Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Die Lunæ, 1 Martii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Mr. William Drummer is called in, and examined as follows:
What is your Occupation?
I am Clerk to the Board of Sea Coal Meters.
Of how many does the Board of Sea Coal Meters consist?
Are they Members of the Corporation of the City of London?
Are they Aldermen or Common Councilmen?
Do they receive any thing for performing their Duties?
They receive no Salary whatever?
No; there is an Allowance to the Board, consisting of Fifteen Gentlemen, of 300£. a Year for their Expences.
Does that 300l. a Year cover all their Expences of every sort?
Do they appoint the Labouring Meters?
Who appoint the Labouring Meters?
The Committee of Control over the Coal and Corn Meters.
How many Labouring Coal Meters are there?
One hundred and fifty-eight.
Is that Number fixed by Act of Parliament?
Has the Number of Labouring Meters been increased of late Years?
It has; some Five or Six Years back the Committee made Forty in addition to the former Number; they were then 118, and the Forty additional made them 158. I hold in my Hand a Document containing their Names and the Dates of their Appointment.
Is the Amount they receive for their Labour fixed by the Committee to which you have referred?
By Act of Parliament they receive One Fourth of the prescriptive Metage.
That is One Fourth of the Four-pence?
Is that equally divided among those 158 Persons?
It is divided among them according to the Quantity of Coals they do, at a Penny a Chaldron.
Do they receive Pay for their Labour besides?
They receive for their daily Labour 3s. 6d. per Score of Twentyone Chaldrons.
That is for Twenty Chaldrons and the Ingrain?
Under the Act of Parliament they are directed to be provided with Victuals during the Time, are they not?
No; they receive in lieu of Food 3s. per Day besides, and, on the Clearance of each and every Collier, One Guinea.
Is that under the Act of Parliament?
There are some Persons called Assistants, are there not?
The Deputy Meters Men.
Who appoints them?
The Deputy Meter appoints them.
Is it necessary that an Assistant Meter should be a Freeman of the City of London?
Of any particular Class of those Freemen?
No, none that I know of; they are all obliged to be free of the City, and Fellowship Porters.
The Fellowship Porters are a Company in the City of London?
The Appointment of those Coal Meters is in the Committee you have referred to?
Do the Committee interfere at all with the Mode and Rotation of the Meters to the Ships?
No; the Committee of Control appoint them, but the Board of Sea Coal Meters have the Superintendence of the Body of Deputy Meters.
Explain to the Committee how a Meter is appointed to a Ship on her coming into the River?
A Ship arrives in the Port of London, and when she arrives to the Westward of Blackwall, she sends her Papers up to the Factor; the Factor then enters the Ship at the Custom House, and passes the Papers through the Clerks of the Market, and those Papers are exhibited on the Public Market for Sale, mentioning the Name of the Ship, and the Sort of Coals and so forth. When that Ship is sold, the Warrant from the Custom House, with other Documents, comes to the Sea Coal Meters Office, and a Meter then is appointed to the Ship.
Is it by regular Rotation?
Exactly as it appears upon that List; the first Man first, the second, third, fourth, and so on; then we begin with the Extra; that is, supposing there were 158 clear Men, or unemployed Deputy Meters, they would be appointed exactly as that List specifies, in their Rotation; that is, on the Supposition that every Man was clear or unemployed.
Do the Meters make any Return to the Coal Meters Office of the Quantity?
How soon are they bound to make such Return?
As soon as the Ship is clear.
Did you ever hear a Distinction made among those Meters of Heavy and Light?
I do not know that I have.
Do you mean to say you never have heard among the Captains or the Meters any Mention of certain of the Meters being called Heavy Meters, and certain of them being called Light Meters?
I think I have heard the Observation made.
What do you imagine that to allude to?
Really I cannot tell, unless it alludes to one Meter giving more Measure than another, or less. I presume it may be intended to convey that Idea.
From what you know upon the Subject, was it not intended to convey that Idea?
I should think it was.
Can you suggest, or have you suggested, to the City or to the Committee, any Mode by which the present measuring of Coals might be improved, so as to do away with any Part of the Expence?
I have not.
Have there never been any Complaints made on the Subject of the heavy Expences to which the Public are put in consequence of this Metage?
I have never heard of any.
There was another Office called the Land Coal Meters Office; that is abolished now, is it not?
I believe not.
Is it to be abolished?
I know nothing about that; I am not at all connected or acquainted with that Office.
Has not there been a Vote of the Corporation of London upon that Subject?
I really do not know.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. James Pearsall is called in, and examined as follows:
What Situation do you hold?
One of the Clerks of the Coal Market.
Do you attend constantly at the Coal Market in performance of the Duties of the Office you hold?
Will you state to the Committee the Mode in which you conduct that Business?
On Market Days we receive from the Factors their Certificates of every Description of Coal that comes to the Market; we copy them, and put them up in the Market for Sale. After Two o'Clock, or rather before Three o'Clock, the Returns are made by the Factors of those Sales, which we record in the different Books which are necessary to record those Transactions: that is the principal Business, as far as regards the Operations of the Market, on that Day.
Are those Operations prescribed by the Act of Parliament?
No Bargain can be made for the Purchase of a Cargo of Coals except on the Coal Exchange?
And when made on the Coal Exchange it must be entered in your Book?
For that you receive a Fee?
The Factors give us a Fee for the general Accommodation they receive from the Office.
Eighteen-pence per Ship. The Accommodation which they have is daily and hourly Access to the various Documents in the Office, and Facilities given for the Dispatch, in regard to putting their Papers forward.
Is that Eighteen-pence per Ship taken under the Act of Parliament?
No; it is a voluntary Gift on the Part of the Factors for the Accommodation they have.
Has that been increased or diminished?
It was, I understand originally, many Years ago, One Shilling, before my Time; and afterwards, before I came, it was raised to Fifteen-pence. I found it Fifteen-pence Six Years ago, when I went to the Office; since that, about Three Years ago, it was advanced to Eighteen-pence.
On what Ground did that last Advance of Three-pence take place?
I believe they thought we were entitled to it for the Accommodation we gave them; it is a voluntary Thing.
Was there any additional Duty put upon you previous to that Advance of Three-pence in the Fee?
I am not aware of any additional Duty, except that of going down upon the Market at Two o'Clock, if possible, to enforce the Act more distinctly as to closing the Market at Two o'Clock. At that Time we have a considerable Labour imposed upon us, and that may have induced the Factors to give us that additional Fee. Previous to that Time, Two Years before that, the Market very seldom began 'till after the Time prescribed by Act of Parliament, which was Two; they seldom began before Half past Two; but the Factors were aware of the Impropriety of that; they were desirous of conforming, as far as possible, to the Act, and requested that I would, as one of the Clerks, and Mr. Butcher my Colleague, go down at Two o'Clock to endeavour, if possible, to enforce the Act; this also was sanctioned by the Committee of the Common Council, to which I am attached as their Officer.
Is there any Penalty imposed by the Act of Parliament, in case a Bargain is made after Two o'Clock?
Is not that Provision in the Act of Parliament evaded in the greater Part of the Bargains that are made on the Coal Exchange?
Not at this Time; I think the greater Part of the Bargains, I am justified in saying, are made by Two o'Clock; there are certainly some Irregularities, but I think not to any Extent at present.
What is the Advantage that arises from their being forced to make their Bargains before Two o'Clock, under that Penalty?
It appears to me there should be a fixed Time, that the Buyers may know what Bargains to make; otherwise, if there is not a fixed Time, the Factors may be induced to keep back their Ships, and sell them at a different Rate afterwards; that, unless there is a Time prescribed, there will be more Irregularities in the Market than there are by a fixed Time.
Might not that Object be attained by the Clerk of the Market going away at a certain Time, without any Penalty being imposed upon making the Bargain after Two o'Clock?
According to the Act of Parliament we must receive the Papers by Three o'Clock; they have that Time to make their Returns.
What Inconvenience would arise, supposing those Provisions in the Act of Parliament were wholly repealed-the Penalty and the whole Regulation?
I think there would be great Uncertainty as to the Manner or the Time of the Buyers coming to the Market; there would be no Regularity in regard to the Sales or the Purchases.
What Disadvantage would it be to the Buyer, supposing he made his Bargain, after the Market was closed, at the Coal Factor's House?
That would depend upon the Satisfaction he gave to his Employers, whether he sold his Coals cheaper or dearer than his Neighbour; at present the Factors appear very anxious that their Terms should be satisfactory to their Employers.
Do you think a Factor would have any Difficulty in finding the real Price of Coal?
I think neither the Buyers or the Sellers would be so well satisfied.
You think that it is necessary, for the Purpose of Information being obtained by the Coal Factor, that there should be some regular Time for the closing the Market?
Certainly; that is my Opinion.
Besides the 1s. 6d. per Ship Fee to the Clerk, there is 1d. per Chaldron paid?
Those are the Market Dues paid into the Chamber of London.
Those were originally raised to defray the Expences of the Coal Exchange?
Supposing the Expences of the Coal Exchange paid, what Objection would there be to taking off that Penny?
There must be some Fund to discharge the Expences of the Establishment, I presume; according to the Act, as it now stands, that Penny may be reduced when the Debt is discharged, which I understand it is, to One Halfpenny a Chaldron.
Has there been any Talk about reducing it?
I have not heard any Conversation upon it; the Debt was discharged only last Year, I think.
Has there been any Idea of increasing the Size of the Coal Exchange?
Yes, there has, on the Part of the Coal Factors, and Coal Buyers also. I have heard several Buyers state that they would rather the Penny was continued, for the Purpose of erecting a larger and more commodious Place for the Business.
Is that the general Feeling among them?
I believe it is.
In your Judgment, is there any Want of Room in the Coal Exchange?
I think there is, considering the Number of Persons who daily resort there; there are many Persons who have no Business there, but, it being a Public Market, they cannot be turned out. There has been a great Desire on the Part of the Buyers and Factors, who are incommoded by the Men called Whippers, and the Men employed in the unloading the Ship, and Captains, and other Persons interrupting Business, but it is impossible, being a Public Market, to keep them out. If those Men were excluded, there is Room for all those who have Business in the Market; but as that cannot be done, there is a Want of Room, notwithstanding great Accommodation was given, Two Years ago, by Alterations.
Can you state the Necessity of keeping a Register of all Bargains made on the Coal Exchange?
I think it is necessary; because, on every Market Day between Twelve and Two o'Clock, the Documents in our Possession are accessible to any Individual, be he who he may; and we have had frequently very suspicious Characters come to examine our Documents; that those Papers would be very easily abstracted from their Situation by a designing Man, which they cannot be when they are recorded in a Book; and the Books are more accessible if they are copied, particularly for Years back, than the Documents themselves would be.
For what Purpose is Reference made to your Register?
Frequently by the Factors themselves for some Purpose; I cannot explain their Objects; and also in case of any Action being brought to recover Debts contracted, then this Book is resorted to as Evidence in a Court of Justice.
Have you prepared an Account of the whole Number of Ships that have passed the Market each Year for the last Ten Years?
The Witness delivers in the same, which is read, and is as follows:
Have you prepared any other Account?
I have got an Account of the Number of Ships that have been at Market every Day, and sold, and also of Cargoes remaining unsold, for 1828, 1829, and up to the present Time.
The Witness delivers in the same, which are read, and are as follow:
An Account of the Number of Ships at Market, sold, and remaining unsold, on each Market Day, from 1st Jan. 1829 to 27th Feb. 1830.
You publish a printed Return monthly of the Quantities brought to Market and sold?
Has there been, in the Years 1828, 1829 and 1830, any Market Day in which there has been a Deficiency of Supply?
I believe it will appear, by the Documents I have just laid on your Lordships Table, that there have been Quantities left each Market Day; that there has been no clear Day.
Are you aware that a Regulation has been made affecting the Coal Owners in the North at the End of the last Year?
I have understood so.
Since that Regulation came into Effect, has there been any Want of Ships at the Coal Market?
I do not think there' has.
You say there has been a Regulation established lately among the Coal Proprietors in the North; has the Price of Coal risen since that Regulation?
How many Years have you been a Clerk of the Market?
From the latter End of the Year 1823.
Have you any other Paper to produce?
I beg to lay before your Lordships an Account of Coals imported into the Port of London for the last Year, with a particular Description of each Quality; it is similar to that I have been in the habit of printing each Year.
The Witness delivers in the same, which is read, and is as follows:
This Statement the Coals imported by Weight, namely, 248 Tons 2 qrs., are included.
The actual Number of Ships entered was 6,750, and delivered, 6,824; Eleven of which, containing Two Descriptions of Coals, are considered in the above Account as Two distinct Cargoes.
In this Statement, the Coals sold and delivered by Weight, viz. 388 Tons imported, and 388 Tons delivered, are included.
Office of Clerks of the Market, 8th April 1829.
One of the Clerks of the Coal Market.
It appears by one of the Papers you have given in, that every Market Day during the Period of this Return there always have been Ships remaining unsold?
There always have been; there has not been a single Day without some Ships.
The Market never has been without Ships?
During the Regulation, when it may be supposed that Ships have not come in so plentifully, the Market has never been without them?
You have stated that the Price of Coals was higher under a Regulation than when no Regulation existed?
I believe it has been so.
Have you a Return of the Price of Coals during the last Year, and during the present?
I believe I have it with me.
What was the Price of Stewart's Walls End on Friday last?
Stewart's Walls End on Friday last were at 35s. and 35s. 3d.
It appears that on the 2d of March 1829 they were 34s. 6d. to 34s. 9d.?
In your Opinion, would there be any Difficulty in selling Coals by Weight instead of by Measure?
I am not exactly in a Situation to answer that Question, whether it would be beneficial or not.
It appears in a Paper before the Committee, that there are Two Descriptions of Measure, what is called Wharf Measure, and what is called Pool Measure; can you explain the Difference of them?
That is not at all connected with our Department.
How did you obtain your Appointment?
From the Corporation of London.
There are Two other Clerks in the Market?
They were all appointed by the Corporation?
By the Majority of the Corporation?
Can you state, when the Ships arrive in the Port of London, what the first Step is that is taken to get the Cargo delivered?
After the Sale and the Contract are put into the Office of the Clerks of the Market, they take what is termed the Turn Paper into the Coal Meters Office, and by them it is given to the Meter to go on board the Ship.
To whom does the Ship's Captain apply to get the Meter appointed to deliver the Cargo?
I believe to the Meters Office; but we have nothing at all to do with that Department.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Lawrence Levey is called in, and examined as follows:
In what Trade are you?
A Coal Whipper at present.
That is to say, you are one of the Persons employed to clear the Ships of Coals when they come into the Port of London?
Are you regularly appointed to that Situation, or do you offer yourself as a mere Labourer?
As a mere Labourer.
Who are the Persons to whom you offer yourself to perform that Labour?
At present I work out of a Public House as a constant Man.
Is there such a Person as an Undertaker?
There is an Undertaker, or perhaps Two or Three, appointed for that House; and the Favours are sent from this Public House to the Undertaker's.
What do you mean by the Favours?
The greatest Injury that is known at present in the Work is through the Captains; the Captains come to the Public House, and they have a Conversation with the Publican, at which Time the Publican proposes giving so much for the Privilege of the Ship coming to work at the House; a Publican will offer, perhaps, a Gallon of Gin or Rum; some will find the entire of the Working Gear; some will give a Pound in Money to the Captain; and all this given to the Captain is charged by way of Tow-row to the Men.
That is to the Whippers?
What has the Undertaker to do with that?
In the first place the Undertaker is appointed by the Publican, and an Undertaker must not employ any body until he receives a Communication, that is, a List of such Men as the Publican will think proper to work.
Who is the Undertaker?
He is a licensed Man; he is under the Publican, and, being an Undertaker at the same Time, he must not employ Men without the Sanction of the Publican.
Is he appointed by the Corporation of London?
He gets his Licence from them.
Then the Publican applies to him to employ certain Men?
Do you know whether there is a Provision in the Act of Parliament which prevents Publicans being Undertakers?
Yes, I have seen it in the Act of Parliament. There have been some of the Publicans punished for interfering of late, since we had what we called a Stick amongst ourselves, to do away with those Impositions; there have been Informations filed against One or Two Publicans, and they have been fined by the Magistrates at the Thames Police for acting as Undertakers.
Were those Publicans licensed as Undertakers?
Not as Undertakers. There has been a Determination of one of the Publicans to get what we call Tow-row; he formed a Shoe Club; and One of the Persons, a Member of the Shoe Club, came to the Committee Place where we met for the Purpose of receiving a Penny a Week to enable us to make Application to the Magistrates for Redress from those Grievances; he gives an Information against them; an Information was filed at the Thames Police, and he has been fined Ten Pounds for receiving this Tow-row under the Name of a Shoe Club.
Will you explain the Nature of Tow-row?
The Nature of Tow-row is, that it is supplied for the Purpose of paying for Working Gear for those Ships. A Captain, when he knows that a Ship is sold and is going to work, goes from one Publican's Place to another to see where he will get the best Market for his Ship; wherever he gets most for his Ship, he will bring his Ship to work; then this Tow-row goes in discharge of whatever he may get for bringing the Ship there.
What is the Tow-row?
In the first place, I have paid as much as 2s. 6d. Tow-row.
What is it nominally for?
In consideration of getting Employ. If I did not consent to pay that 2s. 6d. I would not obtain Employ in the Public House, nor would the Undertaker, 'till that, employ me without the Consent of the Publican.
That goes to the Publican?
The Publican would not engage any Person unless a confidential Man in his House; and they collect, as I have often done, 2s. 1d. a Man from each and every one in the House, and pay it to the Foreman appointed in the Public House.
A Gang of Coal Whippers resort to a certain Public House?
When a Captain wants his Ship cleared, he goes to that Public House?
Then, when they are set to work, they are obliged to pay a certain Sum of Money each, which is called Tow-row, which goes to the Publican?
The Publican, you understand, gives something to the Captain?
The Tow-row is subscribed to make up the Sum which the Publican gives to the Captain?
The Tow-row is expended in something to be given to the Captain, and which is replaced?
Yes. Then the Captain makes out his Bill. I have made out Bills myself in that Form charging his Owner, notwithstanding the Captain had received this himself from the Publican.
Have you any Form of the Bills you have made out?
No; it is such a length of Time since I have made them out, I have not any Form at present.
Could any Man belong to any of those Gangs unless upon the Condition of spending a certain Sum of Money at the Public House?
No; he could not obtain Employ before this Stick which there has been amongst us. The Publicans are afraid at present to interfere with us; but unless your Lordships will take it into Consideration, they will be worse than ever in their Impositions; a least it is the Opinion of People that they will be.
Is there any thing like an understood Condition of their spending Money at the Public Houses?
Yes. There are some Houses I have worked from myself where for Nine Men there is a Gallon of Beer and a Pint of Gin comes in, that is laid on the Table in the Tap Room. Such as are fond of drinking come early in the Morning, and they drink it all up; then when the others come, and they have nothing to drink, there is a Row; but in clearing, in the Course of the Day, it there is more than Forty Chaldrons of Coals to be done, they must have Two Bottles of Porter on board, a Pint of Beer to each Man, and a Glass of Gin in the Morning, which is termed his Allowanee.
Supposing you do not choose to drink this Beer and Gin, what then?
We have to pay for it whether we drink it or not.
That is One of the Conditions on which you are attached to that Public House?
Yes, just so; then there are Two Bottles of Beer on board if they do more than Forty Chaldrons of Coals, that is Two Pots for each Man; then when they come ashore they must have a Pot of Beer; and when they settle their Score they must have some Allowance to put to their Number again; that they are obliged to pay for whether they wish for it or not.
How much do they get altogether in a Day by way of Allowance?
The Allowance in some of those Houses I have been in the habit of working out of was a Gallon of Beer and a Pint of Gin; that is, a Pint of Beer and a Glass of Gin in the Morning; then if they do not choose to drink it they have it to pay for; on going on board they must have their Nine Pots of Beer; then if there was more than Forty Chaldrons of Coals to be done, there was a second Bottle, or the Publican would blow them up when they came on shore; then when they come ashore, instead of going Home, they must go to the Public House again, and stop to have an Allowance of a Pot of Beer in the first place, and then, after settling their Score, they should have something to put to their Number again.
About Four Pots altogether, besides the Gin?
Yes. This is not the Case with all Houses; but most of the Houses were in the habit of compelling them to drink in this Manner.
Is there such a Thing as a Constant Man, as distinguished from an Inside Man?
What is the Meaning of those Two Terms?
I have been a Constant Man myself for these Four Years; I think it is about Four Years since the House opened.
What Advantage do you gain by being a Constant Man?
My being in constant Employ whenever there was any Employ in the Place.
What is an Inside Man?
An Inside Man is a Man that lodges in the House, or pays for his Lodging in case he does not live there.
What other Descriptions of Men are there; are there Persons only employed occasionally?
Yes; those are termed Straggling Men.
You have the Inside Men, the Constant Men, and the Straggling Men?
Yes; the Constant Men or Inside Men must be employed first, before any other poor Man shall have a Day's Work.
What must you do in order to obtain the Distinction of being a Constant Man?
I had to comply with the Rules and Regulations of the House, that was to drink what would satisfy the Publican, or give it away, or do what I thought proper with it; but I had a certain Sum of Money to pay, and likewise to pay the Tow-row.
What Proportion of your Earnings were you obliged to pay the Publican?
Any Day I went on board the Ship I was to be allowed 6s. a Day from the Time the Ship began 'till she was cleared; but I have been frequently idle; it is not to say that I have 36s. a Week, for I have not constant Employ; and so have most of the Men on the Coast been frequently idle.
How much of that 6s. a Day were you obliged to spend in the Public House to be called a Constant Man?
Very often 2s.
That is over and above the Tow-row?
Yes, and likewise a bad Score as well.
Is that over and above the Allowance?
No, including the Allowance; and if any bad Score appeared, until this Stick amongst ourselves,-if any bad Score appeared to be charged to us, we should not say any thing about it, on pain of being dismissed.
What do you mean by a bad Score?
That is, where there is more charged than is called for. If I did, I might not call there next Day; I was not to go to work again if I grumbled about any thing that was done. Since that Stick I have not, to my Knowledge, paid any Impositions.
For this you are to discharge Forty-two Chaldrons?
If you discharge more, you are paid in proportion?
Are you obliged to drink in proportion?
I am obliged to pay whether I have it or not. I have to go on board Ship, and perhaps the Merchants will not be ready to take the Coals; still the Expences are equally the same; I have the Allowance the Day I have no Work equally the same as the Day I have the Work.
Are you obliged to take Liquor in proportion to the Work you do?
Is an Inside Man favoured more than a Constant Man?
If there is any Vacancy, he is sure to be employed.
He is employed before a Constant Man?
Did you state that the Publicans get their Licences from the Corporation?
No; they have it from the Magistrates of the District where they live; they have nothing at all to do with the City. The Undertaker obtains his Licence from The Lord Mayor.
Is there any Fee paid by the Undertaker to The Lord Mayor's Office for it?
I believe it is very trifling.
There is a Fee paid?
There is something paid for the Licence; I cannot state exactly what it is; I do not think it amounts to more than 2l. a Year.
The Publicans and Basket Men have sometimes spare Apartments in their Houses, have they not?
Do they make any Condition as to the Coal Whippers occupying those Apartments?
To the best of my Belief, there are some who pay for Rooms for lodging in some of those Public Houses and do not live there at all, but have Families, and live in their own Houses; but to obtain Employ from the Publican they pay for their Lodgings the same as if they lodged there.
Do the Basket Men do the same Thing with respect to the Lodging?
Those that lodge with Basket Men, they make Constant Men of them.
Some of those Basket Men keep Shops, do they not?
Yes, they do.
Do they make a Condition that those People should deal with them too?
Yes; if they do not I believe that they are in the habit of parting with them; if they do not deal with them for such Articles as they sell, they will not let them have Employ.
You say you have 6s. a Day for unloading a Ship, but you are frequently idle?
It is your Interest to delay as long as possible in unloading a Ship, is it not?
No; the sooner I get the Ship out, the sooner I may get a Job again.
If you have 6s. a Day all the Time the Ship is unloading, is it not a Benefit to you to be as long as possible?
No; if I deliver in Half the Time I have the same Money. Provided there is no Chance of a Job elsewhere, then it may be so; but if there are other Ships, then it is a Benefit to get it done.
Is there not a great Delay when the Ships arrive, in unloading them; might not it be performed quicker?
No, I do not think it could. If the Merchants would send Craft, there is no quicker Way of discharging the Ships than is used at present; I do not consider that there is any Mode or Method that they could be discharged quicker than they are at present; they are detained through the Merchants not bringing the Craft; some Days they will bring Craft, perhaps, for Half a Score or Fifteen; other Days they will pull down, perhaps, Craft for Eighty or Ninety Chaldrons of Coals.
The measuring them into that Craft naturally creates a much greater Delay?
No, they go on pretty quick; they fill the Vats regularly; the Meter has a Gauge that he puts over the Vat.
If it were done by Weight instead of Measure, would it not be quicker?
It would be much more tedious.
In what Way?
I do not see in what Manner it could be done as quick by weighing as, when the Vat is filled to turn it over; the Meter's Man turns it over directly it is filled; there is no waiting; as soon as he considers that the Vat is sufficiently full and trimmed he turns it over.
Do not some of the Meters require the Vat to be better filled than others?
There are some. I consider there are some that are heavier in Measure than others; there are some that will turn it over on a lighter Scale, in my Opinion, than others.
Those are called Light Meters?
And the others are called Heavy Meters?
Yes; they are termed as such.
It is to the Advantage of the Coal Buyer to have the Heavy Meter, of course?
Yes, of course it must be so.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. William Horne is called in, and examined as follows:
What is your Occupation?
I am a Coal Merchant.
Whereabout do you carry on Business?
On Bankside, Southwark.
Are you Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Society of Coal Merchants?
I am Secretary.
Did you receive a Letter from Mr. Brandling, the Chairman of the Coal Trade in the North, dated the 16th February 1830?
Did you reply under the Date of the 18th of February?
Did you refer, in that Letter of the 18th, to certain Regulations which the Corporation of London are promoting?
Will you state to the Committee what those Regulations are?
One of those Regulations was to abolish the System of Land Coal Metage; another Regulation was to abolish the Control over the Pay of the Whippers.
Have you in Writing the proposed new Regulations to which you refer?
I have the printed Proceedings of the Court of Common Council of the City of London of the 8th of July 1828; it is from them I gained my Information.
There are Three Points to which those Regulations appear to go; state the Nature of them?
The Three Points are, with respect to abolishing Land Coal Metage; with respect to doing away the Control of the City over the Whippers; and the suffering Coals to be mixed without specifying what the Mixture is; it is now contrary to the Act of Parliament to mix Coals.
Is it proposed to allow the Vessels to be cleared by the Seamen or any other Persons that the Captains may choose to hire?
I understand entirely so; by any Persons the Captains may choose to hire.
When you have discharged a Cargo of Coals, have you always sent your own Barges for the Coals?
I send my own Barges and Country Barges to load.
It is the Practice for the Coal Merchant to send Barges to carry the Coals?
By whom are those Barges navigated?
Do they belong to a particular Company?
A Company of the City of London?
No; the Corporation of Watermen and Lightermen, and entirely distinct from the City of London.
Must they not be necessarily Freemen of the City of London?
Is it under a Rule of the Corporation that they must be Freemen of the City of London?
It is under the Rule of the Watermen's Company; and they must be likewise free of that Company, and prove that they have served Seven Years upon the Water, and are well acquainted with their Business.
How do you pay those Persons?
I believe it is 30s. a Week; it is a weekly Payment.
You do not pay them by the Chaldron?
No; they are weekly Servants.
Do you pay them whether they are employed or not?
Supposing you were allowed to go where you pleased to get Persons to navigate those Lighters, do you conceive you could obtain them on better Terms than you do the present Men?
I do not consider that I could employ Men capable of doing the Work on better Terms; I should not think that I was entrusting my Property to proper People if they were not free of the Watermen's Company.
Supposing those Regulations of the Watermen's Company not to exist, is there any way in which your Business of clearing the Ship by means of those Barges could be done at a cheaper Rate?
I do not think there is.
You state that to be free of the Watermen's Company they must have been employed Seven Years on the Water?
They must serve an Apprenticeship of Seven Years before they can obtain their Freedom.
You consider that that gives you a Security that they are Persons capable of discharging the Duties of Lightermen?
Exactly so; I think they would not be competent Persons to navigate the River without that; I could not have Dependence upon them.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. John Drinkald is called in, and examined as follows:
What are you?
I am a Lighterman.
Are you Master of the Watermen's Company?
I am not now; I was last Year.
How is the Watermen's Company constituted?
By Act of Parliament.
What is the Date of the Act of Parliament?
The 7th and 8th of George the Fourth, Chapter 75.
Was that the first Time they were constituted?
No; this Act repealed a great many. The Acts repealed were, the 6th of Henry the 8th, the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, and other Acts.
Will you refer to the 37th Section of that Act? Is there not some Provision in that Section with respect to the Freemen of the Company working Craft for Hire on the Thames?
Will you state the Effect of that?
"That if any Person not being a Freeman of the said Company, or an Apprentice to a Freeman or to the Widow of a Freeman of the said Company, (except as herein-after is mentioned,) shall at any Time act as a Waterman or Lighterman, or ply or work or navigate, or cause to be worked or navigated, any Wherry, Lighter or other Craft upon the said River, from or to any Place or Places or Ship or Vessel within the Limits of this Act, for Hire or Gain, (except as herein-after is mentioned,) every such Person shall forfeit and pay for every such Offence any Sum not exceeding Ten Pounds."
Is there not an Exception in favour of Western Barges from Kingston?
Yes; Section 101.
They are permitted to come down as low as London Bridge?
In case they come to London Bridge, can they go through the Bridge?
They are frequently in the habit of going through, but they generally take a Lighterman as a Pilot.
Are they not obliged by Act of Parliament to take a Lighterman?
It should appear so by the Act of Parliament, certainly,
If they do not take such a Person, they can only take the Coals from a Lighter above Bridge?
They come through, and frequently, to my Knowledge, go down without a Lighterman.
Then they evade the Act of Parliament?
If they do not go below Bridge they can only take the Coals from another Lighter?
Are the Members of the Watermen's Company Freemen of the City of London?
There are a great many of them Freemen of the City of London, but they are not Freemen of the City of London as Watermen or Lightermen, but by Patrimony, and other Causes.
It is not a necessary Qualification?
Certainly not; it does not give them the Freedom of the City of London, belonging to the Watermen's Company.
Are there any Bye-Laws of the Company?
Yes, there are; they are made from, merely an Echo of, the Act of Parliament.
In case Coals are taken out of Lighters above Bridge, to put into a West Country Lighter that comes down without a Lighterman-on board, that involves the Necessity of twice removing the Coals?
That is a Thing that is very seldom done; I have seen it very seldom myself; I have seen it done sometimes.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Saturday next, Twelve o'Clock.