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Enclosure II, 31 December 1784

Enclosure II

Custom House Charleston S. Carolina
31st. Decr. 1784

To form a general Idea of the Trade of South Carolina it is necessary to have a retrospect of what that Trade was before the Revolution, from which view a conclusion may be drawn of what it may be again, when the Country comes to be fully peopled. During the course of the War upwards of 20,000 Negroes were carried away by the British or died of the Small pox, Camp Fevers &ca. within their Lines, which Number must be again supplied before the produce of this Country will be equal to what it was formerly. The present Year more than 4000 Negroes have been imported from Africa and upwards of 1000 returned from St. Augustine and brought back by those who had adhered to the British and have been permitted by Law to return here.

A General View of the Trade may be known by the Account annexed of the Imports and Exports for 7 Years from 1757 to 1763, and although the Two Years where it appears the Imports exceed the Exports, owing to the very large import of Negroes in those two Years, yet the advantages resulting to the Country is evident by the acquisition of so many Labourers by whom the Trade was increased, and their Value remaining in the Country which their Labour soon enabled their possessors to pay for.

Whilst South Carolina was a British province, the Trade was of course restrained, and the principal part of its produce was shipped to Great Britain and its dependancies, except about 20,000 Barrels Rice which used to be shipped annually to Portugal, which Rice paid a Subsidy to Great Britain, by Bond given there for permission to carry Rice to the Southward of Cape Finisterre. This Trade is now at an end by a Prohibition from the Court of Portugal but may possibly be again renewed if that prohibition is taken off, or in case of the failure of the Crops at Maranham from whence they import their Rice.

The greatest part of the Crop of Rice (which has in some Years amounted to 155.000 Barrels) was shipped to Great Britain. What was consumed there, which was a small proportion, paid a Duty of 6/4 12/20ths now raised to 7/4. The rest being landed shifted and screened at some port in the British Channel, was reshipped to Holland, Hamburgh, Bremen, France, or wherever a Market offered, leaving to Great Britain (exclusive of the Profits of Commission, unlading &ca.) a subsidy of about 8d. Sterling pr. C.

Indico, Tobacco, Deer skins and Naval Stores were all shipped to Great Britain; Lumber Shingles Provisions and Live Stock were confined to the British Islands unless a Duty was paid here to ship Rice to the Foreign West Indies or Madeira, which was seldom done.

The Imports formerly were from Great Britain and the British Islands, except Wines from Madeira Teneriffe &ca. laden with a heavy Duty payable to Great Britain.

The Trade of America being now open to the World, it must take a longer time than two Years experience to ascertain the demand from the different parts of it for the produce of South Carolina but in order to throw some Light thereon I shall subjoin the exports to the several places they were shipped to in those Years, at same time remarking that a conclusion cannot be drawn therefrom of what will be in the course of a few Years—France in particular having as yet had little or no Trade with this State, and where no doubt a Market will be found for Rice, Tobacco, Naval Stores, Staves and perhaps some Indico. At present the Low Countries take the greatest part of the Crop of Rice either direct or through Great Britain, also some Tobacco and Indigo, but the largest proportion of the Indico, Tobacco, Deer skins and Naval Stores have been shipped for Great Britain in payment of the very large supplies of Goods imported from thence and for Negroes supplyed by them, no other Nation having yet sent any here. An Account is annexed of the Quantity of Articles exported from this State (of the Growth and produce thereof,) during the Course of 1783 and 1784, every one of which will in all human probability be increasing annually as the Country becomes more settled and from the Importation of Negroes, particularly the Staple Articles Rice and Indigo. Tobacco, Lumber, Naval Stores &ca. will likewise increase in the Quantity exported until North Carolina becomes rich enough to be their own Importers. At present a very considerable part of their supplies of Goods are sent them from hence for which they pay in Tobacco, Lumber and Naval Stores, which Trade if properly managed will be advantageous to this State, but it must in time take another Channel. Gensing, Reeds, Hemp, Hides, Leather and several other Articles will likewise increase in the Quantities exported.

The Imports into South Carolina since the Revolution have been chiefly from Great Britain. The United Netherlands, Hamburgh and Sweden have had several Ships here, but from their not being acquainted with the Trade have imported such Articles as are not saleable; Time and experience will teach them the proper Goods for this Country. France has hitherto carried on very little Trade with this State but that Nation I am convinced will in a short time from their Agents here soon enter largely and to advantage in it, as they have many Articles of Manufactures that will suit this Climate, as will also their Wines, Brandy &ca. But until other Nations can give as extensive a credit as the British they will have the advantage from that credit of a very large proportion of the Import Trade.

Spain and Portugal have sent and will no doubt continue to supply Salt, Wine, Fruit &ca. The Foreign and British West Indies supply their produce nd take such Articles as they want in return; such as provisions, Lumber, Shingles and Staves.

No Nation being restrained from trading here, the Carrying Trade depends wholly upon such as chuse to become Adventurers. The Northern and Middle States of America have supplied Ships to a very considerable Tonnage, nearly one half since the evacuation by the British. Great Britain and Holland have been the next, several Swedes and Danes have been here and a few French, Spanish and Portugueze Vessels. There are at present but few ships belonging to this State, but from the goodness of the Timber when Workmen come amongst us that branch will increase. All Vessels arriving here pay one shilling Sterling Pr. Ton, which is their whole Port expences, except Pilotage, no fees being taken by any Custom House Officers.

The Duties upon the different Articles imported, The Duty Law fully explains; than which there is no other restriction on the Trade of this State, there being no Duty whatever upon any Article exported.

The British restrictions upon the West India Trade, has been so much the subject of writing and conversation, it will be needless for me to enter into it.

From the foregoing it will be found that no greater burden is laid on Foreign Shipping than what is paid by Americans, therefore it ought to be expected that no heavier Tax should be laid on ours by other Nations than what their own Subjects pay. The Duties are also equal except a few Articles of British, which seems to express a resentment more than an Idea of any Advantage to the Revenue.

Geo: Abbott hall

Exports from Charleston in the State of South Carolina from Jany. 1783 to Novr. 1783 being the produce of the Year 1782.
To what Places Shipped Rice Casks
& Hhds.
Barrs. of Feet
No. of
No. of
Buss. of
Sides of
& Hides
Barrs. ½
Pitch Tar Turp.
To Great Britain 8783 967 804 194 61 121 187 708 3200 8400
To France 884 18 33
To Amsterdam 2200 259 3
To Rotterdam 907 21 2
To Bremen 850 27 3
To Bruges 320 77 5 1 2700
To Hamburgh 400 2 8
To The United States of America 2228 158 5 33 39 229 81 128 5000 1400
To The French West Indies 2126 86 278 97 76 55 165,600 75,600
To The British West Indies 2415 159 16 35 17 151 25 74,300 130,100 2500 5990
To Dutch, Danish &ca. do. 1827 323 49 101 45 20 1,300 10,000 2000 3340
To Havana 54 100
To Madeira 166 34
23,160 2129 827 643 101 565 540 936 252,100 215,700 12,900 76301 1400

NB. The Tonnage Duty not having been collected this Year, the number of Tons cannot be ascertained with Exactness, the Vessels cleared in the foregoing Period are as under—

 19 Ships
  1 Snow
 71 Briggs
 73 Sloops
139 Schooners
Exports from Charleston in the State of South Carolina from 14th: Novr. 1783 being the produce of the Year 1783.
To what Places shipped Rice Casks
Hhds. &
Bales Skins
Barrels of Feet of
Shingles Staves Bus. of
Leather Tons
Casks of
Casks of
Flax Seed
Barrs. half barrs. Pitch Tarr Turp. Hides Sides
The United States of America 3589 338 156 339 3 833 157 623 52700 887 2703 3 11000
Great Britain 25417 3089 1756 1427 608 2811 1528 5921 130235 8 151 136750
Amsterdam 12215 1161 99 40 2 88 190 220 10600 9
Rotterdam 364 5 1 112 185 228
Scheidam 425 35
Middleburgh 179 88
Gottenburgh 614 159 5
Hamburgh 1648 226 8 61 249 650
Bremen 2808 146 4 175 1 70 4 10,000
Altona 391 56 2 8
Ostend 368 4
Bruges 200 125 2000
Nantz 1815 152 14
Bourdeaux 1278 8
Cadiz 1080 99 400 180 4700
Gibraltar 448 83 4100
Corke 85 7 18 4 104 5000
Teneriffe 308 19 49,000
Madeira 20000
Fyat 150 24 7 3 3000
British West
India Islands
2555 247 124 399 165 178 407,100 503450 48650 13380
French   do. 2583 140 140 25 35 28 253,200 314500 23000
Dutch Danish &c. do. 402 59 198 10 30 44900 264800 9300 400
50.961 Tons 58922 6102 2052 2674 626 4852 2489 7451 705,200 1,081,7502 372,935 13780 887 2703 3 17 1713 147,750
General Amount of Imports and Exports at Charleston, So. Carolina from 1757 to 1763 inclusive
as pr. Account taken from the Custom House Books & shewing the Ballance gained by excess of the
Exports, with the acquisition of Negroe Slaves.
Yearly Amount
of Imports
Yearly Amount
of Exports
Imports exceed
the Exports
Exports exceed
the Imports
Value of Negroes
annually imported
Amount gained
1757 1,762,975 15 2,054,372 13 24 291,396 18 3 279,104 570,500 18 3
1758 2,215,497 5 1,900,125 13 7 315,371 11 5 623,476 308,104 8 7
1759 1,828,659 1,969,706 2 7 141,047 2 7 352,016 493,063 2 7
1760 2,335,490 15 1,856,091 11 8 479,399 3 4 733,040 253,640 16 8
1761 2,000,700 15 2,051,542 1 6 50,841 6 6 294,588 345,429 6 6
1762 1,635,591 1,814,675 1 179,084 1 140,924 320,008 1
1763 1,919,620 10 2,424,333 18 8 504,713 8 8 225,792 730,505 8 8
13,698,535 14,070,847 2 3 794,770 14 9 1,167,082 17 2,648,940 3,021,252 2 3

The valuation of the several Commodities is taken from a Medium of 7 Years last past.

1Error for 9530.

2Error for 1,082,750.

3Error for 151.

4Error for 3.

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