[Appendix B(65) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 65.


The EXAMINATION of Mr. JAMES WEBB, Collector of Harbour Duties for the Port of Derbyhaven in the Isle of Man, taken at Castletown, October 15th, and at Douglas, October 19th, 1791.

THIS Examinant saith, That he is Collector of the Harbour Duties in the port of Derbyhaven and the creeks thereunto belonging, and was appointed to that office in the year 1785 by the Deputy Receiver General by a written instrument under his hand.

He took no oath, nor did he give any security upon this appointment. He has no other emolument for collecting these dues than five per cent. upon the sum received.

As Harbour Matter, it is his duty to visit every vessel that comes into the harbour of Derbyhaven or its creeks, which creeks are Castletown, Port le Murry, and Port iron

The first knowledge he has of a vessel in the harbour of Derbyhaven or Castletown, is either from his being there himself and seeing her, or from the information of the Chief Boatman stationed at Derbyhaven, or the Boatman at Castletown. He then takes a boat and boards her, unless dry, in which case he walks to her, demands a sight of her certificate of registry, if British or Irish, and if foreign, measures her as well as he is able; and receives the tonnage accordingly, giving a receipt for the same.

If the vessel has goods on board for entry at the custom.house, a quarter per cent. is taken upon each entry, provided it amounts to five pounds and upwards, except the article of salt, which is exempt from harbour dues. If the goods so entered are liable to duty, he gets at the amount from the value expressed on the warrant ; if the goods are not liable to duty the value is taken from the invoice which is produced, or an aflfadavit made as to the value by the merchant before the collector. These dues upom the value of the goods are always received by the acting Collector, and the harbour due marked upon the warrant. and at the end of each quarter accounted for by the Collector to him.

Foreign vessels coming to anchor in any of the bays belonging to the above port or or creeks are liable to the payment of two shillings and six pence. All Vessels and all boats above four tons that cross the Channel pay the harbour dues, according to the tonnage, upon each voyage. No vessels or boats pay comlng coastwise in the Isle of Man.

He makes out quarterly accounts of these dues, and pays at the end of each quarter the whole receipt to the Deputy Receiver General, deducting five percent for the collection. He swears to the truth of such accounts before the acting Collector, and delivers them to the Deputy Receiver General.

No custom-house officers are stationed either at Port le Mury or Port Iron. The acting Collector, he himself, or one of the Tidesmenn, every working-day, by turn visit those two creeks and if there be in either of them vessels liable to harbour-dues, he collects them himself, or one of the above officers, whoever happens to be there, does it for him in the manner as described, and accounts to him. The visits to the said creeks are made in tide-time, and in the day. If the vessels are not dry, he takes the custom-house boat to collect the harbour dues at Derbyhaven, when she is in condition, and there are Tidesmen in waiting. She is frequently out of condition, and has been so since July last, and then he borrows a boat if he can; if she was in condition, it is not safe to go with her into the bay, either in a strong easterly wind or rough weather, owing to her being small and crazy.

At Port le Murry or Port Iron he is always obliged to borrow a boat ; and if he cannot borrow one, which mostly happens, he is unable to board till the tide is out.

Sums expended either upon the pier at Castletown, or bulwark at Derbyhaven between St. Michael’s Island and the Main, or on the Perches, to mark the entries into the different harbours, are by the authority of the acting Collector under the direction of the Commissioners for the Harbour Dues. It is his business to superintend the work, and he certifies weekly as to the materials and labour ; and upon his certificate the bills are paid ; and when he attends during such work, he is allowed a shilling a-day.

The Commissioners for Derbyhaven are the acting Collector and a Merchant. Whatever he apprehends any repairs or necessary articles to be wanting, he signifies it to the Commisioners, and they with him go round, and the Commissioners give orders as they see occ in common matters ; but if any thing of consequence is required, it is, he apprehends, laid before the Deputy Receiver General.

The depth of high-water at spring tide at Derbyhaven is, according to his own knowledge and the best information he can get, from eighteen to twenty feet, and at dead neap tide about nine feet.

At Castletown, high-water at spring, about twelve ; and at dead neap tide, six feet. At Port le Murry high-water at spring tide from eighteen to twenty-one feet, and at neap, from nine to ten feet.

At Port Iron high.water at spring tide about eleven feet, and six feet at dead neap.

The depths he speaks of are confined to where the vessels take the ground to due their cargoes, and do not include the bays, where the depths are far more considerable.

These harbours are all dry at low water, and the only pier is at Castletown. Very few vessels discharge within the abovementioned port or creeks. The largest that to the pier at Castletown are about seventy tons; in general they are less. He has never heard that there are any Branch Pilots resident in the Isle of Man belonging to the Trinity House. He has never heard that either the Trinity dues, or the six-pence for Greenwich hospital, were collected at Derbyhaven, or the Creeks thereunto belonging,


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


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