This page shows ships coming from Surinam, Manilla, Guadaloupe, Calcutta, and Sumatra. (Note the amount of pepper coming in from Sumatra. Salem was a leading exporter of pepper at that time) These ships carried a large variety of merchandize : molasses, sugar, pepper, coffee, indigo (a blue dyestuff), tea, and cotton.
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.