Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Enclosure: Report on Commerce, 23 December 1791

Report on Commerce

Footing of the Commerce of the United States, with France & England; and with the French & English american Colonies.

Wheat, Flour &c. France Grt. Britn: & Ireland French Ama. English Ama:
Free(a.). Prohibited till it is
6/3 a Bushel
Wheat, Flour
Prohibited by(g) a genl.
Law, Free by
Suspensions from
Time to Time.
Free by Proclamaton
Rice Free(a.) 7/4 sterlg. the Kent. Rice 1. pr. Cent(c.) Free by Proclamatn.
Salted fish 8₶ Kental(b.) Prohibited Salted fish 1 pr. C. + 3₶ K.(h.) Prohibited
Salted beef 5.₶ K.(c.) Prohibited Salted beef 1 pr. C. + 3₶ K.(a.) Prohibited
Salted pork 5.₶ K(d.) in some Ports.
prohibited in others
44/9 K.
Furs Free(a.) 15 to 20 pr C.
Indigo 5₶ K(e.) Free
Whale oil 7₶ 10s Barrel(a.) of 520 lbs. £18–3 Ton
Tar, pitch,
2½ pr.(a.) Ct.1 11.d 11/2/3 B.
Ships free(a.) for naturalizat. Prohibd. naturalizat.
Port fees(i.) Bordeaux .23 the ton } average London .76 } Cape Franc .96 } .55 Jamaica .76 } .44 average
Havre .14 the ton .18 Liverpool .61 Dol Port au Pr. .40 Antigua .42
Bristol 1.43 1.09 Martinique .18 Barbadoes .42
Hull 1.57 Average St Kitts .43
Dominique .21
Exports to(f.) 1,384,246 D. (k.)6,888,978 D. Exports to 3,284,656 D. 2,357,583 D.
Imports from(f.)   155,136 D.    13,965,464 D. Imports from 1,913,212 D. 1,319,964 D.
Freightd. in their(f.)
    9,842 Tons       119,194 Tons Freighted in their Vessels     3,959 tons   107,759 tons
Freighted in our(f.)
   19,173 Tons        39,171 Tons Freighted in our Vessels    97,236 Tons Prohibited
The following Articles, being on an equal footing in both Countries, are thrown together.
Tobacco Free of Duty, but
under Monopoly
1/3 the lb. Corn Indian 1 pr. C.(c.) Free by Proclamation
Wood Free(a.) Free Wood 1 pr. C.(c.) Free by Proclamat.
Pot & Pearl Ash Free(a.) Free Salted Pork Prohibited(c.) Prohibited
Flax seed Free(a.) Free Horses & Mules Free(c.) Free by Proclamat.
Live Provisions 1 pr. C.(c.) Free by Proclamat.
Tar, pitch,
1 pr. C.(c.) Free by Proclamat.
Imports allowed Rum, Molasses, generally Sugar & all other Commodities till Augt. 1st. 1794. Rum, Molasses, Sugar, Coffee, Cocoanuts, Ginger, Pimento, by Proclamation.


(a.) by Arret of Dec. 29. 1787.

(b.) by Arret of 1763.

(c.) by Arret of Aug. 30. 1784.

(d.) by Arret of 1688.

(e.) by Arret of 1760.

(f.) taken from the Custom House Returns of U.S.

(g.) there is a general Law of France prohibiting foreign Flour in their Islands, with a suspending Power to their Governors in Cases of Necessity. An Arret of May 9, 1789, by their Governor makes it free till 1794, Aug. 1. and in fact is generally free there.

(h.) The Arret of September 18. 1785, gave a Premium of 10 ₶ the Kental on Fish brought in their own Bottoms, for 5 Years so that the Law expired Sep. 18. 1790. Another Arret, past a week after, laid a Duty of 5.₶ the Kental on fish brought in foreign Vessels, to raise money for the Premium beforementioned, this last Arret was not limited in Time; yet seems to be understood as only commensurate with the other. Accordingly an Arret of May. 9. 1789. has made fish in foreign Bottoms liable to 3.₶ the K. only till Aug. 1. 1794.

(i.) The Port charges are estimated from Bills collected from the Merchants of Philadelphia. They are different in different Ports of the same Country, and different in the same Ports on Vessels of different Sizes. Where I had several Bills of the same Port, I averaged them together. The Dollar is rated at 4/4½ Sterl. in England, at 6/8 in the British West Indies at 5₶ 12s. in France, and at 8₶ 5s. in the french West Indies.

Several Articles stated to be free in France do in Fact pay one eighth of a per Cent which was retained merely to oblige an Entry to be made in their Custom House Books. In like manner several of the Articles stated to be free in England, do in Fact pay a light Duty. The English Duties are taken from the Book of Rates.

The Exports to Gr. Britain & Ireland are 6,888,978.50
How much they consume I know not. They certainly reexport the following—
Grain. the whole since the Law of the last Parliamt. 1,093,885
" Tobacco 5/6 according to Sheffeild’s Tables 2,295,411
" Rice 5/7 according to same 552,750
" Indigo 1/3 according to same 315,887
Furs, probably one Half 17,950
Ginseng, the whole 32,424
Mahogany } not being of our Productions
Wine should also be deducted
 4,425 4,329,456   
Remainder, including their Consumption, and the unknown re-exportations; the reexportations certainly known then are 5/8 of the whole. 2,559,522   

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); in a clerk’s hand. PrC of Dft in TJ’s hand (MoSHi: Bixby Collection). Tr (NNC). Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC). PrC of Tr in Hamilton Papers (DLC). MS (DLC, TJ Papers: 46:7768); an earlier rough draft in TJ’s hand; undated.

1In Tr (NNC) and PrC in DLC, “5 sous the K. by new Tariff” appears below this entry.

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