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Part 1: The Humphrey Morice Papers from the Bank of England

"The Morice Papers offer not only details of the career of perhaps the foremost London slave trader of his generation, but also fascinating evidence on day-to-day dealings in enslaved Africans on the African coast in the early eighteenth century. As such, they are an indispensable source for scholars of the transatlantic slave trade and the African diaspora."
Professor David Richardson
Department of Economic and Social History, University of Hull.

These Slave Trade Journals cover the period from 1721 to 1730. They contain the orders and instructions to the captains of Morice’s slaving ships for the purchase and disposal of the slaves together with lists of goods to be exchanged.

  • In the ten years between 1721 and 1730 the British carried around 100,000 slaves from Africa to the Americas. In this period, the majority of the ships sailed to Africa from London which sent an average of around fifty-six ships a year, while Bristol sent thirty-four ships and Liverpool eleven.
  • Humphrey Morice, who was to serve as Governor of the Bank of England, 1727-1729, set up business in London in 1700 and traded extensively with Africa, North America, Holland and Russia.
  • By 1720, he was one of the main slave merchants of London, owning eight slave ships and exporting from London metal, pewter, brass, swords, guns, beads and textiles and often loading a second cargo of goods in Rotterdam of gunpowder and spirits. He sometimes preferred to sell the slaves he bought on the Gold Coast to the Portuguese in Africa, but he also sent them to Virginia, Maryland, Jamaica and Barbados.

Two additional Journals of Humphrey Morice cover the years 1708-1710 and give details of money paid and received from his business transactions with
North America, Jamaica, Barbados, Africa, Brazil and Guinea. His Letter Book of 1703 contains business letters for that year. Also included are five volumes of Trading Accounts and Personal Papers, three volumes of miscellaneous letters and one volume of documents relating to British trade with Africa, America and the
West Indies.

Editorial introduction
Digital Guide
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