Adams Papers

Ezra Stiles to John Adams, 28 Aug. 1786

Yale College Augt 28 1786.


I think you will make no Impression upon the Court of Great Britain. And it is probable little Impression will be made on Algiers, while Britain on one hand may be inciting them to stand on too high Terms for us, & we on the other hand send Characters too trifling for so important a Negotiation. Was the Levant Trade open to America, the Profits to us would soon be very great, as we could export even Wheat as well as Fish to the Mediterranean; and it might be perhaps the surest Step to make Britain feel the Necessity of opening their W. India Trade to us.

A Stoppage of our Comerce[expansion sign] will be attended with what has already come to pass the Annihila of our Credit in Europe, an Infamy & Dishonor which we cannot avoid & must painfully bear. It will however stop or diminish our Consumption of European Goods—set us to increase our domestic Manufactures—& throw us back into the Wilderness where by settling abroad over a large Territory we may in half a Century create a larger aggregate Property than in a Centy by Comerce[expansion sign]. American Produce will be a sure Basis for stable Trade & firm Comerce[expansion sign]. For however indigent we are (or rather seem to be) a Centy hence the super[flu]ous Produce of the XIII States will be not less than twenty Millions sterlg for Exportation. And will I believe the World will not open the way for our freely carryg this to the shores of all [Nat]ions?—In our own Vessels too. But Britain, will loose this Trade. She has not Wisdom in the Hour of her Malice, not Wisdom eno’ to bring back this Trade to herself. She ought, if she consulted her Interest, to make it of the most free access of all Nations to [bring] their Comodities[expansion sign] to her & exchange for her Manufactures. With the greatest Honor & undissembled Respect I am Sir / Yr Most obedt Servt

Ezra Stiles

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).

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