Embargo Act Tin Snuff Box, Ca 1807-1812
Small, oval tin snuff box painted black with metallic bronze border and inscription May Peace Once more/Our Trade Ref[s]tore, 4 x 3 in.
< Very near the founding of the country, the United States was in a precarious position during the Napoleonic Wars. In an effort to maintain neutrality during the international conflict the United States attempted to trade with both warring nations, England and France. The British attempted to conscript and imprison British-born, but naturalized United States citizens into the Royal Navy. Infuriated, President Thomas Jefferson and Congress passed the unpopular Embargo Act, which made it illegal to export any U.S. goods to Britain in order to weaken its economy and indirectly effect the outcome of the war. The lack of trade hurt the U.S. economy. Many began to say, "May peace restore our trade," which is printed on the tin snuff box. The act and its modifications proved difficult to enforce and President James Madison eventually terminated it, but tensions between the United States and Britain escalated so much that the United States declared war against Britain, sparking the War of 1812.
Some chipping on the paint on the recto and some fading of the inscription.