Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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84                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Two smugglers were shot dead near Hastings in 1831, and another at Worthing in 1832, in an affray in which between 200 and 300 smugglers were engaged. In 1833 the chief boatman of the Blockade was killed at Eastbourne, and on this occasion the smugglers, forming in two lines down to the beach, kept up the fight until the whole cargo had been run, in spite of having several of their party wounded. On none of these occasions were any of the men engaged discovered. Indeed, as a rule, the smugglers were " true " to each other.
In the " History of the Rifle Brigade," by Sir W. H. Cope, Bart., the following passage occurs:" Early in the year 1833 Captain Horatio Stewart's Depot Company was ordered to proceed from Dover by forced marches to Hastings. The whole of that part of the coast was in a state of great excitement in consequence of the proceedings of smugglers, who had not long before had an affray with the coastguard, in which one of the latter was killed and others wounded. On the arrival of the Company at Hastings the men, after being allowed to rest and refresh themselves for about an hour, were ordered to fall in and were divided into parties, under officers and non-commissioned officers, which were directed to patrol the beach formanymilesin various directions during the night. This unpleasant duty continued for six weeks; patrolling by night and target-practice by day. This was watched by numbers of the people, and no doubt the practice made at the target was observed with good effect by the smugglers and their friends, for no smuggler was ever met with by the patrols, nor was any attempt made, while the Riflemen continued at Hastings, to land contraband goods. The company then rejoined the Depot."
The last occasion on which life was lost in a smuggling affray on the Sussex coast was in 1838, when a poor fiddler, named Monk, was shot dead by the Coast-guard at Camber Castle. Since then no blood has been shed in smuggling transactions, and, in fact, smuggling may be said to have died a natural death. No farmer would now connive at a
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