_ should be resorted to: as
the only means of giving strength, vigour, and energy to a System,
heretofore only partially useful; and which, in its present disjointed
state, is incapable of extending that Protection and Security, which
has been shewn in the course of this Work, to be so much wanted, and
so indispensably necessary.

To understand the Police of the Metropolis to that extent which is
necessary to direct and superintend its general operations, it must be
acted upon _practically_; and those who undertake the _superintendence_
and _management_ alluded to, must be men _able_, _intelligent_,
_prudent_, and _indefatigable_: devoting their whole attention to this
object alone. Clerks might be continually employed with great
advantage in entering and posting up under the proper heads, such new
information as should be obtained from day to day; and hours should be
appointed for receiving such intelligence from all proper and
well-informed persons, who might choose to offer the same; so far as
such information related to Public wrongs, and offences against the
peace, safety, and well-being of Society.

Under such a System, with a proper power of remunerating Officers and
others, scarcely a _Robbery_, _Burglary_, _Larceny_, or _fraudulent
Transaction_, could be committed, where the perpetrators would not be
very speedily detected and brought to justice; for then the
Magistrates, in their respective districts, would be enabled to act
with confidence, vigour, and energy, in the discovery and apprehension
of offenders;--and the effect would be to excite a general terror in
the minds of every class of delinquents; which could not fail to
operate strongly as a means of preventing crimes, and improving the
morals and the happiness of the lower orders of the People.

In addition to this these responsible Commissioners of Police might,
with great propriety, and with no little public utility, have
committed to them the superintendence of _all Receipts and
Disbursements of the accounts_, and of _all monies applicable to
objects of Police_: these they should lay annually before Parliament,
if required, accompanied by a General Report; that the Legislature, as
well as the Public at large, might see in what manner the funds had
been applied; and what progress had been made in the prevention of
crimes, and in restoring among the Labouring People that sense of
morality, which never, perhaps, was at a lower ebb than at present.

The most enlightened Foreigners who have visited this Metropolis, and
contemplated the nature and organization of our Police System, join in
one general remark upon it; viz.--"_That we have some shadow of
Police, for apprehending Delinquents, after crimes are actually
committed; but none for the purpose of preventing them_."--This
certainly is, in one sense, literally true;--and from this source,
combined with the imperfection of the Criminal Code, have arisen all
those enormities and inconveniences already so amply detailed.

Attached to the Laws and Government of his country, even to a degree
of enthusiasm, the Author of this Work will not be too prone to seek
for greater perfection in other nations: or to quote them as examples
to be imitated in the Metropolis of the British Empire; and still less
if such examples should tend, in the slightest degree, to abridge that
freedom which is the birth-right of every Briton. But as all true
liberty depends on those fences which are established in every
Country, for the protection of the Persons and Property of the People,
against every attack whatsoever: and as prejudices ought to be
banished from the mind in all discussions tending to promote the
General Weal, we ought not to be ashamed of borrowing good Systems
from other Nations; wherever such can be adopted, consistent with the
Constitution of the Country, and the Liberty of the Subject.

In France, under the Old Government, how much soever many parts of the
System of that Country were justly reprobated, by all who were
acquainted with the blessings of Freedom, yet, in the management and
regulation of what was denominated _The Police_, there existed that
kind of Establishment, with regard to personal security, and
protection against the depredations of the most depraved part of the
community, which Englishmen have certainly never enjoyed; who, on the
contrary, have suffered manifold inconveniences from an idea, (surely
a very erroneous one,) "that we must endure these public wrongs, and
expose our property and lives to the attack of murderers, robbers, and
highwaymen, as the price of _Liberty_."

When difficulties are felt, it is our duty to look at them
dispassionately; to face them with fortitude, and to discuss them with
intelligence--divested of all prejudices generated merely by habit and
education. By pursuing this mode of investigation, it will be
discovered that in other Governments there may be some Establishments
worthy of imitation; and which, perhaps, might in part be adopted, not
only in perfect consistency with the Freedom of the Subject; but with
the advantage of extending to the mass of the People, who are not in a
course of delinquency, more real liberty than they at present enjoy.--

At the commencement of the troubles in France, it is a curious fact,
that the Lieutenant-General of the National Police, as well as that of
the Metropolis, had upon his Registers the names of not less than
twenty thousand suspected and depraved characters, whose pursuits were
known to be of a criminal nature; yet, by making this part of Police
the immediate object of the close and uniform attention of one branch
of the Executive Government, Crimes were much less frequent than in
England; and the security extended to the Public, with regard to the
protection of Life and Property against lawless depredation, was
infinitely greater.--To elucidate this assertion, and to shew to what
a wonderful height the System had advanced, the Reader is referred to
the following Anecdotes; which were mentioned to the Author by a
Foreign Minister of great intelligence and information, who resided
some years at the Court of France.

"A Merchant of high respectability in Bourdeaux had occasion to visit
the Metropolis upon commercial business, carrying with him bills and
money to a very large amount.

"On his arrival at the gates of Paris, a genteel looking man opened
the door of his carriage, and addressed him to this effect:--_Sir, I
have been waiting for you some time; according to my notes, you were
to arrive at this hour; and your person, your carriage, and your
portmanteau, exactly answering the description I hold in my hand, you
will permit me to have the honour of conducting you to Monsieur De

"The Gentleman, astonished and alarmed at this interruption, and still
more so at hearing the name of the Lieutenant of the Police mentioned,
demanded to know what _Monsieur De Sartine_ wanted with him; adding,
at the same time, that he never had committed any offence against the
Laws, and that he could have no right to interrupt or detain him.

"The Messenger declared himself perfectly ignorant of the cause of the
detention; stating, at the same time, that when he had conducted him
to _Monsieur De Sartine_, he should have executed his orders, which
were merely ministerial.

"After some further explanations, the Gentleman permitted the Officer
to conduct him accordingly. _Monsieur De Sartine_ received him, with
great politeness; and after requesting him to be seated, to his great
astonishment, he described his portmanteau; and told him the exact sum
in bills and specie which he had brought with him to Paris, and where
he was to lodge, his usual time of going to bed, and a number of other
circumstances, which the Gentleman had conceived could only be known
to himself.--_Monsieur De Sartine_ having thus excited attention, put
this extraordinary question to him--_Sir, are you a man of
courage?_--The Gentleman, still more astonished at the singularity of
such an interrogatory, demanded the reason why he put such a strange
question, adding, at the same time, that no man ever doubted his
courage. _Monsieur De Sartine_ replied,--_Sir, you are to be robbed
and murdered this night!--If you are a man of courage, you must go to
your hotel, and retire to rest at the usual hour: but be careful that
you do not fall asleep; neither will it be proper for you to look
under the bed, or into any of the closets which are in your
bed-chamber_; (which he accurately described);--_you must place your
portmanteau in its usual situation, near your bed, and discover no
suspicion:--Leave what remains to me.--If, however, you do not feel
your courage sufficient to bear you out, I will procure a person who
shall personate you, and go to bed in your stead._

"The Gentleman being convinced, in the course of the conversation,
that _Monsieur de Sartine's_ intelligence was accurate in every
particular, he refused to be personated, and formed an immediate
resolution, literally, to follow the directions he had received: he
accordingly went to bed at his usual hour, which was eleven
o'clock.--At half past twelve (the time mentioned by _Monsieur De
Sartine_), the door of the bed-chamber burst open, and three men
entered with a _dark lantern_, _daggers_ and _pistols_.--The
Gentleman, who of course was awake, perceived one of them to be his
own servant.--They rifled his portmanteau, undisturbed, and settled
the plan of putting him to death.--The Gentleman, hearing all this,
and not knowing by what means he was to be rescued, it may naturally
be supposed, was under great perturbation of mind during such an awful
interval of suspense; when, at the moment the villains were preparing
to commit the horrid deed, four Police Officers, acting under _Mons.
De Sartine's_ orders, who were concealed under the bed, and in the
closet, rushed out and seized the offenders with the property in their
possession, and in the act of preparing to commit the murder.

"The consequence was, that the perpetration of the atrocious deed was
prevented, and sufficient evidence obtained to convict the
offenders.--_Monsieur De Sartine's_ intelligence enabled him to
_prevent_ this horrid offence of robbery and murder; which, but for
the accuracy of the System, would probably have been carried into

Another Anecdote, was mentioned to the Author by the same Minister,
relative to the Emperor Joseph the Second: "That Monarch, having, in
the year 1787, formed and promulgated a new Code of Laws relative to
criminal and civil offences;[166] and having also established what he
conceived to be the best System of Police in Europe, he could scarcely
ever forgive the French Nation, in consequence of the accuracy and
intelligence of _Mons. De Sartine_ having been found so much superior
to his own; notwithstanding the immense pains he had bestowed upon
that department of his Government.

[Footnote 166: Vide page 63 & _seq._ of this Volume.]

"A very notorious offender, who was a subject of the Emperor, and who
committed many atrocious acts of violence and depredation at Vienna,
was traced to Paris by the Police established by His Majesty, who
ordered his Ambassador at the Court of France to demand that this
delinquent should be delivered up to Public Justice.

"_Mons. De Sartine_ acknowledged to the Imperial Ambassador, that the
person he inquired after had been in Paris;--that, if it would be any
satisfaction, he could inform him where he had lodged, and the
different gaming-tables, and other places of infamous resort, which he
frequented while there;--but that he was now gone.--

"The Ambassador, after stating the accuracy and correct mode by which
the Police of Vienna was conducted, insisted that this offender must
still be in Paris; otherwise the Emperor would not have commanded him
to make such an application.

"_Monsieur de Sartine_ smiled at the incredulity of the Imperial
Minister, and made a reply to the following effect:--

"_Do me the honour, Sir, to inform the Emperor, your Master, that the
person he looks for left Paris on the 10th day of the last month; and
is now lodged in a back room looking into a garden in the third story
of a house, number 93, in ---- street, in his own Capital of Vienna;
where his Majesty will, by sending to the spot, be sure to find

"It was literally as the French Minister of Police had stated.--The
Emperor, to his astonishment, found the delinquent in the house and
apartment described; but he was greatly mortified at this proof of the
accuracy of the French Police; which, in this instance, in point of
intelligence _even in Vienna_, was discovered to be so much superior
to his own."--

The fact is, that the French System had arrived at the greatest degree
of perfection; and though not necessary, nor even proper, to be copied
as _a pattern_, might, nevertheless, furnish many useful hints,
calculated to improve the Police of this Metropolis, consistent with
the existing Laws; and even to extend and increase the Liberty of
Subject without taking one privilege away; or interfering in the
pursuits of any one class of individuals; except those employed in
purposes of _mischief_, _fraud_, and _criminality_.

The situation of this Country, (indeed of every country in Europe,)
has changed materially since the dissolution of the ancient Government
of France.--The horde of sharpers and villains, who heretofore
resorted to Paris from every part of Europe, will now consider London
as their general and most productive theatre of action; for two
obvious reasons:--1st. Paris being exhausted of riches, its Nobility
banished, and the principal part of the active property there
annihilated, the former resources for the support of criminal and
depraved characters no longer exist; while that Metropolis holds out
no allurements similar to what were formerly experienced. 2dly. The
ignorance of the English language (a circumstance which formerly
afforded us some protection), will no longer be a bar to the resort of
the continental sharpers to the Metropolis of this kingdom. At no
period was it ever so generally understood by Foreigners; or the
French language so universally spoken, by at least the younger part of
the People of this Country.--

The spirit of gaming and dissipation which prevails in London,
promoted already in no inconsiderable degree by profligate characters
from the Continent, the opulence of the People, and the great mass of
active property in circulation, will afford a wide field for the
exercise of the invention and wits of that description of men, both
foreigners and natives, who infested Paris under the old Government,
and which rendered a more than ordinary attention to its Police
indispensably necessary.--

The termination of the present war will probably throw into this
country a vast number of idle, profligate, and depraved characters,
natives of this, as well as of other nations, who will require to be
narrowly watched by a vigilant and well-regulated Police. The
probability of such an accession to the numbers already engaged in
acts of delinquency, serves to establish new and incontrovertible
arguments in favour of the proposed _Board of Responsible
Commissioners_, for managing the affairs of the Police of the
Metropolis; to form a _Centre-point_, and to bind the System together.

To be well prepared against every possible evil, is one great step
towards prevention; and among the many advantages already detailed, as
likely to result from a _Board of Police Revenue_, this would be none
of the least.

In every view in which the subject can be considered, such a System,
strengthened by good and apposite Laws, could not fail to be
productive of vast benefits to the Community. _Petty Thefts_ affecting
all ranks who have any property to lose, and destroying the moral
principle, would be greatly abridged:--as would also the plunder from
vessels in the River Thames, as well as from the public Arsenals,
Dock-yards, and Ships of War. The more atrocious Crimes of Burglary
and Highway Robbery, would suffer a severe check, in the
embarrassments which would arise from the System of detections and
Rewards--from the restrictions proposed to be laid upon Receivers of
Stolen Goods; upon Night Coaches,--and from other regulations
applicable to those particular offences. A large proportion of the
_Coiners_, _Dealers_, and _Utterers of Base Money_, feeling the risk
of detection, as well as of punishment, greatly extended and
increased, would probably abandon the business as hazardous and
destructive. The completion of the General System would also, either
collaterally or immediately, reach the tribe of Cheats, Swindlers, and
Lottery Offenders, in such a manner as to occasion a considerable
reduction of their number, by narrowing the ground, and destroying the
resources by which they at present flourish.

The establishment of such a System would be an immediate benefit to
every man of property, as an individual, independent of the Public at
large; but even in another point of view, it is doubly necessary at
this juncture, when new events are daily occurring, of a nature truly
interesting to the peace and well-being of Society, and to the
tranquillity of the State; rendering it more than ever necessary to
establish a System of unremitting vigilance. It is a fact well
established, that it was principally through the medium, and by the
assistance, of many of the twenty thousand miscreants who were
registered, previous to the anarchy of France, on the books of the
Lieutenant of Police, that the contending Factions in that distracted
country, were enabled to perpetrate those horrid massacres and acts of
atrocity, which have been beheld with detestation, abhorrence, and
astonishment, by every civilized nation in the world.

Let it be recollected, at the same time, that Mankind, in a state of
depravity, arising from a long course of criminal turpitude, are
nearly alike in every country; and that it becomes us to look with a
jealous eye on the several thousand miscreants of the same description
which now infest London; for they too, upon any fatal emergency,
(which GOD forbid!) would be equally ready as their brethren in
iniquity were, in Paris, to repeat the same atrocities, if any
opportunity offered.

As the effectuating such an object has become so great a
desideratum;--and as it is to confer those blessings which spring from
a well-regulated Police, calculated to extend a species of
protection[167] to the inhabitants of this great Metropolis, which
has never been heretofore experienced:--it can scarcely fail to be a
matter of general satisfaction to know that the Select Committee of
the House of Commons on Finance, have strongly recommended to
Parliament a System of Police, similar to that which had been
submitted to the consideration of the Public in the former editions of
this Work.

[Footnote 167: In mentioning what regards the protection of the
Metropolis, with the inefficiency of the existing Civil Force in
Constables, it is impossible to overlook those eminent advantages
which have arisen from the excellent institutions of the Honourable
Artillery Company, the Light Horse Volunteers, and the other
associated Corps, who have so nobly stood forth in the hour of danger
to support the deficient Police of the Country.

To these Patriotic individuals, the inhabitants of the Metropolis are
under infinite obligations.

Regardless of their own _ease_, _convenience_, _interest_, or _personal
safety_, the members of these public-spirited associations have ever
stood forward in the hour of tumult and disorder gratuitously, and at
their own expence, for the protection of their Fellow-citizens, and
for the preservation of the Public peace.

The assistance they have, on every occasion, afforded the civil power,
and the sacrifices of valuable time which they have made, at the risk
of health, and under circumstances where they were compelled to forego
that ease and comfort, which, in many instances, from their opulence
and rank in life, are attached to their particular situations--it is
to be hoped will never be forgotten by a grateful Public.]

In order that improvements, sanctioned by such high authority, and the
adoption of which are so important to the best interests of Society,
may be fully explained and elucidated; a detail of the measures, which
have been recommended, with general observations on the proposed
System, are reserved for the ensuing Chapter.


     _The System of Police recommended by the Select Committee on
     Finance explained.--A proposition to consolidate the two
     Boards of Hawkers and Pedlars, and Hackney Coaches, into a
     Board of Police Revenue.--The whole Revenues of Police from
     Fees, Penalties, and Licence Duties, to make a common
     Fund.--Accounts to be audited.--Magistrates to distribute
     small Rewards.--A power to the Board to make Bye-Laws.--A
     concurrent jurisdiction recommended--also the Penitentiary
     House for reforming Convicts.--Other measures proposed after
     the Board is established--namely, a Public Prosecutor for
     the Crown--A Register of Lodging Houses--The establishment
     of a Police Gazette.--Two leading objects to be
     attained--The prevention of Crimes: and raising a Revenue
     for Police purposes.--The enumeration of the Dealers who are
     proposed to be Licenced.--A General View of the annual
     expence of the present Police System. Observations on the
     effect of the System recommended by the Finance Committee,
     with respect to the Morals and Finances of the
     Country.--Suggestions respecting a chain of connection with
     Magistrates in the Country, and the mode of effecting
     it.--Licences to be granted by select Magistrates in the
     Country, and by the Central Board in London and the
     neighbourhood.--The Functions of the proposed Board
     explained.--Specifications of the Trades to be regulated and
     Licenced.--General Reflections on the advantages likely to
     result from the adoption of the plan recommended by the
     Finance Committee.--Concluding Observations._

Impressed with a deep sense of the utility of investigating the nature
of the Police System, the Select Committee of the House of Commons on
Finance turned their attention to this, among many other important
objects in the Session of the year 1798; and, after a laborious
investigation which occupied several months, (during which period the
Author of this Treatise underwent several examinations),[168] they
made their _final Report_--in which, after stating it as their
opinion, "that the general tendency of our oeconomical arrangements
upon this subject is ill calculated to meet the accumulating burdens,
which are the infallible result of so much error in our System of
Police"--they recommended it to Parliament to reduce or consolidate
"the two offices of Hawkers and Pedlars, and Hackney Coaches, into a
Board of Police Revenue, under the direction of a competent number of
Commissioners, with such Salaries as should bid fair to engage
talents adequate to the situation, and as should be sufficient to
command the whole exertion of those talents.--That the Receiver of the
Police offices, should be the Receiver-General of the funds proposed
to be collected by this Board.--That the superintendence of aliens
should form a part of its business.--That the fees and penalties
received at the several offices of Police, together with the
Licence-duties and penalties, if any, which shall be in the collection
of this consolidated Board, shall make one common fund, out of which
all salaries and expences of the several offices of Police should be
defrayed, as well as all those of the Consolidated Board, and that all
payments whatever should be made by the Receiver, under the sanction
of this Board, subject to the approbation of the Lords Commissioners
of his Majesty's Treasury.--That the accounts of the Receiver should
be audited and signed by the Board before being delivered to the
Treasury, or the office for auditing accounts.--That the balances in
the hands of the Receiver, after retaining what may be sufficient for
current expences, should be paid into the Exchequer at frequent and
fixed periods.--That Magistrates of Police should be impowered to
distribute small rewards to Constables or others, for meritorious
services, to be paid by the Revenue, after receiving the sanction of
the Board: And further, that the Board should have power to make
Bye-laws, for the regulation of such Minor Objects of Police as
relate to the objects of their superintendence, and to the control of
all Coaches, Chairs, Carts, Barrows, and the conduct of all Coachmen,
Chairmen, Carters, &c. and the removal and prevention of annoyances,
and the correction of all offences against the cleanliness, the quiet,
and the free passage of the Streets of the Metropolis, similar to the
powers now possessed by the Commissioners of Hackney Coaches, and
subject in like manner to the approbation of the Superior Judges in
the Courts in Westminster-Hall."--The Committee further recommend that
two additional Police Offices should be established in the City of
London, consisting each of three Magistrates, to be named by the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen, and paid out of the General funds, and to have
Commissions from the Crown, extending over the whole Metropolis, and
the Counties of Middlesex, Kent, Essex, and Surry; and that the
Commissions of the Magistrates of the other eight Offices should
extend in like manner over the whole Metropolis, and the four
above-mentioned Counties.[169] And finally, the Committee recommend
that no time should be lost in carrying into effect the Plan and
Proposal of Jeremiah Bentham, Esq. for employing and reforming
Convicts, as a measure which bids fairer than any other that was
offered to the Public, to diminish the Public expenditure in this
branch, and to produce a salutary Reform in the object of the proposed

[Footnote 168: See Appendix to the 28th Report of the Committee.]

[Footnote 169: It is not proposed in the Bill, now in preparation,
hereafter stated, to introduce any thing respecting the City of
London, unless the consent of the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen, and
Common-Council, shall be previously obtained.]

Other measures are stated by this Committee as well calculated to
facilitate the means of detection and conviction of Offenders, and to
reduce the expence which is now borne by the Public, or sustained by
private Individuals, in the maintenance of a very inefficient Police;
while they seem calculated to lessen the growing Calendars of
Delinquency, but which may be better matured after the consolidation
of the Offices here proposed shall have taken place.--"Such as the
appointment of Counsel for the Crown, with moderate Salaries, to
conduct all Criminal Prosecutions, and rendering the Solicitor to the
Board useful, either in such Prosecutions as any of the Public
Officers might find it necessary to institute; or in such Criminal
Prosecutions at the suit of Individuals, as the Public Justice of the
Country should render expedient.--Such as a Register of Lodging-houses
in the Metropolis.--Such as the establishment of a Police Gazette, to
be circulated at a low price, and furnished gratis to all persons
under the superintendence of the Board; who shall pay a licence duty
to a certain amount: And such also as an Annual Report of the state of
the Police of the Country."

In considering this Report in general, it is no slight gratification
to the Author of this Treatise, to discover that all the great
features of his original design for giving to Police its genuine
character, unmixed with those judicial Powers which lead to
punishment, and properly belong to Magistracy alone, have been
sanctioned by such high authority.

In taking a general view not only of what is specifically recommended
by the Select Committee of the House of Commons; but also of the
Report itself, two leading objects appear to be in contemplation,

     1st. The prevention of crimes and misdemeanors, by bringing
     under regulations a variety of dangerous and suspicious
     trades;[170] the uncontrolled exercise of which by persons
     of loose conduct, is known to contribute in a very high
     degree to the concealment, and by that means to the
     encouragement and multiplication of crimes.

     [Footnote 170: The Trades alluded to are these
     following,--vide Appendix (C) 28th Report of Select
     Committee of the House of Commons on Finance, page 45, 46,
     and 47.

     _New Revenues._

     1. Wholesale and Retail Dealers in old Naval Stores,
     Hand-stuff, and Rags.

     2. Dealers in second-hand wearing Apparel, Stationary and

     3. Dealers in old Iron and other Metals, &c.

     4. Founders and others using Crucibles.

     5. Persons using Draught and Truck Carts for conveying
     Stores, Rags, and Metals.

     6. Persons Licenced to slaughter horses.

     7. Persons keeping Livery Stables, and letting Horses for

     8. Auctioneers, who hold periodical or diurnal Sales.

     _Existing Revenues proposed to be transferred with a view to
     a more effectual control, and to an improved Finance._

     9. Hackney Coaches and Chairs.

     10. Hawkers and Pedlars.

     11. Pawn Brokers.

     12. Dealers in Horses.

       N.B. The new Revenues are Estimated to yield         £.64,000
       The increase of the existing Revenues is stated at     19,467

     2d. To raise a moderate Revenue for Police purposes from the
     persons who shall be thus controlled, by means of Licence
     Duties, and otherwise so modified as not to operate as a
     material burden; while a confident hope is entertained, that
     the amount of this revenue will go a considerable length in
     relieving the finances of the country, of the expences at
     present incurred for objects of Police, and that, in the
     effect of the general System, a considerable saving will
     arise, in consequence of the expected diminution of crimes,
     particularly as the chief part of the expence appears to
     arise after delinquents are convicted.[171]

[Footnote 171: The amount of the general expence of the Criminal
Police of the Kingdom as stated by the Committee on Finance in their
28th Report is as follows:

  1st. The annual average of the total expence
  of the Seven Public Offices in the Metropolis,
  from the institution in August
  1792 to the end of the year 1797, being
  a period of 5-1/2 years                              £.18,281  18  6

  2d. The total expence of the Office at Bow-street,
  in the year 1797, including remunerations
  to the Magistrates in lieu
  of fees, perquisites, and special services,
  and the expence of the patrole of 68
  persons                                                 7,901   7  7
                       Total expence for the Metropolis  26,183   6  1

  3d. The money paid to the several Sheriffs for
  the conviction of Felons in 1797                        9,650   0  0

  4th. The expence of maintaining
  Convicts on board
  the Hulks, (exclusive
  of 415 under Sentence
  of Transportation in
  the different gaols),
  amounted in 1797 to           £.32,080   0  0

  5th. The expences incurred in
  the employment of
  Convicts by the Navy
  and Ordnance Boards,
  probably amounting to
  not less than from 10_l._
  to 20_l._ per Man per
  annum, were by computation       1,498  14 10-1/4

  6th. The annual average of
  cloathing, victualling,
  and transporting Convicts,
  and of the Civil,
  Military, and Marine
  Departments of New
  South Wales, and Norfolk
  Island, from 1786
  to 1797                          86,457 12 11-1/2
                                                     120,036  7  9-3/4
                                                     155,869 13 10-3/4
  To which add the farther sums
  annually charged on the
  County Rates, or incurred
  in places having peculiar
  Jurisdiction in England          50,000  0  0

  Borne by the Sheriffs in
  England                          10,000  0  0       60,000  0  0
                                   ----------------- -----------------
                              Total for all England  215,869 13 10-3/4]

By the consolidation of the two Boards of Hackney Coaches, and Hawkers
and Pedlars, the functions of the Commissioners will become very
extensive and laborious, since in addition to the inspection and
control of the different suspicious trades proposed to be licenced, it
will be useful to the Public, and, indeed, the System will be
incomplete, unless they not only keep constantly in their view the
general Calendar of delinquency; but also carry into effect such plans
as, on mature deliberation, and (many will unquestionably be
found practicable), shall, in a great measure, prevent the
terror--dangers--losses and inconveniences which arise from foot-pad
and highway robberies, burglaries, and other atrocious offences,
which are so prevalent in and near the Metropolis at present.--This
duty will naturally attach to the Central Board, and which the
Commissioners, (from the accurate information their situation will
enable them to procure, and the Civil Force they may have at their
disposal,) will be well qualified to execute with advantage to the
Community; and while competent pecuniary resources will arise from the
Licence Duties imposed, aided by legislative regulations, applicable
to this, and other objects tending to the general prevention of
Crimes, blame may fairly be imputed wherever a considerable degree of
success is not manifest, by the gradual diminution of the more
atrocious, as well as the minor offences.

The Select Committee of the House of Commons having stated it as their
opinion, that the principle upon which the plan which has been brought
under their review is founded, "_if liable to no error; and that
supposing it faithfully executed it gives the fairest prospect of
success_:" the Public will naturally become anxious for an enjoyment
of the benefits which may be expected to result from its adoption.

As its leading feature is the security of the _rights of the
innocent_, with respect to their Life, Property, and Convenience, the
measures of this board must, in a peculiar degree, be directed with
prudence and discretion to this particular object. This will be
effected not only by increasing the difficulty of perpetrating
offences, through a control over those Trades by which they are
facilitated and promoted, but also by adding to the risk of detection,
by a more prompt and certain mode of discovery wherever crimes are
committed. Thus must the idle and profligate be compelled to assist
the State, by resorting to habits of industry, while the more
incorrigible delinquents will be intimidated and deterred from
pursuing a course of turpitude and criminality, which the energy of
the Police will render too hazardous and unprofitable to be followed
up as a trade; and the regular accession of numbers to recruit and
strengthen the hordes of criminal delinquents, who at present afflict
Society, will be in a great measure prevented.

These objects (in the opinion of the Select Committee) are to be
attained by the establishment of a _Central Board of Police Revenue_;
the views of the Members of which should be directed to the means of
adding "Security to the Person and Property of the peaceful Subject;
the Morals of the People, and the general Finances of the Country; by
those powers of action which are likely to operate most beneficially
towards the prevention of Crimes."

To accomplish these purposes it would seem, (after mature
deliberation), to be necessary not only to extend the Licensing System
over the whole Kingdom; but also to form _a chain of connection_
between the Central Board, and every district of the Country, with a
view as well to a more effectual Control ever those suspicious
Traders, who are to become immediate objects of attention on the part
of the Police, as to establish a more correct and certain mode of
collecting the proposed Revenue.

This chain of connection would appear to be only attainable through
the medium of Select local Magistrates,[172] to whom a certain degree
of responsibility would attach, and who by means of Stationary
Surveyors, (being Constables), appointed by themselves, and under
their immediate Control, would be enabled to superintend the
collection of the Licence Duties, and in a particular manner to
inspect into, and regulate the general Police of the District, while
in conjunction with other Justices in the division, they granted the
Annual Licences to the different Dealers upon the same plan which is
at present pursued with respect to Alehouses.

[Footnote 172: It is presumed, that the distinction of _Select
Magistrates_, joined to the patronage arising from the appointment of
inferior Officers of Police in the respective Districts of the
Country, (as Surveyors and Collectors of Licence Duties), would be
considered as a sufficient inducement to men of Property, talents, and
respectability, to undertake this very honourable Trust: to which it
may reasonably be hoped, that many would be stimulated, in a
particular degree, by the impulses of patriotism, and a desire to
introduce a correct and improved System of Police in their respective

From this general rule, however, on account of the peculiar situation
of the Metropolis, a deviation might be necessary and useful to the
Public. It would, therefore, seem that the Dealers resident within a
certain distance round the Metropolis, should receive their Licences
from the Central Board, and be immediately under its control.--The
advantages resulting from this arrangement are obvious.--The chief
part of the Receivers, and Criminal Dealers, who contribute in so
great a degree to the increase and concealment of the numerous
offences, which are committed in and near the Metropolis, require that
the superintendance should not be divided, but that it should be
confined entirely to the Board, where all intelligence is supposed to
center; and whose peculiar duty it will be to watch the progress of
Crimes in all their ramifications, and to adopt measures for
preventing the growing corruption of Morals, by which every species of
delinquency is generated.

For the purpose therefore of compassing this and every other object in
the view of the Select Committee, it is suggested that the proposed
Board should be authorized to exercise the following


     I. To manage that branch of the Police which relates to
     Hackney Coaches and Chairs.--To enforce strictly the laws
     now in being for the better ordering this system so
     necessary to the comfort and convenience of the
     Metropolis.--To obtain new powers (where wanting) to compel
     a greater degree of cleanliness and security, with respect
     to these vehicles.--To banish, if possible, from the
     fraternity those criminal characters denominated _Flash
     Coachmen_, and to secure civility, and prevent
     imposition.--For this last purpose a department should be
     continued, as at present, (a part of the Institution,)
     having a concurrent jurisdiction with other Magistrates, for
     the purpose of hearing and determining disputes between
     Coachmen and the Public.

     II. To execute the laws relative to Hawkers and Pedlars.--To
     regulate and improve the System respecting this suspicious
     class of Dealers, and more effectually to extend the control
     over them by means of the Select Magistrates in each
     District of the Country where they travel, for the purpose
     of more narrowly watching their conduct.

     III. To grant Licenses in the Town District (_i.e._ within
     the limits of the Penny-Post, while the Select and other
     Justices grant similar Licences in the Country;) under the
     authority of the proposed general Police Bill, to the
     following Traders, and others,[173] viz.

     [Footnote 173: Nothing can exceed the pains and labour which
     have been bestowed in settling the description of the
     persons, proposed to be licenced, with a view to an accurate
     system of Legislation. A regard to this accuracy made it
     necessary to abandon [Transcriber's Note: blank in original;
     probably 'two'] classes recommended by the proposer to the
     Select Committee; because on attempting to frame a Bill, it
     was found impracticable in one case, and impolitic in
     another, to apply Legislative rules that would not either be
     defeated or invade the privileges of innocence.[J]]

     [Footnote J: Persons keeping Crucibles, and Auctioneers.]

     1st. Purchasers of second-hand, and other Household goods,
     for Sale.

     2d. Wholesale purchasers of Rags, and unserviceable Cordage,
     for Sale to Paper-makers.

     3d. Retail Purchasers of Rags, and unserviceable Cordage,
     for Sale to Paper-makers.

     4th. Purchasers of second-hand Apparel, made-up Piece-Goods,
     and Remnants for Sale.

     5th. Walking or Itinerant Purchasers of second-hand Apparel,
     made-up Piece-goods, and Remnants for Sale.

     6th. Purchasers of second-hand Naval Stores, for Sale.

     7th. Wholesale Purchasers of second-hand Metals, for Sale.

     8th. Retail Purchasers of second-hand Metals, of persons in
     general, for working up.

     9th. Every Worker of second-hand Metals purchasing the same,
     from persons in general, and not from Licensed Dealers.

     10th. Purchasers of second-hand Building Materials for Sale.

     11th. Persons keeping Draught-Carts for second-hand goods,
     purchased for Sale.

     12th. Persons keeping Hand or Truck Carts for second-hand
     goods, purchased for Sale.

     13th. Sellers of Unredeemed Pledges, otherwise than by
     Auction: and also to control and inspect the conduct of
     these dealers, so as if possible to confine them to the
     innocent part of their Trades; and to collect and receive
     the respective Licence Duties.[174]

     [Footnote 174: If Twine Spinners and Rope Spinners of a
     certain class could be brought under similar regulations, it
     would prove extremely beneficial, inasmuch as the small
     Manufacturers in this line are known to give considerable
     facilities to the Stealers of Hemp on the River Thames.--A
     number of small Rope and Twine Manufacturers have undersold
     the fair trader, by working up Stolen Hemp, purchased at
     half price; and it is but too evident from discoveries which
     have recently been made, that this evil has gone to a very
     great extent, and that considerable benefits would be
     derived to the Public, by placing _Twine and White Rope
     Spinners_ under the control of the Police, at least within
     the proposed District of the Metropolis.]

     IV. To grant Licences also in like manner to other Traders,
     which are already under some degree of Legislative
     regulations; (but which require a more efficient Control),
     provided it shall be thought expedient by the Legislature to
     transfer these branches to the proposed Board, as requiring
     in a particular degree the superintendance of the Policy
     System, viz.

     1st. Pawnbrokers in Town and Country.

     2d. Persons keeping Slaughtering-houses for Horses, and
     other Animals, not for the food of Man.

     3d. Dealers in Horses, and persons hiring, keeping at
     Livery, and transferring Horses from hand to hand, with a
     view to establish a check against Highway Robberies, and to
     defeat those subtle tricks which prevail in the Sale of

     And also to collect the Licence and other Duties, (which
     might, in respect to the transfer of Horses, be rendered
     extremely productive without being felt as a burden), and to
     inspect the conduct of these classes with a view to the
     prevention of Frauds, and other offences.

     V. To grant Licences in like manner to all persons (except
     those employed in his Majesty's Mints), who shall erect or
     set up any cutting Engine for cutting round Blanks by the
     force of a Screw; or any Stamping Press, Fly, Rolling Mill,
     or other instrument for Stamping, flatting, or marking
     Metals, or Bank Notes; or which, with the assistance of any
     Matrix, Stamp, Die, or Plate, will stamp Coins or Notes--so
     as to prevent the enormous evils constantly experienced by
     the Coinage of Base Money, and the counterfeiting of Bank
     Notes:--A System whereby the criminal part of ingenious
     Artists could be kept under the immediate view of the
     Police, is so obvious in a Commercial Country, as to require
     no elucidation. And the measure is the more desirable, as
     the reputable part of the Artists and Manufacturers who have
     occasion to keep Presses for innocent and useful purposes,
     have no objection to such regulations.[175]

     [Footnote 175: See the Chapter on the subject of Base Coin,
     in this _Treatise_; and the remedies ultimately proposed for
     suppressing this enormous evil.--The Author has great
     satisfaction in stating that a Bill is now nearly prepared,
     grounded chiefly on his suggestions, for improving the
     Coinage Laws; and that sanguine hopes are entertained of its
     passing during the present Session of Parliament.--The
     proposition now made of bringing this feature of Police, so
     far as relates to _Presses_, and other _Machinery_, under
     the inspection of the proposed _Central Board_, will
     certainly have a powerful effect in deterring evil-minded
     persons from following the Trade of Coiners of Base Money,
     or Engravers and Stampers of forged Bank Notes.--In this
     kind of Control, the Police Revenue Board would have an
     advantage arising from the nature of the System, which may
     be considered as _invaluable in a national point of view_,
     since no part of the Country, however remote, could be said
     to be out of their reach, as Officers, under their immediate
     direction, would be found every where.]

     VI. These Commissioners, after deducting the necessary
     expences, should pay into the Exchequer weekly, through the
     medium of a Receiver, the whole Revenues collected by them
     for Police purposes; and it is to be hoped, notwithstanding
     the very low Rates of the Licence Duties proposed, that,
     _including the Horse Police_, the aggregate Collection would
     go very far towards easing the resources of the Country of
     the expence of what the Select Committee of the House of
     Commons denominate, _a very inefficient System of

     [Footnote 176: From an estimate which has been made, the
     three Classes mentioned in division IV. might be made to
     produce above 100,000_l._ for Police purposes, in addition
     to what is received at present from Pawnbrokers, and Horse
     Dealers.--The chief part would arise from the transfer of

     VII. It would be the duty of the Commissioners to
     superintend, with great strictness, the conduct of their
     Subordinate Officers, both in the Town and Country
     Districts, and to be careful that those who were entrusted
     with the collection of the Licence Duties gave proper
     Security;[177] and that in their conduct, in Surveying and
     Watching the Movements of the different Dealers, they
     manifested the greatest degree of vigilance, prudence, and
     discretion.--Above all, that they were regular in their
     Payments, and remittances, so as not to incur the penalties
     inflicted by the proposed Act on defaulters.

     [Footnote 177: The most oeconomical mode would,
     apparently, be to consolidate in one person the office of
     _Constable_ and _Collector of the Licence Duties_ in the
     respective Districts; having it understood that the poundage
     received on the money paid to the Board, should not only be
     considered as a remuneration for the Collection, but also as
     a reward for occasional Services in the general Police
     Department.--By such an arrangement, a chain of Select and
     reputable Officers may be established all over the Country,
     without being felt as a burden of any kind on the Community;
     while those Services under the general arrangements of the
     Board, could not fail to be productive of infinite benefits
     in the well-ordering of Society.]

     VIII. To correspond with the Select Magistrates in every
     District in the Kingdom, and not only to receive from them
     useful information, relative to offences which have been
     committed, and all other matters within the scope of the
     Functions of these Select Magistrates; but also to give them
     their advice and assistance in every case where it is found
     necessary, for the purpose of the preservation of peace and
     good order, and the due administration of the Laws; and
     particularly as it may apply to those Select Magistrates
     who reside near the Sea-Coasts of the Kingdom, that in all
     cases of Shipwreck, measures may be pursued, and the laws
     enforced, to prevent those horrid barbarities, pillage and
     spoliation, which have, to the disgrace of civilized
     Society, prevailed on such melancholy occasions.[178]

     [Footnote 178: The Registers of our Courts of Record, and
     other well-attested accounts, have developed scenes of
     unfeeling Cruelty and Rapacity, in cases of Shipwrecks,
     which would have disgraced the rudest and most ferocious
     Savages, and would lead a Stranger to suppose that we have
     no Laws for the prevention of such outrages.]

     IX. To make arrangements with the Select Magistrates in the
     Country, relative to the due execution of the proposed
     General Police Act, with respect to the Control over the
     persons Licenced, and all other Duties which may be required
     under such a Legislative System.

     X. To obtain accurate Information, by means of regular
     returns from Clerks of Assize, Clerks of the Peace, Keepers
     of Prisons, Houses of Correction, Penitentiary Houses, and
     other places of Confinement; and to have constantly in view
     the state of delinquency in the Metropolis, and in every
     part of the country; preserving such accounts in registers
     for the purpose of reference, as occasions might arise to
     render them useful to public Justice.--To assist the acting
     Magistrates in Town and Country by conveying all useful
     information applicable to their local situations,
     respecting the commission of crimes, and the detection of
     offenders, and which might tend to the prevention of
     disorders, or offences meditated against the Laws.

     XI. To watch the proceedings of the herds of criminal
     delinquents who generally leave Town every year in the month
     of March, after the drawing of the English Lottery, for the
     purpose of attending _fairs_, _races_, and other places of
     amusement and dissipation in the country, carrying with them
     quantities of _base Money, and EO Tables_, with a view to
     commit frauds on the unwary--And to give notice to the
     Select local Magistrates, that they and their officers may
     be upon their guard in defeating the nefarious designs of
     these miscreants, who are often disguised as farmers and
     labourers, the better to enable them to effect their
     purposes, by cheating and stealing, particularly _horses_,
     to the great loss and injury of the country.

     XII. It is recommended by the Select Committee of the House
     of Commons, that the Commissioners of this Central Board
     should have it in their power to distribute rewards to
     Constables or others for meritorious services, through the
     medium of the Magistrates of Police, and to use such other
     means as should best promote the ends of Justice, and the
     general utility of the Institution to the community.

     XIII. Under the direction of the principal Secretary of
     State for the Home Department, these Commissioners should
     avail themselves of the knowledge their situation would
     afford them of the degree of depravity and danger attached
     to the character of the different convicts; to select such
     as they thought proper objects for transportation to New
     South Wales; and to follow any other instructions they may
     receive for oeconomizing this branch of the criminal
     Police of the nation, so as, if possible, to reduce the
     annual expence.

     XIV. These Commissioners being authorized by the Lords of
     the Treasury, might take under their management all matters
     relative to the Lottery; not only with a view to a more
     oeconomical mode of drawing the same, but also for the
     purpose of rendering the Revenue productive to the State,
     without the evil consequences which at present arise from it
     to the morals of the lower orders of the people, and the
     distresses and miseries to which its fascinating delusions
     subject them.

     XV. It would be the duty of the Board, availing itself of
     the practical knowledge which may be obtained by means of a
     System of general superintendence in the Police Department,
     to attend closely to the operation of the whole of the
     present code of penal Laws, with respect to its efficacy and
     utility; and where imperfections are discovered, to suggest
     from time to time such improvements as may appear useful and
     beneficial to the Police, and to the Revenue.

     XVI. The Select Committee in their Report recommend, that
     the proposed Board should have power "to make Bye-Laws for
     the regulation of such minor objects of Police as relate to
     the objects of their superintendence, and to the control of
     all Coaches, Chairs, Carts, Barrows, and the conduct of all
     Coachmen and Chairmen, Carters, &c. and the removal and
     prevention of all annoyances, and the correction of all
     offences against the cleanliness and quiet, and the free
     passage of the streets of the Metropolis, in like manner as
     is now possessed, by the Commissioners of Hackney Coaches,
     and subject to the approbation of the Superior Judges."

     XVII. To superintend the general receipts and disbursements
     of the Establishment, and to report the same quarterly to
     the Treasury, and to the principal Secretary of State for
     the Home Department.

     XVIII. To receive and execute the instructions of the
     Treasury in all matters respecting Finance and Revenue; and
     the instructions and directions of His Majesty's Secretary
     of State for the Home Department in all matters of Police.

     XIX. To establish a more correct System through the medium
     of the Select Magistrates, whereby the Laws for the
     prevention and punishment of offences may be more
     effectually and universally carried into execution, and not
     in many instances remain a dead letter, as at present, to
     the great injury of the community; or be partially carried
     into effect in particular parts of the country, against a
     few individuals, or for mere temporary purposes.

     XX. Finally, it will be the duty of the Board to report to
     his Majesty in Council, and to Parliament (if required) the
     State of the Metropolis and the Country, with respect to
     criminal _Police_ in all its branches, so as to bring under
     the review of the Executive Government _the whole
     criminality of the Country_, at a given period each year,
     where it will be accurately discovered whether it increases
     or diminishes.

Such are the functions apparently necessary to be assigned to the
proposed Board of Commissioners, for the purpose of accomplishing the
objects of improvement in the Police System, which have been
recommended to Parliament by the Select Committee.

These objects are of too much importance to the Public, to the
Security of the State, and to the peace and good order of Society, to
be lost sight of, even for one moment.

While the morals and habits of the lower ranks in Society are growing
progressively worse and worse--while the innocent and useful part of
the Community are daily suffering evils and inconveniences originating
from this source--while crimes multiply in all instances under the
existing systems, (the Thames Police only excepted[179]) it becomes of
importance to apply a remedy. In legislating with this view, the same
disadvantages and difficulties do not present themselves as in many
other cases, since much previous labour and investigation has been
bestowed in forming a ground-work for the proposed General Police

[Footnote 179: Nothing can be offered as a more irrefragable proof of
the utility of a Police Institution, such as has been recommended by
the Select Committee on Finance, than the effect of the Marine Police
Establishment upon the River Thames; where, in spite of a crippled
System, and deficient Laws, the energy of the superintendence, and the
strength of the Civil force, has, at a very trifling expence, applied
with strict oeconomy, worked such a change in the Port of London,
both with respect to the security of commercial property, and the
Revenue, as would scarcely have been conceived possible. For an
Account of this System, see the 8th Chapter of this Work: but for a
more enlarged and comprehensive view of the nature and effect of the
design, recourse must be had to the Author's _Treatise on the Commerce
and Police of the River Thames, &c._ now in the press; in which the
whole plan is developed, together with the Legislative System
necessary to give permanent effect to the design.]

Under the Sanction of his Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for
the Home Department, a Bill has been prepared, in which, while every
attention has been paid to the means of accomplishing the views of the
Select Committee, nothing can exceed the pains which have been
bestowed _in preserving the rights of innocence, and in divesting
power of the faculty of abuse_.

A line has been carefully drawn between the _noxious_ and the
_blameless_ and useful part of the community; and while the injuries
arising from the pursuits of the former are checked and restrained,
the privileges of the latter are extended and enlarged. This, when
properly contemplated, will be found to be the _true essence of good
Police_--and this explains in the shortest compass that is possible,
the _ultimate object of the design_.

The Bill comprehends five divisions:--The _first_ authorizes _the
imposition of Licence Duties on certain classes of Dealers already
enumerated_:--The _second_ establishes a _Board of Police Revenue, and
explains its powers and functions_:--The _third_ explains _the powers
and regulations which apply to the Licensing System_:--The _fourth_
relates to _penalties_ and _procedure_: and the _fifth_ transfers the
functions of _the Commissioners of Hackney Coaches and Chairs, and
Hawkers and Pedlars, to the new Establishment, and makes provision for
such Officers as may cease to be employed_.--While the proposed
duties, although light upon the individuals, promise to be productive
to a certain extent; the Licensing System is likely "to purge the
occupations placed under control from the imputations which are now
but too deservedly cast upon them; and to make them by gradual steps
the instruments of detection, instead of the means of concealment, of
every species of fraud and violence."[180]

[Footnote 180: See the 28th Report of the Select Committee, page 4.]

The functions of the Board, by comprehending whatever relates to the
delinquency of the country, will establish a general responsibility
which does not now exist, and which never has existed, with respect to
the evils arising from the multiplication of crimes, while their
diminution will depend on the zeal, ability, and discretion to be
manifested by those to whom this important duty may be assigned.

By this establishment of a general Police System, will it become the
duty of one class of men to watch over the general delinquency of the
Metropolis, and the country;--to check its progress by lessening the
resources of the evil disposed to do injuries, and to commit acts of
violence on the peaceful subject; and gradually to lead the
_criminal_, _the idle_, and _the dissolute_ members of the community
into the paths of innocence and industry.

The collateral aids to be derived from this System of Control over
Dealers and others of loose conduct, in pursuit of evil courses, will
give considerable strength to the Legislative measures which are in
contemplation, with respect to the _Police of the River Thames_: _The
frauds and plunder in the Naval and other public departments_:--_The
Coinage of base Money_, and the _fabrication of counterfeit Bank
Notes_.--Whatever has been contemplated for the purpose of checking
and preventing these evils cannot be complete or effectual, until the
proposed Board is established, and the Licensing System in full
action. The control of this Board is absolutely necessary to
contribute to the success of the measures proposed, and to the
security of public and private property against the present extensive
depredations. In fact the whole System is linked together, and its
energy and success will depend on the passing of the respective Laws
applicable to each object of which the Police Board may not
improperly be denominated _the key-stone_.

It is this responsible superintendance which is to give _life_,
_vigour_, and _effect_, not only to the Laws which are in
contemplation, but to many other excellent Statutes which remain at
present as _a dead letter_.--Let it once become the duty of one body
of men to charge themselves with the execution of the Laws for the
prevention of crimes, and the detection of offences--let them be armed
with proper and apposite powers for that purpose, and the state of
Society will speedily become ameliorated and improved; a greater
degree of security will be extended to the peaceful subject, and the
blessings of civil liberty will be enlarged.

A new æra in the world seems to have commenced, which imperiously
calls for the adoption of such measures; not only in this country, but
all over Europe. The evil propensities incident to human nature appear
no longer restrained by the force of religion, or the influence of the
moral principle.--On these barriers powerful attacks have been made,
which have hitherto operated as curbs to the unruly passions peculiar
to vulgar life: they must therefore be strengthened by supports more
immediately applicable to the object of preserving peace and good

The period is approaching when to the phalanx of delinquents who at
present prey upon Society, will be added multitudes of idle and
depraved characters discharged from the Army and Navy on the return
of Peace.--Policy and humanity require that an adequate remedy should
be provided for such a contingency.--_Qui non vetat peccare cum
possit, jubet._ Where the powers of a State are not employed to avert
apparent and threatened evils, a tacit assent is given to the
commission of crimes. On the contrary, where means are used to check
the progress of turpitude and vice, and to compel obedience to the
Laws, the comfort of Society is promoted, and the privileges of
innocence are secured.

If in the accomplishment of the design which has been recommended by
the highest authority, these objects shall be gradually attained--If
it shall operate in preventing acts of violence and fraud from being
committed upon the peaceful subject; while means are discovered
through the medium of a well-regulated Police, whereby the
unfortunate, and even the idle and the dissolute, may possess a
resource for subsistence by honest industry, without having any
pretended plea of necessity for resorting to Crimes; great, indeed,
would be the benefits which would result to the Public. This would be
at once the triumph both of reason and humanity.

The first step is, to attend to the Morals and the Habits of the
rising Generation; to adapt the Laws more particularly to the manners
of the People, by minutely examining the state of Society, so as to
lead the inferior orders, as it were, insensibly into better Habits,
by gentle restraints upon those propensities which terminate in
Idleness and Debauchery;--to remove temptations, in their nature
productive of evil, and to establish incitements to good and useful

Among a variety of other Functions which would devolve on the proposed
Commissioners, perhaps one might be to offer suggestions to the
Executive Government, with respect to such useful Regulations as might
arise from the extensive knowledge which they must necessarily acquire
as to the condition and pursuits of the labouring People; and hence
would result one of the greatest means of preventing Crimes, and
improving the Condition of human Life.

But while it is acknowledged to be a vain hope to reduce the
tumultuous passions of Men to absolute regularity, so as to render the
Commission of offences impracticable; it is equally clear (and it is
even proved by the State of Society, where Public Morals have been
more effectually guarded,) that it is possible to diminish the Evil
very considerably.

By the establishment of a well-conducted Board of Police, a confident
hope is entertained that this purpose is attainable; and in this view
(although it is to take nothing from the present Resources of the
State), it is a blessing to the Nation, which could scarce be too
dearly purchased at any price.


     _The unparalleled Extent and Opulence of the Metropolis,
     manifested in the number of streets, lanes, alleys, courts,
     and squares, estimated at above 8000;--containing above 4000
     Churches and Places for religious Worship,--more than 400
     Seminaries of Education;--several Institutions for promoting
     Religion and Morality;--11 Societies for promoting Learning,
     and the useful and the fine Arts;--a great number of
     charitable Asylums for the indigent and forlorn;--Hospitals
     and Dispensaries for the lame, sick, and diseased;--and
     above 1700 Institutions of various other kinds for
     Charitable and Humane Purposes.--A detail of the Courts of
     Law, and other Establishments connected with the
     distribution of Justice.--The public Prisons in the
     Metropolis.--A View of the number of Persons employed in the
     different departments of the Law, estimated in all at about
     7000.--Suggestions for improving the civil Jurisprudence in
     the Metropolis, so far as relates to the recovery of small
     Debts.--The Evils arising from the present System,
     exemplified in the multiplicity of actions for trivial sums
     in the course of a year; the enormous expence, and the ill
     effects of the severity of the punishment in such cases;
     debasing the mind, and proving the destruction of many
     families, in their morals; and injuring the State.--The
     necessity of an Alteration of the System, farther enforced
     by the propriety of relieving the supreme Judges from a
     weight of labour unreasonable in the vast increase of
     business, which the extensive and growing intercourse of
     Commerce occasions.--The same Observations extended to the
     great Officers of State; and the necessity and utility of a
     division of labour, in proportion to the increase of public
     duty, explained; as a means of preventing inconveniences.--A
     view of the Municipal Regulations which have been
     established in the Metropolis for the accommodation and
     convenience of the inhabitants; grounded on various acts of
     the Legislature, passed at different periods, during the
     last and the present century.--Each district of the
     Metropolis a separate Municipality; where the power of
     assessing the inhabitants for the purposes of paving,
     watching, lighting, cleansing, and removing nuisances, is
     placed in the hands of Trustees, under a great number of
     local acts of Parliament.--These regulations mostly founded
     on Laws made in the last and in the present Reign.--The
     principal public acts detailed, viz:--The General Act of the
     2d William and Mary, cap. 8, for paving the Metropolis;--the
     10th Geo. II. cap. 22, for watching the City of London; 11th
     Geo. III. cap. 29, for removing signs, and establishing a
     complete System of Municipal Police.--The Acts relative to
     Westminster and Southwark for similar purposes.--The
     Statutes relative to Common Sewers detailed; their origin,
     and the great advantages resulting from them.--The Laws
     relative to Hackney Coaches and Chairs--also to Carts and
     other Carriages.--The Acts relative to Watermen on the
     Thames.--The Law for restraining bullock-hunting. And
     finally, the Regulations by the 14th Geo. III. cap. 78,
     relative to the Mode of building Houses, and the Rules laid
     down for extinguishing Fires. Concluding Observations, on
     the advantages which would result to the Metropolis at large
     from these numerous Acts of Parliament being rendered
     uniform, and conformable to the excellent Regulations
     established for the City of London.--The advantages of
     simplifying the System.--The burden upon the Inhabitants
     equal to one million a year for the expence of Municipal
     Police.--Suggestions for improving the System and reducing
     this expence.--Concluding Reflections.--The present epoch,
     more than any other, presses for arrangements calculated to
     amend the Morals of the People, by improving the Laws of the

It cannot fail to prove an interesting inquiry, not only to the
inhabitants of the Metropolis, but also to Strangers, by what means
that department of its oeconomy and government, which may be
denominated _Municipal Police_, is regulated; so as to convey the
comforts, and procure the various accommodations and conveniences
which, with some few exceptions, are felt to exist in every part of
the Capital and its environs.

When it is known that this great City, (unparalleled, as will be
hereafter shewn, in extent and opulence, through the whole habitable
Globe,) comprehends, besides _London_, _Westminster_, and _Southwark_,
no less than forty-five Villages, now exceedingly inlarged,
independent of a vast accession of buildings upon the open fields in
the vicinity; it becomes less a matter of surprize, to learn, that it
extends to nearly eight miles in length,--is three miles at least in
breadth, and not less than twenty-six in circumference; containing
above eight thousand streets, lanes, alleys, and courts, and
sixty-five different Squares; in which are more than one hundred and
sixty thousand houses, warehouses, and other buildings; besides
_Churches_ and _Chapels_ for religious worship, of which the following
enumeration is imagined not to be very distant from truth:--

  For Religious Instruction.

    Of the Established     1 Cathedral, dedicated to St. Paul.
    Religion.              1 Abbey Church of St. Peter, Westminster.
                         120 Parish Churches.
                         120 Chapels, and Chapels of Ease.

    Meeting-houses for       { Consisting of Chapels for Methodist
    Dissenters.              { Nonconformists, Presbyterians,
                         150 { Independents, Anabaptists,
                             { Quakers, and English Roman
                             { Catholicks.

                             { Consisting of Chapels for French,
                             { German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish,
    Chapels and              { and Helvetic Protestants,
    Meeting-houses for    30 { for Foreign Roman Catholics,
    Foreigners.              { and those of the Russian or
                             { Greek Church.

    Synagogues             6 for the Jewish Religion.
          _Total about_  428 _Places of Public Worship._

The number of Inhabitants of this great Metropolis, occupying these
various houses and buildings, may, under all circumstances, be
rationally estimated at one million at least; for whose accommodation,
convenience, and security, the following Institutions have been
formed, _namely_,--1st. _For Education_;--2d. _For promoting good
Morals_;--3d. _For useful and fine Arts_;--4th. _For objects of
Charity and Humanity_;--5th. _For distributing Justice_;--and 6th.
_For punishing Offenders_.


  1st. For Education.

      16 Inns of Court and Chancery, for educating Students to
         the profession of the Law, &c. &c.

       5 Colleges--viz. One for the improvement of the Clergy,
         London Wall; one for Divinity and Astronomy,
         called Gresham College; one for Physicians, Warwick
         Lane; one for the study of Civil Law, Doctors-Commons;
         and the Heralds College.

      62 Schools, or public Seminaries; the principal of which
         are Westminster School, Blue-coat School or Christ's
         Hospital, St. Paul's, Merchant Taylors, Charter-house,
         St. Martin's School, &c. &c. &c. where
         about 5000 young persons are educated.

     237 Schools belonging to the different Parishes; where
         about 9000 male and female Children are educated
         in Reading, Writing, and Accompts.

    3730 Private Schools, for all the various branches of male and
         female Education; including some for Deaf and
    4050 Seminaries of Education.

_The following Schools seem to deserve particular Enumeration; though
probably there are many others which might equally deserve notice:--_

  For Education.

     1 Asylum for poor friendless, deserted girls, under
       twelve years of age, Vauxhall Road                         1758

     2 Orphan Working-School, for Children of Dissenters,
       City Road.

     3 Philanthropic Society, St. George's Fields, for
       children of criminal parents, and young delinquents.

     4 Freemasons' School, for Female Orphans, St.
       George's Fields                                            1788

     5 Marine Society, for educating poor destitute boys
       to the Sea, in Bishopsgate-street                          1756

     6 British or Welsh Charity School, Gray's Inn
       Lane                                                       1718

     7 French Charity School, Windmill-street, Tottenham
       Court-Road                                                 1747

     8 School for Soldiers' Girls, at Chelsea, supported
       by Ladies                                                  1709

     9 Neal's Mathematical School, for teaching Navigation,
       &c. to poor children, King's Head
       Court, Gough-Square, Fleet-street                          1715

    10 School for Children of the Clergy; the Boys at
       _Thirsk_, Yorkshire, the Girls at _Lisson-Green_,
       Paddington.--Secretary, J. Topham, Esq.
       No. 5, Gray's Inn Square                                   1749

    11 Day-School of Industry, for Boys and Girls,
       Paradise-street, Mary-le-bone                              1791

    12 Another, No. 68, Edgware-Road, for Girls                   1784

    13 Ladies' Charity School, King-street, Snow Hill             1702

    14 Walworth Female Charity School.

    15 Saint Anne's Society, hitherto at Lavenham,
       Suffolk, about to be removed to Camberwell,
       for Boys and Girls, (extended in 1733 and
       1791)                                                      1709

    16 Grey Coat Hospital, Artillery Ground, Westminster.

    17 Green Coat Hospital, Ditto.


  2. For promoting Religion and good Morals.

     1 The Society for giving effect to his Majesty's
       proclamation against Vice and Immorality                   1787

     2 The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge,
       Bartlett's Buildings, Holborn                              1699

     3 The Society for propagation of the Gospel in
       Foreign Parts, Dean's Yard, Westminster                    1701

     4 The Society for promoting Religious Knowledge,
       by distributing books among the poor.--Secretary,
       Mr. Watts, Founder's Hall, Lothbury                        1715

     5 The Society for promoting Charity Schools in
       Ireland, Merchant Seaman's Office.

     6 The Society for Religious Instruction to the Negroes
       in the West Indies                                         1793

     7 The Society for preventing Crimes, by prosecuting
       Swindlers, Sharpers, and Cheats; Gough-Square,
       Fleet-street                                               1767

     8 British Society for the Encouragement of Servants,
       No. 27, Hay-market                                         1792

     9 Society for giving Bibles to Soldiers and Sailors,
       No. 427, Oxford-street                                     1780

    10 Dr. Bray's Charity for providing parochial Libraries,
       No. 5, Ave-Maria Lane.

    11 Society for Relief of poor pious Clergymen                 1788

    12 Queen Anne's Bounty for the Augmentation of
       small Livings of Clergymen.--Secretary, R.
       Burn, Esq. Duke-street, Westminster                        1703

    13 Sunday Schools, in various parishes.

    14 Sunday School Society, for giving Bibles, &c.
       and otherwise furthering the purposes of Sunday
       Schools.--Sec. Mr. Prestill, No. 47,
       Cornhill                                                   1785


  3. For learning, and the useful and fine Arts.

     1 Royal Society, incorporated for promoting useful
       Knowledge;--_Instituted_                                   1663

     2 Antiquarian Society, Somerset Place                        1751

     3 Society or Trustees of the British Museum                  1753

     4 Society of Artists of Great Britain, Strand                1765

     5 Royal Academy of Arts, Somerset Place                      1773

     6 Society for the encouragement of Learning,
       Crane-Court, Fleet-street.

     7 Society for encouragement of Arts, Manufactures,
       and Commerce, Adelphi Buildings.

     8 Medical Society of London, Bolt-court, Fleet-street        1773

     9 Society for the improvement of Naval Architecture.

    10 Veterinary College, near St. Pancras Church.

    11 Royal Institution for applying the Arts to the
       common purposes of Life                                    1799

  4. Asylum for the Indigent and Helpless.

    107 Alms-houses endowed at different periods, where 1352
        old men and women are supported; the principal of these
        houses are,--_The Trinity Alms-houses_, for 28 decayed
        Ship Masters, in Mile End; _Bancroft's Alms-houses_,
        Mile End, for 24 Poor Men; _Fishmongers' Alms-houses_,
        Newington Butts; _Haberdashers' Alms-houses_, in Hoxton;
        _Jeffries' Alms-houses_, Kingsland Road; _Sir John
        Morden's College_, for decayed Merchants, at Blackheath;
        _Emanuel_, or _Lady Dacre's Hospital_, Tothilfields,

      1 London Workhouse, Bishopsgate-street, for decayed old

      1 Bridewell Hospital, an Asylum for Apprentices to different
        trades, Bridge-street, Blackfriars.

      1 Charter-house Hospital, an Asylum for 80 indigent
        persons, in Charter-house Square, _founded_               1611

      1 Scottish Hospital for decayed Natives of Scotland,
        in Crane-court, Fleet-street.

      1 Welsh Hospital, for decayed Natives of Wales,
        in Gray's Inn Lane.

      1 French Hospital, for decayed Frenchmen, in St.
        Luke's, Middlesex                                         1719

      1 Foundling Hospital, for deserted Infants,
        Lamb's-Conduit-street                                     1739

      1 Magdalen Hospital, for the admission of seduced
        Females, St. George's Fields                              1769

      1 Lock Asylum, for penitent Female Patients, cured
        in the Lock Hospital                                      1787

      1 Chelsea Hospital, for worn-out and disabled Soldiers      1670

      1 Greenwich Hospital, for worn-out and disabled
        Seamen                                                    1694

[Footnote 181: London Workhouse is a large building, which might, with
great advantage, be turned into a house of industry, or Penitentiary
House for Petty offenders, for which purpose it was used in ancient
times. Although it is said to be sufficient to lodge about 500 people,
it is now used only as an asylum for a few old persons; and is a
sinecure for the Keepers and Officers, who live comfortably as the
servants of the Community without doing any good. This house is amply
endowed by a power of levying contributions on all the parishes for
its support.]


  Hospitals for Sick, Lame, and Diseased, and Pregnant Women.

     1. St. Bartholomew's Hospital, in West Smithfield, for
        the reception of afflicted and diseased Persons           1539

     2. St. Thomas's Hospital, Southwark, for the reception
        of sick and lame, especially sailors                      1553

     3. Guy's Hospital, Southwark, for sick and impotent
        persons; and lunatics                                     1721

     4. London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, for the reception
        of all persons meeting with accidents                     1740

     5. St. George's Hospital, Hyde Park Corner, for the
        reception of sick and lame                                1735

     6. Westminster General Infirmary, James-street, Westminster,
        for sick and diseased persons                             1719

     7. Middlesex Hospital, Charles street, near Oxford-street,
        for sick and lame, and pregnant women                     1745

     8. Lock Hospital, Hyde Park Turnpike, for persons
        afflicted with the venereal disorder                      1746

     9. Hospital Misericordia, Goodman's-fields, for the
        same purpose                                              1774

    10. Small-pox Hospital, St. Pancras, for inoculation
        of poor persons                                           1746

    11. London Lying-in Hospital, Aldersgate-street, for
        poor _married_ women                                      1750

    12. City of London Lying-in Hospital, Old-street, City
        Road, _Idem._                                             1751

    13. British Lying-in Hospital, Brownlow-street, Long-Acre,
        _id._                                                     1749

    14. Westminster Lying-in Hospital, Surry Road,
        Westminster Bridge, for poor pregnant women

    15. Queen's Lying-in Hospital, Bayswater Hall, Oxford
        Road, _id._

    16. Lying-in Hospital, Store-street, Tottenham Court
        Road, _id._                                               1767

    17. Lying-in Charity, for delivering pregnant women
        at their own houses; _W. Manning_, Esq. Governor;
        Physician, Dr. _Sims_, Blackfriars                        1757

    18. Society for delivering married women in their own
        habitations, by whom 32 midwives are employed,
        No. 18, Strand                                            1757

    19. Bethlem Hospital, for Lunatics, Moorfields                1558

    20. St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics, Old-street Road         1751

    21. Samaritan Society for relieving Persons discharged
        from Hospitals                                            1791

    22. Society for visiting and relieving the Sick in their
        own Houses.

  Dispensaries for Sick, Lame, and Diseased.

     1 Eastern Dispensary, Whitechapel

     2 Western Dispensary, Charles-street, Westminster

     3 Middlesex Dispensary, Great Ailiff-street

     4 London Dispensary, Primrose-street, Bishopsgate-street

     5 City Dispensary, Bevis Marks

     6 New Finsbury Dispensary, St. John-street, Clerkenwell

     7 Finsbury Dispensary, St. John's Square, Clerkenwell

     8 General Dispensary, Aldersgate-street

     9 Public Dispensary, Cary-street, Lincoln's Inn Fields

    10 Infant Poor Dispensary, Soho-square

    11 St. James's Dispensary, Berwick-street, Soho

    12 Westminster Dispensary, Gerard-street, Soho

    13 Mary-le-bone Dispensary, Well-street, Oxford-street

    14 Ossulston Dispensary, Bow-street, Bloomsbury

    15 Surry Dispensary, Union-street, Borough

    16 Royal Universal Dispensary, Featherstone Buildings,

  Institutions for Charitable and Humane Purposes.

    Humane Society, for the recovery of drowned and suffocated
    Persons, Spital-square and London Coffee-house                1773

    Society for the Relief of Clergymen's Widows, Paper
    Buildings, Temple

    Society for the Relief of Widows and Orphans of Medical
    Men, founded by Dr. Squires and Mr. Chamberlaine              1788

    Laudable Society, for the benefit of Widows, Crane-Court,

    Society for the support of Widows, Surry-street, Strand

    Society for the support of poor Artists, and their Widows,

    Three Societies for the support of decayed Musicians,
    their Widows and Children

    Society for the Relief of decayed Actors

    ABC-darian Society, for the Relief of decayed

    Society for the Relief of Authors in distress

    Society for the Relief of Officers, their Widows, Children,
    Mothers, and Sisters

    Society for Annuities to Widows, Old Fish-street,
    St. Paul's, No. 25

    Society for the Relief of sick and maimed Seamen in
    the Merchant's Service                                        1747

    Society for the Relief of poor Widows and Children
    of Clergymen, instituted by Charter                           1768

    Rayne's Hospital for 40 girls, who receive 100_l._ portion
    on their marriage                                             1736

    Society called the Feast of the Sons of the Clergy, for
    apprenticing their indigent Children, No. 5, Gray's
    Inn Square

    Freemason's Charity

    Society for the relief of Persons confined for Small
    Debts, Craven-street, Strand

    Society for bettering the condition, and increasing
    the comforts of the Poor

    Society for improving the condition of Chimney-Sweepers

    Five Soup Societies


    Private Asylums for Lunatics

    91 Public Companies in the City of London, who give
    in charity above £.75,000 a year

    Stock's Blind Charity, distributed by the Painters-Stainers'
    Company                                                       1786

    Hetherington's Blind Charity, payable at Christ's
    Hospital                                                      1787

    Asylum for Deaf and Dumb Poor, Grange Road,
    Bermondsey                                                    1792

    Charitable Society for Industrious Poor, School
    House, Hatton Garden

    Society for Charitable Purposes, Wardour-street,
    Soho                                                          1773

    1600 Friendly Societies in the Metropolis and its vicinity,
    of which about 800 have enrolled themselves
    under the Act of Parliament, 33 Geo. III. cap.
    54. They are composed of mechanics and labouring
    people, who distribute to sick members,
    and for funerals, sums raised by monthly
    payments, amounting on an average to 1_s._ 8_d._
    a month, or 20_s._ a year, and consisting of
    about 80,000 members, who thus raise annually

Reflecting on the foregoing list of various laudable Institutions,
which it cannot be expected should be altogether perfect, but which
may be said to be unparalleled in point of extent, as well as
munificence, and conferring the highest honour on the National
Character for Charity and Humanity; the mind is lost in astonishment,
that greater and more extensive benefits have not arisen to the
inhabitants of the Metropolis; not only in improving their morals,
but in preventing the lowest orders of the People from suffering that
extreme misery and wretchedness, which has already been stated to
exist in so great a degree in London.

When it is also recollected, that large sums are annually expended by
Societies instituted for promoting religion, virtue, and good morals,
it must be evident, as human misery does not appear to be alleviated,
and the morals of the People grow worse--that there must be some cause
to produce effects so opposite to what might have been expected from
such unparalleled philanthropy; the cause, indeed, may easily be
traced to that evident deficiency in the general System of Police,
which has so often been mentioned in the course of this Work.[182]

[Footnote 182: But particularly that branch of it, which relates to
the management of the Poor, than which nothing in a greater degree
requires immediate improvement; since it is unquestionably true, and
has, indeed, been already shewn, that from this source incalculable
evils have arisen, which must proportionately increase, until some
effectual remedy is applied.--See Chapter 13th, where a remedy is

In the next place, it may be useful, and certainly cannot be improper,
in a Treatise on the Police, to insert a brief detail of the different
Courts of Law, and public Prisons, established in the Metropolis; for
the distribution of Justice, and the punishment of delinquents, for
civil as well as criminal offences; together with the number of
professional men attached to these various Law establishments.




  Supreme Courts.

    The High Court of Parliament.

    The House of Lords; being the Appeal in the last resort in
    all causes criminal and civil.

    The Court of Exchequer Chamber, before which Writs of
    Error are brought on judgments in the Court of King's Bench
    and other Courts; it is composed, in certain cases, of all the
    Twelve Judges, and the Lord Chancellor; but sometimes of
    a smaller number.

    The High Court of Chancery--at Westminster Hall--and
    Lincoln's Inn Hall.

    The Court of King's Bench, held in Westminster Hall.

    The Court of Common Pleas, held in Westminster Hall.

    The Court of Exchequer--a Court of Law, Equity and
    Revenue; held at Westminster Hall and Serjeant's Inn.

    The Court of Appeals in Colonial and Prize Causes; before
    the Lords of his Majesty's Privy Council at Whitehall.

    The High Court of Admiralty, for Prizes, &c. at Doctor's
    Commons; and in criminal Cases, twice a year, at the Old

    Four Ecclesiastical Courts. Doctors' Commons.

      Prerogative Court, for Wills
      and Administrations

      Court of Arches, for Appeals
      from inferior Ecclesiastical
      Courts in the Province of
      Canterbury; the Court of
      Peculiars is a branch of this

      Faculty Court, to grant Dispensations
      to marry, &c.

      Court of Delegates for Ecclesiastical

  The Court of Oyer and
  Terminer and Gaol-Delivery
  for trying
  Criminals at the Justice
  Hall, Old Bailey

    Held by His Majesty's Commission
    to the Lord-Mayor, Judges, Recorder
    and Common Serjeant, &c.

  Seventeen Courts in the City of London.

    Court of Hustings

      The Supreme Court of the City for Pleas of
      Land and Common Pleas

    The Lord-Mayor's Court

      For Actions of Debt and Trespass, and for
      Appeals from inferior Courts and for foreign
      attachments; giving decisions in all
      cases whatsoever, in 14 days, at an expence
      not exceeding thirty Shillings; held in the
      King's Bench, Guildhall, by the Lord-Mayor,
      Recorder, and Aldermen.

    Court of Requests

      Held by two Aldermen and four Members of
      the Common Council, appointed by the
      Lord-Mayor and Aldermen; three of
      whom form a Court for the recovery of
      small debts under 40_s._ at the expence of 10_d._

    Chamberlain's Court

      Held every day to determine differences between
      masters and apprentices; and to admit
      those qualified to the freedom of the

    Sheriff's Court

      Held every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
      and Saturday, at Guildhall; where Actions
      of Debt and Trespass, &c. are tried by the
      Sheriff, and his Deputy, who are Judges of
      the Court.

    Court of Orphans

      Held before the Lord-Mayor and Aldermen,
      as Guardians of the Children of deceased
      Freemen under twenty-one years of age, &c.

    Pie Poudre Court

      Held by the Lord-Mayor and Stewards, for
      administering instantaneous Justice between
      Buyers and Sellers at Bartholomew Fair, to
      redress all such disorders as may arise there.

    Court of Conservancy

      Held by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen four
      times a year, in Middlesex, Essex, Kent,
      and Surry; who inquire by a Jury, into
      Abuses relative to the Fishing on the River
      Thames, and redress the same; from Staines
      _West_, to Yenfleet _East_.

    Court of Lord-Mayor, and
    Aldermen.--Court of Common
    Council.--Court of
    Common Hall.--Court of

      These relate to setting the Assize
      on Bread and Salt--to the municipal
      Officers of the City--to
      the Elections of Lord-Mayor,
      Sheriffs, and Officers of the
      City--and to the Management
      of the Public Property of the
      City, and removing Nuisances.
      The Wardmotes are held chiefly
      for the Election of Aldermen
      & Common Councilmen.

    General and Quarter Sessions of the Peace, held by the Lord-Mayor
    and Aldermen, eight times a year.

    Petty Sessions for small Offences, &c. held at
    the Mansion House by the Lord-Mayor
    and one Alderman: and at Guildhall by
    two Aldermen in rotation

      Daily, in the forenoon

    Coroners' Court

      To inquire into the causes of sudden deaths,
      when they arise.

    Court of the Tower of London

      Held within the verge of the City by a Stewart
      appointed by the Constable of the
      Tower, before whom are tried Actions of
      Debt, Trespasses, and Covenants.

  Courts of Justice within the City and
  Liberty of Westminster.

    Court of the Duchy of Lancaster

      A supreme Court of Record, held in Somerset
      Place, for deciding by the Chancellor of the
      said Duchy, all matters of Law or Equity belonging
      to the County Palatine of Lancaster

    Quarter Sessions of the Peace

      A Court of Record, held by the Justices of the
      City and Liberty of Westminster, four
      times a year, at the Guildhall, Westminster,
      for all Trespasses, Petty Larcenies, and
      other small Offences, committed within the
      City and Liberty

    Westminster Court

      Or Court Leet, held by the Dean of Westminster
      or his Steward, for choosing parochial
      Officers, preventing and removing
      Nuisances, &c.

    Court of Requests,
    Castle-street, Leicester-square

      Held by Commissioners (being respectable
      Housekeepers) for deciding without appeal,
      all Pleas for Debts under forty shillings.
      For the parishes of St. Margaret, St. John,
      St. Martin, St. Paul Covent Garden, St.
      Clement Danes, St. Mary le Strand, and
      that part of the Dutchy of Lancaster which
      joins Westminster

    Court of Requests,
    Vinestreet, Piccadilly

      Held in the same manner, and for the same
      purposes; for the parishes of St. Anne,
      St. George Hanover-square, and St. James,

    Petty Sessions, or Police Court,
    held at Bow-street

      A Court of Petty Sessions, held by two Magistrates
      every day, (Sunday excepted) morning
      and evening, for matters of Police, and various
      Offences, and Misdemeanors, &c.

    Police Court or Petty Sessions,
    held at Queen-sq. Westminster

      A Court of Petty Sessions established by Act
      of Parliament, held every day, morning &
      evening, (Sunday excepted) by two Magistrates,
      for matters of Police, and various
      Offences, Misdemeanors, &c.

    Police Court, or petty Sessions,
    held at Great Marlborough-str.

      The same.

  Courts of Justice in that part of the Metropolis,
  which lies within the County of Middlesex.

    St. Martins-le-Grand Court

      _A Court of Record_, subject to the Dean and
      Chapter of Westminster, held every Wednesday,
      for the trial of all personal Actions.
      The process is by a Capias against the body,
      or an Attachment against the goods in this
      particular Liberty

    East Smithfield Court

      A Court Leet and Court Baron, held for this
      Liberty, to inquire into Nuisances, &c.--In
      the Court Baron Pleas are held to the
      amount of forty shillings

    Finsbury Court

      A Court Leet held once a year, by a Steward
      of the Lord-Mayor, as Lord of the Manor of
      Finsbury, for inquiring into those Nuisances
      competent for Leet Juries, by ancient usage,
      and swearing in Constables for the Manor

    St. Catherine's Court

      Two Courts are competent to be held within
      this small Precinct, for Actions of Debt and
      Trespass, at St. Catherine's near the Tower

    Whitechapel Court

      A Court held by the Steward of the Manor of
      Stepney, by whom, and a Jury, are tried Actions
      of Debt for 5_l._ and under, &c. &c.

    Sheriff's Court

      For the County of Middlesex, for Actions of
      Debt, Trespasses, Assaults, &c.

    Quarter and General sessions
    of the Peace, and Sessions of
    Oyer and Terminer

      Held by the Justices of the County of Middlesex,
      eight times a year, at the New Sessions
      House, Clerkenwell Green, for all
      Trespasses, Petty Larcenies, Misdemeanors,
      and other offences, &c. and for Roads,
      Bridges, and other County Affairs

    Petty Sessions or Police Court,
    established by Act of Parliament

      A Court of Petty Sessions, held every morning
      and evening, (Sunday excepted) by two
      Magistrates, at the Public Office, in Hatton
      Garden, for matters of Police and various
      Offences, Misdemeanors, &c.

    Petty Session, or Police Court

      At the Public Office, Worship-street, near
      Finsbury-square, by two Justices, for objects
      of Police, &c.


      At the Public Office, Lambeth-street, Whitechapel


      At the Public Office, High-street, Shadwell

    Two Coroner's Courts

      For inquiring into causes of sudden death

    Court of Requests

      Small debts under 40_s._ without appeal,
      held in Fulwood's Rents, Holborn, for the
      Division of Finsbury

    Court of Requests

      For small debts under 40_s._ without appeal,
      held in Osborn-street, Whitechapel, by
      Commissioners, under the Act of Parliament,
      chosen annually by the several Parishes
      in the Tower Hamlets

    General and Quarter Sessions of the
    Peace for the Liberty of the Tower of London.

      Held by the Justices of that Liberty,
      8 times a year for Petty Larcenies,
      Trespasses, Felonies, and Misdemeanors,
      &c. within that particular District

  Courts of Justice in the Borough
  of Southwark, Surry.

    Court of Record

      Held at St. Margaret's Hill, Southwark, by
      the Lord-Mayor's Steward, for Actions of
      small Debts, Damages, Trespass, &c.

    Court of Record

      For the Clink Liberty, held near Bankside,
      in Southwark, by the Bishop of Winchester's
      Steward, for Actions of Debt, Trespass, &c.
      within that Liberty

    Marshalsea Court

      A Court of Record (or the Court of the Royal
      Palace) having jurisdiction 12 miles round
      Whitehall (exclusive of the City of London)
      for actions of Debts, Damages, Trespasses,
      &c. and subject to be removed to a higher
      Court of Law, when above 5_l._

    Court of Requests

      For the recovery of small Debts under 40_s._
      without appeal, held at St. Margaret's Hill,
      by Commissioners chosen under the Act of
      Parliament, by the different Parishes

    Coroners' Court

      To inquire into causes of sudden Death--in
      Southwark, &c.

    Quarter Sessions of the Peace

      Held by the Lord-Mayor and Aldermen, at
      St. Margaret's Hill, for the Borough of

    Quarter Sessions of the Peace
    for the County of Surry

      Held at the New Sessions House in
      Southwark, by the Magistrates of the
      County of Surry

    Petty Sessions, or Police Court,
    established by Act of Parliament

       A Court held every morning and evening
       by two Justices, at the Public Office, Union
       Hall, Union-street, Southwark, for Objects
       of Police, &c.


   1. King's Bench Prison, for Debtors on Process or Execution in the
      King's Bench, &c. St. George's Fields

   2. Fleet Prison, for Debtors on Process, &c. in the Common Pleas,
      &c. Fleet Market

  For the City of London.

     3. Ludgate Prison, Bishopsgate-street

     4. Poultry Compter, in the Poultry

     5. Giltspur-street Compter, Giltspur-street

   6. Newgate, or City and County Gaol, Old Bailey

   7. New Prison, Clerkenwell--Gaol for the County of Middlesex

   8. Prison for the Liberty of the Tower of London, Well-close-square

   9. Whitechapel Prison for Debtors in the five pound court

  10. Savoy Prison for Deserters and Military Delinquents

  Houses of Correction.

    11. City Bridewell--Bridewell, Bridge-street, Blackfriars

    12. Tothill Fields Bridewell--Tothill Fields

    13. Spa Fields Penitentiary House

    14. New Bridewell in the Borough of Southwark

  15. County Gaol for Surry in the Borough of Southwark

  16. Clink Gaol, in ditto

  17. Marshalsea Gaol, in the Borough, for Pirates, &c.

  18. New Gaol, in the Borough.

Nothing, perhaps, can manifest, in a greater degree, the increased
commerce and population of the Metropolis of the Empire, than the
following summary detail of the different classes of professional men
connected with the various departments of the Law.

It appears from the preceding Statements, that there are in the

   9 Supreme Courts; to which are attached            270 officers[183]
   4 Ecclesiastical Courts                             54 do.
  18 Inferior Courts for small Debts                  146 do.
   1 Court of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery     27 do.
   4 Courts of General and Quarter Sessions of the
       Peace                                           46 do.
  10 Courts and Petty Sessions for purposes of
       Police                                         190 do.
   5 Coroners' Courts                                  20 do.

  King's Serjeants, Attorney and Solicitor General,
    and King's Advocate                                 8
  Serjeants at Law                                     14
  Doctors of Law                                       14
  King's Counsel                                       25
  Masters in Chancery                                  10
  Barristers at Law                                   400
  Special Pleaders                                     50
  Proctors in Doctors' Commons                         50
  Conveyancers                                         40
  Attorneys at Law in the different Courts          1,900
  Clerks, Assistants, and others, estimated at      3,700
  Notaries Public                                      36
                                       Total about  7,000

[Footnote 183: See for some further particulars the 27th Report of the
Finance Committee.]

It is impossible to contemplate this view of a very interesting
subject, without being forcibly struck with the vast extent of the
wealth and commercial intercourse of the Country, which furnish
advantageous employment for such a multitude of individuals in one
particular profession. Every good man, and every lover of his country,
must anxiously wish that the advantages may be reciprocal; and that
men of talents, integrity, and ability, in the profession of the Law,
while they extend their aid to the removal of those evils which are a
reproach to the criminal jurisprudence of the Country, would also
assist in procuring the removal of the inconveniences at present felt
in the recovery of small debts. This is peculiarly irksome to every
well-disposed person, who, in the course of business, having
transactions with the mass of mankind, cannot avoid frequently meeting
with bad or litigious characters, by whom disputes are unavoidably

According to the prevailing System, if the debt exceeds 40_s._ the
action may be brought in a superior Court, where, if contested or
defended, the expence, at the lowest computation, must be upwards of
fifty pounds. Prudent men, under such circumstances, will forego a
just claim upon another, or make up a false one upon themselves, as by
far the least of two evils, in all cases where they come in contact
with designing and bad people; and hence it is, that the worthless
part of mankind, availing themselves in _Civil_ as others do in
_Criminal Cases_, of the imperfections of the Law, forge these
defects into a rod of oppression, either to defraud the honest part of
the Community of a just right, or to create fraudulent demands, where
no right attaches; merely because those miscreants know that an action
at Law, even for 20_l._ cannot either be prosecuted or defended,
without sinking three times the amount in Law expences; besides the
loss of time, which is still more valuable to men in business.

To convince the Reader that this observation is not hazarded on weak
grounds, and that the evil is so great as to cry aloud for a remedy,
it is only necessary to state, that in the County of Middlesex alone,
in the year 1793, the number of bailable writs and executions, for
debts from _Ten_ to _Twenty_ pounds, amounted to no less than 5,719,
and the aggregate amount of the debts sued for was the sum of

It will scarcely be credited, _although it is most unquestionably
true_, that the mere costs of these actions, although made up, and not
defended at all, would amount to 68,728_l._--And if defended, the
aggregate expence to recover 81,791_l._ must be--(_strange and
incredible as it may appear_), no less than 285,905_l._! being
considerably more than three times the amount of the debts sued for.

The mind is lost in astonishment at the contemplation of a
circumstance, marking, in so strong a degree, the deficiency of this
important branch of the jurisprudence of the Country.

Through this new medium we discover one of the many causes of the
increase of crimes.--And hence that caution which men in business are
compelled to exercise (especially in the Metropolis), to avoid
transactions with those who are supposed to be devoid of principle.

Whenever the Laws cannot be promptly executed, at an expence, that
will not restrain the worthy and useful part of the Community from the
following up their just rights, bad men will multiply. The morals of
the People will become more and more corrupted, and the best interests
of the State will be endangered.

In a political as well as in a moral point of view, it is an evil that
should not be suffered to exist; especially when it can be
demonstrated, that a remedy may be applied, without affecting the
pecuniary interest of the more reputable part of the Profession of the
Law, while it would unquestionably produce a more general diffusion of

If, instead of the various inferior Courts for the recovery of debts,
(exclusive of the Courts of Conscience) which have been mentioned in
this Chapter, and which are of very limited use on account of appeals
lying in all actions above 5_l._--the Justices, in General Sessions of
the Peace, _specially commissioned_, were to be empowered to hear and
determine _finally, by a Jury_, all actions of debt under 50_l._ and
to tax the Costs _in proportion to the amount of the Verdict_, great
benefits would result to the Public. _At present, the rule is to allow
the same cost for forty shillings as for ten thousand pounds!_[184]--It
depends only on the length of the pleadings, and not on the value of
the action.

[Footnote 184: The following authentic table, divided into four
Classes, will shew in forcible colours, the evils which arise from
there being no distinction between the amount of the sum to be
recovered in one action and another, in settling the costs. In the
county of Middlesex, in the year 1793, the actions for recovering
debts stood thus:

   |                  |Number of Writs.
   |                  |      |of which Bailable.
   |                  |      |      |Executions.
   |                  |      |      |     |Costs of Actions
   |                  |      |      |     |undefended at 12_l._ each.
   |                  |      |      |     |       |Costs of Actions
   |                  |      |      |     |       |defended at 50_l._
   |                  |      |      |     |       |each.
   |                  |      |      |     |       |       |Net Amount
   |                  |      |      |     |       |       |of Debts
   |                  |      |      |     |       |       |sued for
   |                  |      |      |     |£.     |£.     |£.
  1|from 10 to  20_l._| 5,719| 4,966|  753| 68,728|285,950|   81,791
  2|     20 to  30_l._| 2,267| 1,878|  389| 21,090|113,350|   85,675
  3|     30 to 100_l._| 4,367| 2,492|1,875| 52,404|238,350|  237,358
  4|  £.100 &  upw.   | 2,324| 1,769|  555| 27,160|116,200|1,010,379
   |                  +------+------+-----+-------+-------+---------
   |                  |14,677|11,105|3,572|169,382|753,850|1,385,203

Thus it appears, that upwards of one million of money, in the 4th
class, is recovered at considerably less than half the expence of
81,791_l._ in the 1st class.]

Humanity, Justice, and Policy, plead for an improvement of the System;
more particularly when it is recollected that, between _Six_ and
_Seven Thousand_ unfortunate persons are arrested annually on _mesne
process_ in Middlesex alone, one half of whom are for debts _under
twenty pounds_. In the kingdom at large, the number is not less than
_Forty Thousand_ for trifling debts in the course of a year!--The
unavoidable expence, therefore, at the lowest computation, is a most
grievous burden, which on many occasions, sends both the plaintiff and
defendant to a gaol, for the Attorney's bills, to the total ruin of
themselves, and often to the destruction of their families.

The Evil, in this view, is exceedingly prominent.--It involves in it
consequences which trench upon the best interests of the Country. The
Mischief increases, unperceived by the people at large, and Remedies
are not applied; because few men will subject themselves to
investigations of great labour, without which facts are not to be
obtained; and without facts it is impossible to reason with accuracy,
or to draw just conclusions upon any subject.

It will be found upon inquiry, that the miseries of a gaol, by which
the inferior orders of the people are often punished, do not so
frequently attach to the worthless and profligate part of the
Community, as to those who have been useful members of the State--Like
the adroit thief, encouraged to proceed by many escapes, Knaves are
seldom victims to the severity of the Law.--The Innocent, and often
the Industrious, unskilled in the tricks and artifices which bad men
pursue to rid themselves of incumbrances, (for which there is abundant
resource in the chicane of the Law;) are generally the sufferers.

To incarcerate one member of the body politic, whose misfortunes and
losses may have arisen from giving credit to another, who is relieved
by a Commission of Bankrupt,[185] because his debts amounted to more
than 100_l._ seems not well to accord with Justice, Humanity, or State
Policy. It debases the minds of thousands whose conduct never deserved
such a fate--who were from the nature of their dealings, _although
small_, entitled upon the principle adopted by the Legislature, to the
same relief which is extended to the higher classes by whom they often
suffer--and sometimes too by the most worthless and depraved.--While
no good can arise from their confinement, it is thus rendered
infinitely more severe than that, which is, in many instances,
inflicted on criminal offenders.--Their labour is lost to the
Community.--Their families are neglected--and perhaps reared up in
vice and idleness to become Nuisances in that Society, of which they
might have been virtuous and useful Members.

[Footnote 185: It is to be observed, that the Debtors comprised, in
the first three classes mentioned in the foregoing note, page 587, are
generally the objects of imprisonment; while the bankrupt-laws relieve
the fourth, the insolvency of which class generally produces the
distress of the other; who must languish in a gaol and suffer a severe
punishment, although it is clear to demonstration, that the Debtor for
_ninety-nine_ pounds is equally an object of commiseration as another
whose debt amounts to _one hundred_; and almost in the same degree
subject to accident and misfortune.

Under a System so contrary to reason, and so shocking to humanity, too
much praise cannot be bestowed on the founders and supporters of the
excellent Institution for the relief of honest, industrious persons
imprisoned for small debts. The immense number relieved by this
benevolent Society, who have appeared upon inquiry not to have brought
misfortunes upon themselves by imprudence, is one of the strongest
proofs that can be adduced of the imperfection of the laws; which are
tacitly acknowledged to be erroneous, in the case of every person who
is discharged by the bounty of the Public.]

This, therefore, is a most important branch of what may be called
_Civil Police_, highly deserving the attention of the Legislature;
because it is not only contrary to Reason, but pregnant with evils
which tend to the increase of crimes in a greater degree than is
generally supposed.

The extensive and growing intercourse in commercial dealings, and the
diffused state of property must, of course, progressively, increase
the number of Appeals to Courts of Justice, even under the present
System; till at length the duty of the Judges (infinitely more
extensive than their predecessors experienced, and increasing every
day,) will so multiply, as to render it an act of great cruelty and
injustice, not to ease them of the unreasonable labour arising from
small Law-suits.

The same reasoning applies to the Members of the Executive Government.
As we advance in riches, population, and crimes, the management of the
Country becomes more complicated. The labour attached to the higher
departments of the State of all descriptions is infinitely greater
than a century ago; and yet there is no increase in the number of the
first executive responsible officers.--This, (although it has not
heretofore attracted notice), when duly considered, will be found to
be a very serious misfortune.

The mind, however active or enlightened, can only compass certain
objects. It requires relaxation; it cannot always be upon the
stretch.--There is a point beyond which human exertion cannot go--and
hence the necessity of the division of labour, in proportion to the
increase of responsible public duty. Wherever this does not take
place, the Country suffers; an unreasonable burden attaches, by which
means matters of great consequence to the Community must be
overlooked, because it is impossible to compass every thing.

Having thus briefly explained that branch of the Police of the Capital
which is connected with the department of the Law, together with some
of the most prominent features of abuse, which have grown out of the
present System; as well as the Remedies which have occurred, as
apparently best calculated to remove these accumulating evils. It
remains now to bring under the review of the Reader, the various
_Municipal Regulations_, which have been established for the comfort,
accommodation, and convenience of the inhabitants; and the means used
in carrying them into execution.

The Metropolis of the Empire having been extended so far beyond its
ancient limits;--every parish, hamlet, liberty, or precinct, now
contiguous to the Cities of _London_ and _Westminster_, may be
considered as a separate Municipality, where the inhabitants regulate
the Police of their respective districts, under the authority of a
great variety of different Acts of Parliament; enabling them to raise
money for paving the streets, and to assess the householders for the
interest thereof, as well as for the annual expence of _watching,
cleansing, and removing nuisances and annoyances_. These funds, as
well as the execution of the powers of the different Acts, (excepting
where the interference of Magistrates is necessary) are placed in the
hands of Trustees, of whom in many instances, the Church Wardens, or
Parish Officers for the time being, are Members _ex officio_; and by
these different Bodies, all matters relative to the immediate safety,
comfort and convenience of the inhabitants are managed and regulated.

These Regulations, however, are mostly founded upon Statutes made in
the last and present Reign.

The Act of the 2d of William and Mary, cap. 8, for paving, cleansing,
&c. within the City and Liberties of _Westminster_, and the Bills of
Mortality, not having been found applicable to modern improvements,
new regulations became necessary; and an incredible number of private
Statutes applicable to the different Parishes, Hamlets, and Liberties,
composing the Metropolis, have been passed within the last 50 years.

The Act of the 10th George II. cap. 22, established a System for
paving and lighting, cleansing, and watching the City of London: but
the Statute which removed _signs and sign-posts_, _balconies_,
_spouts_, _gutters_, and those other _encroachments_ and _annoyances_,
which were felt as grievances, by the inhabitants, did not pass till
the year 1771.--The 11th of Geo. III. cap. 29, contains a complete and
masterly System of that branch of the Police which is connected with
municipal regulations, and may be considered as a model for every
large City in the Empire. This excellent Act extends to every
obstruction by carts and carriages, and provides a remedy for all
nuisances, which can prove, in any respect, offensive to the
inhabitants; and special Commissioners, called _Commissioners of
Sewers_, are appointed to ensure a regular execution. It is further
improved by the 33d of his present Majesty, cap. 75, by which the
power of the Commissioners is increased, and some nuisances arising
from Butchers, Dustmen, &c. further provided against.

In the City and Liberty of Westminster also, many useful Municipal
Regulations have been made within the present Century. The Acts of the
27th of Elizabeth, and the 16th of Charles I. (private Acts) divided
the City and Liberties into 12 Wards, and appointed 12 Burgesses to
regulate the Police of each Ward; who, with the Dean, or High Steward
of Westminster, were authorised to govern this District of the

The Act of the 29th of George II. cap. 25, enabled the Dean, or his
High Steward, to choose 80 Constables in a Court Leet: and the same
act authorised the appointment of an Annoyance-Jury of 48 inhabitants,
to examine weights and measures; and to make presentments of every
public nuisance, either in the City or Liberty.--The Acts of the 31st
of George II. cap. 17 and 25, improved the former Statute, and allowed
a free market to be held in Westminster.--The Act of the 2d of George
III. cap. 21, extended and improved the System for _paving, cleansing,
lighting and watching_ the City and Liberty, by including six other
adjoining Parishes and Liberties in Middlesex: This Act was afterwards
amended by the 3d of his present Majesty, cap. 23.--The Acts 5th Geo.
III. caps. 13, 50; 11th Geo. III. cap. 22; and particularly 14th Geo.
III. cap. 90, for regulating the nightly Watch and Constables, made
further improvements in the General System by which those branches of
Police in Westminster are at present regulated.

In the Borough of Southwark also the same System has been pursued; the
Acts 28th Geo. II. cap. 9; and 6th Geo. III. cap. 24, having
established a System of Municipal Regulations, applicable to this
District of the Metropolis; relative to _markets_, _hackney-coach
stands_, _paving_, _cleansing_, _lighting_, _watching_, _marking
streets_, and _numbering houses_, and placing the whole under the
management of Commissioners.

In Contemplating the great leading features of Municipal Regulation,
nothing places England in a situation so superior to most other
countries, with regard to cleanliness, as the _System of the Sewers_,
under the management of special Commissioners, in different parts of
the kingdom; introduced so early as by the Act 6th Henry VI. cap. 5,
and regulated by the Acts 6th Henry VIII. cap. 10; 23d Henry VIII.
cap. 5; and 25th Henry VIII. cap. 10.--afterwards improved by the 3d
and 4th Edward VI. cap. 8; 1st Mary, stat. 3, cap. 11; 13th Elizabeth,
cap. 9; 3d James I. cap. 14; and 7th Anne, cap. 10.

Sewers being so early introduced into the Metropolis, as well as into
other Cities and Towns, in consequence of the general System, every
offensive nuisance was removed through this medium, and the
inhabitants early accustomed to the advantages and comforts of

Another feature, strongly marking the wisdom and attention of our
ancestors, was the introduction of _Water_, for the supply of the
Metropolis, in the reign of James I. in 1604. The improvements which
have been since made for the convenience of the inhabitants, in
extending the supplies by means of the New River, and also by the
accession of the Thames water, through the medium of the London
Bridge, Chelsea, York Buildings, Shadwell, and other water-works, it
is not necessary to detail.

The Act 9th Anne, cap. 23, first established the regulations with
regard to _Hackney Coaches_ and _Chairs_, which have been improved and
extended by several subsequent Statutes, _viz._ 10 Anne, cap. 19; 12
Anne, stat. 2, cap. 14; 1 Geo. I. cap. 57; 12 Geo. I. cap. 12; 30 Geo.
II. cap. 22; 4 Geo. III. cap. 36; 7 Geo. III. cap. 44; 10 Geo. III.
cap. 44; 11 Geo. III. caps. 24, 28; 12 Geo. III. cap. 49; 24 Geo. III.
stat. 2. cap. 27; 26 Geo. III. cap. 72; 32 Geo. III. cap. 47; 33 Geo.
III. cap. 75.

These Acts authorize _one thousand coaches_, and _four hundred hackney
chairs_, to be licensed for the accommodation of the inhabitants of
the Metropolis; and Magistrates, as well as the Commissioners, are
empowered to decide, in a summary way, upon all complaints arising
between Coachmen or Chairmen, and the inhabitants, who may have
occasion to employ them.

Carts and other carriages have also been regulated by several
different Acts, _viz._ 1 Geo. I. stat. 2. cap. 57; 18 Geo. II. cap.
33; 24 Geo. II. cap. 43; 30 Geo. II. cap. 22; 7 Geo. III. cap. 44; and
24 Geo. III. cap. 27. The Statutes contain a very complete System,
relative to this branch of Police; by virtue of which all complaints
arising from offences under these Acts, are also cognizable by the
Magistrates, in a summary way.

The Act of the 34th of George III. cap. 65, established an improved
System, with regard to _Watermen plying on the River Thames_.--The
Lord Mayor and Aldermen are empowered to make Rules and Orders for
their government;[186] and, with the Recorder and the Justices of the
Peace of the respective Counties, and places next adjoining to the
Thames, have equal jurisdiction in all situations between Gravesend
and Windsor, to put in execution not only the _Laws_, but also the
Rules and Orders relative to such Watermen, which shall be sent to the
several Public Offices in the Metropolis, and to the Clerks of the
Peace of the Counties joining the Thames, within 30 days after such
Rules are made or altered. The Magistrates have power given them to
fine Watermen for extortion and misbehaviour: and, persons refusing to
pay the fares authorised by Law, may be compelled to do so, with all
charges, or be imprisoned for one month; and whoever shall give a
Waterman a fictitious name or place of abode, forfeits 5_l._

[Footnote 186: No Rules or Orders have yet been published, although
nearly six years have elapsed since the passing of this Act. The
Public are, therefore, without the means of punishing or controlling
Watermen, which is felt as a serious misfortune.]

Offences relative to the Driving of Cattle improperly, usually termed
_Bullock Hunting_, are also determined by the Magistrates, in the same
summary way, under the authority of an Act 21st Geo. III. cap. 67; by
which every person is authorised to seize delinquents guilty of this
very dangerous offence.

The last great feature of useful Municipal Police which the Author
will mention, consists in the excellent regulations relative to
_Buildings_, _Projections_, and _Fires_; first adopted after the Fire
of London in 1666, and extended and improved by several Acts of
Parliament passed, from that time, down to the 14th of his present

The Act of the 14th of George III. cap. 78, which repeals the former
Acts, besides regulating the mode of building houses in future, so as
to render them _ornamental_, _commodious_, and _secure_ against the
accidents of fire, established other useful rules for the prevention
of this dreadful calamity; by rendering it incumbent on Churchwardens
to provide one or more engines in every parish, to be in readiness, on
the shortest notice, to extinguish fires, and also ladders to favour
escapes; And, that every facility might be afforded with regard to
water, it is also incumbent on the Churchwardens to fix stop-blocks
and fire-plugs at convenient distances, upon all the main pipes within
the parish; and to place a mark in the street where they are to be
found, and to have an instrument or key ready to open such fire-plugs,
so that the water may be accessible on the shortest possible notice.
That every thing also might be done to ensure dispatch, the person
bringing the first parish engine to any fire is entitled to 30_s._ the
second to 20_s._ and third to 10_s._ paid by the parish; excepting in
cases where chimnies are on fire, and then the expence ultimately
falls upon the person inhabiting the house or place where it

This excellent Statute, so salutary in its effects with regard to many
important Regulations of Police, also obliges all Beadles and
Constables, on the breaking out of any fire, to repair immediately to
the spot, with their long staves, and to protect the sufferers from
the depredation of thieves; and to assist in removing effects, and in
extinguishing the flames.

These outlines will explain, in some measure, by what means the System
of the Police, in most of its great features, is conducted in the
Metropolis--to which it may be necessary to add, that the Beadles of
each Parish, are the proper persons to whom application may be made,
in the first instance, in case of any inconvenience or nuisance. The
City and Police Magistrates, in their respective Courts, if not
immediately authorized to remedy the wrong that is suffered, will
point out how it may be effected.

It is, however, earnestly to be wished, that (like the Building-Act
just mentioned), one general Law, comprehending the whole of the
excellent regulations made for the City of London, so far as they will
apply, could be extended to every part of the Metropolis, and its
suburbs; that a perfect uniformity might prevail, in the penalties and
punishments to be inflicted for the several Offences against the
comfort or convenience of the Inhabitants.--At present it often
happens, that an Offence in one Parish, is no act of Delinquency in

The great object is to simplify every System as much as
possible;--complicated Establishments are always more expensive than
is necessary, and constantly liable to abuses.

The annual expence to the Inhabitants, in consequence of all those
Municipal Regulations just detailed, is, perhaps, higher than in any
other City in the world.--Including the Poor's-rate, it amounts, on an
average, to full 25 per cent. on the gross rental of the Metropolis;
and is supposed to exceed one million sterling a year!

A Superintending Police would, in many instances, correct the want of
intelligence, which is apparent, and enlighten the local Managers in
such a manner, as not only to promote objects of oeconomy,
calculated to abridge and keep within bounds an enormous and growing
expence, but also to suggest improvements by which it might be
reduced, and many solid advantages be acquired by the Community.

It is impossible to examine, with the mind of a man of business, the
various Establishments which have become necessary for promoting the
comfort and convenience of great Societies, without lamenting, in many
instances, the unnecessary waste that prevails, and the confusion and
irregularity which often ensue, merely for want of system, judgment,
and knowledge of the subject.

Various, indeed, are the evils and disorders which Time engenders, in
every thing connected with the affairs of civil Society, requiring a
constant and uniform attention, _increasing, as the pressures
increase_, for the purpose of keeping them within bounds; that as much
happiness and comfort may be extended to the People as can possibly
arise from a well-regulated and energetic Police, conducted with
purity, zeal, and intelligence.

We are arrived at an epoch full of difficulties and dangers, producing
wonderful events, and still pregnant with consequences, in their
nature, stretching beyond the usual course of human conjecture, where
it is impossible to judge of the ultimate issue.

Under such circumstances, it becomes, more than ever, necessary to
make prudent arrangements for the general safety, for amending the
morals, and promoting the happiness of the People; by improved Laws,
extending protection to all, and correcting those evils, which are
felt as a burden upon the Community.


     _A summary View of the Evils detailed in the preceding
     Chapters.--The great opulence and extensive Trade of the
     Metropolis assigned as a Cause of the increase and
     multiplication of Crimes, and of the great extent of the
     Depredations which are committed.--Arguments in favour of a
     more energetic Police as the only means of remedying those
     Evils.--A wide Field opened to Men of Virtue and Talents to
     do good.--A general View of the estimated Depredations
     annually in the Metropolis and its Vicinity, amounting in
     all to Two Millions Sterling.--General Observations and
     Reflections an the strong Features of degraded Humanity,
     which this Summary of Turpitude exhibits.--Observations on
     the further Evils arising from the deficiency of the System
     with respect to Officers of Justice.--The want of a
     Prosecutor for the Crown, and the inadequacy of
     Punishments.--A View of the Remedies proposed--1st. With
     respect to the Corruption of Morals.--2d. The means of
     preventing Crimes in general.--3d. Offences committed on the
     River Thames.--4th. Offences in the Public Arsenals and
     Ships of War.--5th. Counterfeiting Money and fabricating
     Bank Notes; 6th. Punishments.--7th. Further advantages of an
     improved System of Police.--Concluding Reflections._

In taking a summary view of the various evils and remedies, which have
been detailed in this Work, it may be right, previously to apprize the
Reader, that in contemplating the extent and magnitude of the
aggregate depredations, which are presumed to be committed in the
course of a year, it is necessary to measure them _by a scale
proportioned to the unparalleled amount of moving property exposed in
transit in this great Metropolis_, as well as the vast and unexampled
increase of this property, within the last half century; during which
period there has certainly been an accumulation of not less than
two-thirds, in commerce as well as in manufactures.

It has not, perhaps, generally attracted notice, that, besides being
the Seat of the _Government_--_of the Law_,--_Learning_, and the _Fine
Arts_,--the resort of the Nobility and the Opulent from every part of
the British Empire, however distant; LONDON, from being a great
_depôt_ for all the manufactures of the country, and also the goods of
foreign nations as well as East India and colonial produce, is not
only the first Commercial City at present existing, but is also one of
the greatest and most extensive Manufacturing Towns, perhaps in the
World; combining in one spot every attribute that can occasion an
assemblage of moving property, unparalleled in point of extent,
magnitude, and value in the whole Globe.--From the abstract of Imports
and Exports in _page_ 215 of this Work, it appears that above 13,000
vessels,[187] including their repeated voyages, arrive at, and depart
from, the Port of London, with merchandize, in the course of a year;
besides a vast number of river craft, employed in the trade of the
interior country, bringing and carrying away property, estimated at
above _Seventy Millions Sterling_.[188]

[Footnote 187: See Table in page 215.]

[Footnote 188: See page 216.]

In addition to this, it is calculated, that above 40,000 waggons and
other carriages, including their repeated journies, arrive and depart
laden, in both instances, with articles of domestic, colonial, East
India and foreign merchandize; occasioning a transit of perhaps (when
cattle, grain, and provisions sent for the consumption of the
inhabitants, are included) _Fifty Millions more_. If we take into the
account the vast quantity of merchandize and moveable property of
every species deposited in the various _maritime magazines_,
_timber-yards_, _piece-goods' warehouses_, _shops_, _manufactories_,
_store-houses_, _public markets_, _dwelling-houses_, _inns_, _new
buildings_, and _other repositories_, and which pass from one place to
another, it will establish a foundation for supposing that, in this
way, property to the amount of _Fifty Millions_ more at least, is
annually exposed to depredation; making a Sum of _One Hundred and
Seventy Millions_; independent of the moving articles in ships of war
and transports, and in the different Arsenals, Dock-yards, and
Repositories in the Tower of London, and at Deptford, Woolwich,
Sheerness, and various smaller magazines, in the daily course of being
received and sent away, supposed to amount to _Thirty Millions_ more;
making in the whole an aggregate sum of _Two Hundred Millions_. Thus
an immense property becomes exceedingly exposed, in all the various
ways already explained in the course of this Work; and the _estimated_
amount of the _annual depredations_ hereafter enumerated under these
respective heads will cease to be a matter of surprise, if measured by
the enormous scale of property above particularized. Although it is
supposed to amount to about _Two Millions_ sterling, it sinks to a
trifle, in contemplating the magnitude of the capital, _scarcely
reaching one per cent. on the value of property passing in transit in
the course of a year_.

It is not, therefore, so much the actual loss that is sustained (great
as it certainly is) which is to be deplored _as the mischief which
arises from the destruction of the morals of so numerous a body of
people; who must be directly or collaterally engaged in perpetrating
smaller offences, and in fraudulent and criminal pursuits_.

This, in a political point of view, is a consideration of a very
serious and alarming nature, infinitely worse in its consequences than
even those depredations which arise from acts of violence committed by
more atrocious offenders; the numbers of which latter have been shewn
to be small, in comparison with other delinquents, and not to have
increased in any material degree for the last 50 years; while
_inferior thefts, river-plunder, pillage, embezzlement, and frauds, in
respect to public property, coining base money, forgeries under
various ramifications, cheating by means of swindling and other
criminal practices, and purchasing and dealing in stolen goods_, have
advanced in a degree, commensurate to the great and rapid influx of
wealth, which has arisen from the vast increase of the commerce and
manufactures of the Country, and the general accumulation of property
by British subjects in the East and West Indies, and in foreign

The evils, therefore, are the more prominent, as they have become so
exceedingly diffused; and implicate in criminality numerous
individuals, of whom a very large proportion were formerly untainted
with any of that species of Delinquency, which now renders them, (for
their own sakes--for the benefit of their families--and for the
interest of public morals,) objects of peculiar attention on the part
of the Legislature, as well as the Police of the Country.

The habits they have acquired are, doubtless, very alarming, as in the
destruction of their own morals, they also destroy those of the rising
generation; and still more so, as the existing Laws, and the present
System of Police, have been found so totally inadequate to the Object
of Prevention.

Indeed it is but too evident, that nothing useful can be effected
without a variety of Regulations, such as have been suggested in
different parts of this Work. It is not, however, by the adoption of
any one _remedy_ singly applied, or applied by piece-meal, but by a
combination of the whole Legislative _Powers_, _Regulations_,
_Establishments_, and _superintending Agencies_ already suggested,
(and particularly by those recommended by the Select Committee of the
House of Commons _which may be considered as the Ground Work_) that
Crimes are, in any degree, to be prevented, or kept in check. And it
is not to be expected, that such Remedies can be either complete or
effectual, unless there be a sufficient Fund appropriated for the
purpose of giving vigour and energy to the General System.

The object is of such astonishing magnitude, and the abuses which are
meant to be corrected, are of so much consequence to the _State_, as
well as to the _Individual_, and the danger of a progressive increase
is so evidently well established by experience, that it is impossible
to look at that subject with indifference, when once it is developed
and understood.

It opens a wide field for doing good, to men of virtue, talents, and
abilities, who love their Country, and glory in its prosperity. Such
men will speedily perceive, that this prosperity can only be of short
duration,--if public morals are neglected,--if no check is given to
the growing depravity which prevails, and if measures are not adopted
to guard the rising generation against the evil examples to which
they are exposed.

Philanthropists will also, in this volume, find abundant scope for the
exercise of that benevolence, and those efforts in the cause of
humanity, which occupy their attention, and constitute their chief
pleasure.--It is earnestly to be hoped, that it may produce an
universal desire to attain those objects, which are shewn to be so
immediately connected with the Public good.

For the purpose of elucidating, in some degree, the dreadful effect of
the profligacy and wickedness, which have been opened to the view of
the Reader, and occasioned the perpetration of Crimes and offences of
every species and denomination, the following Estimate has been made
up from information derived through a variety of different
channels.--It exhibits at one view, the supposed aggregate amount of
the various depredations committed in the Metropolis and its environs,
in the course of a year.

The intelligent reader will perceive at once, that in the nature of
things, such a calculation cannot be perfectly accurate; because there
are no precise data upon which it may be formed; but if it approaches
in any degree near the truth, (and the Author has discovered nothing
in the course of four years to alter the opinion he originally formed
in any material degree,) it will fully answer the purpose intended; by
affording many useful and important hints favourable to those
improvements which are felt to be necessary by all; though till of
late, understood by very few.

It is introduced also (merely as a calculation) for the purpose of
arresting the attention of the Public, in a greater degree, and of
directing it not only to inquiries similar to those upon which the
Author has formed his conjectures; but also to the means of procuring
those improvements in the Laws, and in the System of the Police, which
have become so indispensably necessary for the security of every
individual possessing property in this great Metropolis.

       *       *       *       *       *

AN ESTIMATE _of the Annual Amount and Value of the Depredations
committed on Public and Private Property in the Metropolis and its
Vicinity_, IN ONE YEAR. _Specifying the Nature of such Depredations
under Six different Heads, viz:--_

1. _Small Thefts_, committed in a little way by _menial Servants,
Chimney-Sweepers, Dustmen, Porters, Apprentices, Journeymen, Stable
Boys, Itinerant Jews, and others_, from _Dwelling-Houses, Stables,
Out-Houses, Warehouses, Shops, Founderies, Workshops, New Buildings,
Public Houses_, and in short every other place where property is
deposited; which may be specifically estimated and subdivided as

                                           _Tons._  £.
  Articles new and old, of iron and
  steel                                     5000    100,000

    brass                                   1500    150,000

    copper                                  1000    120,000

    lead                                    2500     50,000

    pewter, solder, and tin                  300     35,000

  Pewter pots, stolen from 5204 Publicans    500     55,000[189]

  Small articles of plate, china, glass
  ware, sadlery, harness, and other
  portable articles of house and table
  furniture, books, tea, sugar, soap,
  candles, liquors, &c. &c. &c.                     100,000

  Piece-Goods from shops and warehouses,
  by servants, porters, &c.                          50,000

  Wearing apparel, bed and table
  linen, &c.                                         40,000

  Silk, cotton, and worsted yarn, embezzled
  by Winders and others in
  Spitalfields, &c. formerly 20,000_l._ a
  year, now supposed to be                           10,000
                                                     ------  £.710,000

  2. _Thefts upon the River and Quays_,
  committed in a little way on board
  ships in the River Thames, whilst
  discharging their cargoes; and afterwards
  upon the Wharfs, Quays,
  and Warehouses, when the same
  are landing, weighing, and storing;
  by glutmen, lumpers, jobbers, labourers,
  porters, lightermen, boys
  called mudlarks, and others employed,
  or lurking about for
  plunder, _viz._

  Raw sugars, rum, coffee, chocolate,
  pimento, ginger, cotton, dying
  woods, and every other article of
  West-India produce, estimated at
  the commencement of the Marine
  Police Establishment at 232,000_l._
  a year; but now reduced to                         50,000

  East-India goods, and merchandize
  from Africa, the Mediterranean,
  America, the Baltic, the Continent
  of Europe, coasting trade, &c. &c.
  274,000_l._ now reduced by the
  Marine Police Institution to                      155,000

  Ship stores and tackling, including
  cordage, sails, tar, pitch, tallow,
  provisions, &c. taken from above
  10,000 different vessels, estimated
  at 100,000_l._ but now reduced since
  the Establishment of the Marine
  Police, according to Estimate, to                  45,000
                                                    -------  £.250,000

  3. _Thefts and Frauds_ committed in
  his Majesty's Dock-yards and other
  public Repositories, situated on the
  River Thames; including the plunder,
  pillage, and frauds, by which
  public property (exclusive of metals)
  is embezzled in the said stores, and
  from ships of war. (Besides the
  frauds, plunder and pillage, in the
  Dock-yards, and from ships of war
  at Chatham, Portsmouth, Plymouth,
  &c. at all times enormous,
  but especially in time of war; when
  public property is unavoidably most
  exposed, equal at least to 700,000_l._
  a year more:) making in all, one
  million sterling, at least; but reduced
  by the Marine Police from
  300,000_l._ to                                               200,000

  4. _Depredations_ committed by means
  of burglaries, highway robberies,
  and other more atrocious thefts, viz.

    1. Burglaries by Housebreakers, in
       plate, and other articles                    100,000

    2. Highway Robberies, in money,
       watches, bank-notes, &c.                      55,000

    3. Private stealing, and picking of
       pockets, &c.                                  25,000

    4. Stealing horses, cattle, sheep,
       poultry, corn, provender, potatoes,
       turnips, vegetables, fruit,
       &c. in London and the Vicinity               100,000
                                                    -------  £.280,000

  5. _Frauds_ by the coinage and recolouring
  of base money, counterfeited
  of the similitude of the current gold,
  silver and copper coin of the Realm                          310,000

  6. _Frauds_ by counterfeiting bank
  notes, public securities, powers of
  attorney, bonds, bills, and notes;
  by swindling, cheating and obtaining
  money and goods by false
  pretences, &c. &c.                                           250,000

[Footnote 189: The Publicans in their petition to the House of Commons
(1796) estimated their loss at 100,000_l._ But there is some reason to
suppose this was exaggerated.]


  1. Small Thefts                                  £.710,000

  2. Thefts upon the Rivers and Quays                250,000

  3. Thefts in the Dock-yards, &c. in the Thames     200,000

  4. Burglaries, Highway-Robberies, &c. &c.          280,000

  5. Coining base Money                              310,000

  6. Forging Bills, Swindling, &c.                   250,000
                                          Total  £.2,000,000[190]

[Footnote 190: This sum will, no doubt, astonish the Reader at first
view; and may even go very far to stagger his belief: but when the
vast extent of the trade and commerce of London is considered, the
great quantity of money, Bank notes, and stationary or fixed property
of a portable nature, as well as moving effects, all which has been
estimated, exclusive of horses, cattle, corn, provender, fruit,
vegetables, &c. at two hundred millions sterling, (_See p._ 605.) it
will cease to be a matter of surprise, that under an incorrect System
of Police and deficient Laws, the depredations are estimated so high.
It would have equally attracted attention with a view to an
improvement in the Police, and of course have answered the Author's
purpose full as well to have reduced the estimate to _one half the
present sum_: but being solicitous to approach as nearly to the truth
as possible, he considered himself bound to offer it in its present
form, which after being four years under the view of the Public, not
only stands unimpeached; but altho' the Author himself, after the
additional experience he has acquired, has attempted a new
modification; and although the River Plunder is greatly reduced, the
aggregate remains nearly as before.]

The foregoing Estimate, grounded on the best information that can be
procured, exhibits a melancholy picture of the general depravity which
prevails; and which is heightened in a considerable degree by the
reflection, that among the perpetrators of the crimes there
particularized, are to be numbered persons, who from their rank and
situation in life would scarcely be suspected of either committing or
conniving at frauds, for the purpose of enriching themselves at the
expence of the Nation.

Avarice is ever an eager, though not always a clear sighted passion;
and when gratified at the price of violating the soundest principles
of honesty and justice, a sting must remain behind, which no affluence
can banish,--no pecuniary gratification alleviate.

In contemplating these strong features of degraded Humanity, it cannot
escape the observant Reader, how small a part of the annual
depredations upon public and private property is to be placed to the
account of those Criminals who alone attract notice, from the force
and violence they use; and to whose charge the whole of the
inconveniences felt by the Public, is generally laid, namely, _common
thieves and pick-pockets; highway-men and foot-pad robbers_.--But for
this Estimate, it could not have been believed how large a share of
the property annually plundered, stolen, embezzled, or acquired in a
thousand different ways, by means _unlawful_, _unjust_, and _immoral_,
in this great Metropolis, is acquired by Criminals of other
descriptions; whose extensive ravages on property are the more
dangerous, in proportion to the secrecy with which they are conducted.

Next to the evils which are experienced by the general corruption of
morals, and by the actual depredations upon public and private
property as now brought under the review of the Reader, by means of a
summary detail, it has been shewn, in the course of this Work, that
many pressures arise from the defects in the Laws relative to the
detection, trial, and conviction of Offenders, from the want of an
improved System respecting Constables, and particularly from the
deficiency of Jurisdiction in the City and Police Magistrates,--the
want of Funds to remunerate Officers of Justice, and to reward
Watchmen, Patroles, and Beadles, who may act meritoriously in
apprehending Delinquents; and lastly, in the trial of Criminals, for
want of a general _Prosecutor for the Crown_, to attend to the Public
interest, and to prevent those Frauds (in suborning evidence, and in
compounding Felonies,) whereby many of the most abandoned are let
loose upon Society, while those who are novices in crimes are often

The next stated in the class of evils is, that which arises from the
Laws as they now stand, relative to _Punishments_.--Their extreme
severity, in rendering such a multitude of Crimes capital, which
Juries can never be made to believe are of that nature, in point of
actual atrocity, has proved a very serious misfortune to the Country,
in the administration of criminal Justice.--Because the punishment is
too severe, it frequently happens that the Delinquent is sent back
upon Society, encouraged to renew his depredations upon the Public by
his having escaped (although guilty) without any chastisement at all.

It is unquestionably true, and little doubt will be entertained by any
who attentively examine this Work, that the dread of severe
punishment, in the manner the Law is executed at present, has not the
least effect in deterring hardened Offenders from the commission of

An opinion seems to have been formed, that Crimes were to be prevented
by the severity of the punishment. That this opinion has been
erroneous seems to be proved by incontestable evidence adduced in
various parts of this Work; and elucidated by a variety of reasoning,
which it is hoped cannot fail to bring conviction to the mind of every
Reader, who will bestow time in the investigation of a subject of so
much importance to Society.

Last, in the enumeration of the evils detailed, are those deficiencies
and imperfections, which arise from the _Police System_; as explained
in the 16th and 17th Chapters.--A variety of inconveniences, it
appears, originate from this source; and reasons are adduced to
demonstrate that the National Security, and Prosperity, are more
dependant on a well-regulated and correct System of Police, than has
been generally supposed; and that the adoption of the Plan of Police,
explained in the 18th Chapter, and recommended by the Select Committee
on Finance, would prove an inestimable blessing to the Country.

Having thus briefly glanced at the Evils, detailed in this Work, it
now becomes necessary to lay before the Reader a similar collected

In accomplishing this object, while the Author ventures to indulge a
hope that these which have been suggested, or at least a part of them,
may be brought in due time, under the consideration of the
Legislature, for the purpose of being enacted into Laws, or otherwise
carried into effect; they are now presented to the Reader under the
following heads, _viz._

from ill-regulated Public Houses, Tea Gardens, Theatres, and
other places of Public Amusement; indecent Publications;
Ballad-Singers--Female Prostitution--Servants out of Place--The
Lottery; Gaming--Indigence, and various other causes.

II. THE PREVENTION OF OFFENCES; and first of those denominated
_Misdemeanors_; such as Cheating and Swindling; Robbing Orchards;
Petty Assaults, and Perjury.--Next of Counterfeit Coinage; River
Plunder; Plunder in Dock-yards, &c. Lastly, of the Prevention of
Crimes in general, under _twelve_ different heads, specifying the
Remedies proposed on this subject in the course of the Work.

III. AMENDMENT OF THE EXISTING LAWS; respecting the obtaining _Goods_
and _Chattles_ under false pretences--Pawnbrokers--Forgeries--Receiving
Stolen Goods--Arson--Lodgers--Registering Lodging Houses--Plunder on
Houses--Gypsies--Milk--Speedy Trial of Offences committed within five
Miles of the Metropolis--Imprisonment for Debt, and Recovery of Debts
under 50_l._





THE First Step to all improvements in Civil Society is that which
relates to the _Morals of the People_.--While in the higher and middle
ranks of life a vast portion of Virtue and Philanthropy is manifested,
perhaps in a greater degree than is to be found in any Country or
Nation in the World, it is much to be lamented, that among the lower
Classes a species of profligacy and improvidence prevails, which as it
applies to the Metropolis of the Empire, is certainly not exceeded in
any other Capital in Europe.--To this source may be traced the great
extent and increasing multiplication of Crimes, insensibly generating
evils calculated, ultimately, to sap the foundation of the State.

The grand object, therefore, must be to devise means for the purpose
of checking, and gradually preventing the evils arising from the


To effect so valuable a purpose to the Community at large--to render
the labour of the lower orders of the people more productive to
themselves, and more beneficial to the Nation, recourse must be had to
that superintending System of _preventive Police_ which has been
recommended generally by the Select Committee of the House of Commons,
and which has been particularly detailed in the 18th Chapter of this

It is thus by giving Police its true and genuine character, and
divesting it of those judicial functions which are the province of
Magistrates alone, that a proper line will be drawn between
_Prevention_, and those proceedings which lead to _Punishment_ after
an offence is actually committed. It is through this medium also that
a change is to be effected in the Morals of the People, calculated to
abridge the number of acts of delinquency, and to lead the
perpetrators gradually into the walks of innocence, sobriety, and
industry.--One of the first steps towards the attainment of these
objects will be a Systematic attention to


In the eleventh Chapter of this Work, the progress of the corruption
of Morals through this medium, from the Infant to the Adult, is
brought under the review of the Reader; and it is considered as of the
highest importance that general and apposite rules for the proper
conduct of those houses, now the haunts of vice and profligacy, should
be formed and recommended by a Board of Police to the Magistrates
acting in all the Licensing Divisions of the Country. The benefits
arising from an uniform and well-digested System might thus be
extended throughout the Country: and an accurate and permanent
administration of this branch of Police secured, thro' the medium of a
general _Center_, where responsibility should rest, and from which
the Licensing Magistrates should receive _information_, _assistance_,
and _support_, in whatever related to the proper regulation of
Alehouses, particularly in the Metropolis and the surrounding

Regular reports of the number of these Alehouses in each Licensing
District in proportion to the extent of population; and details of the
effects produced by an adherence to the general Rules which may be
prescribed, would lead to new and useful suggestions which must
ultimately give a favourable turn to the manners of the lower classes
of the people, not only with respect to the diminution of Crimes, but
also with regard to their domestic Comforts.--They would be rendered
more independent of Parochial aid; and above all, the education and
habits of the rising generation would be easily improved--_Apprentices_
thus secured against the evil examples of which young minds are but
too susceptible, would enter upon life with dispositions differently
formed, and with that sort of bias which stimulates to industry and
virtue, instead of idleness, profligacy, and vice.--In this, as in
many other instances, the happiness and virtue of the individual are
intimately combined with the best interests of the state.

Such prudent and discreet regulations would have a general tendency to
make Public-houses what they were originally intended to be by the
Legislature--_Places of mere refreshment_, and not haunts of idleness
as at present.--The resource now afforded by them to actual
_Thieves_, _Burglars_, _Pickpockets_, _Highwaymen_, _Swindlers_,
_Cheats_, _Gamblers_, and _Dealers_ in _Counterfeit Money_, would not
only be cut off, but those who have been accustomed to resort to these
Houses from the temporary want of employment:--such as persons broke
down by misfortune and indiscretion--servants out of place, and
strangers resorting to the Metropolis, would no longer be assailed by
those temptations which contribute in so great a degree to recruit the
gangs of Criminal Depredators. Nothing but a well-regulated Police,
under a proper System of Controul, can remedy those evils arising from
Public-houses, and it is earnestly to be hoped, that the Functions
proposed to be exercised by the Central Board of Police would effect
this valuable purpose.


The corruption of Morals has been in a considerable degree promoted,
not only by the assemblage of lewd and debauched company who have of
late years crowded to Public Gardens; but also by the unrestrained
Licence which has been permitted in these places of amusement.--This
circumstance has not only called upon the Magistrates to refuse the
renewal of the Licenses to several of the Occupiers, Lessees, and
Proprietors, but it has precluded the more decent and respectable part
of the Public in the middle walks of life, from what might, under
proper regulations, be considered as an innocent and a desirable
recreation for the Inhabitants of an overgrown Metropolis.--Most of
the remaining Public Gardens have of late years fallen into disrepute,
to the injury of the Proprietors, who, under the present deficient
System of Police, have no means of protecting themselves against the
consequences of those irregularities which operate powerfully in
diminishing the number of visitors, upon which their emolument

While profligate and debauched characters of both Sexes find not only
an easy access to these places of amusement, but also have permission
to insult Public Morals, by doing violence to the rules of decency and
decorum; it is evident that they must gradually cease to be desirable
as a recreation to the virtuous part of the Community; and there
appears to be no remedy but by means of _Police regulations_,
prescribing proper rules, with Officers appointed by the Central
Board, for the purpose of carrying them into effect.[191] Indeed, if
such places of resort were licensed only by the proposed Central
Board, it might be productive of the greatest advantages; and they
might be a fair Source of Revenue for Police purposes, to a certain
moderate extent.

[Footnote 191: See pages 345, 346, and 347.]


The general concourse of loose and immoral characters of both Sexes
who frequent the Summer Exhibitions, and the irregularities which are
unavoidable under such circumstances, tend in no small degree to the
corruption of Morals; and while it is admitted that such amusements
are necessary in great Communities, it is of the utmost importance
that they should not only be regulated by the Police, with respect to
the nature of the _Spectacle_ or _Exhibition_, so as clearly to
ascertain that it has no immoral tendency[192], but also that the
utmost decorum should be preserved by means of proper Officers acting
under the proposed Central Board.--This becomes the more important, as
a large proportion of the frequenters of these places of amusement are
of the middle and inferior ranks of life, and many of them very young
and susceptible of loose impressions, which renders it highly
necessary that authority should be vested only in the responsible
Board of Police, to grant or to refuse Licenses: to which a moderate
Revenue might be attached to defray the expence of a regulating

[Footnote 192: See page 348.]


Without entering upon a discussion how far many of the Theatrical
Exhibitions which are brought forward tend to improve, or to injure
the Morals of the People--it is, at least, evident that the
unrestrained License which is permitted to Males and Females in the
walks of Prostitution in the Lobbies, and even in the Boxes of the
Playhouses, and the indecent behaviour and unbecoming language which
is frequently uttered in the view and hearing of the respectable part
of the Community who frequent these places of resort, with the younger
branches of their families, must tend in no inconsiderable degree to
the corruption of Morals.[193] It is, therefore, suggested that a
Police, applicable to this object, should be formed by the proposed
Central Board; and also for the purpose of effectually securing the
Public against the attacks and depredations of