Perry of London : a family and a firm on the seaborne frontier, 1615-1753


Perry of London : a family and a firm on the seaborne frontier, 1615-1753

Jacob M. Price

(Harvard historical studies, v. 111)

Harvard University Press, 1992

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Bibliography: p. [121]-138

Includes index



The Establishment of English colonies in North America and the West Indies in the seventeenth century opened new opportunities for trade. Conspicuous among the families who used these opportunities to gain mercantile and social importance was the Perry family of Devon, who created Perry and Lane, by the end of the century the most important London firm trading to the Chesapeake and other parts of North America. Jacob Price traces the family from Devon to Spain, Ireland, Scotland, the Chesapeake, New England, and London. He describes their relationships with Chesapeake society, from the Byrds and Carters to humble planters. In London, the firm's patronage gave the family high standing among fellow businessmen, a position the founder's grandson utilized to become a member of Parliament and Lord Mayor of London. In the end, the grandson's political success as an antiministerialist brought the family the enmity of the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and contributed to the downfall of their firm. The Perrys' story reveals the interrelatedness of social, commercial, and political history. It offers an important contribution to our understanding of the nature of the Chesapeake trade and the forces shaping the success and failure of English mercantile enterprise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


Preface Note on Names Introduction PART 1: THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF PERRY, 1615-1721 1. The Early Perrys and Their Wanderings 2. The Emergence of Perry & Lane 3. The Business of the Perry Firm 4. The Public Role of Micaiah Perry I PART 2: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF PERRY, 1721-1753 5. The Challenge of the Third Generation 6. The Perils of Politics 7. The Family after the Fall Conclusion: Choosing a Frame for the Picture Abbreviations Appendix A: Draft Service Agreement Appendix B: Goods Exported by Perry, Lane & Co. to Virginia and Maryland Appendix C: The Hutchinson Connection Appendix D: The Early Perys and Perrys: Some Problems Selected Bibliography Notes Index

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