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LONDON. THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER, 1888.
WE publish to-day a large number of extracts from Sir CHARLES WARREN'S article on "The Police of the Metropolis" in the November number of Murray's Magazine. A more extraordinary document never found its way into print; and, on the other hand, a more complete vindication of everything that has been said in these columns about Sir CHARLES WARREN'S management of the force, it would be impossible to imagine. It would be charitable to suppose that when he penned this remarkable addition to the literature of Colney Hatch, Sir CHARLES WARREN was laboring under some unusual excitement. But that, unfortunately, is impossible. We know that these are Sir CHARLES WARREN'S every day sentiments. As he speaks he acts, and unhappily he acts with a reckless and unbridled confidence in his own sagacity which may sooner or later bring about the revolution he sees raising its abhorred head in every gutter urchin who cries "Boo" to the police. It is bad enough to have one amateur maniac at large, but we begin to lose touch of solid ground when we find Scotland-yard in possession of the victim of an equally dangerous and uncomfortable form of hallucination.
Sir CHARLES'S article bristles with wild and whirling words. London, according to our CHIEF COMMISSIONER has for many years (!) "been subject to the sinister influence of a mob stirred up into spasmodic action by restless demagogues." Like the disease which, according to the quack advertisements, "is coming upon us," the "Mob" has been with us all the time, and we have not known it. It possesses "a most powerful combination." Governments have never had the courage to stand against It. Ex-Ministers (is this Mr. GLADSTONE?) have pandered to It. "The Mob, or Rabble," has exercised a decided influence on our destines down to 1886, when "I, CHARLES WARREN" burst upon a delighted and relieved Metropolis. In the spring of that year It over-leapt all bounds. Then came Trafalgar-square, when, to the delight of the St. James's clubmen, whose professional approbation Sir CHARLES has richly earned, the patent WARREN cure for insurrectionary sentiments came down with force on the heads of It. Since then It has somewhat abated its vigor. It is true that It has still some powerful allies. A free press is, according to Sir CHARLES, the chief danger in London next to the proceedings of the revolutionary party. The criticism on Sir CHARLES'S failure - a quite insignificant detail this - to catch the Whitechapel murderer, and to give protection to tradesmen's property in poor quarters, show that the spirit of mob rule is still alert and will need all the prescient sagacity and the indomitable will of our CHIEF COMMISSIONER to quell it.
Sir CHARLES is a merciless theorist. Like the mad philosopher in "Rasselas," who thought he could control the weather, he endows himself with a divinely appointed mission to put down the turbulent spirit in London. So he has examined its workings with a nicety which puts our modern sociologist to shame. He has discovered one infallible sign of its presence - and that is, the popularity of the police! Whenever the police are petted and praised, Sir CHARLES scents danger, mounts his charger, and dons his spurs and epaulets. A panic is clearly imminent. On the other hand, when the police are abused and vilified, we may take it for granted that the public is safe! So the one guarantee of good government in London is that the police must be out of favor with the people. What a pleasant reflection for the police, and what a delightful comment on the state of thing to which a crazy theorist - for it is no use mincing words with Sir CHARLES WARREN - has reduced us.
Now, the problem of what to do with Sir CHARLES WARREN is reduced to very simple proportions. We pass by the comic interlude to his article, in which he declares that the force which - owing to no fault of their own - are the laughing-stock of the world, are unsurpassed in their ability to detect crime. Sir CHARLES has apparently been misled by the visits of foreign detectives into believing that they came to England to take hints from the sleuth-like cunning and sagacity of Scotland-yard. Their visits are perhaps susceptible of a simpler explanation; just as Sir CHARLES' proposal to exclude burglars from the London district altogether strikes us as a very pretty and ingenious way of preparing to cook your hare before you have caught it. But the point is that we have now Sir CHARLES'S admission that the main object of the police force is not to serve the community by protecting it from the criminal classes, but by saving it from "the mob or rabble," which is his polite way of referring to the Democracy. In other words, the civic force of London is to be changed into a military force because the change is necessary. Now we have it plain and flat. If Sir CHARLES WARREN'S view of London in the smallest degree approaches the truth, we no longer want a civil Commissioner of police; what we require is a kind of Anglicised Governor of Warsaw, a General HAYNAU, with unlimited powers of riding down the unemployed. The strategy of the police in Trafalgar-square was admired, said Sir CHARLES, "not only by experts (i.e., military experts) in the clubs but by the Social Democrats themselves." Now this is Warrenism - naked and unashamed. The whole gospel of military despotism - the gospel of grapeshot and bludgeon - is there. Are we going to stand for it? If we are not, we have had enough of our reactionary monomaniac in Scotland-yard, and the sooner the members for the Metropolis take the people's liberties in hand the better.
Sir CHARLES WARREN, by the way, seems to have borrowed one valuable idea from Mr. Pinero. The playwright introduces in one of his eccentric comedies a kind of asylum for worn-out "sports." Sir Charles seems to have some dim idea of isolating our criminal characters in a kind of burglars' retreat. Why not send him down to organise and manage it? The is an excellent site at Hanwell.
NO wonder the Whitechapel murderer has escaped observation. The suit of prison clothes in which Jackson escaped from Strangeways Gaol, Manchester, have just been found in a cistern next door to the house where he committed a burglary near Bradford. It is, therefore, pretty certain that Jackson escaped from Manchester wearing his convict's dress, and not at all impossible that he went about in it down to the time of the Bradford burglary. The Whitechapel murderer is as sharp a man as Jackson, and the Lancashire and Yorkshire police are quite as wide awake as Warren's men - at least we devoutly hope so, for the sake of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
THE mystery of a "mysterious disappearance" was incidentally cleared up in the Divorce Court yesterday. In 1883 one Short disappeared from his abode at Hampstead, and a day or two after his clothes were found untenanted on the banks of the River Lea. Mrs. Short seems to have resigned herself to circumstances, and purchased a plot of ground for the reception of the rest of poor Short's remains when they were recovered. As they never were recovered, however, the fate of Mr. Short remained a mystery until a year or two ago, when he was found alive (and possibly kicking) in New Brunswick in company with a former lady resident in Hampstead who had gone on her travels about the same time. Possibly Short appreciated the one-sidedness of our divorce law, and desired, by simulating suicide, to give his deserted wife an opportunity of consoling herself. At any rate, he shows once more that people who mysteriously disappear generally have their own reasons for it.
Mr. Ruggles-Brise, who is spoken of as a likely candidate for the post of private secretary to Lord Lansdowne has acted in the same capacity for several successive Home Secretaries, belongs to the Bachelor Club, and is well known in society. He has undoubted abilities, and great powers of work, and considerable tact; the latter quality is especially necessary to smooth over the many troubles cause by the petty social jealousy so prevalent in Anglo-Indian circles. Mr. Brise took a first-class degree at Oxford about eight years ago.
HE IS PROFOUNDLY SATISFIED WITH THE LONDON POLICE.
The Chief Commissioner Shows in "Murray's Magazine" that He is Possessed of a Mania About Mobs, and Refers with Self-gratulation to Trafalgar-square and the Jubilee - The Police are Perfect, and only the Press and the Public are at Fault.
Sir Charles Warren's article on "The Police of the Metropolis" will occupy first place in the November number of Murray's Magazine. As to what place it will occupy in the opinion of the public, the readers of The Star may have an early opportunity of judging from the extracts here presented. The Commissioner starts off with the statement that London has for many years past "been subject to the sinister influence of a mob stirred up into spasmodic action by restless demagogues. Their operations," he says, "have exercised undue influence on the Government of the day, and year by year the metropolis of our empire has become more and more prone to dangerous panics, which, if permitted to increase in intensity, must certainly lead to disastrous consequences. If the citizens could only keep their heads cool and support the police in the legitimate execution of their duty there is nothing to be dreaded from
but all peace and order will be imperilled if the citizens continue intermittently to join the mob in embarrassing those who are responsible for the security of the metropolis. There are over 12,000 police in London, deducting those employed at the dockyards, &c., and it is probable that these might readily be reduced to 10,000 if the inhabitants would do their duty as citizens and uphold the law. They have, however, from long custom, extending over more that a hundred years, acquired an unreasoning habit of cavilling and finding fault on every occasion without making any due inquiry, and very frequently on incorrect information, and they are actually doing their best to hand their security and property to the mercy of those who wish to share the latter with them." Then, after bewailing the sight of "influential citizens fostering an insurrection," Sir Charles goes on to say : -
"It is to be deplored that successive Governments have not had the courage to make a stand against the more noisy section of the people representing a small minority, and have given way before tumultuous proceedings which have exercised a terrorism over peaceful and law-abiding citizens, and it is still more to be regretted that
have not hesitated to embarrass those in power by smiling on the insurgent mob. If we search history during the present century, we shall find that down to the year 1886 the mob or rabble exercised a decided influence over the destines of London. In the spring of that year it over-leaped all bounds, and London was subject to a three days' reign of abject terror, pitiful and ridiculous, which only terminated because the mob was so completely astonished and taken aback at its own success, that it was not prepared to continue its depredations."
He follows what he calls the public oscillations of the mob or rabble, and professes to be able to gauge by them the estimate in which the metropolitan police are held. "If they are praised up and petted, we may be sure that the public scent danger in the air, and that a panic is imminent; while if, on the other hand, they are abused and vilified, we may take it for granted that the public feel quite secure." As an instance of this he cites the criticisms passed on the police immediately after their successful handling of the Jubilee crowds. Says he : -
"So violent was this attack and slander that it actually reacted forcibly on the mob, grown quiet since the previous spring, and they, thinking the police would now have no spirit to resist them, commenced proceedings which, but for vigorous measures, might have resulted in the ruin of London. Before it was quite too late, however, a portion of the public saw the danger ahead, and rapidly rallied to the support of the police, and
was successfully accomplished without loss of life or destruction of property.
"Thus almost for the first time during this century the mob failed in its ascendency over London and in coercing the Government, but it would be puerile to ignore the fact that there will be again efforts made to remove the destinies of the metropolis out of the hands of the people into those of the mob. Gradually peace has been restored, and security prevailing during the summer of 1888, signs were not wanting that another attack on the police was at hand. But this time it was to be of a more insidious character, being directed not so much against the individual police constables as against the police administration, and if successful it would effectually cripple the power of the Executive to keep peace and order on the approaching Lord Mayor's Day. Fortunately, however, a note of alarm has been sounded in time, and citizens are again beginning to rally round the side of law and order."
Sir Charles declares that the object of his article is to "put before the public a few leading facts which may possibly clear away many of the misconceptions with which the subject of the police has been extensively surrounded." These "leading facts" consist for the most part of a detailed history of the development of the London police force since the establishment of the office of constable in the Saxon period. He also devotes considerable space to pointing out the numerous duties that devolve upon the Commissioner, incidentally expressing the hope that the new Local Government will lighten the burden. Finally he comes to
in the course of general comment on which Sir Charles admits that "the genius of the English race does not lend itself to elaborate detective operations similar to those practised on the Continent," but he claims that "Englishmen possess pre-eminently qualities which are essential to good detective work, such as dogged pertinacity in watching, thoroughness of purpose, and absence of imagination and downright sterling honesty," and are as likely to make as good detectives as Frenchmen. He thinks it only fair to say that. The proof of the London detective's value can only be tested by results.
"One hundred years ago, under a disjointed parish police service, London is said to have been more disorderly and worst policed than any city of Europe; it has now, under a centralised police force, taken the first place among European cities, in regard to order and absence of crime, and this with a very moderate number of police officers. During the past year principal officers of police from the most important cities of the world have come to London to study our police organisation, and to endeavor to ascertain how we are enabled to detect crime. With regard to murder, the detection of the criminal has been made so generally sure, that this crime seldom occurs unless under abnormal circumstances. And it is this very fact which leads the public to suppose that the power of detection is declining. It will probably be allowed in the abstract that, with a perfect system of detection, no cases of murder are likely to occur, except of such a character that they could not be detected without considerable enquiry, and therefore the statistics would show a preponderance of
although the proportion per 1,000 would be at a minimum."
In comparing the French and English systems, he congratulates our Continental friends on the fact that "the press does not venture to discuss their operations, to embarass and hinder their enquiries, or to publish their results; though, on the other hand, there is a distinct and serious loss to the community, police included, from the absence of a free press."
Presently we come to the following : -
"It has been a rule in the Metropolitan Police to give very little information to the public as to the Criminal Investigation branch, and in consequence many remarkable accounts have been given to the world which have not been contradicted. And so long as the stories did no harm little importance was attached to them. Recently, however, stories have been circulated having a mischievous tendency, as likely to encourage thieves and criminals, and it may serve a good purpose to contradict them. In joining the detective force there is no hard-and-fast rule as to height, physique, age, &c., as in the uniform branch; any eligible candidate can be selected by the Commissioner, and it is not necessary for him to serve previously as a uniform constable. Any suitable person can be taken on. It is assumed by the public that because they may think they know the appearance of a constable in plain clothes, that therefore they know all the detectives in the neighborhood. The public do not know the detectives as a body, and frequently erroneously assume that they are not present when they are beside them."
He says also: "It is quite untrue that there has been any attempt to
but there are certain attributes and qualifications which have been aimed at which pertain also in the soldier, sailor, postman, railway guard, or, in fact, to any citizen who joins an organised service;" and that, "It is also quite incorrect that a large number of reserve or discharged soldiers have been recently added to the police force." Furthermore, we read that: "There can be very little doubt that the outcry against the police as a military force, so far as it is not instigated for special political or sinister purposes, is due to the Englishman who poses as a censor of public bodies, possessing, as a rule, but one idea at a time. And he imagines that all his fellow-countrymen must be endowed exactly as himself. Consequently, when he finds how admirably the police performed their duties during last year - in camp and court - during fêtes and tumults, he jumps to the conclusion that this is their only qualification, and that they can do nothing else.
"This is really an unfair and unreasonable proceeding, but yet it will be found to pervade the minds of most of our fellow-countrymen; and as a significant commentary on this fact, it may be mentioned that among the several hundred letters received from correspondents of all classes lately about
the bulk of them make only four proposals, thus showing their poverty of originality. It has been said that the police operations in Trafalgar-square were but military operations; it should be pointed out, however, that while the tactics were highly commended, the strategy was admired not only by experts at the clubs, but by the Social Democrats themselves; and there is a most interesting letter on the subject by Mr. Morris in one of the democratic newspapers."
In conclusion it is observes that "it is quite impracticable within the limits of a short article to do more than show in a few important instances that the hostile criticism levelled at police administration is based upon absolutely incorrect premises; probably enough has been said to assure the reader that no attempt has been made to drill and train the police as a military force, that more attention is being paid to the detective duties than the service has ever had bestowed upon it before, and that the question as to the necessity for an increase to the police force is a matter resting entirely in the hands of the citizens of London. If the people of London choose to create panics and false alarms they must prepare themselves for some extra safeguards than the present number of police; but if they will keep cool, and recognise the fact that the police are doing their duty in
so far as is in the power of flesh and blood, among all the temptations to which the citizens subject them, they will come forward and assist the police, as many vigilance committees are doing at the present time, in repressing crime, they will cease to praise or blame at times when it is not applicable; and they will find that in succeeding years the want of an extra number of police officers will steadily diminish."
We have dealt with some aspects of Sir Charles Warren's extraordinary article in our leading columns. Meanwhile it is important for the democratic organisations of London - the clubs, the Liberal and Radical associations - to note that Sir Charles's article is
According to him London has for years been under mob rule. What he probably means in his blundering, non-historical way is that various attempts have been made by legitimate agitation to enlarge the liberties of the people. He probably refers to the Chartist movement - the protest against the horrors attending the rise of the industrial system in the earlier part of the century - and the pulling down of the Hyde-park railings. With the exception of the looting raid by common thieves in 1886, these are the only occasions when anything in the shape of violence has been even threatened. But it is quite clear that Sir Charles anticipates a revival of revolutionary efforts. That explains his surveillance of clubs, and his dogging the steps of perfectly reputable and respectable Radical agitators. They must, therefore, be on their defence.
for the removal of the Chief Commissioner who threatens violent measures against popular gatherings should lie for signature at all working men's clubs. Meanwhile, Parliamentary action is necessary. Sir Charles Warren's salary will shortly come up for discussion on the Estimates; and Professor Stuart has already determined to move its reduction. Its complete omission should now be moved, and should be supported by every member of the metropolis, Liberal or Conservative, and especially by the Liberal party.
Put in a Police Cell with a Broken Spine.
While returning drunk from the Croydon Races, Henry Jessop, aged 42, an ostler, fell out of a trap in the Station-road, Brixton. He was conveyed to the police-station, and after a scalp wound on the head had been dressed was kept in a cell till two o'clock the following morning, when it was found necessary to remove him to the hospital. It was then ascertained that he had sustained a fracture of the spinal column. He died. A verdict of accidental death was returned at last night's inquest.
Trial of the Old Man who Killed His Wife While Mad with Drink.
At the Central Criminal Court to-day a dejected-looking old man, Levi Richard Bartlett, aged 66, stevedore, was put on his trial for wife murder and attempted suicide. The couple lived at 248, Manchester-road, Poplar. The man was in the habit of drinking heavily, but he was acknowledged to have been in his sober moments a kind and good husband. When in liquor he was exceedingly violent, and had often threatened to take his wife's life. On the night of 18 Aug. he returned home drunk, and demanded that his wife should give him some money to get more drink. She refused, and a scuffle ensued. He tore a door off its hinges and flung it at her, and she took up a carving knife to defend herself. The man then left the house, declaring that he would do for her that night. He also bade some other people living in the house good-bye, telling them that they would not see him again. He returned at a late hour. Early the next morning the other people in the house were disturbed by a noise in the bedroom at Bartlett's. Immediately afterwards the man went into the room of a lodger and said,
and now I am going to do for myself." He had a razor in his hand. He ran back to his room, and was followed. The poor woman was found on the bed at the point of death; the husband was lying on the bed with his throat cut. A doctor was brought, but by the time he arrived the woman was dead from wounds which had been inflicted on the head with a blood-stained hammer which was found in the room. Bartlett was taken to Poplar Hospital, where he remained for some time. All the witnesses stated that he was very eccentric, and was known in the neighborhood as "Mad Dick."
During the three days of the week following the Sunday on which the two murders were committed a petition to the Queen was freely circulated among the women of the laboring classes of East London through some of the religious agencies and educational centres. It deplored the prostitution in the East-end, and said : - "While each woman of us will do all she can to make men feel with horror the sins of impurity which cause such wicked lives to be led, we would also beg that your Majesty will call on your servants in authority and bid them put the law which already exists in motion to close bad houses within whose walls such wickedness is done and men and women ruined in body and soul." The petition received between 4,000 and 5,000 signatures. Mr. Godfrey Lushington replied to the letter saying that the Secretary of State was "in communication with the Commissioners of Police with a view to taking such action as may be desirable."
The trial of Glennie for complicity in the murder of Mrs. Wright, at Canonbury, will probably not begin until Monday. Mr. Metcalfe, solicitor for the accused, thinks the case can scarcely be concluded at one day's sitting, as there is a deal of testimony to be advanced on both sides.
The Moral of the Murders.
SIR, - Your correspondent "M. C. B. Harper" accuses me of putting the cart before the horse. I repress the impulse to retort that what I have actually done, it appears, is to place an economic argument before a quadruped of the same genus, though not of the same species, as the horse. A well-meaning clergyman having suggested that the rich should forego their luxuries, I pointed out that since the land is not nationalised, such a proceeding would simply starve out those workers who live by producing luxuries for the landlords. Mr. Harper, with an air of correcting me in a foolish blunder (an air which naturally exasperates me) hastens to point out that if the land were nationalised no worker could run such danger. Mr. Harper might have concluded that I knew this, partly because, as a Fabian, I am necessarily a Socialist, and partly because I expressly said so myself in the letter to which he takes exception. But the question at issue is, what is "the moral of the murders" in this country where the land is not nationalised? The Vicar of St. Luke's says, let the rich forego luxuries. I say no; rather nationalise the land, since until it be nationalised, many of the poor will have to depend for their subsistence on the demand of the rich for luxuries. The vicar's moral was clear; so was mine. Mr. Harper thereupon, evidently agreeing exactly with me, lends me his valuable aid by writing a letter to declare that I am wrong and the vicar right. For the sake of our common cause I venture to urge upon Mr. Harper the advisability of refraining from economic controversy until he has acquired the art of distinguishing between his supporters and his opponents. - Yours, &c.,