Jurisdiction in Marginal Seas: With Special Reference to Smuggling

By William E. Masterson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
FROM 1802 TO 1825: THE GOLDEN AGE OF SMUGGLING

§ 18. Legislation, Taking Jurisdiction Over the English and Irish Seas, and for Two, Four, Eight, and One Hundred Leagues

In spite of the two Acts passed in 1784 and 1794, smuggling went on unabated on most parts of the coast. The ports of Sunderland,1 Harwich,2 and Plymouth,3 however, reported rapid decline in the trade. The decline at Sunderland was not attributable altogether to the effect of the new laws; the collector at that port reported that the practice had been checked by the outbreak of war. Plymouth reported that the decline there was due to "the heavy losses the smugglers had experienced by captures made by the different cruisers and officers on this and the Western Coast."

Poole reported on December 31, 1787, that eleven vessels of the burden of from twenty to fifty tons, carrying chiefly liquor and tobacco, were employed on that coast. It was said that each vessel made eleven voyages a year and carried from five to twelve men, according to the tonnage. A similar report was received from Campbeltown on March 9, 1789.4

____________________
1
Collector to the Board of Customs, October 10, 1795.
4
Seizures of, or encounters with, smuggling vessels were reported by the following ports:

Plymouth, April 22, 1800; June 16, 1804; October 26, 1805. One capture was made five leagues from the Lizard.

Campbeltown, February 6 and October 18, 1792.

-72-

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