Smugglers and the birth of Britain’s consumer society

They were vilified for maiming customs officials and diverting enormous sums of money from state coffers. Yet, as William J Ashworth explains, smugglers were a driving force behind the explosion of consumerism in 18th-century Britain

‘Smugglers', c1785, from ‘Adventures by sea from art of old time’ by Basil Lubbock. (Photo by Print Collector/Getty Images)

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