"With the ending of the London monopoly of trade with Africa in 1698, there began a period when Bristol slowly asserted itself as the chief slave trade port of Britain. From a position of only two or three voyages a year, the trade grew to ten voyages annually by 1707, twenty-seven voyages in 1717 and forty-eight voyages in 1725. There are six hundred known slave voyages which departed from Bristol in those three decades up to 1730". Peter Taylor looks at how small shipments of tobacco pipes were taken on around half of voyages as bartering material, and what impact this had on trading from Bristol.
'Over the years of the slave trade Bristol's merchants learned the best combination of 'sortings' to facilitate their business in the West Indies. It was an eclectic, international collection of trade goods containing, for instance Maldive cowries, Manchester cottons, Birmingham guns, Swedish iron bars, Bristol copper and glassware, West Indian rum, Virginian tobacco and South Gloucestershire felt hats. The goods were used as customs duties and homage for the coastal kings, 'dash' payments for African middlemen, and barter for slaves'.