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Alternative Shipping

The following excerpt comes from an excellent article on smuggling in colonial America:

One method of trading with the enemy was especially popular in Rhode Island, the smuggling capital of America. Flags of truce were used to exchange prisoners, and merchants found that these could be purchased at reasonable prices from colonial governors. Then, after hiring some men who spoke French to pose as prisoners, and sailing under flags of truce, American merchants traded with the French West Indies. In 1748, an American wrote to a correspondent in Amsterdam:

The sweets of the French trade by way of flags of truce has put me upon turning my navigation that way, which is the most profitable business I know of. But, my friend, of this you must not lisp a word.

This illegal trade continued during the Seven Years’ War[1], especially during its later phase when inhabitants of the French West Indies were desperate for food. Merchants from Newport, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other ports carried foodstuffs to the enemy for handsome profits.

Pennsylvania’s wartime governor, William Denny, conducted a brisk trade in flags of truce. He sold so many that by 1759 the flags were traded openly on the New York market.

[1] a.k.a. "The French and Indian War", 1756-1763


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 7th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
I'm a little leery of it's publication venue...

Not that I doubt the facts, I just wonder about it's bias.
Dec. 7th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)

As long as the facts are all there, I don't care whether the author is a libertarian, socialist, guelph, ghibelline, or mugwump.

Unless, of course, I find myself reading nothing but mugwump history for a while, in which case I force myself to find another perspective.
Aug. 9th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
This is fascinating.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )