Collector to Board Letters Book 1821 - 1822 (No. 42)


These extracts are a partial transcription of the book held at the National Archives reference, CUST 61/34, 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.


13 December 1821        The American Ship “Bengal of Salem” Moriarty Master, 301 Tons is arrived at this Port from Antwerp in ballast (transiently bound for Batavia) for the express purpose of being Coppered in the new dry dock with English Copper for which purpose a sufficient quantity has been bought and is now in Mr Auldjo’s Warehouses. Captain Moriarty among sundry stores on board has reported for Ships use about 5000 Feet of Deal Sheathing Board, ¾ of an inch thick, which he wishes, after being wrought on the “Bengal’s” deck to have put on the Ship’s Bottom, as a preparatory for the Ships Copper.

On our stating to Captain Moriarty that we feel it right to crave your Honors directions on this case, he urges that so far the Sheathing Boards being intended to be imported into this Country, they are virtually in transit to Foreign Ports and that he trusts under the indulgence of the Law of Nations, he may be permitted to use said Boards in repairs to his Ship Bottom, on the same way as a Master makes use of Foreign Tar or Paint he has on board for stores when lying at a British Port.

Humbly entreating your Honors directions the case being of rather a special nature.


14 December 1821        Our report of yesterday applying particularly to the within Petition we have transcribed the same for your Honors consideration.

Two instances within these three years in the Refinement of American Ships at this Port have occurred where some Sheathing Boards have been used – under similar circumstances and wrought on the Ship’s back – the Master stating they took said Boards on board for Ships use only. But having some doubts now, on this third instance arising as to the propriety of Captain Moriarty’s request, we respectfully submitted the case yesterday for your Honors Directions.


20 December 1821        The Salvage Charges and other Expenses attending the Goods saved from the wreck of the Hamburgh Ship ‘Herman’, lost at the Back of the Isle of Wight on 3 November last as reported to your Honors in our letter of the 4th having been adjusted by three Magistrates agreeable to the Statutes. Inclosed we transmit the Adjudication of Charges and Expenses amounting to £119 – 0 – 1 to which amount the Agent for the Master, Mr James Day, by letter annexed prays that your Honors will be pleased to allow Goods to be sold Duty Free. The Items of the Salvage Claim, which are detailed in the First Schedule, are as such as have been usually allowed and appear to us to be reasonable.

On the reserved adjudication (Schedule 2) of Allowances to the Revenue Officers we have respectfully to report that on the First Day of the Incident, Saturday 3rd November, Two hundred persons, men, women and children living on the Coast simultaneously repaired to the Spot and commenced a scene of Plunder (two of whom are now in Custody) at which time only one Preventive Boat Crew, Two Custom House Officers, One Excise Officer and Three Soldiers were assembled whose powers were unequal to the prevention of it; and the Magistrate expecting to derive full Information from the deposition now taken against the Plunderers and also from the eventual Trial as the Assizes of the Two men in Custody, as to the actual merits of the Revenue Officers and Soldiers, came to a Resolution to reserve their Award on the Remuneration due to these Parties till the Judicial Proceedings against the Offenders shall have been terminated.


22 December 1821        We have no vessel whatever registered at this Port of the name “Benjamin”; there is one called the “Joseph Benjamin” belonging to Portsmouth, a notorious Smuggler which resorts very frequently at St Helens, of about the size described. Mr Ratsey says he does not recollect ever furnishing a sail to a Vessel called “Benjamin” or “Joseph Benjamin”, though from his extensive Business he makes Sails for great numbers of Small Craft.

It is well known that many Smacks and Cutter built Vessels, to get rid of their Licence Bonds have had partial Repairs in Cherbourg & Fecamp and by sham transfers to French Men have obtained French Registry and then carry on the Smuggling Trade on the Coast of England manned by half British and half foreign Men, and we should not be surprised if the Vessel in question hereafter should prove to be one which has had recourse to such subterfuge.

PS A very fine Vessel called the “Budd” owned by James Callaway of this Port, 33 Tons, of beautiful construction, was transferred in the way described above, in the year 1817 and has carried on a most successful career Smuggling ever since, between Peverell & the Owers under the name “La Phoebe” of Cherbourg though there is no doubt she belongs in reality to J Callaway a notorious Smuggler living at St Helens in this Port.


27 December 1821        In reference to our Report of 20 Inst. on the Salvage Adjudication of the Magistrates of the Isle of Wight on claims for Allowances for the Services rendered at the wreck of the Hamburgh Ship “Herman” lost the 3rd Nov. last wherein we represented to your Honors that said Magistrates had withheld their Adjudication on the merits of the Revenue Officers & Soldiers at the wreck until some Depositions had been further taken and gone into against Two Persons then in Custody for plundering said wreck.

We have now to state to your Honors that we have this Morning received the inclosed papers from Messrs Sewell and Hearn, Clerks to the said Magistrates, in which they signify that the Magistrates are of the opinion from the Misconduct and Prevarication of William Palmer, a Commissioned Boatman at St. Lawrence that he is not a fit person to be entrusted any longer with the Protection of the Revenue. [Palmer was dismissed for misconduct on 23 January 1822.]


1 January 1822              One of the Sureties of William Miller, a Tidewaiter and Benjamin Brown, a Coal Meter at this Port having lately died, we have called on the said Officers for fresh security which they have respectively given by the Inclosed Bonds.


2 January 1822              Captain Crozier of the Engineers living at Freshwater I.W. having purchased a Box of Candles and tape at Portsmouth for home consumption which was taken on board the Eliza Smack, Bright Master, to be conveyed to Yarmouth without a Sufferance being obtained, the TideSurv. on the vessels stopping at Cowes seized the Box for want of Dispatches. Captain Crozier being a respectable Gentleman and no fraud being intended, we respectfully submit his Application for your Honors favourable consideration.


2 January 1822              We have no reason to suspect any Fraud attaching to the case in question which seems fairly represented by Mr Ratsey who is a respectable Resident here, but the Wine being unaccompanied with the Documents required by your Honors Order 21 September last on the Treasury Order of 17 preceding a copy of the Entry for the Payment of Duties at Limerick certified by the Collector at that Port being only produced we have deemed it right to secure the Wine into the Kings Warehouse to abide by your Honors directions.


11 January 1822            Your Honors Riding Officer Mr James Snudden stationed at Niton who by deposition before the Magistrates the 15 December last was the cause of taking into Custody William Dore and John Stocks, Plunderers of wrecked goods from the Hamburgh Ship ‘Herman’ having since had his life menaced by an anonymous letter (copy of which is inclosed), the Magistrates desire that we would submit to your Honors the Expediency of advertising a Reward by circulation of Handbills at the Back of the Wight, for the discovery of the writer and thereby the better to enable them to further the Ends of Justice in a Prosecution now carrying on by the Treasurer of the County against said Dore and Stocks.


16 January 1822            In obedience to your General Order of 16 March 1820 on the Charges of Management at this Port, the State of Trade and the possibility, we report that since our return of 17th July last which exhibited to your Honors the State of Trade of this Port with our submitted opinion “that no Reduction in the number of Officers could be made consistently with the Security of the Revenue required here” there has been little change except in an increase of arrivals of distressed Vessels and Ships the Cargo of which of a mixed and prohibited nature such as Spirits, Wine &c. and requiring particular Attention have sorely occupied the time of the Landing Surveyor & both the Landing Waiters & frequently the occasional Attendance of the Coast Waiters, no less than Five Foreign Ships of this description being now in the Harbour.

The General State of our Exports and Imports and in regard to the Changes in Management, we report that the employment of Tidesmen & Glutmen admitted to a small decrease this last half year owing to the Tide Surveyor singly Boarding those Ships & Vessels whose Cargoes were bulky and not likely to be purloined or run, and otherwise in conformity with your Honors instructions on this head.

The Incidental Expenses have however increased £13 – 4 – 8 arising from repairs to the Tide Surveyors Watch House in pursuance of your Honors Orders, the details of which as well as a List of Officers employed is annexed.

The Coastwaiters at Creeks having had also full occupation as well as the Officers based at Cowes, we cannot in justice to the Interests of the Revenue recommend at present any Diminution on their number.


22 January 1822            We feel ourselves called on the conscientious discharge of our duty to represent to your Honors that the Infirmities (age 64) and inabilities of Mr Charles Leigh, the Principal Coast Officer at the Creek of Yarmouth, and the almost total blindness of Thomas Love, Commissioned Tidewaiter at Cowes, who is also much affected with Rheumatic attacks, disqualify them from exercising their respective Duties in a way conductive to the Revenue of equal to you Honors expectations.


22 January 1822            Mr Edward Leigh the applicant is Principle Coast Officer at Newport, a Creek at this Port and executes his Duty there with Ability and Attention – but in so executing it from there being erected on the Banks of Newport River two large Corn Mills, he is necessarily obliged to borrow a boat when he can, to proceed to those Mills to see if the Cargoes to be landed or shipped agree with the Coast Documentation. To obviate which inconvenience he requests your Honors will grant him the use of a small punt now in the Storehouse which has formerly been use by the Boatman at Yarmouth (R Willis) for similar purposes – on his being Superannuated 5th April last. The Boat is 8 years old and if put up for public sale will not fetch more than £3 and as we believe the Public Service will be benefited by Mr Leigh’s being allowed to use her, we respectfully recommend his case to your Honors Consideration & directions.


31 January 1822            In obedience to your Order we immediately conferred with the Inspecting Commander Captain Worsley on the Ground Plan for the Cottages & thereon met Mr White by appointment at Shanklin, Monday last and selected a plot one Acre as agreed to by Mr White as described on the within drawing. By the annexed letter addressed to the Collector, Mr White seems to apprehend that his village which from its Picturesque appearance forms one of the Lions of the Isle of Wight to Summer Visitors will be disparaged if the Cottages do not in their elevation partake of the ornée like some of the other Cottages & signifying if Buildings of mean appearance are put up, he cannot let the ground stipulated for at £4, but shall expect an augmented Rent, equal to the disparagement his protests may sustain.

On this reasoning of Mr White we are bound to admit we are bound to admit the Truth that Shanklin is a much admired Village from its Singular Beauty & Rusticity, and to submit our humble opinion that if the Cottages here were to be constructed with Thatch and have rustic Porticos so as to form objects for any respectable small family to live in some years hence (perhaps when the Preventive System may be deemed no longer necessary) the Rents from the suggested improvements would pay very good interest to the Crown for the Increased Expense.


7 February 1822            In obedience to your Order of 31st Ult., we hereby transmit Mr Charles Leigh’s Answers to the printed Superannuation Questions together with his Baptismal Certificate.


8 February 1822            The applicant, William Black, who was Chief Officer of the Preventive Station at Shanklin received his day pay up the 31st March 1821 inclusive when he was superseded by Lieut. Norrington. The applicant having received from the Controller General of the Preventive Service, an Order of Removal to Queenborough to which he could not yield obedience by reason of sickness and inability. He was superannuated by your Honors Order 23 January, and has since been paid his salary up to that Period. His application is now to be paid his day pay 31 March 1821 to the 23 January 1822, but whether under the circumstances of sickness and inability to perform his Duty he can have any claim for such day pay or to any allowance must rest with your Honors judgement.


13 February 1822           In return to your Order of Enquiry of 9 Inst. whether there is any Vessel at this Port that will answer the purpose of a Watch Vessel for the Preventive Service at Chichester, we report that there is no Vessel for immediate sale here that would answer such purpose, but we learn that the Hull of an old Sloop 60 Tons by register is likely in the course of a small time to be disposed of. Public Auction, which we think, with appropriate Alterations, might suit very well.

In the meantime we suggest for your Honors consideration, if the Watch Vessel intended is intended to be moored in deep water, whether it might not be advantageous for the Public Interest to obtain by application the Hull of the “Resolution” – Admiralty Cruizer (formerly attached to the Excise) lately paid off at Plymouth – and to place her at Chichester, Accommodations being well calculated for the Service without going to any expense in fitting her.

And we further submit that it is possible that there are several Cutter Hulls similar to the Resolution’s now lying in the Dockyards of Portsmouth or Plymouth which may be had as Watch Vessels.


4 March 1822                In obedience to your Order signifying the Consolidation of the Cruizers, Preventive Waterguard and Riding Officers into one United Force for the important object of preventing Smuggling and directing us to confer with the most competent Officers on such further measures as may appear necessary for the effective suppression thereof. And duly having conference with the Inspecting Commanders and other Officers we now respectfully submit our unqualified Belief that there never was so much Smuggling within the Waters of the Wight as at this present period; not only the systematic contraband traders being engaged therein, but Pilots and other vessels whose character and vocation some years ago we had not the slightest reason to suspect. The inducement of abandoning their legal employ by the vessels we allude to is the very low price to which Spirits are now to be bought in Cherbourg and Fecamp viz 1/6 per gallon and the immense profit of 300 per cent which the parties derive therefrom on a successful Run; beside which the adroitness they have acquired in saving their vessels and themselves from capture by sinking the goods whenever they see a Cruizer or Revenue Boat at a distance removed all hazard of loss except the first trifling cost of the articles.

The Preventive Boats now stationed within the Wight viz. at Sconce Point, Newtown, Fishbourne and Bembridge are most immediately serviceable and by their activity between 5 January 1821 and the 1 March inst. have taken 1716 Casks of Spirit beside a quantity of Tea, but while these boats execute their Duty on their respective Stations the unguarded Ports within the Island admit of considerable Smuggling for within these last five weeks two seizures of 75 Casks and another of 68 Casks have been absolutely made in Cowes Roadstead.

The indispensable additional force we have therefore to recommend is a Preventive Boat to be fixed about a mile west of Cowes Castle for the purpose of protecting the line of coast from Gurnard Bay to Norris Castle (Lord Henry Seymours Residence) which consequently includes Cowes Roadstead and Harbour and another Prev. Boat to be fixed at Nettlestone a settlement of Smugglers where more contraband goods have for some years been run that at any other part of the Island.

And in order to protect the Entrance of the Needles Passage we suggest a Cruizer not less than 40 Tons nor exceeding 70 to be there stationed, whose particular Duty should be to cruize to examine every suspicious vessel before coming within the Wight and that the Commander should have positive orders not to go beyond the Shingles westward or Hurst Point eastwards; and that another Cruizer of a similar class and tonnage should be stationed at the Eastern Extremity of the island whose special and immediate Duty should be to cruize between Bembridge Ledge and Chichester Harbour, professing the like Orders to board every suspicious vessel.


5 March 1822                On the within representation from Mr Day we have to report that the localities of the Custom House & private Wharfs, with the intervention of a public Ferry between them, form inconveniences to the due discharge of the respective duties of the Waterside Officers here, that do not present themselves at other Ports.

In obedience to your Honors Minute & Regulations 10 April 1821, the Landing Surveyor & Land Waiter, who live at a short distance from West Cowes proceed every morning by the Ferry Passage to the Custom House at East Cowes to enter their Names in the Appearance Book passing Mr Day’s Warehouses contiguous to West Cowes, where, at times, where there are Ships to discharge or take in Goods, from 15 to 20 Labourers are in attendance, watching the time for the opening of the Warehouses.

On the Officers arrival at the Ferry the boat, half the times they want to cross over, is at the opposite side, by which some minutes are lost, and when wanting to return to West Cowes, the same adverse circumstances of the boat being the opposite side often occurs whereby the Merchant suffers the delay, probably half an hour. This inconvenience in undoubtedly vexatious, but under the existing Regulations 10 April 1821 we know of no remedy unless it should be your Honors pleasure from the peculiar Localities of this Port & the situation of the Custom House to dispense with the Landing Surveyor & Waiter entering their Names in the Appearance Book when Warrants are issued for Landing & Shipping Goods at the Wharf at West Cowes.


6 March 1822                As directed by your Order 28th Ult. for the Coastwaiter’s Removal to Truro, we immediately on its receipt, communicated its contents to Mr Roach.

This Officer, distrusting his own capacity for any new Office by virtue of an extreme nervous Habit & Giddiness of the Head to which he states, he is so subject to hazard his personal safety at times has sent us the within memorial addressed to your Honors, humbly praying for the cause therein stated that it may receive your Honors indulgent consideration. [The Memorial is not included.]


12 March 1822  The Establishment of eight Preventive Boats at the Back of and within the Isle of Wight having driven the Smugglers from their previous resorts and forced them to other Spots for carrying on their nefarious practices, the Roadstead of Cowes and places adjacent to the Harbour have lately been much used for running contraband goods.

The Tidesurveyor has in consequence felt it his Duty to have his Boats Crew out occasionally at night & particularly when the return of suspicious Vessels was expected to watch & defeat their illicit Intentions. One of this description, the Albion of Cowes, Geo Beed Licensed Pilot and Owner, which was reported across the Channel for some days being expected home last Friday night, Mr Stephens laid his plans for intercepting her, in which he succeeded, though unfortunately the crop (supposed to be 100 casks) had been landed to the west of Cowes Castle.

In seizing a Tub Boat connected with the Vessel, Resistance & Obstruction having been made to the Officers in the Execution of their Duty, the Tidesurveyors within account is respectfully submitted for your Honors Consideration & Directions.


15 March 1822               On receipt of your Honors Order 12 Inst. we directed Mr Roach to proceed to Truro by letter, copy of which is on back hereof.

This morning we received the inclose Representation of his inability to proceed with a request that we would forward the same to your Honors, for one months leave of absence to enable him to recruit his health & arrange his private affairs previous to him quitting this Port.


20 March 1822               Mr William Buck was placed on the Superannuation List at this Port on an allowance of £50 per annum by your Honors Order 23 January last, he being then a resident of this Port. Buck has since removed to spend the remainder of his Life at Weymouth, his native place and as it would be impossible to pay his Superannuation here without much inconvenience, we respectfully submit your Honors may please direct his Superannuation to be paid by the Collector at Weymouth.


22 March 1822               Feeling it our Duty to endeavour to counteract the schemes practiced by Passengers for the Introduction of French Prohibited Goods under the Guide & Declaration of their being personal Dresses we detained in February last a box of Dresses brought by a Miss Gully to this Port from Havre de Grace under whose Card of Direction was another addressed to Mrs Payne No. 43 Pall Mall London.

From information which has transpired since our Report of 9th March Inst. we are convinced that the Duties in question, most of which are manifestly old are expressly selected & prepared for the introduction of Ermine with which they are trimmed and lined.

Inclosed is a Letter (certainly not of a courteous Tenor) from Miss Gully who brought the Dresses from Havre & who in the presence of ourselves & Excise Officer on her landing here declared she knew nothing of the Box or to whom it belonged.

Under which Circumstances we humbly submit as the Dresses do not come within the meaning of Treasury Order 2nd January yr. 1817 which directs that they must accompany the proprietor, and at the Fact of Mrs Payne being a well known Milliner in Pall Mall or St James Street (who doubtless intended the Ermine for sale in this Country) renders it evident that a Fraud was intended, whether it may of may not be your Honors pleasure to Order the Box and its contents to be prosecuted as a Seizure.

Ermine skins are rated at 8d each & there are about 200.


25 March 1822               With reference to our letter of the 13 Ult. in reply to your Honors Order of Enquiry “whether there was any Vessel at this Port which would answer the purpose of a Prev. Watch Vessel at Chichester” wherein we reported that the Hull of an old Sloop was likely to be soon disposed of by Auction which with appropriate alterations would suit very well.

We now transmit to your Honors an advertisement of the sale of the Sloop referred to, humbly requesting should it be to your Honors pleasure to purchase the same & your directions.


1 April 1822                   James Maybanks having this day given good and responsible Security for the due performance of his Official Duty as Boatman in the Preventive Boat at Fishbourne in this Port, we have admitted him to office in pursuance of your Honors Order 16 Ult. and transmit his Bond inclosed.


6 April 1822                   Mr White has this day delivered to us the plans for the Erection of Cottages at Shanklin which he says are accommodated to the Dimensions & Scale of Expenses admitted in such works, with such Additions only as might preserve a Rustic Character without incurring any useless Charge, & we have accordingly sent them forward in a parcel by Mail Coach addressed to your Honors this evening.

Mr White remarks the plan of the larger building would admit (he conceives) few Improvements in point of taste but is however satisfied with it, & says he is willing to provide for the additional charge incurred by suffering Stone & Sand to be taken on his Estate for the purpose of the Building free of payment, except to the tenants in remuneration of damages received.


12 April 1822                 The Vessel Eliza mentioned in the petition on the other side arrived from Jersey 8th Inst. with a cargo of Potatoes and it appearing on examination that she had a running Bowsprit with a working Traveller thereon & without any Licence to navigate in consequence of the illegal Rig, being precisely in the same Predicament as the Young William of Weymouth detained 21 November 1821 & the Anna of Dover 12 November 1821 & the Hope of Dartmouth, 1 March 1822, all of which your Honors pronounced liable to Licence, we deemed it our Duty to Seize the Eliza as forfeited by 34 Geo. Ch. 50 & 35 Ch 31.

Inclosed is the Tidesurveyors Certificate to obtain a Licence for the Vessel in question should it be your Honors pleasure to grant the same.


20 April 1822                 The Master of the Eliza has now fitted her with a standing Bowsprit – conforming to the prescribed Rules laid down in the 7th Section 34 Geo 3 Ch 50 – which brings he within the definition of a Sloop as prescribed in her present Certificate – Granted Jersey 10 May 1819.


22 April 1822                 In conformity to your Honors Order 26 January 1820 on Officers applying for Superannuation we have examined Mr Roach & questioned him to his particular Infirmities; and we are of the opinion from our personal observations & the enquiries we have thought it our duty to make on his case that although we reported him able & competent to the Duties of Coastwaiter at Cowes (to which report we still adhere) yet from his present appearance and the Information we receive as to his continued Nervous Habit & Giddiness in his head with Asthmatic Affliction that he does not seem prepared of adequate Spirits & Strength of Mind for the undertaking the Duties of an new Office.


11 May 1822                 Inclosed we transmit the Bond of Zachariah Nicholas Boatman of the Preventive Boat at Shanklin with two Sureties whom we deem sufficient & responsible.


20 May 1822                 As directed by your Honors reference of 18th Inst. we report that on the occasional arrival of American & other foreign ships at this Port for Orders laden with Silks, Nankeens [yellow or buff cotton cloth], Rhubarb, Cassia, Hides, Sugar &c. from China & the East Indies their Cargoes being usually very large, and the Ships burthening from 500 to 1000 Tons, the Tide Surveyor has deemed it his Duty to place three & sometimes four of the most trusty Tidewaiters on board each Ship in conformity to the 3rd Article of his Instructions & your Honors Order of 31st May 1816.


30 May 1822                 On a Petition from Jonathan W Hall to be allowed longer Time for the payment of the Costs incurred in the proceedings commenced against him.

The proceedings commenced against the Petitioner for an Assault on one of the Boatmen at this Port were directed by your Honors Order 8th Inst. to be stayed on payment of costs amounting to £13 -13 – 0. As Hall appears to be a poor man & unable to pay the sum immediately we have no objection to offer his being allowed such further Time to reimburse the costs incurred as your Honors may think fit to grant him.


10 June 1822                 This Port & Portsmouth being equally privileged for Warehousing Cotton Wool & other Articles enumerated in the Tables of 43 Geo. 3 Ch 132, the trite question of Messrs. Auldjo & Day’s Application to your Honors, is whether Portsmouth is to enjoy a preferable Indulgence & facility for the Transhipment of American Cargoes in transit to France over Cowes, the Merchants there having obtained your Honors permission to tranship without landing a Bale or Package of the Goods & the practice here being to land & weigh every Bale or Package under the strict Regulation of the Warehousing Laws, preparatory to being shipped for Exportation.

The Proprietors of Wharfs & bonded Warehouses at this Port have been at considerable expense in filling them for the Convenience of landing Merchandize & for the Security of the Revenue & if the Indulgence granted to Agents at Portsmouth for dispensing with the landing & weighing of Cargoes be continued, the Men here must be seriously injured in their proper business.

We humbly submit therefore as a point of Justice whether it may not be your Honors pleasure to direct that one & the same rules be observed at both Ports.


10 June 1822                 Within is Captain Morgan’s [of the Swallow] report on the Conduct of two Mariners – Richmond & Hope whose Wages for such behaviour, conformable to your Honors regulations lapse to the Crown. The object in conveying the men before a Magistrate appears to be a desire on the part of Captain Morgan to have his opinion in justification of the Discharge.


13 June 1822                 In obedience to your Order of 11 Inst. reporting the present state of Mr Roach’s Health and the probability of recovery – we report from the enquiries we have made and from our observations at times lately, and this morning of his Person and Manner that it does not appear to us his Health is at all Improved since our last report of 22 April last and as his memory is certified to be impaired by his Medical Attendants Messrs. Bowen and David – who are very reputable people – the consequences of his Complaints and Nervous Afflictions, we are of the opinion the probability of his recovery is very doubtful so as to enable him to execute the Duties of Searcher & Coastwaiter at Truro.


15 June 1822                 We have to report to your Honors the Death of Mr James Snudden, the Riding Officer of 2nd Class at this place which took place yesterday morning after a very short illness. Having reason to believe that a Riding Officer based at Brixton village situated in the centre of the Isle of Wight may be of service by co-operating with the Waterguard we are humbly of the opinion that the vacancy should be filled.


15 June 1822                 Inclosed are copies of the requested Information & Recognizances & we humbly submit as Lieut. Jones holds a Deputation from your Honors, the Excise Board can have nothing to do in preferring the indictment against Stone & Day. The Public Business of the Revenue Department will always be attended with perplexity while Seizures made by Customs Officers are carried to Excise Officers for Prosecution; and we respectfully submit the present is another strong Instance of the Expediency of establishing distinct official services for Customs & Excise. Lieut. Jones we conceive should have made application to us for information as to proceeding against Stone & Day, and the Collector would have attended the Examination before the Magistrates directly, but heard nothing of the of the circumstances till after the Information had been laid. [This appears to a case against Stephen Day and Wm. Stone for unlawfully making a fire on the coast of the Isle of Wight, as a signal to persons on board a certain smuggling boat. At Hants Summer Assizes  Day was sentenced to two months, and Stone, one month in Newport Gaol.]


22 June 1822                 We inclose for your Honors Information a report of the Seizures made by Lt. Morgan of the Swallow Cutter the 20th Inst. and have to state to your Honors that the Collector this morning had the three men found on board the Eliza Smack conveyed before a Bench of Magistrates Sitting at Newport to be proceeded against under the 45 Geo. 3 Ch 121 & 57 Geo. 3 Ch 33 but which the Bench – after consideration of the circumstances viz. The declaration of the Parties that they had picked up two Casks of Spirits on the High Seas after leaving Jersey – that the same were on deck when the Mate of the Swallow boarded the Eliza – and that he was told by the Master (Le Blancq) that they intended to deliver the Casks to the Collector at Portsmouth (to which Port the Vessel was bound with a cargo of Stone) and also the smallness of the quantity (5¾ Galls.) declared proceeding the commitment till the Collector had represented to your Honors – the Magistrates – thinking from the facts detailed and which were not objected to by the Mate who went on board – that your Honors would not consider this a sort of case that should be proceeded with with severity – so far as requesting the personal punishment of the Men.

The same Vessel we should explain to your Honours – came to Cowes with a cargo of Potatoes in April last and having a Running Bowsprit was Seized by us – and directed to be released by your Honors under the condition of fixing the Bowsprit, which the Master chose to comply with, but we conclude that on his arrival at Jersey he made the Bowsprit to run in and out – in which state it was found when the Mate of the Swallow went on board the 20th Instant at the Needles where the Eliza got on shore with a cargo of Stone – the Swallow Cutter having now the men on board – your Honors early Order is respectfully Craved – as she is at present prevented from going to sea.


9 July 1822                   In obedience to your Honors minute 8 Instant on the suggestion of Mr Bennett for a prosecution against Benjamin Brown accused of breaking open a Letter containing a £5 Note. We report that it was Mr Borham the Chief Officer of the Coast Guard Service at Bembridge who captured said Brown with the Note and the particular direction he gave him at the time of delivering the Letter and Note were to take it to the Collector at Cowes. Mr Borham being desirous to ascertain if the Collector could recognise the Note, a mistake having occurred at Bembridge among some of the Men in paying £5 for a £1. Your Honors Order for the Arrest of Brown will be immediately attended to.


11 July 1822                  The Monies due to the late Riding Officer Mr James Snudden are as follows:

Salary on the Establishment to the 14th June his decease            £14 – 8 – 6

For keep of a Horse                                                                  £5 – 15 – 5

                                                                                                £20 – 3 – 11

Seizure Rewards                                                                        £ 4 – 0 – 4¼

                                                                                                £24 – 4 – 3¼

The Widow is left in distress with a large Family – and as the Arrears of Pay due to her late husband would be applied to the considerable rate of her difficulties – we humbly submit under such circumstances if it may not be your Honors pleasure to Order her payment as desired, on the Collector receiving the Widows Signature in the usual way, without Administration.


16 July 1822                  In obedience to your General Order of 16 March 1820 on the charges of Management of this Port, the State of its Trade & the possibility of any reduction consistent with Security of the Revenue.

We report that since our return of 16 January last there has been an increase of trade at this Port by the discharge of the American Cargoes more than in the preceding half year under the Warehousing Regulations and the general state of Exports & Imports has kept up its usual standard as will be seen by the annexed Accounts.

On the charges of Management we have to state that the Day Officers Pay has necessarily increased (on account of Foreign Arrivals) the amount of which does not however exceed £47 – 14 – 6 and that the Incidental Expenses, as will be seen in the Account have decreased to £49 – 3 – 7.

The position of Coastwaiter at Cowes has recently been abolished the last year making a saving of £100 a year to the Crown but we are not aware that any further Reductions can be made at present, except by the Transfer of the Warehousekeepers Duties to the Long Room Department when it may be your Honors pleasure so to do.


23 July 1822                  In reference to our Report of the 9th Inst. on the suggestion of your Honors Solicitor to prosecute Benjamin Brown for breaking open a letter containing a £5 note and then representing to your Honors that although the Letter was addressed to the Collector it was not the Crown’s money. We have since received from Mr Borham in inclosed explanation of the business which is humbly transmitted to your Honors further Directions. [Report not included in Letters Book.]


27 July 1822                  From Enquiries we have felt it our Duty to make it appears that Mr Chiverton, the Superannuated Coast Waiter who for some years in the past has been quiet and inoffensive in his mental affliction, about 3 weeks ago became so violent and outrageous in manner and language as to render it necessary for the Neighbourhood and Parish Officers to apply to have him confined. He was accordingly conveyed to an apartment in Newport Bridewell where he is now. As it may be a considerable time before his mind returns to sanity so as to qualify him to give a receipt, we humbly submit under these circumstances if your Honors may not think fit to order the Collector to accept his wife’s receipt for the Superannuation now due viz. £10.


1 August 1822               Annexed is the Commander of the Swallows Refutation of the Charges brought against him by Mr Le Blancq owner of the Eliza which from the inconsiderable value of the articles complained of as lost and their mutilated state though by Le Blancq’s list it would convey the idea of being very considerable we cannot help thinking his complaint is founded on a vindictive spirit. The Tea stock he represents as detained by us was brought on shore with the Spirits at the time of the Seizure, and although their Man Le Blancq & his Crew have experienced your Honours Leniency in withholding a prosecution against them for the offence yet their conduct is not entirely free from suspicion, we therefore submit that the Sea Stock though small as his voyage was at an end, should be prosecuted in the Court of the Exchequer.


6 August 1822               On an application from P and C Bright praying Gaol maintenance.

The Petitioners are inhabitants of Yarmouth in this Island and were captured by the Atherfield Preventive Boat in their Smuggling vessel ‘Eliza’ of this Port on 15 June last. They were Prosecuted to Conviction before the Justices by the Excise and though fit and able to serve His Majesty in his Naval Service and ought to have been used on board a Man of War, they were at the instance of the Excise Solicitor conveyed to Winchester Gaol where they remain. The Parties we believe to be in poor circumstances so as to give them claim to a Paupers Allowance and if it be your pleasure to grant it we submit that they be paid by the Collector of Southampton conformable to your General Order that being the nearest to Winchester Gaol.


8 August 1822               As directed by your Order of 8 February on the state of heath of Thomas Love, we report that this mans sight is now so defective that any Smuggler could pass him with a Tub of Spirits without being observed but that it scarcely enables him to notice a neighbour at 10 yards from which circumstances we cannot but otherwise than state to your Honors that we consider him a very confused person to have the Guardian of any goods or articles liable to Duty in his situation as Tidewaiter. 


8 August 1822               Jean Bouchie, a Seaman on the French Ship “Roman” now lying at Cowes Harbour having been detected by Jacob Leale & John Cushen, Boatmen in the Tide Surveyors Boat on the night of the 6th Inst. whilst carrying five bottles containing one Gallon of Foreign Brandy, the Officers detained the Brandy together with the Man; and yesterday we deemed it our duty in conformity with your Honors Order of 15 March last, to have the said Bouche conveyed before a Magistrate where an Information according to Form No. 1 was exhibited against him, and being clearly proved, the Magistrate, Sir Richard Bassett convicted him in the Penalty of £100 and in default of payment committed him to Gaol where he now remains. [He was subsequently granted Gaol allowance and later released on Treasury Warrant.]


12 August 1822             We have to state that William Palmer who was admitted on the 25 October 1817 as Chief Boatman in the St Lawrence Boat was disqualified 2 February last by the Lords of the Treasury to Captain Shotton (but of which we have no Official Communication) for having refused to give evidence before the Magistrates at Newport against some Parties accused of plundering wrecked goods at the Back of the Wight in December 1821 since which Dismissal Palmer has a regular and we fear successful Smuggler carrying out his traffic in a large open lugsail boat from St Helens in this Port. After his Dismissal we sent to him for his Commission and have applied several times since through the Chief Officer of the Station to get it but of which as your Honors will see by Lieut. Jones letter inclosed. There is now no chance unless Palmer is compelled by a Prosecution to surrender it. His Sureties at the time of Admission were Edward Clavell, Victualler, of Cowes, now dead, and William Smith, Mariner, of Cowes, now a Boatman in the Preventive Service on the Coast of Sussex.


20 August 1822             We have to state to your Honors that yesterday about 2 o’clock p.m. the Duke of Buckingham arrived in Cowes Roadstead in his private yacht the Fly (72 Tons Reg.) and while the yacht was lying to in her passage to Ryde where the Duke resides, a Gentleman of the name of Ledbroke came to the office & reported to us that His Grace had in board:

1 case containing 6 Dozen Champagne

1 case containing 6 Dozen Vin de Grave

1 hamper containing 4 Dozen Liquers

1 cask containing 11 Gallons Brandy surplus Sea Stock

brought in Guernsey for a cruizing trip on which the Duke (who had been recalled unexpectedly to England) wished the duties to be charged without subjecting him to the inconvenience of landing the articles. On the Collector appraising Mr Ledbroke that such a request could only be made from the Duke of Buckingham’s want of Information about the Revenue Laws and that from taking Wine on board even in legal packages without requisite clearance from Guernsey his Grace had precluded himself from the privilege of regular importation though his yacht is above 60 Tons & that moreover the Liquer & Brandy he had placed the yacht in a predicament of forfeiture, Mr Ledbroke thereon on behalf of his Grace requested that the described articles might be brought to the Kings Warehouse to abide an application to your Honors for the payment of the proper Duties and we accordingly under the circumstances detailed had the Wine, Liquers & Brandy conveyed from the yacht in charge of a Tidewaiter to our custody where they now remain to abide your Honors Directions.


26 August 1822             Pursuant to your Order 6th Inst. the Collector on Saturday last Prosecuted George Beazley before the Justices at Newport under the 21 Sec. of 9 Geo 2 Ch 35 for the Penalty of £30 such sum being treble Value of Spirits found in his Custody when, after an examination of Corporal Roger Flaherty & Edward Jones, a Private Soldier, who detected the Smuggling Parties in the night of 25 July last, the former of whom swore positively to the Identity of Beazley and to his being the person whom he saw throw on of the Casks into a ditch to prevent its being seized, the Magistrates after some consideration discharged the Defendant.

Previous to entering on these proceedings it was observed by one of the Magistrates that as the hearing of the Charge of Assault preferred by Beazley against Corporal Flaherty Saturday 27 July had been adjourned till it was ascertained what steps were intended to be had against Beazley under your Honors Orders the further proceedings on Beazleys Charge against the Corporal should have been proceeded with and it accordingly being entered on, Beazley was bound over in the Penalty of £20 to prosecute Corporal Flaherty for an Assault at the Quarter Sessions and Winchester and the Corporal entered into a recognizance to appear to answer the complaint.

As Corporal Flaherty’s conduct in the Transaction seems to us to have been very zealous and his mind activated for the benefit of the Service, we have earnestly to submit to your Honours the expedience of affording him your protection.


26 August 1822             Herein we transmit particulars required by your Honors respecting the State of Health of Thomas Love, Tidewaiter applying for Superannuation. We report, as directed by your Honors, that we have had said Love before us and personally examined him as to his complaint and are satisfied that his statement of his eyesight being defective is correct and that it precludes him consequently from executing his duty as Tidewaiter with any advantage to the Service.


31 August 1822             Having in obedience to your Order of 16 Inst. made full Enquiries into the particulars to the Servitude – Age and Capability of Mr William Robey, a Riding Officer on the Establishment at this Port agreeable to the prescribed rules and personally examined said Robey on his Complaint and Infirmity in conformity to your Honors General Order 25 January 1820 – we report from the Answers and Explanations given that it appears that he appears to be entitled to the allowance of Superannuation at the existing rates.


4 September 1822         Annexed is the Tide Surveyors report of the seizure of the Sarah Brig of Greenock Alan McKinley Master 229 Tons Reg. on her arrival this morning from Portsmouth. Inclosed is the Manifest of the Cargo delivered to us by Captain McKinley this morning which we presume, independent of other circumstance, would, if the 49 Geo. 3 Ch 25 had now been extant have disqualified her from the privilege of Importation. The proceeding to Portsmouth to get the vessels orders is highly irregular and contrary to the Act 29th of his late Majesty’s Ch 68 but the Master explains he was bound so to do by his charter party under a Penalty of £500.


7 September 1822         In obedience to your Order of 22 Ult. we have this day admitted Henry Shepherd to the Office of Coastwaiter at Yarmouth, a Creek of this Port.


13 September 1822       In obedience to your General Order 17 November 1790 on the defects of the Revenue Laws we have humbly to submit that it appears to us that the habit of omitting to paint the names of Vessels & the Port to which they belong on their sterns in legible Roman Characters as prescribed by the 19 Sec of 26 Geo. 3 Ch 60 is very much increased with these 2 years past and that is expedient to amend the Act by subjecting every Vessel be her employ what it may to seizure instead of a Penalty of £100 for being found afloat not having her Name & Port marked as the Law requires.

That the 5th Sec of 57 Geo. 3 Ch 87 is defective for want of the word “She” as when a woman has been detected with Contraband Spirits on her the Magistrates refused to convict her alleging that the Act referred to Men only.

That the 19th Sec of 57 Geo. 3 Ch 87 requiring parties intending to enter into a Licence Bond to swear that they are worth the amount of the Penalty, defeats the scrutiny of the proper officer of Customs in endeavouring to find out a security’s responsibility; the Oath of the party (which we fear is some times false) being paramount to anything else.

On the Laws for Licensing Vessels we respectfully reiterate our opinion submitted in our report of last year viz. that if the system is to be upheld every Vessel (except Square Rigged Vessels of 100 Tons) as well as Boats above 14 feet long, be their construction whatever it may, should be made subject to Licence, and on the other hand that the partial system which now exists and which permits vast number of Smuggling Craft to navigate without Security had better be abolished.


14 September 1822       We inclose a letter from Captain Money R.N. Inspecting Commander at Ryde on the subject of a joint Seizure of Spirits made the 14 ult. by the Bembridge Preventive Boat & the Lively Tender to the Roebuck Quarantine Cutter about half a mile from Bembridge Point and requesting to be furnished with the precise limits of the Port of Cowes in order to ascertain whether the delivery of the Seizure to the Custom House, Portsmouth was conformable to your Honors General Order of 4 July last on that subject.

On reference to the Exchequer Commission & on drawing the lines on the inclosed map it appears the precise spot where the Seizure was made (which we ascertained from Mr Borham Chief officer of the Bembridge Station) is not included in either to Port of Portsmouth or Cowes and as your Honors Order before quoted does not apply to such a case we deem it our duty to lay the matter before your Honors, and we humbly submit that the Seizure not being within the limits of any Port, it should have been delivered, it having been made not half a mile from Bembridge Point, at this Port.


18 September 1822       The deduction from Salary of the late James Snudden (your Honors Riding Officer) was correctly set forth in the Widows Petition and were made under the Instructions of Mr Ogilvy’s circular dated 20 June 1817 and duly remitted to the Receiver General. Mrs Snudden with a large family is in very indigent circumstances and she humbly throws herself on the compassion of your Honors and the Directors of the Customs Fund for such relief as is contemplated to afford distressed Widows whose deceased Husbands had contributed to such Support.


15 October 1822            In obedience to your Order of 4th Inst. directing us to report as to the privity of James Rayner to the Goods to the goods returned in our Acct. of Seizure 25th Ult. as being found on his premises.

We immediately sent to the Seizing Officer Mr Robins (through the Inspecting Commander) for his report on the required particulars and having this day received his answers we transmit the same inclosed.

Report by William Robins, Chief Officer, Freshwater – I am of the opinion that if Mr Rayner had been at home when the Goods were placed in the Cellar it could not have been done without his knowledge, but from the conversation that passed at the time of making the Seizure it appears he had been absent for some days previous and only returned the night before. There was a fence round the garden, but not such a one as to prevent other persons from having access to it.


24 October 1822            After a full hearing of the case against Beazley which occupied a considerable time & during which Mr Hearn showed much ability in the examination of witnesses and in his arguments on behalf of the prosecution, the Magistrates withdrew from the Guildhall to an adjoining room at the end of 20 minutes returned to the Hall where the Chairman Sir Leonard Holmes addressed the Defendant who stood in the box by telling him he was discharged, which all the information we can get on the subject.

The drawing of the Affidavit against Gough was done by the Collector and being a Special Service he has charged the usual sum of 6s 1d which having been always allowed he trusts will not be objected to now and we humbly submit the drawing Informations against Smugglers should never be confided to anyone but the Collector, or in his absence the Controller, as it is not possible to secure that Secrecy in a professional mans office that it is in the Collectors.


24 October 1822            The Cellar was not locked, but the door to it, which is about two foot square and now in our possession seems to have been raised or opened by the aid of a few links of small chain fixed in the middle which door closing the aperture of the Cellar was found covered over with sand, clay and gravel when the Officers first discovered the traces to the Cellar.


24 October 1822            On application from the Tide Surveyor for 6 muskets and pouches and 6 pistols.

The Tide Surveyor in the execution of his duty and in the look out for Smugglers at night having occasionally faced resistance (his chief Boatman Leale having in July 1821 had his wrist most severely cut and a Boat since rescued by a Party of Smugglers). He humbly prays as the Tide Surveyor Office is without arms your Honors will be pleased to grant the supply now craved in his application, and which we take the liberty to recommend, humbly thinking such arms are necessary for himself and the Boats Crew when exposed to the chance of meeting parties of Smugglers in the execution of their duty at night.


2 November 1822          Inclosed we transmit a letter from Mr Henry Shepherd who by your Order 22 August last was removed from Wareham to perform the duties of Coastwaiter at Yarmouth in this port stating his health to be so much impaired as to render him incapable of retaining his present situation and requesting to retire from the Service on the Superannuation List.

Having also received a representation from him to us that he is now so unwell as to be unable to execute the duties of such office we have in consequence deemed it right to send James Sammes, a trusty Tidewaiter to supply his place till your Honors pleasure and directions are known.

PS James Sammes is the person who has acted hithertofore as Coastwaiter at the Creeks of Newport and Ryde per tempore conducting himself at both places with propriety and to our satisfaction.


12 November 1822        As directed by your Order of the 7 Inst on the necessity of erecting a breakwater for the preservation of the Watch House at Shanklin, we selected Mr Joseph Andrews Surveyor of this Island to inspect the situation & condition of the Watch House, and he having so done, we transmit inclosed to your Honors his report thereon. We have also communicated with him as to the best & cheapest means of securing its stability & he recommends that a drain or sewer not less than 12 feet deep round the building should be immediately commenced, the probable expense of which would exceed £20, and that a quantity of large stones should be procured and moved to the front of the Watch House to prevent further encroachment of the sea this winter, the expense of which may be possibly about £30 more. The drain thus proposed, when finished, will require no additional expense but the erection of a breakwater next summer, if then judged necessary, (the present season precluding any possibility of operating upon the shore) would amount to about £40 additional. With regard to the removal of the Watch House to another spot your Covenant with Mr White is a direct obstacle to such a scheme, if even thought advisable and we learn that the expense would be much beyond £100. Mr Andrews having had great experience in erecting sea walls and breaks in this neighbourhood, we beg to recommend him to your Honors as a proper person to direct & superintend the work now proposed.


12 November 1822        Petition from John Gough for Goal Allowance.

The Petitioner is now under a Prosecution at the behest of the Attorney General for the Penalty of £100. He is a notorious offender but we believe him to be in poor circumstances and submit if your Honors should be disposed to order him the allowance that it may be paid by the Collector at Southampton being the nearest port to Winchester Gaol.

1819 - 1820

1821 - 1822 (To come)

Customs Cowes Letters Books

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

9 August 2009