Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/202

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Omnibuses and Cabs

Hackney-coaches were established in London early in the seventeenth century, and soon became so well patronised that, in 1623, the Thames watermen, who had long enjoyed the monopoly of carrying the public, became alarmed and complained loudly that they were being ruined. Apparently they wished the hackney-coaches to be suppressed, but the new vehicles were far too popular to be treated in that fashion.

John Taylor, the waterman-poet, bewailed their introduction in a pamphlet entitled, "The world run on wheels." He did not denounce private coaches, his anger being aroused "only against the caterpillar swarm of hirelings. They have undone my poor trade whereof I am a member: and though I look for no reformation yet I expect the benefit of an old proverb, 'Give the losers leave to speak.' . . . This infernal swarm of trade-spellers have so overrun the land that we can get no living upon the water; for I dare truly affirm that in every day in any term, especially if the Court be at Whitehall, they do rob us of our livings and carry 500 fares daily from us."

"I have heard," he continued, "of a gentlewoman who sent her man to Smithfield from