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A Grandfather's Tale, Ch 8, MERCHANT MATURED

A GRANDFATHER'S TALE: LIVERPOOL SLAVE MERCHANT WILLIAM BOLDEN 1730-1800


Chapter Eight: MERCHANT MATURED

King's Dock, Liverpool
                                    February 1791

The new dock is quiet in winter. The sleet is coming in at such a steep angle from the Irish Sea that it speaks of a storm out there. The lad will have a rough trip of it for his first voyage across the Atlantic. It will do him no harm. He has plenty of growing up to do. The sooner he starts out in the world on his own account the better.

My step-son, Christopher Raincock. Male child of my wife by her first marriage. And for whose safety she holds grave fears. I promised to see him off. This promise did little to allay her concerns, but I gave my word and I must keep it, no matter the weather.

My second wife, widow of the Right Reverend William Raincock, late rector of Ousby in Cumbria. Which is to say that my new wife was the respectable but penniless relict of an over-educated Idler. The parson was a man of…

A Grandfather's Tale, Chapter 7, THE LIVERPOOL FIRM

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A GRANDFATHER'S TALE: LIVERPOOL SLAVE MERCHANT WILLIAM BOLDEN 1730-1800


Chapter Seven:  THE LIVERPOOL FIRM


The American War of Independence put Liverpool's "once extensive trade to Africa...at a stand". (1) In 1773 the number of Liverpool vessels cleared to Africa was 105. At the beginning of "the revolt of the North American Colonies" in 1775, the number of departing ships fell to 81. By 1779, at the height of the conflict, only 11 vessels "sailed from the Mersey to the Coast of Africa". It was not until the treaty of peace signed in 1783 that the slave trade began recovering to pre-war volumes, with 85 ships leaving Liverpool in that year. (2)

With embargoes on British goods and the activity of American privateers, it was not just the Guinea trade that was affected. Liverpool maritime trade in general was also reduced. During the years from 1775 to 1783, Sparling and Bolden's merchant trading to and from their branches in Virginia was virtually…