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Between January 1682 and the spring of 1684 William Culliford, Surveyor of the Customs, completed an extraordinary investigation into the integrity and efficiency of the customs establishments of southwest England and south Wales ─ as part of a drive to maximize the Crown’s income from customs duties (on which it relied for much of its revenue). His report on each of the ports he inspected, described and analyzed here, revealed widespread smuggling and fraud and a customs service both lacking in efficiency and riddled with corruption. The book also surveys the extent and nature of the maritime trade of the ports visited by this tenacious investigator, in the context of a wealth of statistical data on the customs revenue actually collected at all the main English and Welsh ports in the 1670s and 1680s.

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