Old Liverpool History Map 1729

 Liverpool City Group
  past and present


Liverpool History Map 1729

The History of Liverpool

So lately as the year 1648, the port was dependent on Chester, and had to make its returns of shipping to that place. A short time afterwards, we find Liverpool rated for shipping at 25, while Chester and Bristol are rated respectively at 26 and 1000.

The earliest traffic with foreign ports, consequent on the extension of the coasting trade, was chiefly with the northern parts of Europe, whence timber, iron, hemp, flax, &c., were imported, and shortly afterwards, a trade was opened with the south of Europe direct, instead of, as formerly, through the medium of Bristol and London. After the commencement of the West India and American trade, Bristol still maintained the superiority ; and it was not until the manufactures of Manchester called for a large and constant supply of staple commodities, that Liverpool took the decided lead in commercial greatness which it still retains.

From 1722 to 1740, this port was engaged in the exportation of Manchester goods to Spanish America, to the amount of a million and a half sterling annually, supplying, by the co-operation of Spanish and West India traders, in an illicit manner, goods greatly lower than the price at which an exorbitant duty allowed them to be imported. When this trade was abolished by the British government, a new channel was opened, by means of which, Liverpool amassed enormous wealth.

With the West India trade sprung up, in violation of the principles of justice and humanity, that inhuman traffic, which has disgraced every nation ever engaged in it. In 1709, one vessel sailed from Liverpool for Africa, for a cargo of slaves, and in 1730, 15 vessels were despatched for the purpose of conveying slaves to the Spanish settlements in Jamaica. This attempt succeeded beyond all anticipation, and in 1765, no fewer than 86 vessels sailed by this route to the West Indies, conveying 25,720 slaves, and returning with 10,000 hogsheads and casks of sugar. London and Bristol now began to feel, by an abatement of the customs received, that a large amount of the trade was being transferred to Liverpool ; for at this period, the port had more than one-half of the African vessels in the kingdom. When the slave trade was prohibited, the number of vessels had increased to 126, and although the African and West India trade consequently suffered some decline during the following years, yet it afterwards improved in a still greater ratio than before. The cessation of the slave trade has not, as might have been expected, seriously affected the interests of Liverpool ; on the contrary, a succession of causes continually opened up fresh channels for enterprise, and gave increasing facility to mercantile operations.

The American trade, with the exception of the whale fisheries and the timber trade, is of recent origin. With the decay of the whale fisheries of the kingdom generally, the share of its prosperity which Liverpool possessed during its existence, was removed. In 1764 Liverpool had three whalers engaged ; in 1788, when the trade was at its zenith, 21 ; and in 1823, when the last vessel was despatched, it ceased entirely. The timber trade is of more recent origin, and dates its prosperity from the year 1808, since which period it has become one of the most important branches of commerce connected with Liverpool.

In 1720 there were 2,367 houses and 11,833 inhabitants.

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Old Liverpool History Map 1729