Page images

warrantably asserted by the honourable gentleman : and I must deny, in the most un qualified manner, that the least article of the cargo was landed in Ireland. I trust the house will allow me to read a letter from the reverend Mr. Tisdale, the magistrate of Crookhaven, who has also written in similar torms to the honourable member for Cork. I referred to Mr. Tiscale for all be information he could procure on the subject of the charge of smuggling in Ireland, and this was bis reply :-“ My dear sir, my being absent from home these five weeks past prevented me from receiving your favour of the 18th ultimo till this morning, and I lose n tone moment in answering it, as well 10 comply with your request, as to gratify my own feelings in rendering you every service (if it is any) in my power. The charge brought against you as far as relates to Ireland has surprised me very much. If any thing of the kind had occurred, I must, most assuredly, have known it, from the close intimacy that subsisted at the time between us; but o far from your having disposed of any thing in Ireland, I have known you to reject several considerable offers made to you by different persons to in.. duce you to dispose of teas, or any other article you might bave had on board ; may so very cautious were you, that I confess I found myself disappointed in being red fused by you as much as one or two boxes of tea for Mrs. Tisdale. I was present when, immediately on your are rival here, you issued the most positive orders boih to the officers and crew of the L'Etrusco, oni no account whalever to attempt to dispose of any article, even of their private property, which order was, I believe, most rigidly observed. I went round to Córk with you in the ship, and staid with you until the vessel bad cleared that harbour; during the whole of which time I can safely and conscientiously, I think, assert, that not one pound of tea or any other article was taken out of her. Your innocence of the charge brought against you here, appears so clear to me, that I should feel great satisfaction, as far as in me lies, in any act of mine that wou!I tend to your justification in the opinion of the public, as well as that of your friends ; and should you think that any other light can be thrown on the business by me, I have to request you may command my services. I am, dear sir, with great regard, very truly yours, Fitzgerald Tisdale. Crookhaven, March 8th, 1808. I write' by this post to my friend,

colonel Longfield, one of the representatives for the city of Cork, on this su'ject.” Now, sir, if there was any thing in the character of the voyage which led to a suispicion that smuggling was its object, I do submit to the house, whether Crookhaven, where there was no cu:tom-house officer for a considerable time, and where sich offers were made as would tempt any man to sing wa hot the place to have effected this purpose? Besides, I remained long enough in Ireland to have entered into a systematic arrangeinent with iny correspondents in England for vessels to meet me off Scilly, which was the position where the English Indiamen discharged their teas when that was a usage which generally obtained in the service. On the contrary, wben I sailed from Ireland, I sailed under the convoy of the Diadem; and as captain Sutherland wished to be ready to chace on all occasions, he directed me to wear a pendant and lead the convoy. The instructions I issued are in papers on your table; and it will be there seeir, that hoisting a Tuscan jack at the mizen topmast head was the signal for the convoy to proceed to the Downs, while the trusco prosecuted her voyage to Ostend. The contradictory depositions in the printed exhibits of inen of all nations, and which were taken by captain R ibinson's proctor, do certainly assert, that from two tó five boxes of tea were delivered from the ship between Hastings and Dungeness. By reference, however, to the marshal's sales, and the schedule of the teas which I claimed, it will be seen, that all the teas belonging to me were sold in London, except one box, and it is not natural to suppose that the one box was used in the vo; age home? I bave taken much pains to ascertain to whoin these teas beloo gre:l; I have not succeeded; but it is universally allowed that they cre given to the tasting, pilot, and when the ship was ik vond the limits of the hovering act, al consequen:ly here was no law to prevent my having uploaded the wh ship. It might as well be said, that if I was acres ry to ille smuggling, I might have bien equily so in suite whole of ihe cargo at Ostent. Bini, sir, to strip is langa action of all the elevant and ingeniou decoration in which the houograble gen loman has involvi it, the brand na. t is, that a pitot, about to take charge or very valuable ship over shoals which woull shine the stoesterte', had importure, as was the custom with every ship pussing Vol. III. -1808.


[ocr errors]

up the Channel, for a few boxes of tea; and when the Etrusco had near four thousand chests on board, could the granting his, in the mind of any just or liberal man, be called smuggling? That this was the extent of the teas which went out of the ship, although there were boats enough to have laden the whole cargo, must be seen by the following letter from the master of a revenue cutter: “ Tyger, revenue cutter, Guernsey, 24th February, 1808. Sir, seeing by the papers, one of the members wishes to prove, that you run your cargo off Dungeness, I beg you will remember, that I boarded your ship to the westward of the Ness, supposing her to be one of bis majesty's ships bou d up the river, and might want a pilot, at which time I was one ; at same time, you must recollect we towed alongide your ship, nearly up to Dover, where we left you proceeding for Ostend. Likewise beg to inform you what passed in the boat after we left the ship, between the boat's crew and myself. I asked them whether there was any thing to dispose of in board the ship; they answered me No, they night as well go on hoard a light collier ; that captain Popham would not suffer such a thing to be done; at the same time licy informed me they had heard on board the ship that you allowed your oflicers to let the Hastings pilot liave three or four boxes of tea. I perfectly remember my boat's crew being very angry at being on board a ship from India, and could not purchase any thing. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant, Wiliam blake.” In most situations, men's actions are guided by some motive; in a mercantile transaction, profit would be the leading feature. Now I have endeavoured to trace who had received the money for these teas; the executors of Mr. Charnock can find no entry in his book, from which I am induced to think it was considered for the pilotage. But what was the value of these four boxes ? 91. a box ; and the duty, as it was then rated, would not exceed 29. on the whole : consequently, the loss to the revenue, it the teas were ever landed, of which there is no proof hatever, could only be the duty, which must have been gained by the person who received the teas. Having stated fairly all I knew of this transaction, which had taken place so many years ago, was it, I ask, such as to merit the harsh expressions which have been applied to it? If the honourable gentleman had used half the ex To

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tion to prove the direct acts of smuggling while the ship was in possession of the captors, as he has to prove my being disinterestedly accessary to four boxes going out of the ship, he might have more decidedly succeeded ; to what extent it was then going on, n body can calculate; but the returns from the custom-house can prove, that goods were seized alongside her in the attempt to land, and the boats condemned; this prevented the account of the cargo ever being regularly balanced. I cannot, sir, but be convinced, and I am sure the same feeling must pervade this house and the country, that it is impossible to find any person who was more articularly fiited for this investigation than the honourable gentlemail. It must be well kuown that one of his hon urable relations has had a long and intimate connection with his majesty's proctor in Doctors' Commons; so extensive i'ndeed, itud so virious, was the practice of that office, that it became a u'ɔject of discussion in this house ; and as a branch of the sime connection still remains, where could he better apply for the course of judicial proceeding again-t the Etrusc, or against any ship, or for any ship? Nor could he have a more ample source of information of the commercial in tercourse between this country and Ostend, than by applying to another branch of his family, whose partner has been known (if I am not deceived by my information) to have remained for weeks together at Ostend, sorting his goods from India, and selecting those best calculated for an active importation into this country. (Mr. Lushington called out, Name, name.") Mr. Maver, sir, your únicle's partner. The honourable gentleman has commented much upon the affidavit, and the memorials preseuted by me to the treasury. The affidavit recapitulated the joint concern of Constant, Price, and myself; it really only clained one-third of that joint concern; and it asserted that no Frenchman liad an interest in that one-third, or in any part of the ship, or the rest of the carga. But he might have gone further; for Piron never paid a shilling; and was only introduced by Constant to have an eventual profit, or to bear a similar loss; and it was in the time of perfect peace when this adventure commenced in China. Now, as to the memorial, which only asserted that I onadvisedly entered upon these voyages to India, and that I did not know I was infracting any general law of the couptry, but a law partially protecting the India company, who had countenanced and protected me in the very ultimatum of these speculations. I never went clandestinly to India; I kept no part of my transactions there a secret at home; all the papers which are upon your table were printed four een years ago, and were hetore the court of appeals, where some of the highest chüracters then in England sat, and were convened several times on this subject. They saw all the depositions, and must have been satisfied that no idea of smug. gling, in the true acceptance of the word, could have existed. When the memorial was presented by me to the lords of the treasury, it was accompanied by all the documents which are before the house, and all that had been admitted at Doctors' Commons: it was presented in the administration preceding Mr. Piti's last administration; and certainly under the most inauspicious circumstances, for I was at that moment acting in opposition. The papors were referred by Mr. Serjent, one of the secretaries of the treasury, to the king's proctor, and his report was made before the close of that administration ; the king's proctor by been the proctor of captain Robinson during the whule of luis controversy; he had been bis legal adviser from the moment he first seized the Etrusco till the suit was concluiled; and therefore, I contend, that as an honest man, reporting in his official situation, as proctor to his majesty, he should have reported every circumstance which appeared to him derogatory or flagitious in my conduct; and in point of gratitude to captain Robinson, as his proctor, he should, as far as he conscientiously could, have reported in such a way as to have obtained the greatest remuneration for bim and i he least for me; his not having done so, when my political conduct must have been so obnoxious to the then existing administration, is, I submit, a conclusive argument luat my claim was just. As to Mr. Constant, he ad received in the year 1768, 10, 001. and in 1800, 21971. which sums, with the legal interest io which, in the hands of a merchant, it was justly entitled, would, before I received one fartha ing, have amounted to 16,0001. and yet I never asked him for a hallpenny, nor did it strike him that it was right to offer me one, during the five years it was doubted whether I should receive a farthing. llis plea that I did not pay thirty thousand dollars into the treasury is ridiculous; because we had more money offercd than we could

« PreviousContinue »