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Williams Development British Trade West Africa

Williams Development British Trade West Africa

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The Development of British Trade with West Africa, 1750 to 1850Author(s): Judith Blow WilliamsSource:
Political Science Quarterly,
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jun., 1935), pp. 194-213Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 16/09/2011 14:25
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http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
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THEDEVELOPMENT OFBRITISH TRADEWITHWEST AFRICA,
I750
TO
i850
T
E history f England'scommercewith West Africa
between
I75o
and
i850
well illustrates the majorchanges from he era of mercantilism o that of aggres-sive free trade. Complex non-economic factors affectedthedevelopment: love of adventure,rdor for scientific iscovery,abhorrence of the slave trade,missionary zeal and nationalrivalry,yet the interplay ed finallyo normal commercialrela-tionswithanarea once monopolized by the slave dealers, andto solid foundations against thelater days of imperialism nAfrica.West Africa wasattractingmuchattention n
I750,
for theolder methodsof conducting radewere being challenged.AstheRoyalAfricanCompany wasinfinancialdifficulties,com-mittee of the House of Commonsdebated the continuance ofthe annual grant for the upkeepof the scattered fortsandsettlements.Itwas agreed thattheAfricantrade was mostadvantageous, lucrative,anoutletforBritish manufactures,andnecessary o thatidealof themercantilists, ommercewiththeWest Indies.The oneproblemof nationalpolicy wastheformofmanagement.Opinion amongthe LondonandBristolmerchants wasdividedonthemeritsofregulatedandjoint-stockcompanies.Theusualargumentswere putforward:thegreater enterpriseofseparatetraders1versustheconcentratedesponsibilityndcontinuousaction ofthejoint-stockcompany, and its greaterresourcesforexploration.2Amodernnotewas struckbythe
I94
1
C.O.
389/30.
Inthefootnotes,hese abbreviationsre used fordocumentsinthePublic RecordOfficenLondon:Ad.,Admiralty;B.T.,BoardofTrade;C.O.,ColonialOffice;F.O.,ForeignOffice;T.,Treasury.Class numberandvolumefollow.
2
C.O.391/5.
 
No.
2]
BRITISH TRADEWITH WESTAFRICA, 1750-1850
I95
Liverpoolgroup,who advocatedcompleteindividualism, buttheirdaywas notyetcome. The actresultingfromthedis-cussion was acompromise.3WhileanyBritishsubjectmighttradeanywherebetweenFortSalleeandtheCapeofGoodHope, allthosewhowere active southofCapeBlancomustformabodycorporate, TheCompanyof Merchantstradingto Africa",admission towhich was openuponpaymentofamoderatefee.Joint-stockradingwasforbidden,andanyBritishsubjectmight usethe fortsndbuildings, fthe Com-pany rent-free.Atonce thenumberofslave-shipsout ofLiverpoolincreased
from
3
in
I75I
to
72
in
I753
and
I49
in
I798.4
They carried
Britishgoods,cloths,ead, shot,glassagates, etc.,5 aidtobe
worth
i60,792
in
1749-50,?345,546
in
1760, ?57I,003
in
I770.Q
Afewvisionarieseventhen suggestedthata tradeentirelyingoodsmight bestillmoreprofitable.MalachyPostlethwaytwrote asearlyas
I757:
Ifwe couldsoexert ourcommercialolicyamongsthesepeople,stobringfewhundredhousands fthemocloathwithourcommodities,ndtoerectbuildings odeckwithourfurniture,ndto livesomethingntheEuropeanway,wouldnotsuchtrafficrovefarmoreucrative hantheslave-tradeonly, r thedealingwithhemnlyfor hose mallquantities fgold, and otherommodities hichwe do?
7
ThomasMelvil,thenewgovernorofCapeCoastCastlein
I751,
saw thepossibilityfsupplanting, nAfrica,Indiantex-tileswiththoseofManchesterandencouragedthenativesto
3
23
Geo.II,c.
3I.
4
RichardBrooke,LiverpoolasIt Was.5775 to
I800
(Liverpool,1853),
p.234.
5
CorrespondenceetweenRobertBostock . .andothers,givingParticularsoftheSlaveTrading ofLiverpoolShips,I789-1792.MS. intheLiverpoolCentralLibrary.
IAdamAnderson,Historical... DeductionofTrade . . .(London,I787-
89), vol.IV,pp.
40,42,142.
Sir{CharlesWhitworth,tateof theTradeofGreat Britain
. ..
(London,
I776),
PartII,pp.
1-2.
7
MalachyPostlethwayt,ritain's Commercialnterest ..(London,
1757),
vol.I,p.
218.

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