Smuggling During the Regency
By Ella Quinn, Author of The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, The Marriage Game Series
Most of you probably know that smuggling was a thriving enterprise during England’s Napoleonic war with France. Before the war, the English had been used to traveling often to France and purchasing items, either to be shipped or taken back to England, until, that is, Parliament enacted punishing taxes on foreign goods. However, what was a steady business, became almost a national enterprise during the war. Whole villages were engaged in the illegal trade as well as many peers and merchants who paid for the goods arriving.
We all know that items such as brandy and wine were favorites—one shipment could be up to 3,000 gallons of spirits—what many people do not realize is that lace was one of the largest items smuggled, as well as silk and tobacco for snuff. It has been suggested that as much as three-quarters of the tea in Britain was smuggled in.
However, the real problem with smuggling was not merely the avoidance of taxes, it was the money that went into the French government’s coffers to finance their side of the war. There was also another serious issue. French spies and weapons welcomed by English insurrectionists—those who believed that England would do well to get rid of their monarchy and peerage—entered via the smuggling routes as well.
Smuggling groups differed. As I mentioned above, sometimes whole villages were involved. However, there were also groups who coerced compliance of the local population. There is evidence to suggest that some smuggling groups refused to help spies enter England while other groups welcomed the money. In my book, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, book #2 in The Marriage Game, my heroine’s brother who worked for the home office ran a smuggling group in order to be able to keep an eye on what was happening in his area of England. When he took what was to be a sort assignment to France and back, he asked her to look after the group for him. No one expected he would be lost at sea, and she would be left running the smugglers on a permanent basis.
Ella Quinn is the USA Today bestselling author of smart, spicy Regency romances, including The Worthingtons, the Lords of London, and The Marriage Game series. Prior to writing romance, she was an adjunct professor, a lawyer, and the first woman to be assigned to a Green Beret unit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and has extensively researched the Regency era, immersing her stories with the flavor and feel of the period so that readers lose themselves in the time. She and her husband currently live in Germany. Visit her online at EllaQuinnAuthor.com.
About The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh
For Ella Quinn’s bachelors, courtship is all about gamesmanship, until the right woman shows them how much they have to learn . . .
Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for. Now as Sebastian finally courts Anna, she must thwart his advances. Were he to discover her secret, he would never deem her a suitable wife.
Sebastian has always known Anna would become his wife someday. He expects few obstacles, but when she dissuades him at every turn he soon realizes there is much more to this intriguing woman. Somehow he must prove to her that they are meant to be together. But first he must unravel the seductive mystery that is Miss Anna Marsh.