The Colonial History of the City of San Francisco by John Dwinelle

By John Dwinelle

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A paper currency. Newport's ascendancy as well as its decline was intricately linked both to its position as a seaport and to the precise nature of the goods loaded and unloaded on the piers. Philadelphia imported grain and milled flour; Newport imported molasses and distilled rum. New York imported dry goods and sold luxury items to the carriage trade; Newport acted as the essential middleman, collecting cargoes from all who would sell, and redirecting them to whoever would buy. " Although there were many possible three-legged Page 10 routes, only one is commonly associated with that phrase.

Strict Puritan doctrine demanded economic moderation and the suppression of self-interest for the good of the whole. But as tempting opportunities presented themselves, the history of seventeenth-century Massachusetts became, at least in part, a story of the conflict between expanding mercantilism and undiluted Puritanism. If it took almost a century for mercantile interests to prevail in Massachusetts, however, Rhode Island merchants achieved predominance in far less time. The original settlers of Newport found Boston's brand of Puritanism incompatible with their own as early as 1639, and once they Page xii left their guilt on the Massachusetts side of the border, they had little reason to contain their accumulation of wealth.

1 The skeptics, sad to say, have archaeological evidence on their side, and it is generally agreed today that the tower was built as a mill in the last quarter of the seventeenth century by Governor Benedict Arnold on whose land it stood. The controversy over the tower is not surprising, however, since Newport has been surrounded by controversy for a good part of its history. 2 In 1638 several alleged Antinomian sympathizers, led by John Clarke and William Coddington, avoided certain banishment from the Bay Colony by following Roger Williams into the wilderness of Rhode Island.

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