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City Document. — No. 2. 



FOR 1859. 




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, 

Sentence postponed, 

Disclosed on a liquor case, and discharged, 















The offences were as follows, viz. 


Assault, and assault and battery, 

Larceny, .... 

Disturbing the peace, 

Common drunkards, 

Vagrancy, .... 

Violation of City Ordinances, 

Violation of the Liquor Law, 

Breaking and entering. 

Fruit pilfering, 

Malicious mischief. 

Violation of Sunday Law 

Assault on officers, 




Stealing a ride, 

Threatening bodily harm 

Stubborn children, 


Assault with a knife, 

Attempt at rape, 


Violation of the Dog Law, 

Obtaining money by false pretences 

Surrendered by bail. 

Escaped from Reform School, 

Suspicious persons, 

Contempt of Court, 

Obstructing the Channel at Roxbury Point, 

Common brawler. 

Assault with a gun. 

Indecent exposure. 

Assault with intent to kill. 

Cruelty to animals . 

Discharging fire-crackers. 

Passing counterfeit money. 

Making bonfires. 


Passing forged check, 































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 
Special Police. 

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 
further examination. 

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. 


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. 


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- 
rous instances. 

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 
loafer's stand. 

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- 


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- 


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 
feeling existing. 

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. 

Respectfully submitted, 

BENJ. MERIAM, City Marshal. 

Roxhury, Jan. 2d, 1860.