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tom, or assumed the feature of a perquisite from the circumstance of the Commercial Body passing it over in silence, and suffering such things to exist : But when to this is opposed the Regulations of the 27th of April 1790, and the subsequent exertions of the Committee of Merchants, it is impossible to consider it in any other light than that of a bold and audacious System of Plunder (0)-not to be vindicated or defended upon any ground of right, and contrary to every principle of morality and justice.(p)

Having thus developed the multiplied practices of the different classes of Criminals, whereby Commercial Property in the Port of London, has been a prey to regular and systematic Depredation; it naturally becomes a subject of interesting inquiry, in what manner and to what extent each distinct branch

(0) The 16th Article of the Regulations of the 27th of April 1790, prohibits the allowance of Sweepings or Molasses to the Gangsmen.-Also, Tubs or other receptacles for Sugar or Molasses in the Warehouses, except by order of the Wharfingers, who are desired to take all Sweepings and Molasses under their care, and to sell the same to defray the expence of keeping the Warehouses clean. This clearly demonstrates, that no perquisite is allowed to any person whatsoever. From what source therefore, do the Emoluments of the Gangsmen arise ?-They are said to receive several hundred pounds a year, and yet their wages are only 16s. or 18s. per week.

(p) For further information as to the number of Labourers in the Warehouses, and the proportion of Criminals among them, the Reader is referred to Chap. IV. (Div. 12.)


of Trade and Navigation carried on, to and from the Port of London, has been affected by these noxious and destructive Confederacies. The details however, which relate to this part of the Work, being numerous and extensive, they will form the subject of the succeeding Chapter.

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A detailed account of the different Branches of Trade, which suffer by Depredations on the River Thames.Depredations committed on the Property of Ship Owners, and the Proprietors of Craft and Boats in the River Thames :-On Merchandise imported and exported by the East-India Company :-On the Importations and Exportations of the West-India Merchants-On the Trade to and from the British Colonies in North America :-On the Trade to and from Africa, and the Cape of Good Hope :-On the Northern and Southern Fisheries :-On the Trade to and from the United States of America :-On the Trade to and from the Mediterranean and Turkey :— On the Trade to and from Spain and the Canaries: -On the Trade to and from France and the Austrian Netherlands :-On the Trade to and from Portugal and Madeira :—On the Trade to and from Holland, Germany, Prussia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and Russia :-On the Trade to and from Guernsey, Jersey, &c.-On the Trade to and from Ireland:-On the Coasting and Coal Trade :-On Prize-Ships :-On the Public Stores in the River Thames and Medway.-A general recapitulated View of the estimated Depredations on Commercial Property.-Concluding Reflections.


ALTHOUGH it has already appeared, that certain particular branches of trade have been more objects of Plunder than others, yet it will be rendered evident from the details with are now to be given, that the monstrous System of Depredation, which has already been opened to the view of the Reader, pervaded the whole Shipping and Commerce of the

River Thames.

In pursuing this inquiry, according to the plan laid down of considering each subject separately, it may be proper to begin with a General View of the

Depredations committed on the Property of Ship Owners

in the River Thames.

In a trading Port, already shewn to be the first in the known world, from the circumstance of between thirteen and fourteen thousand Vessels arriving and departing in the course of a year, besides nearly seven thousand Stationary Craft and Boats of various descriptions, having Tackle, Apparel, and Stores constantly exposed to the Depredations of the hordes of Delinquents who infest the River Thames ; it must cease to be a matter of wonder, that Ship- Owners have suffered in common with the Proprietors of Merchandise, in consequence of the general System of Pillage which prevailed.

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Tomen thus trained in the habits of iniquity, and disciplined in acts of Criminal Warfare, it may naturally be supposed that the Stores and Apparel of Ships, which are equally as accessible as Conmercial Property, should be objects of attention; and the truth is, that the Depredations in this line have for many years been great beyond calculation.

The number of Junk and Store Shops in the vicinity of the River, have tended, in no small degree, to the encouragement of this species of Plunder, from the facilities afforded to Thieves upon the River, by the ready market which is thus established for every thing that is purloined or stolen.


The registers of the convictions under the Bumboat Act (the 2d of his present Majesty,) sufficientdemonstrate the extent of this evil, in consequence of the detection of so many offenders with Cordage, Stores, and Provisions, taken from Ships and Vessels in the River Thames, and the preamble of that Act sufficiently elucidates the anxiety of Ship-Owners, (p) to remedy an evil which was felt to be enormous so early as the as the year 1762.

Since that period, and notwithstanding the efforts which have been used for the last twenty years, to

(4) An eminent Ship Owner candidly acknowledged, at a late public meeting, to consider of the best means of extending the protecting influence of the Marine Police over the whole Trade of the River, that if it had not been for the terror excited by that Institution, and by the Perambulating Boats, during the night, that scarce an Anchor or Cable belonging to his Vessels would have been preserved.


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