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Balance books from a London trader

Call Number: MS E188


Account books of an anonymous speculative trader, providing yearly summary of accounts. Each volume covers a year, and contains a dozen accounts in fair detail and a list of 50 to 100 accounts showing net profit or debit. The "bottom line" is about £50,000. Cargoes largely consist of tropical produce; the trader also imported cheese and butter from Holland into England and had other investments.


  • 1810 - 1818

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.


8 Volumes : Each volume is a single quire, covered in marbled paper (several designs) with a heart-shaped white paper label on the outside of the front cover: "Balance [year]". Merchant's marks on opening 4, vol. 2. ; No volume measures taller than 37 cm.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

"Allowed for Counting House & other charges paid out of my private expenses £1000."

Goods mentioned frequently in the volumes include sugar, indigo, coffee, logwood, red sanders, butter, cheese, camphor, cassia lignea & buds.

Goods mentioned occasionally include barilla, verdigras, carroway and mustard seed, fustick, wheat, cotton, litharge, whale oil, cod oil, fish roe, Campeach wood, madder, tar, pitch, British Manufactured Goods, East India goods, twist, linen, cambric muslins, dimity, stockings, calmucks, book muslins, Hamburg or Hambro' loaves, Turkey loaves, tea, cinnamon, tallow, Swedish iron, Dutch flax, Peruvian bark, soap, gamboge, tin plates from Germany, pepper.

Most goods are tropical in nature, as are some of the places mentioned in which the trader goes on "adventures": Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Sweden, the Baltic, the Straits, Surinam, Cuba, and Great Britain.

Definitions for some of these terms: Kalmuck: a shaggy cloth. Fustick: wood yielding a yellow dye. Gamboge: resin from a Cambodian tree used as pigment and purgative. Litharge: a form of lead. Campeachy wood: logwood from Campeachy, Yucatan. Peruvian bark: from the Cinchona tree. Red sanders: Red sandalwood (or rubywood), from an East Indian tree, used for dying. Hamburg and Turkey loaves: ? (packed in hogsheads). Twist might be thread, tobacco, or...Barilla: a Spanish maritime plant, or the alkali of its ash.

Ships mentioned in the volumes include Fortuna, Providentia from Bergen, Christina, Matthias, Oelus, Erwartung, Twee Vrienden, St Johannes, Catharina Eliz:, Theseus, Syrene, smack Vrouw Catharina, brig Oden, Onderneming, Jugend, Rock, New Hope, Governor Milne, Alexander, Earl Percy, Phoenix, Goede Intentie, Jonge Vrouw Catharina, Adventure, Union, General Grenfield, St Joachim, Waakraamheed, Jonge Sohn, Minerva, Friede, Jungfrau Catherina [!], Pedro de Mello, Capt. Van Duyn, Frau Hendrica, Hebe, Scarthingwell, Swift, Suffolk, Conceptione, Freundschaft, Melvaas, Neptinus, Juno, Friends, Maria, Ceres, Jane, V. Duyn, Johannes, Vriendschap, Carel Fred'k, Anna, Win Debora, Nord Star, J'ge Willem, Gertrude, La Nymphe, Deborah, Fryntje, Zeploeg, Lord Willington, Cath: Margaretha, Kleine Pieter, Swanaamsche V'n, Cacador, Teuzer, Britannia, Whim, Enterprize, Queen Charlotte, Venerable, Agammemnon, William, Cabalva, Mary Ann, Marine of Tyne, Mangles, Lady Lushington, Tyne, Charlotte, Regent, Indus, Harriet, Elizabeth, Traveller, Thomas Grenville, Thalia, Bure.

Physical Location

MS E188

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Helen Foresman Spencer.

Guide to the London Trader Collection
Balance books from a London trader
Finding aid prepared by alh, July 29, 1975. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2005.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Balance books from a London trader, MS E188, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States