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"Heads of the People" was published in 1840 as a two-volume set, edited by Douglas Jerrold, who also contributed several chapters. This volume contains extracts from that work. A number of the contributors, including Jerrold, were liberal or radical journalists who went on to write for Punch, which was established in the following year. The aim was to entertain the reader, but the authors also claimed a "moral seriousness of purpose" in portraying the many faces of the English, with their faults as well as their virtues. As well as describing the current state of affairs, the writers made no secret of their opinions. In particular, Douglas Jerrold's description of a public hanging is a strong condemnation of capital punishment. For the modern reader, these extracts provide a fascinating insight into life in the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. The Metropolitan Police was still in its infancy, but the image of the policeman even in those early days is one which endured for many years. The description of the judge has also changed remarkably little, even up to the present. Volume II engages the reader with characterizations of the policeman, the exciseman, the common informer, the judge, and the hangman.