REVIEWS drove the political animus toward the Company's monopoly, American competition was certainly a preoccupation within the hearings (239). The American trade barely receives mention within the British historiography. Yet the same cannot be said of the Parliamentary records, which are rife with inquiries into American mercantile practice and prospects. Moreover, Fichter suggests another way American trade shaped British liberalization. A question then as well as now is how much of this ``American'' trade was really American. Fichter answers that ``trade at Calcutta cannot be divided by country so simply'' (184). When Americans had silver stocks to capitalize their own trade, they did. But they also freighted AngloIndian goods and traded with British funds. American merchants provided an alternative to the Company for British capital. Investors in the Company are known to have hedged their bets, with stakes in both the Company's monopoly and its demise. In contrast to the cumbersome Company practice of planning out purchases years in advance, lingering in ports for a convoy, and overcharging for independent cargo space (109), American vessels offered a cheaper, quicker, more flexible substitute. And for Americans, profits from the trade concentrated in the hands of capitalists who redeployed the
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Apr 21, 2011
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