[Great Britain. ca. 1801-1807]. Manuscript written in eight columns on rectos and versos of two quarto sheets. Old folds, two smalls spots of light soiling. Accompanied by four leaf typed transcription. Very good. Item #WRCAM56123
An interesting but unattributed and apparently unpublished manuscript essay, with a caption title reading "Loose Memo. Respectg. American Commerce." The gist of the memo is set forth in the first sentence: "The Americans are at all times the best customers of G.B. - in peace they take 1/3 of her manufactured exports - in War much more...." In addition to the eager American market for British goods, the author notes that British goods are often trans-shipped via America to other markets where Great Britain would not normally have access, thanks to America's neutral status: "...you have only to change the name of the manufacturer & the wants of the Colonists will shut their eyes on the origin of the fabric. I have known Liverpool ware, ornamented with the Portrait of Geo. III, passed as German manufactures." The author notes that, while the understandable economic downturn during the Revolution and for several years after the "peace of '83" resulted in some problematic credit relations between the U.S. and the British market, much has changed. "The industry & the enterprise of our countrymen (aided no doubt by the enjoyment of a neutral position) has enabled them to throw off their dependence on the British merchant or manufacturer. They now have a sufficient capital of their own, and a very important proportion of their imports are now paid for in ready money, or in bills at short sight." The author explains that American merchants are able to export their surpluses (of their own production and surplus British goods) to the Continental market, and transfer that money directly to creditors in Great Britain, with an added perk: "The result of this species of trade must be ruinous to France. She is drained of her wealth to enrich & invigorate her enemy." Finally, the author provides a specific example of this favored trading relationship with regard cotton. At this time, the author estimates that Great Britain imports three- fifths of all cotton from the United States - some 150,000 bags of cotton annually, weighing 250lbs. each. The U.S. buys back nearly one-third of all cotton goods manufactured in Great Britain, yielding a net profit of over £2.5 million to Great Britain. The author adds that this ratio holds for almost all raw materials produced in the United States. This essay was almost certainly written during the earlier part of the Napoleonic Wars; the author cites an 1801 speech by Lord Grenville, which helps narrow the date range, and it seems unlikely the Embargo Act of 1807 had been passed yet. Regardless, the essay promotes Anglo-American trade and cooperation (at least insofar as it enriches Britain and cripples France) at a time when other forces were driving the two countries toward war.