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

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First Page:

KING'S CUTTERS AND SMUGGLERS 1700 1855

by

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

PREFACE

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. It is hoped that the following pages will not merely revive pleasant recollections but arouse a new interest in the adventures of a species of sailing craft that is now, like the brig and the fine old clipper ship, past and done with.

The reader will note that in the Appendices a considerable amount of interesting data has been collected. This has been rendered possible only with great difficulty, but it is believed that in future years the dimensions and details of a Revenue Cutter's construction, the sizes of her spars, her tonnage, guns, &c., the number of her crew carried, the names and dates of the fleets of cutters employed will have an historical value which cannot easily be assessed in the present age that is still familiar with sailing craft.

In making researches for the preparation of this volume I have to express my deep sense of gratitude to the Honourable Commissioners of the Board of Customs for granting me permission to make use of their valuable records; to Mr. F.S. Parry C.B., Deputy Chairman of the Board for his courtesy in placing a vast amount of data in my hands, and for having elucidated a good many points of difficulty; and, finally, to Mr. Henry Atton, Librarian of the Custom House, for his great assistance in research.

E. KEBLE CHATTERTON.

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE I. INTRODUCTION 1

II. THE EARLIEST SMUGGLERS 14

III. THE GROWTH OF SMUGGLING 40

IV. THE SMUGGLERS' METHODS 56

V. THE HAWKHURST GANG 82

VI. THE REVENUE CRUISERS 94

VII. CUTTERS AND SLOOPS 121

VIII. PREVENTIVE ORGANISATION 138

IX. CUTTERS' EQUIPMENT 157

X. THE INCREASE IN SMUGGLING 182

XI. THE SMUGGLERS AT SEA 199

XII. THE WORK OF THE CUTTERS 215

XIII. THE PERIOD OF INGENUITY 239

XIV. SOME INTERESTING ENCOUNTERS 257

XV. A TRAGIC INCIDENT 276

XVI. ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS 295

XVII. SMUGGLING BY CONCEALMENTS 320

XVIII. BY SEA AND LAND 339

XIX. ACTION AND COUNTER ACTION 361

XX. FORCE AND CUNNING 379

APPENDICES 403

ILLUSTRATIONS

PLATES

REVENUE CRUISER CHASING SMUGGLING LUGGER Colour frontispiece

FACING PAGE

A REPRESENTATION OF YE SMUGGLERS BREAKING OPEN YE KING'S CUSTOM HOUSE AT POOLE 86

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