Advice to the Unwary - Drunken Servants p.2

Here the author describes how smuggling has pervaded every city, town and village in England, bringing 'universal distress upon the fair traders, from the most opulent and respectable, even to the smallest shopkeeper'.

The author then describes the illicit trade in 'Geneva' - the 18th century name for gin. The sale of gin was a huge problem during the 1700s. As the author explains, the enormous trade in smuggled gin makes the spirit very cheap, encouraging 'great numbers of people to sell it by retail without licences, who entice servants, and the lower sort of people, to drunkenness and debauchery.'

About Advice to the Unwary

'Advice to the Unwary', published in 1780, examines the economic and political consequences of the smuggling trade. As the book outlines, illicit trading had at that time made 'gigantic strides from the sea coasts, into the very heart of the country'. The author describes many of the damaging effects of smuggling, for example the unemployment among 'fair traders', such as silk-weavers and thread manufacturers, whose goods were unable to compete with cheap illicit imports; and the illegal trade of Geneva (or gin) which helped to cause widespread alcoholism throughout English society. He also emphasises the falling profits of the East India Company, which were to a large extent the result of smuggling.

The author sets out to remind his readers of the most recent (1779) Act of Parliament against smuggling. He hopes that if individuals are forewarned of the dangers of smuggling, 'the law will no longer be a dead letter or useless form, [and] a very powerful association may be formed, to watch the motions of smugglers of every denomination, and to inform against, and bring them to condign punishment.'

 

Taken from: Advice to the Unwary
Author / Creator: Unknown
Publisher: Cox, E.
Date: 1780
Copyright: By permission of the British Library
Shelfmark: 1102.h.3.(2)