[Appendix B(60) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 60.


The EXAMINATION of Mr. HENRY ROUTLEDGE, Extra Waiter and Searcher : and Acting Chief Boatman, in the Port of Douglas in the Isle of Man, taken at Douglas, October 10th, 1791.


THIS Examinant saith, that he is Extra Waiter and Searcher in the Port of Douglas,and was appointed so the 27th of December 1775, by Mr. Lutwidge the Receiver General. He took the oath of office on this appointment before the Receiver General and the Collector. Did not give any security; was not instructed before his appointment, nor did he receive any written or printed instructions afterwards. As Extra Waiter and Searcher, he receives one shilling and sixpence per day when employed, and he is constantly so. He has no fees or gratuities as Extra Waiter and Searcher.

As Extra Waiter and Searcher, his duty is to go on board and examine the vessels when they come into the harbour ; and he is occasionally stationed on board vessel by Mr. Cullin the Searcher, to take an account of the goods landed or shipped. When blue books came down for landing, be kept this account in those books; when they did not come down, he sometimes kept the account on slips of paper, at other times no written account was kept, but he stood by the articles whilst they were delivered by the Searcher. It has frequently happened that he has had three vessels unlading or shipping at the same time to attend to, and he has gone from one to the other by order of the Searcher to keep the accounts as above described. He has been taken off foreign ships on which he has been stationed, to go to vessels taking onboard herrings and salt ; and when this has happened, no officer was left on board the foreign vessel, but the Searcher was on the shore.

The account of the salt and herrings so shipped by this Examinant is delivered to the Searcher, for the purpose, as he apprehends, of endorsing the warrant as to the quantity shipped.

This Examinant farther saith, that he has acted as Chief Boatman since the death of Mr. Wainfield, which, he thinks, was in the year 1781 or 1782. He was appointed so to act by Mr. Lutwidge, but had no written instrument to that effect. He neither took any oath, gave security, or was instructed upon this appointment. He has no salary as Acting Chief Boatman, nor any additional day pay ; and has no other emolument but six pence or a shilling now and then when a vessel is discharged, which in the last year did not amount to more than twenty shillings.

As Chief Boatman he has the command of the boat. The boat’s crew consists of himself and two established officers, who are both tidesmen and boatmen.

When vessels arrive in the bay of Douglas, provided they are not colliers or vessels they do not know, he goes out in the boat and boards them, examines their papers, sees where they are from, and also rummages them ; if they are going to discharge at Douglas, he leaves one of his men on board ; if bound elsewhere, he does not leave a man on board ; but in case there be any thing suspicious, he keeps a look out from shore.

Vessels outward-bound to Africa and the West Indies sometimes come to anchor in the bay of Douglas, but not often, they more frequently do so in Ramsay bay, and their so doing, he apprehends, arises from contrary winds.

The boat he speaks of is a small boat with four oars, and goes into the bay of Douglas only. They have another boat wherry-rigged, which is seldom used, but the is generally rigged in the summer in case she should be wanted This latter boat, if properly manned, might go round the Island in moderate weather, but is not at all fit to cruize. The small boat, as is now manned, cannot go out of the bay of Douglas, if the weather is rough or there be an easterly swell.

The watch-house is upon the quay, and this Examinant, with the other Tide-waiters and Boatmen, attend night and day in turn if there be vessels discharging, if not, only in tide-time and keep a book of the arrivals and sailings. There is no officer in Douglas who visits him or the other Tidesmen at night, when stationed on board vessels.

As Chief Boatman he keeps no account of vessels arriving in the bay, but only of those which come into the harbour, even though he has gone on board such vessels. Neither he nor his boat’s crew have made any seizure on board vessels in the harbour or bay of Douglas within these four years, except a trifling one in a packet, which it is said will be claimed

He does not recollect any sheep being shipped at Douglas for Great Britain. Wool is sometimes shipped for Great Britain. When wool is so shipped, the Tidesman on board keeps an account of the article in like manner as of any other that is shipped, namely, on slips of paper if the Searcher is not standing by; and if he is, the account is left to be kept by him.

No blue books, to his knowledge, are ever issued for the shipping of goods. He does not recollect any instance of sheep or wool being carried coastwise from Douglas.

He is also superintendant of the workmen repairing the harbour, and pays the men their wages, for which he has a shilling a day ; out of which he pays five pounds a year to the Pier-master, to attend when this examinant is on other duty.


Jno Spranger.
Wm Osgoode.
Willm Roe.
David Reid.


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