American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, November 1 & 2, 1849
The Daily Sanduskian, November 7, 8, 9, 1849
The Sheboygan Mercury, November 10, 1849
The Oskosh True Democrat, November 23, 1849

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: Guilty or Not Guilty?” in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal on August 25, 1849.

It was later published in the collection Recollections of a Police-Officer by William Russell, under the pseudonym Thomas Waters (London: J.& C. Brown & Co., 1856).

Prior to the British publication of this volume, a pirated collection of the stories—also titled Recollections of a Police-Officer—was published in America (New York: Cornish and Lamport, 1852).

    "Guilty or Not Guilty?" continued from p. 12

intimation of the magistrate; but the prisoner vehemently protested against sanctioning by his silence the accusation preferred against him.

“I have nothing to reserve,” he exclaimed with passionate energy; “nothing to conceal. I will not owe my acquittal of this foul charge to any trick of lawyer-craft. If I may not come from this investigation with an unstained name, I desire not to escape at all. The defense, or rather the suggestive facts I have to offer for the consideration of the bench are these: On the evening of the day I received my uncle’s letter I went to Drury Lane theatre, remaining out very late. On my return to the hotel, I found that I had been robbed of my pocketbook, which contained not only that letter, and a considerable sum in banknotes, but papers of great professional importance to me. It was too late to adopt any measures for its recovery that night; and the next morning as I was dressing myself to go out, in order to apprise the police authorities of my loss, I was informed that a gentleman desired to see me instantly on important business. He was shown up, and announced himself to be a detective police

    officer; the robbery I had sustained had been revealed by an accomplice, and it was necessary I should immediately accompany him.

“We left the hotel together; and after consuming the entire day in perambulating all sorts of bystreets, and calling at several suspicious looking places, my officious friend all at once discovered that the thieves had left town for the west of England, hoping, doubtless, to reach a large town, and get gold for the notes before the news of their having been stopped should have reached it. He insisted upon immediate pursuit, I wished to return to the hotel for a change of clothes, as I was lightly clad, and night traveling required warmer apparel. This he would not hear of, as the night coach was on the point of starting. He, however, contrived to supply me from his own resources with a great coat—a sort of policeman’s cape—and a rough traveling cap, which tied under the chin. In due time we arrived at Bristol, where I was kept loitering about, till, finally, my guide decamped, and I returned to London. An hour after returning

Continued on p. 14


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