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"Extract of a letter from one of the council of Boston, in New-England, to a merchant in London."

Extract of a letter from one of the council of Boston, in New-England, to a merchant in London.

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"Our Trade Is Most Grieviously Embarrassed"
Driven by the mutually enhancing forces of British neglect and colonial enterprise, provincial merchants have prospered, as have their English counterparts. A system that is not broken, however, George Grenville has rushed to fix. His actions-proscribing a colonial currency, cracking down on smuggling, meddling with the lucrative sugar trade, constraining commerce in a broad range of other goods, tying up vessels at port, and creating a more elaborate and more invasive customs apparatus, and imposing military justice on civilian trade violators-have set in motion a series of cascading effects. Will they crash over London as well?

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston-Newsletter, 17 May 1764.

Questions to Consider

1. What complaint does the writer elaborate in the first sentence?

2. What other operations does the molasses trade support?

3. Why do you think this letter was reprinted in a newspaper?

Further Exploration

4. Look up the word "embarrass." How is its meaning different from what you had supposed?

5. What may be the effect of a depressed colonial trade? Considering to whom the letter is addressed, discuss the writer's possible motives.

6. Discuss Grenville's motives in setting fiscal policy in the colonies. What factors had he failed to take into account?