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federates, everywhere. With junks or other craft engaged wholly in smuggling, carrying arms to resist the revenue officers and vessels, it is but an easy step to piracy, and practically every Chinese and Malay pirate is primarily a smuggler.
And such careers, such evolutions from comparatively harmless though law breaking smugglers to dangerous freebooters, are not confined to the Orient where laws are lax and the people are often semi-civilized. From rum-runner to a smuggler of other merchandise is a natural and to-be-expected advance, and from smuggler openly defying our laws and resisting our patrol boats by force of arms to an out-and-out pirate is simple and inevitable. Which brings us to the subject of the most modern and brazen of smugglers who ever existed; smugglers who laugh at laws and authorities, who thrive and increase and wax rich despite the whole power of the world's greatest nation and who, if drastic measures—and successful ones are not taken soon, may yet hoist the black flag and become as villainous and relentless sea-wolves as the old buccaneers.
DEW people understand how extremely difficult T it is to prevent smuggling, or that laws, framed to eliminate smugglers, often aid them. To be sure, smuggling on a small scale and by ordinary means may be, and to great extent is, prevented. A few articles of contraband may slip past the customs, hidden in shipments of goods admitted free of duty or that pay a very low duty, and articles totalling many thousand dollars in value are annually smuggled into the United States by travelers who conceal the dutiable things in their baggage or on their persons, and either intentionally or unintentionally fail to declare them. But these are merely a drop in the bucket so to say, and a man or woman who makes a business of smuggling by such means seldom succeeds for long. And while smugglers may thrive and do a lucrative business in out-of-the-way spots, and where two countries join or are close together, it is a different
matter where an ocean has to be crossed. To sail with a ship's cargo of contraband from foreign shores to the United States is, under ordinary conditions, inviting disaster, for a vessel must clear and possess proper papers, and even if the smugglers take the risk of ignoring such formalities, the game isn't worth the candle. But given conditions under which smuggling can be carried on by wholesale, where there is enough money to be made to warrant fitting out ships for the sole purpose of smuggling, and where laws favor the smugglers and are unpopular, then it becomes practically hopeless for the government to prevent smuggled goods from being brought in. A navy a dozen times the size of ours would be required to patrol our coast; thousands of revenue craft would be needed to watch the waters near shore, and an army of men would be required to guard against the smugglers landing. With thousands of miles of coastline, with countless fishing villages, small towns and obscure ports; with endless coves, bays, harbors, sounds, islands, rivers, estuaries and beaches where anyone may land unnoticed; with myriads of fishing boats, pleasure craft, launches and motor boats everywhere, it is not only a Herculean but an impossible task to enforce the law. Every little hamlet cannot be made a port of entry and provided with customs officials; every spot where a small boat may land cannot be watched day and night, and every power boat, rowboat, sailboat and yacht cannot be held up and searched. We read constantly, almost daily, of battles with the cum runners, of ships and boats seized, cargoes confiscated, men arrested. But for every boat taken a hundred land in safety; for every dollar's worth of liquor seized a thousand dollars from successful sales are pocketed by the smugglers; and for every man arrested hundreds snap their fingers figuratively and literally at the law and the officers. Few of us realize the extent to which the liquor smugglers have increased, the wholesale character of the business, the organization, the power and the wealth of the smugglers. When the Eighteenth Amendment became a law it was expected that some liquor would be smuggled into the United States, that there would be some leaks, but no one could or did forsee that the dry law would lead to the greatest smuggling organization of history, to the greatest smuggling fleet the world has ever known, to the widest and most flagrant violation and defiance of the government it is possible to conceive.
Perhaps if the public stopped to learn what it costs to prevent, or rather to try to prevent, smuggling liquor into the United States, people might take the matter more seriously and learn to regard the rum-runners as enemies, not only of law and order, but of the individual citizen as well. Not until the people of the United States can see the matter in this way, not until public opinion is overwhelmingly against the liquor smugglers, can the laws be enforced and the smugglers done away with. It was not until this took place that the British smugglers were suppressed; it was not until the public aided the government and turned its back on the smugglers that smuggling along our coasts was brought under control, and no matter how many millions—and the costs are doubling and trebling—the government expends; no matter what the officers of the customs and revenue forces do, the solution, the ultimate suppression of the smugglers, depends upon the public. And it is the public's pocket-book that is being robbed; the public who is paying the millions to enforce the laws,not the government. During the year 1922, the enforcement-or better the effort at enforcementof the prohibition laws cost us $7,202,723.07. A sum nearly twice as great as the total expense of the customs force in the district of New York; over half the cost of the total customs force of the United States; almost as much as the total customs revenues of 1800 and about one eightieth of the total customs receipts for the year 1922! A sum equal, putting it another way, to a tax of one dollar on every man, woman and child in greater New York! And even with that outlay the results, as far as preventing the importation of contraband