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 discovered early from its watery atmosphere that its survival and prosperity have been inextricably associated with trade. depending on a thriving exchange, Newporters have been keen to discover and blend of routes which advised 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 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 exchange, Newporters had refrained from British customs for generations, utilizing tools which solid a few doubt on their dedication to the legislation. hence, whilst it grew to become transparent in 1764 that Britain may visit nice lengths to implement new tasks, the degree used to be set for disagreement. in any case, 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 foresee.
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Additional resources for A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era
11 Treason? Call it good business. Historians cannot point to any particular year in which Newport entered its so-called golden era, but by 1760 the seaport was basking in unparalleled Page 4 prosperity. Commercial activity dominated the community, which had long since ceased to depend on its own hinterland for exportable products. Few would have guessed that scarcely sixteen years later it would lie wasted, a desolate monument to the change in British imperial policy. The explanation for Newport's decline lies in the town's singular dependence on the sea surrounding it, a dependence based not merely on trade, but on Britain's benign neglect as well.
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. Until that year, according to Governor Stephen Hopkins, "the negroes upon the [African] coast were supplied with large quantities of French brandies; but in the year 1723, some merchants in the colony first introduced the use of rum there, which from small beginnings soon increased to the consumption of several thousand hogsheads yearly.
Since Governor Hopkins was at a disadvantage when it came time to explain the amount of imported molasses and rum, he had every reason to minimize the amount of rum exported from Newport. Across the ocean, Bristol merchants engaged in the slave trade began to feel that New England rum gave Newporters a competitive advantage in the race for profits. As African demand for rum increased, it became less ex- Page 23 pensive to purchase slaves in rum equivalents than in the fabrics or East India goods with which the Bristol merchants traded.