Guide to the James Rogers Papers, 1768-1794 and undated
James Rogers was a merchant from Bristol, England, a ship owner, and a slave trader who engaged in various types of trade in Newfoundland, the American colonies, the West Indies, Ireland, Africa, Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere. Collection consists of photocopies of documents originally belonging to James Rogers, Bristol, England, a merchant, ship owner, and slave trader. The material, dating from 1768-1794, largely consists of incoming correspondence, bills of sale, receipts, and other items related to ships' voyages and trading activities. Many of these voyages were for the purpose of acquiring and trading slaves from Africa. A paper guide to the collection created by the donor of the collection and available to researchers includes descriptions of most of the ships' voyages.
- Collection Number
- James Rogers papers
- 1768-1794 and undated
- Rogers, James, d. 1799
- 10 Linear Feet, Approximately 28,000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Collection consists of copies of documents originally belonging to James Rogers, Bristol, England merchant and ship owner. The material, dating from 1768 to 1794, largely consists of incoming correspondence, bills of sale, receipts, and other items related to ships' voyages and trading activities. The papers are arranged into three series: Ships' Voyages; Bills; and Business Papers and Letters. Much of the material in the collection concerns the African slave trade, but there is also information on the cotton, sugar, and fishing markets and trade. Documentation includes accounts for materials supplied to ships in which Rogers had an interest; accounts of ships, cargoes, and insurance; receipts for advances of wages to ships' crews; bills of exchange; petitions from Rogers' creditors; statements of shares in cargoes and ships; letters from ships' captains in Africa relating to purchases; comments on the state of the market; price information; letters from agents overseas; and other materials. One set of documents about the Mermaid contains comments on a slave insurrection on board. The collection also includes the same documents on twenty reels of microfilm, but the arrangement of the paper copies by topic and by date renders them easier to use. The original documents became the property of the Public Record Office, London, as exhibits in litigation that followed Rogers' declaration of bankruptcy in 1793, and are currently held in the Court of Bankruptcy records, indexed as B 3/4177 and B 3/4185, in the National Archives in Kew, England.
The folders in the Ships' Voyages Series are organized alphabetically by ship name, then within chronologically, with correspondence regarding the voyage first, followed by bills and other related items. The items in the Bills Series are arranged chronologically. The Business Papers and Letters are organized into two main subgroupings: by country of trade, and by name of correspondent; there are also smaller groups of miscellaneous correspondence, including Rogers' bankruptcy papers, which contain information on how the slave trade was set up, and on speculations in the cotton market.
Place-names mentioned in these papers include: Green Island, N.Y.; Kennebec, Maine; many coastal towns in Newfoundland; Cove Island, Ontario; Belize; many locations in the Caribbean Islands; and coastal cities in England, Ireland, Portugal (including the Azores Islands), and Spain (including the Canary and Balearic Islands).
A ninety-page paper guide to the collection created by the donor of the collection and available to the researcher includes descriptions of most of the ships' voyages.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], James Rogers Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Arranged by destination, then within by subcategories of major voyages, minor voyages, and miscellaneous or multiple voyages. Documents arranged alphabetically by name of ship, then chronologically, with correspondence first, then bills and other papers following.
Arranged by major, minor, and multiple voyages, and within alhpabetically by ship's name. Documents pertaining to the voyages include bills, cargo accounts, receipts, and correspondence from ships' captains. A ninety-page document researched and created by the donor of the Rogers Papers, and available in the library, briefly describes the voyage (route, cargo, and other details) of almost all the ships.
Arranged alphabetically, and then chronologically if enough material is present.
Groups of papers which concern more than one ship's voyage to Africa, and or the West Indies. Arranged alphabetically by name on top of photocopy page.
Contains material documenting ships' trading activities in Newfoundland. Arranged in three groupings: major, minor, and other various voyages.
Major voyages: Betsey, Centurion, Industry, and Richard. Minor voyages: Chepstow, Denizen, Elizabeth, Sacra Famiglia, and the Swallow. Miscellaneous voyages arranged alphabetically, and then chronologically if enough material is present.
Arranged in chronological order, followed by several groupings of bills related to specific firms, then bills related to Newfoundland trade.
Arranged in two major subgroupings: by country of origin and by individual correspondents. These are followed by sections for other various letters and papers, including four folders related to Rogers' bankruptcy in March 1793.
James Rogers was a merchant from Bristol, England, a ship owner, and a slave trader who engaged in various types of trade in Newfoundland, the American colonies, the West Indies, Ireland, Africa, Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere.
- Court of Bankruptcy Records, B 3/4177 and B 3/4185 (National Archives, Kew, England)
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Bankruptcy -- Great Britain
- Merchants -- England -- Bristol -- Correspondence
- Slave traders -- England
- Slave trade -- Great Britain -- History
- Slave trade -- Caribbean Area -- History
- Slave trade -- Africa -- History
- Slave trade -- Atlantic Ocean Region -- History
- Shipping -- Great Britain
The James Rogers Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1967.
Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, 1967
Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Februrary 2010
Accession 1967-0187 is described in this finding aid.