[A13] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, March 19, 1842: You'd Better Read It

City Police

FRIDAY, March 18, 1842.

            You'd Better Read It.—At precisely two o'clock this morning, Jacob Achan, an old man with tattered rags for clothes, a bald head, and grey hairs, as marks of age, and a heart wrung and withered by misery and distress, as evidences of a familiar acquaintance with the world, at two o'clock I say, Jacob stood at the corner of Market and Fifth street.

            He cast his eyes around.  There was the wide city, with its thousand streets and avenues, lined with wealth.  There were thousand sleeping on beds of down; there were gay bands of wine drinkers; there were riches, luxury, and profusion all around Jacob, and yet for all useful purposes he might as well have stood in the midst of the Arabian desert, with the sky of brass above, and the earth of iron beneath, while his every breath drank in the poison of the simoom blast.

            Jacob was hungry, and Jacob hadn't tasted food for twenty-four long hours,—but where was he now to procure a crust of bread?  The hope was vain.  So Jacob felt the weariness and exhaustion of hope eating away at his heart, and he also felt sleepy.  Jacob hadn't much idea of right and wrong, so he laid—aye—actually laid down upon one of the market stalls and slept.

            Had Jacob been a director of a bank, had he beggared thousands, and ruined a whole community, had he been a thieving pettifogger, cheating everybody and searching for every vacant post under government, had he been a hypocritical divine or a bargaining, buying, selling, and breaking merchant, these all might have been passed by as "very forgive-able sins," but that he was poor, that he had slept on a market stall belonging to the corporation—these were sins not to be forgiven, and Jacob was arrested by a watchman—eager for his "quarter"—and hauled before his Honor, the Mayor.  Jacob was sent to My'amensin' College for thirty days.

This morning my friend Grig, of a neighboring paper, bade good bye to the police office, to police reporting, and all that.  Give's your hand, Grig.  You're a clever fellow, but you ain't fitted for your station.  I'll give you a bit of advice, Grig.  Go to Woodbury, Grig—not to take notes, but to make 'em.  Do that, Grig, and come back to 'Fildelfy, Grig, and perhaps they'll make you a money article writer somewheres or another.  You can then look black, Grig, and sour; you can write letters to Bennett, Grig, and talk of morality and all that, Grig; so once for all, good bye Grig—Toney Blink has gone, and you're gone, and now—pooh! Light that segar; I'm melancholy.

Billy Brier.