Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 98 pages of information about Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century.

Since writing the above, I have been furnished by my friend Willie Bryant, Branch Pilot of the Bengal Pilot Service, with the following particulars of incidents that occurred in the days that I am writing of, for the correctness of which he can thoroughly vouch.  I feel sure they will be read with the greatest interest.

Many men were shanghied on board ships in the 80’s and 90’s, more especially American ships; in fact there was in Calcutta a recognised American boarding master, or otherwise known as a crimp.

In ’87 they shanghied a padre on board an American vessel, and when he awoke in the morning found the vessel on her way down the river.  On his expostulating with the captain, the reply was:  “Well, I guess you are down as J.B.  Smith and Sonny, you are bound to Salem or h——­”

[Illustration:  Photo. by Bourne & Shepherd.  Writers’ Buildings and Holwell Monument]

On 6th December, 1887, the Alpheus Marshall, an American vessel, had a salemaker shanghied on board; he, poor fellow, had been only on shore once from a ship called the Terpsichore and was buying soap, matches, etc., when some man offered to stand him a drink, which he accepted.  The next thing he remembered he was outward bound for Boston, Mss.

On the Bolan, on the 17th February, 1888, a soldier was shanghied, or at least he said so, and when interviewed on the way down the river, came to the salute as he had been taught.  He went on to Liverpool where he was arrested.

The renowned boarding master, after the Government stopped these houses and methods, went to America as bos’un of a brigantine called the Curlew, and a very fine sailor he was too.

On 24th July, 1890, a case occurred of a woman being shanghied.  Of course when she proved her sex she was landed at Diamond Harbour.

There was also a case of a dead man being taken on board as drunk and shanghied; this was discovered after the ship had started for sea.


The first attempt to introduce horse traction tramways in the city was made as far back as 1873, when the Corporation constructed a line commencing at Sealdah.  It ran along Baitakhana, Bow Bazaar, and Dalhousie Square through the Custom House premises into and along Strand Road to the terminus at Armenian Ghaut.  But after the lapse of about nine months it was discontinued as it was found to be working at a dead loss, the reason for which it is unnecessary to state here.  The plant was subsequently sold.  Some years later Mr. Soutar and Mr. Parish—­the former a brother of the then Acting Chairman of the Municipality—­obtained the necessary concession to construct a comprehensive system of tramways throughout the city, on which they formed a syndicate with the object of giving practical effect to the proposed scheme.  Eventually in 1879 they disposed of all their rights and existing

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Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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