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.
The cobbles which he was able to intercept had just been employed in transferring the contraband from the dogger to the shore.  Bowen captured one of these small craft with a dozen casks aboard.  Another was forced ashore and secured by the land officers.  Meanwhile, the Dutchman stood out to sea so that he might be able to draw off the spirits from large casks into smaller ones, which were the better fitted for running ashore.  It was found afterwards that he had large numbers of these lesser casks, and during that evening she put about and crept stealthily in towards the shore again until she approached within about a mile of the mouth of the Tees.  Her intention was to run the rest of her cargo under cover of darkness, and her skipper had arranged for large numbers of men to be on that coast ready to receive and carry off these casks.  But Bowen was determined to head her off this project.  An exciting chase followed, during which—­to quote an official report of the time—­the dogger did her best “to eat the sloop out of the wind,” that is to say sailed as close to the wind as she could travel in the hope of causing her adversary to drop to leeward.  For seven hours this chase continued, but after that duration the Prince of Wales captured the Young Daniel eight leagues from the shore.  This is not a little interesting, for inasmuch as the chase began when the dogger was a mile from the mouth of the river, the vessels must have travelled about 23 statutory miles in the time, which works out at less than 3-1/2 miles an hour.  Not very fast, you may suggest, for a Revenue cutter or for the Dutchman either.  But we have no details as to the weather, which is usually bad off that part of the coast in February (the month when this incident occurred), and we must remember that the doggers were too bluff of build to possess speed, and the time had not yet arrived when those much faster Revenue cutters with finer lines and less ample beam were to come into use.


[5] A snow was a vessel with three masts resembling the main and foremast of a ship with a third and small mast just abaft the mainmast, carrying a sail nearly similar to a ship’s mizzen.  The foot of this mast was fixed in a block of wood or step but on deck.  The head was attached to the afterpart of the maintop.  The sail was called a trysail, hence the mast was called a trysail-mast. (Moore’s Midshipman’s Vocabulary, 1805.)

[6] It was the frequent custom at this time to speak of sloops as cruisers.

[7] A dogger was a two-masted Dutch fishing-vessel usually employed in the North Sea off the Dogger Bank.  She had two masts, and was very similar to a ketch in rig, but somewhat beamy and bluff-bowed.

[8] These, of course, were not the light rowing-boats of the kind that were in use on the Thames and elsewhere.  The term wherry was applied to various decked fishing-vessels belonging to England, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.

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