Letter about conduct of Coastguards. 1843

Letter about conduct of Coastguards. 1843.

The ‘HERCULES’  -  The Youghal Coastguard.

 The following is an extract from a letter written by one of the passengers in the ‘Hercules’ to a friend in Dublin. It describes conduct on the part of the Coast Guard of Youghal which demands the attention of their superiors:-

“At length we were all assembled in a miserable auberge in this miserable town of Ardmore; carts were hired and all the luggage carefully packed. There was no time then for changing clothes, or opportunity or room in that place for doing so.---------‘s car and rig were recovered from the vessel by boats, hired for the purpose. We engaged a couple of little horses, with rope harness, to draw these vehicles, with the ladies to the next town, Youghal about 7 or 8 miles distant, where ample accommodation was at hand; and though the misty damp continued, and wet clothes and shoes were necessarily retained, the excitement put all at nought, and we were about commencing our departure, when one of the Coastguards seized the head of the leading horse and turned both the carts towards the guard house, upon the strand asserting that smuggled tobacco was found among the passengers luggage: that his orderes were peremptory from the Captain to stop and search all the luggage and bring back any carts that had set out. He was remonstrated with; the respectability of the party, and the impossibility of suspicion being properly attached to their conduct, as stated, was wholly useless; he persisted and declared that every trunk should be searched, and that if the keys were not produced, they would be broken open. The ladies had then to stand opposite the guard-house, upon the strand, in damp shoes, and under a misty rain, to witness the conduct of these functionaries, one brandishing a pistol, and striking with the butt end at random, another firing his musket within a pace of them and under the eyes of-----, without command and without cause, and the ladies had to remain in this miserable perishing situation for about two hours, until these gentry were satisfied they had no prey to find. They kept their word, the trunks the keys of which were missing, were broken open; and as I now hear, they had the audacity to jibe, and that one enquired of --- if her sister was fond of smoking. Is this fitting or proper conduct, or in any shape warrantable upon the part of the Coastguard.

A report reached us last night, which we trust will prove unfounded – namely that the unfortunate ‘Hercules’ after being towed into Cork, suffered another calamity in the bursting of her boiler, by which nine persons were more or less injured.

Reference; Morning Register Saturday 14th.July 1843.

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