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King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855   By: (1878-1944)

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In "King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855", E. Keble Chatterton skillfully delves into the captivating world of British maritime history during the golden age of smuggling. The book provides a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the enthralling cat-and-mouse game that took place between the notorious smugglers and the Crown's coastal defenders, known as the King's Cutters.

Chatterton's meticulous research is evident throughout the book, allowing readers to vividly envision the treacherous lives of smugglers and the relentless efforts of the Cutters to protect the nation's borders. From the very beginning, the author skillfully sets the stage by introducing the economic and social factors that contributed to rampant smuggling in this era. By providing historical context, Chatterton highlights the complex relationship between smugglers and the general public, revealing the nuances that led to the illicit trade's widespread acceptance.

One of the book's strengths is Chatterton's ability to breathe life into historical characters. Drawing from a plethora of primary sources, including official records, journals, and personal accounts, the author paints a vivid picture of the individuals involved in this dangerous world. From infamous smugglers like Isaac Gulliver and John Carter to the courageous and cunning cutters' commanders, each person comes alive on the pages, evoking a sense of empathy and understanding.

Moreover, Chatterton skillfully navigates the intricate details of naval strategies employed by both smugglers and the King's Cutters. The book meticulously explores the tactics, technologies, and challenges faced by these distinct groups, transporting the reader into the heart of these thrilling encounters. The author's ability to dissect these encounters and explain their significance within the broader context of British coastal defense is truly commendable.

Although the book is primarily focused on the historical narrative, Chatterton also analyzes the impact of smuggling on society and the economy. By examining the consequences of smuggling, both positive and negative, this work acts as a captivating socio-economic commentary on a period marked by political tensions and economic unrest.

It is worth noting that the writing style occasionally leans towards being dry and academic, but this rarely detracts from the book's overall appeal. In fact, this extensive attention to detail enhances the reader's understanding and appreciation for the subject matter.

"King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855" is undoubtedly a must-read for history enthusiasts, maritime aficionados, and anyone intrigued by the fascinating tales of yesteryear. Chatterton's meticulous research and vivid storytelling combine to create an engrossing narrative that makes it nearly impossible to put this book down. With its well-crafted prose, insightful analysis, and comprehensive exploration of an intriguing era, this work stands as a true testament to the author's expertise in the field.

First Page:



E. KEBLE CHATTERTON Author of "Sailing Ships and Their Story," "The Romance of the Ship" "The Story of the British Navy," "Fore and Aft," Etc.

With 33 Illustrations and Frontispiece in Colours

[Illustration: REVENUE CRUISER CHASING SMUGGLING LUGGER. Before firing on a smuggler the cruiser was bound to hoist his Revenue colours both pennant and ensign no matter whether day or night. ( from the original painting by Charles Dixon, R.I. )]

London George Allen & Company, Ltd. 44 & 45 Rathbone Place 1912 [All rights reserved] Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh


I have in the following pages endeavoured to resist the temptation to weave a web of pleasant but unreliable fiction round actual occurrences. That which is here set forth has been derived from facts, and in almost every case from manuscript records. It aims at telling the story of an eventful and exciting period according to historical and not imaginative occurrence. There are extant many novels and short stories which have for their heroes the old time smugglers. But the present volume represents an effort to look at these exploits as they were and not as a novelist likes to think they might have occurred.

Perhaps there is hardly an Englishman who was not thrilled in his boyhood days by Marryat and others when they wrote of the King's Cutters and their foes... Continue reading book >>

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