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[199] The number of the purchasers of its tobacco
Chap XIV} 1661
was diminished; and the English merchants, sure of their market, grew careless about the quality of the article which they supplied. To the colonist as consumer, the price of foreign goods was enhanced; to the colonist as producer, the opportunity of a market was narrowed.

Virginia long attempted to devise a remedy against the commercial oppression of England. It was the strong, exercising tyranny over the weak; there could be no remedy but independence. Yet the planters vainly flattered themselves that, by producing an artificial scarcity of tobacco, they might alleviate their distress; and it was repeatedly proposed to Carolina and Maryland, to omit for a year the culture of their staple. These negotiations always remained fruitless; yet the pertinacity with which they were pursued, proves the extremity of suffering occasioned by the acts of navigation.1

The burden laid upon the intercolonial traffic was

the more intolerable to the Virginians, because it produced no revenue. It was established exclusively to favor the monopoly of the English merchant; and its avails were all abandoned as a good income to the officers to stimulate their vigilance.2

Thus, at the very season when the rising aristocracy of Virginia was seeking, by the aid of royal influence, to confirm its supremacy, the policy of the English government oppressed colonial industry so severely as to excite the hostility of the united province. The party which separated itself from the people, and united with the king in the desire of gaining a

1 Hening, ii. 190, 200, 209, 221, 224, 228, 229, 232, 251, 252

2 Beverley 66.

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