The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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SHOREHAM                             167
for the daring seamen that won our Empire than the far less exhilarating sport of sea-fishing. Smuggling was popular; Government officials, squires, parsons, people, ghosts all were at times in league to spirit goods from the coast into the interior : caves, cellars, old houses,—and haunted ones preferred—churches and graves formed con­venient places to store the commodities that travelled underground. The sport was extremely lucrative, it was as exciting and frequently as dangerous as real war. A smuggler shot at sea by a revenue officer, both of them professionally engaged at the time, has the following mag­nanimous epitaph in the churchyard of All Saints, Hastings. The date is 1783, his age was but twenty-four years :—
"May it be known, tho' I am clay, A base man took my life away ; But freely him I do forgive And hope in heaven we shall live."
The Sussex Pad Inn was a great local resort of those who struggled so heroically to minimise the ill-effects of the tariff, for the proximity of Sussex to the Continent and its remoteness from the rest of England on account of the wretched roads of the Weald made our county almost ideal for the smugglers. Much has been written by Horace Walpole, by Gibbon, and by many others about the villainous character of the Sussex roads, some of the old stories have crossed the Atlantic and returned to us as "Yankee yarns," but perhaps the most effective piece of writing on this subject comes from the pen of De Foe, when he is speak­ing of the Wealden trees in process of transforma­tion into men of war: " Sometimes I have seen
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