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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 011 [10-12-1861]

              5
		The Harbor Police.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
the coroner.  It is generally done by towing in the
wake of the boat, a rope being made fast to the
corpse.
  4. Repressing mutinies, fights, quarrels and dis-
orders on board ship, the latter of which are com-
mon enough on the departure of vessels, when sail-
ors go, or are put, on deck in a state of inebriation.
  5. Driving off runners, crimps and such human
sharks as prey upon the sailor, especially foreign-
ers.  Commonly these fellow board vessels and
endeavor to induce the men to desert, which not
only puts their captains to serious inconvenience,
but frequently involves owners in grave pecuniary
responsibilities; those of Russian ships being
bound to return with the full complement of the
crew with which they sailed, under penalty of one
hundred dollars fine for each missing subject of the
Czar.  To avoid the risk of this in a recent instance,
a Muscovite skipper hit up a characteristically
national expedient.  Procuring the requisite au-
thority from his Consul, he actually incarcerated
his tarry Finns (we have heard that all Russian
sailors are Finns) in the Tombs, and kept them 
there snugly and safely, until the day of sailing!
  It has been suggested that a small steamboat
could largely increase the efficiency of the Harbor
Police and a floating-station is talked of.  We think
the number of men employed might be trebled, or 
at least duplicated, with advantage.
               OUR NIGHT CRUISE CONTINUED.
  To return to our night cruise.  Sergeant Holland�s
boat has brought us, coasting the East River
shore, as far as Grand street.  The wharves are as
black as ever, their magnitude being all the more
distinct from the relief of an occasional lamp or 
cresset at the end of a lonely pier.  In one place a
number of red-shirted men at work on the side of
a vessel by the light of a blazing cresset, almost
flush with the black water, afford us a truly Rem-
brandtish effect, not at all impaired by the sur-
rounding drizzle, which has temporarily abated, 
with treacherous intentions, as we shall find pre-
sently.  We have met and exchanged salutations

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
with a �duty-boat,� which straightway puts off
again into the obscurity whence it emerged.  The
tide has turned, it is now flood, as we put over
towards the Williamsburgh shore.
  We glide alongside the old North Carolina, coast
hither and thither among the craft, being hailed by
a wide-awake sailor on board a gun-boat, and re-
sponding by the assurance �Police!�  It is very,
very quiet, and we are remarking the strange halo�
the reflection of the street lamps in the low sky�
over the city of New York, when the clock strikes
nine.  Immediately others chime out, and from vessel
to vessel, far and near over the water, breaking the
stilness of the night, comes the cry of �All�s
well!� with a long-drawn musical cadence plea-
sant and solemn to listen to.  Presently, however,
it dies away, and we hear nothing but the swash
and gurgle of the waters, see nothing but the river,
the sky, the distant city and the pale gleam of our
lantern reflected on the pitchy-black sides of the
neighboring craft.
  Down the river, now, past rows of sheds shelter-
ing naval stores, by hollow wharves and piers and
swiftly to the Atlantic Dock, entering which we
peer in vain through the mist and fast-increasing
rain, on the look out for the boat we had previously
encountered.  Only three are on duty to-night, the
North River is as yet unvisited; our boat will take
that on our return.  Sergeant Holland inquires
whether we will accompany it.
  We think not.  The rain is coming down heavily,
steadily, with a vicious persistence, suggestive of
its intention to make a night of it.  We can now
see nothing�absolutely nothing but water in the 
atmosphere.  Across Buttermilk Channel, then,
coasting the father shore of Governor�s Island,
where the trees look black and drenched, and
where, as we row stiffly, the wind and rain in our
faces, by Castle William, we are challenged by the
sentry watching over the sleeping southern pris-
oners within�to Whitehall stairs, not sorry to to land
there and so terminate our cruise with the Harbor
Police.
		���������������

[Gunn�s diary continued]
  13.  Sunday.   In doors all the cold day, wri-
ting my Harbor Police article.  Cahill, Shep-
herd and Boweryem up irregularly.
  14.  Monday.   Down town with Cahill.  To
Mercury office about stories.  �Both good, but
can�t afford to buy �em.�    To the E. Post; saw               
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