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nature most happily adapted to the receipt of shipping in the stream, and the passing them afloat into docks.
The tide flowing gently from the Nore to Teddington, to an average of eighteen feet at the London-Dock on spring tides in a calm and gentle rise, not very much affected by winds, or storms, or freshes, by strong currents or by silt or mud banks : all of which, more or less, together with ungovernable heights of tide, are sometimes severely felt at Liverpool, Bristol, and Hull, and give the superiority to London in this respect.
This, with other properties, forms so fine a port at London in the very heart of the kingdom.
I requested Mr. Pearce to make out a copy of the tide tables kept at the Wapping dock for my own use, which he did till near the time of his death. Captain Maughan, the present dock-master, who succeeded Mr. Pearce, is an intelligent person, now continues them, and is attentive to the causes and operations of tides, and to the usual tables of them; and he has introduced the use of the barometer, which is also employed at Liverpool. He conceives that the plan of the river, as surveyed by Captain Shields, is a very valuable one, and a record of the tides forty years ago.
I did not expect that the tide tables kept at the London Docks would ever have appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society ; though I feel honoured at my name being referred to as having suggested the keeping of these tables in London, in the same manner as at Liverpool.
In the Examination of Mr. Vaughan before the committee of the House of Commons, will be found a plate of the section of the river and of the docks, made by him, and marked W.V. shewing the state of the tides at high and low water-mark, and at neap and spring tides respectively, and also the rise and fall of the tide for each day.
Little accidents often lead to interesting, if not important consequences. The making of Docks had produced much attention at home and abroad ; and my friend Matthew Boulton, Esq. of Soho, wishing to view them with some friends, I accompanied them. The Rev. James Smirnove, Chaplain to the Russian Embassy, was one of the party. They afterwards dined with me, and on my expressing a wish to increase my collection of maps and plans of rivers, canals and docks, both at home and abroad, Mr. Smirnove was kind enough to say that he would procure those of Russia for me.
In December, 1802, I received a letter from Mr. Smirnove, informing me that he had made an application to Vice-Admiral Mordinoff, who laid it before his Imperial Majesty Alexander I. who was pleased to direct a hydrographical plan of all the Russias, the rivers, and the canals, made and making, and the docks at Cronstadt, to be sent to me, for which I returned my grateful acknowledgments through Mr. Smirnove, sending at the same time various plans of the docks then under formation in London, with hints on commerce, free trade, and the bonding system, to be presented to his Imperial Majesty ; and on the 30th October, 1803, I received a letter from Vice-Admiral Chichagoff, acknowledging my letter and the plans; and further stating, that his Imperial Majesty had been graciously pleased to send me a valuable diamond ring, for which I returned suitable acknowledgments. Copies of this correspondence will be found in the Miscellaneous Part, No. 8.
Colonel Waxall, an engineer of merit in the Russian
service, had been employed to make observations on the progress of the London Docks; and on his going to Petersburg to be married, he took with him a model I had given him of the railways and waggons used in those works, which he exhibited in a lecture before his Imperial Majesty.
While in England, he had taken up his abode next door to a public-house in Tower Street, that had been frequented by Peter the Great, for refreshment, upon his returns from working in the King's yards at Deptford, well known by the name of the
" CZAR'S HEAD."
This sign had originally projected into the street, at the time when signs were thus hung up.
Colonel Waxall purchased it, giving another in exchange for it, which now remains fixed against the house. Wishing to send this sign of the Czar to be deposited in some public archives at St. Petersburg, he requested of me a certificate of its origin ; which I gave, having found upon enquiry, that the then landlord or his family had purchased the good-will of the house from the person who put it up, or of the family to whom it originally belonged. On Colonel Waxall's return to England he brought with him a medal that had been given to him by his Excellency Count Romanzoff, after reading his lecture before his Imperial Majesty; and at the same time he requested permission to present it to me, having rendered him, as he stated, some services. The medal was accepted at the moment, but it was afterwards returned, stating that all the different rings, and this medal which he had received from his Imperial Majesty ought to be kept as heir-looms in his family; and as ladies are the best guardians of their husbands' honours, I requested the medal might be presented to his lady to keep.
LONDON AS IT WAS IN 1793.
Before the making of docks, the accommodation of its trade was confined, for the loading and unloading of ships with the aid of lighters, to the legal quays between London Bridge and the Tower, only about 1460 feet in length, and to sufferance wharfs on both sides the river. The accommodation for the shipping was confined to the space between London Bridge and Limehouse Hole. The number of vessels entered inwards in 1793 were
2,574 From foreign parts
Foreign .... 1,193
Total .... 13,740
Perhaps the best contrast that could be made for London as it was in 1793 is to compare it with London, with all its docks and improvements, in 1836 or 1837, aswill be found in the next part.
THE PORT OF LONDON,
AS IT WAS IN THE YEAR 1836,
ALL THE DOCKS, AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS.
Within the last forty years the metropolis, including the port of London, has undergone a wonderful alteration and increase in extent, population, and commercial accommodation. may
be stated that the metropolis is the seat of a great empire of legislation and justice, and also of industry, commerce, and revenue ; and forms, as it were from its extent and numbers, a little government within itself, with such laws and regulations as are best adapted to promote its interest and welfare. Its inhabitants are generally subservient to laws and regulations, the minor courts of justice deciding quarrels and disputes, with the aid of a wellregulated police.