Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS,                                   37
necessary to apprehend him, and accordingly on the 10th of December he was taken, committed to Horsham gaol as being accessary to the murder of Daniel Chater, before the same was committed, and concealing the same ; which offence subjects the person so guilty to be hanged.
Combleach, the gardener, who lent them the ladder and rope to get Chater out of the well, when they found that he was not quite dead, having been heard to say, that some of the persons in custody had told him they had murdered two informers against the smugglers, it was thought proper to take him up and examine him, in expectation of some further discoveries ; but when Combleach was brought before the magistrates, he refused to give satisfactory answers to the questions asked him, and idly and obstinately denied all that was sworn against him, whereupon he was committed to Horsham gaol on suspicion of being concerned in the murder of Chater.
The smugglers had reigned a long time uncontrolled; the officers of the customs were too few to encounter them ; they rode in troops to fetch their goods, and carried them off in triumph by day-light; nay, so audacious were they grown, that they were not afraid of regular troops, that were sent into the country to keep them in awe; of which we had several instances. If any one of them happened to be taken, and the proof ever so clear against him, no magistrate in the county durst commit him to gaol; if he did, he was sure to have his house or barns set on fire, or some other mischief done him, if he was so happy to escape with his life, which has been the occasion of their beino-
brought to London to be committed. But for a man to inform against them, the most cruel death was his
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