Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.                         '179
been a smuggler many years, and did not see any great crime in that.
He was particularly pressed to state if he was not concerned in any murders, particularly that of Mr. Castle, the excise officer, who was shot on Silhurst Common by a gang of smugglers, when he, with several other officers, had seized some run goods ; to which he would not give a positive answer, so that there were some grounds to think he was concerned.
He often said he had not the sin of murder to answer for; but one of his unhappy companions, and a fellow-sufferer, said he evaded the thing, by meaning that no person was ever murdered by his hands, but that Bartlett had been concerned where murder had been committed.
Stephen Diprose, born of honest parents, at High Halclen, in the county of Kent, thirty-nine years of age, acknowledged himself guilty of the crime for which he was to suffer, and said he had been a wicked liver and a most notorious smuggler, having followed that employ­ment for a great number of years; and that he never entertained a thought of smuggling being a crime till now, and that he was sincerely sorry for all his past iniquities.
He, as well as Priggs and Bartlett, laid the blame upon evil company, and said it was by the persuasion of some of his companions that he ever went a-robbing; but just before he went out of the gaol to execution he confessed it was pure necessity that obliged him to it, as it was the case of the rest of his companions who were afraid of being apprehended for smuggling; which if it so happened, they were all dead men.
He said that he verily believed that the reason why so many notorious villianies and murders had been
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