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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1840, Sunday, July 10, 1831

[English Fishermen Missing]

On Thursday the magistrates at the Thames police office were engaged in the investigation of a strange affair—the alleged murder of three English fishermen by French fishermen, supposed to belong to Boulogne. It appeared that on the night of the 29th May last the English smack Betsy, of Aldborough, was trawling for plaice between Romney and Hythe, a number of French fishing boats being engaged in the same pursuit within a short distance of them, when, the trawl of the Betsy getting foul of something—supposed to be the French nets—the master and owner of the Betsy, James Markham Spencer, Dudley Goward, mate, and Joshua Reed, a seaman, went out in the small boat to ascertain the cause, and never returned. They left only one boy, Samuel Moore, on board; and according to his evidence, the Betsy was boarded at day-light by the crew of a French fishing boat, and by them carried into Boulogne, where they claimed salvage, and the Betsy was sold to satisfy that claim. Subsequently the small boat, in which the master and his crew left the Betsy, came ashore near Dymchurch without any person in her, but with the oars laid across so that it was evident she had not been upset; and shortly after the body of the master was washed ashore, near the same place, bearing many marks of violence. These circumstances having excited a strong suspicion of foul play on the part of the French fisherman, the present inquiry was set on foot by order of the Home Secretary; and the boy, Samuel Moore; having given his evidence, in substance as above stated, the inquiry was adjourned, Mr. Evans, principal Surveyor of the Thames police, having received instructions to proceed and search for further evidence.