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[p. 71]

The Federalist leaders ridiculed Jefferson's claim that the embargo was to protect the merchant vessels by calling attention to the fact that the embargo was extended to the East India and China trade which Great Britain permitted and Napoleon was powerless to prevent. They also claimed that the profits annually on the cargoes was more than equal to the total value of the shipping.

During the embargo of 1808 an inoffensive old schooner came up Mystic river with her decks piled high with wood and bark. A custom-house officer suspected her of smuggling and took possession of her. The captain invited the officer to dine with him. After a while the captain asked to be excused a few moments to give some orders to the men. As soon as he gained the deck he turned and fastened the cabin door. Stevedores disguised as Indians unloaded the vessel, which had her hold filled with English goods, wire, etc., from Halifax. During a large part of the night wagons were taking the contraband merchandise to Boston, Malden and West Cambridge. Her cargo was very valuable. The goods escaped without discovery, but the vesse was confiscated and condemned.1

Capt. Chas. C. Doten of Plymouth, during a northeast gale, slipped by the revenue cutter at Provincetown, with the brig Hope. He was pursued and fired upon, but escaped to St. Lucia, where he sold the vessel and cargo of fish for twenty-five thousand dollars. He brought his Spanish doubloons home sewed into his clothing.2

Jefferson signed the repeal of the embargo on his last day in office. Immediately there ensued a tremendous boom in shipping to Mediterranean, Russian and Oriental ports, which continued until the war of 1812.


1 Usher. ‘History of Medford.’

2 Morison. ‘Maritime History of Massachusetts.’

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