Full image caption
Automaton Police Officers, and Real Offenders. An etching by George Cruikshank published in 'Bentley's 'Miscellany', 1 May 1838. Charles Dickens reported that he was 'in transports' over this Cruikshank illustration for his 'Mudfog Papers' published in Bentley's Miscellany in 1838. The work describes schemes thought up to provide 'some harmless and wholesome relaxation for the young noblemen of England'. One of the ideas was for automaton police officers that could be 'beaten by six or eight noblemen or gentlemen' at a time. Half the complement of officers would be kept on shelves 'ready to be called out at a moment's notice'.
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