THE BRITONIAN LIBRARY
A History of the Levant Company
p.158 In 1775 exports reached a value of 226,997 and imports in the following year nearly touched a quarter of a million - figures which rivalled those of sixty years earlier. But the American War quickly broke this wave of prosperity and reduced the trade to desperate straits. To help it an act was passed in 1780 waiving the requirements of the navigation laws and permitting the import of Levant goods in British or foreign ships from any port during the war.This made possible a certain amount of traffic through Holland (until war was declared on her in December 1780) via Ostend. Goods were freighted in the Levant on Venetian ships - whose neutral flag covered their cargoes from the French fleet and privateers - and consigned to the neutral port of Ostend whence they could easily slip across to London.