Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

An Account of a notorious Smuggling gang in the early 18th Century

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS..                                   47
prosecution of that design, every man so engaged at the time of the murder, is, in the eye of the law, equally guilty with him that gave the stroke.
"Many cases might be put which come under this rule. I will confine myself to a few which the present solemnity naturally suggests.
" For instance: Numbers of people assemble for the purpose of running uncustomed goods, or for any of the purposes which now go under the term of smuggling, with a resolution to resist all opposers (and the riding with fire-arms and other offensive weapons is certainly an evidence of that resolution); numbers, of people, I say, assemble in this manner and for this purpose. They are met by the officers of the revenue ; one of the party, in the prosecution of this unlawful design, fires on the King's officer, and kills him or any of his assistants: the whole party is, in the eye of the law, guilty of murder, though their original intention went no further than smuggling; for that intention being unlawful, the killing in prosecution of that intent is murder, and every man engaged in it partakes of the guilt. The act of one, in prosecution of their common engagement, is considered as the act of all.
" I will go one step further: the party assembled in the manner and for the purposes I have mentioned, is met by the King's officers, and an affray happens between them; during the affray one of the party fires at the King's officers, but misses his aim, and kills one of his own party, perhaps his nearest relation or bosom friend (if people of that character are capable of true friendship). This is murder in him and in the whole party too. For if a man upon malice against another strikes at him and by accident kills a third person, the law, as it were, transfers the circumstance of malice
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