Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - The Morning Chronicle : Labour and the Poor, 1849-50; Henry Mayhew - Letter XXX

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Tuesday, January 29, 1850

The subject of Vagrancy is one of such vast importance, as being the source of the principal part of the crime of the country, that I am induced to follow up my investigations into the causes of it to a greater length than I have allowed myself for the prosecution of any other subject appertaining to my present inquiry.
    I have already dealt only with the vagrants who apply at the different unions on their road for a night's bed and board. The object of my present letter is to treat of the habits and character of that larger, and, if possible, more profligate class, who are sufficiently successful at thieving or begging to have generally money enough to pay for their lodgings at the different trampers' houses in London or the country; and I believe I shall be able to lay bare such a system of iniquity and vice in connection with these low lodging-houses, as even the most experienced in London wickedness are wholly unacquainted with.
    Let me, however, first run over as briefly as possible the several classes of vagrants falling under the notice of the parish authorities. The different kinds of vagrants or tramps to be found in the casual wards of the unions throughout the country may be described as follows: "The more important class, from its increasing numbers," says Mr. Boase, in the Poor-law Report upon Vagrancy, "is that of the regular young English vagabond, generally the native of a large town. He is either a runaway apprentice, or he has been driven from home by the cruelty of his parents, or allowed by them to go wild in the streets: in some cases he is an orphan, and has lost his father and mother in early life. Having no ties to bind him, he travels about the country, being sure of a meal, and a roof to shelter him at night. The youths of this class are principally of from 15 to 25 years of age. They often travel in parties of two or three - frequently in large bodies - with young women as abandoned as themselves, in company."
    Approaching these in character are the young countrymen who have absconded - perhaps for some petty poaching offence - and to whom the facility for leading an idle vagabond life has proved too great a temptation.
    The next class of vagrant is the sturdy English mendicant. He, though not a constant occupant of the tramp ward in the workhouse, frequently makes his appearance there, to partake of the shelter when he has spent his last penny in dissipation.
    Besides these there are a few calling themselves agricultural labourers, who are really such; and who are to be readily distinguished. There are also a few mechanics - chiefly tailors, shoemakers, and masons, who are occasionally destitute. The amount of those really destitute, however, is very small in proportion to the numbers relieved.
    Of the age and sex of tramps, the general proportion seems to be four- fifths males and one-fifth female.
    Of the female English tramps little can be said, but that they are in great part prostitutes of the lowest class. The proportion of really destitute women in the tramp wards (generally widows with young children) is greater that that of men - probably from the ability to brave the cold night wind being less in the female, and the love of the children setting the shelter above the dread of vile association. Girls of 13 or 14 years old, who run away from masters or factory employment, often find shelter in the tramp ward.
    The Irish, who, till very recently, formed the majority of the applicants for casual relief, remain to be described. These can scarcely be classified in any other way than as those who come to England to labour, and those who come to beg. The former class, however, yield readily to their disposition to idleness - the difficulty of providing supper, breakfast, and lodging for themselves being removed by the workhouse. This class are physically superior to the mass of Irish vagrants. It appears that for very many years considerable numbers of these have annually come to England in the spring, to work at hay-harvest, remaining for corn-harvest and hop-picking, and then have carried home their earnings in the autumn, seldom resorting to begging. Since the failure of the potato crop greater numbers have come to England, and the tramp ward has become their principal refuge, and an inducement to many to remain in the country. A great many harvest men land at Newport and the Welsh ports; but by far the greater proportion of the Irish in Wales are or were women with small children, old men apparently feeble, pregnant women, and girls and boys about ten years old. They were brought over by coal vessels as a return cargo (living ballast) at very low fares (2s. 6d. is the highest sum), huddled together like pigs, and communicating disease and vermin on their passage.
    Harriet Huxtable, the manager of the tramphouse at Newport, says: "There is hardly an Irish family that came over and applied to me but we have found a member or two of it ill; some in a shocking filthy state. They don't live long, diseased as they are. They are very remarkable, they will eat salt by basins full, and drink a great quantity of water after. I have frequently known those who could not have been hungry, eat cabbage- leaves and other refuse from the ash-heap. I really believe they would eat almost anything.
    "A remarkable fact is, that all the Irish whom I met on my route between Wales and London," says Mr. Boase, "said they came from Cork county. Mr. John, the relieving officer at Cardiff, in his examination, says, that not one out of every 100 of the Irish come from any other county than Cork.'"
    In the township of Warrington, the number of tramps relieved, between the 25th of March, 1847, and the 25th of March, 1848, was -
        Irish 12,038
        English 4,701
        Scotch 427
        Natives of other places 156
        Making a total of 17,322
    Of the original occupations or trades of the vagrants applying for relief at the different unions throughout the country, there are no returns. As, however, a considerable portion of these are attracted to London on the opening of the metropolitan Asylums for the Houseless Poor, we may, by consulting the Society's yearly reports - where an account of the callings of those receiving shelter in such establishments is always given - be enabled to arrive at some rough estimate as to the state of destitution and vagrancy existing among the several classes of labourers and artisans for several years.
    The following table, which I have been at considerable trouble in forming, exhibits the only available information upon this subject, synoptically arranged:


1819 to 1820 1822 to 1823 1828 to 1829 1829 to 1830 1830 to 1831 1831 to 1832 1832 to 1833 1834 to 1835 1840 to 1841 1841 to 1842 1842 to 1843 1843 to 1844 1844 to 1845 1845 to 1846 1846 to 1847 1847 to 1848 1848 to 1849 Total In an average  of 17 years there has been annually
Bakers 5 5 24 54 79 60 31 22 44 52 64 103 114 39 134 45 50 925 54.4
Basket-makers - - 15 29 13 23 13 4 8 12 4 14 6 7 208 2 20 198 11.6
Bookbinders 7 3 20 38 25 18 10 3 14 45 18 47 20 10 52 17 19 366 21.5
Bricklayers, plasterers, and slaters 17 15 66 166 105 66 96 22 92 207 285 452 242 108 365 174 140 2618 154.0
Brickmakers - 5 15 66 17 20 - 3 - - 64 - - 20 100 52 - 362 21.3
Brush-makers - - 10 - 3 6 7 5 14 16 20 33 23 25 41 17 32 252 14.3
Butchers - 5 29 41 33 12 27 18 19 23 19 49 46 17 66 17 20 441 26.0
Cabinet-makers and upholsterers - - 13 48 50 17 31 16 77 108 62 195 52 28 185 103 68 1053 62.0
Carpenters, joiners, and wheelwrights 15 18 88 150 158 74 82 31 91 193 175 341 164 64 325 193 175 2337 137.4
Charwomen and washerwomen 7 5 - - 237 150 156 100 281 561 174 629 329 308 1598 1115 635 6285 369.7

Chimney sweeps

- - 10 - 19 10 13 - - - 9 25 3 20 17 16 12 180 10.6
Clerks and shopmen 4 4 25 35 25 30 21 16 37 59 225 147 68 28 171 84 24 1003 59.0
Coopers - 6 13 - 23 12 17 8 15 36 38 61 10 8 47 17 21 332 19.5
Cutlers - - - - 9 5 5 2 17 - 11 19 5 12 35 7 21 145 8.5
Dyers - - 20 42 24 15 12 12 7 21 22 31 21 18 60 30 13 348 20.4
Engineers machinists, and stokers - - 7 - 11 20 13 4 - - 29 16 36 9 70 49 12 276 16.2
Errand-boys - - - - 30 32 65 34 53 99 73 123 57 158 330 245 83 1345 79.1
Factory worker - - - - - - - - - - 17 59 37 8 41 29 - 191 11.2
Gardeners 11 - 27 64 29 30 43 19 78 95 53 290 125 21 194 84 51 1214 71.1
Garden women - - - - - - - - - - - - - 38 193 447 210 788 46.3
Hairdressers 7 8 8 - 16 50 11 5 - - - 6 5 1 7 2 - 116 6.8
Harness-makers and saddlers - - 22 39 18 10 9 11 23 48 41 53 24 34 56 36 35 459 27.0
Hatters - - 25 76 12 5 7 - - - - - 19 2 8 7 10 171 10.0
Hawkers - 5 65 192 320 260 265 105 434 445 486 729 614 335 1201 1499 944 6909 411.7
Jewellers and watchmakers - 6 5 - 39 16 11 9 21 27 30 58 23 9 51 15 23 343 20.1
Labourers, general 184 152 967 1906 1506 750 864 449 2026 3724 4300 6215 1858 1453 6503 5281 6287 48425 2848.5
Ditto, agricultural - - - - - - - - - - - 576 840 301 1734 - - 3451 203.0
Ditto, bricklayers - - - - - - - - - - - - 71 90 - - - 161 9.4
Ditto, Dock  - - - - - - - - - - - - 276 105 - - - 381 22.4
Ditto, excavators - - - - - - - - - - - - 291 122 43 - - - 456 26.8
Mendicants - - 45 - 104 100 127 50 - - - - - - 56 364 442 1288 75.7
Miners and colliers - - - - 3 10 11 4 - - 12 - 37 3 21 8 - 109 6.4
Navigators - - 15 41 29 35 47 6 - - - - - - - - - 173 10.1
Needlewomen - 12 45 183 112 61 75 65 219 316 288 49 300 224 1151 682 348 4130 243.0
Ostlers and grooms - 7 26 - 19 41 33 40 - - - - - - - - - 166 9.7
Painters, plumbers, and glaziers - 19 56 132 105 50 51 30 98 132 120 309 125 109 359 176 88 1639 96.4
Paper-makers and stainers - - - - 4 9 9 10 13 18 23 37 28 44 64 48 21 328 19.3
Porters 14 8 - - - - - - 99 135 79 153 92 52 179 60 21 892 52.4
Printers and compositors - 4 40 95 39 24 40 13 30 51 60 73 61 22 94 69 40 792 46.6
Ropemakers - - 11 - 17 5 9 4 11 18 39 129 72 35 95 43 35 523 30.7
Sawyers 6 7 37 - 27 20 37 9 33 56 23 109 52 29 122 65 55 687 40.4
Seamen 440 42 135 184 99 450 388 195 228 486 894 1916 1142 415 592 921 851 9378 551.6
Servants 30 27 240 356 397 195 151 74 301 244 283 618 371 256 1550 1477 1020 7599 446.5
Shoebinders - - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 86 21 - 126 7.4
Shoemakers 10 25 228 356 210 121 131 59 200 256 215 412 277 134 656 282 136 3717 218.6
Skin dressers - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 50 23 25 102 6.0
Smiths and ironfounders 8 4 47 44 116 85 52 65 202 382 334 619 264 145 414 298 193 3212 189.0
Stablemen - - - - - - - - 117 142 117 348 199 73 293 132 73 1494 87.9
Stonemasons - - 27 57 33 17 13 10 18 79 76 110 65 23 83 30 29 670 39.4
Tailors - 9 56 115 116 82 58 35 87 147 97 243 148 80 551 321 81 2256 132.7
Turners - - 6 - 21 10 15 3 27 48 28 53 32 4 58 30 17 352 20.7
Waiters and potboys - - 15 - 27 70 85 8 30 36 18 63 59 9 101 26 26 573 33.7
Weavers - 8 210 - 99 75 68 24 158 226 224 385 108 95 245 182 113 2220 130.6
124038 7296.3

According to the preceding table, it would appear that the greatest distress prevailed in 1846. Amongst some of the classes, however, we find that the highest number of applicants for shelter at the asylums occurred in 1843, and that these gradually decreased until 1846 - in which year they mostly rose again, and then diminished in the two following years. The bricklayers, plasterers, and slaters appear to have suffered most in 1843, although the numbers of those claiming admission to the Asylums for the Destitute rose afterwards to a large amount in 1846. The case of the carpenters, joiners, wheelwrights, smiths and ironfounders, was very similar to the former. The seamen likewise appear to have been most distressed about the same period. The table shows us moreover that the weavers in 1843, contributed more individuals from their class to the Houses of Refuge than at any other time. With regard to the charwomen and washerwomen, we shall find, however, that the greatest number of this class sought shelter at the Asylums for the Houseless Poor in 1846. The needlewomen and the servants, likewise, seem to have suffered most in that year. Again, the shoemakers and the tailors furnished a larger amount of destitute poor at this period, than at any other during the whole seventeen years specified in the preceding table. The class which has furnished the largest amount of all to these asylums, is that of the general labourer; for in 1846 we find a greater number of this calling applying for shelter than at any other period - although in 1848 the number of destitute persons pursuing the same occupation rose to within a few hundreds of the same amount. The most distressing year with the hawkers seems to have been in 1847.
    Of the disease and fever which mark the course of the vagrants wheresoever they go, I have before spoken. The "tramp fever," as the most dangerous infection of the casual wards is significantly termed, is of a typhoid character, and seems to be communicated particularly to those who wash the clothes of the parties suffering from it. This was likewise one of the characteristics of cholera. That the habitual vagrants should be the means of spreading a pestilence over the country in their wanderings, will not be wondered at when we find it stated in the Poor-law "Report on Vagrancy," that, "in very few workhouses do means exist of drying the clothes of these paupers when they come in wet, and it often happens that a considerable number are, of necessity, placed together wet, filthy, infested with vermin, and diseased, in a small unventilated space." "The majority of tramps again, we are told, "have a great aversion to being washed and cleaned. A regular tramper cannot bear it; but a distressed man would be thankful for it.''
    The cost incurred for the cure of the vagrant sick in 1848, was considerably more than the expense of the food dispensed to them. Out of 13,406 vagrants relieved at the Wandsworth and Clapham Union in 1848, there were 332 diseased, or ill with the fever. The number of vagrants relieved throughout England and Wales, in the same year, was 1,647,975; and, supposing that the sickness among these prevailed to the same extent as it did among the casuals at Wandsworth (according to the Vagrancy Report it appears to have been much more severe in many places), there would have been as many as 40,812 sick in the several unions throughout the country in 1848. The cost of relieving the 332 sick at Wandsworth was 300; at the same rate the expense of the 40,812 sick throughout the country unions would amount to 36,878. According to the above proportion, the number of sick relieved in the Metropolitan unions would have been 7,678, and the cost for their relief would amount to 6,931.
    Of the tide of crime which, like that of pestilence, accompanies the stream of vagrants, there are equally strong and conclusive proofs. "The most prominent body of delinquents in the rural districts," says the Report of the Constabulary Commissioners, "are vagrants, and these vagrants appear to consist of two classes; first, the habitual depredators, house-breakers, horse-stealers, and common thieves; secondly, of vagrants, properly so called, who seek alms as mendicants. Besides those classes who travel from fair to fair, and from town to town in quest of dishonest gains, there are numerous classes who make incursions from the provincial towns upon the adjacent rural districts.''
"The classes of depredators who perambulate the country (says the same Report) are the vagrants, properly so called. Upwards of eighteen thousand commitments per annum of persons for the offence of vagrancy, make the extent of the body from which they are taken.
    "It will be seen that vagrancy, or the habit of wandering abroad under colour either of distress, or of some ostensible though illegal occupation, having claims on the sympathies of the uninformed, constitutes one great source of delinquency, and especially of juvenile delinquency. The returns show that the vagrant classes pervade every part of the country, rendering property insecure, propagating pernicious habits, and afflicting the minds of the sensitive with false pictures of suffering, and levying upon them an offensive impost for the relief of that destitution for which a heavy tax is legally levied in the shape of a poor's rates.
    "Mr. Thomas Harril, a sergeant of the Bristol police, was asked - 'What proportion of the vagrants do you think are thieves, that make it a point to take anything for which they find a convenient opportunity?' - 'We have found it so invariably.' 'Have you ever seen the children who go about as vagrants turn afterwards from vagrancy to common thieving -thieving wholly or chiefly?' - 'We have found it several times.' 'Therefore the suppression of vagrancy or of mendicity would be to that extent the suppression of juvenile delinquency?' - Yes, of crime.'
    "Mr. J. Perry, another witness, states- 'I believe vagrancy to be the first step towards the committal of felony; and I am supported in that belief by the number of juvenile vagrants who are brought before the magistrates as thieves.'
    "An officer, appointed specially to take measures against vagrancy in Manchester, was asked: - 'Does your experience enable you to state that the large proportion of vagrants are thieves too, whenever they come in the way of thieving?' - 'Yes, I should call the large proportion there thieves.' 'Then, from what you have observed of them, would you say that the suppression of vagrancy would go a great way to the suppression of a great quantity of depredation?' - 'I am sure of it.'
    The same valuable Report furnishes us with a table of the numbers and characters of the known depredators and suspected persons frequenting five of the principal towns. From this we shall be enabled to form some idea as to the total amount of the criminal population of this country, as well as the number of those that are of migratory habits.

Table showing the number of depredators, offenders, and suspected persons who have been brought within the cognizance of the Police of the following districts or places in the year 1837, comprehending: - 1. Persons who have no visible means of subsistence, and who are believed to live wholly by violation of the law, as by habitual depredation, by fraud, by prostitution, &c. 2. Persons following some ostensible and legal occupation, but who are known to have committed an offence, and are believed to augment their gains by habitual or occasional violation of the law. 3. Persons not known to have committed any offences, but known as associates of the above classes, and otherwise deemed to be suspicious characters.

District or Place Number of Depredators, Offenders and Suspected Persons Average Length of Career Proportion of known bad Characters to the Population
1st Class 2nd Class 3rd Class Total
Metropolitan Police District 10444 4353 2104 16901 4 years 1 in 89
Borough of Liverpool 3580 916 215 4711 - 1 in 45
City and County of Bristol 1935 1190 356 3481 - 1 in 31
City of Bath 284 470 847 1601 - 1 in 37
Town and County of Newcastle-on-Tyne 1730 222 62 2014 2 years 1 in 27
Total 17973 7151 3584 28708

Table showing the characters of the persons in the above three classes, or the mode of depredation of means by which they obtain a livelihood.

Character and Description of Offenders


Metropolitan Police District
1st 2nd 3rd


77 22 5


59 17 34

Highway robbers 

19 8 11


544 75 154

Common thieves 

1667 1338 652

* Forgers

- 3 -

*Obtainers of goods by false pretences 

33 108 -

*Persons committing frauds of any other description 

23 118 41

*Receivers of stolen goods 

51 158 134

Horse stealers 

7 4 -

Cattle stealers 

- - -

*Dog stealers 

45 48 48


25 1 2

Utterers of base coin 

202 54 61

*Habitual disturbers of the public peace

723 1866 179


1089 186 20

*Begging-letter writers

12 17 21

Bearers of begging-letters

22 40 24

*Prostitutes well-dressed, living in brothels

813 62 20

*Prostitutes well-dressed, walking the streets

1460 79 73

Prostitutes low, infesting low neighbourhoods

3533 147 184

*Classes not before enumerated 

40 2 438


10444 4353 2104

    By the above table it will be seen that there are 28,708 persons of known bad character infesting five of the principal towns in England. According to the average proportion of these to the population, there will be in the other large towns nearly 32,000 persons of a similar character, and upwards of 69,000 of such persons dispersed throughout the rest of the country. Adding these together, we shall have as many as 130,000 persons of known bad character living in England and Wales, without the walls of the prisons. To form an accurate notion of the total number of the criminal population, we must add to the above amount the number of persons resident within the walls of the prisons. These, according to the last census, are 19,888, which, added to the 130,000 above enumerated, gives within a fraction of 150,000 individuals for the entire criminal population of the country.
    In order to arrive at an estimate of the number of known depredators or suspected parties continually tramping through the country, we must deduct, from the number of persons of bad character without the walls of the prisons, such as are not of migratory habits; and it will be seen on reference to the table above given that a large proportion of the classes there specified have usually some fixed residence (those with a asterisk set before them may be said to be non-migratory). As many as 10,000 individuals out of the 28,000 and odd above given certainly do not belong to the tramping tribe; and we may safely say that there must be as many as 35,000 more in the country, who, though of known bad character, are not tramps like the rest. Hence, in order to acertain the number of depredators and suspected persons belonging to the tramping or vagrant class, we must deduct 10,000+ 35,000 from 85,000, which gives us 40,000 for the number of known bad characters continually traversing the country.
    This sum, though arrived at in a very different manner from the estimate given in my last letter, agrees very nearly with the amount there stated. We may therefore, I think, without fear of erring greatly upon the matter, assert that our criminal population, within and without the walls of the prisons, consists of 150,000 individuals, of whom nearly one-third belong to the vagrant class - while, of those without the prison walls, upwards of one-half are persons who are continually tramping through the country.
    The number of commitments for vagrancy throughout the country is stated, in the Constabulary report, at upwards of eighteen thousand per annum. This amount, large as it is, will not surprise when we learn from Mr. Piggott's Report on Vagrancy to the Poor-law Commissioners, that "it is becoming a system with the vagrants to pass away the cold months by fortnightly halts in different gaols. As soon as their fourteen days have expired they make their way to some other union house, and commit the same depredation there, in order to be sent to gaol again." 
    "There are some characters," say the officer, of the Derby union, in the same report, "who come on the purpose to be committed, avowedly. These have generally itch, venereal disease, and lice, altogether. Then there are some who tear their clothes for the purpose of being committed." 
    The number of vagrants taken into custody by the police, according to the Metropolitan Criminal Returns for 1848, was 5,598; they belonged to the trades cited in the subjoined table, where I have calculated the proportionate number of vagrants furnished by each of the occupations, according to the total number of individuals belonging to the class.



Tool-makers, 1 in every










Glovers, etc










Paper-makers, stainers, &c.










Tinkers and Tinmen




Carvers and Gilders


Bakers, 1 in every 









Sweeps 516.5





Coach and Cab men 


Glass-makers, &c



508.8 [?580.8 ed]







General and Marine-store dealers 




Artificial Flower-makers


Hatters and Trimmers






Turners, &c




Average for all London
























    I have now given as full an account as lies in my power of the character and consequences of vagrancy. That it spreads a moral pestilence through the country, as terrible and as devastating as the physical pest which accompanies it wherever it is found, all the evidence goes to prove. Nevertheless the facts which I have still to adduce in connection with that class of vagrancy which does not necessarily come under the notice of the parish authorities, are of so over powering a character, that I hope and trust they may be the means of rousing every earnest man in the kingdom to a sense of the enormous evils that are daily going on around him.
    The causes and encouragements of vagrancy are two-fold - direct and indirect. The roving disposition to which, as I have shown, vagrancy is directly ascribable, proceeds partly from a certain physical conformation or temperament, but mainly from a non-inculcation of industrial habits and moral purposes in youth. The causes from which the vagabondism of the young indirectly proceeds are:
    I. The neglect or tyranny of parents or masters (This appears to be a most prolific source).
    2. Bad companions.
    3. Bad books, which act like the bad companions in depraving the taste, and teaching the youth to consider that approvable which to all rightly constituted minds is morally loathesome.
    4. Bad amusements (as penny theatres) where the scenes and characters described in the bad books are represented in a still more attractive form. Mr. Ainsworth's "Rookwood," with Dick Turpin "in his habit as he lived in," is now in the course of being performed nightly at one of the East-end saloons.
    5. Pad institutions - as, for instance, the different refuges scattered throughout the country, and which, enabling persons to live without labour, are the means of attracting large numbers of the most idle and dissolute classes to the several cities where the charities are dispensed. Captain Carroll, C.B., R.N., chief of police, speaking of the Refuges for the Destitute in Bath, and of a kindred institution which distributes bread and soup, says, "I consider those institutions an attraction to this city for vagrants." At Liverpool, Mr. Henry Simpson said of a Night Asylum, supported by voluntary contributions, and established for several years in this town - "This charity was used by quite a different class of persons from those for whom it was designed. A vast number of abandoned characters, known thieves and prostitutes, found nightly shelter there." "The chief inducement to vagrancy in the town," says another report, speaking of a certain part of the North Riding of York, "is the relief given by mistaken but benevolent individuals, more particularly by the poorer class. Instances have occurred where the names of such benevolent persons have been found in the possession of vagrants, obtained, no doubt, from their fellow- travellers.''
    6. Vagrancy is largely due to, and, indeed, chiefly maintained by, the low lodging-houses.
    I have already dwelt upon each of the above causes excepting the last - and this being the most influential of all, I purpose devoting the remainder of my present letter and the whole of my next to the exposition of the iniquities that are continually being perpetrated in such places. Prisons, tread-mills, penal settlements, gallows - all are vain and impotent as punishments - and Ragged Schools and City missions are of no avail as preventives of crime - so long as these wretched dens of infamy, brutality, and vice continue their daily and nightly work of demoralization. If we would check the further spread of our criminals - and within the last four years they have increased from 24,000 to 30,000 - we must apply ourselves to the better regulation and conduct of these places. At present they are not only the preparatory schools but the finishing academies for every kind of profligacy and crime.
    "The system of lodging-houses for travellers, otherwise trampers, says the Constabulary Commissioners' Report, "requires to be altogether revised; at present they are in the practice of lodging all the worst characters unquestioned, and are subject to no other control than an occasional visit of inspection from the parish officers, accompanied by the constables, whose power of interference - if they have a legal right of entry - does not extend to some of the most objectionable points connected with those houses, as they can merely take into custody such persons as they find in commission of some offence. The state in which those houses are found on the occasion of such visit, proves how much they require interference. The houses are small, and yet as many as thirty travellers, or even thirty-five, have been found iii one house; fifteen have been found sleeping in one room, three or four in a bed - men, women, and children, promiscuously; beds have been found occupied in a cellar. It is not necessary to urge the many opportunities of preparing for crime which such a state of things presents, or the actual evils arising from such a mode of harbouring crowds of low and vicious persons. "
    To show the actual state of these lodging-houses from the testimony of one who had been long resident in them, I give the following statement. It was made to me by a man of superior education and intelligence (as the tone of his narrative fully shows), whom circumstances, which do not affect the object of my present letter, and therefore need not be detailed, had reduced from affluence to beggary, so that he was compelled to be the constant inmate of those places. All the other statements that I obtained on the subject - and they were numerous - were corroborative of his account to the very letter:
    "I have been familiar, unfortunately for me, with low lodging-houses, both in town and country, for more than ten years. I consider that, as to the conduct of those places, it is worse in London than in the country - while in the country the character of the keeper is worse than noted. The worst I am acquainted with, though I haven't been in it lately, is in the neighbourhood of Drury-lane - this is the worst both for filth and for the character of the lodgers. In the room where I slept, which was like a barn in size, the tiles were off the roof, and as there was no ceiling I could see the blue sky from where I lay. That may be altered now. Here I slept in what was called the single men's room, and it was confined to men. In another part of the house was a room for married couples, as it was called, but of such apartments I can tell you more concerning other houses. For the bed with the view of the blue sky I paid 3d. If it rained there was no shelter. I have slept in a room in Brick-lane, Whitechapel, in which were 14 beds. In the next bed to me, on the one side, was a man, his wife, and three children, and man and his wife on the other. They were Irish people, and I believe the women were the men's wives - as the Irish women generally are. Of all the women that resort to these places the Irish are far the best for chastity. All the beds were occupied, single men being mixed with the couples of the two sexes. The question is never asked, when a man and woman go to a lodging-house, if they are man and wife. All must pay before they go to bed, or be turned into the street. These beds were made - as all the low lodging-house beds are - of the worst cotton flocks stuffed in coarse, strong canvas. There is a pair of sheets, a blanket, and a rug. I have known the bedding to be unchanged for three months, but that is not general. The beds are an average size. Dirt is the rule with them, and the cleanliness the exception. They are all infested with vermin. I never met with an exception. No one is required to wash before going to bed in any of these places (except at a very few, where a dirty fellow would not be admitted), unless he has been walking on a wet day without shoes or stockings, and then he must bathe his feet. The people who slept in the room I am describing were chiefly young men, almost all accompanied by young females. I have seen girls of fifteen with youths of from sixteen to twenty. There is no objection to any boy and girl occupying a bed, even though the keeper knows they were previously strangers to each other. The accommodation for purposes of decency is very bad in some places. A pail in the middle of the room, to which both sexes may resort, is a frequent arrangement. No delicacy or decency is ever observed. The women are, I think, worse than the men. If any one, possessing a sense of shame, says a word of rebuke, he is at once assailed, by the women in particular, with the coarsest words in the language. The Irish women are as bad as the others with respect to language, but I have known them keep themselves covered in bed when the other women were outraging modesty or decency. The Irish will sleep anywhere to save a halfpenny a night, if they have ever so much money." (Here he stated certain gross acts common to lodging-houses, which cannot be detailed in print.) "It is not uncommon for a boy or man to take a girl out of the streets to these apartments. Some are the same as common brothels, women being taken in at all hours of the day or night. In most, however, they must stay all night as a married couple. In dressing or undressing there is no regard to decency, while disgusting blackguardism is often carried on in the conversation of the inmates. I have known decent people, those that are driven to such places from destitution, perhaps for the first time, shocked and disgusted at what they saw. I have seen a decent married pair so shocked and disgusted that they have insisted on leaving the place, and have left it. A great number of the lodging-houses are large old buildings, which were constructed for other purposes; these houses are not so ill-ventilated, but even there, where so many sleep in one room, the air is hot and foul. In smaller rooms, say 12 feet by 9,1 have seen four beds placed for single men, with no ventilation whatsoever, so that no one could remain inside in warmish weather without every door and window open; another room in the same house, a little larger, had four double beds, with as many men and women, and perhaps with children. The Board of Health last autumn compelled the keepers of these places to whitewash the walls and ceilings, and use limewash in other places; before that, the walls and ceilings looked as if they had been black-washed, but still you could see the bugs creeping along those black walls, which were not black enough to hide that. In some houses in the summer you can hardly place your finger on a part of the wall free from bugs. I have scraped them off by handfulls. Nothing can be worse to the health than these places, without ventilation, cleanliness, or decency, and with forty people's breaths perhaps mingling together in one foul choking steam of stench. (The man's own words.) They are the ready resort of thieves and all bad characters, and the keepers will hide them if they can from the police, or facilitate any criminal's escape. I never knew the keepers give any offender up, even when rewards were offered. If they did, they might shut up shop. These houses are but receptacles, with a few exceptions, for beggars, thieves, and prostitutes, and those in training for thieves and prostitutes - the exceptions are those who must lodge at the lowest possible cost. I consider them in every respect of the worst possible character, and think that immediate means should be adopted to improve them. Fights, and fierce fights too, are frequent in them, and I have often been afraid murder would be done. They are money-making places, very. One person will own several - as many as a dozen. In each house he has one or more deputies,' chiefly men. Some of these keepers are called respectable men; some live out in the country, leaving all to deputies. They are quite a separate class from the keepers of regular brothels. In one house that I know they can accommodate eighty single men; and when single men only are admitted, what is decent, or rather what is considered decent in such places, is less unfrequent. Each man in such houses pays Id. a night, a bed to each man or boy; that is 26s. 8d. nightly. or 486 13s. 4d. a year, provided the beds be full every night - and they are full six nights out of seven. Besides that, some of the beds supply double turns; for many get up at two to go to Covent-garden or some other market, and their beds are then let a second time to other men; so that more than eighty are frequently accomodated, and I suppose 500 is the nearst sum to be taken for an accurate return. The re~nt is very trifling; thechief expense to be deducted from the profits of the house in question is the payment of three and sometimes four deputies, receiving from 7s. to 12s. a week each - say an average of from 30s. to 40s. a week - as three or four are employed. Fire (coke being only used) and gas are the other expenses. The washing is a mere trifle. Then there are the parochial and the water rates. The rent is always low, as the houses are useable for nothing but such lodgings. The profits of the one house I have described cannot be less than 300 a year, and the others are in proportion. Now, the owner of this house has, I believe, 10 more such houses, which, letting only threepenny beds (some are lower than that), may realise a profit of but 200 a year each. These altogether yield a clear profit of 2,300 for the eleven of them; but on how much vice and disease that 2,300 has been raised is a question beyond a schoolmaster. The missionaries visit these lodging-houses, but - judging from what I have heard said by the inmates in all of them - when the missionaries have left, scarcely any good effect has resulted from the visits.  l never saw a clergyman of any denomination in any one of these places, either in town or country. In London the master or deputy of the low  lodging-house does not generally meddle with the disposal of stolen property, as in the country. This is talked about, alike in the town and country houses, very openly and freely before persons known only to be beggars, and never stealing: it is sufficient that they are known as tramps. In London the keepers must all know that stolen property is nightly brought into the house, and they wink at its disposal, but they won't mix themselves up with disposing of it. If it be provisions that have been stolen, they are readily disposed of to the other inmates, and the owner or deputy of the house may know nothing about it, and certainly would not care to interfere if he did. I never heard robberies planned there, but there are generally strangers present, and this may deter. I believe more robberies are planned in low coffee-shops than in lodging-houses. The influence of the lodging-house society on boys who have run away from their parents, and have got thither, either separately or in company with lads who have joined them in the streets, is this: - Boys there, after paying their lodgings, may exercise the same freedom from every restraint as they see the persons of maturer years enjoy. This is often pleasant to a boy, especially if he has been severely treated by his parents or master; he apes, and often outdoes, all the men's ways, both in swearing and lewd talk, and so he gets a relish for that sort of life. After he has r&sorted to such places - the sharper boys for three, and the duller for six months - they are adepts at any thieving or vice. Drunkenness, and even moderate drinking, is very rare among them. I seldom or never see the boys drink - indeed, thieves of all ages are generally sober men. Once get to like a lodging-house life, and a boy can hardly be got out of it. I said the other day to a youth, 'I wish I could get out of these haunts and never see a lodging-house again;' and he replied, If I had ever so much money I would never live anywhere else.' I have seen the boys in a lodging-house sit together telling stories, but paid no attention to them. The principal lodging localities are Whitechapel and its neighbourhood, Westminster, the neighbourhood of Drury-lane, Mint-street, and Kent-street, Borough, and some in St. Giles, where they are less numerous than they used to be.
    To show the class of characters usually frequenting these lodging-houses, I will now give the statement of a boy - a young pickpocket - without shoes or stockings. He wore a ragged, dirty, and very thin great coat, of some dark jean or linen, under which was another thin coat, so arranged that what appeared rents - and, indeed, were rents, but designedly made - in the outer garment, were slits through which the hand readily reached the pockets of the inner garment, and could there deposit any booty. He was a slim, agile lad, with a sharp, but not vulgar, expression, and small features. His hands were of singular delicacy and beauty. His fingers were very long, and no lady's could be finer. When engaged "for a turn, as he told me he once was by an old pickpocket, the man looked minutely at his fingers, and approved of them highly. His hands, the boy told me, were hardly serviceable to him when very cold. His feet were formed in the same symmetrical and beautiful mould. "I am 15," he said. "My father was a potter, and I can't recollect my mother. My father has been dead about five years. I was then working at the pottery in High-street, Lambeth, earning about 4s. a week; in good weeks 4s. 6d. I was in work eight months after my father died; but one day I broke three bottles by accident, and the foreman said "I shan't want you any more; and I took that as meant for a discharge; but I found afterwards that he didn't so mean it. I had 2s. and a suit of clothes then, and tried for work at all the potteries; but I couldn't get any. It was about the time Smithfield fair was on. I went, but it was a very poor concern. I fell asleep in a pen in the afternoon, and had my shoes stolen off my feet. When I woke up, I began crying. A fellow named Gyp then came along (I knew his name aterwards), and he said, 'What are you crying for?' and I told him, and he said, 'Pull off your stockings, and come with me, and I'll show you where to sleep.' So I did, and he took me to St., Olave's workhouse, having first sold my stockings. I had never stolen anything until then. There I slept in the casual ward, and Gyp slept there too. In the morning we started together for Smithfield, where he said he had a job to sweep the pens, but he couldn't sweep them without pulling off his coat, and it would look so queer if he hadn't a shirt - and he hadn't one. He promised to teach me how to make a living in the country if I would lend him mine, and I was persuaded - for I was an innocent lad then - and went up a gateway and stripped off my shirt and gave it to him, and soon after he went into a public-house to get half a pint of beer; and he went in at one door and out at another, and I didn't see him for six months afterwards. That afternoon I went into Billingsgate market and met some boys, and one said, 'Mate, how long have you been knocking about; where did you doss?' I didn't know what they meant, and when they'd told me they meant, where did I sleep? I told them how I'd been served. And they said, 'Oh! you must expect that, until you learn something,' and they laughed. They all know'd Gyp; he was like the head of a Billingsgate gang once. I became a pal with these boys at Billingsgate, and we went about stealing fish and meat. Some boys have made 2s. in a morning, when fish is dear - those that had pluck and luck; they sold it at half-price. Billingsgate market is a good place to sell it; plenty of costermongers are there who will buy it, rather than of the salesmen. I soon grew as bad as the rest at this work. At first I sold it to other boys, who would get 3d. for what they bought at 1d. Now they can't do me. If I get a thing cheap where I lodge, and have the money, and can sell it dear, that's the chance. I carried on this fish rig for about two years, and went begging a little, too. I used to try a little thieving sometimes in Petticoat-lane. They say the 'fliest' is easiest to take in sometimes - that's the artfullest; but I could do no good there. At these two years end, I was happy sometimes as could be; that is, when I had made money. Then I met B , whom I had often heard of as an uncommon clever pickpocket; he could do it about as well as I can now, so as people won't feel it. Three of his mates were transported for stealing silver plate. He and I became pals, and started for the country with 1d. We went through Foot's Cray, and passed a farm where a man's buried at the top of a house; something about money while a man's above ground; I don't understand it, but it's something like that. A baker, about 30 miles from London, offended us about some bread; and B said I'll serve him out.' We watched him out, and B tried at his pocket, saying, I'll show you how to do a handerchief; but the baker looked round, and B- stopped; and just after that I flared it (whisked the handerchief out); and that's the first I did. It brought 1s. 3d. We travelled across country, and got to Maidstone, and did two handerchiefs. One I wore round my neck, and the other the lodging-housekeeper pawned for us for 1s. 6d. In Maidstone, next morning, I was nailed, and had three months of it. I didn't mind it so much then, but Maidstone's far worse now, I've heard. I have been in prison three times in the Old Horse (Bridewell), three times in the Compter, once in the Steel, and once in Maidstone - thirteen times in all, including twice I was reprimanded, and got off; but I don't reckon that prison. Every time I came out harder than I went in. I've had four floggings; it was bad enough - a flogging was - while it lasted; but when I got out I soon forgot it. At a week's end I never thought again about it. If I had been better treated I should have been a better lad. I could leave off thieving now as if I had never thieved, if I could live without. I have carried on this sort of life until now. I didn't often make a very good thing of it. I saw Manning and his wife hung. Mrs. Manning was dressed beautiful when she came up. She screeched when Jack Ketch pulled the bolt away. She was harder than Manning, they all said; without her there would have been no murder. It was a great deal talked about, and Manning was pitied. It was a punishment to her to come on the scaffold and see Manning with the rope about his neck, if people takes it in the right light. I did 4s. 6d. at the hanging - two handkerchiefs, and a purse with 2s. in it - the best purse I ever had; but I've only done three or four purses. The reason is, because I've never been well dressed. If I went near a lady, she would say, 'Tush, tush, you ragged fellow!' and would shrink away. But I would rather rob the rich than the poor; they miss it less. But 1s. honest goes further than 5s. stolen. Some call that only a saying, but it's true. All the money I got soon went - most of it a-gambling. Picking pockets, when any one comes to think on it, is the daringest thing that a boy can do. It didn't in the least frighten me to see Manning and her hanged. I never thought I should come to the gallows, and I never shall - I'm not high- tempered enough for that. The only thing that frightens me when I m in prison is sleeping in a cell by myself - you do in the Old Horse and the Steel - because I think things may appear. You can't imagine how one dreams when in trouble. I've often started up in a fright from a dream. I don't know what might appear. I've heard people talk about ghosts and that. Once, in the County, a tin had been left under a tap that went drip - drip - drip. And all in the ward were shocking frightened; and weren't we glad when we found out what it was! Boys tell stories about haunted castles, and cats that are devils; and that frightens one. At the fire in Monument-yard 1 did 5s. 7d. -3s. in silver and 2s. 3d. in handkerchiefs, and Id. for three pairs of gloves. I sell my handkerchiefs in the Lane (Petticoat-lane). I carry on this trade still. Most times I've got in prison is when I've been desperate from hunger, and have said to B , 'Now I'll have money, nailed or not nailed.' I can pick a woman's pocket as easy as a man's though you wouldn't think it. If one's in prison for begging, one's laughed at. The others say, 'Begging! Oh, you cadger!' So a boy is partly forced to steal for his character. I've lived a good deal in lodging-houses, and know the ways of them. They are very bad places for a boy to be in. Where I am now, when the place is run, there's upwards of 100 can be accommodated. I won't be there long. I'll do something to get out of it. There's people there will rob their own brother. There's people there talk backward - for one they say eno, for two owt, for three eerht, for four ruof, for five evif for six exis. I don't know any higher. I can neither read nor write. In this lodging-house there are no women. They talk there chiefly about what they've done, or are going to do, or have set their minds upon, just as you and any other gentleman might do. I have been in lodging-houses in Mint-street, and Kent- street, where men and women and children all slept in one room. I think the men and women who slept together were generally married, or lived together; but it's not right for a big boy to sleep in the same room. Young men have had beds to themselves, and so have young women there; but there's a deputy comes into the room, every now and then, to see there's nothing wrong. There's little said in these places, the people are generally so tired. Where I am there's horrid language - swearing, and everything that's bad. They are to be pitied, because there's not work for honest people, let alone thieves. In the lodging-houses the air is very bad, enough to stifle one in bed - so many breaths together. Without such places my trade couldn't be carried on; I couldn't live. Some though would find another way out. Three or four would take a room among them. Anybody's money's good - you can always get a room. I would be glad to leave this life, and work at a pottery. As to sea, a bad captain would make me run away - sure. He can do what he likes with you when you're at sea. I don't get more than 2s. a week, one week with the other, by thieving; some days you do nothing until hunger makes your spirits rise. I can't thieve on a full belly. I live on 2s. a week from thieving, because I understand fiddling - that means, buying a thing for a mere trifle, and selling it for double, or for more, if you're not taken in yourself. I've been put up to a few tricks in lodging-houses, and now I can put others up to it. Everybody must look after themselves, and I can't say I was very sorry when I stole that 2s. from a poor woman, but I'd rather have had Is. 6d. from a rich one. I never drink -eating's my part. I spend chief part of my money in pudding. I didn't like living in lodging-houses, but I must like it as I'm placed now -that's sort of living, and those lodging- houses, or starving. They bring tracts to the lodging-houses - pipes are lighted with them; tracts won't fill your belly. Tracts is no good, except to a person that has a home; at the lodging-houses they're laughed at. They seldom are mentioned. I've heard some of them read by missionaries, but can't catch anything from them. If it had been anything bad, I should have caught it readily. If an innocent boy gets into a lodging-house, he'll not be innocent long - he can't. I know three boys who have run away, and are in the lodging-houses still, but I hope their father has caught them. Last night a little boy came to the lodging-house where I was. We all thought he had run away, by the way he spoke. He stayed all night, but was found out in two or three falsehoods. I wanted to get him back home, or he'll be as bad as lam in time, though he's nothing to me; but I couldn't find him this morning; but I'll get him home yet, perhaps. The Jews in Petticoat-lane are terrible rogues. They'll buy anything of you - buy what you've stolen from their next-door neighbours - that they would, if they knew it. But they'll give you very little for it, and they threaten to give you up if you won't take a quarter of the value of it. 'Oh? I shee you do it,' they say, 'and I like to shee him robbed, but you musht take vot I give.' I wouldn't mind what harm came to those Petticoat-laners. Many of them are worth thousands, though you wouldn't think it. After this I asked him what he, as a sharp lad, thought was the cause of so many boys becoming vagrant pickpockets! He answered, "Why, sir, if boys runs away, and has to shelter in low lodging- houses - and many runs away from cruel treatment at home - they meet there with boys such as me, or as bad, and the devil soon lays his hand on them. If there wasn't so many lodging-houses there wouldn't be so many bad boys - there couldn't. Lately a boy came down to Billingsgate, and said he wouldn't stay at home to be knocked about any longer. He said it to some boys like me; and he was asked if he could get anything from his mother, and he said 'yes he could.' So he went back, and brought a brooch and some other things with him to a place fixed on, and then he and some of the boys set off for the country; and that's the way boys is trapped. I think the fathers of such boys either illtreat them, or neglect them; and so they run away. My father used to beat me shocking; so I hated home. I stood hard licking well, and was called the 'plucked one.'" This boy first stole flowers, currants, and gooseberries out of the clergyman's garden, more by way of bravado, and to ensure the approbation of his comrades, than for anything else. He answered readily to my inquiry, as to what he thought would become of him? - "Transportation. If a boy has great luck he may carry on for eight years. Three or four years is the common run, but transportation is what he's sure to come to in the end." Since the lad gave me the above account of himself, I have seen him daily, and verily believe if he had the means of obtaining an honest living, he would no longer thieve.
    I shall now give the statement of a man who was selected at random from amongst a number, such as himself in one of the most respectable lodging-houses. He proved on examination to be a returned convict, and one who had gone through the severest bodily and mental agony. He had lived in the bush and been tried for his life. He was an elderly-looking man, whose hair was just turning grey, and in whose appearance there was nothing remarkable, except that his cheek-bones were unusually high, and that his face presented that collected and composed expression which is common to men exposed to habitual watchfulness from constant danger, gave me the following statement. His dress was bad, but differed in nothing from that of a long-distressed mechanic. He said:
    "I am now 43 (he looked much older), and had respectable parents and a respectable education. I am a native of London. When I was young I was fond of a roving life, but cared nothing about drink. I like to see life,' as it was called, and was fond of the company of women. Money was no object in those days; it was like picking up dirt in the street. I ran away from home (my parents were very kind to me - indeed I think I was used too well, I was petted so), when I was between 12 and 13. I got acquainted with some boys at Bartlemy-fair a little before that, and saw them spending lots of money, and throwing at cock-shies, and suchlike, and one of them said, Why don't you come out like us?' so afterwards I ran away and joined them. I was not kept shorter of money than other boys like me, but I couldn't settle. I couldn't fix my mind to any regular business but a waterman, and my friends wouldn't hear of that. There was nine boys of us among the lot that I joined, but we didn't all work together. All of 'em came to be sent to Van Diemen's Land as transports, except one, and he was sent to Sydney. While we were in London it was a merry life, with change of scene, for we travelled about. We were successful in nearly all our plans for several months. I worked in Fleet-street, and could make 3 a week at handkerchiefs alone, sometimes falling across a pocket-book. The best handkerchiefs then brought 4s. in Field-lane. Our chief enjoyments were at the 'Free and Easy,' where all the thieves and young women went, and sang and danced. I had a young woman for a partner then; she went out to Van Diemen's Land. She went on the left in London (shopping and stealing from the counter). She was clever at it. I carried on in this way for about fifteen months, when I was grabbed for an attempt on a gentleman's pocket by St. Paul's Cathedral, on a grand charity procession day. I had two months in the Old Horse, (Bridewell). I never thought of my parents at this time - I wouldn t. I was two years and a half at this same trade; one week was very like another; successes and escapes, and 'free and easies,' and games of all sorts, made up the life. At the end of the two years and a half I got into the way of forged Bank of England notes. A man I knew in the course of business said, 'I would cut that game of snotter-hauling (stealing handkerchiefs), and do a little soft (pass bad notes).' So I did, and was very successful at first. I had a mate; he afterwards went out to Sydney too for 14 years. I went stylishly dressed as a gentleman, with a watch in my pocket, to pass my notes. I passed a good many in drapers' shops - also at tailor's shops. I never tried jewellers, they're reckoned too good judges. The notes were all finnies (5 notes), and a good imitation. I made more money at this game, but lived as before, and had my partner still. I was fond of her; she was a nice girl, and I never found that she wronged me in any way. I thought at four months end of retiring into the country with gambling tables, as the risk was becoming considerable. They hung them for it in them days, but that never daunted me the least in life. I saw Cashman hung for that gunsmith's shop on Snow-hill, and I saw Fauntleroy hung, and a good many others, but it gave me no uneasiness and no fear. The gallows had no terrors for people in my way of life. I started into the country with another man and his wife - his lawful wife - for I had a few words with my own young woman, or I shouldn't have left her behind me, or indeed have started at all. We carried gambling on in different parts of the country for six months. We made most at E. O. tables; not those played with a ball - they weren't in vogue then - but throwing dice for prizes marked on a table. The highest prize was ten guineas, but the dice were so made that no prize could be thrown; the numbers were not regulars as in good dice, and they were loaded as well. If anybody asked to see them, we had good dice ready to show. All sorts played with us. London men and all were taken in. We made most at the races. My mate and his wife told me that at the last Newmarket meeting we attended 65 was made: but they rowed in the same boat. I know they got a deal more. The 65 was shared in three equal portions; but I had to maintain the horse and cart out of my own share. We used to go out into the roads (highway robbery) between races, and if we met an old bloak (man) we propped him (knocked him down) and robbed him. We did good stakes that way, and were never found out. We lived as well as any gentleman in the land. Our E. O. table was in a tilted cart. I stayed with this man and his wife two months. She was good looking so as to attract people. I thought they didn't use me altogether right, so at Braintree I gave another man in the same way of business 25 for his kit - horse, harness, tilted cart, and table. I gave him two good 5 notes and three bad ones, for I worked that way still, not throwing much of a chance away. I came to London for a hawker's stock - braces and such like - to sell on the road just to take the down off (remove suspicion). In the meantime the man that I bought the horse, &c., of had been nailed passing a bad note, and he stated who begot it from, and I was traced. He was in a terrible rage to find himself done - particularly as he used to do the same to other people himself. He got acquitted for that there note, after he had me pinched (arrested). I got fullied (fully committed). I was tried at the Start (Old Bailey), and pleaded guilty to the minor offence (that of utterance, not knowing the note to be forged), or I should have been hanged for it then. It was a favourable sessions when I was tried. Thirty-six were cast for death, and only one was topped (hanged) - the very one that expected to be turned up (acquitted) - for highway robbery. I was sentenced to fourteen years' transportation; was ten weeks in the Bellerophon hulk at Sheerness, and was then taken to Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land, in the Sir Godfrey Webster. At Hobart town 60 of us were picked out to go to Launceston. There (at Launceston) we lay four days in an old church, guarded by constables; and then the settlers came there from all parts, and picked their men out. I got a very bad master. He put me to harvest work, that I had never even seen done before, and I had the care of pigs, as wild as wild boars. After that I was sent to Launceston, with two letters from my master to the superintendent, and the other servants thought I had luck to get away from Red Barks to Launceston, which was sixteen miles off. I then worked in a Government potato field; in the Government charcoal works for about eleven months; and then was in the Marine department, going by water from Launceston to George Town, taking Government officers down in gigs, provisions in boats, and such like; there was a crew of six (convicts) in the gigs and four in the watering boats. All the time I consider I was very hardly treated. I hadn't clothes half the time, being allowed only two slop suits in a year, and no bed to lie on when we had to stay out all night with the boats by the river Tamar. With twelve years' service at this my time was up, butt had incurred several punishments before it was up. The first was 25 lashes, because a bag of flour had been burst, and I picked up a capfull. The flogging is dreadfully severe; a soldier's is nothing to it. I once had 50 lashes (for taking a hat in a joke when I was tipsy); and a soldier had 300 the same morning. I was flogged as a convict, and he as a soldier, and when we were both at the same hospital after the flogging, and saw each other's backs, the other convicts said to me, 'D- it, you've got it this time;' and the soldier said, when he saw my back, 'You've got it twice as bad as I have.' 'No' said the doctor, ten times as bad; he's been flogged, but you, in comparison, have only had a child's whipping.' The cats the convicts were then flogged with were each six feet long, made out of the log line of a ship of 500 tons burden; nine overend knots were in each tail, and nine tails, whipped at each end with wax-end. With this we had half-minute lashes; a quick lashing would have been certain death. One convict who had seventy-five lashes was taken from the triangles to the watch-house in Launceston, and was asked if he would have some tea - he was found to be dead. The military surgeon kept saying in this case, 'Go on, do your duty.' I was mustered there, as was every hand belonging to the Government, and saw it, and heard the doctor. When I was first flogged there was inquiry among fellow convicts as to 'How did D-, meaning me, stand it - did he sing?' The answer was, 'He was a pebble;' that is, I never once said 'oh!' or gave out any expression of the pain I suffered. I took my flogging like a stone. If I had sung, some of the convicts would have given me some lush with a locust in, (laudanum hocussing) and when I was asleep would have given me a crack on the head that would have laid me straight. That first flogging made me ripe. I said to myself, 'I can take it like a bullock.' I could have taken the flogger's life at the time, I felt such revenge. Flogging always gives that feeling; I know it does from what I've heard others say who had been flogged like myself. In all I had 875 lashes as my different punishments. I used to boast of it at last. I would say, 'I don't care, I can take it till they see my back-bone.' After a flogging I've rubbed my back against a wall, just to show my bravery like, and squeezed the congealed blood out of it. Once I would not let them dress my back after a flogging, and I had 25 additional for that. At last I bolted to Hobart Town, 120 miles off. There I was taken before Mr. H , the magistrate, himself a convict formerly, I believe from the Irish rebellion; but he was a good man to a prisoner. He ordered me 50, and sent me back to Launceston. At Launceston I was 'fullied' by a bench of magistrates, and had 100. Seven years before my time was up I took to the bush. I could stand it no longer - of course not. In the bush I met men, with whom if I had been seen associating I should have been hanged on any slight charge - such as Brittan was, and his pals.

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    I am not at liberty to continue this man's statement at present: it would be a breach of the trust reposed in me. Suffice it, he was in after days tried for his life. Altogether it was a most extraordinary statement, and, from confirmations I received, was altogether truthful. He declared that he was so sick of the life he was now leading, that he would, as a probation, work on any kind of land anywhere for nothing for a year, just to get out of it. He pronounced the lodging-houses the grand encouragements and concealments of crime - though he might be speaking against himself, he said - as he had always hidden safely there during the hottest search. A policeman once walked through the ward in search of him, and he was in bed. He knew the policeman well, and was as well known to the officer, but he was not recognized. He attributed his escape to the thick, bad atmosphere of the place giving his features a different look, and to his having shaved off his whiskers, and pulled his nightcap over his head. The officer, too, seemed half sick, he said.
    It ought also to be added that this man stated that the severity of the Government in this penal colony was so extreme, that men thought little of giving others a knock on the head with an axe, on purpose to get hanged out of the way. Under the discipline of Captain Maconochie, however, who introduced better order with a kindlier system, there wasn't a man but what would have laid down his life for him.
    Since writing the above, I have held a meeting of 166 vagrants, the greater part of whom were thieves, and none above 20 years of age, while many were only 10. The statements made on that occasion were of the most startling description. These, with revelations as to the extent of the juvenile depravity encouraged in the low lodging-houses - revelations sufficient to appal the most experienced Londoner - I must reserve till my next communication.