National Archives, Kew CO48/44, 591
No 7 Edward street
Aug 13 1819
I have taken the liberty of applying to you to be permitted to go the Cape of Good Hope under the protection of His Majestys Government.
I beg leave to inform you that I have been employed by the Commissioner of Customs for these four years past as an extra tide waiter and in that capacity I have always given perfect satisfaction to my employers, but of late the business has fallen off so much that during the last year although I have been in daily attendance my salary has not exceeded sixteen pounds.
In consequence of this circumstance I have not been able to maintain my family which consists of a wife and one daughter and I am now in great distress in my money matters.
I have used every means in my power to procure the situation of a preferable or established
tide waiter or a looker which would make me comfortable, but I have not been able to succeed and therefore rather than get more deeply involved in debt I am desirous of procuring a subsistence at the Cape of Good Hope and most humbly beg that you will be able to promote this application.
With respect to my character I beg leave to refer to William ADAM Esq. of Albemarle Street, Robert [?]CROSS Esq. of South Lambeth and the Rev W G [obscured] of Carlisle House, Lambeth.
I have the Honor to be Sir,
Your most Obedient humble Servant
[Transcriber's Note: the tide waiter's task was to board incoming vessels arriving on the high tide and check that they tied up at the appointed place on the quay. The tide waiter joined London-bound boats, for example, at Greenwich, and made sure that the cargo was not unloaded on an isolated jetty out of sight of the waiting triumvirate of controller, collector and surveyor.
Taken from ‘Britains's Smuggling History' at http://www.smuggling.co.uk/history_develops.html]