The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Sat., Aug. 31, 1872

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ROBBING SAILORS - For men who travel so much and are brought in contact with so many sharks, no class are so easily gulled as sailors. The world over they are the prey of keepers of low dives and are plucked with the least unconcern as though their hard earnings belong to others than themselves. In New York and other large sea ports they are drugged, "shanghaied" and put aboard of ships outward bound on long passages, with no clothing except the scanty garments they wear, with their advance money safely stowed in the pocket of the land shark, while they have enough for "tobacco money."

And when they return after a two or three year voyage, with a pocket so full of money that it vies them a "list," how eagerly they make a "pier head jump" and steer straight for the hell dives, to be robbed, beaten, and shipped again the next day, while in a drunken stupor, for another long voyage.

On the lakes no advance is made to seamen, so the land pirates must wait until Jack has made a trip before he becomes fruit for them. Oswego has always had a good name among seamen as a safe place where he was free from the toils of the thieves, but it seems we are about to lose our reputation, as robbing sailors had commenced here.

One night last week a sailor was paid off, leaving his vessel here, with fifty-two dollars in money, and as his toggery was not very good purchased a suit of clothes for twenty-seven dollars, and with the balance of cash in his pocket started down Water street to see what was going on. Dropping into one of the dens where a large, masculine woman was tending bar, he hoisted in two or three drinks of poison and then was ready for anything.

The vampire bartender saw Jack had money, cajoled him out of four dollars to buy a dress and then informed him that the house was free to him, and as he was drunk he had better go to bed. The sailor took the advice, went to bed, and slept in drunken stupor until late in the morning, when he got up and found that his clothes were gone and with them his money.

He called the landlady (!) and when she appeared made known his grievance. She was horrified that such a thing should happen in her house, - that clothes and money must have been taken by another drunken sailor, who stole out before daylight. After some little time she finally clothed the plucked pigeon with a ragged, cast off suit, and turned him adrift without his breakfast. Like nine tenths of the sailors, rather than make a complaint to the police, he looked upon it as a natural consequence, shipped again on a vessel just ready to leave for Chicago and was off.

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Sat., Aug. 31, 1872
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Sat., Aug. 31, 1872