[Appendix B(78) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 78.


LETTER from Mr. JOHN GAMMELL, Collector.


PURSUANT to the Powers vested in you for the Improvement of the Isle of Man, and for the more effectually preventing the Mischiefs arising to the Revenue and Commerce of Great Britain from the illicit and clandestine Trade to and from the Isle of Man, as also for the better securing and improving of His Majesty's Revenues, begs leave to suggest a few Thoughts upon the Subject : Shall first observe, that the Revenues of the Isle of Man might be better secured, were they under the Directions of one of the Honourable Board of Customs in Great Britain, and that proper Officers be appointed to the different Ports as set out by Commission to levy and coIlected his Majesty’s Duties, and that all the different Species of Goods be allowed to be imported into the different Ports in the island, under the like Regulations and Restrictions as to Douglas, subject o Control, such as you may think proper ; as for instance, (Port Glasgow and Grenock,) the great risk attending the carrying licensed Goods Coastwise from Douglas and over Land, as well as taking People from their Homes, must be attended with great Expence, and will all be charged by the Proprietors upon the Goods, which must all fall upon the Consumers, the easier that a Commodity is come at the greater the Consumption will be.

Were such Regulations to take place it would be considerably to the Advantage of the Revenue, and put every Town and Family upon an equal Footing, which they have a Right to expect when it has a Tendency to promote the Interest of the Service, and at no more Expence.

It might be necessary to have an Officer stationed at a small Distance from each of the four Towns, where it is thought most frequented by the Smugglers ; those Officers acting in Conjunction with the Riding Officers, and to give the necessary Information for their Aid and Support, as the Case might require ; and a Riding surveyor to be appointed to be a Check over them, would greatly tend to the surpressing of illicit Practices, were such Officers to do their Duty.

Would further propose, that Manifests be made by Law to extend to the Isle of Man, as from foreign Parts to Great Britain, as also Master and Mates Bonds, which by Law does not extend to the Isle of Man.

Herrings exported from the Isle of Man to Great Britain and. foreign Parts being entitled to a Bounty, the Exporter should be made by Law to give Bond with Security, and to return a Certificate from the Port of Importation within a given Time, certifying the due landing thereof; and that all Goods intitled to a Drawback of Customs, or Excise, or Bounty, upon Exportation from S Great Britain into the Isle of Man, should not be allowed or paid until a Certificate be returned S from the Port of Importation in the isle of Man, certifying the due landing thereof, and that the Drawback or Bounty should only he allowed upon the Quantity so entered and landed ; as many of these Articles exported from Great Britain, the Quantity specified in the Cocket is in general deficient at landing, particularly those entitled to the Drawback of Excise; for instance, Soap, Candles, and Starch, &c &c ; Ribbons and Stuffs of Silk, the Quantity shipped and the Quantity landed in general agrees, but the Shipper of Soap, Candles, Starch, &c. recovers the Drawback without a Certificate ; in such Cases the Service may be injured.

The great Extent of this District, the greatest Part of which is good Land upon a marley Bottom, the Situation of a fine specious Bay, the ruinous State of the Harbour, adding to those the late Exports of Produce, demands the Attention of Government.

With respect to Licence Goods imported into the Port of Douglas, shall beg leave to make a few Observations upon those Articles : And first, with regard to the Article of Tobacco ; as the Law now stands, 40,000 lb Weight is the Quantity annually allowed to be imported into the Isle of Man, which may be considered inadequate to the Consumption of the Inhabitants, who in general, Women as well as Men, make much use of it, particularly the lower Class of them. it has been alledged, that there are 40,000 Inhabitants in the Island ; that Quantity divided amongst them that are come to Age to use it might deem it little ; and to prevent a Monopoly by the Manx Merchants, which has been the Case with those in England, would propose that the Quantity of Tobacco that is, or is to be allowed to be imported, should be proportioned amongst the Merchants residing in the four different Towns in the Island, and that some proper Person or Persons in the Service of Government residing on the Island should be qualified by Law to apply for the Licence in the Name of the Merchant to the Honourable Commissioners of the Customs in either England or Scotland, as the Cases may be ; and that upon such Application the Licence granted should be transmitted to the Person or Persons so qualified to make application, to be delivered by him or them to the Person for whom the Application was made, for him to transmit to the Port where the Tobacco is intended to be exported ; and that the Merchants in the Isle of Man should be allowed to purchase the Tobacco in any of the Ports of Great Britain most to their Advantage and that the Person or Persons so qualifyed to make Application should keep an Account of all Licences granted in order that Application might not be made for more than the Quantity allowed to be imported ; which Account should specify the Quantity imported and transmitted at the End of each and every Quarter to the several Boards.

As great Quantities of Brandy and Gin are smuggled into the Island, which are both prohibited to be imported, would therefore propose, that a certain Quantity of both Articles should be allowed by Law to be imported into the Island, upon a moderate Duty in lieu of British Spirits, which might prevent the smuggling of those Articles into the Island, and would considerably increase the Revenues, and to be under the like Regulations and Restrictions as Tobacco is imported from Great Britain, and that no British Spirits ought to be allowed to be imported, least the Importer might adulterate the Brandy and Gin, which would injure the Consumption of those Articles, and be an Encouragement to the Smuggler, which would injure the fair Trader and the Revenue ; and as Experience has fully shown, that owing to the Inhabitants great Predilection for foreign Brandy and Gin, none of these Articles have been imported for these many Years past, a great Part of which remains unsold in the Island ; and when bought, it is in general for the Purpose of mixing with Rum, it being an Article much disliked, and sold at a low Price.

With regard to TEA:

The Drawback allowed upon that Article upon Exportation from Great Britain into the Isle Man is not equal to the Expence and the Duty, therefore Tea’s must be drank dearer in the Isle Man than in England ; would therefore propose to lower the Duties upon that Article to prevent the illegal landing of it, as a Proof of which many of the Housekeepers get it from Great Britain in small Quantity much better in Quality than what are imported, and lower : This I know t be a fact ; some of which have been seized in this Port ; and about twelve Months ago a Quantity was found concealed in a Mat of Tow ; as a further Proof refers to the inclosed Permit.

N° 12T 5th and 6th Rounds. Whitehaven District. Cumberland Collection. Whitehaven 2d Division

W. Webster 1790.

 Permit Daniel Cotter of Ramsey, Isle of Mann, to receive twenty Pounds of Black Tea, Part Of the Stock of R. Paxton, Witness my Hand this sixteenth Day of January 0. P. 2.. 1790.

This Permit to be in force two Hours for the Goods being sent out of Mr. Paxton’s Stock, " and three Days more for the same being delivered and received into Mr. Cotter’s Stock.

" 20 Bl. Tea. . W. WEBSTER.

 The above Goods sent by Sea."


With regard to REFINED SUGAR:

At present the Island is confined to the Port of Liverpool for its Supply, and that Supply limited ; would propose the following Plan, which is, that that Article be allowed to be imported from any Port of Great Britain without Licence, upon giving Bond and Security, and that no Drawback be allowed until a Certificate is produced from the landing Port of the sle of Man, certifying the Quantity landed, upon paying a Duty of 8s. or 10s. per 112lb. Weight of Refined Sugar in lieu. of 51. per Cent. ad valorem, which would be a great Advantage to the Revenue as well as to the Inhabitants, as at the End of the Year it is not to be got in the Island at any Price, and that it ought to be allowed to be imported into every Port in the Island as was formerly : The Reason that that Article was smuggled off the Country, was owing to the Duty upon that Article being low, therefore became an Object to the Smuggler, which importing by Licence does not prevent nor remove the Evil, that Article being still imported upon the same Duty ; and whenever that it becomes low, it still will become the same Object of Smuggling as was before, as the Merchants or Shopkeepers do not care who they sell it to, so as they get their Money to enable them to keep their Credit, and long before the Year is out none of that Article is to be got in the Island, which is a loss to the Revenue, and a Hardship upon the inhabitants, which might be prevented by imposing the proposed Duty.

To levying of Duty on Goods ad valorem being subject to great Frauds, would propose the following Plan, viz.

That all Goods entitled to any Drawback of Custom, Excise, or Bounty, as well as some hereafter specified, Ihould be charged with a Duty at a certain Rate, either by Weight, Measure, Tale, as the Case may be, similar to the Manner which Duty is levied in Great Britain.

As for Instance : Muscovado Sugar so much per Cwr. ; Tanned Leather manufactured per lb. Hides and Skins per lb. ; Hops per lb. ; Candles and Soap per lb. ; Starch and Hair Powder



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