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[22] trade, and in the fisheries. Not only were its wharves constantly crowded with ships and loaded with merchandise, but the bank of the Merrimac River, even as far as Deer Island, two miles above the town, was occupied by busy ship-yards; and ship-building was one of the most important industries of the place. The prosperous merchants and ship-owners built fine mansions for themselves on State Street, and along the beautiful High Street, from which the town slopes gently down to the water; while their townsmen of more moderate pretensions occupied comfortable homes on the lower thoroughfares between High Street and the river.

The commercial glory and importance of the place have, thanks to the centralizing effect of the railroad, long since departed. Its wharves no longer wear a busy aspect; its ship-yards have one by one fallen into disuse until few remain; but its streets and dwellings still preserve the neat, attractive, and well-cared — for appearance which distinguished them when Dr. Dwight visited the town in 1796. If some houses of more modern construction have here and there arisen in places that were vacant, the old mansions have remained undisturbed, and they still predominate and give character to the place. The Newburyport boy of sixty years ago who revisits his native town to-day, finds many quarters whose general features are unchanged.

The Embargo of 1807-8 had not yet laid its paralyzing hand upon the busy port when Abijah Garrison came there to establish a new home for himself and family, and to seek employment. He was a stranger in the place, without friend or acquaintance among the merchants to whom he applied for a position; but his personal presence and bearing were such that he speedily won their attention and confidence, and secured an engagement as sailing-master,1 in which capacity he made

1 Presumably, since the books of the Newburyport and Salem customhouses show no record of him as captain of any of the vessels sailing from those ports in 1805-1808. Yet he always bore that title.

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