seamen and put them aboard drunk or drugged, with
little or no clothing but what they had on their backs
and rob them of this advance money. The ``crimps’’’
share of this money in San Francisco alone has been
calculated at one million dollars a year, or equal
to eighty per cent of the seamen’s entire wages.
Part of this had to be shared with corrupt police
and politicians and some of it has been traced to sources
``higher up.’’ So common was this practice
that vessels sailing from San Francisco and New York
had so few sober sailors aboard, that it was customary
to take longshoremen to set sail, heave anchor and
get the ship under way, and then send them back by
tug. This is precisely what happened on the well-equipped
and new ship on which I sailed from New York in 1879
for California, and the same situation is described
by Captain Arthur H. Clark in his account of seamen
in his ``Clipper Ship Era.’’ These poor
sailors, without proper clothing, had to draw on the
ship’s ``slop chest’’ for necessary
oilskins, thick jackets, mittens and the like, and
used up almost all the rest of their wages. The
small balance was wasted or stolen, or both, at the
port of arrival, and off they were shipped again by
the ``crimp’’ with no chance to save or
improve their condition. After years of agitation
by the friends of sailors the advance pay is now wholly
abolished in the coastwise trade in America and the
three months’ advance cut down to one in the
foreign trade, immensely to the benefit of the sailor
and the discouragement of the ``crimp.’’
The argument that without this system of bondage and
``crimpage’’ it would be impossible to
secure crews is fully answered by the experience of
Great Britain since the passage of the Plimsoll Acts
and in the United States since the recent acts of
Congress. On the contrary, these measures tend
to secure a better class of sailors and compel improvement
of the conditions under which they do their work.
I was told when in England that Plimsoll, who himself
was not a sailor, was influenced among other things
by my father’s book ``Two Years Before the Mast.’’
 He was Richard Henry Dana, Jr., when he wrote
his book, and continued to be called so through life,
for his father, a poet and litterateur, lived to the
age of ninety-two, and died but three years before
 Richard Henry Dana, Jr. A Biography.
By Charles Francis Adams. In two volumes.
Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin Company.
 Speeches in Stirring Times and Letters to a Son.
Richard H. Dana, Jr. Boston and New York:
Houghton, Mifflin Company, 1910.
 The political economist and M.P.