In transcribing the following passage from the Internet Archive online version I have expanded abbreviations and added paragraphing, links, and illustrations. — George P. Landow

Sufficient notice of the commerce of Liverpool till 1710, when its first dock was formed, has already been given in the course of our short history of the town. The vessels belonging to the port in 1710, exclusive of vessels frequenting it aud belonging to other ports, amounted to 84, averaging 70 tons each, and aggregately employing 924 seamen; the extent of tonnage cleared out then, in British ships, from this port, was only a forty-secondth part of that from all the other ports in the kingdom; and the principal trade then, additional to the coasting trade witli the ports of England and ScotLand, was with Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the northern states of Europe. But a trade with America and the West Indies immediately afterwards arose; and this, together with increase of the previous trade, raised the number of ships in 1716 to 113, employing 1,376 seamen.

A trade with Scotland, in the import of coarse cloths for the West India market, was now superseded by a greater trade in the same cloths, proceeding from spirited competition by manufacturers in Manchester. A contraband trade with South America, in supplying Spanish smugglers with British goods through Jamaica, sometimes to "the amount of £1,500,000 a-year, greatly increased the export trade to the West Indies from 1722 till 1740; but was checked by the vigilance of the Spanish government, and eventually abolished by act of par- liament.

Liverpool and the Slave Trade

The slave trade with Africa was now partly in the hands of Liverpool, and, in the way of a very worst thing for a bad one, compensated for the stoppage of tho smuggling trade; it employed 15 ships from this port in 1750; and it increased so rapidly that, in 1760, the aggregate trade with Guinea and the West Indies exceeded that of London. The exports in it were woollen and worsted goods from Manchester and Yorkshire, and hardware goods from Sheffield and Birmingham; and these were bartered on the coast of Africa for slaves, to be exchanged in the West Indies for rum and sugar. More duty was paid to the Crown, in 1753-60, by Liverpool than by Bristol; 74 ships cleared out from Liverpool for the coast of Africa, in 1764, while only 32 cleared out from Bristol; and, in fact, more than one-half of the African trade of the kingdom was then in the possession of Liverpool.

Other trades, less blameable, more prosperous, better stimulated, and more rapidly progressive, afterwards sprang up, partictilarly the trades to the East Indies and to the United States of America; and these, with increase of commerce in all directions, have raised Liverpool to the status of the greatest port in the world.

The Effect of the Transition to Steam-Powered Ships

Steamers were first introduced in 1815; and they alone, by their vast increase, have mightily aided the development of both the coasting and the foreign trade. The number of vessels which entered the port, in 1795, was 3,948; in 1805, 4,618; in 1815, 6,440; in 1825, 10,837; in 1835, 13,941; in 1833, 14,820.

The amount of cus- toms, in 1795, was £469,438; in 1805, £1,766,370; in 1815, £2,360,967; in 1826, £3,087,651; in 1835, £4,272,847; in 1840, £4,607,326. The tonnage of vessels frequenting the port, in 1831, was 1,592,436; in 1841, 2,425,461; in 1851, 3,737,666; in 1361, 4,977,272. The port, in its registrations and its duties, includes Birkenhead and Runcorn. The vessels registered at it, in the beginning of 1364, were 239 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 10,322 tons; 2,370 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,274,933 tons; 37 small steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,294 tons, aud 256 large-steam vessels, of aggregately 120,355 tons. The vessels which entered, during 1863, were 1,036 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 749,798 tons, from British colonies; 90 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 69,877 tons, from British colonies; 1,682 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 521,599 tons, from foreign countries; 1,007 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 505,177 tons, from foreign countries; 66 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 57,140 tons, from British colonies; 1 foreign steam-vessel, of 663 tons, from British colonies; 729 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 710,837 tons, from foreign countries; 81 foreign steam-vessels, of aggregately 43,641 tons, from foreign countries; 3,815 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 380,342 tons, coastwise; and 3,834 steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,162,160 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared, during 1863, were 1,250 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 847, 399 tons, to British colonies; 79 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 44,963 tons, to British colonies; 1,366 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 454,852 tons, to foreign countries; 1,095 foreign saiUng-vessels, of aggregately 526,304 tons, to foreign countries; S3 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 76,551 tons, to British colonies; 641 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 647,782 tons, to foreign countries; 85 foreign steam-vessels, of aggregately 45,540 tons, to fnreign countries; 4,876 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 337,316 tons, coastwise; and 3,766 steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,064,055 tons, coastwise. Tho vessels which entered in the year ending in June 1865 were fewer than in one or two previous years; but their aggregate tonnage was about 600,000 higher than in any previous year.

The amount of customs, in 1862, was £3,239,766; and the amount of light dues, £50,260. The number of principal custom oflicers, in the same year, was 2; of outdoor officers, 500; of examining officers, 129; of surveyors, 18; of clerks, 103. The salaries of collectors, in 1859, were £1,SOO. The accounts of the dock estate, for the year ending in June 1866, show the number of vessels then to have been 21,720; the tonnage, 5,581,322; the duties on tonnage, £215,882.


The imports of colonial and foreign produce, in 1863; comprised 4,476 oxen, bulls, and cows; 7 sheep, 17,568 tons of bones; 1,572,040 lbs. of cocoa; 10,106,579 lbs. of coffee; 1,467,083 qrs. of wheat; 36,929 qrs. of barley; 43,067 qrs. of oats; 45,712 qrs. of pease; 181,997 qrs. of beans; 817,867 qrs. of maize; 1,991,238 cwts. of wheat, meal, and flour; 5,246,063 cwts. of raw cotton; 35,095 £ value of cotton manufactures; 6,276 cwts. of cochineal; 4,817 cwts. of indigo; 245,539 cwts. of mad- der, madder-root, and munjeet; 13,580 cwts. of flax; 1,157 cwts. of tow or codiUa of flax; 247,086 cwts. of currants; 274,863 bushels of lemons and oranges; 92,975 cwts. of raisins; 60,453 tons of guano; 346,399 cwts. of hemp; 351,713 of jute and other substances of the nature of undressed hemp; 69,672 cwts. of dry untanned hides; 248,463 cwts. of wet untanned hides; 656,660 lbs. of tanned, tawed, curried or dressed hides, except Russian hides; 13,813 tons of mahogany; 27,834 tons of copper ore and regulus; 6,427 tons of partly wrought and partly unwrought copper; 1,296 tons of unwrought iron in bars; 1,014 tons of unwrought and rolled spelter; 3,492 cwts. of unwrought tin; 2,628 tuns of train oil, blubber, and spermaceti oil; 521,758 cwts. of palm oil; 7,246 cwts. of cocoa-nut oil; 6,692 tuns of olive-oil; 1,553 tuns of all kinds of sced-oil; 4,257 tons of oil-seed cakes; 1,483,637 cwts. of bacon and hams; 154,765 cwts. of salted beef; 45,865 cwts. of salted pork; 178,474 cwti. of butter; 347,845 cwts. of cheese; 5,527 gre:ct hundreds of eggs; 398,881 cwts. of lard; 8,481 tons of rags and other materials for making paper; 1,736,058 cwts. of rice, not in the husk; 443,727 cwts. of saltpetre and cubic nitre; 70,079 cwts. of clover seed; 135,154 qrs. of llaxseed and linseed; 60,329 qrs. of rapeseed; 159,906 lbs. of raw silk : 79 lbs. of thrown silk; 558 lbs. of silk broad stuffs of Europe; 2,144 lbs. of silk ribbons of Eu- rope; 793 pieces of bandannas, corahs, and other sQk manufactures of India; 2,902,733 lbs. of pepper; 1,090 cwts. of pimento; 1,560,813 gallons of rum; 404,068 gallons of brandy; 54,666 gallons of geneva, 2,067,578 cwts. of unrefined sugar; 39,381 cwts. of refined sugar and sugar-candy; 455,264 cwts. of molasses; 322,286 cwts. of tallow; 4,571,759 lbs. of tea; 6,081,514 lbs. of stemmed tobacco; 14,398,068 lbs. of unstemmed tobacco; 1,279,239 lbs. of manufactured tobacco, cigars, and snuff; 569,577 gallons of red wine; 050,009 gallons of white wine; 223,944 loads of unsawn or unsplit timber; 285,668 loads of sawn or split timber, as deals, battens, boards; 15,219 loads of staves; 45,863,444 lbs. of sheep and lambs' wool; 3,398,888 lbs. of alpaca and llama wool; and 2.5,049 £ value of woollen manufactures.

Richmond Fair, 1857 [The Richmond Woollen Hall]. Source: Ramsay Muir, Bygone Liverpool.


The exports of British produce, during 1863, comprised 971,205 cwts. of soda; 630,422 £ value of apparel and slops [sic]; 197,481 number of small fire-arms; 40.39,471 lbs. of gunpowder; 80,660 barrels of beer and ale; 52,813 cwts. of butter; 297,074 lbs. of candles and stearine; 9,197 cwts. of cheese; 573,473 tons of coals, cinders, and culm; 31, 345,704 lbs. of cotton yam; 1,215,033,020 yards of cotton piece goods; 1,087,461 £ value of hosiery and small wares; 154,260 packages of earthenware and porcelain; 5,643 barrels of herrings and other fish; 213,253 £ value of glass; 1,752,032 £ value of haberdashery and millinery; 1,804,004 £ value of hardware and cutlerv: 4,605 cwts. of unwrought tanned leather; 330,356 £ value of Wrought leather; 85,341 £ value of saddlery and harness; 15,510,768 lbs. of linen yarn; 128,719,254 yards of linen piece goods; 278,435 £ value of thread, tapes, and small wares; 674,205 £ value of steam-engines; 817,678 £ value of other sorts of machin- ery; 218,665 tons of pig-iron, bar-iron, bolt-iron, cast-iron. and wire; 56,391 tons of railroad iron; 120,470 tons of all other kinds of iron; 19,669 tons of unwrought steel; 41,420 cwts. of unwrought copper; 187,410 cwts. of wrought or partly wrought copper; 6,043 tons of lead and shot; 24,987 cwts. of unwrought tin; 851,022 cwts. of tin-plates; 964,533 gallons of oil-seed; 78,883 £ value of painters' colours; 35',538 cwts. of paper; 517,157 tons of salt; 40,796 lbs. of thrown silk and silk yarn; 470,523 £ value of silk manufactures; 584,553 gallons of British and Irish spirits; 103,752 cwts. of refiued sugar; 568,551 lbs. of sheep and lambs' wool; 413,713 lbs. of woollen and worsted yarn; 20,484,677 yards of woollen cloths; 80,634,393 yards of worsted and mLxed woollen stuffs; 12,210,752 yards of flannels, carpets, and kindred wool- len fabrics; and 507,622 £ value of hosiery and other goods.


Wilson, John M. (John Marius). The imperial gazetteer of England and Wales: embracing recent changes in counties, dioceses, parishes, and boroughs: general statistics: postal arrangements: railway systems, &c.; and forming a complete description of the country. 8 vols. Edinburgh: A. Fullarton, 1870.Internet Archive online version of a copy in the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Web. 17 September 2022.

Last modified 19 September 2022