Malachy Postlethwayt

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
File:Malachy Postlethwayt Universal Dictionnary of Trade and Commerce 1757.jpg
Malachy Postlethwayt's Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce, 1757.

Malachy Postlethwayt (1707? – 1767) was a British commercial expert famous for his publication of the commercial dictionary titled The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce in 1757. The dictionary was a translation and adaptation of the Dictionnaire économique of the French Inspector General of the Manufactures for the King, Jacques Savary des Brûlons.[1]


Gold Coast of Africa

Born about 1707, Postlethwayt was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London on 21 March 1734.[2] From some time in the 1730s he worked for the Royal Africa Company, and wrote in its defence.[3]

He died suddenly, on 13 September 1767, and was buried in Old Street churchyard, Clerkenwell.[2]


He devoted twenty years to the preparation of ‘The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce,’ London, 1751 (3rd edit. London, 1766; 4th edit. London, 1774), a translation, with large additions, from the French work of Jacques Savary des Bruslons. Postlethwayt collected information, freely plagiarising other writers, but presented his results haphazardly.[2]

File:Africa Bolton 1766.jpg
Map of Africa from The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce.

Postlethwayt also published:

  • ‘The African Trade the great Pillar and Support of the British Plantation Trade in America,’ &c., 1745.
  • ‘The Natural and Private Advantages of the African Trade considered,’ &c., 1746.
  • ‘Britain's Commercial Interest Explained,’ Vol. I of his Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce, 1747.[4]
  • ‘Considerations on the making of Bar Iron with Pitt or Sea Coal Fire, &c. In a Letter to a Member of the House of Commons,’ London, 1747.
  • ‘Considerations on the Revival of the Royal-British Assiento, between his Catholic Majesty and the … South-Sea Company. With an … attempt to unite the African-Trade to that of the South-Sea Company, by Act of Parliament,’ London, 1749.
  • ‘The Merchant's Public Counting House, or New Mercantile Institution,’ &c., London, 1750.
  • ‘A Short State of the Progress of the French Trade and Navigation,’ &c., London, 1756.
  • ‘Great Britain's True System. … To which is prefixed an Introduction relative to the Forming a New Plan of British Politicks with respect to our Foreign Affairs,’ &c., London, 1757.
  • ‘Britain's Commercial Interest explained and improved, in a Series of Dissertations on several important Branches of her Trade and Police. … Also … the Advantages which would accrue … from an Union with Ireland,’ 2 vols., London, 1757; 2nd edit., ‘With … a clear View of the State of our Plantations in America,’ &c., London, 1759.
  • ‘In Honour to the Administration. The importance of the African Expedition considered,’ &c., London, 1758.[2]

Eric Williams cited the work of Postlethwayt on the slave trade in his Capitalism and Slavery (1944).[5]


  1. Adam Smith Review Volume 4 by Vivienne Brown p.196
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3  [ "Postlethwayt, Malachy" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Christopher Leslie Brown, Moral Capital: foundations of British abolitionism (2006), p. 270;Google Books.
  4. Emory R. Johnson, T. W. Van Metre, G. G. Huebner, D. S. Hanchett, History of Domestic and Foreign Commerce of the United States - Vol. 1, p.36–37 Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1915.
  5. Groenewegen, Peter. "Postlethwayt, Malachy". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22599.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain[ "Postlethwayt, Malachy" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>