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 discovered early from its watery atmosphere that its survival and prosperity have been inextricably associated with trade. depending on a thriving alternate, Newporters have been keen to discover and mixture of routes which recommended a winning 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 constructed 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 contributors of the neighborhood. due to their dependence on unobstructed exchange, Newporters had avoided British customs for generations, utilizing tools which solid a few doubt on their dedication to the legislations. hence, while it turned transparent in 1764 that Britain may visit nice lengths to implement new tasks, the level used to be set for disagreement. in spite of everything, occasions outstripped the power of Newport to chart its personal direction because the violence escalated. The Revolution in advance ended Newport's golden age and destroyed the city either bodily and spiritually. A established humans had received independence yet at a price just a couple of may possibly foresee.

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Additional info for A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era

Sample text

Not only was it more protected, but since the harbor was situated in the path of the gulf stream, it rarely froze. '"6 Moreover, the several islands surrounding Newport were free of the wolf packs that constantly threatened to devour cattle and sheep on the mainland. In the end, of course, the success or failure of the experiment depended on the people involved, and happily for Newport, the early settlers were experienced pioneers. They had expertise in mercantile, political, and agricultural affairs on both sides of the Atlantic,7 and they knew the necessary ingredients for a successful venture.

30 It left from Portsmouth, rather than Newport, but Newport slavers were probably not far behind. Until 1696 the monopoly held by the English Royal African Company theoretically excluded independent American slave traders, and this may be one reason why the Rhode Island slave trade was small during the seventeenth century. The Royal African Company lost its monopoly at the turn of the century, and England obtained the Spanish assiento in 1713. 31 Evidence suggests that Rhode Islanders themselves looked to 1723 as the year in which they became irrevocably committed to the slave trade.

65 In any event, rum exportation to Africa was not of "relative unimportance"66 to the economy of Newport, especially in light of the importance given to the trade as a source of hard money by Newporters themselves.

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