Another batch of Pirates and Smugglers complete from the chaps at Black Scorpion for use within their Cutlass! rules.
Cast in resin I was a little concerned at first, but they take paint well and contained very little flash, it will be interesting to see how they stand up to wear and tear on the table top as they are a touch on the light side.
I figured these fine fellows would be ideal for smuggling games in the coming months.
With the annual Devon holiday booked this year, there is an added interest this time around rather than the usual holiday hangout of Tea Shops and Seaside amusements. A chance to slip away to walk the Smuggler beaches from the 1700's that should make the kids happy. :-)
Reading up on the period there is a vivid picture of the Smuggling activity in area in the letters of Philip Taylor, who was Collector of Customs at Weymouth from 1716.
During the winter of 1717-18 he wrote: "the running of great quantities
of goods having of late very much increased" - the government tried
to push through a bill for the prevention of smuggling. It fell down in the
House of Lords and, as a result, reported Philip Taylor the following April,
"the smuggling trade is prodigiously increased and they and all persons
concerned with them are become more insolent than ever and dares any power to
oppose them, which will very soon have a very bad influence on trade. Besides,
as these smugglers are generally the dissatisfied part of the country, their
riding in troops of thirty or forty armed men on the least appearance of an
opportunity will be dangerous to the peace of the country as well as troublesome
to the Government." The smugglers even had the audacity to claim -
and they used the failure of the smuggling bill as their evidence, that they
were now "tolerated in smuggling by the King, Lords and Commons."
The bill, - which, among other things, forbade the importation of cargoes in
vessels of under fifty tons - finally became law twelve months later, but by
then Taylor was writing in colourful style:
"The smuggling traders in these parts are grown to such a head that
they bid defiance to all law and government. They come very often in gangs of
sixty to one hundred men to the shore in disguise armed with swords, pistols,
blunderbusses, carbines and quarterstaffs; and not only carry off the goods
they land in defiance of officers, but beat, knock down and abuse whoever they
meet in their way; so that travelling by night near the coast, and the peace
of the country, are become very precarious; and if an effectual law be not speedily
passed, nothing but a military force can support the officers in the discharge
Philip Taylor was not exaggerating when he reported that "the tumultuous
and riotous proceedings of the smugglers is not anything abated but daily growing
upon us". He went on: "Most of the smuggling trade in this
country is now carried on by people in such great numbers, armed and disguised,
that the officers, if they meet them, can't possibly oppose them therein, nor
do otherwise than search for the goods in suspected places, which by means of
the country's favouring the smugglers, very often proves ineffectual and expensive
to the officers." But if they did get caught and sentenced, they could
Brandy and wine made up the bulk of the contraband cargoes landed in Dorset
between 1716 and the mid-1730s, but many other commodities appear in the lists
from time to time, including rum, coffee, tea, salt, pepper, cocoa beans, vinegar,
cloth, silk handkerchiefs, tobacco, playing cards, foreign
paper and logwood sounds like an order to the guy's at Anisty is in order.
At Abbotsbury a young Customs officer, Joseph Hardy, was repeatedly ordered
by Philip Taylor to retrieve the goods, but when he did so, he was obstructed
by a gang of locals and immediately lost them again. Taylor commented sarcastically:
"They [Hardy and Whitteridge] being both the most original fools I ever
met with or heard of, in the scuffle of taking the goods away I can't find any
blow was struck on either side and (it appears) that the heroical officers were
directly frighted out of their goods."
Taylor recognised, though, that just about every person in Abbotsbury was an
employee of the smugglers and concluded that the only way to settle the matter
was to call in the army, who had been ordered to help the fight against smuggling
Accordingly he sent a message to Lieutenant Carr, commanding
officer of Lord Irwin's Regiment of Horse quartered at Dorchester, and on November
16, Quartermaster William Thomson left the county town with Joseph Hardy and
eighteen troops. On arriving at Abbotsbury, they found "a great mob
of people gathering themselves about them" and Hardy summoned the parish
constable and tithingman and asked them to help keep the peace. At the sight
of the troops, Bradford the bailiff changed his attitude rather suddenly, handed
over the keys and allowed Hardy to recapture the goods in the face of a vociferous
but otherwise peaceful crowd.
Now there must be a scenario or two in that account.