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Cargo from St. Petersburg and the Manifest
This manifest lists the cargo that was acquired by the Ship Mount Vernon in St. Petersburg, Russia and brought to Salem. A large amount of the cargo consists of sheeting, sail cloth, and iron which would have been especially valuable for ship building. Other goods include furniture, such as feather beds, mirrors, chairs, and table cloths; these were goods that may have been intended for sale in Salem and other nearby towns.
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When American ships arrived in a U.S. port the merchants that owned the cargo were required to file a special form called an entry of merchandise with the Collector of Customs before anything could be unloaded. On this form would be listed all of the merchandise and its value. The Inspector of Customs would then board the ship and examine the actual cargo, making comparisons between the entry and original invoices. Only after this process was completed could a landing permit be issued and the cargo unloaded.
The cargo shown on this inward foreign manifest brought to a completion a global trail of trade that began with New England fish and timber and involved the West Indies, East Indies, China, Denmark, and Russia.