Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS                             245
went, with five dragoons mounted, to the seashore, near Pevensey; but one hundred smugglers rode up, and after disarming the officers, fired about forty shots at them, cut them with the swords in a dangerous manner, loaded the goods on above one hundred horses, and made towards London.*
In " Seasonable Advice to all Smugglers of French Cambricks and French Lawns, with a brief State from the Honourable Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs of Smuggling, in the year 1745,"f it is said that before the Committee of the House of Commons, which sat in 1745 to inquire into the causes of the most infamous practice of smuggling, it was in evidence: "From Chichester it is represented that in January, 1745, nine smuggling cutters sailed from Eye, in that month, for Guernsey, in order to take in large quantities of goods, to be run on the coast ; and they had intelligence that one of the cutters had landed her cargo." The remedy suggested was the annexing the Isle of Man to the Crown of England, by purchase, and the employment of 2,060 sea officers and men, in sixty vessels, to be stationed on different parts of the coast.
The most formidable gang, however, that had hitherto existed, and that which luckily furnished the climax to these scenes of crime, was known throughout our own county and Kent as the " Hawkhurst Gang." In the year 1747+ the smugglers in those parts were grown so numerous and so formidable by their daring and repeated attacks on the persons and properties of the inhabitants, and the cruelties exercised on some who
* " Gentleman's Mag.," vol. xiv., p. 334.
f King's "Pamphlets," Brit. Mus., Lond., 1751, p. 13.
X Dearn's " Vveald of Kent," 8vo, Cranbrook, 1814, p. 100.
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