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L44 – 003 Page 1 

Captain Nelson
June 29th 1786
Received July 3rd
Answer dates Aug 2nd 1786
But xxxxxxxx the 8th

For withdrawing xxxx Registers
Xx enclose xxxxx a copy
of my circular letter
on ditto xxxx
Xxxx off Guernsey
Xx Mr Johnson’s fee xxx

Mr Hunt xxxx sent
it to the xxxxx
xxxx and for the accssion [sic]
to the Command xxx

6                                Copy xxxxx as
Requested to be sent
to the Customs House
Sent letter to Lord Lieutenant
of Register xxx this all
in letter book





On His Majesty’s Service

William Senhouse Esq

Surveyor General


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when read, convinced all parties that the King had been kicked out
of Court by the Judge of Barbados, I give you the Word made use of
not even a single Deposition as filed to support their assertions in the
Petitions. I produced abundance to overturn every idea of Mr Mallet’s
The proceedings of the Court Mr Mallet carrys
out to Barbados as they have an intention of appealing against the
distribution of the Prize [money] if you will desire to use them will judge for
I hope they will appeal, it is the wish of my heart to have
any conduct upon all occasions sifted to the bottom. I think I told you
the history of these vessels when I had the honour of seeing you.
If Mr Parry had applied
to you or looked over any Act of Parliament from the Navigation
Act downwards (which related to the Revenue) he would have known
that the same Acts of Parliament which gives hima Third of seizures
made by Officers of the Customs is always in every Act followed by these
words, excepting all such seizures as shall be made by Commanders of
His Majesty’s Ships “which shall be divided as follows one mostly? To
the King the other to the Ship”.
The Collector of the Customs would have
shown him the Act and proclamation for the distribution of seizures
made by King’s Ships if he had applied to him for knowledge.
But these vessels I seized by virtue of the
Navigation Act an Act which when made, no seizure made by
an Officer the Customs could be tried in a Court of Admiralty. More
had that Right but the Commanders of His Majesty’s Ships. The Act recites
that vessels seized by Commanders of Ships shall be treated as Prize.
Much doubt has

been started in these Colonies that Powers are invested in Captain of a

Man of War. The Crown Lawyers of the Leeward Islands are
clearly of Opinion that His majesty’s Proclamation for Regulating
the Trade with the States of America is a full & Legal Authority
for all Captains of His Majesty’s Ships to search and seize all goods
which are prohibited by that Proclamation. The Act gives powers
to His Majesty to Regulate this Commerce. He has therefore directed
the Lords of the Treasury & the Lords of the Admiralty to see it carried
into execution. Their powers are equal & the Admiralty certainly think
so by their sending us the proclamation & orders to use it carried into
execution. This delegation of power in regard to the Commerce with America
is equal to the Custom House. Their’s is only a Delegation of power from
the Treasury, ours from a Board equal to it.
I must now by leave to
enter upon other matters when the Brigantine Greyhound [my italics] alias Dolphin
arrived in Barbados I wrote to the Officers of the Customs concerning her
being Registered. The Collector sent me in my opinion a very improper
answer, if you will order the Correspondence to be sent to you from the
Customs House you will Judge how far it was proper to write such a
letter to an Officer in the execution of his duty & I am sure you will
recommend to them to answer public questions without so many airs
of self importance.
Since my arrival here I am happy to find that
all American built vessels which had been Registered either at this
Island or St Christophers through misconstruction of the Law or Reg
istration after condemnation in the Court of Admiralty have had
all their registers taken from them the Custom House

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L44 – 006 PAGE 5

giving the owners a Receipt for the Register and the reason for with-
drawing it. Mr John Menzies Comptroller and at that time the only
Officer in the Customs here was the first who set so good an example
and I beg to take this opportunity of saying that as far as I have
seen he is the most diligent attentive Officer I have met with.
I think the withdrawing the Registers the most
proper mode which could be adopted and I think that or something
like it was intended by the Attorney General’s Opinion in England
that advice not to prosecute them to Condemnation (if no fraud has been
practiced) whatever falls short of Condemnation is humane and all the
parties can have a Right to Expect.
I hope you have or will give direction
that all Registers shall be withdrawn from the foreign built vessels
(not condemned in the War) which have been granted at the Port of
Bridgetown for sorry I am to think that these are more improper vessels
Registered at Barbados then at any port I have been at, and with the
least grounds?
I shall if the vessel does not fail/sail? to soon send a Barbados
Register as a Specimen.
I have taken up very much of your time but
I know your readiness to assist and afford me every support in
the execution of my duty, which is more than I can say for any other
Individual in the Islands where I have been stationed.
Have the vessels from
Guernsey or Jersey any particular form of Register if they have pray send it me
as there is no Customs House, must not the Register be sworn? to before
the Governor xxxxxx the business name must not be mentioned. I am thus
particular as I foresee a new Door is intended to be opened for defrauding the

William Stenhouse Esq.

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L44 – 007 PAGE 6

Revenue. I will acquaint you when I am more fully Master of
the subject, but I fear when I tell, it will bode no good to some
person whenever you intend honouring me with a letter Sir Richard
Hughes is the sure mode of sending it through if he is in Barbados.
I beg my best respects to William Stenhouse and
that you will believe I am with the most perfect esteem and
regard My Dear Sir
Your most obedient
and very humble Servant
Horatio Nelson

Mr Herbert desires that I will present his
Particular Compliments.

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