PRUSSIA COVE AND SMUGGLERS' HOLES
SMUGGLERS' hiding-places (now, of course, unused) are numerous. On the banks of the Helford river are several, and two or three have lately been discovered on the coast about St Keverne by the falling in of their roofs. In a part of Penzance harbour, nine years ago, a hiding-place of this kind was discovered; it still contained one or two kegs, and the skeleton of a man, with his clothes in good preservation. It is presumed that the poor fellow while intoxicated was shut in, and the place never more opened by his companions. Speaking of Penzance,--about fifty years since, in the back of the harbour, was an old adit called "Gurmer's Hole," and in the cliff over its entrance, on a dark night, a phosphorescent appearance was always visible from the opposite side. It could not be seen from beneath, owing to the projection of the face of the cliff. A fall of the part taking place, the phenomenon disappeared.
Sixty or seventy years since, a native of Breage called" Carter," but better known, from a most remarkable personal resemblance to Frederick the Great, as the "King of Prussia," monopolised most of the smuggling trade of the west. By all accounts he was a man of uncommon mental power, and chose as the seat of his business a sequestered rocky cove about two miles east of Marazion, which continues to bear the name of " Prussia Cove," and where deep channels, cut in hard rock, to allow of the near approach of their boats, still show the determination of the illicit traders. Although constantly visited by the excise officers, the "king" rarely failed to remove his goods, the stocks of which were at times very large, suffering for a long period comparatively little from "seizures." On one occasion his boats, while landing a cargo, being hard pressed by the revenue cutter, Carter had some old cannon brought to the edge of the cliff and opened fire on the unwelcome intruder, and after a short but sharp engagement, fairly beat her off. The cutter was, of course, back again early in the morning, and part of the crew, with the captain, landed; the only traces, however, of the engagement to be seen was the trampled ground. On approaching Carter's house, the officer was met by the "king" himself, with an angry remonstrance about practising the cutter's guns at midnight so near the shore, and disturbing his family at such unseemly hours. Although the principal parties concerned were well known, no evidence could be obtained, and the matter was allowed to drop. Toward the close of his career Carter "ventured" in larger ships, became less successful, and was at last exchequered. He died, at a very advanced age, in poor circumstances.