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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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2100. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Sum of Virginia's.—
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2100. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Sum of Virginia's.—

Virginia certainly owed two millions
sterling to Great Britain at the conclusion
of the war. Some have conjectured the debt as
high as three millions. I think that State owed
near as much as all the rest put together. This
is to be ascribed to peculiarities in the tobacco
trade. The advantages made by the British
merchants, on the tobaccos consigned to them,
were so enormous, that they spared no means
of increasing those consignments. A powerful
engine for this purpose was the giving good
prices and credit to the planter, till they got
him more immersed in debt than he could pay,
without selling his lands or slaves. They then
reduced the prices given for his tobaccos, so
that, let his shipments be ever so great, and his
demand of necessaries ever so economical, they
never permitted him to clear off his debt.
These debts had become hereditary from father
to son, for many generations, so that the planters
were a species of property, annexed to certain
mercantile houses in London.—
Answer to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 250. Ford ed., iv, 155.
(P. 1786)