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[p. 66]

Another order required that in trading with Great Britain, American vessels were only allowed to bring in articles produced in those states of which their owners were citizens. In speaking of this, Fiske says, “These things worked injury to ship building; to the exports of lumber and oil and salted fish, even to the manufacture of Medford rum.” Fiske. Critical period of American history.

Finally a scheme for a trade with China was worked out by Boston merchants. This was the sending of vessels to the northwest coast and trading with the Indians for the skins of sea otter, which brought a high price in China for use by the mandarins, and bringing back home or to Europe cargoes of silks, china ware, tea and other eastern goods.

This trade proved immensely profitable. They set out with a cargo composed of chisels made of scraps of iron fitted into rough wooden handles, pieces of copper in squares and brilliant cloths. The total value of ship, outfit and cargo estimated at less than $40,000, and sometimes brought back from China cargoes valued at over $250,000.1 A number of Medford vessels were engaged in this trade. They were vessels of two to three hundred tons, permitting their use in the shallow bays of the northwest coast. Among them was the ship Eclipse, three hundred and forty-three tons, built for Thomas H. Perkins, James Perkins and James Lloyd in 1805 by T. Magoun.

In 1807 Capt. Joseph O'Cain of Boston, chartered his ship Eclipse of Boston to the Russian-American Company, traded their furs at Canton, visited Nagasaki and Petropavlovsh, lost the vessel on the Aleutian islands, built another out of the wreck, and returned to trade once more.2

Another Medford-built ship engaged in the Northwest


1 See Morison's ‘Maritime History of Massachusetts,’ pp. 58-70.

Solid Men of Boston

(M. S.), pp. 70, 76.

2 Morison. ‘Maritime History of Massachusetts.’

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