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wherein your lordship may behold one hundred and eighty-three most wicked and desperate prisoners to be enlarged; and of these few came to any good, for none will receive them into service, and, in truth, work they will not, neither can they without extreme pain, by reason their sinews are so benumbed and stiff through idleness, as their limbs, being put to any hard labour, will grieve them above measure-so, as they will rather hazard their lives than work-and this I know to be true-for at such times as our houses of correction were up (which are put down in most parts of England, the more pity,) I sent divers sundry suspicious persons to the house of correction, and all in general would beseech me, with bitter tears, to send them rather to the gaol; and denying it to them, some confessed felonies unto me-by which they hazarded their lives-to the end they would not be sent to the house of correction, where they should be forced to work. But, my lord, these are not all the thieves and robbers that are abroad in this country, for I know it in the experience of my service here, that the fifth person that committeth a felony is not brought to trial, for they are grown so exceedingly cunning by their often being in gaol, as the most part are never taken. If they be, and come into the hands of the simple man that has lost his goods, he is many times content to take his goods and let them slip, because he will not be bound to give evidence at the assizes to his trouble and charge. Others are delivered to simple constables and tithing men, that sometimes wilfully, and other times negligently, suffer them to escape: and others are brought before some justices, that either wanteth experience to examine a cunning thief, or will not take the pains that ought to be taken, in sifting him upon every circumstance and presumption, and that done, see the robbed give fair evidence. For most commonly, the most simple man and woman, looking no further than the loss of their own goods, are of opinion, that they would not procure any man's death for all the goods in the world. Others, upon promise to have their goods again, will give faint evidence, if they be not strictly looked into by justice. And these, that thus escape, infect great numbers, embolding them by their escapes. But the greatest fault is in the inferior ministers of justice, which should use more earnest endeavours to bring them to the seat of judgment and justice. Whereas if every justice of peace in England did, in every of their divisions, quarterly, meet, and before this meeting cause a diligent search to be made for the apprehending of all rogues, and vagabonds, and suspicious persons, and to bring them before them-when they should receive the judgment of the law-and the sturdiest of them that are most danger. ous, committed to the house of correction or gaol; and at this meeting inquire of the defaults of ale-houses, which harbour them-of constables, tithing-men that suffer them to wander, and of inhabitants that relieve them contrary to law, and inflict punishment according to the statute, a rogue could hardly escape. And they grow the more dangerous, in that they have bred that fear in justices and other inferior officers, that no man dares call them into question. At a late session, a tall man, a man sturdy and ancient traveller, was committed by a justice,
and brought to the sessions, and had judgment to be whipped, he, present at the bar, in the face and hearing of the whole bench, swore a great oath, that if he ever were whipped, it should be the dearest whipping to some that ever was. It strake such a fear in him that committed him, as he prayed he might be deferred until the assizes, where he was delivered, without any whipping, or other harm -and the justice glad he had so pacified his wrath; and they laugh in themselves at the lenity of the law, and the timorousness of the executioners of it.'-Strype's Annals, vol. iv. p. 295.
For upwards of two centuries has police continued nearly in the same deteriorated and imbecile condition, with scarcely a single effort on the part of the legislature, either to revive and adapt old institutions, or devise new ones, more, perhaps, in unison with the present state of society; and this, although every neighbouring country around us has its ameliorated code of police and criminal procedure. Statute, it is true, has been heaped upon statute: but each passed on the spur of the occasion, without regard to principle or system. And thus the laws, which constitute our domestic jurisprudence, have no better pretension to arrangement than the index of an army list-an alphabetical one. If police was at any time their object, it was rather that of parks and poachers, than the protection of persons; not so much to keep down felons, as to keep up pheasants; and that it might not lose its character for consistency, in being always most defective, when and where most wanted-the metropolitan county came to be distinguished above all the rest, for the incompetency and venality of its justices. So early as the reign of James I. they obtained the appellation of the Basket Justices,' and were characterized as men 'privileged to domineer in their parishes, and do their neighbour wrong with more right.' Towards the close of the last century, to such a height had their corruption attained, that they boldly ventured to open shops for the sale of justice, or rather injustice; and it was to suppress this iniquitous traffic-this handy-dandy play-of which the justice, which the thief that the first police bill was introduced into parliament.
It must ever be a subject of regret, that so fair an occasion should have been lost for infusing into the magistracy a little of its ancient vigour, purity, and spirit; and of, at once, organizing a system of police that might have done honour to the country. Instead, however, of the measure (which in its operation is confined to the metropolis and its vicinity) being framed on liberal and enlightened principles, every step of its progress was marked by jealousy, an absence of all information upon the subject, and the most narrow policy. The persons to fill the important office of police magistrate under this bill were to be selected, not from amongst the moultz vailantz et suffisant, or les sages de
la ley; but, taken from a degenerate magistracy, disinfranchised, and salaried just enough to procure them the distinguishing epithet of the 'paid;' then, being fixed in obscure retreat in different parts of the town, and encircled, each of them, by half a dozen petty constables, they were left to control a population of a million of people, and this was called police!
The Bill has been renewed at different times, with but few and unimportant alterations. A motion for a committee of the House of Commons is, whilst we are writing, announced, to enquire into the state of the police of the metropolis and its vicinity.' We regret it does not take a wider range, and embrace the country at large, which is still more destitute of adequate protection than the metropolis. We hope, however, and, from the able hands into which the measure has fallen, we confidently expect the most beneficial results-and, as we have here intimated in a cursory way, what police has been, and what our institutions will easily admit it to be, we may take the occasion of the moment to suggest to the committee, that before any thing like health and vigour can be again infused into this part of our administrative system, it is absolutely necessary to incorporate the present discordant, coarse, and corrupt elements, called, or miscalled watchmen, patroles, petty constables, headboroughs, street-keepers, &c. &c., into one vigorous and well-organized whole-a regular police forcecharacterized in its movements by activity and unity, its members by respectability, and its superintendence by unceasing vigilance: this body, too, should be placed exclusively under the control of a ministerial, not a judicial officer, of suitable consideration, nominated by the Home Secretary, and independent of all other interference. To his charge might also be consigned the alien, hawkers, and pedlars, and hackney-coach departments, as immediately appertaining to the executive branch of police.
If, on constitutional grounds, any hesitation should be felt about withdrawing from parish vestries, commissioners of pavements, turnpike trusts, &c. the appointment they have hitherto had, of the watch, it should not be forgotten that the public good, as well as their patronage, is entitled to some weight in the scale; and that our ancestors, when they thought it right, did not scruple to transfer, from the commons to the crown, the nomination of those far more important ministers of justice-the magistrates and sheriffs. Towards the maintenance of this efficient force, each parish should be compelled to contribute the same sum that it now annually raises and throws away upon an inefficient one. A certain detachment of the force should be allotted to each district, proportionate to its extent and population; and placed under the direction of one or more superintendants, of the same class
of men to which the high constables anciently belonged. Nor should less attention be given to the judicial branch of the police; the ministers of which should, by positive enactment, be strictly limited to members of the bar, and, we think, to members of some considerable standing.
In limine there can be no doubt that the whole of the existing watch-system of London and its vicinity ought to be mercilessly struck to the ground. No human being has even the smallest confidence in it. Scenes of collusion, tricks, compromises, knaveries of all kinds, are brought to light daily: none of the magistrates rest the least faith on the statements of these functionaries, unless when they are backed by the testimonies of other persons. The feeling against them is strong, exactly in proportion as opportunity of learning their real habits has been abundant. Their existence is a nuisance and a curse; and are they to be upheld, in order that vestrymen may provide for worthless or worn-out dependents, at the expense of the peace and security of such population and such property? Let this matter be searched to the bottom, and we have no fear of the result.
We can easily believe that the general suggestion which we have thus hazarded, may be received with considerable suspicion in quarters for which we have high respect; but, on reflection, we have no doubt that suspicion will disappear. It is impossible to deny, that at present the interference of the military is much oftener demanded than seems at all reconcileable with the theory of the constitution: and we put it to the candour of John Bull, whether his feelings and habits are likely to be jarred on the more frequently by a really efficient civil force established all over the land, or by the maintenance of that despicable apparatus which, in cases of the slightest importance, can do nothing without the backing of red coats and bayonets.
ART. X.-A Narrative of the Campaigns of the British Army at Washington and New Orleans, under Generals Ross, Packenham, and Lambert, in the Years 1814 and 1815. By the Author of The Subaltern.' Second Edition. 12mo. London. 1827.
XHIBITING in his pages an intimate acquaintance with the real occurrences of war, which, in the eyes of professional men, gives to them a peculiar value, this author has, at the same time, contrived, by the brilliancy of his descriptions, and the unaffected simplicity of his style, to arrest and carry along with him, in no ordinary manner, the attention of the general reader; whilst
a vein of manly feeling and generous sentiment enhances in a very special manner his details of some of the most distressing scenes to which the chequered course of a soldier's life is liable.
We had intended, almost as soon as this Narrative' appeared, to devote a few of our pages to an examination of its contents, and we have hitherto postponed doing so, simply in the hope that other, and scarcely less interesting, sources of information, might become available to us. This expectation is now in some degree fulfilled, and we proceed to the execution of our task, persuaded that any additional matter which we may have to offer, will tend to bear out the generally accurate delineations of the
It is scarcely necessary to say, that the little work before us contains a detailed account of the proceedings of an expedition which, in the spring of 1814, sailed from the Gironde to the shores of North America,-being, in fact, a detachment from the army of the Duke of Wellington, which, after having securely possessed itself of a large portion of France, and borne a most triumphant part in the deliverance of Europe, was just then about to be broken up. Early in August, this small force entered, under discretionary orders, the waters of the Chesapeake, one of those vast arms of the sea which indent the coast of the United States; and on or near which are situated Norfolk, Annapolis, Alexandria, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington. The latter was chosen as the first point of attack;—a material inducement to this selection being the political effect anticipated from exhibiting in a glaring manner the vulnerable state of the enemy, even in the heart of their territory, and at the seat of their government.
A corps, computed at nine thousand men, including five or six hundred cavalry, was hastily assembled, and drawn up in three lines on a lofty and partly wooded eminence, a few miles in advance of the capital, and at about five days march from our shipping. The village of Bladensburgh lay in the valley on our side, but within cannon range of the enemy. The ground thus judiciously selected for defence was most formidable and of difficult access. To the crest, it was about three-quarters of a mile in ascent; over the centre passed the high road, and along its base ran a deep and rapid river, passable only by a narrow wooden bridge. This, though additionally protected by a fortified house, our advance forced without delay, carrying also at a rush a twogun battery by which it was more immediately enfiladed. In little more than an hour the enemy were dislodged and routed; ten out of the twenty-four guns in position fell into our hands; the remainder the enemy were enabled to carry off. Our men, having already marched under a broiling sun some fourteen or fifteen miles, were no longer a match in speed for the fugitives, and we