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Letter from Arthur Dobbs to George Montagu-Dunk, Earl of Halifax
Dobbs, Arthur, 1689-1765
January 14, 1764
Volume 06, Pages 1020-1022

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind. Vol. 214.]
Governor Dobbs to Secretary Lord Halifax

14 January 1764.

My Lord,

I had not the honor of the duplicate of Lord Egremont's letter of the 9th of July last the original having not come to hand until last month after my return from the Congress at Augusta upon which your Lordship had advice by our joint letter on our return to Charles Town to which I refer and since my return had no proper convenience to acknowledge the receipt of it with the Act Proclamation and other papers inclosed.

Your Lordship may depend upon my giving all possible encouragement

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to the Commanders and all other Officers of the Revenue in detecting and preventing all such pernicious illicit trade carried on with Foreigners to the prejudice of the British Trade with these Colonies after the immense expense and debt incurred in defence of our Civil and Religious rights and liberties and future safety of the extensive British Empire on this Continent and Islands and therefore the confinemt of our trade for the benefit of Britain against Foreigners is a tribute we ought to pay to our Protectors.

However I can with justice say that an illicit trade with Foreigners has scarcely been known in this Province not one flag of truce granted during the late war nor any provisions or other goods landed from hence to supply our enemies the great abuses that have been committed have been from the Northern Colonies with Holland France and the French & Spanish American Colonies I dont doubt that several of these Foreign commodities have been imported here by small sloops and schooners from the Northern Colonies but as the Northern Collectors have given them regular clearances as British Commodities legally imported there they cant be seiz'd or detected here; the chief part of the illicit trade in South Carolina has been carried on to St. Augusta and Havanna which by returning Bullion was not so prejudicial to Britain We have had but three seizures in this Province in the nine years that I have been here and since the two sloops arrived here there has been but one seizure made of a small pilot boat upon her return from Charles Town where she had landed me upon my going to the Congress which is not yet determined as they brought some British goods from thence without a regular clearance but reported them to the Collector however the Officers of the Hornet Sloop seized her but as no fraud was designed I apprehend seizing such coasting boats where no fraud was intended was not the intention of sending sloops here but to prevent illicit trade with Foreigners for Foreign goods in this Colony which so extensive a coast and so many inlets for small Vessels and navigable creeks and branches upon the several rivers before they arrive at the place where the Collectors and Naval Officers reside as there are no Tide Officers or Searchers allowed how can they be detected so that I should advise that some Officers should be fixed at Portsmouth near Ocacoc Bar through which all Vessels must come to the three Northern Collectors As I apprehend the British Parliament may lay duties upon goods imported into the several Colonies to support the Troops necessary to secure our great acquisitions on this Continent as also to support the additional Officers of the Revenue.

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I formerly gave several hints to the Board of Trade that when the American Colony trade should come under consideration they might have it in their thoughts to which I shall refer by giving a further enlargement to the act of Navigation by allowing the importation immediately into Ireland of several of the enumerated commodities such as Naval Stores of all kinds for which they give Bullion to the Northern Nations as also iron and rice of which very little is taken via Britain and surely it would make good returns to Britain should the Colonies be allowed to Spain Portugal and the Straits all kinds of Naval Stores and other kinds of non enumerated commodities which they now have from the Northern Crowns and to return with wine oil fruit and salt and the balance in Bullion would be remitted to Britain in return for their manufactures and also to carry all kinds of lumber and provisions to the Foreign Islands in return for sugars rum and molasses which will pay a Foreign duty and be a good return for our British Manufactures and to re-export to Foreign Markets. These are the chief things I can think of to increase our British and Colony Trade

I am with great respect My Lord &c.,
ARTHUR DOBBS.