Release Date: August 21, 2004 [EBook #13241]
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*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK International Weekly ***
Produced by Cornell University, Joshua Hutchinson, William Flis, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
Of Literature, Art, and Science.
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Vol. I. New York, July 29, 1850. No. 5.
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The history of smuggling in all countries abounds in curiosities of which but few ever reach the eye of the public, the parties generally preferring to keep their adventures to themselves. There often exist, however, along frontier lines the traditions of thrilling exploits or amusing tricks, recounted by old smugglers from the recollections of their own youthful days or the narratives of their predecessors. Perhaps no frontier is so rich in these tales as that between Spain and France, where the mountainous recesses of the Pyrenees offer secure retreats to the half-robber who drives the contraband trade, as well as safe routes for the transportation of his merchandise. On the line between the Russian Empire and Germany the trade is greater in amount than elsewhere, but is devoid of the romantic features which it possesses in other countries. There, owing to the universal corruption of the servants of the Russian government, the smuggler and the custom-house officer are on the best terms with each Other and often are partners in business. We find in a late number of the Deutsche Reform, a journal of Berlin, an interesting illustration of the extent and manner in which these frauds on the Russian revenue are carried on, and translate it for the International:
“The great annual tea-burning has just taken place at Suwalki: 25,000 pounds were destroyed at it. This curious proceeding is thus explained. Of all contraband articles that on the exclusion of which the most weight is laid, is the tea which is brought in from Prussia. In no country is the consumption of tea so great as in Poland and Russia. That smuggled in from Prussia, being imported from China by ship, can be sold ten times cheaper than the so-called caravan-tea, which is brought directly overland by Russian merchants. This overland trade is one of the chief branches of Russian commerce, and suffers serious injury from the introduction of the smuggled article. Accordingly the government pays in cash, the extraordinary premium of fifty cents