Famous London Merchants - H. R. Fox Bourne



This books is a shortened adaptation of the author's two volume work summarizing the lives of dozens of the most wealthy and influential merchant princes in English history. In this work he focuses on the leading merchant and money powers of London from Norman times to the 19th century. Although written from a flattering 'Whiggish' perspective, the author provides many insights of interest to those who may take a more critical look at his somewhat suspicioius collection moguls and kingmakers.

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[Title Page] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne
[Illustration] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne

GEORGE PEABODY.




Preface

This little volume follows the method pursued in my "English Merchants: Memoirs in Illustration of the Progress of British Commerce," which was published two years ago. It is designed to furnish younger readers with some account of the growth and influence of trade, and the work and character of its heroes. Some of the lives here sketched have been alluded to or detailed in the larger work. Where the same ground has been travelled over, free use has been made of what has already been written, but with such alterations of style and substance as seemed to be called for by the different purpose now in view. The whole series of biographies, however, has been drawn from London history; and, as far as seemed consistent with the proper handling of the theme, the work is limited to the sphere of London commerce.

Having thus borrowed from my own book, I have also availed myself of the researches of other writers. In a small volume making no pretensions to completeness, and not many to originality, it has appeared to me unwise to cumber the pages with footnotes, specifying each precise obligation, and authenticating every single statement. It may be enough here to acknowledge the use made of Mr Lysons' "Model Merchant of the Middle Ages," in the chapter on Whittington and of Mr Burgon's "Life of Sir Thomas Gresham," in the chapter on the greatest merchant of Tudor times; and to record the help derived from Mr. Charles Knight's "Shadows of the Old Booksellers," from Mr J.C. Colquhoun's "Wilberforce and his Friends," and from Mrs Geldart's "Memorials of Samuel Gurney," respectively, in preparing the sketches of Guy, Thornton, and Gurney. The obligations to older sources of information, though still greater, hardly need be specified. Notes made from old folios and quartos, from manuscript collections and private sources, during some years of inquiry into commercial history, have been used whereever they were applicable to the subject of the; volume.

H.R.F.B.

London, Dec, 15, 1868

[Contents, 1 of 4] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne
[Contents, 2 of 4] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne
[Contents, 3 of 4] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne
[Contents, 4 of 4] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne
[Illustrations] from Famous London Merchants by H. R. Fox Bourne