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A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the by Elaine F. Crane

By Elaine F. Crane

This paintings tells a narrative concerning the sea, an American colonial city, and the British. It relates how Newport's dependence at the Atlantic Ocean ruled approximately each element of its lifestyles. Newport discovered early from its watery atmosphere that its survival and prosperity have been inextricably associated with trade. depending on a thriving exchange, Newporters have been prepared to discover and blend of routes which steered a winning go back in voyage and funding. Newport's single-minded dedication to trade produced a society within which humans have been additionally depending on one another. service provider and dockworker, sailmaker and rope-walk proprietor built symbiotic relationships because of their universal efforts to make sure the luck of every voyage. Dependency additionally prolonged to social networks the place the prosperous took accountability for different contributors of the neighborhood. as a result of their dependence on unobstructed exchange, Newporters had avoided British customs for generations, utilizing tools which solid a few doubt on their dedication to the legislation. therefore, while it turned transparent in 1764 that Britain may visit nice lengths to implement new tasks, the level was once set for war of words. in spite of everything, occasions outstripped the power of Newport to chart its personal path because the violence escalated. The Revolution in advance ended Newport's golden age and destroyed the city either bodily and spiritually. A established humans had won independence yet at a value just a couple of may possibly foresee.

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53 Historians have spent little time inquiring into Newport's role in the slave trade, possibly because of the lack of quantifiable evidence, and possibly because whatever the actual number of slaving voyages, this trade represented only a small part of Newport's total commerce. 54 These figures are deceiving, however. First of all, as explained above, there were more slaving voyages than the newspaper clearances suggest. 55 Secondly, most of the slave trade involved a triangular pattern, which means it was three-legged rather than two-, and this omission also distorts Bigelow's figures.

Much to their delight, they found that profits from the slave trade could alleviate this problem. As one Newport correspondent explained in 1762: I know no other method you can take to do this, than that which is taken by most people who have remittance to make to London [,] that is by a Guinea Voyage That trade has been carried on from this Place with great success, and is still the only sure way of makeing remmittances. Their Cargoes are Chiefly rum which can be procured here for the Currency of the Colony, and at a lower price too than in any other port of America.

Holand, America, 1355-1364: A New Chapter in Pre-Columbian History (New York, 1946), Part I. S. D. 500-1600 (New York, 1971), pp. 72-75. 2. The most detailed study of early Newport (to 1647) is found in A Documentary History of Rhode Island, ed. Howard Chapin, 2 vols. (Providence, 1916, 1919). For a more recent interpretation of the early years, see Carl Bridenbaugh, Fat Mutton and Liberty of Conscience (Providence, 1974). 3. RICR, I 88. The nine original settlers were William Coddington, Nicholas Easton, John Coggeshall, William Brenton, John Clarke, Jeremy Clerke [Clarke], Thomas Hazard, Henry Hull, and William Dyer.

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