Slave trade records from Liverpool, 1754-1792

Records relating to the slave trade at the Liverpool Record Office

Records relating to the slave trade at the Liverpool Record Office

Where they do presume to interpose a superior care in their own favour, it is generally in such vague romantic terms, as argue rather an effort of their imagination than to proceed from a settled belief in their minds
John Newton, Antigua, Jul 1751Copy letters from John Newton to Rev. Dr Jennings; img 19

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Read slave ships' logs and other slave trade records from Liverpool, 1700-1811

These primary sources preserved at the Liverpool Record Office 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 included in this collection 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. Accompanied by an online guide to the collection by Professor Kenneth Morgan, Brunel University. (Included as a supplement to the above are the post-abolition papers of captain and ship-owner, James Brown (ca. 1807-1851), which are held with the main collection at the Liverpool Record Office.)


Slave trade records from Liverpool, 1754-1792...

Containing 2,970 pages belonging to 37 documents housed in 5 volumes...

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Miscellaneous documents from the Liverpool Record Office

Several smaller items which include interesting additional details on the Liverpool slave trade.

The Case and Southworth records

The Case and Southworth records (380 MD 33-36) cover the years from 1754 to 1769. They are the surviving commercial...

The Tuohy papers

The documents pertaining to David Tuohy are those of an Irishman who spent fourteen years in the African trade, including...

The Thomas Leyland records

Thomas Leyland (c.1752-1827) was a merchant, banker, millionaire and three times Mayor of Liverpool. In 1766 he won a lottery...


  • The Thomas Leyland records include a letterbook with some correspondence which discusses the slave trade. Their ships' accounts resemble those in our William Davenport & Co. collection.
  • The Tuohy papers include papers relating to ships, those papers include orders regarding the purchase of slaves. Tuohy's letters also describe his slave trading work.
  • The Case and Southworth records provide financial accounts for this Liverpool trading company which shipped goods from Jamaica.
  • The miscellaneous documents cover a variety of aspects of the slave trade. Their contents vary from prices and numbers of slaves captured to a ledger recording specific sales of slaves at an auction.
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