Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy

By Boynton Merrill Jr. | Go to book overview
Save to active project


DURING THE Revolution there had been chaos in the American economy. One of the most distressing problems was the severe inflation in paper money, which became acute as the war dragged on. Scarcity of goods was one factor and the over-printing, of nearly forty million pounds worth, of continental dollars was another. Equally important was the huge counterfeiting operation run by the British. The bogus bills were given away gratis in immense sums at New York to anyone who was greedy enough to run the risk.1

At that time in Virginia the exchange rate was five hundred paper dollars for one gold guinea, an inflation factor of at least one hundred times.2

The farm economy in Albemarle was also in a state of upheaval during the Revolution. The English market for tobacco had disappeared, and Virginia's primary source of income had gone with it. General shortages of food and fiber dictated that farm production be shifted away from tobacco in favor of food and cloth, even though this change involved the loss of a certain prestige to “planters,” who grew tobacco, as opposed to “farmers,” who raised food products.3 At the very time when wheat was most needed, for three successive years, from 1777 to 1779, the Albemarle crop was nearly destroyed by weevils.4

The people of Albemarle, who at first had objected to the arrival of the four thousand British prisoners at the Barracks because they feared a local famine, realized before long that the prisoners were an economic asset to the area. During 1779 a supply system was set up for the prisoners and guards and, even though shortages appeared during the next year, there is little doubt that Albemarle was comparatively prosperous during the two years that the prisoners were there. Farmers, tradesmen, merchants, and, in fact, anyone who had anything to sell to the prisoners or the guard regiments, profited from this sizable nearby market. The prisoners could testify to this, for they felt unanimously that the prices charged for food were outrageously high.5 The people of Albemarle were quite willing to supply the troops and guards with provisions on credit. Although in some


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 462

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?