Collector to Board Letters Book 1812 - 1813


These extracts are a partial transcription of the book held at the National Archives reference, CUST 61/24, words are shown in italics in case of doubt. Items in blue are additional or background information. I do not accept any responsibility for any inaccuracies.


18 November 1812 (précis)   A report was made by William Manners, Acting Sitter Atherfield about the absence of John Roach without leave, he had apparently gone to Bristol to ‘get admission to some Hospital or Infirmary’.


21 November 1812         We have this day admitted Mr James Major to be Sitter of the Preventive Boat No. 19 at Atherfield Rocks, he first having taken the Oath of Office and given the required surety. Inclosed we transmit his bond.


25 November 1812         On the allegations transmitted to your Honors by Mr James Day Jun. Merchant and Ship Agent at this Port against Mr Thorold the Landing Surveyor for acting as an agent to Mr Day’s prejudice and as a Notary Public.

It will only we presume be necessary for us to observe after the unreserved exposition of the Landing Surveyor annexed that it does not appear to us that Mr Thorolds conduct in addressing a Proctor of the Commons to desire him to extract a Warrant from the Court to attach to a Vessel for a Salvage Reward due to a Pilot whose Service had saved her from loss, or his acting as a Notary Public at his leisure hours when disengaged from his Official Duties (which vocation he has exercised 16 years in marking Ships Protests, Bills of Sale and Notary Bills of Exchange) are Acts that come within Interdictory Enactments of the Statute Ric. 2nd & Henry 6th in relation of Officers Duties, or, are violations of any special Rules of your Honors, of breaches of the Covenant of his word given at his admission, the words of which are “And shall not directly or indirectly within his own name or the Names of any Person or Persons or in Company or Partnership with any other Trade or Agent for any others in any Goods, Wares, or Merchandize by way of Importation of Exportation.”

With regard to W Day’s accusation that Mr Thorold receives a sum in addition to his Salary as Collectors Clerk, we have to explain that Mr Thorold has never transacted any Business for the Collector at any time when his attendance or presence was required in his own department of Landing Surveyor.

The Collector, desirous of having his accounts properly prepared, and for this his two Established Clerks process at all times the making up of the Quarterly Accounts did agree with Mr Thorold for his auxiliary assistance at his leisure hours, Morning and Evening, for the object of posting the Import and Export Ledgers & copying accounts and occasional Letters at the remuneration of £10 per Quarter, but as this sum emerges from the Collectors Private Pocket and does not subject the Crown to the smallest expence or the attendance of Mr Thorold conflict in the smallest degree with his duty of Landing Surveyor, we humbly hope your Honors will not object to our obtaining auxiliary aid in keeping the Office Accounts as already described when the object of it is in support of the good management of the Office.

Mr Thorold is a very capable good Officer having been attached to the Customs Department 27 years – and we are not aware that he has been guilty of any dereliction of Duty as an Officer in the Customs, all of which is most respectfully submitted.


1 December 1812           The two oared boat used by Mr Robert Willis and Mr Chas. Leigh, Boatmen at Yarmouth for the purpose of Guarding the Harbour and Roadsted of that port being decayed and worn out having been used for almost six years. Inclosed we transmit an estimate from Mr Robertson a Boat Builder for providing a new one for £14 and an estimate for two sails at £3 – 7 – 6. The whole of which is stated by the Tide Surveyor to be correct.


1 December 1812           The Sitter of the Preventive Boat stationed at Yarmouth in this Port – having represented the necessity of being allowed a new small Boat for the better communication with the large one when at her moorings and other services. And the Commander Captain Blake having by the Letter Inclosed stated that such a Boat is an essential requisite we transmit an Estimate amounting to £6 5s for providing such a boat as will do for this service and humbly pray to receive your Honors approval thereon.


5 December 1812           Mr Thomas Richmond appointed Acting Mate of the Stork having taken the Oath of Office and given the required security, we have this day admitted him to the said Employment and transmit his Bond.


7 December 1812           Roach left the Isle of Wight we are informed the 17th Nov. without our cognizance of leave from any one. We have no knowledge of his present abode, but reports said he intended to go to Bristol.


8 December 1812           The Wolf Cutter having been refitted and supplied in the Christmas Quarter in pursuance of your Honors Orders of the 17th Ult. to us and another to Captain Blake, we now inclose the Tradesman’s Bills amounting to £235 – 13 – 7 and humbly pray your Honors Order for paying the same.


8 December 1812           Inclosed are fresh Estimates for providing a Boat & Boats sail for the Boat at Yarmouth. The first is £12 – 5 – 0, the other £3 – 2 – 7½. We have no Seized Boat in any way calculated for the Service for which this Boat is requested.


9 December 1812           As directed by your Order of the 19th Ult., on the Prosecution of George Bright, for Smugling and having in his possession Prohibited Silk Handkerchiefs, we acquaint your Honors the Seizing Officers Samuel Alder and Edward Dixon are desirous that the said Prosecution should be carried on at the Crown’s Charge.


15 December 1812         As directed by your Order of the 11th Inst. we transmit a Certificate of Baptism of George Ratsey, the person nominated to be a Coal Meter at this Port, in the room of Tobias Derrick deceased by which it will appear that said Ratsey’s Age is somewhat above 45 Years (otherwise he seems sufficiently active & capable of performing the Duty of the Office of Coal Meter,) is a sober man, & has never been known or suspected to be concerned in Smuggling or to have obstructed any Officer of this Revenue in the execution of his duty. There is no such person as J Ratsey in Cowes, George Ratsey is the person for whom the situation was applied for.


22 December 1812         In obedience to your Orders of the 19th Ult. we advertised for public sale the 17th inst. the following Foreign Goods for Exportation which have been unclaimed in the Warehouse of Mr Day for 14 Years Ex Aurora, a Danish Ship from Copenhagen in Distress in the year 1798 namely:

22 Boxes containing 2307 lbs Mould Tallow, each package about 112 lbs.

2 Boxes containing 110 bottles German Wine

2 Boxes containing 91 bottles Snuff

55 Casks containing 281 gallons Beer

Many empty from leakage and exhaustion.

But no biding having been made for any part by reason of the Age, bad Quality and Condition of the Articles, which are not worth Freight to any distant part, we humbly submit, as none of the goods are absolutely prohibited for home consumption, and the Candles, Wine and Snuff only circumstantially so, on account of a charge, the former of which articles also from the length of time it has been in the Warehouse being resolved into its original nature, Tallow, and fit only for re-melting – Whether your Honors may not under the peculiar circumstances of this case think it proper to authorize us to admit to entry for Home Consumption such part or portion of the Articles any buyer may be disposed to pay the Duties of Customs and Excise on, and further direct us (with the concurrence of the Merchant) to destroy the residue, to the end, that no further charge may exist on those goods.

Presumed Duties of Customs & Excise on these articles viz.

Candles, Customs, about       

£53 – 6 – 8

Wine, Customs & Excise, about       

£11 – 10 – 0

Snuff, Customs & Excise, about      

£18 – 0 – 0


£82 – 16 – 8

The Beer is not worth anything.


27 December 1812         Since transmitting your Honours on the 6th Inst. an Affidavit of John Dyer, an Impressed Smuggler on board the Royal William Man of War in Spithead against a Vessel called Trimmer of Chichester for an Offence against the Revenue, I received from Dyer the 23rd Inst. a Letter requesting I would again see him on board the Royal William to afford him occasion to voluntarily disclose to some other transactions guilty & injurious to the Revenue and interests of the Country, I accordingly Yesterday proceeded in the Sarah Cotton to Spithead and received the three inclosed Affidavits from Dyer which are humbly submitted for your Honors consideration.

On my return to Cowes I seized at her moorings at Ryde the vessel Fly, mentioned in the Affidavit Marked A, and I propose giving immediate instructions for Seizing the Iris, mentioned in Affidavit B, humbly hoping your Honors will see sufficient cause to justify me thereon.

With regard to the transaction mentioned in Affidavit C against the P O of Deal, I have to advise should your Honors deem it right to order Proceedings against her and Crew, that Dyer professes himself one in his recollections of individuals. The Two Shepherds by name on the Board of her at Gravelines.

Captain Fowler of the Royal William having informed me that the Admiral conformable to the Regulations of the Admiralty had ordered John Dyer to be put on the List to be sent to a Foreign Station, I have to submit to your Honors the expedience of immediately moving the Lords of the Treasury for Directions to the Admiralty Board that John Dyer be released from further Impressment and delivered over to the Stork Revenue Cutter, to the End that he may be at Hand to give Evidence for the Crown when called on and that he may receive the Indulgence the importance of his disclosures to the interests of the Country I humbly presume to think entitles him to.


13 January 1813            Inclosed is a letter from John Gale a Mariner of the late Swan Cutter captured in the year 1807, and now a prisoner in France praying to have such wages as may be due to him remitted to Aras for his support.

By reference to the Incident Book it appears there is due £5 – 5 – 8 for wages, but as he is not in the situation to give the Collector a legal Acquittance for the payment of such money, we humbly prays your Honors dispensation on Gale’s request.


15 January 1813              In obedience to your Honors Order of the 9th Inst. signifying that you have directed an Information to be filed in the Court of Exchequer in the name of the Attorney General against John Saunders for £100 and desiring to know in what way the Collector is desirous the prosecution should be carried out.

We have accordingly to submit for your Honors approval that the Collector desires that the prosecution may be carried out in his name.

The information in answer to the question put to him respecting the sort of Spirit laden on board the vessels Isis and Fly that he drank several glasses of Gin and Grog on board each vessel, but that he cannot swear to the quantities of the Cargoes.


18 January 1813            The inclosed letter from Captain Blake which represents the necessity of a new Boat being provided for the Preventive Station at Atherfield accompanied by an Estimate from a Boat Builder here, of the Terms at which he will supply another Boat amounting to £26 – 7 – 0 on which we beg to receive your Honors Directions.


26 January 1813            In obedience to your Commands signified in Mr Secretaries letter of 15 inst on the present state of Smugling. We report that we have reason to believe that Smugling is nearly annihilated in this District. What remains of the illicit trade has been carried on for the last three years by two vessels only belonging to this Port – Viz the Raymond, James Callaway, Master and Fly, John Saunders, Master, and the Articles they Deal in is Spirit.

They have generally made it is said Two Trips each in the year to France, the former vessel bringing about 100 small casks and the latter 60. From the enquiries we make we have no proof of the Spirits being constantly run on the Isle of Wight, on the contrary it is asserted the land their casks on the Coast of Hampshire near Portsmouth.

The Raymond is at this time laid up at St Hellens and has been dismantled, the Owner Callaway being, it is supposed, discouraged by the fate of the Fly lately seized and now under prosecution in the Exchequer from pursuing his nefarious attempts.

100 pieces of Prohibited Handkerchiefs were landed at the Back of the Island in the last year from the India Ships as they passed up the Channel and seized but this we submit to your Honors should be considered an accidental occurrence rather than a systematic one

The extent therefore of the Smuggling trade in this District being existent only in the way as already detailed, and in the article of Spirits alone, we are humbly of the opinion in our own present Water and Land Guards are fully adequate to all the purposes of detection and prevention expected from this establishment. All of which is respectfully submitted.


1 February 1813             We have to respectfully to represent to your Honors that since the abolition of Fees on 5th Ultimo through peculiarities in Local residence of the Wool Merchants in the Isle of Wight, which is Newport, six miles distant from the Custom House subjects us to some Embarrassment for the due discharge of our long practiced duty, with regard to Weighing Wool preparatory to being sent Coastwise conformable to the Act 28 Geo 3 Ch 28 without putting ourselves to personal expense, which we humbly assure ourselves that no part of the new system did contemplate or intend.

Under the 43 Section of the Act quoted which enacts that only the Collector and Comptroller of a Port, who grant Licences for the Weighing and who Issue Cockets for protecting the Wool Coastwise, shall certify that the Wool was weighed in their presence. It became the practice here upwards of 24 Years ago on the special application of a Wool Merchant for the Collector and Comptroller to proceed to Newport and see the Wool weighed on the Quay of that Town, for the Merchants convenience and saving, he agreeing to pay an indemnification for the Officers travelling charges and extra troubles the following rate of allowance viz.

On any number of bags of Wool not exceeding 40 Twenty Shillings

Any number exceeding 40                                              Six pence per bag

At times, when a Wool Merchant had only 10 or 12 Bags to send out of the Isle of Wight, they are conveyed from Newport to Cowes on a waggon and Weighted at Customhouse Quay, in our presence, Free of expenses, at other time when he has a larger quantity to send Coastwise and the hire of several wagons would be a serious expense – he is always desirous of being accommodated with our attendance at Newport.

The place of Weighing being therefore at the option of the Wool Merchant, we have humbly to propose for your Honors approbation – that whenever we are applied to by a Wool Merchant to repair to Newport to see his Wool Weighed for his own convenience and accommodation – we may be permitted to receive as Remuneration for our travelling expenses & troubles as follows:

For Chaise Hire – such being the actual charge we are made by the Chaise

Master & Driver                                                                                                              17 – 6

For our extra trouble and attendance each 5s                                                                   10 – 0

                                                                                                                               £1 – 7 – 6

The average number of Bags of Wool sent out of the Isle of Wight in the last seven years has been about 500, and the number of times our attendance has been required in each year to Weigh Wool at Newport has been 15 to 20.


11 February 1813           The Watch House at Atherfield being the – property of the Crown – being without the convenience of a shed or out house necessary for the preservation of the coals supplied for the Service as well as the security of other articles the Sitter and his Crew may have occasion to deposit on the premises. Inclosed we transmit an application from Mr James Major, the Sitter, praying that your Honors will be pleased to direct that such a shed be Erected which Mr Haynes, a Carpenter, residing near the spot engages to do at £10 – 14.  Being satisfied that such accommodation is required for the purpose stated, We humbly covenant that the shed may be allowed.


12 February 1813           The Salary & Day Pay of James Sammes, William Cooper, Thomas Love and William Warder, Tide Waiters at this Port having failed to produce the respectively the sum of £30 in the year ended 5th January 1813. Inclosed we transmit as permitted by your Honors Order of 11th April 1801 a statement of their claims to make good the deficit amounting to £56 – 17 – 0 humbly craving permission to Pay them this sum is shares they are severally entitled to.


1 March 1813                In obedience to your Order of the 26th Ult., we report that the rate of Day Pay to Common Tidewaiters when on duties afloat on Ships or Vessels 3/6 per Day & when employed on shore 3/0 per Day.

There being only one description of Tidewaiter at this Port, the Mode adopted for Boarding them is by Rotation or Turn so at the end, they may be an equality as to Employment and Duty.

Two Established Tidewaiters are always Boarded on Ships with Foreign Cargoes, without regard to Size or Nature of the Cargo except when Indiamen happen to call at the Port which is very seldom in which case Four are Boarded.

The Tidewaiters do not attend at any particular place, but when they are wanted they are sent for by the Tide Surveyor to be placed on board a Ship, they are never paid for any attendance to be prospectively employed, but only when actually boarded.

The moment a transient ship from foreign parts is ready to depart the Port, the Tidesmen are taken out and so soon as an importing Ship has discharged her Cargo, and the Tide Surveyor has inspected the quantity of stores left on board, these Officers are relieved. Glutmen are never used if the Established Tide Waiters are employed.


2 March 1813                The Printed Notices regulating the Attendance of Ourselves and Clerks for the Transaction of Official Business have been duly affixed in our Long Room pursuant to your Honours Directions for the Information of the Public and will be implicitly obeyed by ourselves and those under our control.

From the commencement of the new system 6th January 1813, we have shown every disposition to afford Merchants, Traders and Masters of Vessels all reasonable accommodation when they have presented themselves after the expiration of the prescribed hour of 2 o’clock and previous to our withdrawing from the office by granting dispatches or clearing Vessels as the case maybe.

The Inconvenience the Petitioners describe are Inseparable from their vocations combined with the Insular Residence, their Engagements depending on Accident, and favourable Opportunities of Tide and Weather for transporting goods to the opposite shores.

It cannot however we humbly presume be expected that either Ourselves or our Clerks should be in the Office at unreasonable Hours – the Termination of the Day or the commencement of the morning before the appointed period for Official Business.

We therefore most humbly submit to your Honors that in entertaining this Petition (the Allegations of which we cannot Invalidate) you will be pleased for such extra Attendance (after legal Hours as the Merchants, Traders and Masters of Vessels may require at this Office for their own Special Accommodation and Convenience) by a Table to direct a Rate of Compensation to be made to Ourselves (from whom the authority for Issuing Coast Documents emanates) and to our Clerks, to the End that the Applicants wanting Accommodation may know what expence they are to incur and that we receive such compensation for such extra trouble and Attendance under your Honors Permission.


24 March 1813               To the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury, the Honorable Memorial of the Collector & Comptroller of His Majesty’s Customs at the Port of Cowes is respectfully submitted.

That the operation of the 45, 46, 47 Acts of His Majesty in favor of the Revenue has seriously abridged the Established Emoluments your Memorialists emerging from commission & poundage on Seized Goods. That they are suffering in the Receipt of their Customs Official Incomes several hundred pounds since 5th January 1809, the time when Smuggling became suppressed on the Coast comprising their District. 

Your Memorialists humbly confiding in your Lordships wanted Justice and Protection to Officers of the Revenue whose Established Incomes of Emoluments of beneficial Public Laws and especially the late Recognized Principle of Indemnity to Commanders of Cruizers who, like your Memorialists Suffered by the Suppression of Smuggling.

Most submissively we lay before your Lordships by annexed Vouchers a Statement of their respective losses since said period, your Memorialists praying your Lordships will be pleased to grant through the Honorable Board of Customs a compensation of £468 – 19 – 0 to the Collector and £355 – 1 – 4 to the Comptroller, such sums being the actual aggregate Depreciation your Memorialists income by loss of Commission & Poundage on average of 7 Years proceeding the suppression of Smuggling and 4 Years since the suppression ending 5 January 1813 the Epoch when all Fees & Casual Emoluments ceased by Law. [Signed John Ward, Collector and Isham Chapman, Comptroller.]


2 April 1813                   The Seizure in Question was made by the Coast Waiter, Mr James Snudden for being brought Coastwise without Dispatches and the Tea and Coffee for not being accompanied with the usual Excise Permits. The Applicant we understand is a Grocer living is Salisbury and an order for the Tea and Groceries was given to his Traveller in Ryde collecting orders.


9 April 1813                   We have to represent to your Honors that Mr Richard Chiverton the Coast Waiter at Ryde is again in a state of Confirmed Insanity. We have been under the necessity of suspending him from any further attempts to perform the Coast Duty at his Station and have directed James Sammes, one of our most Competent Tide Waiters to act as Coast Waiter in Chivertons Room til further orders, which we trust your Honors will approve. Among the Proofs of Chivertons malady we transmit a letter from him to the Collector.


23 April 1813                 It appears on reference to the Acting Sitters Return that the deceased John Roach was returned sick and incapable of duty 91 Days in the concluding 4 Months of the Year 1812. Said Roach was also ill in 1810 and the Certificate then sent up by Mr James Williams the Sitter – that illness was believed to be occasioned by a Fever and Cold caught in the Execution of his Duty. Your Honors by your Order 15 January 1811 were pleased to allow him 1/6 per diem for 33 days, the time he was then incapable of Service and also the Surgeons Bill for Medicine supplied to him amounting to £3 – 16 – 6.

Whether the illness that terminated his existence was caused by his exertions in the Revenue Employ or was the latent effect of the Watchhouse Fever which had formerly afflicted him, we cannot say – We understand however Roach was admitted into the Revenue Service under particular Circumstances, and at the recommendation of Captain Curling of the Devon Station.


23 April 1813                 Inclosed is a Letter from Captain Ferris of the Stork Cutter, stating his arrival at the Port from Jersey with the Smack Glaucus of Weymouth which he seized at that Island the 19th Inst. in pursuance of your Honours Order of the 15th preceding.


23 April 1813                 The Affidavits were drawn by the Collector agreeable to the practice of this Port for the last 30 years by which, instead of employing a Professional Man, much expence has been saved to the Crown. The sending for a County Attorney to the Custom House, to be closeted with Officers of Customs & Informers, who have to divulge Illicit Transactions against the Revenue we humbly contend would have been an alternative fraught with obvious Impropriety and dangers in as much as informers would be deterred by the presence of their Professional Neighbours from unburdening their minds in the unrestrained way they now do, to the Collector, whose Oath and Interest in Office binds him to secrecy & through whom it is not likely Facts that it is policy to conceal will be made subject of conversation.

By 48 Geo 3 Ch 149 the Collector can legally draw out any Affidavit or Instrument relative to Revenue Duty without taking out an Annual Certificate & we humbly submit to your Honors the expediency & propriety of directing the Collectors of the several Ports to have Information from Smuglers & others taken by themselves & not Attorneys – the charge made by the Collector 7/1 where the Folio’s in and Affidavit do not exceed Four is an inadequate Reward for the Trouble taken & when they exceed that number only 1/3 is charged for each additional Folio – We are satisfied no Professional Man would  drawn the Affidavits of Alder & Dixon and Andrews & Woodruff under Two Guineas each, for which only 12/- each is charged & we are equally sure John Dyer would have made no Disclosure to any.


30 April 1813                 In obedience to your Order of the 9th January signifying that you had directed an Information to be filed in the Court of the Exchequer in the name of the Attorney General against John Saunders for £100 and desiring to know in what way the Collector is desirous the prosecution should be carried on, we humbly report that the Collector is desirous that the Prosecution should be carried on against J Saunders in his name under Treasury Regulations communicated in your Honors General Letter of the 8th July 1801.

The Collector makes himself responsible for the Charges and the taking up of the Offender.


3 May 1813                   On a Petition of Jane Chiverton praying to be paid her Husband Quarterly Salary. Jane Chiverton the Petitioner is the Wife of Richard Chiverton your Honors Coast Officer at Ryde at this Port whom we suspended from Duty on account of Insanity as we appraised the Board the 9 ult.  One Quarters Salary due 5 April 1813 Amounting to £20 is directed by the Establishment Order to be paid to Chiverton but conceiving that his Malady renders him incompetent to the giving a Legal acquittance we have refrained from making the payment.

The Poor Woman and her Children being in much Distress we submit if your Honors may order the money to be paid to her as it was due prior to her husbands Insanity and her receipt to be taken as a legal voucher.

Chiverton is at present in confinement in St Georges Work House, London.


6 May 1813                   The Lease from the Lord of the Manor of Atherfield for the Watchhouse and Boathouse erected thereon demised to the Crown for 21 years having been certified by Messrs Clark and Sewell, Solicitors, at Newport in this Island, pursuant to your Honors Order 24th November 1812 – Inclosed we transmit their Bill for preparing and completing the same, amounting to £8 – 19 – 0 – for the payment of which – we pray your directions. The Lease is deposited in the King’s Chest.


8 May 1813                   Richard Flux nominated Coalmeter, 23 years of age, active and capable of performing all the duties of the said office. In times past had been a Rope Maker.


12 May 1813                 We are requested by the Boatmen of the Preventive Boat No.19 stationed at Atherfield in this Port to transmit to your Honors the within Application for an increase in pay. As we have reason to believe the Conduct of the Men / with some little exception / has been active & zealous in the suppression of Smugling and preventing the return of Smugling in the District allotted to that Boat.    

We humbly recommend them as proper objects of Reward within the intention of your Honors General Letter of 9th June 1810.


12 May 1813                 Mr Jas Jolliffe, the stationary Boatman at Bembridge being in pecuniary Embarrassment, he has not been able to attend his duty since 27 ult.  We have therefore placed at his Station Mr Thomas Love, one of the Tide Waiters at this Port to perform the Duty of Guarding the harbour of St Helens and the District adjoining, and which service will be equated by said and will have the Established pay of 2/6 without subjecting the Crown to the smallest addition expense by reason of Jolliffe’s temporary Embarrassment, which is respectfully submitted.


12 May 1813                 In return to your Honors Order of the 7th Inst. relative to the state of complement of the respective Crews of the Stork, Swallow, Nimble and Wolf Cruizers, we subjoin below the particulars of each as ascertained up to this day.

Stork                       One Man Short

Swallow                 One Man Short

Nimble                   Full

Wolf                        Full


15 May 1813                 Since our Return of Seizures to your Honors in our Letter of the 11th Inst., Forty Six Casks of Spirits and a small Boat as described in the inclosed return have been brought to the Warehouse for the Prosecution of which in the present Term we pray your Directions.

We have to add that owing to the action of the Smuglers in throwing overboard from their small Boat the Forty Six Casks of Spirits and endeavouring to escape with a sail set from the Wolf Cutter, the weather at the time being very boisterous, the boat upset and four men were Drowned – the other two James Cox and William Webb were with difficulty saved by the exertions of the Wolf’s People and have since been conveyed to a Man of War, pursuant to 40 Geo. 3 Ch 62.


25 May 1813                 Lieut.  Brooke of His Majesties Ship Arethusa, arrived from the Havannah, having sent to the Kings Tobacco Warehouse at this Port, a small box containing 4 lbs Havannah cigars as a present to the Collector for private use. We humbly request your Honors will permit him to enter the same for the Duties, on the usual oath being first made. 


17 June 1813                 On a petition from Michael Corke to the Lords of the Treasury praying the Restoration of the Smack Pilot under Seizure.

We are unacquainted with the Circumstances of the Smugling Transaction to which the inclosed Petition of Michael Corke applies, the Seizure of his Vessel having been made by the Officers at Portsmouth.

On reference to Our Register Book directed to be kept by 48th Geo. 3rd ch 104 passed for the better Regulation of Pilots, it appears said Corke received a Licence from the Corporation of the Trinity House, London 3rd November 1808 to act as a Pilot within the Owers District to Peverell Point – and we have no reason to think but that he confined his exertions for a livelihood strictly to such area.

He is a native of Cowes and has not before been concerned in or convicted of smugling to our knowledge.


19 June 1813                 In return to your Order of Enquiry of the 15th Inst. respecting the cause of Death of John Roach late a Boatman in the Atherfield Preventive Boat, we transmit a letter from Mr James Major the present Sitter at Atherfield by which it would appear that Roach laboured under illness when he first joined the Boat.

Report from James Major – I understand from William Manners late acting Sitter of the Preventive Boat at Atherfield Rocks, it is his opinion that Roach’s Death was occasioned by a complaint he had when he first joined the Atherfield Boat, he continually complained of a pain in his side & shortness of breath.

Gentlemen, I cannot give any account of Roach’s Illness as he was absent when I took charge of the Boat at Atherfield.


29 June 1813                 On Mr Blake’s letter – and the reports of the Tide Surveyor and Collectors Chief Clerk to who it was informed we have respectfully to observe that neither the Master of Crew of the Vessel Lively appear to us to have had the remotest Privity to the concealment of Tea taken out of the Passengers Trunks by Mr Blake or that they meditated clandestinely in the same.

Mr Blake seems to have seen the Pilot Boat as she was conveying the Passengers (Two Invalid Sailors) to Portsmouth, to which Port the Captain of the East Indiaman had covenanted to return them and where the baggage would have been examined in the usual way at the Custom House.

The Quantity is 18 lbs in 5 caddies and of bad quantity – appraised at £4, the ginger at 6s/-.

If Mr Blake had determined on Seizing the vessel Lively he should at any rate have sent a Seizure Note for our guidance or the Deputed Mariner should have mentioned it verbally neither of which was done.

Unless Customable or Prohibited goods are found concealed in a vessel taken on board with Privity of the Master and Crew to be clandestinely landed, we humbly submit to your Honors it is not within the meaning of the Law to confiscate a vessel taking baggage in a regular and direct cause to a Custom House to be examined by the proper Officers which seems to be the present case.

Mr Blake, on the 6th June, two days after the Pilot vessel was at Cowes, came down in the Swallow Cutter & delivered the Tea & Ginger as a Seizure.


30 June 1813                 As permitted by your Order of the 16th Inst. Joseph Jolliffe, the Boatman at Bembridge, who is prevented by Embarrassed Circumstances from Attending his Duty on his Station, humbly prays your Honors to grant him another Fortnights Leave of Absence.


5 July 1813                    We are requested by James Sammes, a Trusty Competent Tide Waiter whom we placed at Ryde to act as Coast Waiter during the Insanity of Mr Richard Chiverton and arrangement was approved by your Honors Order of the 22nd April last, copy of which is subjoined, to transmit to your Honors the inclosed application for £7 – 12 – 6 being the difference between Sammes Pay as a Tide Waiter and Chivertons as a Coast Waiter in the last quarter viz. from the 8th April. The day he was sent to Ryde and the 5th July Instant – being convinced of the justness of the Statement and that it is impossible Sammes can maintain Himself and a Family with the Expense of Additional Lodgings at 2s/6d per Diem without incurring pecuniary Obligations at Ryde, we humbly submit the propriety of his claim for £7 – 12 – 6 to your Honors consideration and directions.

Chiverton is now in a Mad House in Wiltshire, without any prospect of immediate recovery & Sammes will continue to execute the Duty as Coast Waiter, which he has hitherto done to our satisfaction, ‘til we receive your Honors Orders to the contrary.


6 July 1813                    Inclosed we transmit an application from the wife of Richard Chiverton, Coast Waiter at Ryde on the Establishment at this Port, praying on account of the continuance of her husbands deranged State of Mind, that his Salary for the Midsummer Quarter may be paid to her.

We beg to inform that Chivertons Illness, having existed some time, your Honors were pleased by Order of the 18th May last to grant a similar request for Chivertons salary in the Lady Day Quarter last.


13 July 1813                  Mrs Sarmon, as Widow of the late Mr Francis Sarmon, Commander of the Swan Cutter received many Years a pension of £30 per Annum under Treasury Warrant of the 13th February and your Honors Order of 8th March 1808 – He having died intestate we did not think ourselves justified in paying the arrears of pension due without your Honors Special Order.


20 July 1813                  On the within papers and observations regarding the Seizure of the Wherry belonging to John Gill of Portsmouth for not being marked as the Law requires, and for having more Rowlocks than the number of oars specified in her Licence, we humbly submit our opinion that the Letter of the 3rd Section of 27th Geo 3rd Ch 32 it is not imperative on the owners of a boat / which boat does not belong to a ship or vessel / to paint his name and the Port to which it belongs on the outside of such a boats Stern – The words of the said Section being “shall be required to cause or procure to be painted upon the Stern of every such boat” without whether it shall be inside or outside.

We further submit it to be accepted in the general proper sense as distinguishing it must be on the boat, not the inside or exterior.

Our practice notwithstanding has been to direct all Owners of Boats not attached to Ships or Vessels, to paint their names on the outside part of the Stern.

On the point relating to superfluous Rowlocks, we submit that if Two Rowlocks, one on the Starboard and the other of the Larboard Gunwale are in line with the forward Thwart or Bench, such double Rowlocks should not be deemed as rendering the boat of illegal construction under the meaning of the 52nd Geo. 3rd Ch 141, because it is impossible for any Man or Men to row with Oars on the same Thwart or Bench with facility to Increase the Expedition of the Boat, Skulls may be used, but the shortness of them prevent their being of more effectual service than one long oar.

If, however, a Rowlock should be discovered on either Gunwale that might result from the fixing of a temporary of shifting Thwart or Bench, we are humbly of the opinion such a contrivance should be considered illegal construction and subject the Boat to forfeiture. [This results from a Petition about the seizure of a Boat by the Collector, Arundel.]


21 July 1813                  The Fly Cutter, John Saunders Master, which was Prosecuted in the Court of the Exchequer in Easter Term last, and restored in virtue of a Writ of Delivery on payment of certain Penalties to the Crown and Seizing Officer, we inclose an Account of Charges incurred on her amounting to £6 – 3 – 0 & humbly pray your Honors directions for their payment.


27 July 1813                  Pursuant to your Orders of the 8th Inst. to investigate certain Allegations made by Mr Richard Wilkinson jun. late Acting Mate of the Stork Cutter against the Commander Mr William Ferris, we immediately proceeded to an Enquiry on the Cutters return to Port, and herewith transmit the answers of:

Mr William Ferris     

 Marked             A

W Richmond, now Acting Mate 

 Marked             B

Captain Blake, Inspector 

 Marked             C

Collectors Clerk       

 Marked             D

All of which most satisfactorily to our minds rebutt the Charges of false Musters and also the assertions of Wilkinson that he accused Captain Ferris of the same in the Long Room of this Office in the presence and hearing of the Clerk.

With respect to the accusation made against Captain Ferris, of granting his People liberty to go on shore, and making no deduction from his Victualling Charge thereon, Captain Ferris admits the fact, as your Honors will observe in his Letter annexed on the ground that is the general practice of the Service, and on the Absolute necessity of permitting Mariners after a cruize to see for a short Time their Families.

At Pay time, once a Quarter, it is usual for the Cutter to be in Port for 5 or 6 days when the occasion we believe, is invariably availed for granting leave alternately to the Men to see their Families, and discharge their debts, nor do we see what possible prejudices can arise to the Service during such space by the Cutter being manned in a secure manner rather than being left to swing at a single Anchor. From what we have seen of the Conduct of Captain Ferris, we should believe it injurious not to say that the high state and appearance of the Stork Cutter, and the proper subordination that exists on board among the Mariners at all times prove him to be a very respectable Officer of this Revenue, and that his liberality of Mind places him above the discreditable design imputed to him by Wilkinson jun. of sending on shore his Men for the sake of gain.

On the reason set forth, in the written Statement to the Surveyor General, which forms the Ground Work of the present Enquiry viz. “That young Wilkinson was brought by his Father to prove what the practice of giving Mariners Leave of Absence on board the Stork – We humbly submit, if Wilkinsons Declaration should not have been confirmed to that Fact, for it will appear very obvious to your Honors on reading over our Official Report of the 13th July 1813, to which we crave a reference / Copy being annexed / on Wilkinsons Conduct at the Time he was Charged, that all the other matter introduced in the Statement is extraneous and founded on vindictive motives against the Commander when, Wilkinson, on leaving the Office at the close of the Investigation, menaced in a manner, which could not be misunderstood by us – and in words “That he would be up with him at some future day.”


28 July 1813                  The affairs of Joseph Jolliffe, a Boatman in the Service at this Port being still in an unsettled state, from which he is further prevented from returning to duty, he humbly prays your Honors (as permitted by your Order of the 16th Ult. so to do) to grant him more leave of Absence.


16 August 1813             The Petitioners John Ingram and Thomas Allen were captured on board a small Boat laden with Spirits in small casks the 14th April last and were committed to Winchester Goal the 10th of the same month by the Magistrates of the Isle of Wight under the provision of 45th Geo. 3rd Ch 121 and 49th Geo 3rd Ch 62 for want of Bail. We humbly submit the Petitioners are within the 53rd Geo 3rd Ch 21 for relief during their confinement in Winchester Goal.


20 August 1813             Jolliffe is not yet liberated from confinement but expects to be daily under the Insolvency Law. The Crown suffers no additional charges from this Mans inability to attend his Duties as his place is supplied by a Day Pay Officer.


30 August 1813             The Commitment of Ingram and Allen to Winchester Gaol was duly notified to your Honors in our letter of 14 April last but we have not heard that any information has been brought against them which is why the Officers have not applied for any Reward or portion of the Penalties. Ingram and Allen are in great distress and have already supplicated your Honors for Relief as will appear in their letter annexed.


1 September 1813          The usual supply of coals for the Custom House in the ensuing winter having been laid in at the present Market Price in this Port. We transmit Inclosed the Tradesmen Bill for the same amounting to £19 – 16 – 0 and humbly pray your Honors for paying it.


8 October 1813              The Searcher of the Port Mr John Waller having had occasion recently to attend the Exportation of some Cargoes of Salt at Newtown in this Island, distant from the legal Quays of this Custom House more that 8 Miles, and not being able to execute this part of his Duty without incurring Expenses for Horse hire and subsistence, he humbly prays that your Honors will be pleased to extend to him the regulated Allowance made to Landing Waiters under your General Order of 7th September 1809 whenever he might be called upon to attend the Exportation of Goods at a Sufferance Wharf more the 3 Miles from the Legal Quays. Being convinced of the necessity of the Searchers attendance occasionally at a distance from the Custom House Quays, and the propriety of the present appeal, we humbly recommend that Mr Waller may be placed on a footing with Landing Waiters, who by your Honors said order are allowed 1/- for travelling any number above three and 7/6 per day for subsistence.


15 October 1813            Kellaway, Gilbert & Broadley of the Isle of Wight who by your Honors Order of 31st January 1812 were directed to be prosecuted in the name of the Attorney General for Penalties incurred for Smugling Salt, having compromised their Offence by paying over to Mr Cooper, your Honors Solicitor, £100.

The Seizing Officer concerned, Mr William Arnold, Sitter of the Yarmouth Preventive Boat, No. 18, humbly prays your Honors will please direct him to be paid the share to which he is entitled.

1811 - 1812

1813 -1814

Customs Cowes Letters Books

© Transcription by Steve Holden, 2008. Original Book held at the National Archives.

5 August 2009