London Labour and the London Poor, volume 3

Mayhew, Henry
1851

Account of Crime amongst Cabmen.

Account of Crime amongst Cabmen.

I HAVE now but to add a comparative statement of the criminality of the London coach and cabmen in relation to that of other callings.

The metropolitan criminal returns show us that crime among this class has been on the decline since 1840. In that year the number taken into custody by the London police was 1319; from which time until 1843 there was a gradual decrease, when the number of coach and cabmen taken into custody was 820. After this the numbers fluctuated slightly; till, in 1848, there were 972 individuals arrested for various infractions of the law.

For the chief offences given in the police returns, I find, upon taking the average for the last ten years, that the criminality of the London coach and cabmen stands as follows: For murder there has been annually 1 individual in every 29,710 of this body taken into custody; for manslaughter, 1 in every 2829; for rape, 1 in 8488; for common assaults, 1 in 40; for simple larceny, 1 in 92; for wilful damage, 1 in 285; for uttering counterfeit coin, 1 in 612; for drunkenness, 1 in 46; for vagrancy, 1 in 278; for the whole of the offences mentioned in the returns, 1 in every 5 of their number. On comparing these results with the criminality of other classes, we arrive at the following conclusions:—The tendency of the metropolitan coach and cabmen for murder is less than that of the weavers (who appear to have the greatest propensity of all classes to commit this crime), as well as sailors (who are the next criminal in this respect), and labourers, sawyers, and carpenters. On the other hand, however, the coach and cabmen would seem to be more inclined to this species of atrocity than the turners, coachmakers, shoemakers, and tailors; the latter, according to the metropolitan police returns for the last ten years, being the least murderous of all classes. For manslaughter, the coach and cabmen have a stronger predisposition than any other class that I have yet estimated. The average crime in this respect for ten years is 1 in 20,000 individuals of the entire population of London; whereas the average for the same period among the London coach and cabmen has been as high as 1 in every 2800 of their trade. In rape they rank less criminal than the labourers, carpenters, and weavers, but still much higher than the general average, and considerably above the tailors, sawyers, turners, shoemakers, or coachmakers. In the matter of common assaults they stand the highest of all; even the labourers being less pugnacious than they. Their honesty seems, nevertheless, to be greater than common report gives them credit for; they being, according to the same returns, less disposed to commit simple larceny than either labourers, sailors, or weavers, though far more dishonest than the generality of the London population. Nor are they so intemperate as, from the nature of their calling, we should be led to imagine. The sailors (who seem to form the most drunken of all trades, there being 1 in every 13 of that body arrested for this offence), and the labourers (who come next), are both much more addicted to intoxication than the coach and cabmen; although the latter class appear to be nearly twice as intemperate as the rest of the people, the general average being 1 drunkard in every 81 of the entire residents of the metropolis, and 1 in every 46 of the London coach and cabmen. Hence it may be said, that the great vices of the class at present under consideration are a tendency to manslaughter and assault.

The cause of this predisposition to violence against the person on the part of the London coach and cabmen I leave others to explain.

I HAVE now but to add a comparative statement of the criminality of the London coach and cabmen in relation to that of other callings.

The metropolitan criminal returns show us that crime among this class has been on the decline since . In that year the number taken into custody by the London police was ; from which time until there was a gradual decrease, when the number of coach and cabmen taken into custody was . After this the numbers fluctuated slightly; till, in , there were individuals arrested for various infractions of the law.

For the chief offences given in the police returns, I find, upon taking the average for the last years, that the criminality of the London coach and cabmen stands as follows: For murder there has been annually individual in every of this body taken into custody; for manslaughter, in every ; for rape, in ; for common assaults, in ; for simple larceny, in ; for wilful damage, in ; for uttering counterfeit coin, in ; for drunkenness, in ; for vagrancy, in ; for the whole of the offences mentioned in the returns, in every of their number. On comparing these results with the criminality of other classes, we arrive at the following conclusions:—The tendency of the metropolitan coach and cabmen for murder is less than that of the weavers (who appear to have the greatest propensity of all classes to commit this crime), as well as sailors (who are the next criminal in this

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respect), and labourers, sawyers, and carpenters. On the other hand, however, the coach and cabmen would seem to be more inclined to this species of atrocity than the turners, coachmakers, shoemakers, and tailors; the latter, according to the metropolitan police returns for the last years, being the least murderous of all classes. For manslaughter, the coach and cabmen have a stronger predisposition than any other class that I have yet estimated. The average crime in this respect for years is in individuals of the entire population of London; whereas the average for the same period among the London coach and cabmen has been as high as in every of their trade. In rape they rank less criminal than the labourers, carpenters, and weavers, but still much higher than the general average, and considerably above the tailors, sawyers, turners, shoemakers, or coachmakers. In the matter of common assaults they stand the highest of all; even the labourers being less pugnacious than they. Their honesty seems, nevertheless, to be greater than common report gives them credit for; they being, according to the same returns, less disposed to commit simple larceny than either labourers, sailors, or weavers, though far more dishonest than the generality of the London population. Nor are they so intemperate as, from the nature of their calling, we should be led to imagine. The sailors (who seem to form the most drunken of all trades, there being in every of that body arrested for this offence), and the labourers (who come next), are both much more addicted to intoxication than the coach and cabmen; although the latter class appear to be nearly twice as intemperate as the rest of the people, the general average being drunkard in every of the entire residents of the metropolis, and in every of the London coach and cabmen. Hence it may be said, that the great vices of the class at present under consideration are a tendency to manslaughter and assault.

The cause of this predisposition to violence against the person on the part of the London coach and cabmen I leave others to explain.

 
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 Title Page
collapseChapter I: The Destroyers of Vermin
collapseOur Street Folk - Street Exhibitors
collapseChapter III: - Street Musicians
collapseChapter IV: - Street Vocalists
collapseChapter V: - Street Artists
collapseChapter VI: - Exhibitors of Trained Animals
collapseChapter VII: Skilled and Unskilled Labour - Garret-Masters
collapseChapter VIII: - The Coal-Heavers
collapseChapter IX: - Ballast-Men
collapseChapter X: - Lumpers
collapseChapter XI: Account of the Casual Labourers
 Chapter XII: Cheap Lodging-Houses
collapseChapter XIII: On the Transit of Great Britain and the Metropolis
collapseChapter XIV: London Watermen, Lightermen, and Steamboat-Men
collapseChapter XV: London Omnibus Drivers and Conductors
collapseChapter XVI: Character of Cabdrivers
collapseChapter XVII: Carmen and Porters
collapseChapter XVIII: London Vagrants
 Chapter XIX: Meeting of Ticket-of-Leave Men
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