By Elaine F. Crane
This paintings tells a narrative in regards to the sea, an American colonial city, and the British. It relates how Newport's dependence at the Atlantic Ocean ruled approximately each element 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 mix of routes which prompt a profitable go back in voyage and funding. Newport's single-minded dedication to trade produced a society within 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 luck of every voyage. Dependency additionally prolonged to social networks the place the prosperous took accountability for different contributors of the neighborhood. due to their dependence on unobstructed alternate, Newporters had kept away from British customs for generations, utilizing tools which solid a few doubt on their dedication to the legislation. therefore, while it grew to become transparent in 1764 that Britain might 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 path because the violence escalated. The Revolution upfront ended Newport's golden age and destroyed town either bodily and spiritually. A established humans had received independence yet at a value just a couple of might foresee.
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Extra info for A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era
6. Quoted in Bridenbaugh, Fat Mutton, p. 13. 7. , p. 15. 8. "Travel Diary of Dr. Benjamin Bullivant ," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, 40, No. 1 (January 1956), 58-60. 9. Sydney V. James, Colonial Rhode Island: A History (New York, 1975), p. 240. 10. George Berkeley to Sir John Percival, Mar. 28, 1729, Redwood Library, Newport. 11. Howard W. Preston, Rhode Island and the Sea (Providence, 1932), p. 61. Bostonians, enraged at Newport's unpatriotic behavior, began to seize Newport vessels, forcing the Newporters to retaliate in kind.
For this reason merchants were in constant correspondence with their factors and captains, and a captain arriving at any port was expected to send an account of his voyage and the state of the markets to his owner as soon as possible. These reports indicated whether slaves were commanding a higher price on Jamaica or Barbados. They relayed information concerning the scarcity of molasses on Guadaloupe or its abundance on Martinique. A profitable voyage depended on a merchant's learning that Kingston Harbor was glutted with dried fish, while Charleston had only a meager supply.
It occurs to me now that the absence of a strong Puritan legacy might relate in some way to these questions. Strict Puritan doctrine demanded economic moderation and the suppression of self-interest for the good of the whole. But as tempting opportunities presented themselves, the history of seventeenth-century Massachusetts became, at least in part, a story of the conflict between expanding mercantilism and undiluted Puritanism. If it took almost a century for mercantile interests to prevail in Massachusetts, however, Rhode Island merchants achieved predominance in far less time.
A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era by Elaine F. Crane