revenue cutter

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A single-masted cutter with fine lines built expressly for the prevention of smuggling. Their greatest period of activity was during the late 18th and early 19th centuries when high import duties made the running of certain dutiable goods a highly profitable business and the lack of adequate coastguard stations presented smugglers with plenty of unguarded coastline to which to run their cargoes. This made it desirable to catch the smugglers at sea and led to the special design of these cutters to provide a margin of speed over the smugglers. They carried up to ten guns, usually ‘long 9s’, nine-pounders with extra-long barrels to provide a greater range.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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