Canada: The Fourteenth Colony,
EAGER to buy crops, Jacobs would make any kind of barter or deal. To a man who offered him his tobacco at a price, Jacobs answered that he would take the crop if the tobacco-grower, in turn, sold Jacobs his wheat. He not only sold grain but turned it into flour in a mill which he built. Like his principals, he engaged independently in speculation, and once proposed to corner the market. There are traditions that his angry townsmen smashed his wheat rafts in retaliation. The middle 1770's lent themselves to this type of commercial manipulation, for even prior to the Revolution the large number of troops sent to the colonies created a heightened demand for grain. When war actually broke out, the needs of the soldiers and the absence of competition from the provinces to the south further stimulated the market for Canadian wheat and the concomitant opportunity for speculation.
Certainly Jacobs watched the storm clouds of the oncoming war with keen interest: the report of the battle of