[Appendix B(72) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 72.


The EXAMINATION of Mr. THOMAS HODGSON, Chief Boatman in. the Port of Ramsay in the Isle of Man, taken at Douglas the 20th of October 1791.

THIS Examinant saith, That he is Chief Boatman at the Port of Ramsay, and was appointed so by a constitution of the Treasury, dated 1766. He took the oath of office, and gave security on this appointment, and received printed instructions, with a deputation from the Commissioners of the Customs. He has no other office. His salary is thirty pounds a year, and he takes no fees or gratuities.

His duty as Chief Boatman is to attend the tides from half-flood to half-ebb, which he and the other Tidesmen do by turns, there being always two at a time. When vessels come into the Bay of Ramsay, they board some, and some they do not, according to the weather. When :they do board them, they examine from whence they came, what they have on board, and whither bound. If the vessel is coming into the harbour, they leave a couple of men on board ~ when a vessel is in the harbour, the Tidesmen attend, and remain always on board till she is discharged, except in the case of salt and coals. If there are not sufficient Tidesmen to station two on board every vessel discharging, only one is left in her. They remain on board night and day ; and if he is not stationed in a vessel, he visits the Tidesmen once in the night, to see that they are on duty.

They attend the delivery of the salt in the day-time, but do not attend the vessel in the night. In the case of coals, they do not attend at all. Sometimes they receive blue books from the Collector and Controller, in which they enter an account of the goods delivered; sometimes they do not, and then they take it on flips of paper.

When vessels are going out, except in ballast, if it be herrings, they only see them put on board, give the quantity of barrels shipped into the Deputy Searcher, and then pay no more attention to the vessel till she sails, when they rummage her, to see that nothing is on board but what has been cleared out at the Custom-house : And this is the mode in all other cases of articles exported.

If vessels from foreign parts are in the harbour, wind-bound, they attend them during such their stay, and keep Tidesmen on board : If at anchor in the bay, they visit them occasionally if the boat can get out; it frequently happens she cannot.

They keep a regular account of all vessels coming into or going out of the harbour, but none of those coming into the bay.

He never made any seizure, to the best of his recollection, on board vessels in the harbour, or bay, since he has been in office ; but he has frequently seized salt in boats outward-bound; these boats are employed in the herring fishery in the season ; and he seized some brandy upon land about three years ago, and about eight casks of geneva nearly a year since.

He thinks that the chief articles of smuggling inwards, are brandy and geneva, and outwards, salt.

He does not remember any instance, for many years back, of vessels outward-bound from Great Britain to foreign parts, or merchant vessels homeward-bound to Great Britain, running any part of their cargoes into this Island.


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



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