Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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86                   Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
people in these days gamble in shares. Fifty or sixty years ago some of the leading tradesmen of Brighton, Worthing, Hastings, Rye, and other towns along the coast took the goods that were " run" by the Fair Traders, and some of them made fortunes, and some of themóindeed, most of themówere ruined. The effect of this gambling, to call it by the mildest term, may be conceived. The very foundations of public morality were sapped; a war was carried on betsveen the Government that acted, or professed to act, for the people, and the people themselves; and the-sympathies of the public were against the Government. It was a fine thing in the estimation of numbers of men to defy itóto go out in armed bands to resist the officers of the Crown, and to fight with, and sometimes to murder, these officers. Many of the men who did this were known and applauded as fine fellows, and were, in fact, men of great courage and resolution and talent, and who, acting in a lawful cause, would have won honour and fame. Their daring acts were talked of with a sort of admiration, and even when they were brought to justice, and deservedly suffered for such acts of brutality as those of the Tapners and the Mills and the Perins, they were looked upon in a different light from the ordinary criminal. Up to the present day it is held to be no disgrace to have had these men for your ancestorsórather the reverse ! The smugglers are still heroes in people's opinion, though, fortunately, the race is extinct. Free Trade has put it down, and if we had no other cause to thank the men who, like Huskisson and Cobden, Gladstone and Peel, have given us Free Trade, we should thank them for this: that they have removed such a blot on the social body as the Sussex Smuggler.
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