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Cape Cod The British Threat

Jefferson’s Embargo of 1807 threw the Cape into virtual depression. Ships lay at the wharves, rotting, and the seamen remained idle. When the War of 1812 came, the British sent frigates across the Atlantic to patrol the Cape coast.

English officers walked freely about Provincetown buying whatever the storekeepers had to offer, and the prospect of a shipload of young Britishers ashore was not displeasing to the girls.

Commodore Ragget, of the Spencer, had a more unpleasant duty, although it was bloodless. It was his duty to sail up and down the coast, threatening to burn the towns unless they paid him ransom. He met with considerable success. Eastham and Brewster wimped out and paid $1200 and $4000 respectively, while other towns refused to pay a cent.

The Cape is practically impregnable to invasion, and the Codders staunch to the last extremity. That Ragget was aware of these difficulties and was, therefore, bluffing the towns into paying the money appears from his dealings with Orleans, the only town on the lower Cape that refused to pay. The Commodore could hardly ignore the rejection of his offer; so he went through the motions of sending a landing party, and a small group of the enemy went ashore. But they had no intention of fighting if they could help it; some musket fire from Orleans was enough to turn them back.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 05/12/06
Categories: History
Keywords: history


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