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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, September 4, 1858.
 
The Smuggler’s Cave
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From the papers of a Revenue Officer
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by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr.
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  permitted to call for as many men as I wanted, and I selected thirty of the most reliable, and bade them make their way to Lancaster, and there remain till I called for them. I instructed them not to go in company, but to travel along as though each was on business of his own, and not herd together after they reached the city, only being sure to have such an arrangement among themselves that they could be assembled with the least possible delay. A lieutenant, named Windham, was to be their leader, and with him I had an understanding, so that I could find him at any moment.

These arrangements were made at Liverpool, and as soon as I had seen my men off—some by water, and some by land, I proceeded to get ready to start myself. I got a peddler’s license, and then bought a couple of small tin trunks, which I filled with trinkets and knickknacks of almost all descriptions, and having assumed a garb befitting my new calling, I took the stage for Lancaster, from whence I traveled on foot as far as Carnford. At this latter place I made some inquiries, but could learn nothing which I had not known before, though I suspected . . .

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    For more than a year our revenue vessels upon the sea, and a posse upon the land, had been in search of the smuggler, Ralph Morewood; but he had eluded us at every step, and still carried on his illicit traffic in spite of us. We knew that the northern part of Lancashire was flooded with rum and brandy of his smuggling; but the people along the coast were all friendly to him, and lent him their assistance. Finally we learned, though careful spies whom we sent out, that his usual place of entry was somewhere on the eastern shore of Morecombe Bay, between the wash of the Loyne and Westmoreland, and, furthermore, that he had a great quantity of contraband liquor stored near the coast.

After considerable consultation, it was decided that I should take the matter into my own hands, and ferret out the dept of the smugglers if I could. I had not much hopes of success where so many had failed; but perhaps fortune might favor me, and so I took it. I was

   

 

 


 

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