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          LOYAL PRIVATEER'S  
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  fall into the hands of another. Richard Forty, doubtless the officer of customs, went on board, and, with others, seized the cargo for the King of England's use " and his own," setting the broad arrow on some of the merchandise. This action resulted in an enquiry, held at the " Lyon," Steyning, but it transpired that, although the officer had detained the goods " till last night," he had then delivered them to Mr. Michael St. Avory, and they were then shipped on board.
When a privateer was being fitted out at Shoreham in February, 1689-90, the Government of the day displayed some uneasiness as to the intentions of those who were interested in the venture.
  Edward Lawrence, the Collector of Customs at Shoreham, received instructions to enquire into the matter. From his letter to John Sansom, Secretary to the Commissioners of the Customs, which is preserved in the Public Record Office, we learn that in obedience to commands he had " been diligent in getting the best account " that he could, " both of the shipp and men." " Here are now," he says, " in ye towne and on board, about eighty men, of which between twenty and thirty call themselves seamen, and others have been, some troopers, some tradesmen, and some formerly privateers in ye West Indies, as they themselves say." The ship was then in great forwardness, her captain, John Wood, being expected hourly, and it was said that they intended to sail in eight or ten days. Edward Lawrence assures " their honours " that, having been often in the company of these men, he " cannot perceive they are any way disaffected to the Government, as I hlnnbly assured your Honours ye 11th February last, but contrarily they often drink their Majesties' health, and seemingly with great respect."
       
  Whether the doubts of the Government were dispelled by the assurance that the privateers " often drank their Majesties' health," we cannot say. William and Mary had not long been seated on the throne, and it is just possible that there was a lurking suspicion in high places that the privateers had on hand some secret business in the interest of the exiled James the Second, whose adherents, we are reminded, were much given to the practice of drinking the health of " the King over the water."
  The wars with France, in the time of William III. and Queen Anne, revived and greatly increased the custom of import
       
             
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Revised 27 February 2002