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    Ray Powell

    On page 19 of
    “Black metallurgists and the making of the industrial revolution” there is a misuse of a reference

    The paper says:

    “In 1784, as Cort’s second English patent was enrolled, politician and vocal supporter of
    enslavement, John Baker Holroyd, declared ‘our knowledge of the Iron trade seems
    hitherto to have been in its infancy’. In direct reference to the loss of the American war
    and newly founded United States of America, he described the so-called ‘Cort process’ as
    being ‘more advantageous to Britain than Thirteen Colonies’.208 Through Cort’s patent,
    former colonies were to become markets for British manufactures and America’s revolution
    to inaugurate a new paradigm for British extraction.209 Cort made the Holroyd
    quotation the first testimonial of his promotional campaign material.210”

    210. Cort, [1787], A Brief Statement of the Facts relative to the New Method of making Bar Iron
    with Raw Pit Coal and Grooved Rollers, Appendix, 13.

    The text of the referenced document can be found at
    This is what the appendix says

    Extract from Lord SHEFFIELD’S “ Observations on the Commerce of the American States.”

    IF Mr. Cort’s very ingenious and meritorious improvements in the art of making and working Iron,
    and his invention of making bar Iron from pig Iron, either red short or cold short,
    and the great improvements on the steam engines by Messrs. Watt and Bolton of Birmingham,
    and Lord Dundonald’s discovery of making coke for the furnace, at half the present expence,—
    should all succeed, as there is reason to think they will, the expence may be reduced so greatly,
    that British Iron may be afforded as cheap as foreign,
    even if the latter should be allowed to enter duty-free, perhaps cheaper,
    and of as improved a quality, and in quantity equal to the demand.
    It is not asserting too much to say, that event would be more advantageous to Britain than Thirteen Colonies.
    It would give the complete command of the Iron trade to this country, with its vast advantages to navigation;
    and our knowledge in the Iron trade seems hitherto to have been in its infancy.’

    It is the success of all three improvements that “would be more advantageous to Britain than Thirteen Colonies. ” not just Cort’s alone.
    John Holroyd became Lord Sheffield.

    Rchard Williams

    I thought that we might find more misquotes from Ms Bulstrode.

    P.W. KING

    John Baker Holroyd was Lord Sheffield from 1781.  She is engaging in a form of obscurantism by not using his title.

    Peter King

    P.W. KING

    It should be possible to get more detail of the convoy in which Abby was from the logs of the naval ships escorting it – Ramillies (74), Resource (frigate) as well as Princess Royal (90): captains’ and masters’ logs are in TNA and Lieutenants’ in National Maritime Museum.

    Peter King

    Rchard Williams

    Do you not think that you have got enough on the non-Portsmouth visiting Abby to prove the point, Peter?  In fact, surely you already have all you need to put Bulstrode’s thesis into the realms of strong doubt.  As you have shown, all the necessary steps leading up to Cort’s inventions were present in England before Reeders Pen was founded, and sugar rolls were nothing like Cort’s rolls.  That’s quite enough to demonstrate that people should not take what she says as gospel and the two instances of her deliberately distorting facts, allied to Candice Goucher’s revelations, is also enough to demonstrate the quality of her scholarship.

    I suggest that you should keep it simple.



    Ray Powell

    There are always interesting new lines of research but I agree we have already enough information to undermine the allegation. Peter’s suggested line of enquiry would be useful if more details about the voyage of the Abby are ever required but that should not be a priority at this time.


    Hello everyone!

    Peter King suggested I join up as it seems you have reached some of the same conclusions about Bulstrode’s paper as I have. I took some time to look at her principal primary sources and have written about them in a paper which you can read here:


    Since you’ve been discussing the movements of the Jamaica convoy, I thought I’d share the attached spreadsheet, which compares the ports of arrival with the list of destinations published before the ships departed. The arrivals are all taken from Lloyds List (which Ray Powell posted earlier in the discussion here). It’s a bit rough and I think there are a lot of spelling mistakes, but you might be interested nonetheless.

    Of the 161 listed merchant ships which sailed in the convoy, 94 reached their destinations and 4 arrived at a different port than intended. 35 of them either foundered, ran aground, were lost, taken, or re-routed due to damage etc. I wasn’t able to trace 28 of them.

    There’s a lot more detail which could be added about the various groups which split off and their movements, but I think life is a bit short for that!

    Anyhow, nice to ‘meet’ you all and thanks for the opportunity to share this.


    You must be logged in to view attached files.

    Here’s the departure list…

    You must be logged in to view attached files.
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