Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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40                               SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
unless he traded with them; but the King's revenue was considerably lessened by this smuggling traffic.
It is no wonder, indeed, that when once a set of men commenced as smugglers, that they should go on to com­mit the vilest excesses; for wrhen a man has wrought himself into a firm persuasion that it is no crime to rob his King or his country, the transition is easy to the belief, that it is no sin to plunder or destroy his neigh­bour ; and therefore we need not be much surprised that so many of the smugglers have turned highwaymen, housebreakers, and incendiaries, of which we have had but too many instances of late.
The body of the smugglers was now increased to a prodigious number, and the mischiefs they did where-ever they came, at least wherever they met with opposition, were so enormous, that the whole country was afraid of them; and even the government itself began to be alarmed, and to apprehend consequences that might be fatal to the public peace, in case a speedy check was not put to their audacious proceedings. His Majesty, therefore, being perfectly informed of their notorious villainies, and informations being given of many of the names of the most desperate of their gangs, particularly those who broke open the custom house at Poole, issued a proclamation, with lists of their several names, declaring, that unless they surrendered themselves to justice at a day appointed, they should be outlawed, and out of the protection of the laws of their country ; promising a reward of £500, to be paid by the commissioners of the customs, for the apprehension of every one who should be taken, and convicted in pursuance thereof. This, in great measure, has had the desired effect, and several of them have been apprehended, tried, convicted and executed, which was
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