James Madison Papers

“Extracts from Longs Hist. Jamaica,” ca. 14 September 1805

“Extracts from Longs Hist. Jamaica”

[ca. 14 September 1805]

“At the breaking out of the war with Spain in 1739, admiral Vernon was ordered ‘to distress and annoy the Spaniards in the most effectual manner, by taking their ships, and possessing himself of such of their places & settlements as he should think it practicable to attempt, and in convoying & protecting the British subjects in carrying on an open and advantageous Trade with the Spaniards in America.’ This instruction shewed much wisdom, and a perfect knowledge of what will always be our best interest upon these occasions”1

Vol. 1. p. 338–9.

“The first complaint of a scarcity, as well as I remember, was about the year 1760, when the island was drained extremely low by the sudden current its silver took to Hispaniola, on opening their ports there, & the Harbour of Monte Xti, to our illicit traders chiefly North American vessels, most of which went in Ballast under Jamaica Clearances; and carried off such great sums in gold & silver, to lay up French produce, that our Island was extremely distressed; the trade of it languished, & the assembly caused about 100,000 dollrs. to be stamped, & issued at two percent cash advance, on their former rate, in order to keep up a fund for the internal circulation”2

vol. 1. p. 535.

“In 1669 Spain, for want of ships & sailors of her own, began openly to hire Dutch shipping to sail to the Indies, tho’ formerly so careful to exclude all foreigners from thence, And so great was the supply of Dutch manufactures to Spain &c that all the Merchandize brought from the Spanish W. Indies was not sufficient to make returns for them, so that the Dutch carried home the balance in money.”

Note. page 598.3

Ms (DLC). Undated; conjectural date assigned based on the assumption that these notes, and the two documents following (which are filed together), are part of the material JM had accumulated for his writings about the British doctrine forbidding neutral trade with belligerents, mentioned in JM to Jefferson, 14 Sept. 1805. For Edward Long’s History of Jamaica, from which JM quotes, see Peter S. Du Ponceau to JM, 8 July 1805, n. 14.

1In the margin of this paragraph, JM has written: “proof of the avidity of England to share in the Spanish Colonial Trade in time of war.”

2In the margin of this paragraph, JM has written: “This might Stimulate the project of intercepting the neutral trade in French produce at Monte Xti: but was rather meant to prevent the N. Amns. from carrying money from Jama. & preferg. French produce to that of Jamaica, than as a measure agst. neutral commerce.”

3In the margin of this paragraph, JM has written: “proof of Trade with Spanish Cols. by Dutch &c. & that there was room for the Distinction &c. if it had then existed, as now alledged by G. B.? subjoin this to the note from Apx. 4 Rob. as to colonl. trade of France in 1705.” In his pamphlet An Examination of the British Doctrine, Which Subjects to Capture a Neutral Trade, JM quoted this paragraph on p. 40. In his marginal note JM referred to footnote (a) in Robinson, Admiralty Reports (London ed., 1799–1808), 4:appendix 3, 22.

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