THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN COMMERCE IN THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES.
|Place of the trading companies in early commerce , 175.|
|The period of the merchant carrier, 178.|
|Reasons why merchants were their own carriers , 179.|
|Size of the Mayflower and other vessels, 181.|
|Effects of British legislation upon colonial trade, 182.|
|Trade conditions following 1783 , 184.|
|Effect of the establishment of the National Government, 184.|
|Direct trade with the Far East , 185.|
|Early merchant princes, 185.|
|Appearance of the common carrier on the sea , 186.|
|Charter traffic , 187.|
|Attempts to establish line services between Europe and America, 188.|
The merchant and carrier, at all times, adapt their methods, as fully as they can, to the work to be done; and trade management advances with the progress of economic organization. The activities of foreign merchants and ocean carriers are conditioned, first of all, by the status of industry and inland transportation, by national monetary systems, and by the extent to which domestic and international credit and banking institutions have been developed.
Political conditions and ideals, also, affect both the scope of commerce and the methods followed in carrying on trade. The existence or absence of an efficient central government will almost certainly aid or hinder the growth and organization of both inland and over-sea commerce; national ideals, such as found expression in the "mercantile system" and are embodied in present-day tariff laws, modify commercial evolution; while warfare and international recriminations have frequently interrupted the peaceful progress of trade.
The purpose of this chapter is to state briefly how American maritime commerce was carried on during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to describe how American commerce was developed by British and colonial merchants under seventeenth and eighteenth century conditions. The account must necessarily begin with a brief reference to the trading companies by which the first colonies were planted in America.
The chartered companies that established settlements at Jamestown, Plymouth, New Amsterdam, and Boston were given the monopoly of the commerce of the regions granted to them. These companies expected to make money by reserving to themselves the exclusive conduct of the commerce of the American plantations; but experience soon showed that the companies, as such, were not effective trade managers. Their monopoly of commerce proved to be of advantage neither to the companies nor to the colonies. As the colonies grew, it