Fifteen hundred dollars worth of coffee coming in duty free meant a
tidy profit, whether it was Delerue-Sanders behind the smuggling or
someone else. A simple plan, but one that worked all too well given the
poor state of the Revenue Marine. The revenue cutters couldn’t begin
to cover all of the coast, not when the ships were spread thin with
surveying, rescue operations, and winter cruising between Charleston
and Key West. Underfunded, understaffed, looked down on by the
regular navy, despised by the merchants who paid the tariffs, the
Revenue Marine was no one’s darling.
Well, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, he’d loved his revenue cutters that brought money into the Treasury, but look what happened to him, Washburn thought. Irritate the wrong people and there you are, worm food.
The United States Coast Guard, aka the Revenue-Marine, aka the Revenue Cutter Service was founded on this day in 1790 by US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Happy Birthday, Coast Guard! You can read more about the role of the Revenue Marine in Territorial Florida in Smuggler's Bride. It was fun researching that novel and learning the Coast Guard's history, and the USCG deserves a salute on its special day.