Exercise 28. In small groups, discuss the spheres and problems the Customs Service deals with.


Focus on Grammar


Exercise 29. Choose the correct tense forms of the verbs in brackets.

1. He (live) in Great Britain.

2. I dropped my key when I (try) to open the door.

3. It (take) me an hour to correct mistakes tomorrow.

4. There (be) much baggage on the trolley.

5. They (wait) for their luggage at the moment.

6. There (be) shortage of cash in the bank.

7. We (discuss) your plan tomorrow at 10 o’ clock.

8. Listen to those people! What language they (speak)?

9. We (arrive) at the airport an hour ago.

10. He (talk) to her when I (see) him.

11. There (be) much caviar in his baggage.

12. She (fly) to New York once a month.

13. Ann (not drink) tea very often.

Exercise 30. Open the brackets using Past Simple or Past Continuous.

1. Who was that man you (talk) to when I came in?

2. She was so tired that she (sleep) for twelve hours.

3. I (wait) in the queue when the robber came in.

4. I (have) a bath when she phoned.

5. They (knock) on the door, and then they went in.

6. The police (ask) them lots of questions before they released them.

7. We (have) tea when they arrived.

8. What you (do) when the alarm sounded?

9. The factory (make) six thousand cars last year.

10. She (not say) anything to my parents.

11. James (walk) through the forest when the storm started.

Exercise 31. Complete these sentences with some/any/someone /anyone /somebody/anybody /something /anything/somewhere/anywhere.

1. The smuggler refused to tell us _______.

2. Can I have _____ milk in my coffee, please?

3. You can cash these travellers’ cheques at _______ bank.

4. He left the house without saying ________ to ________.

5. Would you like _______ more coffee?

6. The film is really great. You can ask ________who has seen it.

7. This is a ‘No Parking’ area. ________who parks their car here will have to pay a fine.

8. Can you give me ________information about places to see in the town?

9. With this special tourist bus ticket you can go _______you like on _______ bus you like.

10. The bus was completely empty. There wasn’t ________ on it.

11. The four of us wanted to go to a restaurant but we couldn’t because _______of us _______ had ________money.

12. Are there ______ Customs forms on the table?

Exercise 32.Put the questions to the words in italics.

1. They usually spend their holidays in the Crimea.

2. Her friend lives in London.

3. There are a lot of declarations on the table.

4. His brother finishes his work at 7 o’clock.

5. I often stay at home on Sunday.


For more information turn to Grammar reference section.


UNIT 1.4 the early History of Customs



Starting Up


Exercise 1. Answer the following questions:

  1. What were the reasons for establishing national Customs Services?
  2. What was the attitude of ordinary people towards Customs officials at various times in history?
  3. What time does the history of smuggling date back?

Exercise 2. Think of some reasons why people smuggle. Add more words to the list below:

poverty, being thirsty for easy money, a sense of adventure and risk, necessity to earn money, etc.

Word Study

Exercise 3. Give your own definitions of the following words:

Example: a port is a place where ships can load and unload people and goods;

port, captain, salary, search, to smuggle, to board, criminal, authority, coast, tide.

Exercise 4.Give the Russian equivalents for the following words paying attention to their suffixes and prefixes:

Duty dutiable duty-free

Activity active inactivity

Response responsible irresponsible

Popularity popular unpopular

Satisfaction satisfying unsatisfactory

Coast coastal coaster

Fortune fortunate fortunately

Exercise 5. Study the following words and word-combinations:

discharge разгрузка

dutiable goods товары, подлежащие обложению пошлиной

complete полный, детальный, доскональный

perimeter внешняя граница

to appoint назначать (на должность)

salary жалованье, заработная плата

survey осмотр

to supervise надзирать; заведовать

search таможенный досмотр (обыск)

to be in charge of отвечать за кого/что-либо

vain effort тщетное усилие

contempt презрение, неуважение

hint намек

zealous рьяный, усердный

persistent настойчивый, упорный

prolonged продолжительный

cobblestone булыжник

prosecution судебное преследование

to cause послужить причиной/поводом для чего-л.

crew команда, экипаж

irritation гнев, раздражение

frustration расстройство (планов), крушение (надежд)

to capture взять в плен, поймать

inhabitants жители

to imprison заключать в тюрьму


Reading and Speaking

Exercise 6.Before reading Text 1 suggest and think of the goods that might be smuggled in the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries.

Exercise 7.Read Part 1 (Text 1) to answer the questions below:

1. What was the concern of the London Custom Officers?

2. What territories did Captain Greenville Collins control?

3. What classes of Custom Officials existed at that time?

4. How were the Custom officials treated by the ordinary people?

Text 1

Part I

The office of a Custom Officers had arisen following the serious concern of the London authorities about the large amounts of taxable tea, tobacco and other dutiable goods that were smuggled into the country. King Charles (1660-1685) was so worried about this activity at the perimeter of his country that he appointed Captain Greenville Collins, R.N. to make a complete survey of the Welsh coast.

There were various classes of Custom officials:

§ “Searchers” supervised officers while enjoyed good salaries in instructing officials in searching for hidden smuggled goods.

§ “Tide waiters” were Custom officers that met ships arriving on the tide and made sure of the safe discharge of the goods to the satisfaction of the Authorities.

§ “Land waiters” were land based officials who made sure that all duties were paid.

§ “Coastal waiters” were responsible for coastal traffic between ports.

§ “Coal Masters” were in charge of collecting the tax on coal as it was moved from port to port.

§ “Riding Officers” were also employed, men who patrolled the coast in the vain effort to catch the criminals.

These officials were extremely unpopular and were treated with much contempt.

An example of this contempt could be seen when Custom officers boarded a suspicious ship anchored at Aberdaron. On arriving on board they were invited to go the captain’s cabin to exercise their duties, but with a hint of being entertained.

Once below, they soon found out that they had been locked in the cabin while the smugglers proceeded to sell their contraband, releasing the unfortunate and most embarrassed officials after completing their sales. All evidence had disappeared before they quietly sailed away.

Exercise 8.Agree or disagree with the following:

1. King Charles appointed Captain Greenville Collins, R.N. to make a complete survey of the Welsh coast.

2. “Tide waiters” were in charge of collecting the tax on coal as it was moved from port to port.

3. Smugglers made the Custom officials furious, frustrated and annoyed.

4. “Coastal waiters” were responsible for patrolling the coast in the vain effort to catch the criminals.

5. Custom officials boarded the ship anchored at London.

Exercise 9.Find corresponding classes of Custom officials. Translate these sentences into English.

Ø ..................заведовали взиманием пошлины на провоз угля.

Ø ..................осуществляли проверку прибывающих кораблей и контролировали разгрузку товаров.

Ø ...................патрулировали (верхом) побережье с целью обнаружения нарушителей.

Ø ...................получали хорошее жалованье; инструктировали, как проводить досмотр; осуществляли общий надзор.

Ø ...................отвечали за передвижение людей и товаров по береговой линии между портами.

Ø ...................несли ответственность за уплату пошлин и налогов.

Exercise 10.Read Part II (Text 1) to answer the questions below:

1. Why were the Custom officials very zealous in their duties?

2. Why was the Custom official suspicious?

3. What did Captain Thomas Samuel smuggle?

4. What was the name of his ship?


Part II

The Custom officials as explained were very zealous in their duties and anxious to earn their bonuses but above all, to impress their superiors with their zeal, as came to light in the following affair.

The Custom official at Pwllheli was awaken one night by the sound of a cart moving backwards and forwards over the cobblestones many times during the night outside his house. This activity naturally aroused his curiosity and the following morning during his investigation he found a large amount of coal in a yard belonging to a Captain’s house. The ship called “Peggy” commanded by a Captain Thomas Samuel had docked late the previous night at the port and had unloaded a taxable cargo of coal.

It was always difficult if not impossible to prove whether tax had been previously paid on coal at the previous port. The poor captain was subjected to a prolonged and persistent interrogation. He finally admitted that the coal had been loaded ballast for his voyage home and was liable to tax and of course he had to pay an additional heavy fine.

Smugglers, as stated were severely punished, the ship together with its crew would be immediately arrested and the ship confiscated, together with any horses and carts (телеги) that had been caught in the operation. These goods would then been offered for sale by public auction.

Sometimes the whole situation was however not without its humour and irritation (раздражение). Smugglers were fully aware that the Customs were keeping a close watch on their movements. They would sometimes enjoy causing the maximum irritation to the authorities by playing a game of cat and mouse with them.

They would sail up and down the coast in broad daylight in full sight of their oppressors, but carefully keeping in international waters, where they were safe from prosecution much to the fury, frustration and annoyance (досада) of the Customs.

Note: Pwllheli (Welsh pronunciation: [pʊɬˈhɛlɪ]) is a community and the main market town of the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, north-western Wales. The town’s name means saltwater basin. The pronunciation of Pwllheli includes a sound not found in the English language, the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ].

Exercise 11.Scan Part II and match left and right.

1) to offer for sale by public auction a) подвергаться длительному и тщательному допросу
2) to earn bonuses b) платить большой штраф
3) to keep a close watch on smb’s movements c) предлагать для продажи на аукционе (публичных торгах)
4) to arouse curiosity d) плавать под парусом в зоне видимости / в поле зрения (своих) ‘преследователей’
5) to pay a heavy fine e) быть строго наказанным
6) to be subjected to a prolonged and persistent interrogation f) вызывать крайнее раздражение
7) to be liable to tax g) возбудить любопытство
8) to sail in full sight of (their) oppressors h) зарабатывать вознаграждения (премии)
9) to be severely punished i) вести наблюдение за передвижением кого/чего-либо
10) to cause the maximum irritation j) подлежать обложению налогом


Exercise 12. Read Part III to answer the following questions:

1. What was Boaz Pritchard notorious for?

2. Where were brandy casks hidden?

3. Why were the poor inhabitants of Caernarfon frightened?

4. Was Boaz Pritchard caught and imprisoned?

5. Why do you think Boaz Pritchard was a skilful smuggler?


Part III

There is also one story about a highly skilled professional smuggler from Caernarfon called Boaz Pritchard. He was well known because he was a regular “visitor” to the city supplying the people with varied dutiable goods but was better known, as provider of “Boaz brandy”.

Twice the authorities had captured him in 1834 and 1838 smuggling no less than six hundred casks of brandy. On one occasion he sailed into Caernarfon harbour with a large number of brandy casks well hidden under a cargo of apples from Jersey. But he was faced with a most difficult problem of safely transferring his precious cargo to his warehouse without attracting the attention of the Customs.

He overcame his problem in an original way by sending his crew around the streets and public houses to spread a tale that they had seen a ghost stalking innocent people around the town at night. This tale so terrified the poor simple inhabitants that once the sun went down they stayed behind their locked doors.

The empty streets allowed Boaz to take his goods from his ship “Lively” without any trouble. Despite all his clever efforts he was caught, and the authorities had no alternative but to imprison him after they found ninety-nine casks of brandy and other taxable goods hidden in his warehouse.

(By Mr. O. J. Cowell)

Exercise 13.Read the text again (Parts I-III) to find the English equivalents for:

платить налоги; чай, подлежащий обложению налогом; разгрузка товаров; собирать пошлины на провоз угля (с угля); прибрежная торговля; бросить якорь; входить в док; расследование; конфисковать корабль; быть пойманным за нелегальную деятельность; публичные торги; играть в «кошки-мышки»; прятать драгоценный груз; плавать вдоль берега; склад; международные воды; несмотря на все уловки (усилия); среди бела дня; привидение, которое выслеживало невинных людей; посадить в тюрьму.

Exercise 14.Complete the sentences below by filling in the gaps with necessary words:

1. ____________ patrolled the coast in the effort to catch the criminals.

2. ____________ collected the taxes on coal.

3._____________ were responsible for coastal traffic between ports.

4. ____________ supervised officers and instructed officials in searching for smuggled goods.

5. ____________ made sure of the safe discharge of the goods at the ports.

Exercise 15.Comment on the following statements:

1) Smuggling was easy in old days.

2) The Custom officers had difficulties in coping with smugglers.

3) Smugglers used unusual methods of smuggling.

4) Smugglers played a game of cat and mouse with Custom officers.

Exercise 16.Translate into English.

1. Существовали различные категории таможенных служащих.

2. Контрабандисты продолжали распродавать свой контрабандный товар.

3. Во время расследования таможенник обнаружил во дворе капитана большое количество угля.

4. Контрабандисты наверняка знали, что таможенники внимательно следили за их передвижениями.

5. Контрабандистов сурово наказывали, на корабль и всю команду накладывали арест, затем корабль конфисковывали.

6. Несмотря на изощренные уловки, Боаза Причарда поймали, и властям ничего не оставалось делать, как посадить его в тюрьму.

7. Товары были распроданы на аукционе.

8. В ночь до этого Томас Сэмюэль пришвартовал свой корабль в порту и разгрузил уголь, за который следовало заплатить налог.

Exercise 17.Read Text 2 to speak on the history of the Custom House in London.

Text 2

The Customs in London

The first Custom House was built around 1275 to collect the dues for Edward’s Great Custom. It was replaced by a larger building in 1378. In 1559 it had to be rebuilt after a fire. This building perished in the Great Fire of 1666. Like so much of the City, it was rebuilt by Christopher Wren. Wren’s fine building did not last long. In 1714 it was severely damaged by a nearby explosion.

It was rebuilt between 1715 and 1727 by Thomas Ripley, who reused Wren’s foundations. Ripley’s building contained the famous Long Room, which is the most important – and the most striking – part of the Custom House.

All paperwork regarding duties payable on cargoes was taken to the Customs officials there. This was a complicated business. When there were almost 2000 dutiable goods, and ships carried many different goods, calculating the necessary duties for each vessel was an immense task.

After all the calculations were completed and the dues paid, the Long Room officials would issue the necessary receipts. Only then could the goods be unloaded. The Custom House in the City was convenient for shipping. Once the docks were built, the Customs Service set up posts at each of the major docks.

Exercise 18. Complete the sentences.

1. The first Custom House was built _______.

2. This building perished in ________.

3. Christopher Wren’s building was severely damaged _________.

4. Thomas Ripley’s building contained __________.

5. The Custom House in the City was convenient for _________.

Exercise 19.Fill in the gaps using the words from the box:

products, revenue, rulers, taxes, voice, tensions, duties, sources, prevention, goods, functions, independence, disasters


Text 3

The Revenue Problem

Medieval kings faced the same problems that trouble governments of today - how to raise enough (1) ______ to pay for such things as administration and defence. Despite a bewildering range of taxes, (2) _______ were nearly always short of money.

Most (3) ______ were difficult to collect, and people were not keen on paying unpopular taxes. Resentment over taxes also played a major role in pushing the American colonists to declare (4) ________ in 1776. The British insisted that the colonists pay taxes for their own defence, but would not grant them a political (5) _______ in London. This caused (6) _______ that led to the War of Independence and British defeat.

It was clear that a successful tax had to be easy to assess, easy to collect and difficult to avoid. Customs (7) ______ – taxes on certain goods imported and exported by sea – proved the most convenient solution.

Though they were never popular, they did not lead to some of the (8) ________ associated with other taxes. Customs duties were one of the most reliable (9) _______ of public revenue for many centuries.

Customs duties still generate revenue, but the modern Customs Service has far wider (10) ______. Its roles include the (11) ________ of international trade in drugs, illegal (12) _______ and other socially harmful _______ (13).


Exercise 20.Translate into Russian.

1. The Russian Customs Service predates the Mongol Yoke (1237-1480).

2. In Kievan Rus taxes were collected for transportation of goods through the frontiers of individual princedoms.

3. The first Russian Customs statute was handed down in 1667. It was strict towards foreigners, who were allowed to trade only in frontier towns on pain of confiscation.

4. Later Russian tsars approved laws limiting the import of foreign goods and defending Russian producers.


Talking Points

Exercise 21.Discuss with your partner the problems affecting the performance of Customs officers throughout the history. Use the tips:

1. The history of smuggling is long and deserves studying.

2. Smugglers were always aware that the Customs were keeping a close watch on their movement.

3. There were various classes of Customs officials.

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