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time-honoured maxim of "honour among
thieves," and their hatred of anything un-
Englishimpels me to undeceive them upon
some points.

In the first place, we are not a miserable
class, hunted from house to house, squandering
ill-gotten gains in a reckless, ignorant
manner, and seeing the frowning face of
offended justice ever at our heels. That face
may appear very stern to the amateur
vagabond, but it has no terrors for the regular
thief. He has learned to measure it at what
it is worth; to strip it of its theatrically
awful trappings and adjuncts; to lay bare the
springs that move the fettered machine, and
to hear in the mimic thunders of its voice
the mandates of a law in which consideration
for the thief predominates. While a certain
class of innocent industry is starving in its
garrets, we are luxuriating in rude and
cheerful plenty in our cellars and taverns.
"All honour," says the virtuous orator, " to
the noble, struggling workman, who endures
bitter poverty rather than rush into crime."
And so say I, but from a different motive.
I know that the fewer persons there are in a
trade, the greater will be the profits.

Many persons suppose that we detest the
police, and look upon them as our bitterest
enemies. On some occasions, I admit, we
find them troublesome; but, generally we
consider them as wholesome checks upon the
increase of unskilful thieves, who diminish
the profits, without adding to the credit, of
the profession. The ordinary police force is
not a very highly paid, highly educated, or
highly intelligent class; and any man who
knows his business, can easily avoid coming
in contact with them. As to the  detectives,
those awful men in plain clothes, and
curious disguises (which latter they might
save themselves the trouble of putting on, as
we know the wearers as well as our own
fathers), they benefit us by inspiring an
unbounded faith in their efficiency in the public
mind, and stopping the appointment of real
preventive officers. The sum they require
as a reward, if successful in tracing a crime,
is another element of our security; as is also
their plan of fostering the development of
small thieves, until they become important
criminals. They carefully tend the criminal
fruit until it is rotten with ripeness, and
thenif it does not escape themthey shake
it gently into the lap of justice; but they
never nip it in the bud. Why should we be
on unfriendly terms with such weak and
agreeable guardians?

When I come to consider the rules of
evidence, the comforts of prisons, and the
general leniency of the criminal law and its
administration (and I have devoted a good
deal of attention to these subjects during my
retirement), I cannot believe that any one is
in earnest for the suppression of our class,
but that we are considered worthy of
preservation as providers of wholesome excitement,
employers of capital in a peculiar
direction, agents for the distribution of
wealth, bodies to be experimented upon by the
social philanthropist, problems to exercise
the ingenuity of, and provide amusement for
the legal mind, and members in that company
which is conveniently styled "necessary evils."
When I was engaged in the active duties of
my profession, I was tried, for the first and
only time in my life, in conjunction with the
whole of my familymy wife and four
childrenfor a robbery of some magnitude.
We were guilty, of course, but we had
managed matters very artistically. My boys
were not so old, or so experienced as they are
now, and when the magistrate cautioned us,
at the preliminary examination, that we were
not bound to say anything to criminate
ourselves, the two youngest could scarcely believe
what they heard, and thought in their simplicity
that we had all made an impression upon
his worship. I remember having the same
feeling myself when I heard the same remark
addressed to my father, on the occasion of
his trial, many years before. The youngest
lad was so overcome by this, to him,
unexpected exhibition or legal tenderness, that
if it had not been for an additional caution
from the worthy magistrate, and a sharp
nudge from his mother, he would have there
and then made a clean breast of the whole
affair. That boy, like myself; and, I may
say, all the family, is now a firm believer in
the fact, that the law does not want to
discover the truth, but only desires to give an.
opportunity for a display of legal learning
and ingenuity.

When we came up for our trial at the
Central Criminal Court, we were again put
upon our guard, and very amusing the trial
must have appeared to the spectators, for it
amused even me. There we stood in the dock,
a very happy familya father, mother,
daughter, and three sonsall implicated in
one crime, and all warned to hold our tongues,
lest we should spoil the sport of the trial.
The counsel for the prosecution opened the
case with a highly ingenious speech, full of
eloquent denunciation, but very empty of
facts; and when he had finished, he proceeded
to call witnesses in support of his charge.
Several persons were examined without
adding much to the previous knowledge of the
case, for we had taken most elaborate
precautions to shield ourselves from being
proved guilty, although we could not avoid

Once or twice, when some of the most
absurd suppositions were put forward in
place of better evidence, I thought we should
all have burst out laughing in concert, they
were so very wide of the mark. One witness
at last succeeded in proving to the apparent
satisfaction of the court, that, on a certain
night, I was at a place which I never saw in
my life; but as this supposed fact had nothing
to do with the case, it was not of much

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