Collector to Board Letters Book 1815 - 1816


These extracts are a partial transcription of the book held at the National Archives reference, CUST 61/27, 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.


29 June 1815                 On your Honors reference of the 14th Inst. founded on Mr Lushingtons Letter of 1st preceding on certain propositions for altering Rewards to Officers making Seizures.

We respectfully offer our Opinion – that if the changes proposed in the Rewards is likely either immediately or Quarterly to give dissatisfaction to Officers and which we are inclined to think would be the case, the Revenue would receive more injury in a few years than it could possibly derive benefits in a great many.

When Rewards are defined as they now are by the Acts of 45th Geo.3rd Ch 121 & 47th Ch 66 the Officers feel a strong activity to in the certainty of the Reward they are to acquire – but if their merits are to depend on a representation and the portion awarded at times will not be equal to their expectations, there is little doubt, Grumbling would ensue and that the Zeal they now show will be reduced. We are satisfied that it would be a better policy to make the awards definitive than allow any uncertainty to exist.

In reference to the 5th paragraph of the Lords of the Treasury 30th May last, we presume to state a case in order to prove the very inadequate Reward such a procedure will hold out to any Officer.

Suppose 100 gallons held for Exportation (1s per gallon)

Officers Moiety


Half the Reward received from the Crown to the Seizing Officer

as a further Reward will be

Making the Officers Total Reward

£5 – 0 – 0

£2 – 10 – 0

£2 – 10 – 0


£1 – 5 – 0

£3 – 15 – 0


30 June 1815                 It appears by a seizure note delivered at this Office by Jacob Leale, Acting Coastwaiter at Ryde that on 28 inst. he seized a hamper containing 12 bottle of wine for being bought in without dispatches.


7 July 1815                   John Gale the Petitioners was captured by the French in the Swan Cutter 20 March 1807 and returned from his captivity the 31 May 1814. We have no knowledge of any wages being paid him during his confinement in France.


6 July 1815                   Joseph Jolliffe, the petitioners husband, was appointed a Boatman at St Helens the 9 July 1807 but by your Honors Order 9 April 1815 on our suggestion in consequence of the Establishment of a Preventive Boat at the place. He was moved to Cowes to board Ships and Vessels as a Tidewaiter. From labouring under mental affliction and being in a Lunatic Asylum, he has not been employed any days these last two Quarters. It is therefore submitted to your Honors consideration if his wife should receive the £2 – 10 due as half a years salary and that we should accept her receipt as a voucher. Mrs Jolliffe is very poor and has four small children. From the enquiries we have made we understand that there is but little possibility of his return to sanity.


13 July 1815                  Mr James Snudden, Coastwaiter at Newport has been acting as Riding Officer at Shanklin since July last in pursuance of your Honors Order of the same month. Shanklin is a very accessible and much resorted to by Smugglers and we are of the opinion an Officer should be stationed permanently there. We beg leave to refer your Honors to the Inspector for Mr Snuddens acting and qualification as a Riding Officer.


20 July 1815                  Of the men captured on board the John and Sarah Sloop:

John Beer

Samuel Hyne

Thomas Boyce

Peter Nant

have all been impressed into His Majesty’s Naval Service. The other two men Peter and John Kettle not being fit and able seamen have been committed by the Magistrates of the Isle of Wight to Winchester Gaol under the 49th Geo : 3rd : Ch 62 in default of Bail.

The Station of the Seizing Officer being Guernsey, we have in order to obviate the delay in the Prosecution of the offenders taken the Affidavit of John Gale on a 2s 6d Stamped Paper and sworn before a Commissioner of the Court of the Exchequer of the Circumstances of the Seizure.

And we humbly report that since the delivery of the John and Sarah into our Custody and the departure to Guernsey of John Gale and other Persons who brought her, a further search into the Vessel has been made by Mr David Williams of the Wolf Cutter who discovered secreted under Ballast 21 Bladders and a Bottle containing 16½ Gallons of Spirits and 12 Bottles of Wine which are deposited in the Warehouse.


21 July 1815                  In obedience to your commands signified by Mr Secretary in his letter of the 10th Inst., we transmit a Copy of the Return made by a Special Commission in the Year 1680 to the Barons of the Court of the Exchequer for setting out the Quays and Wharfs at this Port for the Accommodation of Trade which were sufficiently Convenient for the purposes of Business.

Cowes Extract

In the year 1680 and in the 32nd Year of the reign of King Charles the 2nd Letters Patent to certain Persons therein mentioned as Commissions were issued for ascertaining the Limits and Boundaries of the Port of Southampton – and of Portsmouth & Cowes – Also for the Appointing and Assigning certain Keys or Wharfs at the said Port and members respectively which in their Opinion may be convenient to Ship and Land Goods to and from Foreign Ports.

The following is an extract from the Return made to the Barons of His Majesty’s Court of Exchequer by the said Commissioners as far as relates to Cowes and its Limits and the Keys and Wharfs at which any Goods may lawfully be Landed and Shipped & prohibiting all others.

We whose Names are subscribed being six of the Commissioners in the Commission hereunto annexed as mentioned in the doing and executing of the several matters and things in the said Commission relating to Cowes a Member of the Port of Southampton in the said Commission do humbly Certify the Right Honorable the Barons of His Majesty’s Court of the Exchequer at Westminster that by virtue of granting Commission to us and others therein named we did on the Eight and Twentieth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and Eighty and at several days and Times afterwards and before the return of the said Commission personally repair unto the said Town of Cowes a Member of the Port of Southampton aforesaid, in the said Commission mentioned And did Search View and Survey the open Places there and thereabout And by Virtue of the said Commission We do hereby set down appoint and settle the extend, Bounds and Limits of the said Member to be as followeth Viz. From the West End of the Brambles (being a certain Shoal or Sand between the Mainland and the Isle of Wight) to Bembridge being the most Eastern Point of the said Island and from then in a supposed direct line South West and by South to another Promontory or Headland called Culver Cliff from thence in a supposed direct Line to another Promontory or Headland called Dunnouze on the Back Side of the said Island and from thence North West to the Rocks on the Western part of the Island aforesaid commonly called the Needles and from thence in a supposed direct line to the aforementioned West End of the Brambles together with all the Bays, Channels, Roads, Bars, Sands, Harbours, Rivers, Streams and Places within the said Limits contained and by Virtue of the said Commission We have assessed and appointed and by these Presents do assign and appoint the Open Places hereafter mentioned to be the Lawful Places Keys or Wharfs respectively for the Landing or Discharge, Lading or Shipping any Goods of Merchandize with the said Member Port of Cowes. That is to say at East Cowes the three several Keys or Wharfs following Viz. The first taking its beginning on the South Side of the Key on which stands a Crane opposite to the dwelling House of Captain Benjamin Newlands and extending itself southerly to the next Storehouse on the same Key, and is in Length One Hundred and sixty nine foot and a half or thereabouts; and in Breadth from the dwelling Houses to the outside of the Key Westerly Ninety three foot or thereabouts. The second from the Fourth Side of the forementioned Store House to the next Stone Wall southerly extending in Length One Hundred and fourteen foot or thereabouts and in Breadth from the Gates on the Back Side of the Dwelling Houses to the outside of the said Key westerly Sixty six foot or thereabouts. The third Key called Urry’s or Loving’s Key contains in Length from the North to the South Part thereof One Hundred and fourteen Foot or thereabouts and in Breadth (taking in part of the Storehouse and Shed into which new Goods are usually landed) Thirty four Foot or thereabouts and from the corner of the said Storehouses Northerly to the North part of the Key on which the house stands is in Length Two Hundred and nineteen Foot or thereabouts in a direct line upon the Store And we also find it necessary and have thought fit to direct, settle and approve Two other Keys or Wharfs at West Cowes for the Landing or discharging, Lading or shipping any Goods, Wares or Merchandize Viz. the First now called Loving’s Key containing in Length from North to South One Hundred and thirty two Foot or thereabouts and in Breadth from the Storehouse to the outside of the said Key outwards thirty six Foot or thereabouts. The Second Key or Wharf is commonly called or known by the name Vandelors Key containing in Length from the End of the Storehouse now situated thereon to the outside of the Said Key Sixty Foot or thereabouts and in Breadth about the Middle of the said Key about Thirty Foot or thereabouts which said places so assigned and appointed are in our judgements and directions most convenient and fit for the use and services aforesaid and we are by these Presents now drawn appoint and settle the Extent, Bounds and Limits of the said Places, Keys or Wharfs to be as aforesaid And we do hereby and by Virtue of the Commission utterly Prohibit and make void determine and debar all other Places within the said Member Port of Cowes from the Privilege, Right and Benefit of a Place, Key or Wharf for the Landing of any Goods, wares or Merchandize as aforesaid except as in the said Commission. [This is signed by the six Commissioners.]


25 July 1815                  The four Smuglers named John Beer, Samuel Hyne, Thomas Boyce and Peter Nant found on board the Smugling Sloop John and Sarah when captured having been found fit and able seamen and impressed into His Majesty’s Navy as the Law directs, we transmit inclosed the Commanding Officers Certificate of having taken them on board the Prince Man of War, on which Captain Pearce humbly prays your Honors to order payment to him of £80 being the Reward of £20 for each Smugler as the Law prescribes in similar cases.


1 August 1815               The Contraband Articles found on board the John & Sarah of Dartmouth and which subjected her to Forfeiture, and the Men on board to Capture were:

2 Jars & 2 Bladders of Brandy

4 Gallons

3 Jars & 2 Bladders of Brandy

10 Gallons

37 Papers Shag Tobacco

37 lbs

8 Papers Roll Tobacco

12 lbs

1 Paper Snuff

Ύ lbs

1 Cask & 9 Papers tea

15½ lbs

5 Bottles Wine

1 Gallon

1 Parcel Silk Shawls

25 No.

1 Parcel Silk Handkerchiefs

5 No.

7 Pieces Silk

78 Yards

Playing Cards

24 Packs

Found after the Vessel was delivered to the Custom House, under the Ballast;

16 Bladders Brandy

13 Gallons

1 Bottle & 5 Bladders Geneva

3½ Gallons

12 Bottles Wine

22/5 Gallons

Peter and Kettle being Inhabitants of Brixham, we know nothing of their Circumstances in Life.

The John & Sarah has been a regular Trader to Guernsey for many Years and we have no doubt has Smugled very considerably.


3 August 1815               The Defective Condition & State of the Asp Lugger renders this Vessel unsafe to cruize, we have lately seen some parts of her plank totally perished and Rotten. If your Honors wish an efficient Cruizer at Alderney, it must be a different Vessel from the present Asp Lugger; the Crew of which worry when ordered to Sea.


21 August 1815             As directed by your Order we have procured a Plan and Estimate for building a Boat and Watch House at Hurst from Mr Joseph Andrews an Eminent Surveyor and Builder at the Port who offers to complete the same for £585.  The situation indispensably chosen for the erection of the Proposed Building being very much exposed to the Channel Gales without the smallest shelter. It is absolutely expedient that the outside materials should be of Brick and Mortar instead of Frame Work and as the Crown has a perpetual Lease on the Ground it is obviously more judicious to put up a substantial Building than a slight one and which would probably in such a situation only last a few years. Should your Honors approve the tender, the earlier we receive orders for the commencement of the Building the better, in a few weeks the Autumnal Rains and Weather will impede the workmen. [The proposed building caused a series of complaints, including at one stage a sample of the mortar used being sent to the Commissioners.]


22 August 1815             We report that the Preventive Boat at Atherfield has no Flag Staff for Colours or any other Means of communicating by Signals with the Boatman or other Officers by Land or Water. And we humbly of the Opinion a Public Signal or Flag Staff would rather frustrate the schemes of the Land and Water Guard to detect Smugglers than assist them as the Parties watched would avail of such exposure as a Caution to them to keep off. We would suggest in lieu, that the Officers living near each other on the same coast should fix some private signals among themselves when Smuggling Practices are going on such as a White Sheet in a Hedge or a Man with a Small Flag on a particular promontory as may be agreed on and to be kept secret to themselves, which is respectfully submitted.


26 August 1815             On the inclosed Papers and Report of the Collector and Comptroller Liverpool, we have to state that the Prize Duty on the General Blucker was received at this Port 20 February last in strict conformity to your Honors General Order of 27 April 1814, the amount of which is described in the copy Entry subjoined.

The General Blucker was a transient and did not come into Harbour and it appears form the Surveyors report her immediate departure & payment of the Duty was the cause of the Omission of stamping the Sails.


26 August 1815             We transmit for your Honors information a letter from Mr William Petit, the Mate of the Seagull, stating that he has brought into this Port a French Sloop of 20 Tons, Laden with Raw Fruit, Eggs and Nuts, the People on Board having offered to sell him some Brandy out of a cask containing about 14 gallons.

Entries have been passed and Duties received on the Eggs and Fruit and the Brandy Seized, but the disposal of the Vessel waits your Honors directions.


31 August 1815             As directed by your Order of Yesterday on the appointment of a Competent Person to act as Locker, Weigher and occasional Lengthener of Timber.

We report that a reduction of a Commissioned Boatman may be with safety made at this Port, and such in the person of Joseph Jolliffe, lately removed under your Honors Order of 6 April last from St Helens to Cowes on the Preventive Boat being established at the former place, and who has for several months been confined in a Lunatic Asylum, and is not likely ever, as his wife informs us, to recover his sanity.


2 September 1815         As directed by your Honors Order of the 30th Ult. on Rewards due to Officers for Condemned Spirits on land, we appraise your Honors that the Sums particularized on the back hereof and due to the Officers concerned according to the rate of Duty transmitted, for Spirits now in the Warehouse, but the Collector having no money in hand arising from the Kings share of Seizures, he prays an Imprest Bill from the Receiver of Fines for £143 – 2 – 4 for making these payments.

And their being Tonnage Rewards due and ordered to be paid he begs £88 – 12 – 1 may be added to the Bill making a total of £231 – 14 – 5 for these purposes.


Brandy & Geneva


Wm Robey

107 Gallons

£33 – 11 – 8

W Arnold

14 Gallons

£4 – 7 – 10

D Williams

14 Gallons

£4 – 7 – 10

D Williams

47 Gallons

£14 –15 – 0


176 Gallons

£54 – 4 – 10



£3 – 9 – 0

E Dixon

81 Gallons

£25 – 8 – 6

J Snudden

6 Gallons

£1 – 7 – 8



£143 – 2 – 4

W Miller (Tonnage)

4 Boats, 2 Vessels

£88 – 12 – 1



£231 – 14 – 5


7 September 1815         As permitted by your General Order of the 9th June 1810 for allowing Expenses incurred by Boatman of the Preventive Boats in repairing with their Families and Household Goods to their respective Stations, we transmit inclosed Five Bills amounting to £7 – 10 – 0 disbursed by the Crews of the St Helens and Atherfield boats for this purpose, as these charges do not appear exorbitant, we humbly pray your Order for paying them.


7 September 1815         In obedience to your Order of the 31st Ult. on the state of Smugling in the District of this Port, we report that the actual state consists of Sinking and Running small Casks of Spirits from Eleven Contraband Traders as described on the other side at the accessible parts of the Back of the Isle of Wight, such as Puckaster near Niton, Steeple, Mill Bay, Bonchurch, Luccombe, Shanklin, and at Intervals in hard weather within the Wight. These Vessels are said to make each a trip once a month bringing one hundred Ten Gallon Casks of Spirits which we fear lately they have been too successful in running. The Prevention wanted is a permanent Land Guard Officer at Shanklin / a temporary one being now there / another at Niton in lieu of Samuel Alder (deceased), and another at Steeple or Ventnor to guard Steeple, Bonchurch and Mill Bay at either of which places there is the greatest facility in landing Goods in the absence of the Officer.

Smugling in this District will there in not the smallest doubt increase, and as there are Military stationed regularly at the Barracks at Niton and Shanklin who may be made useful by the Riding Officers in the exertions of their Duty, we submit that the Inspector of Land Guard should without loss of time be directed to apply to the Commanding Officers of the said Barracks that parties of Soldiers may be ready at all times to repair to the accessible places pointed out, when wanted by the Land Guard Officers.


12 September 1815       It appearing that Mr David Williams. Mate in Command of the Wolf Cutter has a son on board 14 Years of age who he has rated as a Mariner. And that the Collectors Clerk here has paid him the Wages of a Mariner accordingly for the last three Quarters, on the assumption that the Inspectors who Muster the Crews of the Cutters would not allow any one to be improperly rated. We deem it right to impart to your Honors this circumstances for such directions thereon as you may be pleased to issue.


23 September 1815       The Boatmen at Yarmouth and the Officers at this port who go out by Land to search the shore and other suspect places for Smuggled Goods having represented their being in want of Tucks. We humbly pray your Honors will be pleased to order a supply of one dozen for this service to be immediately forwarded. [A Tuck Stick was a long stick which was pushed into the sand/ground to determine whether any goods were hidden.]


9 October 1815             The 5 cases and 2 trunks petitioned for by Monsieur La Roden contain Artificial Flowers, Toys and small Boxes of Paper, Eau de Cologne and scented Water, such as Lavender, Rose &c.

It appears he imported the same at Brighton 19th September last and paid the Duties thereon afterwards he travelled therewith to Southampton where he sold a pack. In crossing to the Isle of Wight in the Ant Passage Boat he omitted, and not being told the necessity of the case by the Master to take out a Sufferance and in consequence the Goods on their arrival here were stopped by the Coastwaiter Mr James Sammes.

Annexed is a reply from Mr Gates, the Principal Coast officer at Brighton to the Collector on this subject, from the tenor of which, the size of the packages and open circumstances, we are not inclined to consider this a Smugling Transaction.


11 October 1815            Account submitted to the Board for the month of September 1815.





566 – 13 – 4


Stork Cutter

630 – 0 – 0

1196 – 13 – 4





82 – 10 – 0


Boarding Bills

100 – 0 – 0


Watching, Rowing & Attendance

440 – 0 – 0


Tradesmans Bills

300 – 6 – 4½



10 – 0 – 0


Coal Metage

25 – 0 – 0


Superannuation or Retired Allowance

46 – 6 – 8


Hart Cutter

825 – 0 – 0


Lion Cutter

550 – 0 – 0


Mary Tender

30 – 0 – 0


Watch House Rent

18 – 18 – 0


John Gale Wages

216 – 9 – 8


Richard Comben Salary

212 – 12 – 9


(both above while prisoners in France)


2857 – 3 – 5½



4053 – 16 – 9½

Now in the Kings Chest towards discharge of this sum

653 – 16 – 9½



3400 – 0 – 0

The Sum for which an Imprest is humbly craved.


12 October 1815            As directed by your Order we report that Mr Richard Chivertons Insanity at the present time seems not in our minds to be at all equivocal. Saturday he presented Himself in the Collectors Office while the Collector was conferring with Mr New the Land Guard Inspector on Business and said he came to show that he was as well in health as he ever was in his Life. On the Collector expressing his satisfaction and his hope that the Honorable Board should now feel inclined to reinstate him in his Office that he would go on quietly and execute his Duty in a proper Manner, he replied ‘Yes I will, if I am not offended but if I am ill treated as I have been whoever offends me may expect my anger.’ He then poured forth a Volley of Abuse against Mr Cooper, a respectable person and Mr Lydall the Constable at Ryde, who had represented to the Magistrates the necessity of his first Confinement and arranged with Mr French, Keeper of the Asylum at Laverstock, in very approbatious Language for cruelty against him. The Collector signified to Him that he was wrong in indulging in any Acrimosity against the Persons named.

He proceeded by saying Mr Ward, I don’t know if you are my Enemy, but I have many Enemies, so had Jesus Christ though a good Man, he suffered wrongfully like Myself. His Persecutors were Jews, Mine are my Neighbours. Mr Ward, I am a different Man from what you think me. God sent Jesus into the World for the benefit of Mankind, so he did me and I have done more good than the World knows, let the Admiralty say what they please. He continued with language too ridiculous to trouble your Honors with. As Mr New is a stranger to Chiverton and his Connections, it will be a satisfaction to us for your Honors to receive his opinion on the Manner and Conduct of Chiverton.


17 October 1815            Inclosed is an application from Captain Ferris of the Stork Cutter praying that as the consequence of six additional Mariners being allowed by you Honors Order of the 29th September 1815 he may have a third Deputed Mariner and humbly recommends Robert Bradby who has been six years in the Service, and who has shew himself deserving favor by his good conduct to be so appointed.


18 October 1815            Since our last return, there have been brought to the Warehouse the Seizures specified in the inclose account to prosecute which we pray we may receive your directions.

John Wheeler mentioned in Seizure No. 4 and who has given the Bail required by the 49th Geo. 3rd Ch 62 is an old Smugler and Father in Law to William Vaughan one of the parties impressed and who was lately dismissed from the Atherfield Preventive Boat for association with Wheeler while in the Service.


19 October 1815            John Dyer, William Vaughan and James Dyer Smugglers captured the 14 inst on board the Ann Cutter by Mr John Williams and the Crew of the Preventive Boat No. 18 having been impressed into His Majesties Naval Service as appears by the within Certificate from the Commanding Officer of the Queen Charlotte Man of War. The Captors humbly request your Honors will be pleased to order them the payment of the usual Reward of £60.


19 October 1815            If the Commissioned Boatman is to be considered in the same relation in the point of Duty to a Sitter that the Mate is to the Commander of a Cutter, we are of the opinion his share of Seizure should be regulated by the same principle and rate of payment. We accordingly submit to your Honors consideration the present mode of distributing Seizure Money to Preventive Boats Crew and a one on a more Equal Scale.

Present Mode of Distribution

Proceeds of a Seizure made by a Preventive Boat and mode of dividing the same after deducting the Crowns part Viz. £100

Sitters Share


Commissioned Boatman

£7 – 2 – 10Ό

Six other non Commissioned Boatmen @ £7 – 2 – 10Ό each

£42 – 17 – 1Ύ


£100 – 0 – 0

Proposed Mode in a more Equal Scale – Proceeds as before

Sitter to have a deduction of 1/8 part being made from the old mode of division

£43 – 15 – 0

Commissioned Boatman to have including an addition of 1/8th share of the Sitters proportion with his own as sharing with the non Commissioned Men

£13 – 10 – 10Ό

Six other non Commissioned Boatmen @ £7 – 2 – 10Ό each

£42 – 17 – 1Ύ


£100 – 0 – 0


26 October 1815            Your Honors having been pleased by Order of the 4th May last to permit Mr Edward Dixon Riding Officer at Niton under the old system to have at the end of every Six the sum of £18 as the temporary Allowance for the Keep of a Horse.

We transmit inclosed his Application accordingly accompanied by a Certificate, as directed, from Mr New, the Inspector, that Dixon has satisfactorily performed his Duty.

Your Honors Order for payment of this sum is respectfully solicited.


27 October 1815            Our minds being fully satisfied of the necessity of placing a permanent Land Guard Officer at Shanklin – we take the liberty of observing it would be more Economical to have an Officer there at the Establishment Rate of Salary than a Temporary Person to be paid Allowance on crave – Mr James Snudden who is Coast Waiter at Newport has made 3 Seizures since April last Viz:-

One Two Oar’d Boat

10 Casks Geneva

18 Casks Brandy

And we believe his living from his Family must be attended with additional Expence.


3 November 1815          Mr Jeremiah Wallis, a Licenced Pilot at this Port, on the 31st Ult. picked up floating off the Isle of Wight 30 Casks of Spirits fixed to a warp and bringing them to His Majesty’s Warehouse.

On examining the contents we find 24 Casks contain 80 Gallons Brandy and 6 Casks contain 20 Gallons of Geneva but so weak in strength as to not bear the lowest Hydrometer Weight of 1 in 2 under Proof, and of such stench as to be very offensive.

The probability is that these Casks had been sunk several months and had been disturbed from their Anchorage by the Gales of last Monday.

As it would be doing an injustice to the Crown to crave Rewards on these Spirits even at the lowest rate of Proof Weight – We humbly submit if your Honors may not think it proper to Order Wallis Ten Guineas for his trouble and Integrity of bringing the Casks to the Warehouse and to direct us to start the contents of the Casks into the Sea.


3 November 1815          Inclosed is an account of the Seizure of a Lugger made by Mr William Blake Mate in Command of the Nimble Cutter, to prosecute which we pray your Directions.

It appears by the Affidavit of John Selby a Fleming or Dutchman who was engaged with two other Foreigners and Five Englishmen to Smuggle the Contraband Cargo on the Coast of England.

That the Lugger is called the Maria, and that she is the property of John Baker, an Englishman visiting in Flushing.

Adam Taught and Thomas Gilham Notorious Smuglers of long Standing were Captured on board the Lugger and since been impressed into the Navy – the other three Englishmen escaped.

She had two Boats, both of which have been Seized, one marked Mary of Eastbourne, Streeter subject to Licence, and from which the annexed Licence was produced; the other I O of Bexhill, Samuel Beeding, not subject to Licence.


7 November 1815          The Creek of Yarmouth is distant from this Office 12 miles and according to ancient Laws and Petitions shippers of goods Coastways and Masters of Vessels are compelled to come to Cowes at much personal inconvenience and expense to obtain sufferage for goods and clearance of their vessels. The business of the creek is trifling yet the accommodation asked for would be a considerable relief to many Individuals. The present Coastwaiter and Boatman at Yarmouth Charles Leigh at a Salary of £60 per annum is an old man and a very bad scribe. The other Boatman Robert Willis on the contrary writes a good hand and is a competent Book Keeper. We therefore beg to suggest in order that the Duty at Yarmouth may be properly done That Charles Leigh should continue to examine and endorse Sufferances as is now his practice And Robert Willis be specially Directed to write out such Sufferances, file up Bonds and draw up Cockets and Transires, for which Service in addition to his Salary of £5 per annum and 2/6 per diem he now receives; he should be granted an allowance of £10 per annum on Incidents.


7 November 1815          Chiverton has been absent from Duty two years and a half having been suspended from Office on the 9th April 1813. We are willing in compasion to his Wife and four Children to attribute a great deal of Slanderous abuse lately uttered by Chiverton to his mental affliction – but if  we could persuade ourselves as he would have us believe, he is sane we should have no hesitation in pronouncing him to your Honors to be a very vicious character.

We have had unfortunate trouble with this man for upwards of three years besides expressing menaces of destruction &c. – Occurrences that render Official Situations like our own very unpleasant.

We trust your Honors after perusal of his letter of the 26th October will be of the opinion with ourselves that Chiverton is an improper person to be continued any longer in the Service.


14 November 1815        As directed by your Order of the 7th Inst. on the prosecution of John Wheeler found on board the Ann Smuggling Vessel. We report that William Arnold and John Williams the Seizing Officers are desirous that the prosecution should be carried on in their names under existing Treasury Regulations.


16 November 1815        The Watch House at Bembridge for the use of the Sitter and Crew of the Preventive Boat No. 38 – having been built and completed pursuant to your Honors Order of 29th July last. Inclosed we transmit the Tradesmans Bills for the same amounting to £276 – 11 – 9, the payment of which is respectfully submitted.


4 December 1815          In return to your Order of enquiry of 2 Inst. on the Exceptions in the 34 Geo. 3 Ch 51 usually called the Stone Act, we report that it has always been our Practice to charge Duty on all Stone intended for Building or Repairing Halls of every description.


5 December 1815          On an application from John Coney for the restoration of 2 Boxes Oranges and 1 Box Lemons Seized by J Sammes Tidewaiter Newport. From the Proofs submitted we have no doubt Duties have been properly paid on the three Boxes of Fruit and submit they may be delivered to the proprietor on a moderate satisfaction to the Sizing Officer.


15 December 1815        The Town of Newport is distant from the Custom House Five Miles and we are of the opinion it would be a great Relief to the Inhabitants and accommodation to Masters of Vessels and without risk or prejudice to the Revenue to allow the Coastwaiter at that Creek to clear Vessels Coastways by writing out Sufferances & himself taking the Coast Bond (when requisite) and issuing Cockets or Transires, for Goods from Port to Port without compelling the Parties, as is now the case, to travel Ten Miles for the express purposes of obtaining such Documents.

But we submit that no Entry for Duty on any Article whatsoever be admitted or taken by the Coastwaiter at Newport, but that all such shall continue to be proper to this Office. To the end that there may be no variation in making up the General Quarterly Accounts transmitted to London.

We would further submit to your Honors that the Coastwaiter at Newport be directed to furnish us with a duplicate Account of his Coast Transactions within Six Days of the expiry of each Month.


16 December 1815        On a further Petition of Robert Walsh, Joseph Morey and John Newell praying release from Winchester Gaol:

If the Constitution of these poor people could be depended on as Earned for an Honest way of life in the future, we must humbly say it would be better to release them from prison that to keep them there as in now the case at the Crowns expense of 6d per Diem to each individual. We are not aware that persons guilty of Smuggling Offences committed to Goal have been liberated at the end of Six Months Confinement, but if such should be the fact, we submit it would be a precedent for your Honors to grant a recommendation of Clemency.


12 January 1816            Yesterday died Mr John Miller, Riding Officer on the Establishment of Customs at this Port and acting as Coastwaiter at Shalfleet.

15 January 1816            Inclosed is an application from the Wife of Robert Chiverton Coast Waiter at Ryde who from Insanity is unequal to the Duties of his Office, praying that your Honors will be pleased, as in former instances, to Order he being paid he Husbands Salary for the two preceding Quarters of Michaelmas and Christmas and that her receipt may be received for that purpose.


15 January 1816            Of the cause of the Seizure of the Fly we are ignorant. We are however perfectly convinced that Wm Joliffe when he purchased his Vessel knew she had been employed in Smuggling Transactions by Watson & Dyer the previous Owners.

To elude the Penalty of a Licence Bond Joliffe, when he registered the Fly in November last stored the Bowsprit and he was cautioned by us, at the time to take care what he was about, or we should soon have him on board the Queen Charlotte Man of War. From the Report of our Land Guard Officers, the Fly has been twice absent from Ryde since her Registry, and as is the conjecture on a voyage to Fecamp. Joliffe, who has been a reputed Smuggler these two Years and we have excited our Offices to a vigilant look out for him.


20 January 1816            On the 12 Inst. we announced in a letter to your Honors the Death of Mr John Miller a Riding Officer on the Establishment of this Port on a Salary of £50 per annum stationed at Shalfleet and which Officer received an incidents allowance of £10 for acting as Coastwaiter at Shalfleet and Newtown.  Seeing no necessity for a Riding Officer at Shalfleet we submit to your Honors the propriety of not filling such Office.

As however the Business of Salterns and Brick Kilns at Newtown and Shalfleet require the Occasional Attendance of some one to see Goods Landed and Shipped and to endorse Sufferances we recommend that Mr Robert Willis the Boatman at Yarmouth whose Station is the nearest other Office to Shalfleet and who is a competent good Officer be directed to perform such Duty on a continuance of the allowance of £10 per annum on incidents as received by Mr Miller. Shalfleet is 4 Miles from Yarmouth and the Allowance submitted cannot be considered much for such extra Duty.


27 January 1816            In reply to your Order we annex a list of Vessels that have been laden and discharged Coastwise in the last Six Months at Shalfleet and Newtown. Newtown River connects with the village of Shalfleet are of the opinion that Mr Robert Willis’s occasional inspections of the River as part of his Coast Duty would be of material service as some of the Smuglers at times work there.


1 February 1816            During the time that the Sitter Mr Richard Jeatt and his Crew were inconvenienced at Bembridge and St Helens by not having a room to assemble in, we have been aware the inhabitants since their first arrival have been showing them every hostility.

Mr George Granger, your Honors Coastwaiter gave up one of his own Rooms below stairs for a Watch and Working Room and a Chamber above for the Crew to repose to after being on the Look Out at night.

We ourselves have seen the Accommodation granted by Mr Granger to the Sitter and his Crew and as we are persuaded that the Service was benefited thereby we consider it our duty to recommend the Petitioners claim of Ten Pounds to your Honors for payment.


5 February 1816            As commanded by your Order of the 30th Ult., we have enquired into the circumstances of the upsetting of one of the Storks Boats off Worthing and the consequent loss of four men. On the Declaration made to us by Valentine Lewis and Richard Cousins, two of the surviving mariners which we inclose with Captain Ferris’s Letter for your perusal, it would appear unequivocally to be our understanding …… that the Boat was capsized by the fatal alternative adopted by Robert Brodby of hoisting the storm sail when there existed a probability – notwithstanding the violence of the gale – of reaching the shore in safety by means of the use of oars.


Valentine Lewis and Richard Cousins Surviving Mariners of the Crew of the Stork Cutter Boat wrecked off Worthing on the Coast of Sussex in the Morning of 21st January 1816 Declare that Saturday Afternoon 20th January they launched the said boat from the beach at Worthing by Order of the Deputed Officer Mr Robert Brodby and about 7 o’clock in the Evening and took up a position about 500 yards from the Land by anchoring the boat between Worthing and Lanson with the view of intercepting a Smuggling Vessel of which Brodby had received information as likely to run her cargo that night.

At about one o’clock in the Morning of 21 January a Gale of Wind sprung up from the SSW when the Deputed Officer judged it prudent to direct the people to have up the anchor and row towards Worthing, which was accordingly done. When abreast of that place it was the intention of the Officer had it appeared Safe to bring the Boat again to Anchor and wait low Water to effect a landing but the Gale increasing and the Surf Running very high, it became quite obvious the letting the anchor go must have caused the swamping of the Boat.

Thereupon Robert Brodby ordered the Mast to be stepped and the Storm Sail set intending to run her on the Beach before the Wind. (James Martin, one of the Crew serving at the moment saying that such was the practice of the Hound people when he belonged to that Cutter) but before she had sailed Six times her own length a tremendous Sea struck her Starboard Quarter and upset her about 130 yards distant from the Shore By which Calamity Robert Brodby, James Winchester, William Cousins and James Martin unhappily perished. Your Informants with James Butler still very ill at Lymington escaping with great difficulty by getting on the Boat Bottom.


8 February 1816            Charles Leigh the Coast Waiter at Yarmouth from his age and inability to walk any distance would not be equal to the additional Coach Duty at Shalfleet and if he were we humbly state that he should be not be expected to perform this Additional Duty without Remuneration of at least £10 per annum.  We respectfully appraise your Honors that we have had no motive in recommending your Honors to delegate this Special extra Duty to Robert Willis but the General wish to act for the Good of the Service.


19 February 1816           In return to your Order of Enquiry of 15 Inst. regarding Tide Waiters on Tobacco ships, we report that it has always been the practice at this Port to station two Tide Waiters on Tobacco Ships.


29 February 1816           As directed by your Order of 25 December which granted Richard Chiverton the Coastwaiter at Ryde Three Months Leave of Absence on account of his State of Mind we report on the Information of the Surveyor of Coastwaiters whom we directed specially to proceed to Ryde yesterday and make enquiries to the present state of Chivertons Health and whose report we enclose:

That it does not appear to us that it would be safe or prudent on the part of your Honors or considerate to the Public to entrust this Officer again with the Performance of Coast Duty at Ryde. We beg to refer your Honors to our former papers on Chivertons case and submit that he may be placed on a Retired Allowance, his Malady having been brought on by a fall from his Horse in the execution of his duty some years ago. [This followed a petition from inhabitants of Ryde requesting his removal.]


11 March 1816               As directed by your Honors Order of the 7th Inst. – on the Enquiries to be made respecting the services of Richard Chiverton Coast Waiter at Ryde recommended to be superannuated. We transmit herein the answers to the Printed Questions.

We also forward a recommendation Letter – signed by George Player, a Resident Magistrate at Ryde, Admiral Lock, Rev. Mr Pedley and other Principal Inhabitants of behalf of the aforesaid Chiverton.

Ryde 28th February 1816

We the undersigned Inhabitants of Ryde are of the opinion that Mr Richard Chiverton the Officer of Customs at this place from his General Deportment and Language cannot be in a sane state of mind and that it would be highly injudicious to trust him in a Public Office – Chiverton having a large Family and his Wife in bed with Twins – We recommend him to the beneficial consideration of the Board of Customs for the Continuance of his Salary. [Signed by several Inhabitants of Ryde.]


13 March 1816               Inclosed is a letter from Mr John Hyde Proprietor of the Watch House at West Cowes occupied by the Tide Surveyor making your Honors a Tender of the same at £720. These Premises are now under a Lease of 21 Years to the Crown at a rent of £37 – 16 – 0, Sixteen Years of which will be Unexpired at Midsummer ensuing. As the Situation is the most Favourable in Cowes for a Watch House and the Crown is under agreements to keep the Premises in Repair, we humbly submit that the Proposal now made is submitted for your Consideration.


14 March 1816               Mr James Snudden, the Coastwaiter at Newport, who by your Honors Order has been Officiating Temporarily at Shanklin as a Riding Officer of the First Class who lately on the 11th and 29th ult. made two Seizures of 51 and 62 Casks of Foreign Prohibited Spirits and thereby justified the necessity to your Honors of having a Fixed Officer at that Spot. We think it our Duty to submit to your Honors the expediency of giving Snudden a Commission as a Riding Officer, First Class and appointing him permanently at Shanklin believing from his knowledge of Localities and his personal Activity he is more likely to benefit the Revenue than a Stranger.

1814 - 1815


Customs Cowes Letters Books

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

6 August 2009