Letter, 16 July 1798 (Charleston, S.C.), from| Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Front Page 2008 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
Christopher Gadsden to Jacob Read
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2008
Letter, 16 July 1798, written by Christ[opher] Gadsden in Charleston, S.C., to Jacob Read thanks him for enclosing President John Adams’ address of 21 June 1798, conveys his opinion of the President - “a better & firmer piece of Live Oak was not to be found in the United States, I ever had this opinion of him from my first acquaintance & every day since has established it,” and offers his views on recent political actions including his support for a “constitutional Renunciation of our Treaty with France...& a safe and proper Alien Bill.” | Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Regarding the latter Gadsden explains, “whatever our Wishes may be to afford an Asylum to all mankind, yet, we must have an Eye to what the other Nations of the World do, especially Gr[eat] B[ritai]n & France, for if...they will give up the Allegiance of no quondam Subjects of theirs citizen’d amongst us since our Independ[en]ce we must of necessity imitate them... or... we shall find ourselves in a very precarious situation, surrounded with Numbers we can place little or no Depend[en]ce on.”
Explaining his position on foreign treaties, Gadsden states, “if possible... have nothing to do with them.” This statement is followed by a criticism of Great Britain’s trading policies toward the United States and leads him to note that “all I want of her [Great Britain] is to be honest, to abandon the unjustifiable arrogant Liberties she takes in searching and capturing our Vessels... selfish Gr[eat] B[ritai]n... will still directly or indirectly prevent or embarrass our Trade with every other Power but herself.”
By way of example he offers a description of the “growing Hamburgh Trade” maintained by a German merchant named Schutt in Charleston, “who settled amongst us as a Citizen soon after the Evacuation, [and] has for these three years past shipt... at least 20,000 Barrels of Rice each year... & has been the principle means of keeping up the Price of Rice... Of this Trade Gr[eat] B[ritai]n appears extremely jealous... His Vessels have been particularly aim’d at... This Hamburgh Trade... seems to stick in the Gizzard of Gr[eat] B[ritai]n wanting not only to sell her Goods at her own Price, but to buy our Rice, without Rivals, at her own Price also... if she succeed we must rarely expect to see Rice in future above six or seven Shillings.” Gadsden sees this policy as particularly harmful to the rice growing states of South Carolina and Georgia and laments that the states “from Maryland Northward... [are] mere Carriers... to our Rice. Therefore... the lower the Price of Rice here, the better Prospect of Freights for their Vessels.” Gadsden concludes his letter by describing work on recent publications.