BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
3 9999 06660 789 4
City Document. — No. 2.
L. B. & O. E. WESTON, PRINTERS, GUILD ROW.
Citg of |l0^hrB*
In Board of Aldebmen, Jan. 9, 1860.
Ordered, That six hundred copies of the Eeport of the City Marshal
be printed for the use of the City Council.
JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerh.
To the Mayor a7id Aldermen
of the City of Roxhury :
Gentlemen, — I herewith submit the following in rela-
tion to the Police Department and its labors during the
year just passed, viz. :
From the 1st of January, 1859, inclusive, to the 1st of
the present month, there have been 1151 arrests, 33 of
which were for offences committed without the City of
Roxbury, leaving 1118 arrests in the City.
The" 1151 arrests were disposed of in the following
manner, viz. :
Discharged without complaint,
Fined and paid, ....
Committed for non-payment of fine,
Sentenced to the House of Correction,
Discharged by Court,
Bound over to a higher Court,
Put on probation.
Sentenced to the State Reform School,
Put under bonds to keep the peace,
Disclosed on a liquor case, and discharged,
CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2.
The offences were as follows, viz.
Assault, and assault and battery,
Disturbing the peace,
Violation of City Ordinances,
Violation of the Liquor Law,
Breaking and entering.
Violation of Sunday Law
Assault on officers,
Stealing a ride,
Threatening bodily harm
Assault with a knife,
Attempt at rape,
Violation of the Dog Law,
Obtaining money by false pretences
Surrendered by bail.
Escaped from Reform School,
Contempt of Court,
Obstructing the Channel at Roxbury Point,
Assault with a gun.
Assault with intent to kill.
Cruelty to animals .
Passing counterfeit money.
Passing forged check,
CITY MARSHAL'S REPORT. 5
Of the 1151 arrests, 912 were foreign born, 229 born
in America, and 10 birth-place unknown.
Of the 912 foreign born, 787 were born in Ireland, the
rest principally in G-ermany and England.
Out of the 229 born in America, 114 were of foreign
parentage; leaving 115 only of all the arrests born of
American parents. But 58 of the whole number were born
in Roxbury, and out of these but 13 of American parents.
242 of the arrests were of persons under 21 years of
age. 1005 were males, and 146 females.
635 persons have been provided during the past year
with lodgings in the Lock-up; of these, 495 were foreign-
ers. 575 were males, and 60 were females.
340 cases of reported Truancy have been looked after,
and a considerable amount of Stolen Property has been
recovered and delivered to the owners.
The expenses of the Police Department for the year
1859, have been about $16,322.82; being about $3517.42
more than for the year 1858. $1674.19 of this increase
is for pay of an additional Watchman from the first of Feb-
ruary last, together with the increased pay of the Watch-
men, raised from $1.62J per night to $2.00 per night.
About $700 has been expended for Sunday Police, for
extra service of the Regular Police, and for services of
The earnings of the Police for the year 1859 have been
about $3000. Most of this sum is received by the Judge
of the Police Court, and by him paid over to the City
All that comes into my hands, is for mittimus fees, for
witness fees of the Police while attending Court at Ded-
ham, and for services of the Police.
In accordance with an act passed by the Legislature of
last year, which went into effect on the sixth of May last,
the Judge of the Police Court draws the mittimus fees of
6 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2.
all those committed on sentence. All the mittimus fees
that come into my hands now are for those committed for
I have received during the year past the sum of $627.30.
Had I received all the mittimus fees, as I did previous to
the sixth of May last, I should have received about $200
more, making in all $827.30. $70.10 was for mittimus
fees earned in 1858, but not drawn till January, 1859.
I have paid out during the year for services rendered in
arresting and securing prisoners, for conveyance of prison-
ers, for Daguerreotypes of prisoners, for handcuffs, &c.,
the sum of $388.44. $211.75 have been paid for convey-
ing prisoners to Dedham.
The establishment of the head-quarters of the Police
at the City Hall has been found on trial to work well.
Every morning the Day Police assemble at the office, to
report and receive all necessary directions, and they call
at the office at frequent intervals during the day. The
Watchmen all meet at the office in the evening, before
going on their beats.
This plan gives the Police an opportunity to become
acquainted with, and to understand each other, the ten-
dency of which is to secure unity of purpose and harmony
of action, so necessary to the efficiency of the department.
The regular police force of the City consists of the
Marshal and seven Assistants, besides the Keeper of the
Lock-up, and ten "Watchmen.
One of the Assistants remains in the office during the
day, whose business it is to keep the record, and attend to
the various duties appertaining to the office, and at night,
also, one remains there for the purpose of attending to such
calls as may from time to time be made during the night.
The Watchmen call at every hour during the night, to
report what may have occurred on their beats, and to learn
what applications have been made for their services.
CITY MARSHAL'S REPORT. 7
The Lock-up is under the charge of one of the Assist-
ants, who remains there during the night, takes care of the
prisoners and attends to applications for lodging ,• he also
has the charge of the Police Court Room, and acts as offi-
cer of the Court. And it gives me great pleasure here to
express my satisfaction for his efforts to keep the cells
clean and neat, for his humanity towards those unfortu-
nate persons who come under his charge, for his faithful-
ness and ability, and for the zeal and interest which he
manifests in the welfare of the department.
Four new cells have been added to the Lock-up, which
were much needed, as many times the prisoners had to be
The past year in the Police Department has been a year
of active duties, with no seeming cessation night or day.
Much of the business of the Police arises from the use of
intoxicating liquors ; and it may be asked by some, why
no more is done to suppress the illegal sale of liquors.
In answer I will say, that I have endeavored to carry
out the liquor law, and indeed all other laws, in such a
manner as in my judgment seemed best calculated to attain
the object which the laws were made to secure. More
complaints might have been made for violations of the
law, as parties frequently came to me and wanted to test-
ify against some person in order to gratify a spirit of re-
venge for some real or fancied wrong ; such witnesses
cannot be relied on, as before the case would come to
trial the parties would often make up, and when the wit-
ness was brought on the stand his memory would be en-
tirely oblivious as far as any sale of liquor was concerned.
And then, besides, the liquor drank now-a-days has a
curious effect upon the mind of a witness, making him for-
get names, dates, countenances, localities, his well-known
friends and acquaintances — rendering him unable to tell
whether he ever drank intoxicating liquors or not, and
8 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2.
causing him to see a wonderful difference between a lie on
the witness stand in a liquor case and a lie anywhere
Persons have come to me, wishing to be employed to
go round and drink, for the purpose of being made wit-
nesses ; such persons, together with their plans, receive no
encouragement from me. I do not believe in the policy
of employing men to aid in the violation of laws, for the
purpose of convicting the violators. A law may be framed
with great care and seeming wisdom ,* but it is all in vain
to talk about its practical utility, while the most impor-
tant thing of all is left unprovided for, viz., a practicable
means for procuring legal testimony.
Those persons who are acquainted with the practical
operation of laws, might well be supposed to be better
judges of their merits than those who have no experience j
and the framers of laws might often learn more from the
practical experience of one man than from the theories of
a hundred others who have nothing else but theories to
offer. Though there are undoubtedly many places in
our city where intoxicating liquors are retailed by the
glass, yet it is done in a secret manner, great care being
taken to exclude the observation of the police.
But comparatively few burglaries have been committed
in our city during the past year.
A special Watch has from time to time secretly patrolled
different sections of the city, for the purpose of looking
after burglars ; and it is but fair to presume that this
watch has operated as a means of prevention, as at the
same time burglaries have been very frequent in other
Quite a number of men have been employed as a Sun-
day Police, and it is believed with very good results in
preserving the quiet of the Sabbath and protecting the
fruit and other property in the more thinly settled por-
tions of our city.
CITY MARSHAL'S EEPORT. 9
The new "Dog Law" seems to work well. By the ex-
ertions of the police the number of licensed dogs has
reached as high as 822, and the amount received for
licenses is |1110. In conformity with the law, a large
number of dogs has been destroyed by the police, who
have performed this disagreeable duty in a quiet way,
without any of those unpleasant results which would natu-
rally follow from employing persons outside of the police
to slaughter dogs simply for the pay. Very many worth-
less and troublesome dogs have ended their days during
the past year, from various causes ; and even the feline
race has not been exempted from mortality.
The carcasses of the dogs and other animals found dead
in the streets and vacant lots had to be buried, and it
became necessary to employ some person to do it ; accord-
ingly a canine uiidertaker was appointed, and during the
past year this useful functionary has buried 901 dogs, 409
cats, 21 hogs, 1 calf, and 1 skunk; all of these bodies were
found exposed, having no friends to claim them. The un-
dertaker has been faithful to his trust, performing his mel-
ancholy duty with evident pleasure, notwithstanding his
occupation was a grave one.
Many lost children have been picked up and taken care
of by the police.
Quite a number of begging impostors, making their ap-
pearance in our city, have been overhauled by the police,
and warned to leave the city, thus preventing the kind-
hearted and benevolent from being imposed upon in nume-
The Police have to look after quite a large number of
Juvenile offenders, who are not brought before the Court on
account of their age ; this class of boys needs much looking
after, as most of them are uncontrolled by parental author-
ity at home, and, sad to relate, are being educated to fill
our prisons. Here is a field open for the truly benevo-
10 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2.
lent; where infinitely more good might be done than in
feeding and encouraging lying beggars and thieving
There have been many cases of reported Truancy from
the teachers in our schools ; and though I have no disposi-
tion to find fault with the teachers, yet it has seemed to
me that sometimes proper enquiries have not been made
by them to ascertain the cause of the scholar's absence
before reporting him as a truant, as in a large number of
cases it has turned out, on inquiries by the police, that the
scholar has been kept at home by his parents. The po-
lice are willing at all times to look after the actual tru-
ants, but it is no part of their duty to ascertain the cause
of every child's absence from school, however convenient
such a course might be for the teachers. I have as yet
made no complaints under the new Truant Ordinance, but
shall do so as soon as I am satisfied that I have the neces-
sary amount of legal evidence in order to insure convic-
tion. The police have been procuring evidence for the
last few weeks, and I confidently hope to have several
cases before the Court in a very short time.
The citizens have been much annoyed at times by
crowds of rowdyish young men and boys standing on the
•sidewalks, obstructing the passage and making indecent
remarks. Several persons of this class have been brought
before the Court and fined, and the result has been benefi-
cial, as they are beginning to learn that the sidewalks
were made for the free use of all, and not to be used as a
Incendiarism is one of the most fearful crimes with
which the police have to deal. During the past few years
our city has suffered much from the depredations of incen-
diaries. Last Spring the police were successful in arresting
quite a number of them, and since that time our city has
been comparatively free from fires. Most of these incen-
CITY MARSHAL'S REPORT. 11
diaries "w^ere young men residing in our city, and their
arrest carried sorrow to the homes and hearts of their
However much I might feel for those parents, and for
their sakes wish it otherwise, yet the path of duty was
plain before me, and I felt it incumbent on me to use all
fair and honorable means to protect the community from
these depredators, and to bring them to justice when
caught. If the parents of any of these misguided and de-
luded young men are disposed to find fault with the police
for arresting their sons, let them ask themselves if they
ought not rather to be thankful that they were thus cut
short in their mad career, than suffered to go on till they
had added the crime of murder to that of arson; for surely
those who would aid and countenance the setting fire to a
dwelling in the night, whose occupants lay slumbering, all
unconscious of danger, cannot be very far removed from
the guilt which attaches to the hand of the murderer, and
had their diabolical plans succeeded, who could tell the
awful consequences which might have followed.
There seems to be in the community a fearful mania for
setting fires, which is principally confined to that class of
young men called ^^ Engine Runners,^' who are always
foremost in rows at fires as well as all other rows, and
who had much rather see half the buildings in the city
burned, than that the machine they blow for should get
washed. These rowdies are a nuisance everywhere; a
curse to good morals and good order; their toleration in
the engine-houses and around the engines at fires is an
unmitigated evil, which, when discountenanced and discon-
tinued, will lessen the expenses of the Police Department,
besides being beneficial in other respects.
Assaults on the police have become somewhat frequent
in our city as well as in other places. This is an offence
which should meet with the severest condemnation, not
12 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2.
only by all good citizens, but by our courts of justice.
The policeman is expected to preserve the peace of the
community, wherever a police organization exists ; to se-
cure all desperate and dangerous persons, and keep them
from harming others. In the discharge of this duty he is
often assailed by dangerous ■weapons, and his life put in
peril. It may seem a light matter to some that a police-
man is beaten and wounded in a dangerous manner, yet he
may have a wife and children to whom his life and welfare
may be as dear as the life and welfare of the citizen is to
his, and equally dear also as is that of the court who is to
pass sentence for the offence. Once let it be understood
that an assault on a policeman, while in the discharge of
his duty, is to be passed over lightly by our courts of jus-
tice, and one of the great safeguards of society becomes
weakened, none can feel secure, and even the very courts
themselves will cease to command respect. Let the laws
always sufficiently protect the police, and then they will
protect the community. Society has no right to expect
the officer to risk his life in upholding the law whose pro-
tecting power is refused him.
It has often happened that the police, in securing pris-
oners, have required assistance from the citizens, who
have always been found ready to lend a helj)ing hand, for
which they have my thanks.
The Watchmen have a large territory to guard at night,
altogether too large, in my opinion, for the number of men
employed ; and I would recommend the addition of two
watchmen in the easterly section of our city, and two in
the westerly section. As our city increases in ijoj^ulation,
more streets, courts and alleys are laid out and built upon,
rendering the labors of the watchmen more difficult, as the
more streets, courts, alleys and buildings there are, tlie
more there is to be looked after and guarded, and the
more hiding-places for rogues. One man might more casi-
CITY MARSHAL'S REPORT. 13
ly watch several acres of territory with only one building
thereon, than several men could watch one acre laid out
in streets, courts and alleys, and covered with buildings.
I recommend this increase with reluctance, knowing that
it will add about $3,000 to the already increased expenses
of the Department; but as 1 am of the opinion that more
watchmen are needed, I have felt it my duty to recom-
mend the increase, leaving its expediency for your con-
Much labor is performed by the police which is not
made public. The citizens hear of the arrest of a crimi-
nal, but do not know by how many days and nights of
labor and watching the arrest has been brought about,
neither can the public know how many are prevented from
the commission of crime, from fear of the vigilance of the
police, or through their labors and watchfulness.
The duties of a policeman are often arduous and dan-
gerous ; he has to listen to all sorts of- complaints, to
come in contact with all sorts of persons, to deal with
crime in all its various forms, to submit to insults, and to
run the risk of limb and life. He sees the dark chambers
of the human heart laid bare, and misery in its worst
forms exposed to his view; he is often made the recipient
of secrets, which he is in honor bound to keep. The pro-
per discharge of his duties often requires the exercise of
great moral as well as physical courage, coolness, sagacity
and promptitude, and it is not every man who applies who
is fitted for the place.
The Police Department should not be considered as an
institution of charity, to take into employ those who can-
not do anything else. Because a man is poor and has a
family, is of itself no good reason why he or his friends
should claim his appointment on the police. The first
question to be considered, and that independent of all
others, is the man's qualifications for the situation ; and
14 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2.
where there are two men of equal fitness, one having a
family, the other not, or if both have families, preference
should be given to the one most in need.
The several members of the Police Department, during
the past year, have labored earnestly for its welfare, by
faithfully discharging their several duties. In my own
efforts I have placed much reliance on them, and they have
cheerfully and with promptitude responded to my wishes,
evincing a determination to labor for the welfare of the
city. I do not believe the Department was ever in a
more harmonious condition than at present ; and much of
its success may be attributed to the harmony and good
The citizens of Roxbury have no reason to be ashamed
of such a police force as is placed under my direction ,• on
the contrary, they may well be proud. And I cannot but
esteem it an honor to be at the head of such a body of
men, even though some political upstart may occasionally
charge them with corruption. So far as my duties are
concerned, I can only say that I have endeavored to per-
form them according to the best of my ability, though I
have not been able to accomplish all I wished, and per-
haps have fallen far short of the expectations of some.
In conclusion, I would return my thanks to those who
have placed me in my present position, for the confidence
reposed in me ; and my thanks are due to all who have in
any way aided me in the performance of my duties.
BENJ. MERIAM, City Marshal.
Roxhury, Jan. 2d, 1860.