Collector to Board Letters Book 1826 - 1828 (No. 45)


These extracts are a partial transcription of the book held at the National Archives reference, CUST 61/37, 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.

 20 March 1826               With reference to your Order of 16 Inst. wherein you direct us to prosecute Christopher Wrangler Master, of the Margaret of London for a breach of the Quarantine Laws (the circumstances of whose offence were detailed in our Letters of the 11th & 22 Ultimo and also an Affidavit transmitted 22nd Ultimo) under 6 Geo 4 C 108 Sec 45 - we respectfully submit whether there is not some mistake as this Section of 6th Geo 4th appear to relate to unshipping or having Custody of Prohibited goods – We also respectfully submit that the said Christopher Wrangler is, we believe in London.

27 March 1826               The Petitioner George Loosemore has never been convicted of Smugling but having been long suspected of being concerned in the illicit Trade, the Tidesurveyor of the Port very properly reported accordingly in his Certificate and as the Vessel only a few week since belonged to a regular systematic Smugler William Searle who had suffered from the refusal of the License as requested by him to go Foreign, it is supposed that the transfer was made as a Blind. Should however your Honorable Board think fit to allow the Industry which is above 15 Tons to go to the Islands of Guernsey & Alderney for the purpose of fishing only rather than to navigate to any part of France. We think it may be done without any ill effect arising therefrom.


31 March 1826               Inclose we transmit the Surveying Officers Certificate to obtain Licences for the vessels and boats particulars at the foot hereof.

Earl of Malmesbury, Geo. Ward and other owners

Value including materials £2000

Sylph belonging to John Callaway

Value £5

Boat belonging to John Eames

Value £4

Boat belonging to Jas. Spencer

Value £3

Boat belonging to Isaac Churchill

Value £3

Boat belonging to Henry Caws

Value £12

Boat belonging to Jas. Robins

Value £5

Boat belonging to Jas Rolf

Value £ 5

Boat belonging to R Tewkesberry

Value £5


31 March 1826               Herewith we forward the Commission and Quarantine Warrant lately belonging to Mr Thos. Kisbie of the ‘Stag’ Revenue Cruizer – promoted to the rank of Lieut. in H.M. Navy.


6 April 1826                   The Collector being in want of money to complete the payment of salaries and incidents for the last quarter and not expecting any receipt, he prays an imprest from the Receiver General for One Thousand Five Hundred Pounds.


12 April 1826                 We respectfully submit the following on the subject of the disposal of Tobacco for your consideration and directions thereon, on the 16 March last we endeavoured to sell (at a sale in this Office) some manufactured Tobacco, but not being able to obtain the Duty for it was not disposed of by 6 Geo 4 Ch 108 Sect 82, the sale of Tobacco for Exportation appears to be valid, but under the Tobacco Act 29 Geo 3 Ch 68 that could not take place & unless the Duties for the Tobacco could be procured, the article however good the quality was required to be burnt. We do not think it advisable attempt the disposal of the said Tobacco for Exportation without advising with your Honorable Board on the matter or obtaining from you a special Order for that purpose.


14 April 1826                 We have to report that on the 12 inst. about 8 o’clock pm Mr Robins, Chief Officer of the Coast Guard Service at Sconce Point Station, within this Port, took from the possession of James Whitewood, Labourer, and Richard Redstone, a Mason, both of Brixton in the Parish of Thorley in the Isle of Wight one bag containing about six pounds of tea. The Offenders are Smugglers and are employed frequently to convey illegally landed goods and as their persons can be easily secured, and as we are convinced their present offence comes under the 45 Section of the Act to Geo. 4 C108 we pray your Honorable Boards order for prosecution. [Both were convicted in the Penalty of £100, mitigated to £25, which was paid.]


20 April 1826                 In obedience to your Order of 15 November 1824 we have to submit to Your H.B. that Smuggling has in no degree whatever diminished in the Port since our last report thereon, and we are not aware that any more effective means could be adopted than those already used.


26 April 1826                 On the 21 Inst. about 10 am William Ford Boatman of the Bembridge Party seized 2 Skins of Brandy containing about 5 Half Pints which he saw thrown down by one John Dyer of whom he was in pursuit. The Offender belongs to a Party of most notorious Smuglers, he escaped pursuit but is well known and can be taken at any time. We pray your Honors Order for prosecution under the 45 Sect Act 6 Geo 4 Ch 108.


27 April 1826                 Enclosed we transmit an application from James Resuggan a Boatman in the Tidesurveyors Boat at this Port stating that he has been arrested for debt and hopes for your Honors sanction for his absence from Duty. We have represented to him through the Tidesurveyor the substance of your Honorable Boards minute 13 August last relating to the absence of Officers occasioned by pecuniary embarrassment viz. that his salary will cease after the lapse of a fortnight. We respectfully submit the case of James Resuggan as represented in his letter for the consideration of your Honorable Board whether you will be pleased to see fit, from the facts therein, and which we believe are correctly stated, that it shall be treated as under ‘Special Circumstances’, as such the applicant for the sake of his numerous and very distressed family may receive any indulgence that shall be conceived proper by your Honorable Board. We consider it our duty to state the James Resuggan bears a very indifferent character and as we believe his present employment has been occasioned by his thoughtless council. He is however a capable and efficient Boatman. If he were recovered, we are inclined to think the step would be attended with benefit as well as for the Port for himself and for the respectability in particular of the Tidesurveyors Crew.


11 May 1826                 We have to report that on the 5th Instant about 11 o’clock am Mr Moore Chief Officer & Mr Brown Chief Boatman of the Coast Guard Service stationed at Newtown within this Port made a Seizure of 6 Casks containing about 18 Gallons of Foreign Brandy and 3 Casks containing about 7½ Gallons of Foreign Geneva from a Cellar Sunk in a Barn in the occupation of William Russell and John Pittman (two notorious Smugglers of, or belonging to, a place called Ningwood, near Newtown, and as we conceive the Offenders are liable to prosecution under the 45 Sec of the Act Geo IV Ch 108 we pray your Honors Order accordingly. [Both were subsequently prosecuted and acquitted.]


11 May 1826                 We have to report that on the 5th Instant about 12 o’clock noon Mr Moore Chief Officer & Mr Brown Chief Boatman of the Coast Guard Service stationed at Newtown within this Port made a Seizure of one Cask of Manufactured Tobacco weighing about 13 lbs from an outhouse in the occupation of one William Wheeler living at Ningwood, near Newtown, and as we conceive the said Wheeler is liable to prosecution under the 45 Sec of the Act Geo IV Ch 108 we have to solicit your Honors Order for prosecution. [Wheeler was subsequently prosecuted and acquitted.]


12 May 1826                 From R. Stephens, Tide Surveyor to the Collector.

On the morning of the 1st Instant I seized the Boat of David, brother of John Saunders in Newtown Creek, with three Half Ankers of Foreign Spirits, on board within a Quarter of a Mile of Saunders House & four men ran from the Boat towards his House, their backs being toward us, we could not identify them, Saunders and his Brother are reputed Smugglers regular Freighters, and we have frequently found Tubs of Spirits near their premises & myself & men traced several footsteps that morning towards his garden & I have since been informed the Smugglers worked eighteen Tubs out of the Boat, previous to our arrival on the spot, and from the know Character of the Petitioner, I do not hesitate in asserting that I verily believe Saunders to be concerned.


12 May 1826                 Above is the report of the Tide Surveyor Mr Stephens, who made the seizure in question, and as we believe the applicant whose Brother David is owner of the Boat to be concerned in the present Smuggling Transaction, we feel it is our duty, respectfully to suggest that the Propriety of the Bond being put in Suit.

The inclose Affidavit of William Sheats relative to the Business, is inclosed & on which we have nothing to remark, except that we do not entertain the smallest favorable view in consequence.


16 May 1826                 Enclosed we transmit Forms of Returns directed to be made by the 6 Article of the Instructions relating to Smuglers agreeable to your Order thereon & also the proceedings before the Magistrates in the cases of Abraham Redstone and John Dyer, the former of whom was last Saturday prosecuted by your Order of 21 April Ult., the latter 2 Inst. Redstone was prosecuted to conviction in the Penalty of £100 mitigated to ¼ but in Default of Payment the offender was sent to Gaol.

John Dyer was prosecuted to conviction in the Penalty of £100 mitigated to ¼ but in Default of Payment the offender was sent to Gaol. [John Dyer was said to be about 12 years old.]


19 May 1826                 Herewith we forward the Tide Surveyors Letter of Report of the American Ship “Aeronaut” from Gallipoli, having a clean bill of Health, laden with Oil & put into port for Orders. The vessel was first put under a Restraint of Quarantine & the Communications were made by the Officer in the regular precautionary Manner. The Preliminary Questions and Answers we also forward. – The “Aeronaut” has now proceeded for St Petersburgh, but will stop at Motherbank to put the Pilot, J Matthews, on board the “Sons of Commerce” to await your Order of release.


15 June 1826                 On the 10 Inst. about 7 o’clock am Mr. W B Borham Chief Officer & Charles Clements Chief Boatman detained & took from the person of one Obediah Ryder a lad of about 12 or 14 years of age 2 Skins containing one fourth of a Gallon of Brandy near St Helens.

We have to report that this day about 9 o’clock am William Baker, a Boatman of East Cowes station took from the person of one Mathew Wells near Locks Green one flaggon of Brandy containing about ½ Gal. Matthew Wells is a Landsman. The above offenders being liable to prosecution we pray your Honors Order for the same at the Crowns Expence.


20 June 1826                 Pursuant to your Orders 16 June to prosecute Mathew Wells before the Justices for having been found carrying an conveying Spirits under 50 & 86 Sec Geo 4 Ch 108 we have agreeable thereto proceeded & obtained a conviction against him; and the said Matthew Wells not having paid the Penalty of £100 which was inflicted, has been sent to Winchester Gaol.


 23 June 1826                 Inclosed we transmit the Surveying Officers Certificate to obtain Licences for the Boats particularized at the foot:

Open Boat of John Maynard of Cowes value


Open Boat of Robert Dore of Yarmouth value    


Open Boat of William Roberton of Cowes value


Open Boat of Robert Holford of Niton value


Open Boat of James Andrews of Yarmouth value

£1 – 10

Open Boat of Philip Lovet of Ryde value


Open Boat of William Brown value  £8


23 June 1826                 On the 16 June we received your Command of the preceding Day ordering that a Boy named Obediah Ryder who had been found carrying and conveying a certain Quantity of Foreign Spirits to be released & stating that under the circumstances as detailed by the Inspecting Commander at Ryde in his letter of 11 Inst. you did not think fit to order proceeding against the Mother of said Boy in whose House a further Quantity of Spirits were found. In consequence of certain facts hereinafter mentioned having just been brought before us and which possibly might not have been shown to the Inspecting Commander and therefore not Communicated to your Honorable Board we feel it an imperative Duty to give them verbatim as mentioned by the Principal Coast Guard Officer Mr W B Borham Chief Officer at Bembridge viz. The Boy O. Dyer has stated that he got the Spirits from one Wade of St Helens and at the time of capture was taking it to his mother Hannah Ryder. At the time of the search of the House of said Hannah Ryder she produced a Bill and Permit dated October 1822. George Ryder, Husband of said Hannah and who is in Gaol, committed for Smugling has often stated to some of the local Coast Guard party at Bembridge that they might search his House if they pleased so long as he could only steer clear with his Cargoes when carrying – as he had a permit always ready for them. The House of George Ryder is now occupied by his wife Hannah, it appears to be a notorious Gin Shop & a place of the most destructive Habits carrying on under cover of an old Permit & Traffic in illegal Spirits.

Whether under the above, your Honorable may see sufficient cause of grounds for prosecuting the said Hannah Ryder we respectfully submit for your consideration.


27 June 1826                 On the 22nd Instant about Nine o’clock pm Charles Burney, Riding Officer attached to this Port Seized 2 Tubs containing about 5¾ Galls. of foreign Brandy, they were seen in the possession of one Charles Harvey who escaped pursuit but subsequently taken and committed to Newport Bridewell for the hearing of the case before the Magistrates Saturday next – We think the offender is a Sea Faring Man & fit & able; the Seizure was made on Yarmouth Common, Parish of Yarmouth. We pray your Honors Order for prosecution of said Charles Harvey & forms of Information. [He was prosecuted to conviction for the Navy and sent on board the “Victory”.]


27 June 1826                 We have to report that agreeable to your Honors Order of 21st Instant we caused William Day to be prosecuted before the Magistrates on the Evidence of George Brothers a lad who had been employed by him & inclosed we transmit from the proceedings before the Magistrates whereon it will appear that the Offender Day was acquitted on the Ground that there was no confirmation of the Evidence given by Brothers.


4 July 1826                   In pursuance of your Order of 22 Ultimo we have caused William Fry to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport. The Offender Fry having been convicted in the Penalty, we enclose Forms of Return directed to be made by the Article of Instruction relating to Smugglers and also Proceedings before the Magistrates. [In default of payment he was sent to Winchester Gaol.]


11 July 1826                  Mr Withers illness was not reported, and the reason was from the accidental circumstances viz. when his 1st Leave of Absence arrived of Order dated 4th February & in which order we were enjoined in the usual manner not to let the Service suffer in consequence we ordered Sammes to proceed to Yarmouth to take charge of the office accordingly. Mr Withers we concluded was gone but he could not immediately avail himself of the Leave granted being ill. We were not aware of his indisposition till some time after & he made a second application for leave of Absence in consequence of his recent Disappointment which was granted by your Honorable Board in a Letter dated 28 February Ultimo for 3 weeks from that period. – The circumstances under the above particulars will appear we satisfactory to you & as when we were aware of Mr Withers Indisposition we did not conceive it necessary to report as a renewal of his Petition for leave was made, or about to be transmitted.


11 July 1826                  We have to report that on the 8 Inst. between 11 & 12 o’clock at night John Cushen and James Resuggan Boatman assisted by Richard Holbrook a Glut Tide Waiter of this Port, seized from the premises of one “James Stag” of Calbourne one Tub or Cask of Brandy containing about 3 Gallons, which was seen taken out of the Dwelling House of Stag – and two other Tubs or Casks of Foreign Brandy containing about 5 Galls. which were discovered concealed in a hole covered with Faggots about 5 Yards from the Dwelling House of Stag.

The person who had possession of the single Tub of Spirits escaped pursuit and it not known.

We respectfully beg your Honors order for Prosecution against James Stag at the Crowns Charges.


16 July 1826                  Pursuant to your directions contained in letter of 3rd March Ult. directing us to report specially on the case of William Miller, Tidewaiter at the expiry of six months, we have to state that he appears to be the same in point of unfitness for the Service as reported in our last return of the “Names, Ages, Capacities & Abilities of the several Officers belonging to the Port” dated 15 January Ult. viz. “Appearing at times to be a little out of his mind and dirty”. We have to remark that this man is so notoriously filthy in his person that neither threat nor mild remonstration seem to have any weight with him & vermin are very frequently seen upon him. His Superannuation we submitted on our last return, and which we do again very respectfully.


25 July 1826                  The 24 Instant about 10 pm John Jarvis Chief Boatman and Parkinson Boatman attached to the Coast Guard Station East Cowes took from the person of Elizabeth Taylor, one Jar containing about one quart of Foreign Brandy, we have particularly to state that the offender is a well known notorious Character and carries on a Smuggling Trade in conjunction with other females in the neighbourhood.

We submit the Expediency of your Honorable Boards Order for prosecution under 45 or 50 Sec 6 Geo 4 Ch 108 at Crowns Charges. [She was convicted in the Penalty of £100, mitigated to £25 and given one week to pay, failing which she would be committed to Winchester Gaol. Payment was not made and she was committed to Gaol.]

26 July 1826                  On the 25 Instant about 8 pm John Saunders was captured by Jacob Leale a Boatman attached to the Tide Surveyors Crew at this Port with four Bladders containing about 1 Gallon and 5/8 Gallon Foreign Geneva concealed around his body & in his Flat. The said John Saunders has been sent to Newport Bridewell to await being before the Magistrates Saturday next and beg your Order for prosecution. The Offender is not a Seafaring Man. [He was prosecuted to conviction & in default of payment of the Penalty, £100, was sent to Winchester Goal.]


25 August 1826             We have to transmit the inclosed letter from Mr Cass Warehousekeeper at this Port praying with reference to your letter of the 18 inst. in which the Honorable Board have been pleased to deem him as incapable of performing the duties of his Office – that he may be placed as such on a Retired Allowance – in the last Ages and Capacities he was ‘Well disposed and steady but can’t be depended on in an emergency’ and we then submitted his officiating at Yarmouth in the room of Mr Withers. We very respectfully lay before you for your favourable consideration the petition of Mr Cass and we are convinced that he can never be employed as a Land Waiter or otherwise in Distress cases, of which in the autumn and winter we have many.

Letter from Mr Cass       The Collector and Controller at this Port have communicated the substance of your Honors Order of 18 Inst. by which your Honors decree on Mr Surveyor General Manning’s report my Insufficiency as Bookkeeper in my original appointment in the Bonded Warehouse Department at this Port, which is dated 2 January 1810, as no complaint of culpable neglect attaches to my conduct, I humbly my being thus circumstanced will in your Honors view justify my appeal, which is that your Honors will be pleased to recommend to the Lords of the Treasury my being placed on the retired list of Officers.


2 September 1826         On the within Petition of William Skeats praying restoration of the Boat seized by the Tide Surveyor of this Port on 12 May Ultimo and reported in our Letters to your Honorable Board of the same date and 7 July Ultimo that we feel quite satisfied that “David Saunders” the owner was not connected directly or indirectly in the transaction which led to the capture of the Boat. We respectfully beg to say also that we now have reason to believe that David Saunders has long left off all Smuggling transactions, and that he has for some years only engaged in honest pursuits for maintaining and supporting his family. The Prayer of the present Petitioner is therefore respectfully submitted.


8 September 1826         The arrangement proposed viz. that Mr Cass be moved to Yarmouth to officiate in the room of Mr Withers & that Mr W be transferred to Cowes will not be attended with any additional expenditure to the Crown except the trifling costs of the removal of the respective Officers. [The Collector recommended continuation of these moves in December 1826.]


13 September 1826       On the within Petition of Elizabeth Caws praying to be released from Winchester Gaol, we have to say that we have no Official Record on our Books showing the said Elizabeth Caws as having been prosecuted and committed under Customs – we presume the case in Question must have been an Excise one.


15 September 1826       We beg to say that the Smack “New Eagle” is one of those Vessels particularly mentioned in our report of 5 July Ult. made in obedience to your Order of 26 May Ult., and therefore as it appears that she is a Notorious Smuggler, or employed systematically in the Contraband Trade, we cannot offer any Remark favorable for the present applicant, Henry Caws.


11 October 1826            On the 9 inst. at about ½ p 8 am Thomas Wood was captured by John Agar and Peter Brownsea Commissioned Boatmen of the Coast Guard service for carrying a flagon of ½ gallon of Brandy in or near Bouldnor Bite in the neighbourhood of Newtown within this Port and has been conveyed to Newport Bridewell for next Saturdays hearing before the Magistrates the 14 inst. We cannot say whether the said Wood is a seafaring man or not having received any information on the point from the Officers of the Coast Guard, but we suspect he is not.

We have also to report that on the 6 inst. about ½ past 11 pm James Toogood, Charles Bright and John Tucker were captured by Robert Gunner of the Rose Revenue Cruizer who had put off from the Cruizer in the chase of three men then towing a raft of Spirits & had first left the vessel Albion in her boat and in which boat they were taken. The quantity of spirits Seized was 158 gallons of Brandy in 49 Casks and 91 gallons of Geneva in 29 casks. The boat has been seized and the Albion retained with Geo. Breed, owner who was on board at the time. We have to remark this is the vessel for which Geo. Breed and Edward Corke, Pilots, and made the Trinity House petition to your Honorable Board to have her Licence extended and which in your letter 5 ult. was so done for six months. We are also with regard to them uncertain as to their being fit and able for Naval Service, but suspect they are seafaring men. 2 forms of Information would be desirable therefore to carry on the prosecution.  


16 October 1826            Further to your Orders of the 10 and 11 Inst. we caused Joseph Jackman and Charles Bright, James Toogood and John Tucker to be prosecuted before the Magistrates – in respect to the former Joseph Jackman – he was acquitted in consequence of proof not having been given that he had a Tub of Spirits – with regard to the latter persons, they were also discharged, as it did not appear satisfactorily to the Bench, that they were towing, or had possession of 78 Tubs of foreign Spirits


27 October 1826            Pursuant to your order of 22 ult., I proceeded to Atherfield Station and inspected the premises occupied by the Coast Guard; there is no public way or road by which access to the cottages in question and the only one over which the Officers use for the approach thereto are foot paths. With reference to your query above, I must conclude that the ways which have been used by the Coast Guard may fairly be considered as coming within the clause of the lease mentioned by Mr Shackary in his report of 21 ult. I beg here to respectfully to refer to the memo ‘at the foot of their plan’ and to repeat, that if it is the wisdom of your Honorable Board you might think it proper that an annual Rent be paid for occupation of the Premises - I would submit that 4£ per annum for the cart road without any regard to repairs for their land and 10£ as compensation for the damage hitherto done. Mr Sewell of Newport who is the Steward for the Manor under Mrs Russell and who I have consulted on the occasion demanded 5£ and 15£ for damages and I also beg to transmit a letter from Mr Grimes, a respectable Farmer in the neighbourhood by which you will perceive that in his estimation the yearly damage should not be considered less than 10 £. [This related to the building of a road to the Coast Guard Station.]


30 October 1826            To the Honorable Commissioners of his Majesties Customs, London

The Petition of William Caws of Bembridge in the Isle of Wight, Mariner.

 Humbly Sheweth

That your Petitioner has been bred a Pilot and Fisherman and has lately to enable him to pursue such business purchased a sloop called the Industry of Cowes of the berthen of 15 48/94 Tons per Register.

That he make application for a Licence to enable him to go to the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey when Oyster Dredging is carried on to a considerable extent by British vessels, and for which purpose he has fitted the said vessel with Drags and the other necessary gear. But your Honors have thought fit to limit the navigation of the vessel to a distance not exceeding four leagues from the shore.

Your Petitioner most humbly states that being confined to a distance not exceeding four leagues from the shore will render his vessel useless to him the greater part of the year, she is calculated and fitted expressly for the Oyster fishery on the coasts of the above Islands and in the Mackeral season for that fishery in the Channel which is usually at a distance of about eight leagues from the shore.

Your petitioner further states that he was never convicted of a smuggling or of being concerned therein, that he is known to Customs Officers Stationed at Bembridge, that he has no intention of employing the vessel in any contraband trade and he therefore prays he may be allowed in addition to the limits of the said Licence to go to the aforesaid Islands to fish for Oysters and in the Mackeral season to fish in the Channel to the distance of 8 Leagues from the British coast.

Bembridge, Port of Cowes. 25th Oct. 1826                      William X Cawes, his mark


1 November 1826          On the within Petition of William Caws praying that his licence for the Industry of Cowes may be extended etc. we have to say that on the Certificate from the Tide Surveyor transmitted for the purpose of obtaining such a Licence, was remarked what we here beg to repeat viz. that the said vessel, which originally belonged to G Loosemore and who we reported as a reputed smuggler was transferred to Wm. Cawes – as a cloak for illicit transactions – Wm. Caws has not been concerned in smuggling but, - the said G Loosemore is a noted character as a smuggler and is one of those engaged in the affair in which the Bembridge Coast Guard party were particularly concerned, ordered for prosecution 16 ult.

Since writing the above the Chief Boatman of the Bembridge Coast Guard party has given us information that the ‘Industry’ is gone to sea and supposed to have sailed for Cherbourg; - and that the said Wm Cawes is now strongly suspected of being concerned in smuggling.

13 November 1826        Agreeable to your Order of the 10 Inst. we caused James & Thomas Callaway to be prosecuted before the Magistrates. James was acquitted – but Thomas Callaway was found guilty & committed to Winchester Gaol in default of payment of the Penalty.


14 November 1826        Enclosed we transmit an Account of 58 Casks containing 1933 Galls. Brandy & 1659 Galls. of Geneva which is now shipped on board the Medina William Shepard Master for London addressed to the Warehousekeeper of Excise St Catherines Wharf Wapping to whom an Account is also sent likewise one to the Accountant of Petty Receipts.


27 November 1826        On reference to the Tide Surveyor at this Port we find that James Resuggan, Boatman, indebted to the amount of between 40£ and 50£ and that he has appeared before the Court of Requests to pay different debts by weekly instalments but that notwithstanding this when called upon by Creditors he treated with contempt his conduct towards them we believe from reports frequently marked with insolence – we will if you please stop a certain sum say at the rate of about 1£ per month from his day pay and salary – his character is certainly a very indifferent one and may be said to be a disgrace to this Port – we respectfully beg reference to our report on this Officer made in our letter of 27 April ult. and at the same time to remark that we have no reason to think better of him.


27 November 1826        On the Petition of Elizabeth Taylor praying to be released from Winchester Gaol, we have to say that she was prosecuted to conviction in the Mitigated Penalty of 25£ before the Magistrates at Newport on the 12 August last. Elizabeth Taylor had not to our knowledge been convicted of Smuggling – but she was suspected very strongly of having in conjunction with another woman carrying on Smuggling trade in Spirits for some time prior to her apprehension. [A note at the foot of the entry says that the Petition was rejected.]


12 December 1826        We have to report that on the 9 Instant between 4 & 5 o’clock am John Agar a Commissioned Boatman in the Coast Guard Service at Newtown saw seven Men in Hampstead Field parish of Shalfleet blaze off a fire of furze, that he immediately on the sight of a signal on the coast being made pursued the party assisted by John Taylor, an Extra Man in the Coast Guard Service. On the fugitive Party, who were not lost sight of, arriving at Hampstead Gate one of them named Dove was secured and has been lodged in Newport Bridewell against the hearing of the case which will take place before the Magistrates on Saturday next. We therefore pray your Honors order for prosecuting.


14 December 1826        We enclose a petition from John Hunter Coal Meter at this Port praying for 14 days leave of absence from 18 Instant.

We have no reason to state any objection to the present Prayer, except that by your Order of 12 Instant the said John Hunter is ordered to proceed to the Port of Dover as Boatman in the room of Elson, Superannuated, otherwise we respectfully submit the leave of absence for your consideration.


15 December 1826        We have to report that Mr Smith of Ryde bought of Mrs Judith Bascombe of Binstead on 14 Inst. one pint of foreign Smuggled Brandy for which he paid 1/6 which he delivered to this Office. The person of whom the Spirits was purchased keeps a notorious (frequently called) Pop Shop & deals is Smuggled Spirits. Whether it was thro’ fear or otherwise we can’t determine, for the motive of the Informant. All the parties are known & can be easily got at should your Honors see fit, under the above to issue Orders for the said Judith Bascombe to be Summonsed.


18 December 1826        Pursuant to your order or 13 Instant we caused Daniel Dove to be taken before Two Justices the 16 Inst. as directed by the 52 Sect 6 Geo 4 Ch 108 who saw sufficient cause from the evidence brought against him by John Agar & John Taylor in the Coast Guard service to commit him to the Count Gaol for making fire on the Coast as a signal to Smugglers and the said Daniel Dove was committed accordingly.


19 December 1826        Relative to the within Petition of 6 of the Tidewaiters at this Port praying relief from your Honorable Board in consequence of your Order of 8 August last we have to say that ever since the commencement of the said Order there has been little or no employ for them and we conclude that they are, as they have stated, in the greatest distress.

Perhaps we may safely suggest the expedience of removing 2 of these 6, this step will afford more work to the remaining 4 men – but we cannot venture to recommend a greater reduction, as even this might be attended with much inconvenience, particularly as this season of the Year when in General this Port has 15 to 20 Vessels in the Harbour requiring the constant attention of these Officers.

Should your Honorable Board in its wisdom see fit under the very peculiar circumstances of this Port to grant to the Tidewaiters an additional salary or increase thereto and to make a trifling reduction in their Day Pay we conceive it would be very satisfactory to the Officers.


6 January 1827              In reporting agreeable to you direction of 2 January instant, the Petition of John Saunders of Newtown, the tenor of which appears to be attested by Sir Richard Barrett, Sir Richard Simeon and other Magistrates and Gentlemen of the place of the greatest respectability, we have to say in confirmation of out letter of 7 July that we now believe the responsible person who entered into Bond viz. John Saunders and David Saunders – were not concerned in the smuggling transaction which lead to the seizure of the boat in Newtown – we respectfully beg a reference to our report on this affair viz. 12 May ult. together with that of the Seizing Officer the Tide Surveyor and 7 July following and to your letter 12 September following, by which it would appear that your orders have been issued that proceedings upon the Bond should be stayed in regard to ‘David Saunders’.

Subsequent to the date of our first letter viz. 12 May – above alluded to – circumstances and facts transpired which made no request confirming the report of the Seizing Officer, Mr R Stephens, the Tide Surveyor of the same date, written and convinced with perfect satisfaction of the Truth of what he relates and that zeal for the Service for which he is known and we in consequence our relief to your Honorable Board of the innocence of the party explained in our letter of 7 July last accompanied with a letter from Mr Hearn, one of those that signed the present petition.

Under the circumstances your Honors may see fit to recommend restoration of the said boat and remission of the Penalty.


18 January 1827            Agreeable to your Honors order of 11th inst., we herewith transmit a statement of the ages and length of service of the Tidewaiters at this Port shewing also specimens of their hand writing and we beg to say in regard to their qualifications that they all can all keep their accounts as required by Tidewaiters but it appears to us that Henry Peele and Thomas Green and George Hemmings are three of the best charactered men that we have of this class of Officer and all eligible for the Port of Liverpool. Henry Peele is a competent and very steady Officer and rather superior for such a situation, he has a regular salary and has but little employ in his capacity as Tidewaiter at this Port, is 29 years and was appointed in January 1819. Thomas Green is both steady and attentive, is 47 years of age and was appointed in September 1810. George Hemming is both steady and attentive, is 26 years of age and was appointed in September 1821.

Specimens of signatures:

Henry Peele

James Sammes

Thomas Green

John Ralph

William Miller

William Meads

George Hemmings

N B The Tidewaiter John Cushen is employed constantly and has been for nearly 16 years in the Tidesurveyors Boat and George Woodrow, Tidewaiter is employed as messenger at the Custom House. These 2 with the above 7 constitute the whole of the Tidewaiters at this Port.


18 January 1827    In compliance with your Order of 20 March 1820 on the state of Trade of this Port, the Charges of Management & of the possibility of any reduction within the Security of the Revenue – we report there has been a small increase in duties of about £104 & little variation in the Imports & Exports of the Port but rather an increase in Coasting Business, no reduction in Officers can with any safety be made. In the comparative Statement of Day Pay is found a decrease in consequence of not boarding Transient Ships of £87 – 0 – 6. The item of Tradesmens Bills has increased by £8 – 7 – 3 which has arisen from additional casual repairs.

We have also to report that whenever there has been Public Business transacting on the Quay we have regularly visited and invariably found the Officers employed at their posts & strictly attentive to their Duties.


26 January 1827            On the enclosed Petition of Elizabeth Taylor, we have to say, that this person was prosecuted to conviction before the Magistrates at Newport on the 12th August, pursuant to your Order 2nd of the same month, and in default of Mitigated Penalty, she was committed to Winchester Gaol. We have no means immediately of ascertaining, the Truth of that part of the Petitioners Statement relating to her illness, and the attention given to her in consequence by Dr. Lyford; - but should your Honorable Board see fit to call for confirmation of the fact, we respectfully be a reference may be made to the Collector & Comptroller at Southampton.


7 February 1827            With reference to your General Order of 12 July last, relative to the discontinuance of the employment of Extramen – we have to report that the business of this port, requires at this moment and will continue so to require for some time to come the constant attendance of the whole of the Officers and Clerks from upon the Establishment, Transient vessels have arrived and in consequence of the duty publicly to be discharged, we have been under the necessity of employing two Extra Men, and shall be obliged to employ four more, which we trust will be sanctioned by your Honorable Board agreeable to the Tenor of the above alluded to in the General Order.


21 February 1827           In obedience to your Order we report that the No. of Glutmen employed is 8 at present whose Duties have been on board Transient Vessels & including one who has been employed on the Tidesurveyors Boat in the room of Leale who has acted as Tidesurveyor during the absence of Mr Stephens ordered to London on Public Business and afterwards on leave for 3 days from 19 Inst.

The whole of the Established Tidewaiters of this Port have been employed with the exception of one in a Warehouse on board Vessels guarding or delivering Cargoes. The Boatman are constantly in the Boat & Watch House.


22 February 1827           In pursuance to your order 25 ult. directing us to cause the enclosed advertisement to be published in the provincial papers for the space of a month and offering a Reward of £50 for the apprehension of those concerned in assaulting Lieut. Arnold, Commanding the Coast Guard Station at Atherfield and we have to report that the said order has been fully complied with but our endeavours therein have not been attended with any desired result. We respectfully beg to say that in consequence of a personal communication that the Collector has had with one of the Magistrates as well as with the Justices Clerk at Newport on the above affair we are persuaded that if the Officer of the Coast Guard Service were ordered to make Immediate Intelligence of any assaults committed on them by smugglers directly to the Justices Clerks Office or through the Collector and Comptroller of the Port.

[Published in the Hampshire Telegraph of 29 January 1827

CUSTOM HOUSE, LONDON. 25th January 1827

Whereas it has been represented to the Commissioner’s of his Majesty’s Customs that about half past ten o’clock on the night of Saturday 30th ult. Lieut. Arnold, of the Atherfield Coast Guard Station, in the Isle of Wight, fell in with a body of Smugglers, to the number of fifty or more, coming up the Cliffs, many of whom were armed with bludgeons, and were assembled for the purpose of running uncustomed Goods; and that some of the said Smugglers attacked him with their bludgeons, and very much disabled his right hand, and otherwise ill-treated him.

The said Commissioners, in order to bring the said Offenders to justice, are hereby pleased to offer a Reward of FIFTY POUNDS to any person or persons who shall discover, or cause to be discovered, any one or more of the said Offenders, so that he or they may be apprehended and dealt with according to law: to be paid by the Collector of His Majesty’s Customs at Cowes upon Conviction.

By Order of the Commissioners, T.WHITMORE, Secretary.]


22 February 1827           We beg to crave the usual annual allowance of £4 for Rent of an Office for the Principal Coast Waiter at Yarmouth within this Port due 7 November last. The date of the last Order from your Honorable Board for payment of the above Rent was dated 7 January 1826. 


4 March 1827                We have to report that in consequence of Mr Thorold, the Landing Surveyor, being confined to his house by gout and Mr Alford, the Landing Waiter, being subpoenaed on a trial to Winchester and Mr John Withers, Coastwaiter and acting Land Waiter being also confined at home by gout, we have been under the responsibility of ordering Mr Edward Leigh, Coastwaiter at Newport, to repair hither and Jas. Sammes, a Tidewaiter and trusty Officer to proceed to Newport in lieu of Mr Leigh, in consequence of the business of the Port.

We beg to say that 3 or 4 vessels about immediately to come into the Harbour to land under Distress Warrants, one the Sophie from the West Indies with Coffee will begin to discharge first thing tomorrow morning. Under the above the above circumstances we trust that our arrangements will be approved by your Honourable Board.


6 March 1827                We report that in consequence of fresh cases of Distress coming into this Port, we have been under the necessity of making the following arrangements (besides those reported in our letter of 4 inst. in which we stated the unavoidable absence of Mr Thorold and Mr Alford) viz. Mr Cass ordered to Cowes to superintend discharge of Cargoes and Robert Miller (who on a former occasion was permitted for a time to act as Coast Waiter and who is a trustworthy Officer) ordered to repair to Yarmouth in the room of Mr Cass as a temporary measure.


12 March 1827               The item No.1 is for the hire from Cowes to Southampton, 15/- is the regular charge, the Tide Surveyor states he had not time from the lateness of the subpoena to proceed to London 2 o’clock in the afternoon and the mail leaving at ½ past four to get ready to go by her, he was in consequence obliged to hire a vessel. Item No. 2 for boatage and porterage, the regular charge for embarking and disembarking is 2d each way, porterage depends on the quantity of baggage the passenger takes with him. Item No. 3 be a charge of £1 – 18 – 0 for the coach from Southampton to London, we believe this is the inside charge made by the Mail. Item 4 Coachman and Guard 6d depends on the generosity of the passenger, as some give 1/- others none, the aforegoing remarks we beg to submit. Item No. 8 charged 15/- from Southampton to Cowes, we cannot see any reason the Tide Surveyor to hire a vessel, when the mail vessel leaves Southampton 2 hours after the arrival of the mail coach at that place, and by which conveyance it appears that the Tide Surveyor returned.


28 March 1827               On the 27 Inst. about ½ past 9 in the evening “Peter Dyer” was captured by John Hammond, Commissioned Boatman, Bembridge, under the command of W B Borham for throwing out of a small Boat belonging to Dyer called the Fox  6 Casks Foreign Spirits and 8 Bags Tea about 200 yards off Bembridge Point.

The seizing officer has just stated that Peter Dyer is fit for the Navy but to avoid any mistake, we would submit that 2 forms of Information may be forward for this Man’s prosecution before the Magistrates at Newport Saturday next 31 Instant, the one as fit and able for the Navy and the other being for the Penalty of £100. [Dyer was sent on board the Victory Man of War at Portsmouth, and his Boat Fox seized.]


6 April 1827                   We are under the painful necessity of acquainting your Honors that Mr Hastings return from London, on the 3 instant, from his Leave of Absence has been delayed as he was very ill with a fever that has confined him to his bed and by the reports we have received from his medical attendant this morning is unlikely to return to Duty for some time. We have under the particular circumstances solicit your Honors Boards permission to employ an additional Clerk for one month or longer should it prove necessary, being at the present time very full of business and having many accounts to make out. The business has been carried on since Mr Hastings left by W. Smith and Burridge, the only Clerks on the establishment at the Port, W. Smith acting for the Collector during the time and which will be continued we trust satisfactorily to your Honors should they think fit to approve of the service. [He appears to have returned by the 1st May. The letter was signed by William Smith.]

17 April 1827                 Inclosed we transmit an application from Mr Richard Cass, Warehouse Keeper at this Port, but now performing the Duty of Coast Waiter at Yarmouth in the room of Mr John Withers, who is doing the Duty of Warehouse Keeper and Assistant Landing Waiter at Cowes as directed by your Honors Order 22 September last and confirmed by your subsequent Order of 30 December 1826.

Praying that he may be allowed to tender his Resignation to which we have no objection to offer.  [This letter was signed by William Smith.]


21 April 1827                 On the within Petition of Robert Dore praying for the Restoration of his Vessel Ann – now under Seizure at Weymouth on the payment of £100 and stating his ignorance of the Transaction and the confirmation of such by three of the Crew – now in Dorchester Gaol – we have to remark that the Ann has long had the reputation of being a Smuggling Vessel, and though Robert Dore, the Owner, lives at Yarmouth, and keeps a Public House, yet he must have known of the pursuit of the said Vessel when she was engaged in a Smuggling Transaction.

The Ann is valued at £250 and is 12 years old – on the Certificate of Dore’s Character as an Honest, Sober & Industrious Man – we have nothing to say – the Signatures are most reputable, all of which is most respectfully submitted. [This letter was signed by William Smith.]


24 April 1827                 In obedience to your Honors Order 15 November 1824 directing us to report our opinion on the state of Smuggling at this Port, we have to remark that since our last report 24 October Smugling in the Isle of Wight has been on the decline the cause of which we believe to be the necessity of Licenses to go Foreign and some of the principal Smugglers having been captured. We are not aware of the necessity of employing any more force than there is already, which is quite sufficient. [This letter was signed by William Smith.]


24 April 1827                 In obedience to your Honors Order of 21 Inst. accepting the Resignation of Mr Cass the Warehouse Keeper at this Port at this Port who since 23 September last has been performing the Duties of Coast Waiter at Yarmouth within this Port & Mr Withers the Coast Waiter there performing his Duties there, we beg to submit for your Honors Information our opinion of the Expediency of filling up the said Vacancy, in the mean while we have sent a trusty Tidewaiter to perform the Duties of the Coast Waiter at Yarmouth until further notice.

Should your Honors decide to fill the Vacancy we would humbly submit that the person sent to Cowes should be instructed to perform the Duties of Warehouse Keeper Land & Coast Waiter and Mr Withers who is very much afflicted by Gout (having been confined to his House with that complaint 50 days) should return to his original appointment as Coast Waiter at Yarmouth, it being impossible for one Waterside Officer to carry out the Business of this Port – having only last Quarter been compelled to call in auxiliary aid, even with two Officers at the Waterside besides a Land Surveyor, which was approved by your Honors. Mr Cass’s salary was £100, Mr Withers Coast Waiter Yarmouth £60 on the Establishment. [This letter was signed by William Smith.]


27 April 1827                 We herewith forward a letter from the Tide Surveyor stating that that on his visiting the Ship in the Harbour on the morning of the 24 Inst. he found William Meades an Established Tide Waiter who was boarded on the Danish Brig Fortune discharging a Cargo of Coffee from St Thomas under a Distress Warrant in a state of Intoxication and therefore suspended him from Duty.

We beg to lay the fact before your Honorable Board, at the same time we also respectfully call your attention to the latter part of the Tide Surveyors Official Communication to us, and we take the opportunity of saying, that we are inclined to believe that Mr Meades getting intoxicated was quite accidental as he has always been considered a sober steady Officer, but not an active one.

The Man is quite afflicted and appears quite sorry for the offence, therefore should it meet with the approbation of your Honorable Board we will severely reprimand him, and allow him again to be put on Duty. [This letter was signed by William Smith.]


1 May 1827                   We very respectfully submit the report of the Tide Surveyor of this Port who is the Seizing Officer of the two bags of Coffee found secreted on board the “Fortune” Danish Vessel and it appears that after the Cargo had been discharged in order to enable the necessary Repairs to be affected no notice whatever either by the Mate or Master was made to the Tide Surveyor of the circumstances of any more goods being on board – we called for the Master of the Fortune for the Manifest & Bills of Lading – and it appears that he ought to have had 771 Bags of Coffee on board. There were 667 Bags of Coffee landed & Warehoused under the Distress Warrant.


9 May 1827                   Enclosed we transmit the enclosed Account of Expenses incurred by the Coast Guard for your consideration and order for payment:

No. 1

From John Agar in conveying Thomas Woods to Newport Gaol 9th October 1826


No. 2

From D Ablett in conveying – do – with John Agar  – do –   – do –   – do


No. 3

From John Taylor relative to his being subpoenaed for trial at Winchester Assizes and his actual expenses therein


No. 4

From John Agar – do –   – do –   – do –   – do –


No. 4

From W Boreham – for expenses incurred from 30th Sept. ult. to March last in conveying Smugglers to Newport and attend trials by several of the Coast Guard Offices and Expenses incurred in attending Winchester Assizes etc,

£12 – 11 – 2


From  – do –  for expenses incurred by himself and men in attending at Newport for the prosecution of Peter Dyer before the Magistrates March last.

£3 – 2 – 6

No. 6

From  – do –  for expenses incurred by himself and men in attending at Newport for the prosecution of Js. Southcott April last.

£3 – 3 – 0



£28 –1 –11


10 May 1827                 In reply to your letter of 5 Inst. desiring us to explain more particularly the circumstances upon which our observations are founded regarding the capacity of William Miller and to state how long he has appeared in his present position – we beg to say that our observations were founded particularly upon the Reports of the Outdoor Officers i.e. Landing Surveyor & Tide Surveyor which were frequently communicated (in the conveying of our Inquiries respecting him) – and that he appears to labour under a Mental failing, - for many years past he has been considered as a “discreditable Officer” in dress & appearance / from 1823. / We therefore conceived that such an Officer was not fit for the Discharge of the important Duties of a Tidewaiter and reported accordingly.


16 May 1827                 With reference to your letter of the 1st Inst. wherein you direct us to confer with the Inspecting Commander and report as to the necessity of retaining possession of the Watch House at Atherfield for the Coast Guard Service, – we have to say that we yesterday had the opportunity of so doing and the result of our personal communication was that it appeared to us highly probable that there would be no necessity of retaining said Watch House – that with the sanction of your Honorable Board very little alteration – breaking open a Door Way in the Old or Original Store or Watch House – the Watch House attached to that Building will then answer every purpose required for the Service – we therefore have desired Estimates to be made to be made out for such proposed Works to be completed & then should such meet with your Sanction we think that the present Watch House need no longer be retained by the Crown which will be a savings of £5 a year besides a continual expense of repairs. [This appears to result from continuing access problems to the Atherfield Watch House.]


25 May 1827                 In respect of Bill No. 17 being a Charge of 15/- for Horse & Cart hired for the Conveyance of T Cook of the Coast Guard Service from Chilton Farm near Freshwater to Newport – transmitted with our Bills in our letter of the 8th Inst. – we have to remark that such Expense was necessarily incurred; - for had not the Man received Surgical Aids – as we are informed his life might have been placed in danger – the Cart was necessary therefore in the first instance and after Cook’s Hand had been dressed the Surgeon at Newport declare that without Cook being near him for the purpose of his dressing he would not answer for the consequences – therefore the hire of the chaise attended to in our report on the Inspecting Commanders Crave for the expense of the same to be allowed (subsequently Ordered to be paid) – was Necessary – at the time the Inspecting Commander sent away the Bill for the Chaise hire the Cart hire had not been received by him.


29 May 1827                 We have to report that about 6 o’clock am on the 25th Instant Lawrence Wells of the Coast Guard Station at Shanklin under the command of Lieut. Moffatt R.N. captured one William Newberry in the act of assisting in the unshipping or hauling on shore 94 Tubs of Foreign Spirits near Sandown in the Parish of Brading. – He the said William Newberry was that same Morning taken to Newport & the hearing before the Magistrates was fixed for the following day – there was no time consequently to obtain an Order for Prosecution from your Honorable Board – but the Man was convicted of the Offence in the full Penalty & for non payment has been Committed to Winchester Gaol.


30 May 1827                 We have to report that on Sunday Evening last 27th Instant about ½ past 9 the Barque “Melville” Walter William Purdy Master – of London British built about 300 Tons with 15 men bound from Jamaica laden with Hhds. of Sugar, Rum, Logwoods, Spars – was wrecked on this Island near Rocken End in the neighbourhood of Atherfield – the Information was received by us on Monday Morning following – when the Collector immediately repaired to the Spot – on his arrival he found very great exertion had already been made by the Officers & men of the Coast Guard Service under the joint influence of Lieut. Arnold of Atherfield Station & Lieut. Franklin of the St Lawrence Station – for the protection of the property then landed consisting of Puncheons of Rum – every possible disposition was then arranged before the Collector left the place, when all was going as well as could be expected under the many difficulties that presented themselves particularly from the nature of the Coast. Mr Burridge, the Controllers 2nd Clerk was left on the Spot – he returned yesterday evening, with an account that very little of the Sugar will be saved, only 4 out of 462 Hhds., 24 bags of Pimento already have been secured, but it is hoped that all of this part of the Cargo will be rescued from the water – the materials (or most of them) will be saved, but the Hull will be lost – Directions have been Issued & Arrangements made for getting as soon as possible the Cargo saved under Kings Locks at West Cowes.


31 May 1827                 In pursuance of your order of the 10th Inst. on reference to your Order directing us to call on the owners of the Medina for the amount of the damage sustained by that Coasting Vessel on 11 November last. We made application accordingly calculating 123 Gls. Brandy & 39 Gls. Geneva lost @ 2/6 per Gl. Amounting to £20 – 5 – 6. We herewith transmit their answer to the application wishing to await the result of a Memorial addressed to your Honorable Board on the subject and also their Memorial together with an Affidavit from the Master & Mate of said Vessel in which they beg the favorable consideration of your Honorable Board, the Petition seems to rest on the casks being weak although admitted to have been shipped & stowed in good order and says that the accident occurred from that Circumstance. – The Affidavit from the Master & Mate tends to show that the loss on their part was unavoidable & that it was not occasioned by Plunder. We have not anything further to submit than the recapitulation of the owners reply to our application for the amount of Damages and the Master & Mates Affidavit on the matter for consideration by your Honorable Board.


1 June 1827                  With reference to your letter of 3rd March last wherein you were pleased to approve of our proceedings relative to the employment of Extra Men as reported in our Communications and authorize payment of the usual day pay to the Men so employed – and as the period of such employ 3 Months is just expired, we, agreeable to your General Order of 12 July last, beg to, say that the Public Service of the Port requires more assistant than can be furnished from the present Establishment & therefore respectfully solicit your Honors sanction for the Employment of 6 Extra Men for one Month. We have only now 3 Established Tide Waiters to board, the Distress cases of the Port still demand the hitherto afforded assistance but we think that, at or before, the expiration of the month, the attendance of Extra Men may not be required.


11 June 1827                 We have to report that about ½ past 9 pm on the 9th Inst. John Thomas & Thomas Sealy Boatmen attached to the Coast Guard Station at Freshwater seized a Tub of Foreign Geneva containing about 3 Gallons from Mary Jackman, Wife of David Jackman in a Field near Farringford in the Parish of Freshwater. She was the next morning carried to Newport and the Magistrates there sent her to Bridewell for the hearing fixed for the following day Saturday 9th Inst. – The said Mary Jackman was prosecuted to Conviction and in default of the payment of the Penalty inflicted (£100) by the Magistrates was sent to Winchester Gaol.

P S We deem it our duty to say that the Magistrates in Pronouncing Judgement on the within mentioned Mary Jackman remarked to the effect that she was a fit Object of Leniency should Honorable Board be disposed to extend it to her. – They were satisfied – of the Fact Represented viz. that it was not a systematic trade but an entire accident of the Tubs getting into her possession – she having found the same & when seen by the Officers was carrying it away.

11 June 1827                 We have to report that on yesterday the 10th Inst. at about 7 o’clock pm Lieut. Dornford Commanding the Coast Guard Station at Freshwater in consequence of Information searched the House of James Balls of Freshwater in the Parish of Freshwater with John Taylor his Chief Boatman and found therein a Pail of Brandy containing about 3 Gls. also 1 bottle containing ¾ Pint of Brandy which were seized. James Balls is reported as a Smugler and a Seafaring Man. He was present during the seizure. We have to state that on the same afternoon about ½ past 7 or 8 Lieut. Dornford together with his Chief Boatman searched the House of James Stark a Farmer residing at Freshwater & also found therein 1 Bottle of Brandy containing about 4 Pints also a large case Bottle containing rather more than a Quart which were seized, but Mrs Balls Mother of the above named James Balls and who is Housekeeper to the said James Stark resisted Lieut. Dornford & his Chief Boatman and in the struggle or contest for the prize contrived to break both the Bottles. The contents of the large case fell into a crock of pickled Pork. The crock with the spirits has been secured.

James Stark was present, no resistance on his part appears to had been made.

We respectfully submit the necessity of prosecuting the parties concerned and request your authority for doing so accordingly.

3 July 1827                   In pursuance of your Orders of the 12th June we caused John Dore of Yarmouth to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport. – the hearing of the case took place Saturday last the 30th Ultimo; the Offence for which John Dore stood charged was clearly proved but on the grounds that the back Kitchen in which the Spirits were found belonged to another as well as to John Dore the Magistrates thought fit to acquit him.

6 July 1827                   Herewith we forward for your Honors consideration our charge against Benjamin Brown, Established Coal Meter at this Port, also his answer in which you will see that he admits to having been drunk on Duty. We have to report agreeable to your commands of 4th March 1814 that Benjamin Brown was appointed 26th May 1805 – He is now 60 years of age. We have also to state – in pursuance of your order of 27th March 1814 that the said Benjamin Brown has been charged 3 times for similar offences.

We have further to state that in consequence of Mr Rayner, the Coal Merchant, having declared in this Office he could prove Brown guilty of metering short – we thought it fit to request his attendance to give answers to such questions as may be necessary on the matter – one Benjamin Groves together with Mr Lydall, the Coast Waiter at Ryde, also desired to attend. Their several examinations under oath are also transmitted for your Honors consideration. [Brown was dismissed 12 July 1827.]

6 July 1827                   With reference to your letter of the 5th inst. wherein you are pleased to direct us to call on Mr Thorold the Land Surveyor at this Port to state whether he feels himself competent in addition to those of his present Office to carry out the Duties of Controller and if not to state the grounds of his incompetence.  We have to report that we immediately called on Mr Thorold accordingly who declared himself competent to undertake the additional Duties of Controller.

13 July 1827                  Pursuant to your Order of Yesterday we have made the necessary communication with Benjamin Brown late Coal Meter of this Establishment & have called in his Commission & Instructions which we shall not fail to transmit to your Honorable Board in the usual manner.

Upon the above circumstances we have to report that there is another Vacancy in the Establishment of Coal Meters for the Port. – We have but 3 now for the employ, one of whom John Urry, is suspended & charged for Gross Misconduct.

We submit the necessity of the Vacancies being immediately filled up.

16 July 1827                  With reference to your letter of the 12th Inst directing us to Report further whether William Miller has improved in his conduct & habits since our last return, we have to state that agreeable to the Return of Officers Ages & Capabilities transmitted to your Honorable Board on 11th Inst. for Half year ended 5th Inst. – we deemed said Mr Miller as having lately improved in his Conduct Appearance &c. and under that impression (& being at the time much distressed for a Coal Meter) we directed a Coal warrant to him for discharge of the Cargo – but on Saturday last his former odd & incoherent Manner seemed to have returned, upon him & we were under the necessity of taking him from his duty & supplying his place with another Man. We respectfully submit therefore that we conceive it would be better for the Service should your Honorable Board think fit to cause him to be Superannuated as he certainly is in quite a deranged state requiring at times 2 or 3 people to hold him!!

16 July 1827                  In pursuance to your Honors Order of 21st Ult. directing James Balls to be prosecuted before the Justices on the Act 6 Geo IV C108 Sec 45 for the penalty of £100 – we have to report that the hearing of the case took place before the Magistrates last Saturday 14th Inst. The Offender was convicted with a mitigated Penalty of £25 – and agreeable to the request made by said James Balls by his Legal Adviser – the Magistrates were pleased to allow the Payment thereof to be made in the Guildhall at Newport on Saturday next the 21st Inst., security having been taken for the Security of the Body of James Balls in the event of failure of such payment. Mr Brown of Lymington, the Professional Advisor on the occasion of said James Balls told the Collector that in the event of a mitigated Penalty being inflicted, the Money would be paid & certain disclosures relative to Smuggling on the West side of the Island would be made at the same time.

23 July 1827                  We have to report that the Collector went to the Guildhall at Newport on the 21st Inst. in pursuance of the directions and arrangements made by the Magistrates on the 14th Inst. relative to James Balls case and agreeable to your letter of the 16th Inst. – when said Balls then appeared not being able to pay the Mitigated Penalty £25 – the Collector prayed his commitment whereupon Balls was accordingly committed to Winchester Gaol.

With reference to that past of our letter of the 16th Inst on the subject of certain information to be given by Balls we beg to transmit a letter from Mr Brown of Lymington together with one from Balls on certain facts against John Smith, James Smith and William Brine all of the Isle of Wight in the neighbourhood.

24 July 1827                  We have to report that on the 22nd Inst about 5 am Lieut. Moffatt R.N. Commanding the Coast Guard Station at Shanklin made a seizure of 46 Tubs of foreign Spirits found in a Cellar sunk into the Cliff about ½ mile west of the Watch House. It appears from the circumstances of James Street, who is a notorious Smugler & Seafaring Man being observed close to the cellar busily employed strewing Rubbish and Dust over certain tracks which led to the Cellar in order to conceal them, that Lieut. Moffatt was induced from the report made by John Friend, his Chief Boatman to make search when the Cellar was discovered. Lieut. Moffatt went immediately to James Street’s House and found in his Bed Room 1 Flagon of foreign Brandy containing rather more than a Gallon, 1 Quart of Geneva together with about 12 lbs Tea all of which were secreted in the Bed Room. J Street was present at the time of the seizure.

In a room immediately contiguous to the room, the door of which was open at the time were two other men John Jobling of Bonchurch, a Seafaring Man and Joseph Moore alias Coleman a well known character in the Smugling Trade of Steephill not a Seafaring Man. These men we must presume have privy to the Smugling Transaction discovered in the House of Street. The Mother of said John Street made some slight resistance against Lieut. Moffatt, she lives in the same House, is a married woman, her Husband John was absent at the time of the discovery. We pray for your Honors Order for prosecution and Form of Information to be exhibited before the Magistrates on Saturday next. [James Street was convicted of the Offence in the Penalty of £100, and as it was not paid he was sent to Goal.]

27 July 1827                  At the request of Mr Stephens, the Secretary of the Royal Yacht Club, we forward the enclosed letter from Lord Yarborough, who on his return from Gibraltar to be treated similar to a Ship of War of His Majesties service, and as he has a surgeon on board – provided there shall on his arrival be found to exist no sickness and not having any cargo, his Lordship is desirous of having his immediate release from Quarantine.

9 August 1827               We have to report that on the 3rd about ½ past 9 pm Thomas Sealy a Commissioned Boatman of the Coast Guard Service at Freshwater saw Thomas Taylor of the Parish of Freshwater engaged with 3 other Men near Farringford in the same Parish having reason to believe that the party was concerned in a smugling concern, he advanced and on getting within 20 paces of them said T Taylor gave an alarm on which some Tubs of Liquor were heard thrown on the ground and immediately a general flight and pursuit took place; 2 of the said Tubs were secured and very soon after the said Taylor was captured by Sealy who never lost sight of him from the first, the 2 Tubs proved to contain about 5 Gals foreign Brandy.

From the circumstances of Sealy not being able to declare that said Taylor had Bona fide possession of the Tubs his Commanding Officer thought it proper to let him go.

We respectfully submit whether or not said Taylor may be prosecuted before the Justices under 40 Sec 6 Geo 4 Ch 188. [Taylor was convicted in the mitigated Penalty of £25, which he paid.]

10 August 1827             With reference to your letter of 2nd Inst., we herewith agreeable thereto inclose a copy of the Registry of Baptism of George Baker nominated a Coal Meter in the room of Benjamin Brown and that the character said G B is good & has followed an honorable Course in Life in the Employment of Rope Making. He has never to our knowledge been concerned in Smuggling neither has he been in the Service of the Revenue. We attach a specimen of his hand writing - & we state that we consider said G B to be capable in all Respects for the performance of the Duties. [He took the oath of Office and was admitted to duty on 4th October.]

16 August 1827             The Petitioner James Street being confined in Winchester Gaol is in indigent circumstances, we submit the prayer of his Petition for your favorable consideration & we respectfully submit that the Collector & Controller at Southampton be ordered to issue the usual Gaol Allowance of 4½d per Day as in former similar cases.

27 August 1827             We have to report on the 25th Inst. at about 9 pm T South & J Yates Boatman of the Coast Guard Service of the Sconce Point Station Commanded by Lieut. Cruise captured one John Porter of Totland, Parish of Freshwater, Labourer, with 2 Tubs of F Brandy (containing about 6 Gallons) on his back. J Porter was in company with 4 or 5 other Men who had Tubs, but they escaped leaving the Tubs behind which were seized consisting of 8 of Brandy & one of Geneva making in all with the 2 taken from Porter 11 Casks. Total about 28 Gals. Brandy & about 3 Gals Geneva subsequently brought to the Kings Warehouse by William Smith Boatman at the Station. We have to request your Honors Order for prosecution & forms of Information & Commitment as the hearing of the case is fixed for Saturday next 1st September. J Porter has been lodged in Newport Bridewell. [He was prosecuted and convicted in the Penalty of £100 and in default of payment sent to Winchester Goal.]

29 August 1827             Agreeable to your Orders of the 14 & 22 Inst. we caused Thomas Taylor, James Trim & James Southcott to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport – Taylor was convicted in the Mitigated Penalty £25 for the payment of which the Magistrates gave him a week.

James Trim being found guilty was sentenced to serve in H.M. Navy for 5 years but in consequence of his being deaf he was rejected by the Officer on board the Victory & the Surgeon of that Ship, therefore James Trim has since been sent to Winchester Goal.

We beg here to call your Honorable Board’s attention to this case & to say – that the Offender Trim pretended Deafness on his first appearance in Court, but on the Justices Clerk raising his voice but a little he Trim declared to the Bench that he distinctly heard the Information. We are sorry to trouble your Honorable to this, but as we are quite satisfied that the Man is not deaf or that the complaint is not upon him to that degree to warrant exclusion from the Naval Service, we feel it is our Duty to state we believe the Man has succeeded in the Cheat attempted before the Officers of HMS Victory. The Collector has spoken to a few Naval Officers on the subject & he has been told that a man must be very deaf indeed to prevent him from effectively serving, for many of the best Sailors are deaf in a degree either from cold or discharge of guns and further that even a deaf man may make a good Sailor. James Trim is a remarkable fine healthy looking young man. We beg to submit the above for your particular consideration – for in the event of this man finally succeeding with his pretended deafness, it will soon be found out by the Smuglers that a fit and able man convicted of Smugling has nothing to do but pretend to be deaf to avoid what they all conceive to be the greatest punishment of being sent on board a Man of War.

James Southcott was also prosecuted to conviction & sentenced to pay the full penalty of £100 (he being discovered to be ruptured) which not being paid he was committed to Gaol.

31 August 1827             Herewith we transmit the Bond for Mr John Alford Coal Meter at this Port and agreeable to your directions we signify that the 2 Sureties who have executed the same with Mr J Alford are in our opinion fully sufficient for the purpose of the same.

31 August 1827             Herewith we consider for your Consideration the Charge against William Meades established Tide Waiter of this Port preferred in pursuance to your Order of 25 Inst. To the Charge we attach the answer of said William Meades who admits Guilt and throws himself on the Mercy of your Honorable Board. We have to report that William Meades was appointed 31 July 1811 He has before charged for Drunkeness whilst on Duty on 2nd May last for which Offence he was Reprimanded & suspended from 23 April to 11 May last.

[30 August 1827                        Reply from William Meades, taken from the Charge Book.

To the Honorable Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs.


With shame & sorrow I am obliged to admit the truth of one part of the Complaint alleged against me by the Tide Surveyor of this Port, namely that of quitting without leave the English Schooner “Maria” on the night of the 22nd Instant, but Gentlemen in explanation to the other part of the Charge, I beg to assure you that being unwell during the Evening in question the mate of the vessel gave me Rum and Water to drink which affected me greatly and rendered me so forgetful of my situation that I went ashore, landing a short distance from my House, to be enabled Immediately to return on Board but on reaching the house my Family persuaded me to lie down in bed, which I accordingly did and having about 4 o’clock sufficiently recovered myself, I thereupon went back on my Duty.

Under these Circumstances, being perfectly sensible of my misconduct in having so quitted the Ship, I have no other alternative left me, than that of throwing myself upon the compassionate Consideration of the Board whose honorable Commissioners will I hope take into their remembrance the length of my service / 39 years / and for this time condescend to overlook my offence, and put my future conduct one more upon Trial, and to testify how far I wish their forgivefulness. My Family join in this appeal to your Honors, and trust that it may not be made in vain. I submit myself Gentlemen with all humility and respect.]

[The outcome is not known, but Meades continued to serve as a Tidewaiter.]


10 September 1827       In pursuance to your Order of the 5 Inst. we caused Benjamin Osmond & Emanuel Shiner to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport. They were convicted on the Information transmitted in your said letter. The Men were sentenced to serve in the Navy and have been sent to the Victory.

The Collector has received the Mitigated penalty of £25 imposed on Thomas Taylor which was paid to the Court the 8 Inst.

10 September 1827       On Mr Thorold, the Landing Surveyor & acting Comptroller of this Port application, praying for the reasons therein stated that you will be pleased take into consideration the Allowance as granted under your Honorable Board’s Order of 29 June 1815 as being to small to defray the expenses of travelling to and from Ryde. We have to say that there is no Public Conveyance from here to Ryde & consequently the travelling expenses must fall heavier on an Officer than in ordinary places or ports differently circumstanced to this.

We do not recommend that an Officer who is privately remunerated for his Public Service should be permitted to be rewarded over & above the stated Allowance as set forth in your Honorable Board’s Order of 29 June 1815 except by special crave made to your Honorable Board forwarded on a Bill of Expenses actually incurred, accompanied with a proper Voucher.

25 September 1827       We have to report that on the morning of the 23 Inst. about ½ past 12 Mr Guy, Riding Officer of this Port captured one William Arnold a Labourer with a Keg containing 3 Gals, fr. Geneva over his shoulder. The said William is a subject of the Country, of the Parish of St Helens. He has been lodged in the Bridewell at Newport & his case fixed to be heard before the Magistrates on Saturday next 29 Inst. We request your Order for Prosecution and for the Information to be exhibited. [He was convicted in the full Penalty of £100 & in default of payment was sent to Goal.]

2 October 1827             We have to report that on the morning of the 29 Ult. about 10 o’clock Lieut. Robson Cruise Chief Officer at Sconce Point found in the House of Richard Jeans, a Fisherman of Colwell Parish of Freshwater, Seafaring Man fit to serve in H.M. Navy, one Tub of Brandy containing about 3 Gals. The said Richard Jeans was present during the Seizure and we have to state that the Spirits in question were found concealed under a chest in his Bed Room and acknowledged to have been placed there by his Daughter a Girl about 10 or 12 years of age. We have also to report that on the same morning about 9 o’clock said Lieut. Cruise seized 34 Casks of Brandy in & about the premises of Robert Bradley of Colwell Parish of Freshwater. In respect of this Seizure it can only be proved the 2 men came out of the House of said Robert Bradley (a notorious old Smugler aged 70) laden with Tubs but these identical Tubs were lost sight of & cannot be proved to contain Spirits therefore altho’ we can state as a fact old Bradley is Father in Law to the aforesaid Robert Jeans & all concerned in Smugling & we humbly we could not support a case against Bradley. We crave your Order to prosecute Richard Jeans & Form of information. [Jeans was prosecuted and convicted in the mitigated Penalty of £25 and in default of payment sent to Winchester Goal.]

4 October 1827             We most respectfully beg to represent that Mr Howell who has completed his Instruction at Liverpool for this Port as Land Waiter & Coast Waiter has been here for some days past in expectation of his Commission from your Honorable Board. This being the season when all our Officers are generally fully engaged and is well known to your Honorable Board that one of our Coast Waiters is gone in whose room we sent a Trusty Tidewaiter to fulfil his Duties at Yarmouth that the Duties of the Land Surveyor and Controller are frequently impeded by the absence of Mr Thorold immediately occasioned by illness and that we are now employing Glut Men under your Special Sanction for nearly three months. In consequence of the above we feel it our Duty to submit that for the want of Mr Howells Commission much valuable Service is daily lost to the Public Service.

12 October 1827            With reference to your letter of the 4th inst. wherein you direct us to ascertain certain facts relative to Robert Bradley reported in our communication to the Honorable Board on 2nd inst. We have to say that the Coast Guard first discovered Robert Bradley about ½ mile distant standing at the door of his house looking out with his spy-glass at the very same time tubs we seen brought out of his house by other men – the Coast Guard immediately and shortly afterwards about 20 minutes or half an hour maybe less on his arrival from his Watch House where he went to procure assistance – arrived at Bradley’s house – and close to it amongst the furze bushes were picked up tubs containing Spirits. The tubs were carelessly distributed about the Furze and not concealed (Therefore must have been immediately discernable by Bradley) – no other dwelling is near that of Bradley except that of his Son in Law, Richard Jeans (who is noticed in our letter of 2nd inst. and Jeans house is fully 60 yards off. At the moment also the tubs were picked up from and about said Furze Bushes Bradley was seen at his house – we respectfully submit that we conceive it to be impossible otherwise to be convinced but that the said R Bradley was concerned in placing the tubs where they were found – so close and directly in sight of his house. He was seen at the door when the tubs were brought out from his dwelling, although these identical tubs were lost from sight and could not be proved to contain Spirits and he was seen to be at home when the tubs of Spirit were picked up close to his house. The ground on which the tubs were picked up however cannot be proved to be part of his premises. The additional fact of the tubs being found perfectly dry we beg also to submit – all the previous night it had rained hard and so it did in the morning a little previous to picking up the said tubs – therefore we conclude that they were not placed in the Furze bushes without Bradley’s knowledge. Bradley is a Fisherman and an old notorious Smuggler.

It appears that during the time which was unfortunately lost between the period of the Coast Guard going for assistance & their arrival at R Bradleys that the Tubs were taken from out Bradleys House & deposited amongst the furze – and that this may account for their not being concealed – there was no time for concealing. [He was prosecuted, but acquitted.]

25 October 1827            With respect to James Ball who was prosecuted to conviction on the 14 July last by your Order of the 21 June preceding we have to say that the Information which James Ball offered to the Collector was of so unconnected a nature & of so little use that it seemed advisable not to trouble your Honorable Board with it but to let the natural Course of the Law take effect upon a Man who is one of the most notorious Smuglers (& also of a very indifferent character) in the Island. The Magistrates Mitigated the Penalty & that his Information might have lead to the discovery of particular circumstances as to smugling – but it is too apparent that he only wishes to decline & calculated that by giving us pretend matter respecting others he should readily get liberated himself. We do not think James Ball deserves the slightest kind consideration of your Honorable Board but we conceive that he will merit the longest confinement the Law can inflict.

26 October 1827            With reference to your Order of the 10th Inst. directing us to pay the rewards of 15£ for the conviction of William Arnold in the Penalty of 100£ & who was committed to Gaol, we beg to submit whether under General Order of 15th Ult. which states that in future instead of 15£ & 20£ as heretofore paid for the conviction of Smugglers – 5£ & 7.10/- should be paid except in cases of aggravation or when risk or personal danger shall have been seen &c. In the above case of William Arnold no risk, or any particular trouble presented itself for securing the offender, the capture of William Arnold took place by William Guy the Riding Officer on 23rd September.

1 November 1827          On the within Petition of Richard Strausman praying restoration of a Boat said to be his property & sometime since lent to Emanuel Shiner & Benjamin Osmond for the purpose of carrying Coal. We have to report that agreeable to our letter 3 & 10 September last the said E Shiner & B Osmond were taken in the Eliza of Portsmouth R Strausman owner by the Ranger Revenue Cruizer on 2 September. They were prosecuted in obedience to your Order of 5 September before the Justices when being found guilty of the charge of Smugling in said Boat Eliza they were sent on board the Victory to serve in H.M. Navy for the term of 5 years. We beg to refer to our said letters of Report in which it will be seen that besides the employment of the Boat for Smugling of which we have not the least doubt, we discovered in the Ballast Plank Concealment for Goods and some scattered Tea in the front part of the of the Vessel. We believe Richard Strausman to be a most notorious Smugler.


26 November 1827        On the Petition of John Biggs James formerly of the Excise & lately in the Service of the Customs, we have to remark that immediately on receipt of your Order of 4 March 1826 – we sent for this Man for the purpose of making the necessary communication of your Commands relative to him proceeding to “Bristol forthwith to act as Tide Waiter in the room of Thomas Hill deceased”. – We wrote also to him – he seemed to pay no attention whatever to our Letter or Message till we believe about a week later. – We personally admonished him against his apparent obstinacy against your said Order & threatened him, - that if he did not on that day when he appeared personally before us set off for Bristol, as he was desired, that we would make a Special Report of his conduct to your Honorable Board – This Man saw your Order, above alluded to nevertheless he remarks in his address to your Honorable Board that he was sent in a most clandestine manner without a written Order & his behaviour was previous to leaving the Collectors Office very far from respectful & we feel it our Duty to refer your Honors to the reflection he has made in his Petition for Restoration to the Service relative to him being sent away to make room for John Alford & also to remark that his general character was by no means a sober one in the Town of Cowes for some time previous to leaving it.


26 November 1827        The Smuggler William Lane was taken by the Coast Guard near Hook Hill Parish of [Fresh]water in the act of Smuggling about 16 Gallons of Brandy & about 9 Gallons of Geneva without any difficulty or Hindrance, and immediately by them taken to Newport Bridewell against the hearing of the case which took place on the 6th of the same Month. [He was acquitted, but William ‘a relative’ was prosecuted to conviction in the full penalty of £100 & sent to Goal for non payment.]


5 December 1827          We have to state respecting the claim made by James Resuggan late Boatman at this Port for Travelling Expenses incurred by the removal of his Family to Plymouth that he certainly could have availed himself of the same opportunity of getting his Family removed thither which was afforded to him to visit by Steam Vessel – an advance was made to Resuggan by us of £2 – 12 – 6 in order to enable him to proceed to the Port to which he was ordered – under your General Order relative to advances so made &c. On the advance being made as also respecting the payment of his Salary and Day Pay appraised the Collector & Comptroller at Plymouth. We cannot offer any Observations as Requested by the Inspector of Out Port Accounts, as they were not forwarded to this Office.

18 December 1827        We agreeable to your Orders we caused William Caws, John Calloway, William Searle (not Woodnut as erroneously named from the Man’s own assertions) & Nicholas Moorman to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport – they were all prosecuted to conviction – the two former have been sent on board the “Victory” to serve in the Navy, the two latter have been sent to Gaol for non payment of the Penalty of £100. [It was said that they crew of the “Industry” smack of Cowes taken by the “Rose” cutter for towing a raft of 88 Tubs.]


19 December 1827        We have to state in reply to your orders respecting William Miller of 15th inst – that we cannot say that he has been in the habit of misconducting himself except perhaps at times when the poor fellow has be deranged and which mental failure we cannot attribute to drink. He has always appeared a most peaceable and well disposed man. His better appearance we gladly hailed as favourable omen of returning good sense and natural disposal, but his failing again has been the cause of the present application for Superannuation.

26 December 1827        We have to report that Mr R Eastwick, the Comptroller of this Port, has this day taken upon himself the Duties of his Office in pursuance of your directions of the 12th Inst.


27 December 1827        We have to report that the Bremen Brig “Friede” J H Barlach Master from Havannah bound to Bremen with a Cargo of Sugar Coffee & other Merchandize has put into this Port in great distress occasioned by the late Tempestuous Weather and as it has appeared by the Tide Surveyor’s Certificate as well as by the Master’s Affidavit that unloading said Cargo is absolutely necessary to allow the necessary repairs being completed for the prosecution of the intended voyage – we have issued a Special Warrant accordingly with the usual understanding that the Crown shall not be put to any expense herein.


28 December 1827        On the Petition of Richard Jeans praying to be released from Gaol – we have to say that the man was prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport 13th October last by your Order of the 4th of the same month. The particulars of the fact of this Mans case were reported 2nd October Ult. in which letter it will be found that at the time of the Seizure of the Spirits made in his House – he R Jeans was present -  The Spirits were concealed in his Bed Room under a Chest & we feel it our Duty to state that we believe Jeans to be much connected with Smugglers & his Father in Law Robert Bradley who is a most notorious character was prosecuted on 3rd Ult.


3 January 1828              In reply to your letter of 1st inst. relative to ours of 18 ult. in which we transmitted returns of the Convictions of Wm. Cawes, Jas. Callaway, William Searle and Nicholas Moorman, we have to say that the statement thereon respecting William Searle and Nicholas Moorman as to their having been prosecuted for the Navy and sent on board the flagship ‘Victory’ was made in error as it should have been consistent with our letters viz. that these two men were prosecuted for the penalty of £100 and sent to Winchester Gaol.


6 January 1828              We beg very respectfully to call the attention of your Honorable Board a matter regarding Pilot Vessels, and which has lately been under consideration of the Corporation of Trinity House. In consequence of the facility with which certain Pilot Vessels have been enable and which we have good reason to think follow their business of Smuggling, it has lately been deemed advisable to adopt the plan of masking the sails of the Pilot Vessels in such a way and to make some recent regulations thereon so to enable the Revenue Cutters easily to distinguish them at a distance, which it has been supposed will greatly tend to cripple the intention of any Pilot Vessel perhaps engaged in the unlawful pursuit and at the same time put it out of the possibility of a Revenue Cruizer mistaking a Licenced Pilot Vessel as a Smuggler.

Enclosed we beg to forward a printed general order from Trinity House relating to the masking of sails of Pilot Vessels dated 6th December 1827. As the intention of the Trinity Board in issuing this order to the sub commissioners of Pilotage for the regulation of those Licenced Vessels was to prevent as much as laid in their power the pursuit of Smugglers sailing under the cloak of Licenced Pilots persuades us to respectfully submit  whether in the wisdom of your Honorable Board, it might not be expedient to have the law so framed as to render all Pilot Vessels found at sea while actually holding a Licence as such with their sails marked as prescribed by the Trinity Order of 6th December 1827 liable to be seized and forfeited to the intent of furthering the object in the most effectual manner. At present the only punishment that can visit a Smuggler disguised as a Licenced Pilot is the loss of his Trinity Licence, which to some may be of comparatively little consequence.


12 January 1828            On the within Petition of Mr John Allott, 2nd Clerk to the Collector at this Port praying to be remunerated for his Services in that capacity from 1st November to 19 December Ult. we have to report that this Gentleman has performed the Duties of 2nd Clerk of this Office from 1st November as we reported to your Honorable Board on 2nd same month in consequence of your Order for Mr Burridges removal to the Port of Preston. We therefore respectfully submit the prayer of the petition for your favourable consideration.


17 January 1828            On the within Petition of Maria Trim praying her Husband James’ release from Winchester Gaol, we have to state James Trim was prosecuted to conviction before the Magistrates at Newport as reported in our letter of the 29th August – and as will therein appear was sentenced to serve in His Majesty’s Navy, - but from (we believe pretended) Deafness escaped that punishment & underwent the other viz. that of confinement in Gaol. James Trim has not before been concerned in the Business of Smuggling to our knowledge & we are inclined to think that he is a fair object for favourable consideration.


25 January 1828            On the Petition of John Callaway / who was prosecuted to conviction before the Magistrates the 15 December last as reported to your Honorable Board in our letter of 18th same month / praying that a lenient fine or Imprisonment may be inflicted on him instead of being sent to Sea, we have to remark, that from the circumstances which transpired in Court relative to this Man we cannot recommend the prayer of his Petition for your Honorable Boards consideration. He states in his Petition that he has a Wife and Family intimating by the Word “Family” that he has children depending on him which is not the case – He was a longtime ago a little afflicted but is now well and fit and able to serve in the Navy as is sufficiently proved by his being accepted on board. His object from getting relieved from Ship Board is, after release from Prison, no doubt in our mind to resume his former pursuit of Smuggling – He is a reported character in that way, altho’ never to our knowledge before this convicted.


25 January 1828            On the Petition of William Newberry praying to be released from Gaol – we have to report that this man was prosecuted to conviction before the Magistrates at Newport the 20th May last as reported to your Honorable Board in our letter of 29th same month. This Man always before his conviction bore a very good character for Honesty and Industry. He was never before convicted of Smuggling neither have we any reason to think that he was before ever concerned or engaged in Snuggling pursuits.

He has a Wife and 2 (had 3 at the time of our report) Children depending on him, under all the circumstances of this Persons case & as he has suffered a long confinement for his offence we respectfully submit the Prayer of this Petition.


30 January 1828            Inclosed we transmit an application from Mr John Batchelor, Father of Edward, who was killed some little time ago whilst on Duty on board the “Stag” Revenue Cruizer – praying certain sums due said Edward at the time of his death should be paid him &c. We have to say that the sum of £1 – 19 – 5 appears to be owing to Edward Batchelor Boatswain of the “Stag” Cutter for wages. With respect to the sum of £1 – 0 – 0 said to be owing on account of Travelling from Weymouth to Cowes we know nothing of it – but respectfully refer to the Inspecting Commanders letter on the subject of Wages & Travelling Charges – herewith also transmitted – in which we are requested to forward the letter for your Consideration & Order for payment.


7 February 1828            Herewith you have the answer from the Officer Commanding the Coast Guard Station in question (as requested in your order of the 1st Inst.) on the question how it happened that his first claim (as sent in our letter of 7 Ult.) for Coals and Candles for the Detached Watchhouse at Totland was only £1 – 9 – 3 whereas in the late account transmitted the amount was £1 – 13 – 8.


25 February 1828           The weight of each box of Cigars is about 3lb and which is their general weight. It is not the practice of this Port for the Water Side Officer to take account of the weight or export quantities of goods landed under Distress Warrants – and the Cigars in question are under the Kings Locks so circumstances as such forbid their being entered to Duty without your special sanction. We conceived that we could not consistently enter upon an examination of them particularly, previous to the receipt of your authority for doing, which we respectfully submit as the reason why the weight was not given in our letter of report of the 22nd inst.


5 March 1828                In pursuance of your Order of 27th Ult. we caused James West, Thomas Midlane & George Good to be prosecuted before the Justices at Newport; - they were found Guilty of the Offence imputed to them & have accordingly been sent on board His Majesty’s Ship “Victory” to serve in the Navy for 5 Years. [They were charged with being found on the High Seas in a Boat liable to forfeiture with 92 tubs of For. Spirits attached thereto.]


18 March 1828               On the Petition of William Lane praying to be released from Gaol, we have to say that this man was prosecuted to conviction before the Magistrates at Newport in pursuance of your directions of the 3rd of same month as may be seen by our report made to tour Honorable Board on 9 October to which we respectfully refer as we have not anything further to offer than what is contained therein & on the face of several returns which accompanied our said letter.


18 March 1828               In pursuance of your order of 28th September we have caused William Cooper to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport. William Cooper was convicted of the offence imputed to him & in default of payment of the Penalty of £100 – 0 – 0 was sent to Winchester Gaol. The above William Cooper was arrested & detained by Charles Clements and William Guy of the Coast Guard Service on the 12th Inst.


27 March 1828               On the within Petition of William Midlane praying that his Brother Thomas Midlane may be exempted from serving in His Majesty’s Navy we have to report that the said Thomas was convicted of a Smuggling Offence before the Magistrates at Newport 1st Instant in pursuance of your Order of 27th February last – together with James West and George Good as reported in out letter of the 5th Inst.

The Parties are we are told since our letter of 5th Inst. all reputed Smugglers and as regards the Declaration that said Thomas Midlane is subject to Fits – as pretended in the papers sent to you by the “Steward & Members of the Brading Loyal Union Friendly Society” – we beg to declare that we do not think that the smallest credit should be given to it. We apprehend that Mr Thompson the Curate of Brading has been lead to imagine that the fact of Thomas Midlane having been in March 1827 subject to Fits is extended to this day – but this is not so – We believe that the Man was at one time at the early part of 1827 ill & then but in a trifling manner as was mentioned in Court during the hearing of the said case the 1st Inst., - but we believe also that he is now quite well – and the Sequel Warrants a strong confirmation of the fact – by the Surgeon of the Navy having Certified for the Regulation of the Captain (of the “Victory”) that he is fit – we be respectfully to remark that had it been otherwise the Service would not have kept him for the Navy & we therefore submit that the Prayer be quieted by your Honorable Board.

PS We beg leave to subjoin a fact which relates to Thomas Midlane who pretends through his Brother to be subject to Fits – that on being lead out of Court after the decision from the Bench had been given to him & his companions – he held up his Fist and would have struck the Mate of the “Rose” (who had been just giving evidence against Him) – has not the interference of the Constable or some one else prevented it & he then used very abusive & foul language – Thamas Midlane is an extremely ill conducted Character & his Father has declared that he felt glad he was at last caught in Smuggling, and sent on board the “Victory”.


20 April 1828                 We beg to forward to your Honourable Board the enclosed letter from Mr Leigh, Coastwaiter at Newport, begging an exchange of an old unserviceable Boat not worth repairing for a small Boat now in our stores seized by Mr Vey the 10th December 1827 and ordered to be sold by your Honorable Boards order of 1st April. This Boat seems to be a proper one for the Service required.


22 April 1828                 The Custom House at this Port is in such a state particularly the outside part that painting is absolutely necessary for its preservation, and as the property entirely belongs to the Crown we have deemed it our Duty to cause an estimate of Mr Taylor of Cowes to be made of the Expenses of putting the whole of the Premises in proper order including stopping, White Washing &c. & amounts to £43 – 11 – 4 which we respectfully submit for the consideration and direction of your Honorable Board – no general painting has been done to the Premises inside or out for several years.


22 April 1828                 In pursuance of your Order of the 9th Inst. we caused W Newbury to be prosecuted before the Magistrates of the offence imputed to him but in consequence of some objections being made by his Council as to his fitting to serve in H.M. Navy – the matter was postponed by the Bench until the following Saturday the 19th Inst. Proof was shown that said Wm. Newbury was a Sea Man but in consequence of it being proved that he had a Sore Leg the Magistrates thought fit to convict the Smuggler in the Penalty of £100 – which not being able to pay was committed to Winchester Goal.


22 April 1828                 In pursuance of your Order thereon we have to report on the state of Smuggling for the ½ year ended 5 Inst. and to say that we have no reason to conclude that the illicit business is diminished since our last thereon neither have we anything to offer for consideration in order the more effectively to put a stop to the trade of the Smugglers.


22 April 1828                 We have to report that on the 20th Inst about 10 o’clock pm John Friend Chief Boatman of the Coast Guard Station at Shanklin was induced under suspicious circumstances to look out for the purpose of detecting a Smuggling transaction at some considerable distance from the Watch House, he discovered three men close to a Hedge, seemingly engaged together. John Friend dissociated himself immediately as the Chief Boatman of the Station & one of the 3 Men a labourer of Caulbourn near Newton of this Island assaulted the said John Friend & obstructed him in the execution of his Duty viz. when looking for concealed Spirits – Close by the Spot where the assault took place were discovered 2 Tubs & a Jar containing Foreign Spirits say 2 Galls Brandy & 5 Galls Geneva – but possession cannot be proved – G Cooper has been taken before the Magistrates at Newport & committed to the Bridewell against next Saturdays hearing. We have also to stated that said G Cooper acknowledged about the same time to said J Friend that he knew the Tubs were where they were found. We pray your order for prosecution.


29 April 1828                 In pursuance of your order of 22nd inst., we caused the Boat alluded to be inspected by the Officer commanding the Coast Guard Station, the Tide Surveyor at this Port and also by Captain Ferris, Commander of the Stag Revenue Cruizer, who we considered as an experienced judge. Their report and certificate we have the honor of transmitting herewith:

‘We Certify that we have carefully and impartially surveyed a four oared Boat built by Thomas White for the use of the Tide Surveyor at Portsmouth and that the said Boat is built of the best materials, copper fastened in the manner of a good model and construction and in every respect fit for the Services of Customs. The Bottom Boards are fitted in the usual way – has no wash streaks but the Builder informs us he is ready to fit them if required.’


29 April 1828                 Pursuant to your directions of 24th inst. we caused Samuel Cooper to be prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport but they sought proper to acquit him on the grounds that that the evidence was only presumptive – which was admitted at the time to be as strong as presumptive evidence could be. Enclosed we transmit ‘Proceedings before the Magistrates’.


8 May 1828                   Herewith we forward a Petition from Mr Thomas W Eldridge – praying restoration of the 40 Deals which have been detained by the Principal Coast Officer at Newport for being brought from Southampton unaccompanied with necessary Coast Clearance the same Goods being / as we are informed by Mr Eldridge himself – Foreign / With reference to your General Order of 27 March relative to the Yearly Transire to be granted to the regular Coasters we respectfully submit as it was intended that Dutiable Goods or Articles requiring Excise Permits were nevertheless to be guarded by the former Regulations which protected the interests of the Revenue – we confidently trust that your Honorable Board will sanction the Instructions which we have issued to our Officers on your General Orders above alluded to that all foreign of Dutiable Goods going to or arriving from Lymington, Southampton or Portsmouth require Coast Clearance for the satisfaction of the Revenue Officers that such Goods have paid the proper Duties thereon. We respectfully submit the necessity of proof being given that the Duties on the 40 Deals have been paid previous to their being delivered, and at the same time we beg to state it is our belief from the respectability of the Parties concerned that no Fraud whatever has been contemplated.


3 June 1828                  The Collector having received a letter from Mr Thackery Solicitor dated 24th for him to make application for the immediate release of William Newbury from Winchester Gaol he acted accordingly – and the Warrant was issued by the Magistrates on the Solicitors letter & the Collectors application, not without great surprise having been expressed by the Magistrates an Order should be issued in favour of a Smuggler who has been convicted the 12th April last & for so notorious a character. The Treasury & your Honorable Boards Order for the release of William Newberry convicted the 26 May last arrived here on Sunday last – the mistake was immediately seen, but it was too late to prevent the release of Newbury – an application being made for the said William Newberry the Collector was told that before another Warrant could be issued the Magistrates would need to have a 2nd order issued by your Honorable Board for the release of said William Newberry. We therefore respectfully beg a letter to that effect that this man – who has already been confined upwards of a year – may be immediately released.


10 June 1828                Having discovered during the progress of some repairs necessary to be attended to in the upper part of the Custom House at this Port that there appears considerable decay of the Wood or Timber of the Building, - as has been reported to us, does not immediately threaten serious consequences, yet we have deemed it indispensably necessary to review a very large Quantity of old Office Books and Papers to prevent a greater chance of Accident – the object of addressing your Honorable Board is to request your sanction to destroy such of ye Papers as are some almost unintelligible made so by mould & great age and others such as Bonds of from 30 – 50 & some nearly 100 Years old – old Coasting documents & books for the same reasons – as well as the Coal Meters Books which cannot hereafter be used as help or reference – of which Books and Documents we calculate there must be about 2 Tons weight – which if your Honorable Board should see fit we would destroy and thereby rid the upper part of the Building of so great a weight – which it is by no means calculated in its present state to bear – For the present and waiting your Order hereon we have had these old Documents removed to the Tobacco Warehouse.


5 August 1828               This morning at about 5 o’clock William Stevens Commissioned Boatman at Sconce Point captured one Robert Norris a Labourer, who was seen by him to have a Tub of Foreign Brandy containing about 3 Gallons, on his being discovered the said Robert Norris has been taken to Newport Bridewell against the hearing of the case before the Magistrates which is fixed for Saturday next. We therefore request your Order for prosecution together with necessary Forms of Information. The particulars have been submitted to the Solicitors Office. [He was prosecuted and Aquitted.]


26 August 1828             In obedience to your General Order of the 22nd Inst. desiring a statement of any premises or apartments belonging to or rented by the Crown in this Port that are inhabited by the Officers of this Revenue, we have to state that the Watch House at West Cowes is rented by the Crown and used as a Residence by the Tide Surveyor & Rent applied to the Consolidated Customs under your Order 12 February 1812.


27 August 1828             Previous to the offence committed by J Southcott & for which he was prosecuted by your Order of 22nd August 1827 & has since suffered imprisonment for default of payment of the penalty inflicted on him he was previously prosecuted before the Magistrates at Newport in Pursuance of your Order 5 April 1827 for having a quantity of concealed Spirits on board a Vessel of which he was Master & which Order for the prosecution appears to have emanated in consequence of a letter from the Chief Officer at Bembridge Coast Guard Station dated 3 April 1827, of which Offence the said J Southcott was acquitted & with reference to the Report of the Solicitor of 16th Inst. on this matter wherein he states that we mentioned on the Printed Returns transmitted in our letter of 29 August last that the Petitioner had before been convicted of Smuggling, we beg very respectfully to say that as on the Printed Form alluded to by Mr Thackery the word convicted is coupled or taken up for Smuggling before we are inclined to conclude that we meant that he was once before taken up for Smuggling intending, at all events, to convey the fact of his having been a known Smuggler – From enquiries which we have made relative to this mans character we beg to state the fact of his having been taken (some time ago) by the Crew of the “Roebuck” RC for Smuggling – As however the vessel was attached to some other Port we are not enabled to state any further than he was prosecuted on the occasion.


29 August 1828             The nature of the contradicting evidence given at the hearing of William Norris’ case before the Magistrates at Newport on Saturday last, appeared during the cross examination of Stephens the Commissioned Boatman who captured the Man for at first statement he declared positively as to the identity of the person taken & afterwards admitted that he was uncertain on that point, so it appeared to the Collector who appeared on behalf of the prosecution (the Magistrates will never assign a reason for their acquitting a prisoner).


26 September 1828       Enclosed we submit the Tide Surveyors Certificate to obtain Licences for the Vessels & Boats particularized at the foot hereof.

Vessel “Nancy”              Edward Corke, Owner                Value £150

Vessel “Susannah”         William Wheeler, Owner              Value £300

Open Boat                    Lieut. T Williams                        Value £5

Open Boat                    John Ansell                               Value £3

Open Boat                    James Boyce                            Value £4


26 September 1828       On the within Petition of William Searle we have to report that this man was prosecuted to conviction before the Magistrates at Newport in pursuance of your Order of 12 December 1827 and as in our report to your Honorable Board on 17th same month. – William Searle is, as stated in our return submitted, a bad charactered man and for the particulars of his character as thereon noticed by us we particularly refer.


30 September 1828       We have to report that the British Vessel “Unity” G Wilson Master of Exeter bound from Mexico to St Petersburg with a cargo of Logwood put into Port in Distress, & as has been proved by the Certificate of the Tide Surveyor as well as the Affidavit of the Master of the Vessel that in order to effect any repair it is absolutely necessary to unload a part or the whole cargo, we have Issued a Special Warrant for that purpose with the usual understanding that the Crown shall not be put to any Expense herein. The Goods will be secured in a Warehouse approved for such purposes under the King’s Locks, therefore we trust our proceedings will be approved.


21 October 1828            We have seen Edward Pilcher of the Coast Guard Service / at present attached to the Station at Sconce Point / in furtherance of your Order of 16th Inst. and we have to state it as our opinion that this man is capable of doing duty only in the day as a Boatman under a Tide Surveyor, at the same time from his appearance we are inclined to apprehend that his Health would even in the situation of a Boatman in a Tide Surveyors Boat under his constant attendance be extremely uncertain.


4 November 1828          In pursuance of your Order of 24 Ult. directing us to procure Estimates for the required Cabuse for the Barge with floating Houses now building for the use of the Coast Guard Station at Newtown after conferring with the Inspecting Commander of the District – We so soon as we were enabled to make the necessary conference with the Inspecting Commander to whom we wrote immediately on receipt of your said Order took steps for obtaining the two Estimates which we respectfully enclose for your consideration & directions – From the Inspecting Commander we were given to understand that an Estimate had already been obtained by his Order from Mr White of West Cowes the one enclosed & that the said had been nearly completed, - but as your Order particularly specified Estimates – we deemed it our duty to require another from another Tradesman for the sake of opposition to possible extortionate demands being made by one only. They are from:

Mr White appears to be                         £12 – 6 – 0

The other from Mr Lankaster      £10 – 15 – 0

We beg to transmit a letter from this latter Tradesman which shews a reason of the delay between the date our order to him for the Estimate, & his furnishing it.


7 November 1828          With reference to your letter of the 5th Inst. wherein you direct us to cause the articles mentioned in an Estimate transmitted from the Controller General of the Coast Guard to be provided not exceeding such Estimate amounting to £13 – 11 – 0. We beg respectfully to state to your Honorable Board that as we have not received such Estimate – and as we are not acquainted in any way of the particulars of the articles required – we are at a loss how to further the Order from the Honorable Board on the occasion.

In our letter of the 4th Inst. we transmitted Estimates for the supply of a Cabuse intended for the floating Barge destined for Newtown agreeable to your Order of the 24th Ult., one from Mr White of Cowes amounting to £12 – 6 – 0, & the other from Mr Lankaster of Newport £10 – 15 – 0, but neither of these sums agree with the Estimate as it appears to have been forwarded for your consideration from the Coast Guard Office and as the one from Mr White of W Cowes was handed to us by the Inspecting Commander it would appear there is a mistake somewhere.


17 November 1828        With reference to your Order dated 15th Inst. directing us to suspend payment of the £20 – desired to be paid for the Reward of the capture of James Johnson, we have to report that the Collector again attended the Justices of Newport in this mans case on Saturday last, when having satisfactorily shown to the Bench the fact and reasons of his having been rejected by the Officers of H.M. Ship “Victory”, he was convicted under the Act for the Penalty of £100 – which not being able to pay he was sent to Winchester Gaol, respectfully submitted for your further directions as to the Reward for his apprehension & conviction.


19 December 1828        On the representation of P J Hill, relative to William Hill – we have to say that by the 42nd Section of the Waterguard Instructions the Officers are directed to be paid their salaries half yearly and therefore Hill was paid on leaving this Port to 5th January last. It appears that he is entitled to his salary from that time and we submit that he should have been paid from that period at Weymouth on the production of a Certificate from this Port which was sent and delivered by us.


22 December 1828        We have to report to your Honorable Board that we have been under the necessity of Ordering Mr Leigh Principal Coast Officer to repair hither from Newport (as a Temporary Measure) in consequence of the number of distress Vessels having arrived at this Port, and of ordering a Trusty Tide Waiter to act for Mr Leigh during the present state of Business.


29 December 1828        On your Order dated 27th Inst. relating to Spirits and the Smuggler “Isaac Hawkins” capture on the 23rd Instant – we have to say that we are in total ignorance of the Business except by a seizure note which came to hand on the 24 Instant. On this said Seizure Note it also states that Isaac Hawkins had been taken to Newport Bridewell.

If in obedience to your G.O. of 26 January 1827 the Inspecting Commander who had been on the Service with the Officer Commanding the Station at which the man was attached who captured the said Hawkins had caused the particulars to be made known to this Office by the necessary attendance the Collector would have been able to hand comments to your Honorable Board on the same day as he reported to the Comptroller General of Coast Guard.

Not knowing anything of the circumstances sufficient to warrant your order for prosecution, and to enable us to transmit the details in the usual manner to the Solicitors Office -  we are necessarily silent.

The Collector nevertheless feeling if there was the chance of a Smuggler being detained for the Saturday hearing before the Bench of Magistrates, proceeded on Saturday morning to Newport in order to continue, and being prepared to support it.

The case was nevertheless brought on, and an information written with the assistance of the Justices Clerk, the Defendant pleaded Guilty! And we have to report that he has been sent on board the Victory to serve His Majesty for 5 years.                                        

1823 - 1826

Further Books to come

Customs Cowes Letters Books

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

9 August 2009