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Title: A Letter to Sir Richard Ford and the Other Police Magistrates

Author: active 1771-1808 Robert Holloway

Release date: May 9, 2020 [eBook #62065]

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the [1803] Vaughan Griffiths edition by David Price


Transcribed from the [1803] Vaughan Griffiths edition by David Price, email

Public domain cover















I have taken the liberty to consume a few minutes of your valuable time, for the purpose of awakening your attention to an evil, that has lately encreased to an enormous magnitude; an evil rendered the more mischievous, inasmuch as it is sanctioned by Magisterial authority.

You, Gentlemen, are not to be taught by me, that the law itself has marked with peculiar abhorrence, every species of oppression and injustice, that is perpetrated under its influence; for, dreadful indeed must be the situation of the subjects p. 4of any country, who are told that their oppressions are authorised by the power of Magistracy.

The mischief I allude to is the alarming depredations committed by a gang of abandoned wretches, who, by a scene of fraud and perjury, have long been in the habits of obtaining your warrants, under the fallacious pretences of prosecuting the keepers of Gaming Houses, Lottery Offices, Dancing Schools, and other public nuisances; but who, in fact, obtain those instruments of legal authority, to give countenance and facility to the most outrageous extortions and robberies: for, instead of causing such warrants to be executed for the ends of public justice, they prostitute them to the accomplishment of private plunder, turning them into terrific engines, to alarm the objects of supposed delinquency into a compliance with the most exorbitant pecuniary demands.  And thus the Magistrates, who on all occasions, are anxious to embrace every opportunity p. 5of suppressing a public nuisance, become the dupes of profligate necessity, and the innocent parricides of that peace, liberty, and property, which the Police of this country appoint them to preserve and protect.

It is not my present purpose to enter into any thing like a general comparison of the morals of the ninth, and the nineteenth century; or to expatiate on the distinction between those of this country, and such as pervade the inhabitants of other regions; for, I believe the strictest scrutiny would end in a conclusion that human nature is much the same, in whatever part of the world geography can lead us; I will, therefore, briefly pursue the avowed purpose of this address, which is both local and temporary, calculated to remedy a species of iniquity, which stalks with gigantic strides, to the very threshold of the most salutary Police that human wisdom is capable of establishing.

p. 6It is astonishing, and no less so is it lamentable, that the laws of the wisest legislator, in all ages and countries, never did, or ever will, wholly subdue the predominant passions inherent in human nature; hence the wisdom and ingenuity of the laws, both antient and modern, aided by the intrepidity and vigilance of the Magistrates, have sunk under every attempt, to conquer the two most destructive vices which afflict mankind;—it is almost needless to say, that I mean duelling and gaming; vices that have triumphed over, and bid defiance to, all human ordinances, from the earliest period of civilization, to the present moment.

But as I have selected the prevalency of gaming and its baneful effects, for the subject of your consideration, I shall not clog my animadversions with any extraneous observations.

If the information I mean to convey in this letter, was to reach no farther than the closets of p. 7men as well informed as yourselves, I should have spared myself the trouble of writing, and relieved you from the task of reading, at least two thirds of the subject now before you; for to tell men of erudition and legal knowledge, what were the laws and customs, vices and virtues, of the most celebrated antients, would be almost as futile and presumptuous, as to tell Sir Richard Ford, that the office he presides at, is in the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden; but as this letter may get into the hands of men of a very opposite description, to them it may convey both information and admonition, as salutary to themselves, as beneficial to the community; or at least, should it fail, I have the satisfaction of a good intention, free from any apprehension of encountering the disapprobation of men whose good opinion is worth acquiring or preserving.

The prejudice of vulgar errors over the minds of Englishmen perhaps is more prevalent than in any other people, the major part of whom have p. 8as little idea that gaming exists in any other country as that roast beef can be met with in France or Italy.

To enter into an accurate history of the unbounded passion for gaming in all ages, and in all countries, and to recount the severity of those laws which have from time to time been enacted to restrain the evil, would be a work of more labour and time than I wish to devote to the subject, or indeed, than is necessary on the present occasion.

It is clear that the ruinous rage for gaming is not confined to this country, for history affords us too many proofs to establish a contrary conclusion.

The vice is not even confined to Europeans; for such is the unquenchable thirst for gaming in China, and such its melancholy effects, that they not only play for all the property they possess, p. 9but afterwards stake their wives and children, which are detained by the winner till they are redeemed.  Their games are much the same as the Europeans, Hazard, Pas-dice, &c. &c.

With respect to the Italians, from the highest to the lowest, historians inform us they all manifest an inordinate passion for every species of gaming, and when they lose all they have, will stake themselves against so many dollars as the market goes at, for the price of slaves; and if they lose, are sold by the winner to the Gallies, and spend their lives at the oar, under a rigorous and cruel discipline, without a murmur.

The late excellent Judge Blackstone, and indeed many other authors, tell us that the antient Germans would also stake their persons against certain sums of money, and if they lost, would think it a disgrace not to become the slaves of the winner.

p. 10The Greeks and Romans were incurably addicted to gambling, the nature of which seems to have borne great similarity to that in most general use in this country, especially the games with dice thrown out of a box, the same as is practised at the Hazard tables with us.

Notwithstanding the severity of the Roman laws forbidding the use of dice, they paid little or no attention to the prohibition; nor indeed did they confine themselves to the rules of probity and fairness in the games, inasmuch that the art of cogging the die appears to be a laudable exertion of skill.  Thus Dryden makes a Roman gamester exclaim:

“But then my study was to cog the dice,
And dext’rously to throw the lucky size;
To shun the ace that swept my stakes away,
And watch the box, for fear they should convey
False bones, and put upon me in the play.”

From which it appears that the art of introducing p. 11false dice was not unknown, but practised by the Romans; nor did the passion for gaming cease with the imbecility of age, for when they were passed all manual exercise they constantly indulged themselves with dice, a custom which Dryden has also satyrised in the following lines:

“If gaming does an aged sire entice,
Then my young master swiftly learns the vice,
And shakes in hanging sleeves the little box and dice.”

A variety of authors seem to agree, that the Romans were in habits of play from their infancy at games most adapted to their age, particularly at the game of Par-and-impar or even and odd: indeed such an ungovernable passion for play prevailed, that even the lawgivers themselves practised it without moderation.  The Emperors were, many of them, professed admirers of gaming.  Claudius had gained so much experience in the chances of the dice, that he composed a book upon the subject; and Augustus p. 12himself was equally infatuated.  Indeed to such a pitch of extravagance was the passion of Claudius for this vice, that it is related, Seneca, in his sarcastic apotheosis upon that emperor, after bringing him to hell, makes the Infernal Judges condemn him to play continually at dice with a box that had the bottom out.

Nero, among the rest of his prodigalities and profusion, was addicted to gaming; and that he might act like himself, at once made a stake of 400,000 sesterces: nor indeed are we without examples of Englishmen, when abroad, falling in with this frantic rage for excessive gaming; for we are told in Fuller’s Worthies that Henry Chenney, Baron of Teddington, when in France, had the honor of playing with the King of the country, of whom he won a diamond of considerable value; and the monarch asking him how he could have paid if he had lost?  His lordship replied, with an air of confidence, “I have as many sheep in Kent, as the tails, and p. 13wool being sold, would purchase a much better diamond.”

The state of gaming in England, embraces one feature of mischief we do not read of in other countries, for here the rage has affected women with all the ruinous consequences that attach to the men, notwithstanding the laws prohibit the practice with an almost unparalleled severity;—laws armed with penalties sufficient to deter any reasonable being from encountering their perils; pronouncing degradations, corporal punishment, and retribution in every line.

It is possible, nay, very probable, that thousands in the habit of excessive gaming, and who experience all its concomitant horrors, may be wholly ignorant of those laws so penal in their operation: I will, therefore, state them in regular succession, in a manner so unembarrassed and simplified, as will level them to the comprehension of the most ignorant offender.

p. 14To restrain this pernicious vice among the inferior class of people, the Statute of 33 Hen. VIII. c. 9, was made, which prohibits all but gentlemen, the games of tennis, tables, cards, dice, bowls, and other unlawful diversions, under pecuniary pains and imprisonment.

By Stat. 16 Car. II. c. 7, if any person by playing or betting, shall lose more than 100l. at one time, he shall not be compellable to pay the same; and the winner shall forfeit treble the value, one moiety to the King, the other to the informer.

The Stat. 9 Ann, c. 14, enacts that all bonds and other securities given for money won at play, or money lent at the time to play withal, shall be utterly void, that all mortgages and incumbrances of lands made upon the same consideration shall be, and enure to the heir of the mortgager: that, if any person at one time loses 10l. at play, he may sue the winner, and recover p. 15it back by action of debt at law, and in case the loser does not, any other person may sue the winner for treble the sum so lost, and the plaintiff in either case, may examine the defendant himself upon oath; and that in any of these suits no privilege of parliament shall be allowed: the Stat, further enacts, that if any person cheats at play, and at one time wins more than 10l. or any valuable thing, he may be indicted thereupon, and shall forfeit five times the value, shall be deemed infamous, and suffer such corporal punishment as in case of wilful perjury.

By several Stats. of George II, all private lotteries by tickets, cards, or dice, (and particularly the games of faro, basset, ace of hearts, hazard, rolly polly, pas dice, and all games with dice, except backgammon) are prohibited under a penalty of 200l. for him that shall erect such lotteries, and 50l. a time for the players.  Public lotteries unless by authority of Parliament, and all manner of ingenious devices which in the end p. 16are equivalent to lotteries, were before prohibited by a great variety of statutes, under heavy pecuniary penalties.

The Stat. 13 George II. c. 19, to prevent the multiplicity of horse races, another fund of gaming, directs that no plates, or matches, under 50l. value each, shall be run, upon penalty of 200l. to be paid by the owner of each horse running, and 100l. by such as advertise the plate.

By Stat. 18 George II. c. 34, the Stat. 9 Ann is further enforced, and some deficiencies supplied:—the forfeiture of that act may now be recovered in a court of equity; and moreover, if any man be convicted upon information or indictment of winning or losing at any sitting, 10l. or 20l. within twenty-four hours, he shall forfeit five times the sum.  Thus careful has the legislator been to prevent this destructive vice.

And in order to prevent the dreadful consequences, p. 17such as Duelling and other outrages, on account of money won at play, the party who shall provoke to fight, or commit any assault, for the purpose of compelling the payment of any money so won, shall forfeit all his personal property to the king, and suffer two years imprisonment in the county goal where the offence was committed.  A prosecution under this act is attended with little more difficulty than proving a common assault.  Upon this statute Hill Darley, of Bond-street, was very lately convicted, and compromised the pecuniary part with the High Bailiff of Westminster for 1000l. and obtained a remission of some part of his imprisonment in Horsham gaol.

About 20 years ago the late James Armstrong, Sheriff’s officer, indicted two gentlemen upon this statute; one of whom was a clergyman, and who to avoid the consequences of their temerity retired to the continent, where they remained some years, and at length were reduced to the humiliating p. 18situation of soliciting the pardon of a fellow whose company they would have thought a disgrace upon any other occasion.  Armstrong at length consented to drop the prosecution upon their giving one hundred pounds to the poor of the parish where the offence was committed.  Such are the disgraceful, and I may say, ignominious terms upon which men indulge themselves in this favourite vice, a vice so fascinating, that if the pursuit of it was made felony, it might somewhat diminish it, but would never wholly subdue it; for when the human passions come in contact with human reason, the former will ever be the strongest.

Terrific as these acts may appear upon paper, they are rendered very difficult in the prosecution, particularly the 9 Ann, which, indeed, is the principal one, as it applies to the higher order of people, for the mischiefs that become the objects of that act, are frequently done at races and public places of resort, at a great distance from the p. 19metropolis; actions upon penal statutes being local, an offence committed at York must be tried by a jury of that county, though all the parties necessary to the suit reside in London; and no reason, however weighty, is sufficient to change the venue to Westminster Hall.

A variety of other defects prove a considerable check upon the operation of the other statutes, and render their imbecility obvious to the courts of Law, as well as magistrates; this evil might be easily remedied by making one efficient act, embracing all salutary purposes, and omitting the futile parts, which would shut out many inconveniences, expence, and that system of iniquity, so conspicuous in prosecuting or defending the objects of punishment.

With respect to the laws for preventing illegal transactions in the lotteries, or at least those passed since Thomas Wood was appointed Inspector, seem calculated for no possible purpose p. 20but that of spreading the evil, and filling the pockets of a worthless individual; for while there is a lottery authorised by parliament, daily experience evinces the impossibility of subduing its evil consequences; and if gaming tables have a tendency to promote idleness, theft, and debauchery among the lower class, the same pernicious consequences may justly be attributed to the universal spirit for insuring in the lottery, with a train of additional calamities, of fraud, perjury and inevitable beggary; for so long as the infatuated devotees to their own ruin can find money, the invention of sharpers will find means to evade the laws, which only hunt them from one device to another, and render knavish ingenuity swifter than the means of punishment.

The appointment of Mr. Wood to the office of Inspector of Lotteries, was an event that created the astonishment of every man who knew his previous character; but his continuing the situation p. 21after all that has appeared before the magistrates, that has been exhibited in the courts of law, before the commissioners of the stamp office, together with all that is within the knowledge of every person concerned in lottery transactions, is certainly one of those extraordinary events which confounds the understanding, benumbs the explanatory faculties, and soars above the reach of reason to explain, or philosophy to reconcile to any principle of public advantage: however, there has been so much written and said upon this man’s conduct, that I shall for the present enter no further into his probity and praise-worthy service, than recalling to the recollection of the Magistrates at Bow-street, the amiable portrait I drew of him in their presence, in November last, some faint likeness of which appeared in the public prints of the day: the Magistrates upon that occasion, as well as a great number of other persons present, must do me the justice to say that the ground of my accusation was not the p. 22effect of a distempered brain or malignant invention; for every syllable I uttered respecting him or his friend, Mr. Holland, of “Little-Go,” notoriety has been legally substantiated upon the clearest of all evidences, and now remains matter of woeful record, at least to Mr. Holland, who has had six months leisure to ruminate on its efficacy in Cold-Bath-Fields Prison.  In fine, every seeming effort that has sprung out of Mr. Wood’s fertile brain to suppress the ruinous practice of insuring in lotteries, has augmented the calamity to a preposterous magnitude, and instead of curing the evils we already felt, raised up innumerable others we knew not of.  However, I must check my inclination to furnish matter for a volume, and confine myself to the brevity of a letter; and, from what I have stated, few men will suspect me to be a favourer of any species of gaming; perhaps, less so, when I protest, my abhorrence of it has ever been such, that in my existence I never won or lost £5. at any description of game.

p. 23Having expressed my disapprobation of gaming in such corrosive terms, I also feel impelled by candour and justice to make some remarks upon the system of play at public tables, especially those at the fashionable end of the town, where it is impossible that any foul play, fraud, or deception, can be practised; nor indeed is a man however sottishly drunk or, stupid, permitted to make a bet against the known chances of the game; at such tables, little skill or penetration is required, for games of chance are matter of mathematical consideration, and afford equal advantage to the inexperienced novice, and the most accomplished gamester; for it is a notorious fact, that many men play almost every night for ten years together, without any material loss or gain; it is in private play that the mischief is done, and I feel myself competent to assert, that more serious losses happen at Brighton, Bath, and the various races, where private parties are formed at taverns, or at the lodging of a sharper, p. 24in one year, than at the public gaming houses in London, in ten times that period.

After all, what can be said, but that the aggregate of human wisdom has in all ages, and in all countries, been exerted in vain to conquer the evil, and it is some consolation that in England, it is seldom attended with the tragical consequences which the melancholy histories of gambling transactions of other countries relate.  With respect to gambling in lotteries, the attention of the legislator seems to have been directed to the welfare of the lower order of people; but experience teaches us that their annual efforts, assisted by all the vigilance, integrity, morality, and impartiality of Mr. T. Wood, like the ordinance of the Koran, destroys the soul to indulge the appetites of the body; hence the pernicious increase of “Little Go’s,” a species of lottery which ravages and preys upon the vitals of the poor, almost without the possibility of a temporary alleviation, which in their very p. 25nature cannot be productive of any advantage, even by accident, except to Pawnbrokers, the Lottery Inspector, and his amiable friend, the conscientious J. Holland, whose nefarious system of plunder exhibited a scene of iniquity unparalleled in the history of gambling enormities; for it appeared to the Magistrates in Bow-street, who fortunately possessed themselves of this dreadful fellow’s books, that the chances against the deluded wretches who were caught in his fool trap, stood thus, that in receiving a thousand pounds he had to return about forty, supposing he had been honest enough to have paid it—and in receiving one hundred and fifty, he had one guinea to return, and so on, day by day, for months together; and this precious system of plunder was unfolded and spread out in the presence of the cherub-cheek Mr. Wood.  Thus much, however, must be said for adventurers in the established lottery, for though they play a guinea to eighteen shillings, their chance of winning is fair, and the receipt of the money, when they do win, certain; p. 26notwithstanding the advantages are infinitely on the side of the Insurer, yet there are not wanting many instances where the Insured have acquired sums of money that have laid the foundation of their future welfare.

But not to detain you with the relation of circumstances so familiar to daily experience, I will trespass upon your time no longer than is necessary to make some observations upon that more immoral and dangerous species of iniquity, daily practised, under pretence of putting the laws in force against offenders of the foregoing description: in doing which, I must enter into an history of fraud, perjury, subornation, extortion, and robbery of the most hideous description, wherein I shall be assisted not only by matters of fact, but by additional credit from some outrageous acts of delinquency, lately unfolded by the injured parties, to the Magistrates in Bow-street; from which it appeared, that a man of the name of John Bell, who assumed the consequence of a p. 27country gentleman residing at Peckham, with a degree of audacity, the necessary concomitant of designing knavery, imposed himself upon a Magistrate as a man outrageously offended with the immorality of gaming houses, and with an unbounded anxiety to suppress the evil, obtained a warrant to appease the perturbed state of his conscience, and apprehend the keepers: with this instrument he marched, at the head of about a dozen constables, to an house in Pall Mall, between eleven and twelve o’clock-at night, and there, with all the insolence of an Arabian freebooter, domineered, and terrified the mistress, children, and guests, whom he conveyed to a watch house, where they remained till five o’clock in the morning, when this Algerine demagogue, condescended to take what he impudently called bail for their appearance, and thus the night scene ended; upon which there is but one circumstance creative of surprise, and that is, that no one man out of the twenty-four whose liberty he sported with, p. 28had spirit enough to cut off one of his ears, as a token of his imposture; for it must be remembered he was not a peace officer, or armed with any authority, but such as an highwayman assumes the moment he is cocking his pistol.

To suppose that this man of straight-laced morality would stray from his hovel at Peckham, to hunt gamblers at midnight in Pall-Mall, from motives of public justice, is as ridiculous a supposition, as that he could produce any circumstance of his life, that procured him an honest shilling.  The warrant having thus operated to the accomplishment of every purpose for which it was obtained, the negociation commenced relative to its future progress, but ended as fifty others had done before; one hundred pounds was demanded to satisfy the voracious appetite of offended decorum; a sum so trifling, that if it was not immediately paid, a similar visit was threatened for the next night:—however, the sum of 60l. was at length acceded to, and 60l. was p. 29paid, of course all hostilities ceased.  This pecuniary anodyne assuaged the moral-wrought grief of Mr. Bell; but there was yet left unmolested, three houses more in the same neighbourhood, that furnished Mr. Bell with suspicions, that similar instruments against them might prove equally productive to his pocket; he instantly tried the experiment, and with the use of little more rhetoric than accompanies a dark-lanthorn and knife in the hands of a midnight ruffian, demanded 35l. each, as the conditions of a short cessation from a like outrage: these respective sums being also paid, silence was proclaimed, and the blast of offended justice no longer heard; here perhaps, the business would have ended, and the robberies sunk into an oblivion, criminal as the impunity with which they were committed, had Mr. Bell given himself time to recollect, that one extreme generally begets another; the extremity of vice being frequently the beginning of folly; for within a month subsequent to this transaction, the different parties received a further demand of p. 3010l. each: however, a little expostulation upon the rapidity of their collections, procured them a respite of some days for the payment of this second subsidy; in the interim the nefarious transactions came to the knowledge of some of the magistrates at Bow Street, who to their eternal honour, sent for the objects of Mr. Bell’s plunder, from whom they received an ample detail of all the circumstances; from that period the spirit of self-defence was roused, and the injured parties determined to seek protection from the laws of the country: with the advice of three eminent council at a consultation, they have preferred bills of indictment against Mr. Bell and his Attorney, who appears so implicated in the business, that no legal distinction in point of turpitude can possibly exist; therefore, they are indicted for a conspiracy; other bills were prepared, the presenting of which was delayed by an accident till next sessions.

In stating this transaction, I wish it to be understood, p. 31as a mere sample of the virtuous conduct of Mr. Bell upon a variety of occasions, too numerous for any thing like a detailed accuracy, which, however, bids fair to undergo an ample discussion at the next Surry assizes, if he has audacity enough to pursue the action, there to be tried, and if what is stated in the defendant’s brief is true, it exhibits a catalogue of outrageous atrocity unparalleled in the history of human turpitude.

With respect to Mr. Bell’s cotemporaries in the traffic of similar extortions, they are about twenty-five in number, but as many of the magistrates are, and the rest soon will be, furnished with a complete list of their names and descriptions, and as they are perfectly known to the generality of my readers, it is unnecessary to enlarge upon their conduct, the more especially as there is great probability that from the example indignant justice calls for, upon the heads of these selected for prosecution, the rest may benefit p. 32by their fate, and substitute some other means of existence, more particularly that portion of the catalogue composed of attornies, of whom I shall say no more at present than that the profession will suffer no material indignity whenever an halter or any other accident sweeps from its bosom, those superfluous ornaments of the roll.  I shall, therefore, content myself with personifying a gentleman who may fairly be called the prolific parent of perjury, or nest-egg of iniquity; if I am right in his name, and I think I need not guess twice, to nick it once, it is John Barnes Hart; (next in order for prosecution) this reptilised miscreant has, perhaps, trained more wretches to eminence in infamy than any other man that makes plunder a science; it is true that he cannot swear himself, for upon the evidence of the pillory about 20 years ago, an act of divorce passed between his lips and the Holy Evangelists; he now pays his religious salutations to the new testament by proxy.  This wretch has been drummed out of all the courts of law, and from the presence of the p. 33magistrates to the beat of the “Rogue’s March.”  He now contents himself with leading his instruments of infamy to the doors of Justice, where, like a brutal butcher, he turns in Towzer to the bloody work, waiting without to receive a report of the success of his pious instructions, the effects of which generally end in obtaining a warrant from the Magistrate, to accomplish some disastrous scene of corruption.  If any thing can mitigate the attrocious conduct of this man, it is the melancholy consideration that many others imitate it.  But to draw to a conclusion, what will Magistrates say?—what will mankind at large say?—and what will be their execrations of the transactions I have here stated, when they are told, that out of at least 100 indictments and process by Magistrate’s warrants, within these ten years past, not more than half a dozen have been prosecuted with effect, at the instance of common Informers.  On the other hand, I cannot fall in with the doctrine that is propagated by vulgar prejudice of censuring every man who p. 34becomes plaintiff in a Qui Tam action, nor can I countenance the absurdity of making laws to punish offences, and deeming it infamous to put those laws in execution; but then let them be put in force according to the spirit of that law, and consonant with the rules of public justice.  Proceedings conducted upon such principles ought to receive the protection of Magistracy:—but to put the instruments of terror into the hands of ruffians, for the mere purpose of plundering even the worst offenders, is monstrous, and ought not to be endured, for neither innocence or common fortitude can repel the ravages committed by such means; with Mr. Barnes Hart, and many others, whose views and principles are of the same complexion, little regard is paid to the difference between guilt and innocence; witness the many poor wretches that have been committed to Bridewell upon the oaths of reptiles, under the Lottery Act, who never took a number, or had any transactions in the p. 35Lottery; the charge of the offence is first made to try the depth of unfortunate people’s pockets; if no one comes forward with an appropriate sum, Bridewell is the certain doom of the victim,—for those gentlemen see danger in retracting from the affidavit they have made.  To authenticate these assertions many instances might be produced; and here I cannot omit a circumstance to the honour of Mr. Harvey Coombe, when Lord Mayor, before whom a man of the name of Paulett was brought, charged as a vagrant, for taking illegal insurances in the Lottery, and committed to the counter for a rehearing the next day; but in the intermediate time, 100l. had been paid: of course not even the ghost of an informer appeared to make good the charge; his lordship saw through the infamy, and conjured Paulett to tell him what sum he had given, who replied 100l. but as the money was paid out of the jurisdiction of the city, his Lordship lamented the circumstance, declaring he intended to prosecute the offender.

p. 36I believe there is not a magistrate in the kingdom, or a man that pretends to legal knowledge, but will agree, that the property and liberty of a reputed offender is protected by the laws of the land with the same degree that watches over the most unimpeached character: a common prostitute is in a condition to prosecute for a rape, equally with the most virtuous woman; the delinquency of one man cannot justify the robbery of another; I do, therefore, insist that Samuel Butcher, the wholesale brothel keeper, and Edward Barnet, the rapacious petty fogger, must be permitted the use of their silver spoons, (no matter how they got them) and that, too, in defiance of summary retribution, or any species, of anti-legal retaliation; it, therefore, only remains for Magistrates who stretch forth one hand to crush a nuisance, to employ the other to the laudable ends of checking a more daring system of rapacity; to effect which nothing more is required than a degree of circumspection in issuing your warrants, under circumstances pregnant p. 37with suspicion of their being converted to the perpetration of such disgraceful extortions; the voice of impartial justice calls upon you, and I will not offer so much violence to virtue, as to doubt your exertions in rectifying so alarming an abuse of your process.

I am, Gentlemen,

With unfeigned respect,

Your obedient humble servant,


P.S.  A complete list of the wretches alluded to, having been delivered to the Magistrates at Bow Street, perhaps it may be thought necessary to stick up the map of monstrosity in all the public offices, as a guide for the clerks to avoid future impositions.


V. Griffiths, Printer, No. 1, Paternoster-row.