The precise reasons for Liverpool’s dominance of the trade are still debated by historians. Some suggest that Liverpool merchants were being pushed out of the other Atlantic trades, such as sugar and tobacco. Others claim that the town’s merchants were more enterprising.
A significant factor was the port’s position with ready access via a network of rivers and canals to the goods traded in Africa – textiles from Lancashire and Yorkshire, copper and brass from Staffordshire and Cheshire and guns from Birmingham.
She had taken in, on the coast of Africa, 336 males and 226 females, making in all 562, and had been out seventeen days, during which she had thrown overboard 55.
As they belonged to and were shipped on account of different individuals, they were all branded like sheep with the owner’s marks of different forms. (…) burnt with the red-hot iron.
The slaves were all inclosed under grated hatchways between decks. The space was so low that they sat between each other’s legs and [were] stowed so close together that there was no possibility of their lying down or at all changing their position by night or day.
It is impossible to conceive the effect of this eruption – 517 fellow creatures of all ages and sexes, some children, some adults, some old men and women, all in a state of total nudity, scrambling out together to taste the luxury of a little fresh air and water.
– “Aboard a Slave Ship, 1829,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000).