Sunday, November 2, 2014

George Cannon and the Eliza: Liverpool to the Gold Coast

This is a continuation of a series of blog posts on Captain George Cannon. The initial post contains a list of and a link to all posts on Captain Cannon. The numbers in the text of this post are end notes. The referenced end note, found at the end of the post, gives the source for the provided information.   

After the 23 year old George Cannon’s discharge from the James, on July 24, 1789, he had a break of eight months before his next voyage. Perhaps he left Liverpool and traveled back to Peel to spend some time with family and friends?

View George Cannon in the Historical Context

His next voyage, on the Ship Eliza, was a cross-over to the slave trade. The Eliza was to deliver goods to Africa, pick up slaves and deliver the slaves to the Caribbean.

We have a very jaded view of slavery, and for good reasons. It is and was an astonishingly horrible practice. However, as we consider George Cannon and his involvement in the slave trade, it is not fair to judge him by today’s standards. We need to view George and slavery in their historical contexts.  

Social mores, then, were more raw, violent, cruel, and crude. What was acceptable to them would be absolutely shocking to us. To illustrate, at that time in England: whores were stripped to the waist and whipped in public; crowds turned out for public hangings of criminals; children were whipped at home and in school, were put to work at an early age and worked long hours; people defecated in public and raw sewage ran in the streets; a man could break his marriage and sell his wife; and blood sports such as cock-fighting were popular. At sea, in the Royal Navy, the lash was punishment for many offenses. A theft conviction would get a sailor up to 500 lashes.[1]

In the same vein, slavery was common and the morality of it was only beginning to be questioned by a very few. Slavery was widespread in Africa before the Europeans arrived, with Africans keeping African slaves. Africans viewed their African slaves in the same way that Europeans later viewed their African slaves. The Europeans did not introduce slavery to Africa, they merely tapped into an existing practice and then expanded it.[2]

Hugh Crow, a contemporary of George Cannon, expressed views which were probably similar to those held by George. This was toward the end of the British involvement in the transatlantic slave trade when a small minority were trying to turn public sentiment against slavery. Crow originally turned down offers to go on slave ships because of his “prejudice…against the trade” and his “abhorrence of the very name of ‘slave.’” But after working in the trade he came to the conclusion that African slaves in the West Indies not only worked in better conditions than what they’d had in Africa, but that they worked in better conditions than many of the “white slaves” in England, laborers such as factory workers, coal miners and fishermen. He also pointed out that for many Africans, those that were prisoners of war and capital criminals, their only other option was to be killed.[3] John Newton, another contemporary slave ship captain, completely changed his views about slavery, became a minister, authored the words to “Amazing Grace,” and became a proponent for the abolition of the slave trade. He noted “the disagreeableness of the [slave] business” that made him a “gaoler” familiar with “chains, bolts and shackles” and cited “custom, example, and [self] interest” which had “blinded” him to its horrors.[4] 

European and African Traders Negotiated on a Generally Equal Basis

A misconception that most of us have is that the Europeans dominated the Africans in the slave trade and took unfair advantage of them. Europeans eventually did dominate the Africans, but it was much later, in the mid to late 1800s when the transatlantic slave trade was virtually over, when technological advances such as quinine, machine guns, steamships and railways allowed the Europeans to move into the interior of Africa, conquer it, and divide it up among themselves.

At the time George Cannon visited the African coast, the Europeans and Africans were equals, each continually trying, but unable to dominate the other. The Europeans with their large ships controlled the ocean, and the Africans, with the maneuverability of their canoes, their knowledge of the land and their greater numbers, controlled the interior, the coast, the creeks and the estuaries. Africa, like Europe, was fragmented politically, probably more so, and like the Europeans were constantly at war with each other. While Europeans often went to war to capture land, the preeminent form of wealth there, the Africans often went to war to capture slaves, the preeminent form of wealth in Africa. Neither the Africans or the Europeans were coerced to trade. They only traded if, and when, they wanted to, and in bargaining, each side had to compromise and accommodate. The Africans played off competing European countries for advantage, just as the Europeans played off competing African tribes for advantage.

If the Europeans could have had it their way, they would have conquered the Africans and owned the African gold-fields; they would have established plantations and grown commercial crops. That is what they did in South America. In Africa, trade was conducted on the coast because that is where the Africans wanted it to take place. Hugh Crow gave his opinions for why trade in Africa was conducted on the coast: “[O]f western…Africa…little is known …To the interior of the western coast few Europeans have penetrated,…and it may be added that many of the ports…have been but imperfectly described, those who visit them being generally content to hasten the barter of their commodities with the natives, and to quit a shore which they had only visited for the purpose of immediate gain…[N]umerous obstacles have…checked the progress of discovery…pathless forests on the west, the toilsome navigation of the rivers…, the barbarous and dangerous tribes…the want of roads through mountainous and thinly-peopled regions – and above all the fatal effects of the climate upon European constitutions – have confined our settlements to a few spots on the western coast…”

Where slaves came from and were sold, their living conditions, and how long it took to obtain a full cargo of slaves, were determined by the Africans. European forts were built on the African coast only after the Europeans paid what they viewed as rent or purchase money to the Africans. The Europeans also had to pay customs and duties demanded by the Africans. African rulers insisted on getting a special price for the goods they sold and for European goods they purchased. This was, in effect, an additional tax, over and above the customs charges. This was frustrating to Europeans who complained about the time-consuming negotiations, but something they had to do if they wanted to trade. Once the African rulers got their share they usually allowed trade to take place freely, but they could start or stop trade at will.         

The Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, French, and English all had spheres of influence and preferred ports of trade in Africa, but it was not usually in the interest of African merchants to let any European nation have a monopoly. Trade on the African coast remained relatively open and competitive. The slave trade varied by the region in Africa and by trading partner, with two basic arrangements. First, in the “fort trade,” ship captains bought slaves from other Europeans, or with Europeans acting as facilitators. Second, in the “boat trade,” business was often conducted on the main deck of the slave ship after canoes, longboats and yawls had ferried cargo to and from shore. This was sometimes called the “black trade” because it was controlled almost entirely by African merchants. For George Cannon’s first trip to Africa, along the Gold Coast, it was probably a mixture of fort and boat trade.  For George Cannon’s later trips to Africa, to Bonny and Angola, it would have been boat trade.[5] Toward the end of the 1700s, when George was involved, Liverpool slave ships were trading at 30 ports and lagoon sites along the African coast.[6]

The Liverpool Docks

Liverpool, the origin of George Cannon’s shipping ventures, was located on the River Mersey, 3 miles from the North Sea. The Mersey had a 20 foot tidal range and very strong and tricky currents.  The Port of Liverpool had a number of different docks. The Old Dock, the first commercial wet dock in the world, similar to a lock where the water level is maintained in spite of the tides, made it easier to transfer cargo. It covered 4 ¾ acres and could hold 100 ships. It was built by enlarging a “small octagonal tidal basin,” the “pool” that Liverpool was named after, with enclosing walls built from brick laid on the sandstone bedrock. It also had three graving docks, also known as drydocks, with gates to admit or exclude water so that a ship could be repaired. It served ships involved in the slave trade and is likely the dock used by the ships George was on while in the slave trade, including the Eliza. Salthouse or South Dock received its name from Blackburne’s salt works at its eastern end. It was irregularly shaped and covered 4 ¾ acres. It had no flood gates and would empty at low tide. It was used primarily by Irish ships loaded with produce and smaller French and Mediterranean ships, presumably because they could unload and load in a short period of time. North Dock, later known as George’s Dock, covered 3 acres and was used by West Indiamen and American ships. This was probably where the ships were docked that George Cannon took on trips directly to Jamaica and back in the early part of his career as a sailor, including the ship James. Dukes Dock covered 1 ¼ acres and was privately built for vessels using the Bridgewater Canal from Manchester. And finally, King’s Dock covered 7 ¾ acres.[7]
Map of the Old Dock from 1725 (see upper middle).

In 1795 a visitor to Liverpool made the following observations: “Vast number of ships under sail, making their way out of the river…[T]he docks and the shipping [are] the most wonderful scene of the kind I have ever seen; and one who has not seen it cannot possibly conceive any idea of it. Sup at the ‘Cross Keys’… with a number of traveling gentlemen; some of them very entertaining; Welch, Irish, English, Scotch, American, West Indies – variety of characters…. Visit again the greatest thing to be seen here, or perhaps anywhere else – the Docks. Storehouses, the largest of any in Britain – particularly of the Duke of Bridgewater’s, etc. One gentleman here has storehouses eleven stories high. Bathing houses, ladies and gentlemen’s; coffee-rooms; vast number of windmills for grinding corn, flint for the potteries, flax-seed for oil, logwood, etc… the docks extend more than one and a half miles, and exceed all description…An endless grove of masts! It gives one a very high idea indeed of the immense trade of Liverpool, supposed superior to that of Bristol, and inferior only to that of London.”[8]

Liverpool and the Slave Trade

In 1790, the peak of the Liverpool slave trade, there were 138 Liverpool ships involved, totaling 24,530 tons and employing 3,716 seamen.[9] Only 3% of the ships leaving Liverpool were in the slave trade, but because they were generally large ships, they were 10% of the aggregate tonnage.[10] Although there were three English ports involved in the slave trade, the others being Bristol and London, the vast majority, 80%, sailed from Liverpool.[11] In Liverpool, ten leading houses, which were merchants or groups of merchants, owned more than half of the ships in the slave trade, which imported nearly two-thirds of the slaves imported to Liverpool.[12] One of the most successful of those ten, John Dawson, owned the Eliza. In 1778 Dawson, as captain of a group of privateers, captured a French ship loaded with a cargo of diamonds which made him a wealthy man. Dawson later married the daughter of Peter Baker, a powerful shipbuilder and mayor of Liverpool, and Dawson and Baker jointly owned more than 20 ships before Dawson went out on his own.[13]

Ship Eliza

The Eliza was a newly built 100 ton brigantine, also called a brig, with two masts with square upper sails and fore and aft mainsails (a triangular type sail).  She was one of about 21 ships built that year in Liverpool in one of nine ship yards, most of which were located in the tidal inlet on the River Mersey.[14] She was probably built to sail fast and specially adapted for the slave trade.[15]
A brig with two masts with square upper sails and triangular fore and aft mainsale.
George was ranked 4th out of the 10 crew members. George Bernard was the captain. Stephen D. Behrendt indicates that “Many mariners shifted from the West India slave trade, hoping (if they survived) to profit from the increased financial rewards offered by slaving merchants. Though shipowners paid similar wages to sailors in all overseas trades, officers in the slave trade earned additional monies through ‘privilege slaves’ and commissions. Merchants granted first mates, for example, the proceeds from the sale of 1-2 slaves in the Americas (in 1790 slaves sold for an average of 35 pounds).”[16]
Muster Roll of the Eliza
Enlargement of George Cannon's entry in the Muster Roll.
Duties and Wages

George Cannon’s duties were not specified on the Eliza muster roll, but at the beginning of the voyage he could have been boatswain, third mate, or second mate, or on this small ship, perhaps a combination of positions. On George’s next voyage in 1794, where positions were specified on the muster roll, there was a first mate, surgeon, second mate, third mate and boatswain, in that order. If that same order existed on the Eliza, George would have been second mate. However, whatever his position, within four months of sailing from Liverpool, George became first mate after two officers above him died in Africa. He remained first mate throughout the remainder of the additional two year voyage.

The boatswain, or bosun, under direction of the first mate, was something of a foreman. He had immediate supervision of all deck crew and oversaw the maintenance and upkeep of the ship, including the rigging, cables, anchors, and sails (except in larger ships that carried a sail maker). The boatswain summoned crew members to their posts with a whistle.[17]

The third mate was in charge of emergency and survival equipment and assisted other officers as directed. The third mate might also act as boatswain.[18]
The second mate was a navigation officer who kept track of maps and charts and monitored the navigating equipment. He also was responsible for discipline and working the ship, and often additionally acting as boatswain or gunner.[19]
The Dolben Act of 1788, known as the Slave Carrying Bill, required that every British slave ship have a surgeon (doctor). On George’s later ships, the Helen and the Good Intent, the surgeon was ranked after the first mate and before the second mate on the muster rolls. The surgeon was to keep the crew and slaves alive. He addressed complaints, diagnosed illnesses and prescribed medications. He was also an integral part of the slave selection process, inspecting each slave for signs of sickness or debility. The Dolben Act required him to keep a mortality log.[20]
The first mate (or chief mate) was second in command and assumed the position of master or captain in his absence. He was directly responsible for all deck operations (cargo storage and handling, deck maintenance and deck supplies) and he had to be a competent navigator as he would have to take over the ship if the master died. A seaman without navigation skills would never become a first mate. Navigation skills were the real dividing line between the skills of the seaman and the officer. The first mate commanded a watch and when he was not doing that tended to basic functioning of the ship, managing daily routine and getting the crew to work. On a slave ship, the first mate was responsible for security and made sure that slaves were under control. He supervised the feeding and exercise of slaves and watched after their health.[21]
The average wage for a boatswain at this time was £2.31 a month, for third mate £2.88 and for a second mate £3.52. Depending on his position, George would have received advance pay before the voyage of about two months wages, that is about £4.80, £5.34, or £7.05, respectively. Advance pay was used as an incentive to attract sailors to slave ships, ostensibly to allow sailors to buy clothes and other items for the voyage, or to pay off debts to a landlord. The average wage for a first mate was £4.02 per month. In addition, for trips to Africa, there was generally a “Guinea premium” of 10 to 20 shillings a month for officers (20 shillings were worth £1).[22]

Many sailors and most officers, particularly in the slave trade, earned money on the side through their own trading. Although he did not have much room outside of his seaman’s chest to store it, George likely left England with a small number of trade goods: some cloth, a gun or two, or some spirits. He would have then bartered those goods in Africa for some gold dust or some elephant teeth. Those goods would then be bartered in Jamaica, perhaps for some tobacco, which he could sell when he got back to England for a 50% or 60% profit. As first mate, George would have had more room and more leeway to store additional items for his private dealings, and he, like most officers, probably got significant additional income from his personal trading.[23]

On slave voyages, the first mate and surgeon were usually provided a slave privilege in addition to their normal wage, such as the average sale proceeds of two slaves, less the duties charged on their sale. The surgeon may also have been provided head money, such as a shilling for each slave sold, as an incentive to keep them healthy. [24]
Stop in Lisbon

The Eliza left Liverpool on March 22, 1790.[25] It had a stop in Lisbon. Hugh Crow left Liverpool for the Gold Coast just six months later and his ship stopped in Rotterdam for “a cargo of spirits, &c.” with which to trade in Africa.[26] The Eliza probably stopped in Lisbon for a similar purpose.

The Gold Coast

The Guinea coast of Africa is on the north side of the Gulf of Guinea and includes the modern countries of Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. A section of the Guinea coast, known as the Gold Coast, is found within Ghana and stretches 230 miles from just west of the town of Axim, on the west end, to just east of the Volta River, which is east of Accra, on the east end.[27] The name “Gold Coast” was derived from the extensive quantities of gold sold to European traders beginning with the Portuguese in the 15th century. Later, other countries, such as the Dutch, Danish, French and English got involved in the gold trade. Slaves were initially imported to the Gold Coast from Benin and other parts of Africa by African merchants who needed them to transport their European goods, bartered for gold, inland.[28] However, by the early 18th century, the gold along the Gold Coast was nearly exhausted and Brazil was replacing the Gold Coast as the primary source for the world’s gold. However, increasing rice production in South Carolina and sugar production in the Caribbean created an expanding demand for slaves and eventually slaves, not gold, became the Gold Coast’s main export and the Gold Coast became one of the major slave sources for the Americas.[29]
1736 map of the Guinea Coast, including the Gold Coast.
Enlarged section of the map showing the Gold Coast.
An 1896 map of the Gold Coast. Note Cape Three Points at the lowest point on the map.
In the early 1790s when George Cannon visited, there were more than 30 European castles, forts and factories along the Gold Coast, mostly Dutch and English, with a heavy dose of Danish at the east end, forming a veritable shopping mall for slaves.[30] A factory was a trade outpost located in a less populous area with one or more Europeans acting as a factor who employed other Africans to assist him. The structure was small-sized, “often of earthen material or wood,” and designed for “small-scale trade.” A fort was a more permanent structure built of brick or stone, with multiple structures for use by officers, soldiers and servants, with defensive cannons installed, in a more populous area. A castle was much larger in size and complexity than a fort, contained a much larger human population and a more extensive defense system. The three castles on the Gold Coast (Elmina, Cape Coast and Christiansborg) were also the administrative headquarters for the trading for their respective countries.

The Eliza probably reached the Gold Coast, just west of Cape Three Points, about six weeks after leaving Liverpool, so sometime in May 1790. The crew of the Eliza would have seen Fort Appollonia, just a few miles east of the modern border between Ghana and Ivory Coast. It was built by the English between 1768 and 1770 at Beyin, northwest of Axim. A few miles east was the Dutch Fort St. Anthony, east of the mouth of the Ankobra River. It was first established by the Portuguese as Santo Antonio in 1515 and captured by the Dutch in 1642.  Three miles further east was Fort Hollandia in Princestown, owned by the Dutch. It was originally called Fort Gross-Friedrichsburg when it was built by Brandenburg, part of Prussia, between 1683 and 1684. It was captured by the Dutch in 1724 who renamed it. As the Eliza rounded Cape Three Points, the men, looking through telescopes, would have seen white sands, groves of palm trees, and “a white line of forts, each with a brightly colored British or Dutch flag.” Captain Bernard would have had detailed charts and maps with information about the winds, currents, shallows, rocks, reefs, best anchorages, dangerous areas, landing places and coastal towns and George Cannon, perhaps as second mate, would have had charge of those items.[31]

Traveling east, past Cape Three Points in Akwidaa was Fort Dorothea, a lodge built by Brandenburg in 1683 and captured by the Dutch in 1690 and enlarged into a fort.

Further along the coast was Fort Metal Cross at Dixcove, originally called “Dick’s cove,” built by the English between 1692 and 1698.

Then came Fort Batenstein, in the village of Butre, built by the Dutch between 1595 and 1600 as a trading post and upgraded to a fort in 1656.

Then the Dutch Fort Orange in Sekondi, originally a trading post and then enlarged into a fort in 1690. Within gunshot, just northeast, was the ruin of the English Fort Orange, built at Sekondi in 1682. It was destroyed by the Dutch in 1698, rebuilt by the English in 1726, then destroyed again by the Dutch in 1782 and not rebuilt.

Next was the Dutch Fort San Sebastian in Shama, originally a Portuguese trading post in 1520, then established as a fort, to act as a deterrent to English trade in the Shama area, then captured by the Dutch in 1642.

Further east was Fort Komenda built by the English between 1695 and 1698 at Komenda.

Within cannon-shot to the east was the Dutch Fort Vredenburgh.

Further east was the administrative center of Dutch trade on the Gold Coast, Elmina Castle. It was built between 1482 and 1486 by the Portuguese to protect the gold producing lands they’d discovered in 1471. The Portuguese called it Sao Jorge da Mina, St. George of the Mine in English. It is at the end of a promontory bounded on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and the other by the Benya River and has a natural harbor which provides a sheltered place for small ships. It was captured by the Dutch in 1637. It was the first European fort on the Gold Coast and the prototype for later forts.

On a nearby hill above Elmina Castle, to the northwest, was Fort Coenraadsburg. It was solely a military facility and had no commercial warehouses.  It was originally a church dedicated to the Portuguese St. Jago, known as St. Jago da Mina. When the Dutch captured Elmina Castle from the Portuguese in 1637, they used this hilltop as a position for gunfire. To prevent this hilltop from being used in like manner against them, the Dutch built Fort Coenraadsburg a year later on top of the church.

Within sight of Elmina Castle, to the east, was Cape Coast Castle, the administrative center of English trading on the Gold Coast. This area, known by the Portuguese as Cabo Corso when they established a trading post in 1555, eventually got the name Cape Coast by English mispronunciation. The Swedish took the area from the Portuguese and built a fort in 1653 named Carolusburg, after King Charles X of Sweden. It was captured by the English in 1664 and renamed Cape Coast Castle.

Four miles further east was the Dutch Fort Nassau in Moree, also known as Mouree, Mouri and Moure, the first Dutch fort on the Gold Coast, built in 1612. It was the administrative center of the Dutch on the Gold Coast until Elmina Castle was captured from the Portuguese in 1637.

The Eliza likely landed at Anomabu Fort, or Annamaboe as it was probably known by George Cannon when he visited. This will be the subject of a later post. The fort at Anomabu was originally built in 1679 and called Charles Fort, named after King Charles II. It was later abandoned and destroyed by the English in 1730. It was rebuilt very near the same location, between 1753 and 1770 and called Anomabu Fort.  It was later named Fort William in the 19th century when a story was added to it during the reign of King William IV.  

As we will discuss in later posts, I think the Eliza may have gone further east along the Gold Coast seeking slaves as the Eliza spent more than two years there. The Eliza then went to the Caribbean and returned again. During that span of time, George likely saw, and if he did not see would have been aware of the other trading posts, forts and castle further east.

Two miles east of Anomabu was an English factory at Agah. It will figure in to a later story.

Another three miles east was the Dutch Fort Amsterdam at Abandzi, which will also figure in to a later story. Fort Cormantine (also Coramantine, Cormantyne and Kormantin), as it was originally known, was built by the English between 1638 and 1645. It was captured and renamed by the Dutch in 1665.

15 miles further east was Fort Tantumquerry, also known as Tantumkweri, a small English fort built in the 1720s in Otuam.

Logoe, also known as Lagoo, was a trading town located two miles east of Tantumquerry Fort.

The English maintained a factory near Fort Mumford, also known as Montfort and Mountfort, further east. It was originally built by the Dutch in 1725 and fell into disuse by the time George Cannon arrived.

The Dutch Fort Patience, called Lijdzaamheid in Dutch, was built in Apam in 1702.
Fort Winneba, also known as Winnebah, was established by the English in 1693.

Shaddo, an English factory, was near Winneba.

Fort Good Hope, called Goede Hoop in Dutch, was near Senya Beraku. It was a Dutch trading post established in 1667 and later built as a fort in 1705.

Accra had at least four forts, three of them within a very short distance of each other. The first one, heading east, was the English Fort James, in an area of Accra now known as Jamestown. It was originally built by the Portuguese in the mid-1600s and rebuilt by the English in 1673.

A short distance northeast was the Dutch Fort Crevecour, located in what is now known as the Usshertown area of modern Accra. It was built in 1649 and some time after George Cannon visited became known as Ussher Fort.

A little further northeast was the Danish Christiansborg Castle, in an area of Accra now known as Osu. It is also known as Osu Castle and is currently the administrative center of the government of Ghana. It was built by the Danish in 1661 and named after King Christian IV of Denmark, who died in 1648.

Fort Augastaborg in the Teshie area of Accra was built by the Danish in 1787, just three years prior to the arrival of the Eliza. It was the last fort built on the Gold Coast.

Northeast of Accra in Prampram was Fort Vernon, an English fort built in 1742.

Further northeast in Old Ningo was the Danish Fort Fredensborg, built in 1734.

The Danish Fort Kongenstein was built in 1783 in Ada at the mouth of the Volta River.

The last fort on the Gold Coast and the only one east of the Volta River was Fort Prinzensten at Keta, established by the Danes in 1783. It was built for defense against local natives and to keep European competitors away from the eastern Gold Coast.[32]


[1] Emma Christopher, Slave Ship Sailors and Their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807, pp. 94-95 (hereafter “Slave Ship Sailors).
[2] Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness (New York: Alfred a. Knopf, 2006), p. 146; David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas, p. 150 (hereafter “Rise of African Slavery”); Paul Bohannan, Africa and Africans, p. 73.
[3] Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870, p. 308 (hereafter “Slave Trade”); Memoirs of the Late Captain Hugh Crow of Liverpool, Comprising a Narrative of his Life Together with Descriptive Sketches of the Western Coast of Africa, Particularly of Bonny, Introduction, pp. xvii-xviii, xix and 29 (hereafter “Crow Memoirs”).
[4] Gomer Williams, History of the Liverpool Privateers and Letters of Marque with an Account of the Liverpool Slave Trade, pp. 515, 520 (hereafter “Liverpool Privateers”).
[5] Slave Ship, p. 78.
[6] Stephen D. Behrendt, “Markets, Transaction Cycles, and Profits: Merchant Decision Making in the British Slave Trade,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series 58 (2001, 171-204), p. 172 (hereafter “Transaction Cycles).
[7] Liverpool Port, pp. 72-77, 247; Wikipedia “Dukes Dock,” “Drydock,” “King’s Dock,” “Old Dock” and “Salthouse Dock”.
[8] Liverpool Privateers, pp. 622-623.
[9] Liverpool Port, pp. 33-34.
[10] Liverpool Privateers, Forward by David Eltis, p. xix-xx.
[11] Behrendt, Stephen D., “The Captains in the British Slave Trade From 1785 to 1807” Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Chester 1990, Volume 140m, p. 116, n. 3 (hereafter “Captains”).
[12] Liverpool Privateers, p. 599.
[13] Slave Trade, pp. 295-296; Liverpool Privateers, pp. 239-240.
[14] Marcus Rediker, The Slave Ship: A Human History (Viking Penguin, New York: 2007), p. 54 (hereafter “Slave Ship”).
[15] Liverpool Privateers, p. 473.
[16] Behrendt Letter; PRO, BT 98/54, No. 159, Liverpool muster roll 1794; Family History Library, Film 870307; Lloyd’s Register of Shipping 1791; Treasury 70/1565, pt 2; Parliamentary Papers, 1792 (768), XXXV; Parliamentary Papers, 1795-6 (849), XLII; Treasury 64/286, 20; House of Lords Records Office, MP, HL, 94.03.22, 99.06.14 and 99.06.25; Royal Gazette (Kingston) April 28 to May 5 1792; Lloyd’s List, May 25, 1790.
[17] Slave Ship, p. 60; English Shipping, p. 112; Sandown, p. 7, n. 27.
[18] Ralph Davis, The Rise of the English Shipping Industry In the 17th and 18th Centuries (Redwood Press Limited, London: 1962), p. 111 (hereafter “English Shipping”).
[19] English Shipping, p. 122.
[20] This was the privilege given to the surgeon on the Enterprize (Slave Trade, pp. 809-810); Slave Ship, p. 59; English Shipping, pp. 112, 121; Slave Ship Sailors, p. 33; Captains, pp. 98-100 and 120, n. 61.  
[21] English Shipping, pp. 122-123.
[22] Behrendt, Stephen D., “Human Capital in the British Slave Trade,” Richardson, David, Schwarz, Suzanne and Tibbles, Anthony, editors, Liverpool and Transatlantic Slavery, (Liverpool University Press, Liverpool: 2007), pp. 72-74 (hereafter “Human Capital”); English Shipping, pp. 126, 143-144; Slave Ship Sailor, p. 122.
[23] Sailors, pp. 59-61.
[24] This was the privilege given to the first mate on the Enterprize. (Slave Trade, pp. 809-810)
[25] Hugh Crow started on his first voyage to Africa in October 1790 (Crow Memoirs, pp. 32-34).
[26] Lloyd’s List, dated May 25, 1790; Crow Memoirs, p. 32.
[27] Stephanie E. Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora, p. 12 (hereafter “Saltwater Slavery”); Wikipedia, “Gulf of Guinea.”
[28] Saltwater Slavery, p. 15.
[29] Saltwater Slavery, pp. 16-18, 28-29, 32.
[30] David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas, pp. 173-175 (hereafter “Rise of African Slavery”); .
[31] William St. Clair, The Door of No Return: The History of Cape Coast Castle and the Atlantic Slave Trade (BlueBridge, New York: 2007), pp. 10-11 (hereafter “Door of No Return”).
[32] Randy J. Sparks, Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade, pp. 217, 247-259 (hereafter “Negroes are Masters”); Kwesi J. Anquandah, Castles & Forts of Ghana, (Ghana Museums & Monuments Board), pp. 10-11, 24, 30, 34, 42, 45, 46, 52, 62, 64, 70, 72, 74, 78, 84, 88 ; Ghana Museums & Monument Board website ( “Fort Augastaborg, Accra,” “Fort Dorothea, Akwidaa,” “Fort Fredensborg, Old Ningo,” “Fort Kongenstein, Ada,” and “Fort Vernon, Prampram”; “Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions; Wikipedia: “Apam,” “Brandenburger Gold Coast,” “Elmina Castle,” “Fort Amsterdam, Ghana,” “Fort Apollonia,” “Fort Batenstein,” “Fort Coenraadsburg,” “Fort Frederiksborg,” “Fort Goede Hoop, Ghana,” “Fort James (Ghana),” “Fort Komenda,” “Fort Metal Cross,” “Fort Nassau, Ghana,” “Fort Orange, Ghana,” “Fort Patience,” “Fort Prinzenstein,” “Fort San Sebastian,” “Fort Sekondi,” “Jamestown/Usshertown, Accra,” “List of castles in Ghana,” “Osu Castle” and “Ussher Fort.”  


  1. I'm curious about the state of your Captain Cannon research. You mentioned in a post several years ago that you and an expert in the slave trade were working on a book that would be published by an academic press. What came of that? Thx!!

    1. It has lagged. Issues came up with the academic press as we uncovered additional material and other options have been considered. Hopefully we can get things back on track.

  2. Fascinating article. I have found there were many ships "Eliza" -- is it possible that this ship Eliza was also the same one that carried paying travelers from England to Virginia in 1795?

    1. Very unlikely. Slave ships were heavily armored with guns and were otherwise decked out differently.