[Appendix D(22) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

N° 22.



GENTLEMEN, Douglas, Isle of Man, October 10, 1791.

BEING called upon by you to give my opinion as to the trade of this island, and the situation thereof respecting harbours, bays, and creeks, and as to that parts of the coast may be most convenient for carrying on illicit practices, and how the same may he remedied, I beg leave humbly to state,

That, in my opinion a great part of the consumption of this island, particularly in brandy, . Geneva, tea, coffee, and tobacco, is supplied by smuggling from the many smuggling cutters and luggers which touch on this coast on their way to England, Scotland, and Ireland, which can be done, and I believe is often done, at every part of the island, it being surrounded with small boats in every creek along the coast ; which boats may be had upon the smallest signal to come off and receive the goods, and carry them on shore at almost any place in the island.

That the smuggling of brandy and geneva will undoubtedly continue to be carried on, whatever the risques or punishments may be, unless the inhabitants can be legally supplied therewith by authority of the British Parliament at easy rates. That smuggling in general cannot be put a stop to, unless this island be guarded by cruizers, and the coasts and interior parts of the island watched by sufficient number of tide officers, and active resolute riding officers. Even after these are established land officers will be of little use, unless they are supported by military. My humble opinion is therefore is, that the military, instead of being wholly at Castletown, should be stationed part at at Castletown, a Corporal's command at Derbyhaven, a Serjeant’s command at Douglas, the like command at Ramsay, the like command at Peele, and the like command at Port Iron ; and that the military so stationed, should have the same encouragement when seizures are made as they receive upon such occasions in England or Scotland, which will make them not only to be active, but ready to assist the Revenue Officers, which cannot be expected unless they are to share in the profits. Port Iron, the most notorious place of smuggling in this island, is left altogether unguarded, either by officers or soldiers.

As to the harbours in this island, they appear to me to be shamefully neglected. The harbour of the port of Douglas might be made one of the best and safest harbours upon any coast ; and at Port Iron there might be a harbour erected, at no great expence, that might shelter vessels of almost any burthen from any storm. By the ruinous state of Douglas Harbour, and the want of shelter at Port Iron I am convinced that property to a great value, and many useful lives, are annually lost. Many losses must also be attributed to the want of light-houses on the principal parts of this island, viz The Calf of man,, Langley’s Point near Castletown, Douglas Head, and the Point of Airds. Lights being erected at these places, the harbour of Douglas repaired and extended, and a proper harbour built at Port Iron, (to which last, I understand, the inhabitants of this island, as well as the traders at Whitehaven, Workington, &c. would cheerfully contribute,) great property, and many valuable lives, would yearly be saved to the British dominions.

I beg leave to add, that the means of preventing the smuggling of salt out of this island is deserving of your attention

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient humble servant.


To the Commissioners of Inquiry, Isle of Man


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