[Appendix B(70) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 70.

The EXAMINATION of Mr. THOMAS BARBER, Acting Controller and Deputy Scarcher at the Port of Ramsay, in the Isle of Man, taken at Douglas the 11th and 12th of October 1791.


THIS Examinant saith, that he is Acting Controller at the Port of Ramsay,.iri virtue of an appointment from the present Deputy Receiver General, bearing date the 16th of March 1790. He took the oath of office on such appointment, but has given no security. Before this appointment, he was five years and a half a clerk in the Custom-house at Douglas.

He was put under no instructions as Controller, nor did he receive any written or printed instructions. He has not any salary, but an allowance of twelve pounds a year out of the Collector’s fees at Ramsay.

This Examinant further saith, that he is Deputy Searcher at the Port of Ramsay, in virtue likewise of the appointment before mentioned, a copy of which he herewith delivers. He also took oaths ofoffice on this appointment, but was not required to give any security, nor was he ever instructed as a Searcher. He has no salary as Deputy Searcher, but has the fees belonging to the Searcher, which for the year 1790 amounted to twelve pounds eighteen shillings. The business of Searcher at Ramsay is wholly conducted by him, as the principal does not act.

The Collector keeps a file of all entries inwards and outwards, and from this file he as Controller makes out and keeps a book of all articles imported and exported. He keeps no file himself.

Upon entries to any amount, the Collector and he both compute the duties, and check the computation one by the other. On small entries, only one computes, and the other makes out the warrants. At the end of each quarter they compare their books with the files of entries inwards and outwards. No other person that he knows of compares their books with the reports; entries, and warrants, to see that all the duties on goods imported are brought to account.

Salt from Liverpool is frequently imported at Ramsay; there have been five or six cargoes this summer. The Tidewaiter stationed on board these vessels keeps the account of the salt landed, delivers this account to the Searcher, who upon that endorses the quantity on the back of the warrant for landing, delivers in that warrant to the Custom-house, and on this document the Collector and Controller make out the certificate of landing to be transmitted to the port from whence the salt came.

It has been the praaice of the port to suffer coals to be landed without the attendance of any officer. The Searcher is the person who endorses the warrant as to the quantity of coals landed, which quantity he takes from the cocket and entry if the whole cargo is landed ; and if a part only is landed, no entry is made till the master acquaints the officers of the quantity sold, for which an entry is then made, and the warrant is endorsed by the Searcher for that quantity.

Where the whole cargo is landed, the Collector and Controller grant certificates to be sent to the portt of shipping upon the above certificate of the Searcher. Where a part is landed, the Collector and Controller endorse that quantity on the cocket, upon a like warrant from the Searcher.

Since the Bounty Act, 1786, no herrings have been exported from Ramsay to foreign parts, and the reason he apprehends is that there is no red herring house at Ramsay, nor any cured; and no white herrings are so exported.

The certificates or debentures for the bounty of one shilling per barrel paid on white herrings packed and cured by the inhabitants of the Isle of Man, are made out at Ramsay once a year only and they are so made out from entries in the books of white herrings exported to Great Britain.

Tidesmen only attend the shipping of these herrings for Great Britain ; but in some instances they have not attended. In the former case the number of barrels shipped is taken from the account of the Tidesmen, in the latter from the ship-masters. In both cases the Searcher endorses the warrant upon which the cocket for Great Britain is granted.

Sometimes he examines and sees the herrings so to be shipped for exportation branded, sometime. the Tidewaiters do this, and he believes that the whole are branded before shipping.

The number of barrels, as branded in the mode abovementioned, is certified to be shipped by searcher from the accounts delivered into him by the Tidesmen, where they attend, and at times where they do not attend, by the account given him by the ship-master.

It has not been the practice of the port of Ramsay to station any officer on board vessels after herrings are shipped. No certificate of the landing of the herrings exported to Great-Britain is returnable to the Isle of Man.

The Deputy Receiver General commonly comes over to Ramsay and pays the bounty of one shilling to the several persons entitled thereto, and to whom the debentures have before been delivered by the Collector and Controller.

No sheep that he knows of, but frequently wool, has been exported from Ramsay to Great Britain Sometimes a Tidewaiter attends the shipping, sometimes the Searcher. After the wool is shipped, no officer, to his knowlege, pays any particular attention to the article. The Searcher certifies the quantity shipped on the back of the warrant, from the account of the person exporting it : it is not weighed by any officer. He makes a return on the shipping warrant of the number and description of the packages of wool from the account of the exporter. Upon the certificate of landing from the port to which the wool is sent, the Collector and Controller compare the certificate with the account in their books of the quantity exported, and cancel the bond if they agree. Since his time he has not known any instance of their disagreeing. He has not any commission for seising.

Neither salt, sheep, or wool have been sent coastwise in the Isle of Man, to or from Ramsay, sincehe has been in office. The trade at the port of Ramsay is, he apprehends, much as it has been for some years past. Salt, he apprehends, is the principal article of export smuggling from the part of the island about Ramsay. The smuggling inwards, he thinks, principally takes place on brandy and gin.


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


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