“‘Not so much as a plug of tobacco!’ I would reply, contemplatively, as the crew commenced putting out the few things we had entered at Her Majesty’s Custom House. We had great regard for Her Majesty; nor have I the least doubt of the Squire’s honesty, which would have been all right had it not been for the law and parliament. We have only to add that, having played his part after the manner of a good Christian, he would seek his way home, there to arrange an evening prayer-meeting.
“But the beauty of the Squire’s nature, as illustrated in his pious hatred of smuggling, or otherwise defrauding Her Majesty, would shine out bright on the day the Dash left on her return voyage. I was sure of an invitation to breakfast with him on that morning, and he was equally sure to paint the purity of his conscience in such glowing colors that it was difficult for me to maintain a serious face. When we had eaten bread, and he had offered up his prayer (in which he always remembered Her Majesty), he would accompany me to the Dash, when, having got on board, and cast off, he would mount the most prominent place on the cap-sill, where the citizens assembled could hear him, and cry out at the top of his voice:—’Hornblower! good-bye. One word more, Hornblower! Let me entreat you not to smuggle a pennyworth for anybody.’ My reply always was that I would follow his advice with christian strictness. Then he would modestly finger that cravat so white, and fix in his face such becoming dignity, that I thought his green glasses, which I never liked, covered his eyes to great advantage. ’Remember what I have always endeavored to impress on your mind,’ he would continue; ‘honesty is the best policy—it is!’ Just then everybody would look at the Squire, while it was with great effort I kept from my face a smile. I knew honesty was the best policy; I knew it was the true policy to all praiseworthy ends; but how could I help contemplating the necessity of those preaching who never practised it, seeing that the Squire was not what he seemed, for he smuggled an hundred barrels of flour for every one he paid duty upon. I had also seen him pass sentence of imprisonment and fine on the wretch who smuggled a demijohn of bad spirits, when for him I had smuggled a thousand.
“Thanks to a more liberal commercial policy, that has precluded the necessity for such scenes as the Dash stealing her way into a river at night to land her cargo of contraband goods. Those violations of law, so prevalent a few years ago, have ceased; and in the improved condition of the people we see the result of a new and more liberal policy. But a few years ago, that small craft, the Dash, alone sought to establish what was considered a doubtful trade with the port of Boston; now, some forty pursue a profitable traffic with the State of Massachusetts, which has annually brought to her in British bottoms no less than 170,000 cords of Nova Scotia grown fire-wood.