Alice's voyage

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This image is a detail from a document that is helping to build up a picture of the history of the transatlantic slave trade and the ships involved with it.

The document is a recent offer to the Archives Centre. It is part of the ship's articles for the ship 'Alice', on a voyage from Liverpool to Africa and the West Indies in 1760, which indicates a slave trading voyage

The document is missing the list of crew signatures which would usually be attached. The articles were their contract for the voyage and they signed to agree to the conditions of service listed, such as food provided, when wages would be paid and what share of the profits would be allocated.

The articles also state that the Alice carries a Letter of Marque, this means that the ship was a privateer (a pirate with a licence from the government) and could capture merchant vessels from other nations and their valuable cargos. This could be a very profitable enterprise.

Further information about the Alice and its captain, Samuel Murdoch, can be found on the online Transatlantic Slave Trade database, which shows that the voyage for which these articles were produced lasted 426 days and 200 enslaved Africans died on the middle passage.

So, it may be slightly tatty, but this document, along with other sources held by the Archives Centre, provides important evidence about merchant seafaring in the 18th Century.

detail of an old document