+ ~ -
 
Article icon.

The Metropolitan Protectives

Read me now! Export to PDF, including full article record, author information, and annotation.
Authors Charles Dickens
W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genres Cross-genre i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Report i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Crime; Criminals; Punishment; Capital Punishment; Prisons; Penal Transportation; Penal Colonies
London (England)—Description and Travel
Police; Detectives; Mystery and Detective Stories; Mystery; Mystery Fiction; Forensic Sciences
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 26/4/1851
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume III
Magazine : No. 57
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns17
Payment-
Views : 1061

Dickens probably wrote the following portions of 'The Metropolitan Protectives': from 'There are six hundred' (p. 100) to 'do nothing' (p. 101); from 'We fall into a doze' (p. 101) to 'in the morning' (p. 103); from 'We have not' (p. 104) to 'the Bill of Rights?' (p. 105); from 'Believe us' (p. 105) to the conclusion.
Dickens may also have added to the following sections: from the opening to 'no such distrust' (p. 97); from 'No other door' to 'with defiance' (p. 99); from 'O! Please sir' (p. 103) to 'very source of crime' (p. 104).
In addition, Dickens seems to have gone over other sections of the essay with great care and to have made many emendations. For a discussion of the Dickens-Wills attributions, see note to 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office.'
Dickens set forth his original idea for 'The Metropolitan Protectives' in a letter to Wills (3 April 1851):

I thought of something for to-night, that I think will make a splendid paper ... This is it; A Night in a Station-House. If you would go down to our friend Mr. Yardley, at Scotland Yard, and get a letter or order to the acting chief authority at that station-house in Bow Street, to enable us to hear the charges, observe the internal economy of the station-house all night, go round to the cells with the visiting policeman, etc., I would stay there, say from twelve to-night to four or five in the morning. We might have a 'night-cap,' a fire, and some tea at the office hard by. If you could conveniently borrow an hour or two from the night we could both go. If not, I would go alone. It would make a wonderful good paper at a most appropriate time, when the back slums of London are going to be invaded by all sorts of strangers.
You needn't exactly say that I was going in propria (unless it were necessary), and, of course, you wouldn't say that I propose to-night, because I am so worn by the sad arrangements in which I am engaged, and by what led to them, that I cannot take my natural rest [his father had died on 31 March]. But to-morrow night we go to the gas-works. I might not be so disposed for this station-house observation as I shall be to-night for a long time, and I see a most singular and admirable chance for us in the descriptive way, not to be lost.
Therefore, if you will arrange the thing before I come down [to the Household Words office] at four this afternoon, any of the Scotland Yard people will do it, I should think; if our friend by any accident should not be there, I will go into it.
If they should recommend any other station house as better for the purpose, or would think it better for us to go to more than one under the guidance of some trustworthy man, of course we will pay any man and do as they recommend. But I think one topping station-house would be best.

In a letter to Wills dated 13 April 1851, Dickens writes: 'I enclose you the Police Article. I have cut down the number of cases, to save tediousness. Two drunken men, for example, could scarcely have been done with. It occurs to me that I have not described the cells. But I had better 'put in that,' and any other line or so that occurs to me, when I get the proof. For the present slips [pages of manuscript] are horribly mauled. I have done all I could - sat at it nine hours without stirring - and hope it will come out well.'
Though the immediate object of 'The Metropolitan Protectives' was to assure a nervous middle class that it would be well protected during the forthcoming Great Exhibition, Dickens' larger interest in the matter transcended the topical. Crime detection, police courts, law enforcement, and similar subjects always fascinated him. He wrote several articles for Household Words on such topics, and he often included similar materials in his novels.

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

Attachments (0)

Who's Online

We have 143 guests and 1 robot online.

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.018 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.030 seconds, 2.02 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.239 seconds, 3.60 MB
Application afterRender: 0.321 seconds, 4.15 MB

Memory Usage

4385112

33 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = 'b50f38ab9e7aa4a9e0b2e57cb788648b'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1632158128' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = 'b50f38ab9e7aa4a9e0b2e57cb788648b'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( 'b50f38ab9e7aa4a9e0b2e57cb788648b','1632159928','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT m.*, c.`option` AS component
      FROM jos_menu AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_components AS c
      ON m.componentid = c.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      ORDER BY m.sublevel, m.parent, m.ordering
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'the-metropolitan-protectives'
  9. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'the-metropolitan-protectives'
  10. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '964'
  11. UPDATE jos_toc_blocks
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='964'
  12. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 70)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  13. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'the-metropolitan-protectives'
  14. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'the-metropolitan-protectives'
  15. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '964'
  16. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  17. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_genres_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  18. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_documents (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents
      GROUP BY block_id;
  19. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links
      GROUP BY block_id;
  20. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_authors (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT id_block AS id, COUNT(id_block) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_authors  
      GROUP BY id_block;
  21. SELECT block.*,        IFNULL(periodical.title, "NA") AS title_periodical,        IFNULL(volume.title, "NA") AS title_volume,        IFNULL(magazine.title, "NA") AS title_magazine,        documents.cnt AS document_count,        links.cnt AS link_count,        subject.cnt AS subject_count,        genre.cnt AS genre_count,        authors.cnt AS author_count
      FROM jos_toc_blocks AS block  
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_magazines AS magazine
      ON block.id_magazine = magazine.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_volumes AS volume
      ON block.id_volume = volume.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_periodicals AS periodical
      ON block.id_periodical = periodical.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links AS subject
      ON block.id = subject.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_genres_links AS genre
      ON block.id = genre.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_documents AS documents
      ON block.id = documents.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_links AS links
      ON block.id = links.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_authors AS authors
      ON block.id = authors.id
      WHERE (block.published = 1)
      AND (block.id = 964)
      ORDER BY id_magazine, id_page, ordering ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  22. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '63'
  23. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_periodicals
      WHERE id = '1'
  24. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '5'
  25. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 964, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 964 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id  
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 964)
  26. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 964, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 964 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 964)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  27. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 964, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 964 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id  
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 964)
  28. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 964, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 964 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 964)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  29. SELECT r.id, r.title, r.alias, r.names, r.surname
      FROM jos_toc_authors AS r  RIGHT JOIN jos_toc_blocks_authors AS l
      ON  r.id = l.id_author  
      WHERE l.id_block = 964
      ORDER BY r.surname ASC
  30. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp , insignia.definition
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links
      WHERE id_estate = 964
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  31. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp  
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links
      WHERE id_estate = 964
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  32. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 70 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering
  33. SELECT guest, usertype, client_id, DATA
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE client_id = 0

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None