Digital reproduction of Inspection of a Merchant Ship by Gil Cohen. The Revenue Cutter Morris prepares to board the passenger ship Benjamin Adams on July 16, 1861. The vessel was carrying 650 Scottish and Irish immigrants from Liverpool to New York. In an era of rapidly increasing immigration to the United States, Congress passed laws regulating the space allotted to the passengers. The enforcement of these laws was an early example of Coast Guard efforts in merchant marine safety. Acting as the enforcement arm of the Collectors of Customs, the Revenue Cutter Service had responsibility for collection of import and export duties, quarantines, examining vessels for contraband, and in the case of this boarding, some authority for regulating living conditions on passenger ships. When no irregularities were found, the Benjamin Adams was allowed to continue on its way to New York City.
Categories: Art