Slavery and Revolution


Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 11 June 1782

By Admms |

In 1782, Taylor began to speculate about the prospects of the British sugar islands now that peace was to be secured with America. He recognised that the main competition to the sugar produced in the British West Indies came from the cheaper (and better) sugar produced by the French in their colonies, the largest of which was Saint-Domingue, complained that the British government was not encouraging their own sugar islands, and suggested that British policies inimical to planters would amount to self-sabotage because the plantations were so closely tied to financial interests in the mother country.

[…] It would be happy for us to be able to afford sugar as low as the French, but to do that we ought to pay no higher prices for our goods than they do, nor higher duties in peaceable times; take all the properties round & the planters do not on an average make 5 p ct. on their capitals, & sure that is no object to people who are liable to so many accidents as we are, it seems to me as if they want to annihilate that article of commerce & which is now the only one they have, namely the sugar trade, there is one comfort if they ruin us their own ruin will very soon follow, for Jamaica most belongs to people who are resident in England, & Merchants who have borrowed money to lend on Jamaica properties if they are annihilated the merchants must become bankrupts and their creditors consequently will be the sufferers in the end. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1782/28, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 11 June 1782)