King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855 eBook

Edward Keble Chatterton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855.

And to prevent any possible excuse for discontinuing a chase, the boat was never to leave the beach without the two-gallon keg of fresh water.  And to prevent any obvious possibility, this boat was never to be left by day or night without one of the boat’s crew to guard it.  The latter was always to have ready some sort of floating buoy, “loaded at one end and a piece of bunting at the other,” for marking the place where goods might be thrown overboard in a chase.  The Inspecting Commanders were also to be on their guard against false information, which was often given to divert their attention from the real place where the smuggling was occurring.

“As night is the time when smugglers generally run their cargoes, it is expected that the boat, or her crew, or the greater part of them will be out, either afloat or on land, as often as circumstances will permit, which must be, at least, five nights a week.”  They were ordered generally to co-operate with the Revenue cruisers and to keep a journal of all proceedings.  When out at night time they were to have a candle and “lanthorn” in the boat as well as the boat’s “bittacle,” and not to rummage a vessel without the candle being carefully secured in the lanthorn to prevent accident by fire.  All suspicious ships were to be rummaged, and whenever the weather would not permit of the boat keeping the sea, the crew and Inspecting Commander were to keep a look-out by land.  Even as late as 1819, when the great wars had come to an end, it was found that the transfer of smugglers to the Navy had continued to be the most effectual means of protecting the Revenue.  The sum of L20 was granted for each smuggler taken, and this was paid to the individual or individuals by whom or through whose means the smuggler was absolutely secured, and it was not to be paid to the crew in general.  But when chasing a smuggling craft, whether by night or day, they were not to fire at the delinquents until the Custom House Jack had been displayed.  The salary of each Inspecting Commander, it may be added, was now L200 per annum and L60 for the first cost and upkeep of an able horse.



Just as there had been a great improvement in the reorganisation brought about by the advent of the Coast Blockade, so the Preventive service on shore generally was smartened up.  That this was so is clear from the existing correspondence.  For instance, five more Preventive boats were to be stationed between Shellness and Southwold, and three between Cuckmere Haven and Hayling Island; another boat was sent to Newton (Yorkshire), another to Dawlish (Devonshire), and another to Happisburgh (Norfolk) or, as it was then spelt, Hephisburg.

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King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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