Can your students work out what crime Captain Gwyn was accused of by Portsmouth customs officials in 1748?
Your students will read the letter to find out exactly how much smuggled contraband Gwyn was hiding in his house. They will then predict what happened next?
What do they think happened when the authorities tried to take back the booty?
They will read the second part of the original letter to discover that a mob of 30 people stood up to the customs officials. They engaged in an almost farcical scene of continuously grabbing the booze back from the authorities who tried to confiscate the goods, until the officials were forced to leave empty handed.
What does all of this tell us about people’s attitudes to smuggling and smuggled goods in the mid 18th century? Your students will finish by answering a classic question.
- Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
- Lesson write-up: PDF
- R1a: Copy of first part of the original letter: PowerPoint
- R1b: Transcript of first part of the letter: PDF
- R2a: Copy of second part of the original letter: PowerPoint
- R2b: Transcript of second part of the letter: PDF