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Some account of the
PORT OF LONDON

and of the rise and progress of the
commercial Navy of Great Britain. 1834

SOURCE: The Saturday Magazine, No. 117. Supplement, April, 1834

The dues in the Port of London were extremely heavy, until about nine years since; when the monopolies enjoyed by the Dock Companies having expired, the dock charges have gradually, in consequence of competition, been reduced to a very low rate. The charges for pilotage and lights, especially the former, are, however, extremely burdensome: but a Parliamentary inquiry is about to take place with respect to the latter; and the recent abolition of the dues at the North and South Foreland light-houses, which belonged to Greenwich Hospital, has been a considerable relief to the ship-owner.

A few years since, the charges on an American ship of 482 tons burden, inwards and outwards in this Port, for lights alone, were upwards of £58; and we cannot give a more forcible illustration of the pernicious effects resulting from such charges, in preventing foreign ships from availing themselves of the security of our ports in strong weather, than by giving the substance of an anecdote, in Sir John Hall's work on the Navigation Laws: the case is only one amongst many. Some years since, the Dutch ship Vreede, from the Texel to Batavia, on her arrival off the Wight, encountered rough weather and contrary winds which obliged her to put back. Off Dungeness, the captain laid the vessel to. He was entreated, however, by the passengers and officers, to run her into the Downs, where she might have anchored in safety; but this he refused, alleging in excuse, the very heavy charges he should be subject to for light and other dues. In the night, the vessel was driven on shore near Hythe, in Kent, and only 12 persons were saved, out of 392 that were on board!

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