Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fish Facts for the Fourth

It was the efforts of the British government to restrict New England fishing, and fishing commerce that started the Revolution not, as you've been led to believe tea and "taxation without representation." And Christopher Magra's written the book to prove it. The Fisherman's Cause: Atlantic Commerce and Maritime Dimensions of the American Revolution details how:

  • The cumulative effect of British efforts to restrict and regulate New England's commercial expansion along the Atlantic contributed to a rising conviction among colonists that the British state actively opposed their right to use the sea for commercial purposes.
  • The British 1775 "New England Trade and Fisheries Act", which restricted the fisheries was considered by members of the House of Lords to "declaring war [against the colonies]."
  • The fishing industry enabled the quick mobilization of the first American navy both with manpower and privateers.
  • Fishing vessels smuggled in most of the ammunition used by American forces.
  • Fishermen filled the ranks and provided invaluable and unique services.

And did you know, that during the famous crossing of the Delaware in 1776 General Henry Knox recalled that the crossing was led by the "fishermen of marblehead, alike at home upon land or water."

Just goes to show, once again, that American history is maritime history.

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