Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Smith, 22 June 1790

From William Smith

New York June 22d. 1790


I take the liberty to submit to your perusal the inclosed letter, which was transmitted to me, a few days past, from a merchant in Baltimore.

The prohibition therein complained of, Strikes deep, at our East India trade. The article of cotton, from that country, is become a very considerable import, and together, with sundry other East India commodities, serve as good remittances to Europe.

If any steps can be devised to afford relief, it will render essential service to this country. I am Respectfully Sir Yr. Mo. Obt. Servt.

W: Smith

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed by TJ as received 22 June 1790 and recorded in SJL under that date as from “Smith Wm. (of Maryld.) N.Y.” Enclosure: A letter from Stephen Wilson, Baltimore, to William Smith, 10 June 1790, reading: “As I am proprietor of the first parcel of Goods siezed in England under the Construction of the Officers of the Revenue in that Country put upon the Laws restricting the Intercourse between our States and them, the Members of our Insurance Office have requested me to send you the following extract of a letter I have received from my friends Messrs. C. Kensington & W. Coningham of London to whom the article was consigned: it was 42 Bales of Cotton Wool I shipped on the British ship Virtuous Grace from James River.—‘We cannot concieve why this Country should be inclined to admit Cotton Wool &c. from all other places and refuse it from America. It is said our Government have an Idea that it would encourage America in her Trade with India and assist her in being a carrier for this country. We have done every thing in our power to explain this matter which we stated very fully in a letter to Mr. Pitt. We added that it must irritate the people of your Continent very much to find themselves excluded from vending Cotton &ca. here, and yet every other country in the World permitted to do it, b[ut] that it was not improbable your Government would retaliate by laying heavy imposts on British Ships enter[ing] your Ports. We fear no remonstrance will avail, and that the Law will remain as it now is.’—It is unnecessary to make any Comment upon it as you will see the matter in a fuller view than I can take of the subject” (RC in DLC). In DLC: TJ Papers, 55:9363 there is an undated MS in TJ’s hand reading as follows: “Wilson’s letter of June 10. 1790. complaining of 42 bales of cotton (it was W. India) seised in England.—Mr. Morris tells me the English confine this rigor to us alone: that they receive the same commodities from Ostend and elsewhere, that their merchants go there to buy them up.”

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