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BOOK - History of the Liverpool Privateers and Letters of Marque, With an Account of the Liverpool Slave Trade 1744-1812
By Gomer Williams

Softcover...39.95 (C$)
Originally published in 1897, and now available in a recent printing, History of the Liverpool Privateers is the most detailed period document on privateering and the slave trade. The first half of the book concentrates on privateering, covering historically important eras such as the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution and the French Revolution. In the second half of, the focus is on the slave trade and on how privateers profited from it, including extensive chapters on specific captains, the abolition movement, and corporate ties to the slave trade.

"Though we are on the threshold of the Twentieth Century, with its tremendous possibilities, there are indications that white men still exist who would gladly revert to the iniquitous system of a bygone age, and enslave the African in his own land. If anything in this book should help to awaken the public conscience to jealously watch that under no specious pretext shall the bodies and souls of 'African labourers' be again handed over to the tender mercies of greedy and unscrupulous adventurers, the author will rejoice." Gomer William, from the original introduction, 1897

"Readers should not forget what is as hard to appreciate today in the case of slave trading as it was over a hundred years ago when Gomer Williams wrote his book - that both were legitimate endeavours in the eyes of domestic and emerging international law, and, more important, neither was viewed as in any way immoral: before the late eighteenth century, slave trading and privateering were seen as indistinguishable from trading in Baltic timber or Canadian furs." David Eltis, from the new introduction.

By 1783 three ports in England - London, Bristol, and Liverpool - accounted for over sixty per cent of privateering commissions. The material Gomer Williams collected on Liverpool - drawn from newspapers and private correspondence and including numerous stories, assessments about the slave traffic, appendices, and indexes - is still considered to be the best source of information on privateering and the slave trade, from Liverpool or any other port.

Review quotes:
    "[Mr. Williams] has attacked his subject with an intensity of enthusiasm which is as commendable as it is rare ... graceful fact and discretion mark his treatment of the material ... a goodly volume ... laboriously compiled" " Liverpool Mercury of Nov 20, 1897
About the Author and Writer of the new introduction:
  • Gomer Williams was a journalist living in Liverpool.
  • David Eltis is professor of history at Emory Univeristy.
718 pages
5.5 X 9"
Illustrations (fold-out)
Index - subjects
Index - persons
Appendix (extensive-lists)
ISBN 07735-2745-1 Hardcover
ISBN 07735-2746-X Softcover

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