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[newspaper clipping]
$80,000 A YE[AR]
                
One of the Metropolitan
  Company s  Spotters 
    Describes Its Se-
       cret Service.
                
ENDLESS CHAIN OF
     SHARP DETECTIVES
                
Men Who Watch Conductors
  Are Watched by Others Who
     Are Also  Suspects. 
                
 NO TRUST  THE MOTTO
                
 Honest  and  Dishonest  Dishonesty
  Terms Well Understood Among
  	the Employes.
                
ONE CONDUCTOR WORTH $6,000
                
Broadway Ride from Battery to Eighth Street,
   with Thirty Passengers, When Not a
	Fare Was Registered.
                
  One who for years was a  spotter  for the
Metropolitan Street Railway Company tells
this remarkable story of the daily life of a 
spy whom even his employers do not trust.
The corporation, which spends $80,000 a year
on its secret service, holds that every con-
doctor is a knave until his innocence is
proved, but the  spotter  is never able to es-
tablish his own honesty.  The man who is
hired to find out the sins of others is himself
subject to continual espionage.  The  spot-
ter  watches the conductors, motormen, in-
spectors and transfer agents.  He in turn is
shadowed by the  head spotters,  who [word cut off]
pursued by private detectives.
  No one [words cut off]
spy is no [words cut off]
It is not unusu[words cut off]
honest.  He may accept bribes to loo[words cut off]
other way, or he may bear false witness.
The  spotter  who tells the story which fol-
lows and fortifies it with documentary evi-
dence was considered one of the most suc-
cessful of the  operatives  that the Metro-
politan Railway Company every employed.  If
he were a conductor, as he naively remarks,
he could find ways to get two dollars a day
for himself besides his salary of $2.25.
  The  spotters  catch, in the course of time,
one out of every five of the conductors in the
act of taking the company s nickels, yet only
a part of the offenders are brought to book.
This  spotter  says that many of the con-
doctors of the company are afflicted with
that malady known as  rheumatism of the
arm.   This disease prevents the victim from
raising his hand for the purpose of ringing
up fares.
  For obvious reasons the man who tells this
story of his own experience with the inside
workings of the spying system of the Metro-
politan Street Railway Company does not
wish to have his name made public.
          Method of Hiring  Spotters. 
   Through the influence of friends,  said
the  spotter,   I obtained an introduction
to the man ho hires all the spies for the
company.  His name is J. J. Swan, and he
is known as the paymaster.  To him all those
who wish to be employed on the road in any
capacity make application.  He has his office
in the car barn at No. 761 Seventh avenue.
No one who wishes to be a  spotter  ever
goes there to get employment.  He would 
not be considered for a moment, for the
first qualification of a  counter  is that the
men shall not recognize him.  The  spotters 
are never supposed to go near the offices of
the company.
   I sent word to Mr. Swan that I would like
a position, and he sent word that he would
meet me at any place which I might name.
Our first interview was in the hallway of
a Broadway office building.  All the  spotters 
are hired in that way.  Sometimes they are
met by Mr. Swan at street corners, at others
in office buildings or in the rooms of law-
yers.  The meetings are arranged in places
where it is not likely that the conductors
will send spies to get descriptions of the
 spotters. 
   Mr. Swan looked at me very sharply.  He
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty-One: page two hundred and forty-eight
Description:Newspaper clipping regarding ''spotters'' who work for the Metropolitan Street Railway Company.
Subject:Gunn, Thomas Butler; Swan, J.J.
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Coverage (Street):No. 761 Seventh Avenue; Eighth Street; Broadway
Scan Date:2010-11-18

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty-One
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; boarding house living; a visit to the Rawlings family; a fight with Mr. Blankman at his boarding house; his journey on the North Star with the Banks expedition; the re-occupation of Baton Rouge by Union forces; a visit to a sugar plantation in Louisiana; and Fanny Fern's daughter Grace Thomson's death.
Subject:African Americans; Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Publishers and publishing; Transportation; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; New Orleans, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.