This is not a history of my trading ventures, or I would tell at length the steps I took to found a new way of business. I went among the planters, offering to buy tobacco from the coming harvest, and to pay for it in bonds which could be exchanged for goods at my store. I also offered to provide shipment in the autumn for tobacco and other wares, and I fixed the charge for freight—a very moderate one—in advance. My plan was to clear out my store before the return of the ships, and to have thereby a large quantity of tobacco mortgaged to me. I hoped that thus I would win the friendship and custom of the planters, since I offered them a more convenient way of sale and higher profits. I hoped by breaking down the English monopoly to induce a continual and wholesome commerce in the land. For this purpose it was necessary to get coin into the people’s hands, so, using my uncle’s credit, I had a parcel of English money from the New York goldsmiths.
In a week I found myself the most-talked-of man in the dominion, and soon I saw the troubles that credit brings. I had picked up a very correct notion of the fortunes of most of the planters, and the men who were most eager to sell to me were just those I could least trust. Some fellow who was near bankrupt from dice and cock-fighting would offer me five hundred hogsheads, when I knew that his ill-guided estate could scarce produce half. I was not a merchant out of charity, and I had to decline many offers, and so made many foes. Still, one way and another, I was not long in clearing out my store, and I found myself with some three times the amount of tobacco in prospect that I had sent home at the last harvest.