The Smuggler: A Tale

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Harper & Bros., 1868 - English fiction - 164 pages
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Page 6 - ... in gangs, consisting frequently of many hundreds, generally well mounted and armed, conveyed the commodities so landed into the interior, and distributed them to others, who retailed them as occasion required. Nor were these gentry one whit less fearless, enterprising, and lawless than their brethren of the sea. We have not yet done, however, with all the ramifications of this vast and magnificent league, for it extended itself, in the districts where it existed, to almost every class of society....
Page 5 - Scarcely any one of the maritime counties was, in those days, without its gang of smugglers ; for if France was not opposite, Holland was not far off ; and if brandy was not the object, nor silk, nor wine, yet tea and cinnamon, and Hollands, and various East India goods, were things duly estimated by the British public, especially when they could be obtained without the payment of Custom House dues.
Page 6 - ... or his cart^shed early in the morning, found it tenanted by anything but horses or wagons. The churchyards were frequently crowded at night by other spirits than those of the dead, and not even the church was exempted from such visitations. None of the people of the county took notice of, or opposed, these proceedings; the peasantry laughed at, or aided, and very often got a good day's work, or at all events a jug of genuine hollands from the friendly smugglers; the clerk and the sexton willingly...
Page 6 - ... jars in his way ; and it is remarkable what good brandy punch was generally to be found at the house of the village pastor. The magistrates of the county, when called upon to aid in pursuit of the smugglers, looked grave, and swore in constables very slowly ; despatched servants on horseback to see what was going on, and ordered the steward or the butler to " send the sheep to the wood" an intimation that was not lost upon those for whom л was intended.
Page 86 - He thought he perceived the approach of day ; and though, in discontented silence, he ventured to say no more, he would have given all he had in the world to have had the command of the troop for a couple of hours.
Page 5 - Eve down to the present day, has always been fond of forbidden fruit; and it mattered not a pin whether the goods were really better or worse, so that they were prohibited, men would risk their necks to get them. The system of prevention also was very inefficient, and a few scattered Custom-House officers, aided by a cruiser here or there upon the coast, had an excellent opportunity of getting their throats cut or their heads broken, or of making a decent livelihood by conniving at the transactions...
Page 6 - ... advantages to the purposes in question. Sussex, indeed, was not without its share of facilities, nor did the Sussex men fail to improve them ; but they were so much farther off from the opposite coast, that the commerce — which we may well call the...
Page 6 - Bay presented a harbour of refijge, and a place of repose to kegs innumerable and bales of great value; at another period, the cliffs round Folkestone and near the South Foreland, saw spirits travelling up by paths which seemed inaccessible to mortal foot; and at another, the wild and broken ground at the back of Sandgate was...
Page 5 - Custom-House officers, aided by a cruiser here or there upon the coast, had an excellent opportunity of getting their throats cut or their heads broken, or of making a decent livelihood by conniving at the transactions they were sent down to stop, as the peculiar temperament of each individual might render such operations pleasant to him. Thus, to use one of the smugglers' own expressions — a roaring trade in contraband goods was going on along the whole British coast, with very little let or hindrance....
Page 6 - ... great, their boldness and violence so notorious, their powers of injuring or annoying so various, that even those who took no part in their operations were glad to connive at their proceedings, and at times to aid in concealing their persons or their goods. Not a park, not a wood, not a barn...

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