Records relating to the slave trade at the Liverpool Record Office

Morgan, Kenneth
Date published: 
September 2007

These primary sources constitute one of the best collections in British archives of private merchants' papers relating to the transatlantic slave trade. Liverpool was the leading slave trading port in the world in the eighteenth century when these documents were compiled. Each individual item has a particular focus, but all illuminate the human and financial aspects of the slave trade. The material includes correspondence with ship captains and Caribbean agents about the acquisition of Africans and their sale; statistics on the Liverpool slave trade; sales accounts of the lots of Africans disembarked in the Americas, often with the names of purchasers and prices; information on dealings with diverse African groups along the coast of West Africa; and details of payments for slave sales. The account books of ships' voyages include material on the outfitting of vessels and the cargoes of goods exported to Africa. Among the items microfilmed for this publication are records of the wealthy merchant and banker, Thomas Leyland, who was three times Mayor of Liverpool, and letters by the slave trade captain, John Newton, who later became a clergyman, the composer of the hymn 'Amazing Grace', and a prominent abolitionist. These documents are drawn from papers held at the Liverpool Record Office. Selected and introduced by Professor Kenneth Morgan, Brunel University, they complement the papers of William Davenport, another Liverpool slaving merchant, also published in the 'British records relating to America in microform' series.