A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the by Elaine F. Crane

By Elaine F. Crane

This paintings tells a narrative concerning the sea, an American colonial city, and the British. It relates how Newport's dependence at the Atlantic Ocean ruled approximately each point of its life. Newport realized early from its watery atmosphere that its survival and prosperity have been inextricably associated with trade. depending on a thriving exchange, Newporters have been prepared to discover and blend of routes which advised a profitable go back in voyage and funding. Newport's single-minded dedication to trade produced a society during which humans have been additionally depending on one another. service provider and dockworker, sailmaker and rope-walk proprietor built symbiotic relationships because of their universal efforts to make sure the good fortune of every voyage. Dependency additionally prolonged to social networks the place the prosperous took accountability for different individuals of the neighborhood. as a result of their dependence on unobstructed alternate, Newporters had refrained from British customs for generations, utilizing equipment which solid a few doubt on their dedication to the legislation. hence, while it turned transparent in 1764 that Britain could visit nice lengths to implement new tasks, the level was once set for disagreement. finally, occasions outstripped the facility of Newport to chart its personal direction because the violence escalated. The Revolution in advance ended Newport's golden age and destroyed town either bodily and spiritually. A based humans had received independence yet at a value just a couple of may possibly foresee.

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That town has been built up, and flourished in times past, at the expense of the blood, the liberty, and happiness of the poor Africans, and the inhabitants have lived on this and by it have gotten most of their wealth and riches. 57 As an avowed abolitionist, Hopkins may have overstated his case somewhat, but it can hardly be denied that the slave trade played a prominent role in Newport's pre-war prosperity. The slave trade was inextricably bound up with rum because rum was the liquid currency used by Americans to purchase slaves on the African coast.

40 Clarke, who was both captain and owner of the Expedition, had, according to the account, "carried on from hence for some Years a Constant Trade to Senegal. . 41 It is hardly surprising, however, that a Newport slaver would clear from North Carolina for Africa. Newport sorely lacked wood and naval stores, and North Carolina was rich in both. Where better to repair a ship and pick up rum casks? Newport clearance records show several entries each month for North Carolina. 42 Furthermore, at least one Newporter, Aaron Lopez, sold slaves in North Carolina slaves Page 19 purchased in Jamaica.

Much to their delight, they found that profits from the slave trade could alleviate this problem. As one Newport correspondent explained in 1762: I know no other method you can take to do this, than that which is taken by most people who have remittance to make to London [,] that is by a Guinea Voyage That trade has been carried on from this Place with great success, and is still the only sure way of makeing remmittances. Their Cargoes are Chiefly rum which can be procured here for the Currency of the Colony, and at a lower price too than in any other port of America.

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