ESPECIALLY YOURS: “WHY THAT’S ME.”

Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, 3rd Duke of Alba (29 October – 11 December He was titled the 3rd Duke of Alba de Tormes, 4th Marquess of Coria, 3rd Count In spite of these military successes, the Dutch revolt was not broken and Alba .. Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic: its Rise, Greatness, and Fall.

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He also distinguished himself on the battlefield. Unfortunately, his bravado soon got the best of him. Vidocq's military career came to an abrupt end when he was involved in a conflict with a superior officer. The officer refused to square off in a duel against Vidocq to settle their spat.

Criminology legacy

Vidocq subsequently struck the officer, an offense which carried a heavy consequence: hanging. To escape punishment, the year-old deserted from the army to return home. By this time, , the French Revolution had begun. It was a period of radical social and political upheaval marked by the collapse of the French monarchy that had ruled the country for centuries. During this time, traditional notions of hierarchy regarding the monarchy, aristocracy, and the Catholic church were overthrown. Both male and female aristocrats were routinely hauled off to jails to await their fates at the guillotine without the benefit of trial.

Vidocq witnessed soldiers dragging off several such women prisoners to meet their deaths.

Vidocq, Eugène-François

Bothered by the soldiers' aggressive handling of the doomed women, the young troublemaker slayed the soldiers, allowing the women to escape. Vidocq soon found himself in the town jail awaiting the same fate as the women he had freed. His father, however, used personal connections to come to his son's rescue. Soon Vidocq found himself conned into marriage by a lover's fictitious pregnancy.

When he later caught her being unfaithful, the teenager skipped town. Over the next several years, Vidocq was in and out of jail, arrested for brawls, various petty crimes, and forging the parole papers for a fellow prisoner. Thanks to his talent for disguising himself, he frequently escaped and blended back into society—that is, until trouble found him again. When Vidocq learned that a guard was being falsely blamed for letting him go, the young man surrendered himself to save the jail keeper from punishment.

For his honesty, Vidocq received a sentence of eight years of hard prison time, first in prison and then in the naval galleys. However, only eight days after being transferred from the prison to the despicable conditions of the galleys—a brutal inferno of slave prison labor—Vidocq simply walked out. Having obtained a sailor's suit by bribing a guard, he walked directly past the warden, strolling confidently through the prison gates to freedom.

Vidocq's freedom would not last long. In , a wanted fugitive, he stepped off a privateering vessel and into the custody of French authorities. Vidocq was sent to Toulon Prison, a wretched place reserved for the most hardened of criminals. Confined to his cell, beaten regularly, and surrounded by disease and squalor, Vidocq could only bide his time as he strategized his escape. Escape, would be difficult, however, because the warden was well aware of Vidocq's use of disguises. He was therefore watched carefully. Vidocq tried another approach.

Walking through Walls

He befriended a fellow inmate, a wealthy master thief, who bartered with guards for better conditions. The friend obtained the key to Vidocq's shackles, and again he was a free man. Unlocking his own irons, Vidocq fled out of the prison window. Unfortunately, Vidocq became a victim of his own success. His notoriety had increased so much that living as a fugitive was becoming increasingly difficult.

Frequently on the move, he spent time as a butler, privateer, and businessman. When he returned to jail, Vidocq again made a mockery of those who sought to detain him. He escaped once more. The year old fugitive from justice proposed that in exchange for amnesty he had not served all of his eight-year prison sentence , he would become a police informant.

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After being permitted to feign an escape, Vidocq became an undercover police agent who mingled with the Paris underworld. According to his memoirs, Vidocq saw his job description as follows: " To prevent crimes, discover malefactors, and to give them up for justice. Vidocq soon suggested the creation of a new undercover detective unit that surreptitiously monitored all former convicts and known criminals as they moved into the city and made their homes there. The small unit assisted with arrests and crime prevention as well. Importantly, this plainclothes detective unit had free reign over the entire city.

Such access was unprecedented.

He insisted on hiring only former criminals, as they had the required street-smarts and toughness for the job. The underworld of Paris in the early s was filled with gaming halls, brothels, and saloons that were frequented by scoundrels—hugs, thieves, and murderers. Brawls and drunkenness abounded. Within the city, police did not generally share information about crimes across geographical borders. The result was that a criminal could commit an offense in one part of the city and evade capture by hopscotching across geographical lines. Having rubbed elbows with the most hardened of criminals, Vidocq pioneered a number of techniques to track them down and bring them to justice.

Vidocq's legendary detective skills influenced a variety of writers of his time to either reference him in their work or to base literary characters on his larger-than-life persona.

Once a month, forensic experts and business people gather at The Union League of Philadelphia over lunch to solve cases that have stumped law enforcement. These elite crime-solvers are members of the non-profit Vidocq Society , named for the father of modern criminal investigation. The founders sought to lend their talents to law enforcement in solving the most difficult of cases. During meetings, members carefully pore over evidence that is presented to them in order to help law enforcement reinvigorate unsolved cases.

Members' expertise areas represent a wide range of investigatory, business, psychological, and legal specialties. No longer published. Accessed July 4, Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville, pp. Last modified December 17, Last modified March 3, Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

Eugène François Vidocq (1775–1857)

Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. JamaGenee - I'm so glad this was helpful to you. He was a colorful character, and I can certainly see your point about how easy it would be to flip sides. Thank you for voting and sharing! Flourish, there should have been a third category in the "Have you ever heard of Vidocq, i.

That's the one I would've ticked. Even as a child, he always seemed to find trouble, as he much preferred excitement and intrigue to the more stable pursuits of education and learning his father's trade. At age 14, Vidocq accidentally killed his fencing instructor. He ran away from home to escape legal consequences. While on the run, he lost his savings when he became romantically entangled with a young actress.

Vidocq then joined the 3rd Dragoon Regiment, a calvary unit in the French army. The army exposed him to battle-hardened soldiers whose exploits further encouraged his risk-taking nature. In his first six months, Vidocq fought 15 duels and killed several of his opponents. He also distinguished himself on the battlefield.

Eugène François Vidocq - Wikipedia

Unfortunately, his bravado soon got the best of him. Vidocq's military career came to an abrupt end when he was involved in a conflict with a superior officer. The officer refused to square off in a duel against Vidocq to settle their spat. Vidocq subsequently struck the officer, an offense which carried a heavy consequence: hanging. To escape punishment, the year-old deserted from the army to return home. By this time, , the French Revolution had begun.

It was a period of radical social and political upheaval marked by the collapse of the French monarchy that had ruled the country for centuries. During this time, traditional notions of hierarchy regarding the monarchy, aristocracy, and the Catholic church were overthrown. Both male and female aristocrats were routinely hauled off to jails to await their fates at the guillotine without the benefit of trial.

Vidocq witnessed soldiers dragging off several such women prisoners to meet their deaths. Bothered by the soldiers' aggressive handling of the doomed women, the young troublemaker slayed the soldiers, allowing the women to escape. Vidocq soon found himself in the town jail awaiting the same fate as the women he had freed.

His father, however, used personal connections to come to his son's rescue. Soon Vidocq found himself conned into marriage by a lover's fictitious pregnancy. When he later caught her being unfaithful, the teenager skipped town. Over the next several years, Vidocq was in and out of jail, arrested for brawls, various petty crimes, and forging the parole papers for a fellow prisoner. Thanks to his talent for disguising himself, he frequently escaped and blended back into society—that is, until trouble found him again.

When Vidocq learned that a guard was being falsely blamed for letting him go, the young man surrendered himself to save the jail keeper from punishment.