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Harvard Historical Studies #111: Perry of London: A Family and a Firm on the Seaborne Frontierby Jacob M. Price
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In this short volume, Price has added significantly to our understanding of how colonial Chesapeake trade was run. The Rise of the House of Perry, from modest beginnings in the 1660's to dominance of the tobacco trade within 30 years, is matched for insight only by its precipitous Fall over the next 30 years, destroyed by commercial, managerial, and political misjudgment." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
Book News Annotation:
The story of how the Perry family moved from Devon, in southwest England, to London and took advantage of the new trade opportunities offered by colonies in North America and the West Indies. Emphasizing the interplay between economic, social, and political activity, describes the growth of their powerful trading firm, the family's relations with colonials and the London elite, and their political success and eventual downfall.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
enterprise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -138) and index.
Table of Contents
Note on Names
PART 1: THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF PERRY, 1615—1721
1. The Early Perrys and Their Wanderings
PART 2: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF PERRY, 1721—1753
5. The Challenge of the Third Generation
Conclusion: Choosing a Frame for the Picture
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