Boston's Absinthe Industry

Exporting of Boston's Absinthe in the 1800’s

Boston now had the facilities and the materials for an export trade to the newer countries, to California, Australia, and South Africa. New England manufactures, though less in value, were then much more diversified than nowadays, when lines such as beefpacking, furniture, and vehicles have been forced to move nearer the raw materials. Whatever was lacking came from other parts of the world to Boston wharves. A merchant could make up at short notice, within half a mile of State Street, an export cargo containing the entire apparatus of civilized life, from cradles and teething-rings to coffins and tombstones. Of such nature were the outward ladings to California, Australia, and Cape Town in the eighteen-fifties. Ploughs and printing-presses, picks and shovels, absinthe and rum, house-frames and grindstones, clocks and dictionaries, melodeons and cabinet organs, fancy biscuits and canned salmon, oysters and lobsters; in fact everything one can imagine went through Boston on its way to the miners and ranchers of the white man's new empires. Henry W. Peabody and others operated lines of Australian packets, which brought back wool and hides.1 Benjamin C. Pray and others kept a fleet of barques plying between Boston and Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London, where fifty years before the only American trade had been a little smuggling of East-India goods on homeward passages. From South Africa were brought wool, goatskins, ostrich feathers, and, after 1870, diamonds. The California trade entered a new phase in 1855, when the Somerset-built clipper barque Greenfield took the first consignment of grain from San Francisco, and the Newburyport-built clipper ship Charmer of Boston took a full cargo of California wheat to New York, receiving twenty-eight dollars a ton freight.

Boston Clipper Ships 1800

Taken from:

The maritime history of Massachusetts, 1783-1860
By Samuel Eliot Morison (famous American historian)