Collector to Board Letters Book 1813 - 1814


These extracts are a partial transcription of the book held at the National Archives reference, CUST 61/25, 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.


6 November 1813          The Applicant, Mr John Stearne, is a Wine Merchant residing at Newport in the Isle of Wight, and much in the habit of supplying Officers in the Army embarking on board Transports to join their Regiments on Foreign Stations with Wines at Prices less Customs and Excise Duties, he taking the chance of obtaining from the Treasury, Warrants to remit by Drawback, all Duties originally paid on such Wines at Importation.

The Accommodation so given to Officers in unquestionably very great, and the advantage they derive therefrom, not less material to their Finances, and we have always shown every disposition to further their wishes in facilitating under regular Warrants to the Searcher – the Examination of Wines contracted for with Mr Stearne for their respective Voyages at early & late hours and in particular Emergencies, even on Sundays. – We have hitherto deemed it right and consistent with your Honors Regulations that the Receiving Transports should be at Anchor in Cowes Roadsted and therefore did object to allowing Wine tho’ duly examined by the Searcher to be removed to Spithead or the Motherbank in a Boat to be put on Board a Transport at such a distance from Cowes – and within the District of another Port. If however your Honors should be inclined to extend the Indulgence, Government evidently mean to shew Military Officers going to Foreign Stations by allowing the Wine to be shipped, though the Transports may from necessity to join Convey be obliged to quit Cowes Roadsted – under the care of a Trusty Tide Waiter at Spithead or the Motherbank, we shall have no objection to offer thereto as we are not aware that by granting such accommodation the Revenue will be liable to be Injured.


11 November 1813        Mr Chiverton the Coastwaiter at Ryde was suspended from his Office 8 April 1813 on account of insanity. Your Honors on two separate applications from his Wife have been pleased to allow her to service his salary up to 5 July last. Chiverton has been in confinement at a lunatic asylum near Salisbury for the principal part of the last summer but found means to escape therefrom Twice by picking his handcuffs and escalating the Walls of the Asylum Inclosures. He is now at Ryde labouring under every symptom of confirmed madness frightening at times his neighbours by the violence of his proxysms and declared Vengeance against ourselves whenever occasion may allow him to execute it.

As this man was afflicted by the same Malady four years ago we consider it of that inveterate nature as scarce to admit any prospect of cure and the cause of it we believe in part to arise from a contusion received on the back of his Head from the Kick of his horse which fell with him in the act of bringing in a seizure to the Watchouse about five years ago we humbly submit to your Honors. If he may not be a fit object for Superannuation – Assured we feel that the reinstating him in his Office hereafter at any time would not only be disagreeable to the Public, but that it would also be fraught with injurious effects to the Revenue as after his imprudent disclosures of matters told to him in confidence, no one would ever think of imparting to him secret information.


15 November 1813        Inclosed we transmit in obedience to your Order of the 3rd Inst. an Account of the Salt Exported from this Port since the passing of the 49th Geo 3 Ch 98 on which we have to respectfully remark that if your Honors determine the Excise Duty chargeable on British made Salt when entered for Home consumption should be added to the intrinsic value of Salt in the Warehouse included for Exportation only and on which no Excise Duty is payable, we must admit more Export Customs Duty is due on the Quantities specified in the Account as Exported, than has actually been chargeable. The practice of the Port of London are, we presume, in regard to Salt exportations, must vary from that of certain Out Ports like our own – to prove it – no Salt of British manufacture can be exported but on the Drawback of Excise Duties whereas, in the Port of Cowes – under the Regulations confided to the Excise Revenue – exclusively – by the 38 Geo 3 Ch 89 – Salt is permitted to remain in the Warehouse contiguous to the Salterns where made – unchargeable with Duty till entered for Home Consumption, or until opportunity favors the proprietors to Export it free of Excise Duties. We must humbly submit in such cases as we describe – whether calculating each chargeable Excise Duty to be added to the Salt in the Warehouse intended for Exportation is not creating a factitious value for the Article. Pursuant to your Honors directions, we have accordingly called on the Exporters – Thomas and Richard Holbrook – to pay up deficiencies of Duties – and inclosed we transmit their appeal to your Honors Mercy.

They are poor men and work themselves in making Salt – and we believe – unless your Honors grant them relief – their production which is almost entirely exported must be entirely stopped.


18 November 1813        Intelligence having been received at this Office late in the Afternoon Yesterday that a Foreign Vessel laden with Colonial Produce was on shore a Hampstead, about 9 miles below this Town several trusty Tide Waiters were immediately dispatched to prevent embezzlement, and this morning the Comptroller repaired to the spot and found her a large Spanish ship called the Gaditanne laden with Sugar, Rum and Coffee, which had been taken by the enemy and recaptured by His Majesty’s Ship Revolutionaire, the cargo is unloading into small sloops – under the care of a sufficient number of Tide Waiters, and some already arrived in this Harbour to be deposited in proper Warehouses under the King’s Locks until disposed of.


29 November 1813        In return to your enquiry of the 25th instant, on the measures that are now taken either on land or water at this Port to repress the Practice of Smuggling Gloves, Silks and other French and East India Articles – we report to your Honors that from our having frequently enjoined the Coast Waiters at their respective Stations, and the General Land and Water Guard to be particular in the Notice of Trunks and Packages in Transit from the Isle of Wight to the opposite shore or vice versa, we believe that if any Articles of French or East India Manufacture avoid their vigilance the quantity must be trivial indeed.

On reference to our Writ of Assistance it does not appear any Writ has been applied for by any Officer since 5th January last. We shall not however fail to remind all our Officers how expedient and proper it is to so do in cases where they have ground to believe that Smugled Goods are about to be hastily removed.


3 December 1813          In return to your Order of Enquiry of 1st Inst. on the Custom house premises at this Port. We have to state that the premises consist of the Custom house, a Brick Building of respectable appearance, the upper story of which is used for offices – and the lower part for cellars or Spirit Stores – with the exception of one small chamber above and one small room below, occupied by the Messenger Ayling and his wife.

A large Storehouse at the back of the Custom house, the lower part used as the King’s Tobacco Warehouse with a kiln in it under the Regulation of 29 Geo 3 Ch 68, and the upper part for housing and depositing Cutter Materials and Stores.

The extent of Sea Land equal in breadth with the Custom house & opposite thereto & reaching to the lower water mark – used for mooring seized Vessels and Boats.

Two cottages contiguous to the Tobacco Warehouse – let for the annual rent of £19 – all of which are Freehold premises – were purchased by your Honors – as advised us in your Letter of 19 February 1807 of the late Mr Arnold’s Executors. No part of the premises is appropriated for the residence of any Officers – Annexed is the Board’s Order 12 October 1804 appointing William Ayling Watchman and Messenger, and allowing him and his wife, for services rendered and his small amount of pay to live rent free in the premises.


8 December 1813          Having deemed it necessary to investigate without delay a complaint against two of our Tidewaiters by reason of the Complainant stating his being under immediate sailing orders for India, we hereby submit the Charge and beg respectfully inclucidation of the business. That a Spanish sloop called Gaditanne laden with sugar, coffee and rum captured by a French Privateer off Cadiz and recaptured by H M Frigate Revolutionaire. In proceeding to Spithead on 17th ult. became stranded on Hamstead Beach between Cowes and Yarmouth, the accident being observed by Mr Arnold, Sitter of the Preventive Boat, No. 18. He very properly repaired to the vessel and placed himself and Crew on board to prevent Embezzlement, soon finding that it was impossible to extract her from the spot fully laden and that it would be expedient to discharge part of the cargo into smaller craft, he dispatched a messenger to us for instructions.

We accordingly on the afternoon of the 17th ult dispatched John Cushen, William Meades and William Kates Established Tidewaiters and Robert Miller, Glutman to Hamstead, the time being adverse to go by water, who on their arrival about 7 in the evening signifying who they were and desiring to be taken on board. Arnold, the Sitter, as will appear in his evidence ordered his boat to bring them from the shore to the Gaditanne but the Naval Officer left in charge by the prize master, Mr Grigg, who was absent to procure assistance to get the vessel off, resisted the desire of having anyone else on board that night and flashed his Musket in support of his resolution.

Cushen, Meads, Kates and Miller walked the shore in consequence near the stranded vessel until daylight next morning when they were on board in the course of the morning of 18 November. Violent words arose between Cushen and Mr Grigg who as Chief Naval Officer in Command thought proper to put Cushen on shore and who the following day preferred his complaint against Cushen and Mr Meades for abuse and drunkenness and incapacity to keep guard. Although Mr Grigg could not attend the investigation he will appear by his letter. We nevertheless proceeded in the examination of the evidence according to your Honors Established Rules and are humbly of the opinion that the charge of Drunkenness against John Cushen is in part proved as well as abuse to Mr Grigg but not to the extent alleged and that the charge of Drunkenness against William Meades is also proved as well an his incapability to keep guard. In making however this report, we cannot withhold our disapprobation of the Naval Officers refusal to let the Tide Waiters come on board the Gaditanne on the night of the 17th as the Sitters assertion. That they were Officers of Customs ought to have been a sufficient justification to the Commanding Officer for permitting them to come on board though he might have given general Orders to the contrary.

Cushen and Meades in extenuation of their misbehaviour urge that their feelings were much irritated at the treatment they had received by being kept on the shore all Night and being Wet and Cold, the Spirits on coming on board had greater effect than they had expected.

In general they are steady men and have not before been Charged and it does not appear from any Enquiry we have thought it our Duty to make, that any part of the Cargo has been Embezzled or Purloined, all of which is respectfully submitted. 


9 December 1813          We are requested by Mr Waterman, a respectable Surgeon and Apothecary of Newport, Isle of Wight, to lay before you the inclosed application for £4 – 12 – 0 on account of medicines supplied to John Roach as Boatman in the Atherfield Preventive Boat No.19 between 24th April and 5th November 1812.

Roach was taken into the Service for having made some particular disclosures to Captain Curling at Deal, and on a representation made to your Honors 13 December 1810, that his illness was contacted in the discharge of his Duty – Your Honors were pleased by your Order 15th January 1811 to direct payment of Mr Bloxham’s Bill, the surgeon that then attended him, for £3 – 16 – 6.

Believing that the medicine supplied to Roach by Mr Waterman was on account of a continuation of the same illness, we humbly submit Mr Waterman’s case for £4 – 12 – 0 to your Honors consideration.


15 December 1813        James Sammes, Acting Coast Waiter at Ryde seized the 36 Deals in question in the public street the 12th Ult. on suspicion that they formed part of a quantity that had been run from a Swedish ship at the Motherbank the month of October preceding some of which had been seized by the Commander of the Roebuck Cutter, on the shore, near Ryde & conveyed to the Custom House, Portsmouth. From the enquiry we have made, there is no such person as Reuben Jones in the Isle of Wight, on closely interrogating Jas. Watson on this point he says Reuben Jones is a London Rider & what is remarkable, he cannot inform us of the waggoner who conveyed the 36 Deals from Newport to Ryde. We submit the foregoing will satisfy your Honors, at what Port and when the Importation Duties were paid or by what Vessel goods were brought to the Isle of Wight, the goods should be prosecuted to Condemnation.


21 January 1814            Mr John Roach, the Coast Waiter at Cowes, having lost one of his sureties by the death of Mr Joseph Atkey, we have requested him to give fresh security and he has this day done so by Mr Mathew White – whose Bond is hereby transmitted.


22 January 1814            Mr Richard Chiverton, has been incapable of performing the Duties of his Office since 8th April 1813 and your Honors from that period have been pleased to permit his Wife to receive his salary of £20 per quarter directing us under the particular circumstances of his illness to accept he receipt as proper.

Chiverton is not yet capable of resuming his office but he is reported to us to be almost in the state of his former self. So soon as we receive the proper opinion he is fit to continue his duty, we shall not fail to represent his situation.


8 February 1814            Henry Cowper, a Boatman in the Preventive Boat No. 19, stationed at Atherfield having been discharged from the Service in pursuant of your Honors Order of the 20th Ult. We submit if your Honors may deem it right to give instruction to Capt. Blake, the Inspecting Commander of this District to nominate for your Honors approval some other mariner to fill up the vacancy. [Cowper pleaded guilty to misconduct, and had previously having been found guilty of drunkenness.]


8 February 1814            Enclosed we submit an account of Prohibited Silk Handkerchiefs, Shawls, and Leather Gloves which, not being saleable here, in pursuance with you Honors order, be on this day forwarded in a case under seals of Office addressed to the Warehousekeeper in London of which he has had advice and the customary Charge for the Waggon made on arrival in London.


21 February 1814           In obedience to you minute in the enclosed papers dated 22nd December 1813, respecting Richard Chiverton the Coast Waiter at Ryde. We report that the health of the aforesaid Chiverton is stated to us by the Riding Officer Mr Robey and acting Coast Waiter James Sammes to be much improved and that a lapse of some weeks has now taken place since he has manifested signs of his mental disorder.

From such representations we feel it our Duty to ask if it is your Honors pleasure that said Chiverton should again be re-instated in his Office of Coast Waiter.


3 March 1814                We report in obedience to your command of yesterday that the crew of the Atherfield Preventive Boat No. 19 is furnished with a Watch House – and that the people forming the crew of the Preventive Boat No. 18 live in their own habitations at Yarmouth where they are stationed. On the back is the number and names of the men of each Boat.

No Watch House

Yarmouth Preventive Boat 18

William Arnold, Sitter

John Williams, Commissioned Boatman

Alexander Phillips

Reuben Cooper

William Wheeler

Richard Webb

William Vey

Furnished with Watch House

Atherfield Preventive Boat 19

James Major, Sitter

William Manners, Commissioned Boatman

William Rubie

James Farendon

William Vaughan

Joseph Escom

Vacancy of one.


21 March 1814               Inclosed we transmit an account of Seizures brought to the Warehouse since our return of 5th January last, to prosecute which we pray your directions.

On board the Lugger Brother of Hastings (now enumerated No. 4) having in her hold Spirits in 182 small casks, were found John Smith, Thomas Neville, Stephen Morgan, the former who was received on board the Prince Man of War, Spithead the 16th March, as fit and able to serve his Majesty.

The two latter being rejected were committed to Goal by John Delgarno Esq., a Magistrate of the Isle of Wight the 17th Inst. under the 3rd Section of 40 Geo. 3rd Ch 62, not being able to find bail.


23 March 1814               The Petitioners, Corke and Anthony are natives of West Cowes and prior to the seizure of their vessel Pilot at Portsmouth supported themselves and Families, they are now we believe in great Indigence and in our impartial opinion who have just pretensions to relief under the provisions of the 53rd Geo. 3rd Ch. 21.


29 March 1814               We have to represent to your Honors that on the 5th December 1813, a party of Soldiers stationed at the Eastern Extremity of the Isle of Wight picked up on the shore a large cask containing 77 Gallons of Spirits (of very bad taste) which they delivered to Joseph Jolliffe and George Granger, Officers of Customs residing near the spot. On the 12th same month Graham Eden Hamond Esq. by his Stewards Messrs. Charles & Sewell claimed the cask and its contents for being thereon and first discovered on the Manor of Bembridge of which he is Lord, and gave Bond to the Collector as enacted by the 3rd Section of the 52nd Geo.3rd Ch 159 to pay the proper Duties thereon at the end of 12 Months and a Day in default of a claim or to return the Cask and its contents of 77 Gallons of Spirits to the Custom House.

The Quality being bad and useless, from it having been it is supposed many years under salt water, G E Hamond Esq. sent the cask conformable to the condition of his Bond, with the exception of 26 Gallons that had been lost by exhaustion during the 12 Months and a Day. We have sent the viz. on the 16th Inst. the remainder 51 Gallons to Public Auction, but no one choosing to give the Duties Spirits are chargeable with for it, we submit if your Honors may think it proper to order it to be tipped into the sea as the continuing it in the Warehouse will only be an incumbrance.

Inclosed is a Certificate from a considerable Spirit Dealer and Rectifier stating the Insignificance of its value. [From the Letter it appears the date of finding should be 1812.]


29 March 1814  Messrs Clarke and Sewell Solicitors of the Isle of Wight having at the request of the Collector given Instructions to the Clerk of the Peace of the County of Hants to discharge the Recognizances entered into by Mr James Williams, Sitter of the Atherfield Preventive Boat and Henry Cowper one of the Boatmen in the year 1811 to save them from to save them from Penalties incurred of £20 each.

Inclosed we transmit Messrs Clarke and Sewells Bill for Fees paid and charges incurred amounting to £2 – 8 – 2 to pay which we humbly pray your directions.

The cause of the proceedings against Williams and Cowper will be found in the accompanying copies of Letters and we beg reference to Mr Wanhouse for further particulars, as he carried out the suit at Winchester Sessions in 1811.


4 April 1814                   We forward enclosed an application from Mr James Snudden, Coast Waiter at Newport, praying an additional months Leave of Absence to that granted him by your Honors the 3rd Ult. which expired on the 31st.

Mr Snudden being in Goal, we considered it necessary to supply the place of Coast Waiter at Newport by appointing Mr William Miller, a trusty and competent Tide Waiter to perform that Office until further orders and which we trust your Honors will approve.


12 April 1814                 Thomas Whitticom, a Commissioned Boatman on Incidents at this Port, at a Salary of £5 per annum and 2s 6d per diem when employed died this morning.


25 April 1814                 Richard Chiverton the Coast waiter at Ryde not being yet, on account of his deranged state of mind, reinstated in that Office, we have sent inclosed an application from his Wife humbly praying as on former occasions to order her husband’s Salary in Lady Day Quarter, which amounts to £20 may be paid and her receipt received on discharge.

By your Honors minute of 1st March on the Report of Dr Robinson on Chiverton’s state of Health is to be stated at the end of 3 months.


25 April 1814                 Mr Richard Chiverton the Coast Waiter at Ryde being yet from his deranged state of mind incapable of executing the Duties of that office. We transmit the inclosed application from James Sammes Tide Waiter, who under your Honors Order of 22 April 1813 has done the Duties of Chivertons Office, and we consider with propriety praying to be allowed the difference of pay between that of Tide Waiter and that of Chivertons as Coast Waiter.

Lady Day Qtr. 1814

James Sammes pay as a Tide Waiter 90 days @ 2/6

11 – 5 – 0


1 – 5 – 0


12 – 10 – 0

Difference humbly craved to be allowed

7 – 10 – 0

The amount of Chivertons Salary

20 – 0 – 0


28 April 1814                 As directed by your order we report that none of the premises belonging to or held by the Crown within the limits of this Port are insured from accident by fire. We submit accordingly the premises described on the back hereof may be insured at the sums respectively against the Description.




Sum for Insurance

Custom House, East Cowes, Office above, Warehouse below.

Crown Property


Tobacco Warehouse at East Cowes, constructed with Brick and Wood

Crown Property


Cottages adjoining Tobacco Warehouse, Brick Construction

Crown Property


Watch House for Tide Surveyor at West Cowes. Brick and Wood Construction

A Repairing Lease for 21 years at £36 – 16 – 0 per annum


Watch House for Preventive Boat No. 19 at Atherfield Rocks Constructed of Wood and Thatch

Built by the Crown on the Estate of A Burnett Esq. on Lease for 21 years at £5 per annum



2 May 1814                   In elucidation of the within Statement of Mr Hadley who is a very considerable Wool Merchant at Newport in this Island, we humbly crave your Honors perusal and consideration of the annexed copy of a Letter on the subject matter, the original of which was addressed to your Honors on 8th February 1813.

All that is desired by us is indemnification of Travelling Charges and Expenses in executing the Public Business at a Distance from the Custom House at East Cowes to Newport six miles / tho’ stated by the Petitioner to be 5 / on the principal already granted by your Honors and acted on towards the Waterside Officers who perform Duty at more than 3 miles from the Office.

Mr Hadley by the accommodation he now asks would save 8 Guineas by avoiding waggon hire when shipping Wool with more Expedition than can be expected by bringing it to Cowes. He has as he truly urges tempted us with chaise hire conveyance, but this we declined wishing to act up to the letter of your Instructions not to accept of receive any reward but with your Honors Order.

The practice of weighing Wool in the presence of the Collector & Comptroller arose we apprehend from the Inland Situation of the Port, and the feasible opportunities that formerly presented themselves without such checks of clandestinely sending the Staple Articles of our Manufacturers to France.

It is out of the power of any Merchant or Farmer of the Isle of Wight to Impeach our Inclination and Readiness to facilitate their object of Trade when we can do it with propriety without Injury to our Incomes.

Indemnification however of Charges and Expenses is asked for from the Wool Merchant when he solicits Accommodation for his own advantages; which we respectfully hope your Honors will think us entitled to.


5 May 1814                   In Obedience to your Commands we report that no steps have been taken to procure ground at South Yarmouth for the erection of a Boat and Watch House for the Preventive Boat and her Crew. Your Honors Orders to such effect having never been signified to us.

We appreciate there will be some difficulty in procuring a Tenure in a sufficient space of Ground for such a building but we submit that Captain Blake should be directed to accompany us to the spot and point out the Extent of Land required and which he considers to be the most eligible for the purpose that we may be enabled to make proper and Exemplary Application to the Land Owner for such Land.


6 May 1814                   Mr James Snudden the Coast Waiter at Newport humbly prays your Honors by Application dated 4th Inst., which is inclosed to grant him further Leave of Absence / in addition to the month permitted by your Honors Order of 7th Ult. which will expire tomorrow / to enable him to arrange his affairs with his Creditors, which he has intimated is likely to be accomplished in a little more than another month.


23 May 1814                 At the desire of Mr Richard Comben Mate of the late Swan Cutter whose release from French Prison we announced to your Honors on the 16th Inst. we have to transmit the Inclosed application.

The Swan Cutter was captured by the French the 20th March 1807, all the crew except Mr Comben, Mate, then in Command, John Gale, a Mariner, and Jolliffe, a boy, escaped in the Boat.

The Depositions to the Circumstances of the Capture were made the 21st March 1807 before me by the Deputed Mariners Edward Bartlett and James Ferris and subsequently by the Mariners, and are now in the Office.


25 May 1814                 On a further Application by Mr Hartley praying to have Wool to be Customs weighed at Newport instead of Cowes.

Annexed and subjoined are our reports in relation to the subject matter contained in Mr Hadley’s Petition.

The peculiar case now submitted we humbly contend is not embraced by the Treasury Regulations which enjoins the extra attendance of Indoor Officers in the proper Departments on the Special Applications of Merchants, and as the nature of it differs materially from our common Official Duties – we confidently hope that your Honors will not insist on our performing the duty at the Distance of Six Miles from our Offices and Residences without being permitted to receive a compensation for such Extra Duty and Travelling Expenses.

We shall be very glad to learn your Honors are of the Opinion that the Law will dispense with our attendance at Newport – and that the formality of Weighing the Wool of the Isle of Wight intended to be shipped Coastwise may be delegated to the resident Coast Waiter at Newport – But while the Duty is expected from us under the peculiar circumstances set forth – we cannot do otherwise than flatter ourselves that your Honors on the General Principle of Compensating Officers for transacting Extra Official Services will think us entitled to the same reward from the Crown as Individuals benefiting from our accommodation.

The report of Mr Gibson on Mr Hadley’s Petition shews that he has misconceived the Local Facts of the case – No remuneration is asked for by the Coast Waiter, neither is he entitled to one.

Annexed is an Order from the Honorable Board of Customs on the precise subject 4th June 1741 – by which the attendance of the Collector and Comptroller of this Port has since been required.


27 May 1814                 In obedience to your Order of the 25th Inst. we report our Opinion that far from any reduction in the Officers so employed, it will be necessary for the Safeguard of the Revenue on the Renewal of intercourse with America (This being a considerable halting Port for Transient Ships) to increase the numbers.

The practice of Boarding Day Pay Officers is regulated by the size of the Ship. For instance, on a ship from St Ubes with a cargo of Salt stopping at Cowes, one Tide Waiter is Boarded provided one Excise Officer is also Boarded, which is generally the case, but if none from that Department, two of ours are Boarded.

Tide Waiters are not boarded on Colliers or Coasters except if the Coaster has on board Corn to be entered for the Duties, which has been Warehoused in another Port, the Quantity of which it is expedient to ascertain by the usual means at Importation.


1 June 1814                  John Gale, the only surviving Mariner captured in the Swan Cutter the 20 March 1807 in now returned from French Prison and waits with Mr Comben, the Mate then in Command, your Honors Pleasure and Directions.


1 June 1814                  In obedience to your Honors command of 26th Ult. on the subject of Smugling – We are now enabled on due consideration of the Premises therein contained to submit to your Honors the following Observations and Report:



1st  Whether all the Officers and Persons now appointed for the Preventive Coast Guard Land & Water &c.

We deem them all Qualified for and Active and zealous in the discharge of their Duties.

2nd Whether it appears that the present number and force of these Officers is adequate &c.

If Smugling is not to revive on the Coast of the Isle of Wight the present number and force are fully adequate for the prevention of the existing extent of the Illicit Trade.

3rd Whether any alteration in the Stations especially of the Land Guard appears to be expedient & necessary.

Under the probability of the increase of Smugling from the removal of hostilities with Holland and France. The Alteration we would suggest are that Mr Samuel Alder, Riding Officer of the 2nd Class now stationed at Niton be removed to Shanklin, an intermediate spot between Ryde and Niton – and that Mr Dixon, an old but effective Riding Officer on the old Establishment may be added to the New Land Guard and fixed at Niton.

And that a Watch and Boat House be erected for the Sitter and Crew of the Preventive Boat No. 18 on some commanding spot near the Needles from which he may have an uninterrupted view of the Coast instead of the Crew residing at Yarmouth their present abode.

4th What Military are at present Stationed within your Port.

The number of Military in the Isle of Wight fluctuates much, and are ruled by the influx of Troops to the General Depot.

There are Detachments stationed at Niton, Atherfield, Freshwater, Shanklin – all of which already co-operate with and afford assistance to our Officers when called on.

5th What Signal Stations are present and are likely to see service within your Port.

The Signal Stations likely to remain are St Catherine’s, the Needles, Parkhurst, Bonchurch and Ashey, from the little benefit derived from them, we do not as much assistance and co-operation from these establishments.

6th Whether there is any reason that any plans or companies are projecting or forming smugling …


7th Generally as to the state of Smugling.

Our belief on this point being in unison with what we have already stated. We consider Smugling can be suppressed on the Isle of Wight no particular article can be specified forming a contraband trade on the coast, but we are humbly of the opinion if the Inspecting Commanders of Cutters were directed to touch occasionally at some of the French Ports in the Channel and take privately an account of the English Craft and Boats, that we would be able to make plans for the better detection of Illicit Traders.

8th That whether the various provisions and measures made have affected the Illicit Importations from France of Silks, Gloves, and other East Indian Articles.


The measures adopted at this Port are for frequent injunctions to the Water Guard and Land Guard to be particularly Vigilant in their Duty whenever they have any reason to suspect that Articles of Silk, Gloves and other East Indian Goods are about to be landed and Run, and by using the Writ of Assistance if we have cause to suspect any such Articles have been landed.

The Reward of 2/3rds of the produce of a seizure of Silk being in itself an active stimulus for the exertions of Officers. We are not aware of any fresh Regulations that would materially excite them to more vigilance or tend to further detection of such Traffic. 

Annexed is a return of the use it has been deemed prudent to make use of the Writ of Assistance since the last return – which with our observations are respectfully submitted.


6 June 1814                  The Petitioners John Ingram and Thomas Allen were captured on board a small Boat laden with Spirits in small casks on the 4th April 1813 and were committed to Winchester Gaol the 10th the same month by the Magistrates of the Isle of Wight under the provisions of 45th Geo 3rd Ch 62 in default of Bail where they have remained ever since. On the 21st June 1813 they disclosed by an Affidavit which was duly transmitted to your Honors who were the Principals in the transaction which caused their imprisonment. As Ingram and Allen are Paupers receiving relief under 53rd Geo. 3rd Ch 21, we have no further Atonement that can be made for the Offence Committed – than the open Confession against their Employers with contrition for what happened – these circumstances with 14 months imprisonment induce use to recommend the Petitioners to your Honors Clemency.


15 June 1814                 As directed by your Order of the 8th Inst. on a Representation of Mr Richard Comben, Mate of the late Swan Cutter captured by the French requesting that an investigation of his conduct may take place.

We have accordingly received the deposition of John Gale the only Mariner captured in the said Cutter, which with copies of the Affidavits made by Edward Bartlett & James Ferris the Deputed Mariners and Others of the Crew who left the Cutter are now transmitted for your Honors consideration.

The Statements of those who quitted the Swan being contradictory to the Assertions of Gale, and the conduct good or bad of all on board at the time of the approach of the three Luggers requiring nautical judgement – We submit your Honors may not think fit to refer the inclosed Reports to the Surveyor of Sloops for his Opinion and Report.


27 June 1814                 James Snudden, the Coast Waiter at Newport who by your Honors Order of the 26th Ult. had further leave of absence for settling his Embarrassment being then in confinement, by the inclosed Letter humbly begs for further leave of absence for one month, at the expiration of which time he is confident his affairs will be settled and he will be enabled to return to his Duty.


29 June 1814                 The Tidesurveyor represented by his Letter inclosed – that the punt or two oared Boat used by George Granger & Joseph Jolliffe – the Boatmen Stationed at Bembridge is in a decayed state – being nearly ten years old, and not worth repairs. We humbly submit that your Honors will please direct that a new be approved, agreeable to the annexed Estimate of £12.


8 July 1814                   The Petitioners Thomas Neville and Stephen Morgan were Captured by Captain Ferris of the Stork Cutter on the Smuggling Vessel Brothers of Hastings in which were 182 small casks of Spirits the 15th March last and not being able to find the Bail required by the 3rd Sect. of Geo. 3rd, Ch 62 were committed by John Delgarno Esq., a Magistrate of the Isle of Wight to the County Gaol at Winchester.

They stated at the time of their Commitment that they had owned no part of the Contraband Cargo, & that they were only hired for the voyage.They have the appearance of Paupers and we believe them to be such.

We have no knowledge of Henry Smith we apprehend he must have been committed from some other Port, a Sailor of the name of John Smith was captured with Neville and Morgan, but he being an able Seaman was impressed into His Majesty’s Navy and Captain Ferris paid £20 Reward for his capture. 


9 July 1814                   As a Considered view of the several points of Land situated between and South Yarmouth and the Needles we are of the Opinion that the only Eligible Spot for the erection of a Watch and Boat House for the Preventive Boat No. 18, her Sitter and Crew is Sconce Point contiguous to a Round Fort constructed by the Ordinance Board some years ago. The Extent of the Ground required will be 60 feet in Depth from the Shore Inland by about 100 feet in Length parallel with the shore on the East Side of the Fort and no way interfering with it. The soil being the property of the Government it will be expedient we presume for your Honors to apply to the Lords of the Treasury for the portion wanted. We cannot anticipate objection as the Ground seems waste and of no immediate or probable Ultimate object to the Ordinance Department.


12 July 1814                  Mr Samuel Alder the Riding Officer of the Second Class Stationed at Niton yesterday reported his inability on account of a severe Cold to execute the Duties of his Office. We have deemed it proper to direct Mr Edward Dixon on the Old Establishment to assume Mr Alders Office, and to ride vigilant Guard in the District between Sandown Fort and Atherfield Rocks & spots connected therewith in Samuel Alders Station – To the end that any attempts made by Smuglers to land contraband articles may be frustrated and detected.


27 July 1814                  We transmit inclosed and application from the Wife of Mr Richard Chiverton Coast Waiter at Ryde, in which is prayed for your Honors permission, as on former occasions, to be paid her Husband’s Salary for the Midsummer Quarter and her receipt received in discharge amounting to £20. Chiverton’s insanity continued throughout the last quarter and he is not yet enabled to resume the Duties of his Station.


28 July 1814                  James Snudden, Coast Waiter at Newport having account of the Embarrassed State of his affairs been absent by Leave to settle them, it became necessary for us to appoint William Miller, a competent Tide Waiter on the 5th April last to act for Snudden which your Honors were pleased to approve.

And Miller having continued the Duty (very satisfactorily) until the 14th Inst when Snudden returned, he humbly prays your Honors will be pleased to allow him the difference in Pay as a Coast Waiter from that as a Tide Waiter for the above time making a period of 105 days as stated on the other side.

William Millers pay as a Tide Waiter 105 days @ 2/6 amounting to

13 – 2 – 6


1 – 8 – 9


14 – 11 – 3

Difference humbly craved to be allowed

14 – 4 – 1

The said sums making Snuddens Salary as Coast Waiter for 105 days @ £100 per annum.

28 – 15 – 4


1812 - 1813

1814 - 1815

Customs Cowes Letters Books

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

5 August 2009