Page images
PDF
EPUB

--

-- -

-

-

ficer is proved by the records, and no doubt he was glad enough to have his true name hidden under the uncomplimentary term incised on the gravestone. Somehow there is something about that adjective, cut in the enduring rock, that savors of malignant hatred as lasting as the stone itself, and which would have made matters most unpleasant for the person who brought Moon to the end of his smuggling career, had the slayer's identity been known.

Another stone, standing in the churchyard at Kinson, Dorset, was erected over the body of Robert Trotman. Much of the inscription is illegible, but the most interesting part is still very clear, and is as follows:

"Who was barbarously murdered on the shore of Poole

24 Mch. 1765.
A little tea, one leaf I did not steal.
For guiltless bloodshed I to God appeal
Put tea in one scale, human blood in t'other
And think what 'tis to slay a harmless brother."

Really quite pathetic, but there was another side to the picture, and at Hunstanton Church, in Norfolk, we find a stone erected over the grave of a gallant trooper who fell to the smugglers' weapons while doing his duty for king and country. Evidently the comrades of the defunct dragoon meant that all should know the full details of their fellow's death, and succeeded in composing a complete story which, for conciseness and clarity, would be

hard to equal, even if the capitalization and spelling are a bit remarkable. Here it is:

"In memory of Wm. Webb late of the 15 Lt. D'ns who was shot from his horse by a party of smugglers

on the 26 of Sepr 1784.

I am not dead but sleepeth here
And when the trumpet Sound I will appear
Four balls thro' me Pearced there way

Hard it was I'd no time to pray

This stone that here You Do See
My comrades erected for the Sake of Me."

CHAPTER VI

SOME PICTURESQUE SMUGGLERS

W E commonly associate smugglers with the

sea and with boats, for the picturesque smugglers of the British coasts and of fiction were seamen and carried on their trade in swift sailing craft. And the present day smugglers, or at least the ones we hear most of, as a rule, choose vessels as means of transportation. But in reality a very large proportion of smuggling has been done and still is carried on on dry land. Just as the class of goods smuggled depends upon local conditions, laws and other factors, so the localities where smuggling flourishes, and the means of carrying on the trade, depend upon local conditions, laws and various factors.

If two countries, where there are import or export duties levied or where certain goods are contraband, are separated by water or have extensive coast lines, then the smugglers find transportation by water the most favorable to their schemes. But if two countries where smuggling pays are separated merely by imaginary boundaries on terra firma, the smugglers ply their trade overland, using whatever means of transportation is the safest and best adapted to their purpose. And if the boundaries happen to be streams or mountain ranges, the smugglers are in their element. Mountains have and always will be favorite haunts of smugglers, and the contrabandistas of the Pyrenees, the Caucasus and other mountainous boundaries are among the most notorious and picturesque, if not romantic, of their profession. And just as maritime smugglers and pirates are closely related and may veer from one trade to the other, or may combine the two, so the land smugglers of the mountains have ever been close kin of brigands and frequently, if not usually, carry on the two occupations at the same time, or as conditions or opportunity warrant.

But it must not be assumed that because there is a convenient mountain range, a brawling stream, a broad river or a handy sea coast that smuggling necessarily offers a promising field for those who would try their hand at running contraband goods across the borders. There may be any one or several of a thousand reasons why the most suitable spots, topographically, are wholly devoid of attractions to members of the smuggler fraternity. The adjacent countries may produce much the same sort of commodities. The duties levied on imports or

« PreviousContinue »