The Eventful Year of the Great Exhibition
IN MAY 1850 Sir Charles Rowan retired from the post of commissioner, and died in May 1852, at the age of seventy. He had had a distinguished military career, both in Spain and at Waterloo, where he commanded a wing of the 52nd Regiment and was wounded. He was the fifth son of an Irish squire, Robert Rowan, of North Lodge, Carrickfergus. He had been selected by Sir Robert Peel to be joint commissioner with Sir Richard Mayne, and these two Irishmen had contrived between them to live down the public prejudice against the Metropolitan Police for twenty-one of the most difficult years in the history of the force without, so far as we know, a hint of misunderstanding between them.
Sir Charles Rowan was succeeded by Captain Hay, who for ten years had been visiting superintendent of the Metropolitan Police. Like Rowan he had taken part in the Peninsula War and in the battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, though it had been intended that he should be subordinate to Mayne, their exact relations had not been defined, and he was not a loyal colleague. For example, without informing Mayne, he submitted a scheme for police duties to the Home Secretary, and when public feeling ran high against the police for mismanagement on the occasion of the Duke of Wellington's funeral he communicated to the newspapers a paragraph informing the public that his colleague had been responsible. The relations between the two became