should impose such restrictions on the commerce of Great Britain, as may lay it under any material difficulties, a measure like this may be proper and greatly contribute to defeat the object they have in view. But the Committee are far from thinking that the trade of this country, either in Europe or the West Indies is yet in such a situation as to make an expedient like this in the least degree necessary. All that has been hitherto stated in this report clearly proves the reverse. And they are sensible that there is great danger in adopting such a measure. It may not be possible by any restrictions so to guard a port situated at a great distance from the seat of Government, but that it will be made by the admission of the vessels of other nations into it the channel through which great quantities of prohibited goods and manufactures will be conveyed into your Majesty's Islands in the West Indies, contrary to the essential interests of this country.
CAPTAIN NELSON TO PHILIP STEPHENS 27 August 17861
English Harbour, Antigua.
The Board of Treasury having issued an order in the year 1763, and signed by Mr. Grenville for the admission of Spaniards bringing bullion to our colonies, which order was sent to the different Custom Houses in our colonies, the money brought out of the Spanish territories, not being allowed to be carried off by the Spanish Government, was of course clandestinely taken out of that country, to the detriment of Spain and the advantage of Great Britain. In return the Spaniards received British manufactured checks and linens, which were carried into their own country in the same clandestine manner.
In a few years our Custom Houses admitted cattle, mules and stock, to be brought by the Spaniards to our Islands, and they say it has the sanction of the Board of Customs, as an encouragement for the Spaniards to visit our Islands, and to take off our dry goods. At Jamaica from my own knowledge, having been upon that station, the reasoning will hold good; to that Island very large quantities of dry goods used to be sent for the purpose of the Spanish trade, but the contrary is the fact in these Islands. No dry goods calculated to suit the Spaniards are sent here, nor is there a merchant which I have heard of, who deals in anything but American produce, rum, beef,____________________