[Appendix B(66) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 66.

The EXAMINATION of Mr. JOSEPH LAWSON, Chief Boatman at Darbyhaven, in the Isle of Man, taken at Douglas the 14th and 19th of October 1791.

THIS Examinant saith, That he is Chief Boatman at Darbyhaven, and has been so for six years. That he was originally appointed a Tidesman and Boatman at Ramsay, in virtue of a constitution from the Treasury in the year 1765 ; which constitution he now has. That he took the oaths of office, and gave security, and has a deputation and instructions from the Board of Customs. That his salary is twenty-five pounds per annum, and he has no fees, nor does he take any gratuities whatever.

He does duty at Darbyhaven, and the other two Tidesmen or Boatmen are under his command, when called for ; the one resides at Castletown, and the other at the Green, halfway betwixt Castletown and Darbyhaven.

The boat is at present unfit to be used in boarding vessels, having been blown from her moorings about five months ago and damaged, and not worth repairing ; and though repaired, not fit to go into the bay in a swell, or rough sea, being small, and only two men to row her.

When he can he boards all vessels coming into the bay, and examines them ; and if he suspects them, he leaves a man on board till they sail, if the weather will admit of his doing to, which he cannot do if it be any way rough, as it requires all hands to bring the boat on shore ; and if they be for Darbyhaven, or Castletown, he boards them when he can in the bay, or, he cannot, after they come into the harbour; and if they have duty goods on board, coals excepted, a Tidesman, or two, if they can be spared, are placed on board till the vessels are discharged. The Tidesman on board takes an account of the goods landed, and gives that account to the Searcher ; but the Tidesmen keep no blue books, except upon salt. The Tidesman on board the ship keeps an account of the salt landed, and gives that account to the Searcher.

No books, nor any accounts whatever, are kept upon coals.

When the vessels are unloaded, he rumages them, to see that there be no goods liable to seizure.

The Tidesman on board vessels with duty goods, other than coals, continue on board night and day.

He brands all herrings exported from Darbyhaven, there being none exported from Castletown, and fees them shipped, and gives the account of the quantity shipped to the Searcher. No officer is on board the vessel at the time the herrings are taken on board, and none are stationed on board after the herrings are shipped.

He never made any seizures out of vessels either at Darbyhaven, or Castletown ; but he has been at the making of seizures elsewhere, particularly the Jean, in Douglas harbour, about seven years ago, with a valuable cargo, and the smack Dandy, with another valuable cargo, at Port Iron, about three or four years ago, both of which were sent to Liverpool and sold.

He has no other employment than that of Chief Boatman.

The articles chiefly smuggled into the Island, are brandy and geneva ; and salt is smuggled out of it.

The Searcher keeps the account of the arrivals and failings of vessels in the harbour and bay of Darbyhaven ; if otherwise employed, this Examinant keeps it.

He does not believe that vessels outward bound from Great Britain to foreign parts re-land any part of their cargoes on the Isle of Man ; or that merchant vessels homeward-bound to Great Britain, run any of their cargoes on shore on this Island.


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


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001