The Birmingham gun manufactory of Farmer and Galton and the slave trade in the eighteenth century

Richards, W.A. (1972). The Birmingham gun manufactory of Farmer and Galton and the slave trade in the eighteenth century. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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The thesis begins by describing how the origins, growth and sales organisation of Farmer and Galton were rooted in the slave trade. The firm's position on the chief arms supplier to the Committee of the African Company is examined, and as arms supplier to some of the leading slave trading merchants of the mid-eighteenth century. The importance of the firm's Quaker connections is discussed with particular reference to the firm's North American business.

The changes and difficulties in the firm's business in wartime follows, and a discussion of the relative importance of wartime demand and the demand of the slave trade are examined.

The local significance of the gun industry to Birmingham, to the Black Country and to the iron industry is then examined. The wider effects of the sale of firearms in West Africa and the controversy over the quality of Birmingham guns are also discussed. An attempt is made to set the gains and losses of Farmer and Galton, especially from direct trading ventures to West Africa, in the context of the profitability of the slave trade.

The thesis then broadens out to examine the vital contribution of the slave trade to Atlantic commerce. The importance of the re-export of British goods from France and Portugal to the Africa and the New World is illustrated by Farmer and Galton’s business with those countries.

Finally the effects of the expansion of foreign markets as against the expansion of the home market on British industries are discussed. There is particular reference to the connections between Birmingham industries and colonial trade.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Commerce and Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Economic and Social History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
T Technology > TS Manufactures


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