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hard work to equal this record. The same report declares that the annual cost of attempting to prevent smuggling was between seven and eight hundred thousand pounds or approximately from three and one-half to four million dollars*.
*Within the past few months there has been a revival of smuggling on the coasts of Kent and Sussex, owing to the British government withdrawing the coast guards for reasons of economy. Once more the smugglers are running contraband across the channel in their luggers, and are landing cargoes in their old time haunts. The latest of their exploits of note is reported in The Daily Mail of London under date of December 5th, 1923, as follows: "At Lewes (Sussex) Police Court yesterday two brothers, Leonard Gray, of Rosebery-avenue, Finsbury, E.C., and John E. B. Gray, of Kingswood, Surrey, were summoned for fraudulently attempting to evade Customs duties on 91 cases of brandy illegally imported at Newhaven.
Mr. Beattie, for the Customs, said Leonard Gray was a forwarding and shipping agent, and it was alleged that the scheme was to bring the brandy across in a trawler and run it ashore at Cuckmere Haven (near Beachy Head), but owing to bad weather the trawler had to put in at Newhaven.
Charles Lawrence Pennicott, formerly a clerk to Leonard Gray, said his instructions were to go to France and return in a fishing vessel with the brandy to Cuckmere, where he understood they would be met by a motor-car.
The two men were each fined £291 and 15 guineas costs."
TT must not be assumed, however, that because 1 the Hawkhurst and Ruxley gangs, and their ilk, had been broken up and destroyed, that smuggling ceased or smugglers no longer plied their trade along British shores. On the contrary, it increased if anything, despite the fact that the organized gangs of strong arm, terrorizing rascals had been duly hanged or scattered to the four winds. But the men who still carried on the ancient trade were of very different type from the conscienceless rascals, the callous, brutal, murderous scoundrels, who had evolved from Owlers to smugglers and from smugglers to common malefactors. They were, in fact, a far superior lot,the seafarers of the coasts, -brave, hardy, reckless, honest and law abiding in most things, but looking upon smuggling as their right and prerogative. These were the smugglers who have been immortalized in song and story; about whom countless romances and tales of adventure have been woven, and who were the originals of the smuggler heroes of fiction. It was these smugglers who inspired the “Pirates of Penzance," the romantic "All aboard the Lugger," and innumerable other thrilling and fascinating stories. Such an influence upon the popular fancy did these smugglers have that, even now, when one conjures. up a mental picture of a smuggler, it is a vision of a guernsey-clad, knitted-capped, side-whiskered, burly fellow, while the public's conception of an ideal smugglers' craft is the stanch, seaworthy, lugrigged fishing smack of the English Channel.
From time immemorial these fisherfolk and seamen of the English coasts have dabbled in the smuggling game,-as have their neighbors across the channel in Normandy, Brittany and Franceand there is no doubt that in the past they turned their talents to far more rascally trades than running contraband. Before the coasts were patrolled by guards, and before lighthouses were built to warn mariners of shoals, rocks and wave-lashed capes, the denizens of the British coasts were notorious wreckers. Not wreckers of a harmless, theiving sort who filched what they might from stranded ships, but scoundrels who deliberately lured vessels to destruction, murdered the unfortunate members of the crews who reached shore alive, and robbed the bodies and looted the wrecks. At dead of night they would peer forth through the murk and flying scud,—for nights when tempests lashed the channel into fury were their delightand would search the tumbling, foam-capped waves for some plunging, driving craft battling with the gale. And, catching sight of some storm-tossed ship, the wretches would kindle beacon fires, or light flaring torches, which the anxious seamen would welcome with heartfelt thanks as guiding lights. But instead of guiding the ship to safety, the wreckers' lights were cunningly placed to betray the ships and lead them upon the very shoals or rocks they sought to avoid. How many ships were thus destroyed, how many men were thus deliberately murdered by the wreckers, will never be known, for neither dead ships nor dead men tell tales, and no one could prove that a vessel, whose battered timbers were strewn upon the shore, came to its untimely end by accident or design. We must, however, be fair, and regardless of the inexcusable and wholly outrageous habit of wrecking ships, absolve the wreckers of malicious intent when making away with the shipwrecked survivors. Not that it was anything less than murder, but the wreckers, especially those of Cornwall, were a most ignorant and superstitious lot, and firmly believed that if one saved a man from the sea it would result in one's own life being forefeited to the maritime gods or devils who had been cheated of a victim. They murdered therefore in self defence, as we may say, and, feeling that dead men had no use for earthly goods, and that it was a useless waste to throw valuables away, they thriftily took possession of any funds, ornaments or jewelry which were upon the bodies. Perchance, too, in those early days, the smugglers now and again had a fling at out-and-out piracy. But, be that as it may, it has no place in a work on smugglers, and whether they were or were not pirates, matters little. It is but a step from the one trade to the other, and less than half a step from wrecker to pirate.
As far as the smugglers were concerned, that is, the out-and-out smugglers who made name and fame for themselves along the British coasts, they were not, after all, such a bad lot. Most of them were, aside from smuggling, good-hearted, hardworking, honest mariners and fishermen; skilled pilots and boatmen; fellows earning a mere pittance by dint of hardest toil and constant risk of life and limb, and we cannot blame them overmuch if they sought to better themselves by running contraband, which, to their way of thinking, injured no one. Indeed, they really considered that they were heroes in a way, quite philanthrophists in fact, who, by smuggling, enabled the poor to secure necessities and luxuries, which, if duties had been paid thereon, would have been far beyond their means. Like all smugglers, too, they regarded the government and the revenue officers as hereditary ene