Thomas Jefferson Papers
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V. Estimate of American Imports, [1785–1786?]

V. Estimate of American Imports


From Europe and Africa
Woollen cloths of every description.
Linens of every description.
Hosiery. Hats.  £. sterl.
Gloves, shoes, boots, sadlery, & other things of leather. 350,000. Massachusets
Silks, gold & silver lace, jewellery, millinery, toys. 250,000 { New Hampshire
India goods. Rhode island
Porcelain, Glass, Earthen ware. Connecticut
Silver, copper, brass, tin, pewter, lead, steel, iron, in every form. 531,000 { New York
Upholstery, Cabinet work, Painter’s colours New-Jersey
Cheese, Pickles, Confitures, Chocolate.   £. sterl. 611,000. { New-Jersey
          £   £ 3,039,000   Pennsylvania
Wine. 2000 tons @ 100. = 200,000. Brandy. Beer. Delaware
Medicinal drugs, Snuff, Bees wax. 865,000 { Maryland
Books, Stationary. Virginia
Mill stones. Grindstones. Marble. 18,000 N. Carolina
Sail-cloth. Cordage. Ship chandlery. Fishing tackle. 365,000. S. Carolina
Ivory. Ebony. Barwood. Dyewood. 49,000. Georgia
             £   s 3,039,000.
Salt. 521,225 bushels @ 1/. 26,061 - 5
From the West Indies
Salt.   500,484 bushels @ 1/ 25,024-4   
Fruits 2,239-10  
Cocoa.   576,589 ℔   @ 6d 25,789-10  
Coffee.   408,494 ℔    8d 15,249-12  
Sugar. 10,232,432 168,007    
Molasses.  3,645,464 galls. 1/ 186,281-16  
Rum.  3,888,370 galls. 2/3 437,441-12-6
Ginger. Pimenta. 1,395-1   
Cotton.    356,591 ℔   1/ 17,829-11  
Hides. 7,870-5    927,438 7
Indigo      4,352 ℔   4/6 979-4   
Ivory. Turtle-shell 247-4   
Lignum vitae. Sarsaparilla. Fustic. Annattas. 5,170.    
Logwood. 13,624-17-6
Mahogany. 20,280.   

MS (DLC: 59: 10427v); in TJ’s hand, undated, but probably compiled about 1785–1786. Tr (DLC: Madison Miscellany); in Madison’s hand, with following at head of text: “Estimate [by Mr. Jefferson ] of the imports of the U. S. those from W. Indies are taken from Ld. Sheffield. those from other parts from the American Traveller (1769).”

TJ’s figures for imports from the West Indies are taken from Table No. IV of the second (1784) edition of Sheffield’s Observations on the commerce of the American states, compiled by Thomas Irving, Inspector General of the Imports and Exports of North America, and Register of Shipping. Irving’s tabulation, dated at the Custom House, Boston, 1 Oct. 1771, covers the period from 5 Jan. 1770 to 5 Jan. 1771. TJ combined articles and also lumped together importations from all of the West Indies, whereas Irving’s table distinguished between the British and foreign islands. TJ also failed to note that the figures included importations into Newfoundland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all of “the several provinces in North America,” which of course included Canada.

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