Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 3 June 1787

Taylor continued to rail against British trade policy throughout the 1780s. He criticised the 1786 Anglo-French commercial treaty, which liberalised aspects of trade between the two nations, and continued to complain about the difficulty of obtaining plantation supplies and about other perceived shortcomings of the post 1783 Atlantic commercial regime.

[…] I sincerely hope the French treaty will fail, for I think it is the coup de grace to the West India colonies by destroying the sale of rum, and to make our case the harder, the damned colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada, send their lumber to the English islands, sell their cargoes there, receive the money, and then go to the French free ports, and buy molasses, which is imported duty free, and then distilled into rum for their fisheries. thus our staples are ruined on all sides, and a monopoly against us, even in case of a famine, that we cannot gett the articles of bread, such barbarity is not known even in Morocco. […] I do not know any use that can arise to England by opening a free port in the Bahama Islands, they want no lumber from America, have nothing to send there but cotton, pines & turtle, and they may as well open a free port in Nova Zembla, if there were free ports opened here, and in the other sugar colonies for lumber as staves, boards, shingles, plank, joices, ranging timber, corn, rice, flour, staves and all other articles that the cursed northern colonies cannot send […] and for them in return to take rum, we should derive some benefitt from it, but for that reason I do not expect they will do it. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1787/8, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 3 June 1787)

Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 8 April 1781

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)

Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 12 February 1781

Taylor acted as a local proxy (or ‘attorney’ in eighteenth-century Jamaican parlance) for plantation owners living in England, acting on their behalf and managing their sugar estates/ One such absentee was his friend, Chaloner Arcedeckne, who owned the Golden Grove sugar estate in St Thomas in the East. Here, Taylor informs Arcedeckne about the sugars he has shipped from the plantation to the metropolitan market in an excerpt that reveals aspects of the work of an attorney and some of the complexities of shipping and marketing sugar.

[…] I hope the sugars will all arrive safe and to a good market, if I am able will inform you what we shall ship p the next fleet so that you may have time to insure and I would have given you advice of the 40 additional Hhds p. the pallas and the ten p. Chigish had I know it but a push was made for them & [Captain] Thompson would have been disapointed had the sugar not been made after having lain at Port morant Six Months. Mr Bourke has sent me Bills of exchange lading for ten hdds of sugar to Glasgow to be applyed to pay off part of the interst on Robt Arcedeckne’s bonds to your mother I have not been in Spanish Town these ten weeks so cannot say how your aunt is. Messrs Longs wrote me they were to have sent me the proceedings in Mr Cowells Bill by a capt Mr Fadrean but I do not find he is arrived. As rum sold very well I have ordered some to town to be sold to ease the press of bills to be drawn on you, it has encountered a very good market. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1781/1, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 12 February 1781)