Cornwall  Smugglers


Coast Guard / Revenue / Salt Officers


Cornwall Gazette Newspaper Archive

1801 - 1802 - 1818 - 1824 -

1801 Top

 7th March1801, Ships News

Falmouth: Sun: Sailed the Viper Cutter Master Lieut. Coghlen on a cruise.

Wed. Arrived the Active Revenue cutter from a cruise, with 90 casks of Spirits.


14th March 1801, Ships News

Fowey: Arrived Ranger Revenus Cutter, Capt. Fraser from a cruise

Arrived Hind, Revenue Cutter Capt. Bray. Sprung Mast.


14th March 1801, News Item:

Notice of Authority

Whereas by an act of Parliament made and passed the thirty eighth year of the reign of His present Majesty, chapt. 79 intituled,  An Act more effectually to prevent during the War Persons, being his Majestys Subjects, from voluntarily repairing to or remaining in France, or any Country or Place united to France, or occupied by the Armies of France, and to prevent Correspondence with such Persons and with His Majestys Enemies,  it is by Sections 1 and 2, enacted as follows:

For preventing all traitorous correspondence with His Majestys enemies, be it enacted by the Kings most excellent Majesty, by and with the advise and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, that if any person, being a subject of his Majesty, His Heirs or Successors, shall at any time during the continuance of the war, voluntarily go or repair, directly or indirectly, or embark in any vessel with intent to go or repair, directly or indirectly to France, or any country or place united to France, at the time of such Act shall be done, every such person being lawfully convicted thereof, shall be deemed and adjudged to be guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death as in cases of Felony, without benefit of Clergy.

And That if any person, being a subject of His Majesty, His Heirs, or Successors, shall at any time during the continuance of the war, knowingly and wilfully hire, let, engage, agree for, procure or furnish, or cause, or procure to be hired, let, engaged, agreed for procured or furnished, or to be concerned in the hiring, letting, engaging, agreeing for, procuring or furnishing any vessel, with intent that such person or other subject of His Majesty, His Heirs, or Successors, should therein go or repair, or embark, therein with intent to go or repair, directly or indirectly to France, or any such country  or place as aforesaid, every such person being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be transported, for any time not exceeding seven years, to such place or places as His Majesty, with the advice of His Privy Council shall direct.

                                    Customs House, London 5th February 1801.

Notice is Hereby given

            That whoever shall be discovered to offend against the said Law will be proceeded against without delay.


21stMarch  1801 Ships News

Falmouth: Arrived Active, Capt. Kinsman from a cruise with the Expectation lugger belonging to Looe, laden with 515 casks of spirits and 7 bales of tobacco.


25thApril  1801, Ships News

Falmouth: Sat. 18th: Arrived Active Cutter, Kinsman, brought in with her Friendship smuggling lugger belonging to Coverack; laden with 170 casks of spirits, some salt and tobacco.

Tues. 21st: Sailed Active and HM Brig Sylph, Capt Dashwood, on a chaise.

Thurs. 23rd : Arrived Active empty handed.

Fowey: Thurs 23rd : arrived Hind Revenues Cutter, Capt. Murray, after a chaise.


9thMay 1801, Shipping News

Falmouth: Arrived Active Revenue cutter, Kinsman, from a cruise. Brought in the Expectation cutter belonging Polperro, laden with 253 casks of Spirits.


14thMay  1801, Shipping News

Penzance : Arrived Dolphin Revenue cutter from Plymouth, with a large boat belonging to Looe (her prize), having on board only 6 casks of spirits; the remainder of the cargo was hove overboard previous to her capture.


May 16th  1801, News Item

Court of the Kings Bench 

On the motion of Mr Attorney General, a number of men were brought up from Cornwall and other quarters, who had been convicted of resisting Revenue Officers in the execution of their duty, &c.

William Barker had been in custody, and therefore Mr. Justice Grose ordered him to be imprisoned another month in Newgate, and then discharged. The reason assigned by his Lordship for the Court inflicting so mild a punishment was that the defendant had used no violence towards the officers.

Jacab CRAB was brought from Liskeard ;  and some of the Magistrates of the place, in an affidavit, gave him an excellent character, though he had been recently in jail for one whole year for a single offence.

Mr Attorney General said, he should give directions to make inquiry into this business, and if he found that these Gentlemen were acquainted with that fact he should think it his duty to file a Criminal Information against them. The only way in which he could account for giving this man such a character, was, that they in that quarter of the country had such wayward consciences with regard to smuggling, as to conceive it to be no crime whatever ; and that they might safely state of a man who had only been guilty of smuggling, that he was a man of good character.

Richard Tuckfield, Richard cuff, Sam Smallridge. And James Shepherd, were also brought up for the same offences ; and after evidence given at their respective trials were reported by Mr Justice Le Blac, and Counsel heard, Lord Kenyon ordered them all to be committed to Newgate, and brought up on Wednesday next to receive the judgement of the Court. Lon. Packet.


May 23rd 1801, News Item

Court of the Kings Bench


The King v.Crabb

The Defendant was brought up to receive the Judgement of the court, which was pronounced by Mr Justice Grose. Taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, the sentence of the Court was that he should pay a fine to the King of 20. that he be imprisoned in Newgate for the space of two years, and that at the end of that period, he give security for his good behaviour for three years, himself at 100. and two sureties in 50 each ; and that he be further imprisoned till such fine be paid and surety given.

Robert Carter, for firing at the officers, was sentenced to three years hard labour on the River Thames.

Richard Cuff  and Samuel Smallridge were convicted of a crime of a similar nature committed, his Lordship said, with great and dangerous brutality. Said his Lordship, persons in your county (Cornwall!) whose rank and education ought to have suggested to them more proper conduct  Gentlemen acting as Magistrates  refused to give the officers a search warrant, for this pretended reason  that the Commissioners of the Customs had not behaved well to you. Such behaviour will be noticed where it ought to be noticed. The sentence of the Court is  that you and each of you, be committed to his Majestys jail Newgate for two years.

Robert Tuckdale. Convicted also of a similar offence, was sentenced to two years imprisonment in Newgate.

James Funnell, convicted of a like offence, who had been for some time in custody, was sentenced to a further imprisonment in Newgate, for the space of eighteen calendar months.

James Shepherd, for a similar offence, committed to the jail of Horsham for three calendar months.

William Cork, for a like offence, committed to Newgate only for one month, in consideration of his age and family.


May 26th 1801 , Shipping News

Fowey: Arrived Hind Ravenue Cutter (Murray, with a boat belonging to Polperro laden with spirits.


May 28th 1801 , Shipping News

Penzance: Arrived Dolphin Revenue Cutter (Johns) with the Lion smuggling cutter from Guernsey ; having no goods in her when taken ;  having hove all overboard during the chase.


June 27th 1801 , Shipping News

Falmouth: Arrived the Hind cutter (Allen) with 111 casks of Spirits and 11 (eleven) bags of Tobacco.

Sailed Providence Revenue Lugger (Tedbury) for Scilly with Mr Lemon, Collector of Customs for that port.


July 6th 1801 , Shipping News

Falmouth: arrived the Active cutter (Kinsman) from a cruise. Brought in with her the Tyall the smuggling sloop of Gweek, from Guernsey laden with 312 casks of spirits. And the Joseph smuggling Lugger belonging to Cadgwith, from Guernsey, laden with salt, tobacco and spirits.


July 9th 1801 , Shipping News

St Michaels Mount: Arrived the Dolphin Revenue cutter (Johns), with a Chasse Maree smuggling Lugger with Salt Tobacco and Spirits.


July 23rd 1801, Shipping News

Falmouth: Thursday, Arrived Active Cutter (Kinsman), with the Good Intent smuggling vessel of Guernsey, with 100 casks of spirits.


July 24th 1801, Shipping News

Falmouth Friday: Arrived Active cutter (Kinsman), from a cruise with 180 casks of Spirits which she took up with a creeper on Thursday Night.


August 1st 1801, Shipping News  

Falmouth Thursday, Arrived the "Active" cutter (Kinsman) from a cruise; she brought in with her the "Morgan Rattler" smuggling lugger (belonging to Polperro) from Guernsey burden with 644 casks of spirits.


August 8th 1801, Shipping News  

St Mary Scilly: This morning arrived the "Provident" lugger (Tedbury), having chased a large smuggling cutter belonging to Polperro, 20 leagues to the westward of Scilly. The Providence, during the chase, carried away several of her yards yet gained on the cutter very fast, but darkness of the night favoured her escape.


August 8th 1801, Shipping News

St Ives: Came in the "Providence" lugger (Tedbury) with the Brig "Mary", with some tobacco on board. She had landed 370 ankers of spirits previous to her being taken.


August 22nd 1801, Shipping News

Penzance: Came in "Flora" (Lieut. Carpenter) from a cruise. Brought in with her a smuggling lugger belonging to Guernsey, taken in the act of running her cargo.


August 29th 1801, Shipping News

Truro: A singular circumstance occured on Tuesday last at King-Harry passage. A smuggler with two ankers of brandy on the horse under him, was discovered by an excise man, also, on hordeback on the road leading to the passage. The smuggler immediately rode off at full speed pursued by the officer, who pressed so close upon him, that after rushing down the steep hill to the passage with the greatest rapidity, he plunged his horse into the water, and attempted to gain the opposite shore. the horse had not swam half way over, before exhausted with fatigue and the load on his back, he was on the point of sinking ; when the intrepid, rider slid from his back, and with his knife cut the slings of the ankers, and swam alongside his horse, exerting himself to keep his head above water, but all to no purpose ; the horse was drowned, and the man with difficulty reached the shore. The less mettlesome exciseman had halted on the shore, where he surveyed the ineffectual struggle ; and afterwards, with the help of the ferryman, got possession of the ankers.

Penzance: Arrived the "Flora" armed brig from a cruise, bringing in with her two smuggling cutters laden with spirits, salt, tea and tobacco, which had been landed at the custom house in this place.

Scilly August 16th: Arrived the "Providence" lugger (Tedbury) from a cruise with 200 ankers of Brandy and Geneva found floating off St Ives.


September 12th 1801, Shipping News

Falmouth: The "Brilliant" lugger (Prize Master John Andrews) from Guernsey, laden with 321 casks of spirits. Sent in by H.M. Sloop of war "Hunter".


October 3rd 1801, Shipping News

Falmouth: Arrived the "Dover" cutter (Lieut. Sharp) from a cruise, brought in with her the "Triton" smuggling cutter belonging to Fowey from Guernsey, laden with 190 casks of spirits.


December 5th 1801, Shipping News

St Ives: The "Providence" Revenue lugger (Tedbury), arrived from a cruise, lost a man overboard. While the poor unfortunate fellow was steering the vessell in a heavy gale of wind the bolt from the main sheet block drew out and with a sudden and violent force, struck the man overboard.....


December 16th 1801, Shipping News

Falmouth:  Arrived the "Hind" Revenue cutter (Allen) from a cruise with the "Vulture" smuggling lugger from Guernsey, laden with 427 cases of spirits and 8 bags of Salt.


The "Vulture" smuggling cutter which was brought into this port by the "Hind" Revenue cutter was in the act of sinking her goods (we understand) at the time the cutter fell in with her; and refusing to bring to, was fired into, when one man was killed and another wounded. The man who lost his life. is said to be one who had escaped from the hulks on the Thames, where he had been condemned for obstructing the officers of the Revenue.

N.B. This may have been Robert Carter. See story of May 23rd above.

1802 Top

January 9th 1802, Shipping News

Falmouth: - Arrived the "Clausina" cutter (Thomas) from a cruise; brought in with her the "Edward & Betsy", smuggling vessel from Guernsey, laden with 396 casks of spirits, some tobacco and salt.


January 23rd 1802, Front Page Advert

St Mary's, Scilly.

By order of the

Honourable Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs

On Thursday the 4th of February at 2 o-clock in the afternoon,

will be exposed to public sale at the Customs House, Scilly.

The following goods (viz)

 in sundry lots for the accommodation and use of private families only.

1,099 Gallons of Brandy

287 Gallons of Geneva

To be viewed and tasted the day before and the morning of the sale,

by applying to:

Samuel Lemon, Collector of Customs, at the Custom House.


February 6th 1802, News Item

 Helston : Last Saturday was seized in a room belonging to John Brown, of this place, by Mr Codd, exciseman and a constable, suppose to be by an informant, 12 ankers of foreign spirits and one of cards. He was in town but not present at the seizure, and as soon as informed of it, he immediately left the public house he was then in; about twilight, and was seen near the Loe by a girl who was returning. From the expression he made use of when he left the house it was apprehended he had destroyed himself, and search was soon made after him, but to no purpose. Search was also made on the Sunday and Monday, which also proved ineffectual; but on Tuesday his friends received an account of his being at Truro, which was no small satisfaction to them.    


February 6th 1802, Shipping News

The Nymphe Frigate, has taken and sent into Plymouth, the "Flora" smuggling cutter ( said to belong to Fowey) with 914 ankers of spirits and some dry goods.


February 13th 1802, News Item

A Squadron of frigates being ordered to cruise on the Cornish coast against the smugglers has raised a formidable idea in the public mind of the extent of the illicit trade carried on here. We shall be much surprised however if these Frigates shall at the end of twelve months have siezed as much spirits as will be equal to the regular consumption of their own crews. The fact is where the war establishment must be found for it "when children are doing nothing, they are doing mischief."


February 31st 1802, Shipping News

Falmouth Arrived "Unity" smuggling cutter from Guernsey, laden with 438 casks of spirits, the prize of the "Active" Revenue Cutter, Captain Kinsman.


February 31st 1802, Shipping News

Penzance: Captain Johns boats brought in here on Wednesday night, one hundred and thirty kegs of contraband spirits, whilst the "Dolphin" cutter went round to St Ives with a small vessel she had taken just after her boats were sent away.


March 8th 1802, Shipping News

Falmouth: Arrived the "Hind" cutter (Allen) from a cruise. Brought in with her the "Friendly Society" smuggling cutter from Guernsey laden with 440 casks of Spirits.


March 8th 1802, News Item

Marazion: A few days ago, 130 kegs of spirits were seized in the parish of St Hilary near this place by the officers of the Excise & Customs.


May 6th 1802, Shipping News

Falmouth: Arrived "Hind" Revenue Cutter (Allen) from a cruise. Brought in with her the "Pearl" smuggling cutter from Gruernsey, laden with spirits and tobacco.


May 17th 1802, Shipping News

Falmouth: Arrived the "Hind" Revenue Cutter (Allen). Brought in with her the "Flora" (Smuggling Cutter) of Fowey, from Guernsey, laden with 822 casks of Spirits.

N.B. Was this the same Flora as that arrested by the Nymphe in February? 


1818 - Top

Saturday, January 03, 1818

Between 90 and 100 kegs of foreign spirits, which had been sunk by smugglers near Mullion, were got up on Thursday last, by the Hind and Dolphin Revenue Cutters with the preventative-boat, stationed at Kings Cove, Mounts Bay.

Saturday, April 20, 1822;

1824 Top

Saturday, April 10, 1824

The King V. Pitts - Special Jury;- This was an information by the Attorney General against the defendany for striking a light by way of signal to give notice to a smuggler. To prove the case Mr. R. King Vallack was called, who said that on the 20th December about half past six o'clock he left Mevagissey in his Majestty's preventive boat of which he is chief officer, that on reaching Chapel Point he boarded a boat, but as he found no contraband goods he left her. When distant about 100 yards saw a light in the boat. He returned and took her, defendant and another onboard. They said the light was for lighting their pipes, but the signal was soon answered by light in the offing and a large fire on the cliff about a mile off. This evidence being corroborated by two other witnesses, defendant's counsel declined making any defence, and threw his client on the mercy of the Court.-

The Counsel for the Crown commended the prudent conduct of the defendant's counsel, and said if defendant did not offend again he should no more of the present business, but hoped it would operate as a warning to him and others to take care how they conducted themselves in future.


Saturday, April 10, 1824

The King V. Wade - Same Jury as the above case - for obstructing his Majesty's revenue officers - On the 12th Dec. 1822, the Arrow tender, Congdon, master, was at Fowey, on the Preventive Service ; they observed a boat coming from sea, hailed her, and was answered the Unity. Ordered her on board, but she stood off, on which they fired, followed and in about half an hour came up with her when they saw the small boat sheer off. They came up with and took her also, with Wade, Reed and Brown on board, followed the Unity as Wade called her, who did all he could to prevent their boarding her, and called to her crew to go on shore. In his attempt to obstruct the officers Wade fell overboard, but was saved by the Arrow's men. On reaching the large boat Wade and Brown tried to regain possession of her, and do mischief, but they were prevented. She had on board 100 kegs of smuggled spirits, and proved to be the Ann and Elizabeth of Plymouth. The vessel and her cargoe were condemned. - Guilty






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