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CHAP. VI.

The Effects produced by the collateral Influence of the Police System in guarding, in a certain degree, other Branches of Trade, besides that of the West-Indies from Depredation, particularly the Tackle, Apparel, and Stores, of all Ships and Vessels in the River:-In the Utility of the Design to the EastIndia Company :-To the American and Hamburgh Merchants, evinced by the public Testimony of ShipMasters in these Trades:-To the Canada Trade:The Russian Merchants :-The Importers of Timber and Grain, Wines, Brandies, Fruits, &c.And to the Coasting and Coal Trade-In the Protection afforded to outward-bound Cargoes :The Security shewn to be incomplete, inasmuch as the chief attention of the Police, and the Force it employs is principally confined to the Protection of West-India Property.-The General Extension of the Design highly desireable,

ALTHOUGH the Preventive System, as having originated with the Body of West-India Merchants, was of course, in a great measure, confined to the Protection of this species of Commercial Property, yet the general influence of the design extended

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collateraly to all Branches of Trade and Navigation in the River Thames: and it was only because the Civil Force was insufficient, and that the System did not admit of arrangements, calculated to compass the general Protection of the Port, that some Depredations continued to be committed.

Limited however, as it has been, both with respect to pecuniary Resources, and a competent num-, ber of Boats and Assistants, to overawe and detect Offenders in every part of a wide-extended River, and still more so on the numerous Wharfs and Quays, from whence the Police Guards were withdrawn as soon as the West-India Cargoes, under their charge, were in a state of Security; certain it is, that the regular Perambulation of the Police Boats, in their daily and nightly Surveys of the River (few as their numbers comparatively were) produced a very important effect in preventing those Depredations of River Pirates, upon the Tackle, Apparel, and Stores, of unprotected Ships, to which they had on former occasions, been exposed; and by which outrages considerable losses were sustained.

But these were not the only advantages which Ship and Craft Owners have received from the Establishment, and the operation of this Design, since it appears upon the Records of the Institution, that in Snow-Storms, and severe Weather, when Vessels drifted from their Moorings, and when only the Police Boats attempted to go upon the River, the nau

tical skill and labour of the Surveyors and Boat Offcers have been zealously excited in saving both Shipping and Craft, which would probably otherwise have been lost, (y) if such timely assistance had not been afforded.

To the Shipping and Craft in general, this Institution has afforded a security which cannot sufficiently be appreciated by those who have great Property at hazard in the River Thames, in times like the present, when the Crews cannot be kept on board, and when, besides the damages arising from tempestuous weather, a still greater calamity was at one period to be apprehended from conflagration, contemplated by incendiaries, whose diabolical designs, it is to be hoped, have been frustrated by the vigilance of the Marine Police, and the terror which the hazard of detection must have occasioned, from

(y) In the night of the 22d of October 1798, the Brig Tyger was discovered drifting, and in a situation of great danger, from which she was rescued by two of the Police Surveyors. On the 30th of January 1799, the American Ship Amiable was, at three o'clock in the morning, discovered by the Police Surveyors, to be in a very perilous situation, in a Snow-Storm, having drifted from her Anchors and carried away her Quarter Gallery, and approaching fast towards a tier of Shipping, where great damage must have ensued, had it not been for the interposition of Mr. Thompson a Police Surveyor, then on duty on the River, who assisted the Mate, a perfect stranger, in putting the Vessel into a state of Security. Various cases have occurred, where instances of Craft laden with valuable Cargoes, and also Boats have been found a-drift on the River and secured, until notice could be given to the Owners.

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a knowledge that the Police Boats were constantly upon the River.

To the East-India Company, although the system did not immediately extend its protection to their Ships, yet considerable benefit has been derived by the apprehension of Lumpers, with Tea, Pepper, and other Articles, and in exciting a greater degree of caution and vigilance on the part of the Revenue Officers, whose duty it was to prevent every species of Pillage and Depredation.

Nor have the Chairman and Directors of this great Company been backward in manifesting the sense they entertain of the utility of this new Establishment, since they have committed to its charge matters of considerable importance, on which both secrecy and confidence, in the proper execution of the trust, became indispensably necessary.

Among the various branches of trade carried on, to and from the Port of London, those of America and Germany,(x) (where the aggregate Imports and Exports amount to above Sixteen Millions a year) have not only felt, but acknowledged the advantages which have been derived from the Marine Police, even upon its present very limited scale,-as appears by the following testimonies :

WE the undersigned, Masters of American Ships, trading to the Port of London, do publicly declare, that until the establishment of the Marine Police, the Cargoes and Stores of our Ships, while delivering and taking in, were constantly subject

(z) See Table, p. 22.

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to Plunder, by various descriptions of Plunderers on the River Thames, but since such an establishment of a River Police, we have experienced the greatest difference as to the security of Property on the River, occasioned, in our opinion, by the vigilance of the Guard Boats, and Officers of the Marine Police Institution, constantly, day and night, patrolling on the said River. In testimony whereof, we hereunto subscribe our names, and the Ships we respectively command.

Signed by Seventeen Ship-Masters.

WE, the undersigned Matsers of Hamburgh Ships and Vessels, trading to the Port of London, being truly sensible of the manifest difference as to the security of Property, on the River Thames, arising from the vigilance of the Guard Boats and Officers of the Marine Police Institution, patrolling the River, by day and by night, do consider it our duty voluntarily and publicly to declare, that whereas, formerly our Cables, Hawsers, and every article of Ships' Stores, as well as the inward and outward Cargoes of our Ships, while delivering or taking in, were continually subject to the greatest Plunder, by a set of lawless banditti, that then infested the River: We have, since the establishment of the Marine Police Institution, experienced the most beneficial effects, in the protection afforded by the vigilance of the Boats and Officers belonging to the Office; and in testimony do subscribe our names, and the names of the Ships and Vessels we respectively command.

Signed by Thirty Ship-Masters.

The valuable Trade with Canada, has also felt the protecting influences of the System, and the detection of various Offenders in committing very extensive Depredations on Hemp, imported from Russia, has been the means of recovering considerable quantities of that Article which had been plundered and stolen.

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