the revolver of burglar or anarchist is always imminent, the stiletto of some murderous swarthy ruffian or the bludgeon of one of the gas-house or car-barn gang.
What a splendid record is theirs! One needs only to read the story of those dreadful days of the mid-summer of 1863 to feel the blood tingle and thrill. The names of Kennedy and Acton, McCredie and Walling and Carpenter stand high on honor's roll. Then in July, 1871, under Superintendent Kelso, how gallantly those police detachments guarded the stout-hearted Orangemen down Eighth Avenue amid a howling mob. And when the throng, grown truculent, hurled missiles—though Irish Eoman Catholics almost to a man—those brave fellows never stopped to reflect upon their sympathies, but fell upon the rabble, clubbing right and left. Happily the forty years have shorn the "seditious cries" of "Orange and Ribbonmen" of their venom. We "have done with a worn-out tale, the tale of an ancient wrong"; but I know of nothing in history's annals more heroic, more significant of devotion to duty; the incident deserves to be recorded with the exploits of Goliad and the Alamo.
From these and like constant and common perils has arisen in the police force a certain well-defined esprit de corps of bravery and devotion that goes far—very far indeed—to redeem the "graft," so long a menace and a shame, and the rank perjury that (largely from a mistaken sense of comradeship) has so often covered up offenses.
If, then, one common right impulse may so prevail that there is not a shirk or coward on the force, is it not highly probable that other high impulses may be made also to prevail—that to lie and to steal may become as impossible as to fear?
There will be those who will say that this is impracticable, too tenuous, too idealistic. Fortunately there is at hand an example of a similar result of early education, of influence and environment having stamped upon human nature in process of development an enduring effigy of honor's highest standard. At the outbreak of the war between the states, while with rarest exceptions every southern civilian, and virtually every student at a northern university, "went with his state" most of them to join the insurgent army, one hundred and sixty-two West Pointers, being graduates from the seceded states—full half of those in the regular army appointed from the south—withstanding the claim of home ties and the call of the blood, stood by the union and the flag. On this long roll of honor the most illustrious was George H. Thomas of Virginia—the "Rock of Chickamauga." It is not necessary to impugn the motives of those other gallant gentlemen whose ideas of "state rights" differed from ours that we salute and dip the colors to loyalty like this.