By: George Payne Rainsford James (1799-1860)
The county of Kent, situated in the south eastern corner of England is ideally placed for the smugglers' trade. Close to London, with its market for contraband, with the English Channel separating it from France by just 21 miles and the North Sea to the east it was a smugglers' haven. Unlike Cornwall, where smugglers relied on shipwrecks... either caused by inclement weather, or human intervention, the trade in Kent was fueled by gentleman smugglers, who had the wherewithal to fund an import business, but chose to evade customs. They made their fortunes off the hard and dangerous work of others, while they enjoyed their lives of leisure. Mr. Zachary Croyland is an interesting old man, who seems to know about the business and is critical of it... but what is his place in it? Is he an interested observer, who occasionally enjoys illicit brandy-soaked cherries, or is his role more central? And what of his brother, Sir Robert, with his two charming daughters? Whatever their roles, their neighbors, the Radfords, are definitely bad news. The Smuggler was originally published in three volumes. - Summary by Lynne T.