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[147] decreasing.1 For the next twenty years, England
chap. VI.} 1754.
sought for a remedy; and, meantime, the little island of St. Eustatia, a heap of rocks, but two leagues in length by one in breadth, without a rivulet or a spring, gathered in its storehouses the products of Holland, of the Orient, of the world; and its harbor was more and more filled with fleets of colonial trading-vessels, which, if need were, completed their cargoes by entering the French islands with Dutch papers. The British statutes, which made the commercial relations of America to England not a union, but a bondage, did but disguise the foreign trade which they affected to prevent. America bought of England hardly more than she would have done on the system of freedom; and this small advantage was dearly purchased by the ever-increasing cost of cruisers, custom-house officers, and vice-admiralty courts; so that Great Britain, after deducting its expenses, received, it was said, less benefit from the trade of New York than the Hanse Towns and Holland; while the oppressive character of the metropolitan legislature made the merchants principal supporters of what royalists called ‘faction.’

The large landholders—whose grants, originally prodigal, irregular, and ill-defined, promised opulence for generations—were equally jealous of British authority, which threatened to bound their pretensions, or question their titles, or, through parliament, to impose a land-tax. The lawyers of the colony, chiefly Presbyterians, and educated in Connecticut, joined heartily with the merchants and the great

1 Clinton to Board of Trade, 4 October, 1752. ‘The faction in this province consists chiefly of merchants.’ ‘Entire disregard of the Laws of Trade.’ ‘It is not easy to imagine to what an enormous height this transgression of the Laws of Trade goes in North America,’ &c., &c. N. Y. London Documents, XXX. 43.

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