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When one day my publisher said to me: "Has anyone written a book on smuggling?” and added: "Can you write one?" I answered promptly "No," and “Yes."
In a way I found that my snap-shot negative had been in the main correct, and whether or not I was equally right in my affirmative I will leave to the verdict of my readers.
When I came to investigate the matter, I discovered that numerous books had been written in which smugglers or smuggling was the main theme, but they were largely fiction or dealt only with some certain phase of the matter or with some restricted locality, and, as far as I am aware or have been able to ascertain, the present volume is the first to cover smugglers and smuggling in all phases, lands and times, and under all conditions. And it has been no easy task to secure the material or to produce the book. Smugglers appear to be a most uncommunicative lot, with a strange unwillingness to prate about their deeds or methods. Also, unlike their more or less closely allied fellow tradesmen, the buccaneers and pirates, they seldom if ever kept logs, journals or diaries from which we may cull much of interest, and neither were they blessed with journalistic comrades who penned detailed biographies and chronicles of the contrabandistas, as Esquemeling, Dampier, Ringrose and others did for the buccaneers.
Mainly their activities are known only by results, and those who best know the details of such results, the customs officials, the revenue officers and the government agents, are almost if not quite as loth to make public any information as the smugglers themselves. They have no desire to acquaint those of smuggling proclivities with the successful methods of others or with the means employed to checkmate them, and a hundred interesting and thrilling stories lie hidden in the secret archives of governmental departments for every tale that has or ever will become known to the world at large.
This then is my excuse for any shortcomings the book may possess, and it explains why certain phases of the subject may appear somewhat briefly and superficially treated, and why at times generalities rather than specific cases and incidents are indulged in. Particularly is this the case with the Oriental smugglers and the smugglers of narcotics. The Oriental is the closest-mouthed of beings, and perhaps the wiliest, and even when taken redhanded the Oriental smuggler never reveals his methods or the names of his fellows, while everything that is known about drug smuggling is kept a most profound secret by those in the know.
Probably the only way by which a thoroughly complete and exhaustive work on this subject could be compiled would be for the author to join the ranks of the smugglers and, unless he cared to devote a lifetime to the profession in many lands, unless he had far better success than the majority of the fraternity, and unless he possessed qualifications, physical powers, linguisic ability, rascality and an entire lack of principle and disregard for his own life beyond the hope of any author, even then he would acquire very little knowledge of real value. It is no exaggeration to state that smuggling is the most secretive profession, and smugglers the closest corporation, in all the world of crime. Each smuggler has his own trade secrets; as a rule each works by himself and independently of all others, and if one trick fails he has a dozen others up his sleeve.
But the ethics, the principles, the reasons for smuggling are much the same the world over and, taken by and large, smugglers are much akin wherever we find them. It is with such matters that this book deals. It is written with the purpose of describing smugglers and smuggling as a whole, and to describe the most interesting and pictur
esque smugglers, as well as the basest and most despicable, as they really are and were, to picture their lives, adventures, dangers and methods, and to show how they are circumvented by the law.
Like their more blood thirsty companions and predecessors, the pirates and brigands,--and as will be pointed out the professions were often combined, -the smugglers after all are very human. Perhaps to no other class of men might we so fittingly apply the well known words:
"There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us," for even the worst smugglers have their good points,-daring hardihood; often charity and courtesy and honor,while in the best of us lurks an inhibited desire to try our hands at smuggling, which few human beings can resist if opportunity affords the chance. And, though morally and ethically it is all wrong, it cannot be denied that the great majority of lawabiding, honest people find reckless and daredevilish law-breakers, most fascinating and interesting characters, and while we outwardly frown upon them and condemn their misdeeds, yet how many of us there are who secretly and from a distance regard the buccaneer, the pirate, the bandit and the snuggler as romantic heroes? If then, this book serves to portray the smuggler of all times, all places and all nations in his true character; if it serves to impart a little more information regarding a profession about which so little is known; and if it serves to point out the evils of smuggling, whether carried on as a business or merely for the sake of amusement or a temporary thrill; and if at the same time it serves to interest the reader, the author will be abundantly satisfied with a work which he feels falls far short of doing full justice to the subject.
Among the numerous documents and books from which the author has secured much valuable information and data are: “THE SMUGGLERS," C. G. Harper. "KING'S CUTTERS AND SMUGGLERS," E. K. Chatterton. "SMUGGLERS AND KING'S CUSTOMS," "SMUGGLING IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES,” McClellan. “DEFRAUDING THE GOVERNMENT,” Wm. T. Theobald. "A FULL AND GENUINE HISTORY OF THE INHUMAN AND UNPARALLELED MURDERS OF MR. WILLIAM GALLEY AND MR. DANIEL CHATER BY FOURTEEN NOTORIOUS SMUGGLERS," written by “A Gentleman of Chichester" 1752. “THE CORNISH COAST,” C. G. Harper. “THE DORSET COAST,” C. G. Harper. “THE OLD INNS OF OLD ENGLAND,” C. G. Harper. “THE SMUGGLERS OF THE CHESAPEAKE,” “THE SMUGGLERS OF ST. MALO.” “THE NEWGATE CALENDAR.” “REPORT OF U. S. TREASURER,” 1796-1921. "REPORTS OF