Salem Impost (April 19, 1802)

The top page shows ships coming from Havana, New Orleans, Megadore (Morocco), Cadiz and Guadeloupe. There is a large variety of merchandize arriving; sugar, cotton, molasses, salt, Sherry and Claret wine.

The bottom page shows ships coming from Cadiz, St. Vincent, Canton (China), Trinidad and Alicant. (See Impost Places pdf for more information regarding modern names of these places) There is a large variety of merchandize arriving; sugar, molasses, salt, rum, tea, candy, brandy, Sherry and Claret wine. Salem was well known for their Far East trade. Note the amount of revenue from the ship coming from China.

Impost books were accounts of vessels entering a port, their port of origin,information about the goods they brought in and, most importantly, the duties (taxes) they paid to the U.S. government on those commodities. Duties could be calculated based on a percentage of the value, or as a direct fee. Salem was a major shipping port during this period and brought in considerable revenue for the country as a whole. These pages show a wide range of countries that were touched by Salem ships, as well as the wealth of luxury and household goods that came through this city. These resources could be used in a variety of ways.

Click here for a reference sheet about the places mentioned in the Salem Impost Books: Places referenced in Salem Imposts

Click here to explore the July 1801 and August 1801 Salem Impost Books.


Salem Impost (April 19, 1802). National Archives, Waltham, MA.