Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

6 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

LIFE IN LONDON. I I ..----!

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

[NOW FIRST PUBLISHED.] 1 LIFE IN LONDON. BY JOHN MEiKLEJOHN, LATE INSPECTOR OF DCTKCTlVli POLICE, SCOTLAND YAIU), AUTHOR OF "Leaves from a Defective's Note. Bo-iJ, j 81 Detective Experiences, ^r, j ALL RIGHTS RESERVED a ——— TUKSUING LONDON CHIMIN A LS. r-OUCEMEX AND DETECTIVES A NECESSITY. Ancient history, both sacred and profane, I informs us that the first police were angels. In the very earliest times, we are told wrong- doers were tracked and brought to condign punishment for misdeeds, however cun-1 ning'iv committed, by certain super- natural members of an invisible celestial j foroe, who only, as a rule, put Ï11 an earthly appearance at the precise moment j of capture, and not always then. It may be oandidly conceded that such is not the case at the present time. Policemen not only are men, but they are even as other men, neither better nor worse than the average. 'They are not born saints, nor are they sent into the world handicapped by a double dose of ovigi- rial sin. Nobody can, however, deny that! they are not only useful, but ail absolutely indispensable body of men, and some are en- i dowed with greater abilities than others, and consequently take prominent positions, but! no man, however intelligent he may be, can become a proticient detective unless he is so naturally. Afany advanced political thinkers doubt the utility of standing armies, but outside profes- sional criminal circles everybody admits that society would fall to pieces like a bundle of firewood without its string, but for its police- men; in fact, if they would only take the trouble to think of it. even the unfortunate 5 thieves themselves are indebted to those upon whom they look as natural enemies for su.h protection as they enjoy from one another. It might even be argued with plausibility that such are in reality under greater obligations to the "force" than are honest men. \sShakspeare says, it is on land the same as it is in the sea, where the big fishes gobble up the little ones." and it is eartain that the members of pre- datory tribes among men would suffer tremendously from their brother carnivaril wfre. it not for (he vest rai run;* presence of the ever watch- i ful con-j stables. Not only would the larger; try of un- ,principled gentry swal- low up the smaller w, bout the least com- punction — for it is all nonsense about there! being any "hononr among thieves —but these great sharks themselves would be in- j oemantly rending one another, until, like the Kilkenny cats, nothing would be left of them but their mangled tails, save for the dctfr- mined flash of the policeman's bull's-eye in their midst. When the millennium appears the last policeman ma.y retire, but not till then. That happy period has not yet arrived, nor is there any sign of its immediate advent. I-Ir. Gumming has long since joined the majority, and the long lease of his Crown Court Chapel, which that reverend enthusiast signed the day after he preached: be powerful sermon about the end of the world being close at hand, has also expired, but everything goes on asosuftl. Crime succeed-; to crime, and arrest to arreat, and the cat and mouse game goes merrily on, as it probably will for countless ages yet to come. Yes, the pursuer of the criminal was an important personage yester- lay, is one to-day, and will be to-morrow rnd ike day after that, in spite of all the dreams tf all the phiianthrophists either born or to Ie born. Crime may, and careful observers iiave.declared does, change its forms, but, like the poor the criminal is ever with us) and must be buntP1.1 down. The FOLLY OF FlABITrAT, CiMMIXALS. There is great wisdom in that piece of; advice tendered by the American humour ist to young men about to enter upon a career of orinie. First renect." says hp, before yon embark upon the business of rogue whether Providence has not rather cut you out for the part of fool." Nothing is more certain than that every knave is more or less, and very much more than less, a fool. Whether the reverse of the proposition holds good or not may be doubted by some, but my own experience leads me to think that it1 does. At all events, I would not trust a fool any farther than I was obliged to do. There is one reflection, however, that during lylr long connection with the police force has ariaen in my mind over and over again which I here present to the clergy and other people whose mission in life is more particularly to make and keep their fellow creatures good citizens, and I do so because I have never yet; observed that they make any use of the argu- ment it supplies. THE Kxormovs ÜDTJS Against THE Crimixat,. The argument is this. How enormous are the odds against the criminal ? Thus. in a; commonwealth, say, of thirty millions, it is exactly twenty-nine millions nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine to one against the individual breaker of that community's accepted law. In breaking the said law, the offender pits him- self against every one of his fellows, who is either voluntarily or p". force matched; against him, and in some form or other wil- lingly or unwillingly assists in running him down. b'om the Sovereign attaching the Bora' sign manual to an Act of Parliament; right to the wretchedest child of the most wretched subject who by his or her consumption of the necessaries of life indi- j rectly contributeii to the revenue, all are, so to say, landed against the malefactor, and all are more or less engaged in the common task of bringing him to book for his contumely, Honest men and thieves, great and small, are all most impudently challenged by every snivelling Ajax, who by embarking on a I course of crime defies the lightning of a whole community. j Surely the persistent bringing home of this fact to the minds of young and old would be a vrork beneficent enough for the best among us j to engage in. How many a so-called clever criminal would have been deterred from entering upon a career of infamy if he could only have grasped the fact in time; that although one man may be more cunning than any other man, no man yet has been so cunning as all the other men. I vary the well-known French phrase alightly, to emphasise my meaning. Every man who deli- berately embarks upon a career of "besting," as surely goes to Trar with the cowers or the land he lives in a, a great empire does when, after fearful deliberation, it withdraws its ambasadors and puts its enormous force in motion to protect its subjects from the iUs ¡i which may result. Thk CiuiiixAr/s ALMKS. It may be said, and it is a consideration which does not escape the mind of the criminal, that such a one does not enter into the struggle altogether without allies, all of whom are in the ranks of his puissant enemy. There is, first and foremost, the measureless stupidity of his fellow men and women, which lays them open to attack on every side. The victims of the ever flourishing confidence trick exhibit this in its most exaggerated form. Then there is the more or less active co-operation of his fellow criminals, a vast army in themselves, who, although they are compelled in a general way to serve against him, as 1 have already shown, are, as he well knows, so many traitors in the camp wishing him well, so long as their interests do not clash with his. If their power is to actively serve him it is liable to be greatly over-esti- mated. Then the pre-occupation of the over- whelming majority of those against him, the absorbing way in which every man's energies are exhausted in minding each his own busi- ness, is greatly in his favour. lvKD TAPE," Of all the allies, however, upon which the i •'smart' tnief reckons, red tape at the head- quarters of the most ter- rible part of the army arrayed against him, namely, that of the police, is the most valuable to him. I remind the public of this because there are not wanting signs of late that the great red tape worm I refer to is rapidly attaining to huge dimen-j si oris. The late Sir Richard Mayne was in every sense of the word a thorough and practical policeman. Under his mild and firmly effective sway the law breaker.from the horrible murderer to the contemptible pick- pocket, had not a tithe of his present immunity, while neither th" police nor genera! public were subjected to the constant irritation in- flicted upon them in the present day. ft stands to reason that men worried by the innumerable vexations and petty regulation s springing from the brain of the martinet com- mander have neither ths heart nor the strength left to do their plain duty in the publio service, which thf-y would have if per- mitted to concentrate the whole of their power on the sufficiently onerous task of com- batting the general enemy. It is all very well to attend to drill and inspections, and make reports and to be so many inches round the chest, and of a certain length, but so long as thieves and murderers are of all sorts and sizes, and keep all hours, slouch or walk upright, and have no manner of respect for uniformity of any description, so long should their pursuers be untrammelled by rules other than the golden one for a policeman of "catch them whenever and however you can and catch them quickly." PilYSI AL PflOWKSS. I myself hap- pen to be what is ternied a tall and powerfully- huilt man, And should be the last to benn- grateful for that physical strength which has served me so well in many a desperate struggle. But bow often have I found what the French would call my voluminousness against me. Again and again have I had to employ a substitute of inferior experience and intelli- gence to prepare the way for me, simply be- cause my bulk alone ironld have excited appre- hension in the mind of a nervous quarry. The Americans, who are sometimes accused of choosing their Presidents by measuring their heads, are, if they really do so, more logical than the framers of a bard and fast rule, which would shut out from the detective force of a country all but men of a certain standard height, let alone thos- who can also carry themselves in a certain military manner. As criminals daily get more cunning, the mere bodily strength of the man who has to cope with them becomes of less importance. What is termed headpiece is what is wanted pri- marily. Of course, where brain power is allied to a tough and wiry frame, as I have a belief that It is oftener than many people would suppose, so much the better: but in- sisrance on mm first, and measurement after- wards, should be the rule in the selection of folk to pursue wrongdoers. Perhaps next to the weight which some of our absurd regulations clap upon the detec- tive's back, as if purposely to handicap him in the race, the wholesale respect for the liberty of th" sublet, and national dislike of espionage in any form, are th.' most powerful of the criminal allies, at all events in England, These two drawbacks will, [ trust, ever exist among us, and are frankly accepted by intel- iigent policemen; but; they hamper him terribly for all that. Time is another valuable friend to the enemy. The murderer and the thief almost always have the start. Or' course, in some cas^s a man is caught at the same moment as that in which he commits an offence the slaver is taken red-hauded, or the con- vevamer" seized with the booty in his grasp, fn* the vast majority of cases, however,! the game resembles a paper chase, in which the person wanted is considerably ahead, and, unfortunately for the one in pur- suit, he does not invariably drop anything along the course to advertise the route he has taken. In such cases the best friends to the police are those allies of the criminal which have been already referred to—to wit. the rest of the dishonest community. Fortu- nately for society, thieves are of a gregarious nature. Ihe most troublesome customers areT those who lead lonely, solitary lives always providing that theirhermit-like habits are not sufficiently pronounced to bring them into observation by reason of their eccen- tricity. This leads me to a rapid survey of a few of the natural Allies of THE Pursuers. These are, first, to be found owing to the herding propensity just alluded to. The very want of that honour" which is supposed by weak-minded people to regulate the dealing of thieves with one another naturally works against them. I have often thought if all the police had to look for only one thief, they would make but a sorrv show, as there would be no other thieves ready to betray him. As it is, the usual resorts of the class serve as so many carp ponds, into which a net may be lowered at any time with a tolerable chauce of a haul. Experienced fishermen are even obliged occasionally to throw baok the smaller fry to keep the water from being denuded of the finny tribe. The want of cohesion, a total inability to stick together, is a marked feature among the outlaws, and reiv luckilv so too. Like Currants' fleas, whioh, if they had only been unanimous, would have kicked him out of bed, the ene- mie3 of the community, if they could but combine as law-abidrg men to carry on the great work of the world, would soon bring civilisation to a standstill, I WoMHX AXD WlXK. Then there are on the side of law and order in hunting down the criminal the two noto- rious \Y V women and wine, represented for the most part by very forlorn sluts and well- turpentined gin and atrocious beer, play an important part irt the provision of those "ciues" about which so much is heard after the commission of sensational and mys- terious crimes. This is only as it should be, and is in strict accordance with the law of compensation, for if any two agencies make more criminals than all the rest of our shocking social influences put together, it is bad drink and the unlovely and degraded fair." The absconding bank clerk is in two cases out of three accompanied in his flight by some cozening light o' love the burglar flings his swag" into the lap of his Poll Maggot" or "Edgeworth Bess"; and the man who commits violent assaults on the person has in almost every case first "given way to drink." Among the good people who would sign for the total suppression of public- houses there would be found very few sensible detectives. If Mr. Dung" helps people down that easy paih which leads to ruin, as I fear too many of them do, he provides a rallying point or house of call for the servants of society whew most of that information" which is so valuable i, i-eceived." While London alone continues to discharge from her gaols, as she does now, over twenty thousand male prisoners a year, there is not likely to be any scarcity of work for the pursuers of the criminals in our midst. It is said, indeed, that one in five of these take the pledge, and I daresay they do. As to how many keep it, statistic- are silent. If any large proportion were to, there would be either fewer thieves to be caught again, or the catching of them j would be infinitely more difficult tban it is to-day, Thk Scott., anp Yard Chamukr OF IIOHBORS, Crime takes so many forms that a detective needs to be almost as gifted as the poet of whom a fancy sketch is given in Doctor .Johnson's iJasselas," to be able to success- fully grapple with it. Perhaps the museum ( little known to the outside public, but which may be seen by permission of the proper authorities) in Scotland Yard, usually called the Chamber of Horrors," best exhibits this endless diversity. Entering from Whitehall the collection I refer to is to be found in the left-hand corner of the yard. It occupies the second floor of a fonr-slore.vod house which, previous to its falling into the hands of the Metropolitan Police Commissioners, was a gentleman's pri- vate dwelling, and one can easily imagine how little its former peaceful occupants ever dreamt of the base uses to which what were probably their bedrooms would one day be devoted. The house was lormerly used as a Section House for Recruits while being drilled preparatory to being sent out to join their divisions. The Chamber of Horrors does not seem to occupy a very large area, as the space is most ingeniously economised. The thought- ful obseiver will, however, find enough there to almost sicken him with the results of our much boasted nineteenth century civilisation, J unless he be madb of very robust stuff indeed. A. hasty glance around will at once recall nearly all the celebrated criminal cases of modern times, aiid one may be sure that every lugubrious souvenir upon which the eye rests is genuine." Each specimen has a small label attached to it for the purpose of identi- fication. Turning to the right as one enters the room there is a most ingeniously-contrived collec- tion of card-sharping apparatus. Edison himself would be compelled to admire the preciSlion of workmanship and scientific con- itrivance which has been wasted on some of these wonderful machines for cheating one's fellow creatures. It is a common occurrence for judges, while sentencing a prisoner, to; lament the misuse of rare gifts, which, pro- perly applied to a legitimate purpose, would have brought their foolish possessors both honour and fortune. In viewing the wheels, spindles, and mysterious cloths apper- taining to roulette tables, the loaded dice and cunningly manufactured cards and kuick- nacks generally comprising the swindlers bag of tricks," the spectator win not rail to fall into the same reflection. What will also strike any one who is unused to the habits of criminals in connection with these pretty playthings is the £ i'cat expense which must have been incurred in the production of many of them. "Want of money for the necessaries of life has evident l v not been the cause of the former owners of toys like those having taken to crooked ways. Weapons WITH Uistoriks. The chief numerical strength of the museum lies naturally in its unique assort- ment of the lethal weapons. Single-barrelled pistols, revolvers, razors, knives, hatchets, iife preservers !"—Heaven save the mark -1 are, as may be expected, the salient features in this gruesome show. All of these have | figured in some ghastly deed. Perhaps the knives, from the tiny penknife to the deadly bowie, are the most fearful looking in- struments in this collection. "With some of these husbands have butchered the wives whom they have sworn at the altar to love and cherish. With others, the life blood of suicides eager to anticipate their doom" has been set free, hurling the, self-sacrificing victim down the unfathomable abyss, at whose dread bottom lieth that which no man knoweth. Almost all have been the means of taking that human life away which is to most of us so precious. The staff which felled Mr. Tabuk in the great diamond I (robbery, a glass case full of relics of poor Harriet Lane, who was so foully murdered and cut up by the miscreant NVainwright, an old pair of boots worn at the time of his capture by the Rev. Selby Watson, who killed his wife in a. fit of insanity, See. See., bring back to our recollection some of the most notorious criminal trials of latter times. Then there is quite a "taking-looking" daguerrotype of O'Donnel and his wife, who appear to be as mild and inoffensive a pair of; amiable folk as one would be likely to meet coming out of the door of a church or chapel. The pistol with which the informer Carey was slain for breaking his oath of allegiance to the holy cause" will also attract attention. THE "PEACF. Collection has, too, quite a morbid interest of its own. There are the celebrated spectacles worn by the mildest- mannered ruflian who ever wore a clean to white choker," or blew out a fellow-crea- ture's brains. The hook and socket which played so prominent a part in nis nefarious proceedings are also there, together with an endless variety of skeleton keys, the collapsible portable ladder, folding jemmies, and other appurtenances of the burglar's art, in the use of whieh the 1" great Chailey," who managed to distance his pursuers for so long, may be said to have been the most expert adept of modern times. Let all would-be imitators, in viewing that unique assortment, remember, however, that Charles was caught at last, and his end was not peace, in spite of his almost superhuman cunning and lengthy run of "devil's luok." THE Claimant. That unhappy nobleman," "The Claimant," is also honoured with a nook in the Scotland Yard temple of fame. Some pocket handkerchiefs, a match box, and other trifling articles which belonged to that bulky personage, will bring back to mind the gigantic conspiracy which it took so many years to lay bare and bring the concoctors to justice. A skull cap, one of those which are pulled down over the faces of the trembling wretches about to disappear for ever from the warm precincts of the cheerful day," will cause a shudder to those who think of the many de- spairing fellow-creatures similar bag-like con- trivances have for the last time blotted out the light of day from many an unfortunate wretch. This will be found in close proximity to the mementoes of Sir Roger." THE Lipski TRIAL, The sensational Lipski trial and tremen- dous efforts made to save the criminal's life will also be brought to mind while gazing on a number of articles connected with that notorious foreigner. There is the coat half burned away by the corrosive fluid with which his unhappy victim was tortured to death, a well-worn, shabby, black garment, which to- gether with the man's old check trousers and waistcoat, and the glass phial which was made so much of in the defence, form a nasty look- ing lot of reminders of a cause celebre which will not have altogether been forgotten even amongst the crowd of horrors which have attracted public notice since. (Tu be continued.) Next Week: PART II. OF Lifk IN LONDON:" Burg'a'S nnd Coiners' Tools. Planter C tsta of Criminals' Heads. Dr. Lamson'f! Career. The Policeman's "Noso." Tho Utility of Offering Rewards. Modfiu Failures of Justice.

Which Was Guilty P

A NOVEL YACHT.

-----------.---A MODERN MONTE…

|TWO LUCKY CORNISHMEN.

Advertising