William Roscoe's autograph letter signed to Prince Frederick, Duke of Gloucester



As to the recently abolished slave trade, the first letter , written on 19 December 1807, informs the Duke that the Liverpool slave traders have exploited a customs technicality to set out the final slaving voyage after the date fixed by the bill:''The fact is that the last class of shops being all in pport prior to the 1st of May, cleared out at the Customs House, but postponed their departure from an idea that the longer it was delayed with the time limited for their arrival in the West Indies, the greater probability there would be for a beneficial vaoyage. This determined resolution of the merchants to carryon the Trade to the last moment, & to extract from Africa the last man possible, heas been productive of those consequences , which if they had not been blinded by their inveterate attachement to it, they might have easily forseen''.Roscoe predicts that it will be a financial disaster for the traders , the markets in the West Indies being overstocked and the planters not in the position to pay. On a more optimistic note, Roscoe notes the departure of nine vessels to obtain wood and other merchandise, ''which may be taken as a confirmation of the idea, so strongly inforced by you, that a traffick may in all probability be established between this country & Africa..''In another passage, Roscoe reminisscences about their conversations on the abolition of the slave trade.