London Trading

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London Trading

LONDON TRADING. As soon as the British captured New York City in September 1776, they sought to renew the coastal trade that had helped to provision the city during colonial times. Procuring provision locally would reduce the strain on their trans-Atlantic logistical lifelines, and would have the added benefit of reminding Americans that the consumer goods they had learned to enjoy could still be best obtained from British sources. "London trading," as this brisk business was called, thus simultaneously helped to sustain the British forces and to tempt Americans to return to the empire. Writing in the mid-1800s about this trade, Benson J. Lossing remarks: "From almost every inlet from New London [Connecticut] to Shrewsbury (New Jersey), light boats, freighted with provisions, darted across to the islands [Staten and Long Islands], or to British vessels anchored in the channels" (Pictorial Field Book, v.2, p. 851). The Americans responded by trying to interdict the trade, an effort that led to the phenomenon known as "whaleboat warfare," in which Adam Hyler was prominent.

SEE ALSO Hyler, Adam; Whaleboat Warfare.


Lossing, Benson J. The Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. 2 vols. New York, 1851.

                            revised by Harold E. Selesky