George Case, Mayor of Liverpool

WAG 7023

Information

This artwork has been identified as having links to a person connected with transatlantic slavery. This research is part of the Walker Art Gallery’s ongoing work to be more transparent about the collection’s relationship to Britain's colonial past. George Case (1747 - 1836) was a Liverpool trader in enslaved African people. He was responsible for at least 109 voyages. Over 40% of the enslaved African people he transported were taken from the Bight of Biafra, off the West coast of Africa, and brought to Jamaica to work on sugar and cotton plantations. Case was part of a Liverpool syndicate of slave traders which also included William Gregson (1721 - 1800) and Aspinall (active 1781). The syndicate owned the slave ship Zong which became infamous for the Zong Massacre in 1781. The Zong crew threw 142 enslaved African people overboard because they were reportedly low on drinking water, having made navigational errors during a voyage across the Atlantic. The ship owners made a claim to their insurers for £30 compensation for each enslaved person who had died. Although unsuccessful with the claim, the trial caused a public outcry and strengthened the British abolition movement. Case became Mayor of Liverpool in 1781, the same year as the Zong Massacre. He married the daughter of his business partner William Gregson and was one the founders and first president of the Liverpool Athenaeum. He also chaired the finance committee of the Liverpool Council for 38 years and became treasurer in 1833, the year the Slavery Abolition Act was finally passed. Although Case did not make a claim after the Slavery Abolition Act (1833), following his death in 1836 his amassed wealth was inherited by his son George Deane Case (1786 - 1859). His son was also part-owner, (along with Colonel John Bolton, 1756 - 1837) of a plantation in St Vincent, and received reparations connected to 163 enslaved people.