Account of the Liverpool slave trade


This early 19th-century account of Liverpool and its economics was written by Henry Smithers, a local author. The pages shown here treat Liverpool as a slaving port; in the 18th century, the slave trade ‘added to the wealth of the individuals interested therein’. 

Liverpool, its commerce, statistics, and institutions; with a history of the Cotton Trade was published after Britain abolished its slave trade in 1807. Slavery itself was only abolished in the British Empire in 1833. 

Pages 104–05 provide a brief overview of England’s introduction to and involvement with the slave trade. Clearly writing from a pro-abolition stance, Smithers describes how the 1807 Slave Trade Act ‘threw a glory around the land’. Similarly, he describes in horror how, in 1765, the trade of over 25,000 Africans via Liverpool ships was ‘scarcely considered as immoral’.

The table on page 106 shows how Liverpool slavers dramatically increased in numbers year-by-year across the 18th century.

Full title:
Liverpool, its commerce, statistics, and institutions; with a history of the Cotton Trade
1825, Liverpool, Merseyside
Henry Smithers
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Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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