From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 9
John Cordwell, the landlord of the "Crispin" public-house, Adrian
Street, was charged on the information of the Collector of Customs at
this port for having in his possession 14oz. of foreign manufactured
tobacco liable to fortitude.
Mr. C. S. Saunders, the Collector, appeared to support the
information, and Mr. T. Lewis defended Cordwell.
Mr. William Leeming, a Customs officer, on being called and examined
by Mr. Saunders, said he was directed on the 21st of February, with the
assistance of other officers, to search the house of the defendant. In
the prosecution of that search 14oz. of tobacco were found - eleven of
cut tobacco and three of cavendish - of foreign manufacture. He
afterwards searched the whole of the premises, but no other contraband
goods were discovered. He inquired of Cordwell if he had any bill of the
cut tobacco, and he said "No, I do not keep my bills." Witness asked him
where he purchased it, and he said he did not know.
The defendant: I said I did not know how long I had had it.
The Magistrate's Clerk told the defendant he had better hold his
tongue. He was very well represented by Mr. Lewis, and he could not
improve his own case by anything he might say.
By Mr. Lewis: The 11oz. of cut tobacco was found in a cupboard in the
Mr. Lewis: It was not concealed, I believe?
Witness: It was under some clothes.
Mr. Lewis: Where were the 3oz. of cavendish found?
Witness: In a pantry. I found it. It was lying open in a paper.
Mr Lewis: Now, did not Mr. Cordwell tell you that he purchased that
tobacco of a sailor?
Witness: He did not tell me anything, nor did he say he purchased it,
but he told Mr. Boddy, an excise officer, in my presence, that a sailor
had given it to him.
Police-sergeant Barton said he was called in on the 21st February to
assist the Customs' Officers in searching the "Crispin," and was present
when the tobacco referred to by the previous witness was found. He heard
Mr. Leeming ask the landlord where he had got it, and the landlord said
he did not know.
By Mr. Lewis: The defendant said a sailor had given him the "hard
stuff." It was the cut tobacco he said he did not know where he had got
George Boddy, an officer of Excise, said he assisted in the search of
the "Crispin." The landlord in reply to a question, said he did not know
where he bought the cut tobacco. The cavandish tobacco, he said, was
given him by a sailor chap.
Mr Lewis: The landlord said that he sometimes bought his cut tobacco
of Mr. Chidwick, did he not?
Witness: He said something about Mr. Chidwick.
Magistrates' Clerk (to witness): Is this (taking up the cut tobacco)
foreign tobacco or English?
Witness: I don't know.
Magistrates' Clerk: Can you tell one from the other?
Witness: Bot cut tobacco. I am not sufficiently well acquainted with
the cutting of tobacco.
Magistrates' Clerk (to Mr. Leeming): Can you tell - are you well
acquainted with the cutting of tobacco?
Mr. Leeming: I am.
Magistrates' Clerk: And can you tell foreign from English?
Mr. Leeming (pointing to the cut tobacco): That is foreign. I have
had eighteen years experience.
Mr. Lewis: Can you point out the difference to us?
Mr. Leeming: That is a thing I am not supposed to divulge to
everyone. (A laugh.)
Mr. Lewis: Then may not the differences exist in your own fancy?
Mr. Leeming (emphatically): That is foreign tobacco.
Mr. Saunders said that this was the case on the part of the Customs'
Mr. Lewis submitted, then, that there was no cause for him to answer.
The Custom's Consolidation Act was provided that in cases of this sort
proof should be given that the information was laid by Her Majesty's
Commissioners of Customs. Now no proof whatever of this had been
offered, and he should therefore submit that his client had nothing to
Mr. Saunders (handing up a paper): Here are the instructions of the
Board of Customs.
Mr. Lewis: I understood you to say that your case was closed, and I
must object therefore to any reopening of it.
Mr. Saunders: But I have sat with these instructions under my hand.
The Magistrates would assume that I should not appear here without the
Mr. Lewis: The Magistrates must assume nothing. There is a special
provision in the Act of Parliament, it is in the 308th section, which
necessitates the production of his authority; and as no proof of its
existence has been given; I must press my objection and ask the
Magistrates to dismiss the case.
The presiding Magistrate (to the Magistrates' Clerk): Is it to late?
Magistrates' Clerk: I take it that it is, if Mr. Lewis presses his
objection. The matter is in the hands of the Bench, but technically
there is an end of the case.
The Magistrates, after a brief consultation, seemed to think that the
defendant was entitled to the objection raised by his solicitor on his
behalf, and dismissed the information.
Mr. Lewis, subsequently applied, as a matter of form, that a
certificate of dismissal might be granted, and his application was