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.

Soon afterwards, the cutter Wickham was launched, and Mr. Fullarton obtained his commission as captain, the mate being Mr. Donald Fullarton, and most of the crew Arran men.[18]


[11] The use of the petticoat as a seaman’s article of attire dates back to the time of Chaucer: 

    “A Shipman was ther, woning fer by weste: 
    For aught I woot, he was of Dertemouthe. 
    He rood up-on a rouncy, as he couthe,
    In a gowne of falding to the knee.”

“Falding” was a coarse cloth.

[12] See Appendix VIII.

[13] See Captain Robinson’s, The British Fleet, p. 503.

[14] Ibid., p. 502.

[15] I am indebted to a suggestion made on p. 183, vol. i.  No. 7 of The Mariner’s Mirror.

[16] See article by Captain R. Hudleston, R.N., in The Mariner’s Mirror, vol. i.  No. 7.

[17] Victoria County Hist.:  Sussex, vol. ii. p. 199.

[18] For these details I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Robertson-Fullarton, who has also called my attention to some information in an unlikely source—­The Memoirs of Norman Macleod, D.D., by Donald Macleod, 1876.



By an Order in Council, dated September 9, 1807, certain rewards were to be paid to the military for aiding any officer of the Customs in making or guarding any seizure of prohibited “or uncustomed goods.”  It was further directed that such rewards should be paid as soon as possible, for which purpose the Controllers and Collectors were to appraise with all due accuracy all articles seized and brought to his Majesty’s warehouse within seven days of the articles being brought in.  The strength of all spirits seized by the Navy or Military was also to be ascertained immediately on their being brought into the King’s warehouse, so that the rewards might be immediately paid.  The tobacco and snuff seized and condemned were ordered to be sold.  But when these articles at such a sale did not fetch a sum equal to the amount of the duty chargeable, then the commodity was to be burnt.  Great exertions were undoubtedly made by the soldiers for the suppression of smuggling, but care had to be taken to prevent wanton and improper seizures.  The men of this branch of the service were awarded 40s. for every horse that was seized by them with smuggled goods.

Everyone is aware of the fact that, not once but regularly, the smugglers used to signal to their craft at night from the shore as to whether the coast were clear, or whether it were better for the cutter or lugger to run out to sea again.  From a collection of authentic incidents I find the following means were employed for signalling purposes:—­

1.  The commonest signal at night was to wave a lantern from a hill or some prominent landmark, or from a house suitably situated.

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