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In the wealth of hitherto inaccessible material from family archives, presented in these two volumes, students of general American history and of business history will find an unusual picture of the actual business of carrying on trade between New England and the Orient in our early national period. The numerous mercantile letters here reproduced show how Salem, Newburyport, and Beverly, as well as Boston, were connected commercially and culturally with the rest of the world. At the same time they present the important transition in New England economic life when business men were transferring their capital and ability from foreign commerce to regional manufacture, transportation, and trade. A long general Introduction describes the training and operation of the sedentary merchant and the effect upon business from the family connections among the various merchants.