It also seems very newsworthy that the war itself was waged in great part over the importation of hemp from Russia to the United States in defiance of the British blockade attempting to deny that essential commodity for the world shipbuilding industry. The Russians had the best quality hemp fiber since it was very labor intensive and their large population of serfs provided the requisite slave labor. Ships, large and small, required tons of hemp fiber for their ropes and sails. Prior to the completion of the Erie Canal, it was faster and cheaper to sail a clipper ship to St. Petersburg and return with a cargo of hemp than to ship the fiber over land from Kentucky to Baltimore. The British Navy stopped and seized all the ships they found.