Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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60                                   SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
Smuggling is not only highly injurious to trade, a violation of the laws, and the disturber of the peace and quiet of all the maritime counties in the kingdom ; but it is a nursery for all sorts of vice and wickedness; a temptation to commit offences at first unthought of; an encouragement to perpetrate the blackest of crimes without provocation or remorse; and is in general productive of cruelty, robbery and murder.
" It is greatly to be wished, both for the sake of the smugglers themselves and for the peace of this county, that the dangerous and armed manner now used of running uncustomed goods was less known and less practised here.
" It is a melancholy consideration to observe, that the best and wisest measures of Government, calculated to put a stop to this growing mischief, have been perverted and abused to the worst of purposes. And what was intended to be a cure to this disorder has been made the means to increase and heighten the disease.
" Every expedient of lenity and mercy was at first made use of to reclaim this abandoned set of men. His Majesty, by repeated proclamations of pardon, invited them to their duty and to their own safety. But instead of laying hold of so gracious an offer, they have set the laws at defiance, have made the execution of justice dangerous in the hands of magistracy, and have become almost a terror to Government itself.
" The number of prisoners at the bar, and of others involved in the suspicion of the same guilt, the variety of circumstances attending this whole transaction, the length of time in the completion thereof, and the general expectation of mankind to be informed of every minute circumstance leading and tending to finish the scene of horror, will necessarily lay me under an
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