II. Jefferson’s Notes on Coxe’s
Commercial System for the United States
- pa. 8. Exports but ¼ or ⅕ of home consumption, i.e. ⅕ or ⅙ of the whole produce.
- 9/10 of people in Amer. employed in Agriculture.
- 10. ⅞ of people in New Engld. employed in agriculture, the remaining ⅛ in manufactures, fisheries, navigation and trade.
- 13. Coasting vessels entered at Phila. in 1785 were 567 sail. All the others, i.e. sea vessels were 501.
- 15. 5000 barr. mackarel, salmon, pickled cod sold in Philada. annually.
- 21. An argument in favor of manufactures to a certain degree is that we may turn to profit the natural powers of the country, viz. water, fuel, sun, air
- 24. European manufactures come to Amer. under a charge of 25.p.cent. for commission, package, custom house papers, porterage, freight, insurance, damage, interest of money, waste, loss on exchange, and the impost proposed of 5. pr. cent. This operates as bounty on our manufactures.
- 30. Cotton (before the revolution) cost but 9 d. sterl. a lb. in the W. Indies. The perfection of European factories and consequent increase of demand has raised it 50. p.cent. This year’s price in Phila has been 2/ sterl.
- 40. He thinks we shall soon make the following articles so cheap as to throw foreign ones out of competition, viz. beer, spirits, potash, gunpowder, cordage, loaf sugar, paper, snuff, tobo, starch, anchors, nail rods, and many other articles of iron, bricks, tiles, potters ware, millstones, cabinet work, corn fans, Windsor chairs, carriages, sadlery, shoes, boots, coarse linens, hats, a few coarse woollens, linseed oil, Wares of gold, silver, tin and copper, some braziery, wool cards, worms and stills.
- pa. 158. Waste of labour and property during war 300,000,000 dollars
- 157. In 10. years has been actually paid by the states 24. million dollars bounty money to souldiers and contributions to federal treasury.
- 162. The State governments cost about 4. times as much as the federal. The State debts nearly equal to federal debt. Imposts since the peace nearly equal to all other taxes.
MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 36: 6230); in TJ’s hand; at head of text: “Tench Cox’s enquiry into the principles of American commerce” undated, but presumably drawn up about the time TJ received a copy of Coxe’s pamphlet in July 1787.
The federal farmer was Richard Henry Lee, whose letters in opposition to the Constitution, Observations leading to a fair examination of the system of government, proposed by the late Convention (New York, 1787), went through three editions and sold thousands of copies throughout the states. Lee then brought out An Additional number of letters from the Federal Farmer (New York, 1788), largely a repetition of the first. TJ owned the edition of 1788 that included both titles. It was from this that he extracted the above data (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–1959, 5 vols. description ends No. 3020).