5. Reports of the Comrs of Customs to the Lords of the Treasury on various subjects, as follows. On the crimes for which Mr William Spry, junior, collector of Exeter, was dismissed, and as to illegal fees; on freedom from customs of stores sent to the forts and garrisons of the East India Coy (petition only); on prosecution of a bond for exportation of prohibited East India goods; for alteration of destination of a ship; on stopping ships on bare suspicion; admeasurement of keels; on the case of George Werden, a tidesman in the port of London, who was preferred to that office for his early discovery of the plot and rebellion in the north, and for seizing rebels concerned therein. [He afterwards charged other officers with stealing tobacco, &c., and with drinking to the health of King James III] (several papers); and on the case of the “Concord,” a Dutch ship, and her cargo retaken from the Swedes by the “Deal Castle.” On the rebuilding of the Custom House:—[The pavillions at the east and west end of the Custom House must be rebuilt. Have asked Mr. Thomas Ripley, carpenter to the Custom House, and clerk of the works, for plans. Have treated with the wharfingers and lessees of the Custom House Key, for the cellars and warehouses adjoining the north part of the Custom House, and the east end of the house lately taken of Sir John Cope, called the “Rose and Dolphin Tavern.” Ask their Lps to concur in their plan to obtain a straight line for the new building towards Thames Street. Are informed the building will not exceed 17,000l. A new long room is intended to be on the north side, where the officers are to sit for the despatch of the merchants, and it will be larger and more commodious than that at present in use; and that business may not be obstructed, the new long room is proposed to be finished before the old one is pulled down. Recommend Ripley to be employed as the surveyor. 9 May 1717.|
[The following is in the Minute Book, Vol. 21, p. 140, 2 Aug. 1717:—“Comrs of Customes attending according to order are called in. Their presentment relating to the building the Custom House is read. My Lords direct the Comrs of Customes to inform themselves what estates or interests in possession, reversion, or remainder, any persons or corporac[i]ons have in the ground or building of the Custom House, or convenient to be layd thereto, and to receive proposals from them, or such of them, as are willing to sell such estates or interests to the Crown; and when they have proceeded as far as they can in such enquiry, and receiving such proposals, that they report to their Lordships their own opinions in relation to the said estates & interests respectively, in order to be layd before the Parliament to obteyne an Act or Acts for confirming such agreements as shall be thought reasonable to be made concerning the same.”]
On a letter of the Governor of the Tower concerning the Comrs keeping possession of a piece of ground on Tower Hill, used to keep the timber and other materials for repairing the Custom House [against giving it up]; on charges of indirect practices against Mr. John Bowen [Comrs fully acquit him, and commend his diligence; on the contrary, George Werden, who was recommended to succeed him, was ignorant and faulty in his duty, vexatious and insolent to his superiors, and the frequent complaints made by him to the Board were found to be malicious and groundless]; on a seizure of cocoa nuts; on the case of Edward Sprake, a tidesman at Topsham; on the “replication of Crew Offley, Esq., & Richard Perry” to the Comrs' report on the case of John Offley, a debtor to the Crown.
[Minuted:—“6th August 1717. Read. My Lords are of opinion that the composic[i]on offered will evidently be of greater advantage to the publique than the most dilligent prosecution at law, but doe not find it in their Lo[rdshi]pps power to make the same, and therefore leave it to the petrs (if they thinke fit) to apply to Parliamt for reliefe in this case.”]
As to the doing away with four smacks at Poole, Fowy, Penzance, and Padstow, and the making an addition of officers in their stead. [Minuted:—“Wart signed with some alterac[i]ons of officers.”]
As to a commission from the Court of Exchequer, making the New Key, built in the port of Biddeford, lawful. [Minuted:—“5th Novr 1717. Prepare a wart in the usuall forme.”]
And as to the Borders between England and Scotland, and the officers there, and the prevention of frauds. 17 papers, besides enclosures.