Cornwall  Smugglers


Coast Guard / Revenue / Salt Officers


Cornwall Gazette Newspaper Archive

1801 - 1802 - 1804 - 1805 - 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.

Top - 

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, Capt. 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,  Capt. 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 Capt. 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  Capt. 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 Capt. Kinsman, with the Good Intent smuggling vessel of Guernsey, with 100 casks of spirits.


July 24th 1801, Shipping News

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


Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 30 July 1801

Falmouth Thursday. Wind N.W. with heavy showers. Came in the Active, excise cutter, Capt. Kinsman from a cruize, with the Good Intent, smuggling cutter, from Guernsey, with loo casks of spirits on board:


August 1st 1801, Shipping News  

Falmouth Thursday, Arrived the "Active" cutter  Capt. 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 horseback 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,  Capt. 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? 


Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 15 October 1804

Came the Betsey smuggling vessel of Cawsand, from Guernsey, laden with 190 casks of spirits: she was captured Sunday last off the Lizard, after a long chase, by the Seagull, 18 guns, Capt. Burke.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 27 October 1804

SMUGGLING. Sir, —As the subjoined fact ought, I conceive to be made public, in order to its suppression, the insertion thereof in your agreeable Paper for this week, will highly oblige one your constant readers, and A TRAVEI.LER,

I had heard of the pitch to which smuggling was carried in this county, before I saw it, but could not believe that such an unlawful traffic could be carried on with the degree of boldness and audacity that I now find it is. Lately passing through neighbouring market-town, I found smuggled tobacco as publicly exposed for sale as any lawful commodity in the market. Indeed, a person could scarcely pass the place where it was selling without having the article publicly recommended to him, with assurances of its goodness and cheapness, and many importunities to buy. On making enquiry in the town respecting this traffic, I was creditably informed, that many hundreds weight of smuggled tobacco were sold there every market day. Surely such Illicit traffic could be prevented in Cornwall, as well as in other. counties, were due attention paid it by those whose duty it is to prevent a practice so disgraceful to the county , and so injurious the fair trader.

Truro, Oct. 24th  

1805 Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 15 June 1805

Excise Office London in the night of the 7 January 1st. Geo 

Rob Sowden, acting Tide Surveyor, and three other Officers of Excise, where violently assaulted in the execution of their duty, in the parish and county of Cornwall when twelve or fourteen men, in white frocks and trowsers, who beat the said Surveyor and Officers with long staves and stones, and rescued from them four horses laden with smuggled goods: The Commissioners of Excise, in order to bring to justice the persons have been found guilty of this outrage and hereby offer a reward ONE HUNDRED POUNDS for the discovery any one or more of them, so that or they he convicted, be paid by their Secretary upon the conviction. Bv order of the Board, THO. BURTON. Pro. Sec.

1814 Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 24 December 1814


14th December 1814.

WHEREAS it has been represented to the Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, that on the night of the 7th instant, JOHN SMITH, Commander of the Hind Cutter, in the service of the Customs, and his Crew, when about to take possession of a Smuggling Vessel in the Harbour of. Mevagissey in the County of Cornwall, were feloniously assaulted and obstructed by a large body of Smugglers, armed with Firearms and other offensive Weapons, who fired upon the said John Smith and his Crew, and succeeded in conveying the Smuggled Goods on board the said Vessel, on shore.

The Commissioners of His- Majesty’s Customs, in order to bring to Justice any one or more of the said Offenders, are hereby pleased to offer a REWARD of


to any Person or Persons who will discover and apprehend, or cause to he discovered and apprehended, the said Offenders, to be paid by the Collector of His Majesty's Customs at the Port of Falmouth, upon conviction.

By Order of the Commissioners,


1816 Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 20 January 1816


CUSTOM-HOUSE, London, Dee. 22, 1815.

WHEREAS it hath been represented to the Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs, that on the 30th Day of November last, about Nine o'clock in the Morning JOHN HORNER, and JOHN CHUBB, Riding Officers in the Service of the Customs, at the Port of Fowey, in the County of Cornwall, being on Duty near Polgooth, in the Parish of Saint Mewan, in the said County, met a numerous gang of Smugglers unknown, armed with Fire-arms and other offensive weapons, conveying on Horses a large Quantity of Smuggled Spirits, in small Casks, and upon the said Officers attempting to make a Seizure thereof, they were feloniously attacked by the said  Smugglers, who assaulted and obstructed the said Officers, and dangerously wounded the said  JOHN HORNER and feloniously took, and carried away, his Sword and Pistol. The Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs, in order to bring the said offenders to Justice, are hereby pleased to offer .


To any Person or Persons who shall discover and apprehend, or shall cause to be discovered and apprehended, any one or more of the said Offenders, to be paid by the Collector of His Majesty's Customs, at the Port of Fowey, upon Conviction.

By Order of the Commissioners,


Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 16 March 1816

CORNWALL ASSIZES. The following is a correct Calender of the Prisoners who are to be tried at the Lent Assizes for this County, to be holden at Launceston, on Monday the 25th instant, before the Hon. Sir Robert Graham, Knt. and the Hon. James Allan Park :

John Hughes, aged 44, charged with conveying an anker of brandy, not being duty-paid. Tibias Mankej, aged 20, was charged with assaulting and obstructing John Bunny, an Officer of Excise. Henry Wills, aged 40, charged with smuggling spirit?.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 02 November 1816

His Majesty's Cutter Dwarf, sent into Falmouth, on Sunday last, a lug-sail boat, having on board 170 ankers and tubs of spirits. On the same day, the St Mawes Customhouse boat picked up a raft of spirits, consisting of about 100 ankers.


A melancholy accident happened on. Tuesday last. Three men of the names of James Buckland, John Pascoe, and William Tregideon, having gone out in Gerrance Bay to pick up. some kegs of spirits which had been thrown overboard by a smuggling vessel on the preceding Sunday ; their boat was suddenly overset by a squall, and the three men were unfortunately drowned. Their bodies were taken up on Wednesday morning-, when a Coroner- Inquest was held upon them. Verdict, accidental death.

1817 Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 10 May 1817

On the order of the day being read, for the second reading of the Salt Duty Bill, Sir C. Pole said, that from every consideration he had been able to give the subject, he was still farther convinced that this Bill ought not to pass in its present state. The Bill would throw into distress at least 20,000 fishermen in that part of the country to which he belonged; and the consequence would be, that if they could not carry on the fisheries, they would have recourse to smuggling. — He moved that the Bill be read a second lime this day six months. 

Sir W. Lemon seconded the motion. If it were possible for ihe House to know the distress this Bill would bring in the fishers of Cornwall, he was sure it would n< ver agree to this Bill. Mr. Lushington said, this Bill was not intended to oppress the fishers, but to give them the benefii of trying the experiment of Rock Salt in the cure of fish, which is much better than refined Salt, as had been found by Ihe Isle of Man fishers to be much belter for the cure of fish. Mr. D. Gilbert proposed, that the Bill should be referred to a Committee up stairs, where the subject might be sientifically considered. 

M. Vansitari hoped the Bill would be allowed to go through the second reading ; and then it would be submitted to a Committee up stairs, if it were not approved, the Government had nothing to do with it except as it considered it necessary for the advantage of the couutry.

The ammendant was the withdrawn by Mr.C. Pole.

Mr. Culcraft said, it was not his intention to agitate the Salt question any more this Session, being satisfied with the impression made on the House and the country, which he had no douht would have the effect of getting rid of this tax next Session. The  amendment was then withdrawn by Sir C.Pole The Bill was then read a second time, and ordered to be committed on Monday se'nnigbt.

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.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 09 May 1818

In the Court of King's Bench, last Week, the following persons were brought up to receive sentence. W. Blarney, for aiding in the rescue of some half ankers of spirits, and resisting a revenue officer  in Cornwall, was ordered to be imprisoned three mouths.- W. Roach and James Mortimer, who' were found guilty at the Castle of Exeter, of a violent assault upon, and resistance to a revenue officer, were ordered to be imprisoned nine months, and to find securities for two years of £40 each; John Desmond, for a riot and assault upon an excise officer in Devonshire, was sentenced to three months imprisonment in Exeter Gaol.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 15 August 1818

THE King versus Gibson. — The defendant is a pilot residing in one of the Islands of Scilly and was formerly a Midshipman at the Signal-station on the islands. On the 28th of November 1816, the Officers of the Customs received information that boats with smuggled spirits were off the islands and had landed part of their cargoes. Mr Roberts, surveyor of Scilly, took with him a Writ of Assistance. which is kept ready in the Custom house there and which enables an officer, when accompanied by a constable, to search any house he may suspect to contain smuggled goods. He had searched the house of the defendant four days before and found nothing. When they landed, the crew, consisting of eight men, the constable, and two superior officers proceeded to the defendant's house. On seeing them about twenty men assembled, and the defendant locked his door on the outside, and demanded their authority for requiring admittance. They showed the Writ of Assistance but this he said was not sufficient authority; his house was his Castle, and unless they had a warrant from a Magistrate, he would not open the door. If they broke his door, he knew where they lived, and they must abide the consequences. The by-standers cheered the defendant' during his declaration, and the officers, fearful of the consequences left the-place without searching the house. The defendant used no menaces, and swore that he said, if the officers chose to break open his door nobody should hinder them:' On declaration the Jury, which was special acquitted the defendant; but accompanied the delivery of their verdict, by an explanation that it was founded on the evidence of the constable, not on any doubt as to the law of the case.

1819 Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 02 January 1819

Four men, named Carvosso, Jasper, Cory, and Blewett, found onboard a smuggling boat at Fowey, were last week transferred to the naval service.

1821 Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 03 February 1821

Smuggling. — We are sorry to see that Smuggling has revived in Cornwall, since the peace, as well as in Devonshire, and most other maritime counties. It is a practice, destructive of prudent habits in young men, and leads to premature death, or impoverished age. Thirty or forty years ago, smuggling and intoxication were at their height in that county, going hand in hand, as they ever will do. Who that remembers that time, cannot re-count but too many unfortunate instances of the truth of our remark? — About two years ago, we were told, by an observing and sensible man, " I have lived almost to three score, in my native county of Cornwall. I have seen the jollity of a smugglers life. Poor men have got comparatively rich, in a short time by smuggling ; but the money seldom or never wore well ; and I could recount the names of many, whose days it shortened, and many more who are now suffering in old age, from the improvident habits which smuggling never fails to inspire. Smuggling has now been suspended in Cornwall for some years; and the consequence is. that you scarcely ever see a young man tipsy." The return of the practice of smuggling then, as far as it prevails, is calculated to throw young men backward again into poverty, vice and disgrace ; and destroy those good habits which alone can lead to comfort and respectability in old age.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 24 November 1821

To the Editor of the Royal Cornwall Gazette &. it- Despising the insinuations of the Slanderer who last week attempted to traduce my character, which I am confident those who know' me will hold in utter and deserved contempt— l still deem it necessary, in exposing the falsehood of his positive declaration, to add to his confusion and my own justification, by requesting you will have the goodness to insert the following letter: -

To Mr. I.F. Harding, Landwaiter, Falmouth

 Looe, 19th November 1821.

Sir, A report being in circulation of your having stated to several persons, that you are the holder of a letter bearing mv signature, laying an information against Mr. Thomas Rogers and Mr. Luke, of this parish, as being concerned in a smuggling transaction.— l feel it due to my own character to request from you, whether -such a letter is in your possession, or any other document implicating me, that I  may be enabled by your immediate answer, if such letter does exist, to detect the author of so gross a calumny. I am. Sir, yours &c. • f . Charles 

Elliott Lieut. 2nd V. Bat. Falmouth, 19. A Nov. 1821.

Lieut. Elliott, Sir, in answer to your letter of this day, received this morning, I beg to. inform you that no letter of any kind. whatever has been received by me, as laying an information against. Messrs. Rogers, and Luke, for any smuggling transaction; nor do I know any thing of the circumstance referred to by you in your letter. - I am, Sir, yours &c. Henry Harding, Landwaiter, Custom-house, Falmouth.#

1822  Top

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 26 January 1822

On Monday last a boat belonging to Saint Mawes was taken by Mr. Bartlett of the Cadgwith preventive boat, with 120 kegs of con- traband spirits.


On Wednesday a very melancholy accident happened to Mr. Foreman, master sitter in the Preventive Service. Having taken possession of a Mevagissey smuggling boat containing 170 kegs, he went below with the Captain, and taking his pistols from his side to deliver them to his attendant, he gave them with the muzzles pointing towards himself. By some accident one of the pistols at that moment unfortunately went off. and lodged the ball in his groin. He died the next day.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 20 April 1822

To the Editor of the Royal Cornwall Gazette. 

Sir, Another, and a striking instance of the baneful effects of Smuggling, so prejudicial to many individuals and their families, as well as to the parishes situated on the coast, has just occurred ; and as I think it a duty to improve every such occurrence by a word of advice to those who still set the laws of their country at defiance, I have sent you a statement of the fact, and a few observations on the subject. Three men belonging to the parish of Gerrans, of the names of Francis and James Penver, (brothers) and George Saul, were detected in smuggling on Monday night last, about eight miles off the land, by a party from the Active Excise cutter, who came upon them suddenly in the dark, and seized between 30 and 40 kegs of spirits. The men are in custody, and were lodged in Truro prison on Tuesday, from whence on Friday morning they were Conveyed to Bodmin gaol. The infatuation under which the illicit practice of smuggling is still carried on in some parts of this County, With scarcely a chance of success, is truly astonishing: and in the present instance, I hear, will be attended with very distressing consequences to the wives and families of the unfortunate men who have subjected themselves to the penalties of the law., I hope Cornishmen will at length learn wisdom from the dear-bought experience they have had, and turn from a desperate, illegal and hopeless course, which must eventually lead to beggary and ruin. The mackerel and shell fishery on our coasts presents an inexhaustible source of honourable and profitable employment, in the early part of the season, to the skill and ability, of our excellent fishermen ; and they might still further enrich themselves by conveying the produce of their labour to London, in their own vessels, instead of allowing, as at present, an immense profit to be reaped by strangers who send their vessels down to receive the fish. This might easily be accomplished by a subscription to purchase or build a vessel or two; and the experiment once tried, the practice, I am quite confident, would soon become general. The Dutch know the value of this traffic in the large sums they annually extract from England, by the sale of their fish in the- London market-— and why should not our Cornish fishermen follow so good and profitable an example? The happiness and comfort of their families ; the independence that would spring from the well-directed efforts of honest industry; the moral and regular habits in which their-off- spring, under such a system, would then be brought up— call, imperiously call upon every Cornish father, who values the tears of his despairing wife, the cries of his defenceless children, or his own freedom from the miseries of confinement in a loathsome gaol, to abandon the dangerous and illicit pursuit of Smuggling, which repeated forfeiture both of liberty and property must teach even him to condemn. Let him but set himself free from the delusive idea of the wonderful profit he is to reap, if he can escape the vigilance of those whose duty it is to ensnare him ; and experience the gratifying reward of patient and industrious conduct, resulting from some such employment of his time and talents as is here pointed out ; and the profit arising from the latter source will in a short time treble the illegal and precarious gains which habit and education perhaps have taught him to expect from the forbidden traffic in which he was formerly engaged. The early part of the season having passed away in the' employment I have hinted at, new indeed to the Smuggler, but highly advantageous to his family ; as the year advances he will find an additional demand upon his skill and industry in the preparation of his seines for the pilchard fishery, in which occupation he may employ himself till the end of Autumn. This is a legitimate source of profit, in which, without uneasiness, or more than the usual risk of loss, he can embark his money without the hard of forfeiture, or loss of liberty, which a further perseverance in opposition to the laws of his country is sure to entail. If the Smuggler could be’ induced fairly to calculate the loss of capital, consequent upon any given sum employed in his present illegal traffic, independent of the odium that is attached to it: and look at the same sum employed by his neighbour in the common pursuits of honest industry, and the respect as well as profit that almost invariably follows: he would surely relinquish a mode of life which subjects him to every kind of personal danger, and places him in the power of every petty and unprincipled informer, who may bring ruin upon him in a moment. Our Cornish Smugglers are advantageously situated for other and better employment ; and may provide for their families without violating the laws, or leaving them to be a burthen upon the industrious inhabitants of the parishes to which they belong. The evil I believe is to be traced to an insatiable but misplaced love of gain, aim the fixed habits of the veteran Smuggler, who has ruined the morals of his rising family. The young men now in confinement are no doubt to be pitted; for if a better example had been set them in youth, and they had been early taught to follow useful labor, they would not now have been torn from their families, to be transported perhaps, like felons, to a distant region of the globe.

I am, Sir, &c &c.                                    April I8, 1822. GY

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 10 August 1822

CORNWALL ASSIZE The business of the Assize for this County Commenced at Bodmin, on Tuesday last. Mr. Justice Burrough presided at the Crown Bar, and Mr. Justice Richardson at Nisi Prius.

James Courtenay was indicted for having forged or procured another person to forge the names of certain individuals to a receipt, purporting to be for money paid by the prisoner, on account of his Majesty The prisoner was also charged with a similar offence, on another indictment. On a third indictment, he was charged with a misdemeanour, in defrauding his Majesty of certain sums of money by means of these receipts. The facts of this case- are rather singular. . The prisoner was Clerk to the Collector of the Excise at Falmouth, and as a confidential person had the duty of providing and paying what are denominated extra-men, persons occasionally put on board vessels arriving in the harbour to prevent smuggling. ' He contrived by an ingenious device to turn this to account, by getting receipts for money which he had not paid signed by different persons, under various pre-texts; such as that the. former receipt given had been mislaid, and he generally did so in an apparent hurry and thereby prevented the persons who signed from reading what he presented to them. At other times, he induced persons to sign receipts in the name of others whom he represented to be out of the way, saying that he was obliged to' send off the vouchers without delay, and, that it was a mere matter of form. — By these devices the prisoner contrived to defraud the revenue of a considerable sum.

On considering the case, however, the Solicitor of the Excise, and those who direct the Government prosecutions,' were induced to intimate to the prisoner, that if he pleaded guilty to the indictment for a misdemeanour, no evidence would be adduced ' on the capital charges; he gladly accepted the offer and pleaded guilty to the misdemeanour.

His Lordship told him that he had been very mercifully dealt with, for had he been convicted of the capital offence, he-would certainly have been left for execution. The sentence of the court was, that he pay a fine to the King of £50, and be imprisoned to the county Jail for Eighteen months and remain there until the fine be paid. The prisoner's Counsel stated that he was requested to express the sense the prisoner felt of the great lenity that had been shown him, and his contrition for the offence be had committed.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 02 November 1822

The smuggling vessel wrecked in Mount's Bay, on the 24th. instant, was formerly the Waterloo, of Truro. The bodies of the four men drowned have been found, and removed for interment, by their relatives. Their names are William and John Gilbert, brothers; William Chaffer and William Curtis ; the latter was a man of some property.


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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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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 20 January 1827

A blind man named Lucas, taken up at East Looe, Cornwall, for smuggling. Escapes from custody in the night, but surrendered himself next evening.

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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 29 March 1828

CORNWALL LENT ASSIZE The Judges, Sir Stephen and Sir Joseph Littledale, arrived at Launceston from Exeter on Tuesday the 25th instant,

John Brown, John Dunstan and William Borlase, were indicted for making a light to give notice to their associates at sea, in order to prevent the landing of a smuggled cargo. —Samuel Gammon knows the Cawsand Coast station, was street boatman on the 9th of March last under the command of Mr. Foot. Forlorn Cove is about a mile and half from Cawsand. Was. on duty on Rame. Hills with James Dyer, another boatman. About 3 a.m. placed ourselves on a furze brake about 300 yards from Rame church ; observed a fire in the gateway, and three men coming into the field with lighted straw and reed in their hands, who made three lights in the field in different directions. Witness ran across the field and caught Dunstan (Joseph) by the collar, who was coming from the gate-way where he had seen the fire. On seeing three men run across the field pursued by the preventive men, let Dunstan go and joined in the chase, and finally the prisoners were secured. Before the fires were lighted saw a vessel standing in for the land. — James Dyer and John Marsh, preventive service men, gave similar evidence, with a description of the pursuit and capture of the prisoners.

John Foot superior on the Cawsand preventive station, stated that on the 9th March last, Marsh made a complaint to him, that in consequence he had sent two persons in search of Borlase, who was taken on the 17th. Borlase promised to meet witness at Devonport, and came there in custody of a peace officer, when he told him the charge against him was for making fires on the sea coast.

Mr. Follet made a very able defence for the prisoners, and contended that there was no evidence whatever that could affect Borlase. — Brown and Dunstan . Guilty — - Borlase Not Guilty

Western Times - Saturday 10 May 1828

Considerable distress again felt at Scilly from variety of unfortunate causes. Some the boats have been placed in a state of detention by the preventive-men, owing to some trifling informalities their papers! No price whatever has been offered for kelp, by the merchants of London and Bristol; and thus a hitherto constantly available branch of employment has been taken away from the poor. The lobster-fishery equally unproductive, there being no demand. Last—but not least,—in this catalogue of evils, has been recently discovered some ingenious interpreter Acts of Parliament, that not more than four men are allowed to go in any boat at onetime: —a provision intended to militate against the alarming evil of smuggling, but which presents effectual barrier of employment of the Islanders either as pilots or fishermen ! Of piloting, indeed, there has been but little for the winter; and what relief the summer will bring is yet to be known.

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Western Times - Saturday 16 July 1831

Smuggling smack was taken on Saturday night last, off headland called Clodgey, near St. Ives, by Mr. M. Martin and his men from the preventive station, having on board tubs foreign spirits, and navigated by five Englishmen and one Frenchman.

Sherborne Mercury - Monday 18 July 1831

The five Englishmen, named Webb, Lecher, Grylls, Houghton, and Warren, found onboard the “Truro”, smuggling cutter, off St. Ives, on the 2nd inst. have been fined each, £100 and in default have been committed to Bodmin gaol; a Frenchman having proved that he was merely a passenger has been released.

Sherborne Mercury - Monday 22 February 1830

CORNWALL. Edward Collins, of Trentham, Esq. Sheriff of the County of Cornwall, has appointed Mr. Thurston Collins, Solicitor, St. Columb, Under-Sheriff for the ensuing year.

Seizure Smuggled goods, attended with loss life One evening last week a cargo of 350 tubs of brandy and gin, together with a quantity of snuff and tobacco, was landed from a smuggling cutter, at a place called Port Just Cove, under Cape Cornwall, in the parish of Saint Just, and afterwards secreted in Little Bounds Mine, called Gibraltar, for its supposed safety. Of this " plant," the preventive men on that station obtained information, and Sunday they proceeded to secure the booty'. Having to cross the shaft by a plank, one of the preventive men named Richard White, lost his footing, and fell to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 26 fathoms, and was killed on the spot. The deceased was the son of a captain of a mine, living at Bojurgan. in St. Just. About 250 tubs and some snuff and tobacco were secured by the preventive men, and safely lodged in the Custom-house at Penzance.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 10 December 1831

St. Ives.— The French smuggling cutter, Elizabeth, was brought into this port, on Sunday, having on board 838 kegs of brandy and gin, and three packages of manufactured glass. She was captured after a very active pursuit by Mr. Moses Martin, chief officer of the Coast Guard stationed at St. Ives, in conjunction with the custom-boat, and was taken about six miles from the coast at three o'clock on the Sunday morning. It is supposed that her cargo was to have been landed at Hayle or Gwithian, as she was observed the first night standing into the bay under full sail, when she was warned of her danger by the smugglers fire*, and stood off again. Her crew consists of six French and two Englishmen. The two latter are named Higgins and Bawden. 

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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 28 January 1832

On the arrival of the Messenger steam-packet Lieut. Aplin at  Falmouth on Saturday last from the Mediterranean, she was immediately boarded by three custom-house officers from London, Who it is supposed received information from a discharged engineer, that smuggled goods were on board. They proceeded to search in places ot concealment of which they appeared to be well informed, and discovered a quantity of tobacco, &c. which they seized and deposited in the Custom-house. 

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 07 April 1832

Notwithstanding the vigilance and intrepidity of the Coast Guard, the practice of smuggling has so much increased, especially On the eastern coast, that Ihe attention of Government has been attracted to the further improvement of the Preventive Service, and we understand that some plan is now undergoing investigation for the extension of an effectual branch of that service. — Telegraph.

Sherborne Mercury - Monday 03 September 1832

Smuggling.—Robert Barrowford of the parish of Rame, was Saturday last brought before Edmund Lockyer. Esq. and the Rev. T. H. Ley, Magistrates, at the Town-Hall, charged with aiding and assisting to unship a quantity Foreign Brandy, for which the duty had not been paid. It appeared by the evidence adduced, that the night of Monday sen’nite the prisoner, in company with nineteen or twenty other persons, was engaged in running a quantity of brandy in Milbrook Lake, and that in passing Lower Anderton beach, they were met by four preventive men, one whom instantly seized the prisoner by the collar; a severe struggle immediately ensued, the smugglers being armed with large bludgeons, and after desperate attempt to rescue the prisoners, in which several of the officers were wounded, one of whom received a very severe cut in the neck, and another across the loins from a cutlass—the whole party, with the exception Barrowford, who was kept a prisoner from the first, made off, leaving great number of kegs of spirits in the possession the Custom House officers. Three of the officers then went with the prisoner to the station-house, leaving three of their companion in charge of the prize. In their absence, the smugglers returned, and succeeded in carrying off several kegs and many others were stove which were found to contain foreign brandy. The prisoner being deserted by his companions, hailed them—"come back you cowards." He was convicted in the full penalty of £100, and default of payment committed the county gaol.

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Sherborne Mercury - Monday 15 April 1833

Dartmouth.—The sloop Two Sisters, this port, Foaley, master, has been seized within this harbour by Mr. Creed, tide surveyor of the customs, with between three and four tons contraband tobacco, snuff, ect. on board. The master and one crew have been sent to serve in His Majesty's navy, and the other the members of the crew to the county prison, until the fine in dieted on him has been paid. These facts contradict the reports in several newspapers, that men detected smuggling are in future not to be sent to serve in the navy." such orders have not as yet been issued by the government.

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North Devon Journal - Thursday 10 April 1834

CORNWALL ASSIZES —Launceston, March 31.

Shooting Revenue Officer. —Jas. Murphy was indicted for shooting at James Rodd, at St. German’s with intent to murder him or do him some grievous harm. James Rodd—I am a fisherman. On the 24th of July last I was out fishing and came home between 11 and 12 at night. John Webber was with me. When I got on shore, I saw a person who came up to me and said he would blow my brains out, and no sooner did he say so than he did it. (A laugh.) He put his pistol to my brow, and it went off and the ball struck me above the forehead. I did not come to my senses for more than a week; my eyes were closed with the powder. It was. Murphy who shot me. I have always a pain in head. — Cross-examined – I walked to my own house after this. The prisoner is in the preventative service and of that district. There was no grudge between us.    The practice ot the service is to give a signal by firing in the air. I have said that I thought he intended to fire in the air; he had not hold of me. There was another boat about 50 fathoms off. I had passed close to that boat. I don't think that it was an accident. I never said that I was quite ready to make it up that night. I said so some time afterwards, because money is useful to a poor man. Re-examined. — This is the hat I wore. (There was a hole through the crown of it, made by the bullet.)

The prisoner put in written defence, in which he stated, that in consequence of directions he had received he had been looking out that night for a smuggling vessel, and had imagined first that these two men were smugglers, and that he was about to fire his pistol as a signal, when Rudd came up suddenly to him, and the pistol went off accidentally.—For the defence” the deposition of the prosecutor, taken before the magistrate was read in which he stated, that to the best of his believe the pistol was fired accidentally, and that the prisoner did not intend do him any harm.—Lieut. Pennington and Jeremiah Murphy on the coast guard service, stated that a smuggler was expected that night and directions had been given to the prisoner to fire an alarm if he saw any one. it was also stated that Rodd had agreed to take 10/. to compromise the affair, and that it would have been settled if the money could have been raised.

The Learned Judge then summed up the case to the jury, explain to them the distinction between murder and manslaughter, and stating to them that if they consider the prisoner had so acted, that if death had ensued the crime would have amounted to murder, the present charge came within the statute ; but it would only have constituted the crime of manslaughter' then the case was not within the provisions of the Act 0f Parliament.

The jury having consulted for upwards of half an hour returned the verdict guilty. -- The prisoner was removed from the bar without any sentence being passed upon him.

Editors note: - James Murphy was brought up for sentencing on the following Tuesday morning when his Lordship informed him he could now do no more than hold out a hope that his life should be spared. – Sentenced of death recorded.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 17 February 1834

It is intended to abolish the provisions in the Customs Acts by which service in the navy is made a punishment for smuggling offences. —Globe.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 08 March 1834

On Tuesday night, a smuggling vessel teemed the Brothers, of Cawsand, was driven on the Plymouth Breakwater, during a gale from the S.W. The crew. consisting of five persons, got on the Breakwater, and commenced crying for help, when they were rescued by the boat belonging to the light-vessel stationed near the entrance to the Sound. The vessel was afterwards taken possession of, but the greater part of the kegs on board were staved and the smuggler is a wreck.

Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 04 September 1834

Captain Marsh, inspecting commander of the Coast Guard, Mounts Bay, with the crew of the Mousehole preventive boat, on Wednesday night' captured five farmers from the neighbourhood of the Land's-end and two boatmen belonging to the Scilly Isles, with 16 tubs. of spirits in their possession. The men have undergone an examination before Geo. John, Esq,, one of- the Magistrates for Cornwall, and been remanded. By. -a late enactment, - here more than three persons are found associated in a smuggling transaction, the magistrate before whom a conviction takes place is. required to commit them to the House of Correction for six months, at hard labour.

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Sherborne Mercury - Monday 10 August 1835

On Tuesday, five men, named Austin, Wells, Carpenter, Pearde, and Heath, were indicted for assembling armed with dangerous and offensive weapons, for purpose of smuggling spirits, on the Cornish coast, on the 28th May last. In a rencontre which took place on the night in question, between a party of smugglers numbering upwards of a hundred and the officers of the Fowey Coast Guard station, some of the latter were severely beaten, and one in particular, who received concussion of the brain from blow inflicted with one of the bludgeons, which was very near proving fatal.

At the close of the case for the prosecution, it was contended for the prisoners that there was no case to to the jury, inasmuch as none of the sticks could called “dangerous and offensive weapons," within the words of the indictment. The learned Judge (Gurnev) said it was not necessary that the weapon should be a firearm or a cutting instrument, but that any instrument taken for the purpose of attack or defence must be considered as a dangerous weapon. The jury, after consulting some time, returned a verdict of "guilty of smuggling but not with dangerous weapons." The learned Judge desired them to examine the bludgeons and consult together again: they did so and returned the same verdict as before.

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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 19 August 1836

Smuggling We understand their has been a good deal of smuggling carried on lately along the coast of Cornwall,- notwithstanding  the work of our active preventive service. On Wednesday last however, we learn that 80 kegs of spirits were seized by Lieut Baker and brought into Looe.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 26 August 1836

SMUGGLiNG.-In our last we stated that notwithstanding the vigilance of the coast-guard smuggling has for some time been carried on to a great extent in Cornwall, and that several kegs of contraband goods had on the preceding Wednesday had been taken and carried into Fowey. Since then several smugglers have been taken and lodged in our county goal. On the night of Sunday last a person from this neighbourhood was taken up and the following day two other persons were brought up from the west, and another from west has since been added to the number. 

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 16 December 1836

PORT OF PENZANCE. By Order of the Honourable Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs. ON TUESDAY the 2oth of December, 1836, at Eleven in the Forenoon, will be exposed to PUBLIC SALE at the Custom House, at this Port, 2lbs of  TEA, ONE NORWAY BATTEN, also, the Broken-up HULL of the Schooner " SUSAN," of St. Ives, seized and condemned for having been employed in Smuggling, together with the SAILS, ROPES, MASTS, YARDS, and all the other MATERIALS belong to the said Vessel. Also, FOUR unserviceable Coast-Guard BOATS, and sundry Spars, Hawsers, Cordage, and other Stores, from Revenue Cruizers and Coast-Guard Stations. The Goods may be viewed at the Custom House, on the day preceding the day of Sale. Custom- House, Penzance, Dec. 2, 1836.

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Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser - Wednesday 25 April 1838

Smuggling. On Saturday week, soon after the arrival of the Braganza at Falmouth, from London, a waterman was observed by some Customhouse officers to receive from her a parcel of tobacco, about 40lbs. weight. Mr. Dobson, the active tide surveyor of the station, immediately despatched two of his men in pursuit the offender, who was taken, and afterwards committed to prison, to abide the order of the Board Customs. On Sunday, a further seizure was made on board the same steamer, of 210lbs. of tobacco, which was found in the engine room.

Falmouth Express and Colonial Journal - Saturday 02 June 1838

On Tuesday night last H.M. Revenue Cruiser Dove, Lieut, Gahan, captured a boat containing about 75 tubs of smuggled Brandy, with 4 men on board, and brought it into this port. The men have been committed to the town prison by the borough magistrates till Wednesday next, when they will be brought up to take their trial.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 08 June 1838

Michael Caddy, and Thomas Smith, Gunwalloe. were Saturday last convicted before the County Magistrates of smuggling 23 gallons of brandy, and fined £100 each; for of which, they have since been committed to Bodmin gaol.

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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 20 September 1839


Order of the Honourable Commissioners of Her Majesty's Customs.

ON WEDNESDAY, the 2nd of October, 1839, at Eleven in the Forenoon,

will be exposed to PUBLIC SALE at the Custom House at this Port, the broken-up HULL and BOAT of the schooner MARIE VICTOIRE of Truro, seized and condemned for having been employed in smuggling, together with her SAILS and ROPES reduced to paper-stuff; and her MASTS and YARDS reduced to firewood. Also, sundry other articles belonging to the said vessel, consisting of OLD IRON, LEAD, &c &c. The Goods may be viewed at the Customhouse. on the day proceeding the Sale, on application to Mr. EDMUND RANDALL,  the Locker. Dated 16th September 1839.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 18 October 1839

Smuggling. —On Friday evening, a man employed in the Coast Guard, under the orders of Capt. Morgan, R.N., inspecting commander, observed a boat of suspicions appearance making towards the shore at Gillanvase. communicated this circumstance lo his officer; and the next morning, 110 kegs of contraband spirits were found by creeping, the usual manner. The process was resumed Monday, when a further seizure was made of 89 kegs.


Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 03 January 1840

Truro Pettv Sessions. — On Friday last, Nicholas Fugler ot Tregony, common carrier, was charged by the Collector and Comptroller of the Customs, with having been found illicitly conveying a keg of foreign brandy, by which he had incurred a penalty of £100 This case was heard by two county magistrates, Dr. Carlyon and Capt. Kempe. Henry Charles Tumor, Officer of Excise, stated that on the morning of the 21st instant, he and Mr. Randall an officer of the Customs, in consequence of suspicions long entertained by them that smuggled goods were brought to Truro in vans from the east, agreed to exa- mine them as they came in on that morning. They over-hauled several vans; and among them Nicholas Fugler, the defendant's, in which they found a tub concealed in a round hamper, simply tied with common string, and very carelessly packed. There was no direction on it. On their questioning Fugler, he stated that be took it up in Tregony by the road side. They then took possession of it, and brought if with the horse and van to the Custom-house. The tub was of foreign make, and the brandy wa foreign, upwards of 26 per cent. under proof. It was of the usual strength and quality of smuggled brandy. [The officer after giving his evidence explained, with the magistrates' permission, that it was not true, as had been reported, that any information bad been given against Fugler. The search had been wholly owing to the suspicion long, entertained against the vans.] 

Edmund Randall, Officer of the Customs, fully corroborated the evidence of Tumor.— This was the case for the Crown. 

Fugler was then called on for his defence. He stated that he took up the hamper in question, outside the door of Bawden's Inn, in Tregony, where it had been brought in his absence. Goods were frequentlv brought in the same way, and also put into his van without his knowing any thing about them. He never opened any parcel. A great many things not directed were put into his van while he was not there, and on bis coming to Truro, persons would come to take them. Bawden gave him directions to hand over the hamper to Trice's van at Truro, and that was all he said about it. The carriage had not been paid. He had never kept a book for the entry of goods; and it was not usual for van-keepers to do so. 

After some conversation between the Magistrate*, Dr. Carlyon, addressing Fugler, said the facts of the case were very plain, and had brought the defendant into a difficulty from which it was impossible for the Bench to extricate him. There were circumstances, however, from which it might possibly be inferred, that Fugler, from the too great -negligence of van-drivers in taking up parcels, might have taken this hamper without any intention of participating in an illicit traffic. These circumstances it was possible, the gentlemen of the Customs might represent to the Board, in London, as whatever mitigation of punishment Fugler might receive, must come through them.— The Court then convicted the defendant in the penalty of £100 ; and in default of payment be was sentenced to six month's imprisonment. 

The Collector and Comptroller, stated that they would represent to the Board of Customs what had fallen from the Bench ; and it was ordered that the Justices' Clerk should draw up a statement of the case to be signed by the magistrates, with the view of obtaining some mitigation of punishment ; il being notified, however, that such culpable negligence on the part of van-drivers would not after this warning, meet with the same indulgence. 

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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 16 April 1841

Smuggling. — On Saturday last, the smugglers captured inboard the Mystery of Cherbourg, was brought up on information’s exhibited against them by R. J. Ferris, Esq, Collector of the Customs. Mr. Paynter appeared for the Crown. The four Englishmen pleaded guilty and were thus sentenced: — Seaward, nine months' hard labour ; Walters, Sergeant and Trudgeon, each six months' hard labour. There were also sis French men; but these, upon the requisition of Richard Pearce Esq.. the French Consular Agent, were released, there being nothing to show that the vessel had been within that distance from the coast, beyond which the law is inoperative against foreigners —lt was stated to the magistrates that Seaward, who by the way is but a young man, was nevertheless an old offender against the revenue laws; and the commander of the. Royal George cutter was brought down from Weymouth to prove this As soon, however, as he came forward, Seaward said he would save hem the trouble of examining him. by confessing that he had been twice before committed for smuggling, and was only just out of prison when he was last taken. 

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Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 03 November 1842

FALMOUTH.-SMUGGLING.-Lawrence Marote, second steward of the Liverpool steamer on Friday last, pleaded guilty to smuggling 49Tbs. of tobacco, which had been found in his possession on the arrival of that vessel, and was sentenced to pay the penalty of £1oo. or endure six months' imprisonment.

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Sherborne Mercury - Saturday 11 March 1843

Smuggling.—On Thursday night last, Mr. James, the Comptroller of the port of Gweek, with his men, captured in the Helford river a vessel, having on board 125 kegs brandy, which have since been lodged in the Custom House, Helford; the smugglers were also taken, consisting one English and three Frenchmen.

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Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser - Wednesday 23 April 1845

Smuggling - The Board of Customs having reasons to believe that extensive smuggling transactions have been successfully carried on by vessels engaged in the coasting trade, and that there has been a great laxity on the part of the tide surveyors at some ports in the boarding and rummaging such vessels, have issued directions that the officers of the water guard strictly enjoined to rummage coasting vessels as frequently and thoroughly aa possible, and to keep a record at their respective stations of the vessels so rummaged, and for the inspection of the surveyors general of customs on their official visits to the different ports of the kingdom. The commissioners have also directed the respective collectors and comptrollers of the revenue impressed with the necessity that exists of enforcing due compliance with the instructions contained in this order, and have called their attention to the general order, dated December, 1832, which they are desired to report specially any information which they may have been able to obtain with respect to runs smuggled goods, with the result of their inquiries, and which, it appears, there are grounds to believe have in some instances, been entirely neglected. This order has been communicated to the principal officers of the several departments throughout the United Kingdom, with directions carry the same strictly into effect from the present time.

Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser - Wednesday 14 May 1845

Smuggling. —On Friday night last, between 10 and 11 o’clock, Coast Guard men belonging to the Portloe Station, under the command of Baker, observed a boat put off from under the cliffs near Porth, the eastern side Pennare Head; and on going to the beach, captured quantity of kegs and two men. The prize was found to contain 145 kegs of brandy and Hollands, vis 143 kegs of brandy, and the remaining 38 of Hollands.

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Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser - Wednesday 13 May 1846

Smuggling. Saturday week, barque  “Lady Falmouth”, belonging Mr. Joseph Vivian, of Roseworihy, was seized while in Falmouth harbour, Mr. Northcote, officer of the Customs of St. Mawea, in consequence a quantity of tobacco about 80lbs having been found aboard, and Mr. Leaty, the master, was remanded by the Mayor, W. A. Broad, Esq., before whom the case was heard. a further search was made, and upwards two cwt. more was found onboard. Information to the Revenue officers by a passenger who came home in the vessel from the West Indies as a distressed subject. The vessel is now nearly ready to sail with Government stores.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 29 May 1846

The Customs.— Richard Luscombe, Esq., of Plymonth, has been appointed to discharge the duties of Comptroller of Customs at Falmouth, in the room of Thomas Hearle, Esq. who is absent from duty on account of illness.


On Tuesday, Edward Toms, and Jane his wife, appeared before the Magistrates, J. Cornish, and J. Hill, Esqrs., to answer a complaint preferred against them by H.M. Customs, for smuggling about 4 gallons of contraband spirits, and a small quantity of sugar and coffee Toms's wife was acquitted. Mr. Moorman, who appeared for Toms, consented to a plea of guilty on the charge of smuggling the spirits, but not the sugar and coffee, which was found by the officers of Customs in an outhouse which was proved not to belong to defendant He was fined in treble the value of the goods, amounting in the whole to £71. 18s. 3d. The fine was immediately paid.

Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser - Wednesday 08 July 1846

Smuggling.—On Tuesday last, the captain of a brig was brought before the magistrates at Falmouth, and remanded until Friday, charged with having on board nine pound and a half of negro-head tobacco more than as accounted for in the manifest. The authorities, we understand, mean to proceed against this man, for penally of £100, being found on board a vessel liable to forfeiture.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 31 July 1846

Smuggling. — On Monday, Robert Hawkey,  Devonport, maltster, who had been remanded from the Monday preceding, was charged before the Mayor of Truro, and J. T. Nankivell, Esq. Borough Justice with having 10 lbs. of smuggled cigars in his possession on the 19th July.— Policeman Fitzsimmons stated, that on Sunday, the 19th July, between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening, he received information of the prisoner having a box of smuggled cigars, and of his having offered them for sale at 6s. per 100. Witness went with the man who gave him the information, and apprehended prisoner on the road to Truro; witness took him in charge, and sent for Mr. Stansmore, who immediately came, and sized the box in the Queen's name.— Mr. Stansmore, collector of customs, spoke to his having received the box from last witness, and to its containing smuggled cigars.— Mr. Avery, comptroller of customs, stated that the prisoner bad previously, in 1838, been convicted of a somewhat similar offence. — The Prisoner in his defence, stated that, not having been in Cornwall for two years, he came down to see his friends at Truro ; and at the request of a friend at Devonport, went down to Falmouth, to see how new potatoes were selling. While be was speaking to a person in the market at Falmouth, a female touched him and offered him some cigars he replied that be did not want them ; that he had never dealt in such articles; bat he would ask a friend of his what sort of things they were. He took them to a public-house and asked a man, who said they were good smoking cigars, and cheap. Witness returned to the woman, and bought 1000, and on Sunday, packed them in the box, and travelled with them, without any disguise or concealment. He showed them to some persons at the Punch Bowl, but never offered them for tale. He bought them only for his own smoking. He did not know it was necessary to have a permit, not being accustomed to anything of the kind. The Magistrates said they had no alternative but to inflict the penalty of £100. The prisoner was committed until the flne be paid • the Board of Customs alone having power to mitigate the penalty, or to release the prisoner.

Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser - Wednesday 02 December 1846

Smuggling.—On Monday, a seizure of Tobacco and spirits was made aboard H.M. packet, Penquin at Falmouth, by Mr.Chinn tide surveyor. Then goods were stowed in an empty water-tank in the hold, being about 160 lbs of Tobacco and eight gallons of rum. The crew were immediately called abaft  and separately questioned as to the ownership when one of seamen, called Bennetts admitted the tobacco and rum belonged to him- He was subsequently brought before magistrates and committed to await directions from the board of customs.

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Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 02 April 1847

Bolitho, seaman on board the smack Edward, lying in the port of Falmouth, was brought on Thursday last before J. B. Cob, Esq., mayor, and John Hill, Esq., at the Guildhall, on a charge of smuggling, and remanded until Wednesday next. The vessel was. from Rouen in ballast, and on searching. 2 jars containing 8 gallons of brandy were found concealed. He was remanded to await the decision of the Board of Customs.

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Friday 01 December 1848

Smuggling.— Cornelius Pill, mate, and Edward Jones, a seaman, of the smack Lavinia of Fowey, from Guernsey, appeared before the magistrate* at Fowey, on Tuesday, 28th Nov., the former to answer to a charge of having conceled two botties of spirits with intent to defraud the revenue, and the latter with having stuffed a pair of bellows with tea and cigars, for the same unlawful purpose.— J. Brows, Esq., Collector of H.M . customs, appeared as prosecutor for the Crown. Lieut. Wise, of H.M. cutter Fox, deposed to having boarded the Lavinia on Sunday last, Immediately on her entering the harbor, and ordered his crew to rummage the vessel, when they discovered the spirit produced, which was owned by the mate Pill.— Mr. Peach, tide-surveyor and searcher at the port of Fowey, proved as received, and found the bellow, with contents as produced. The magistrate, convicted Pill In the mitigating circumstances with a penalty of 20s. and costs, and Jones 20s. and costs.


Patrick Balger, a seaman of the barque Royal Adelaide arrived from Quebec, was convicted on tho previous day in the mitigating penalty of 20s. and costs for smuggling tobacco.— Two apprentice* belonging to the same vessel were remanded until Monday next charge of smuggling 15 poundt of tobacco.


Padstow.— Six of the crew of the ship Clio, just arrived from Quebec, have now been detected in landing tobacco and tea from that vessel, and are in custody of the coast guard, to be brought before the bench at St Columb, on Tuesday next 










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