The term Navigation Acts was meant in the sense of restrictive British trade laws in place since the mid 17th Century. These limited colonial trade to the mother country, to be carried in English ships. During wars, the colonials naturally traded and smuggled directly with foreign countries, especially the West Indies. When the French and Indian War ended, Britain attempted to reinstate its grip on trade. From our standpoint, it was bad enough we could not trade directly with other countries, but Britain also taxed goods coming and going. In 1787, Southern States feared a simple majority in Congress could for instance, shut down trade along the Mississippi River in order to boost the business of Northern shippers. Thus, the two thirds requirement to pass Navigation Acts was designed to protect Southern interests.
Historic Footnote: You may remember VA had called for the Philadelphia Convention. Governor Edmund Randolph took it upon his state to pay for Convention expenses, and in the following letter, asked his Lieutenant Governor for more funds.
Philadelphia August 22 1787.
I requested Dr. Mclurg (He was the delegate who filled Patrick Henrys seat and had left the Convention early.) to inform your honorable board, that at the completion of our business we should be called upon for several expences incurred during our session; the principal of which would be an allowance to the secretary, and two door-keepers, and the charge of printing and stationary. Perhaps this circumstance may have escaped that gentlemans memory; and as it is a matter of some consequence to us, I beg leave to mention it now, and to ask the sense of the executive, whether it can be placed among the contingent charges of government, or must be paid by ourselves. When I informed you, that the balance in my hands would probably be absorbed before my return, or something to this effect, I had in contemplation not my own wages only, but this debt also. You will therefore be pleased, sir, to give me the earliest answer, which may be in your power. Should it not be expedient to allow these expences, I shall have a small balance still in my hands, which I will pay into the treasury immediately on my return . . .
N. B. I failed in my attempt to take up my draught for the 100 L, as it had been sent to Virginia, contrary to the information I first received. So that what I have said above goes upon the supposition of that sum having been debited to me.
So much of our history has been lost/neglected the slave issue misrepresented-as evidenced by comments made in the Convention alone,and it being a microcosm of the national discussion at that time. I find it interesting that the Smithsonian seems to be reacting to the current trends with its silly presentation of Jefferson the racist. Their image difficult to reconcile to Jeffersons draft -as you remind —and his notes on the State of Va. And the other side wholly ignores Mason-and any other who opposed the human trafficking.