Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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246                             SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
had opposed their extravagancies, that the people of Goudhurst found themselves under the necessity either of deserting their houses, and leaving their property wholly at the mercy of these marauders, or of uniting to oppose by force their lawless inroads. The latter alternative was at length embraced ; a paper, expressive of their abhorrence of the conduct of the smugglers, and their determination to oppose them, was drawn up and subscribed to by a considerable number of persons, who assumed the appellation of " The Goudhurst Band of Militia," at the head of whom was a young man of the name of Sturt, a native of Goudhurst, who had recently received his discharge from a regiment of foot, under the command of General Harrison, and by whose persuasions they had been principally induced to this resolution. Intelligence of this confederacy soon reached the ears of the smugglers, who contrived to waylay one of the militia, and, by means of torture and confinement, extorted from him a full disclosure of the plans and intentions of his colleagues. After swearing this man not to take up arms against them, they let him go, desiring him to inform the confederates that they (the smugglers) would, on a certain day named, attack the town, murder every one therein, and burn it to the ground. Sturt, on receiving this information, convened his little band, and, having pointed out the danger of their situation without exertion and unanimity, engaged them in immediate preparation for the day of battle. While some were sent in quest of firearms, others were employed in casting balls, making cartridges, and taking every means for resistance and defence which time and opportunity afforded. At the time appointed, the smugglers, headed by Thomas Kingsmill, made their appearance
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