Slavery and Revolution


Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 8 April 1781

By Admms |

Taylor’s complaints about British policies towards the colonies began in earnest during 1781. Until that time, his letters had contained little critical commentary on the duties laid by parliament on colonial trade or the attitudes of British government ministers towards the West Indian colonies. This changed as sharp increases to the sugar duties were imposed.

[…] If the Parliament lays 5/ p ct. additional duty on sugar, or the refiners are allowed to use foreign sugars, we shall be all undone and forced to throw up our estates, and then the revenue of that commodity will be effectually lost, we that have estates must keep them on, but those will be no more settled, and as the present ones grow old and require more labour, the lands will be turned to the cultivation of corn or to raising provisions for we shall be unable to purchase any, and must endeavour to make our own cloaths and live within ourselves, the high duties formerly laid on indigo has had that effect, and if they increase the duties on sugar, the same causes will produce similar effects on that article altho the additional duty on rum is not yett felt it will be if ever we have a peace again. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1781/4, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 8 April 1781)