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Ashworth, Edmund (1800–1881), cotton manufacturer and free-trade activist, was born on 17 November 1800 at Birtenshaw, Turton, near Bolton, the fifth of the eleven children of John Ashworth (1772–1855), farmer, land agent, and cotton spinner, and his wife, Isabel Thomasson (1772–1852). Edmund was a younger brother of ...

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See Bindon, Francis

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Brewster, Sir Francis (d. 1704/5), merchant and writer on trade, was born to unknown parents, possibly from co. Kerry or co. Westmeath, where he later certainly owned land. He is first recorded in 1671, when he was accused of illegally exporting timber and wool to ...

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Dobbs, Arthur (1689–1765), colonial governor and writer on trade, was born at Girvan in Ayrshire on 2 April 1689, the son of Richard Dobbs, army officer and future high sheriff of Antrim, and his first wife, Mary (d. before 1711), daughter of ...

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Arthur Dobbs (1689–1765) by James Macardell (after William Hoare) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Ellison, Thomas (1833–1904), historian and statistician of the cotton trade, was born in Liverpool, possibly the son of Joseph Ellison, bookkeeper. He left school at sixteen and was apprenticed to Maurice Williams (1825–1878), who had himself just begun business as a cotton broker. ...

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See Industrial spies

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Gee, Joshua (1667–1730), writer on trade and merchant, was the son of John Gee (1635–1704) of Moyvoughley, co. Westmeath. His father was a Quaker, originally from Yorkshire. Nothing is known of Joshua Gee's education. By 1694 Gee was in London, where he became a master of the ...

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Hippisley, John (bap. 1729, d. 1766), writer on trade and administrator in west Africa, was baptized on 21 June 1729 at St Andrew's, Holborn, London, the son of John Hippisley (1696–1748), an actor and theatre manager, and his partner, Mary Charley. Little is known of his early life and education. He played Tom Thumb in ...

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Ivens, Michael William (1924–2001), free-enterprise propagandist and poet, was born at Leonora, Nicholas Lane, Laindon, Essex, on 15 March 1924, the son of Harry Guest Ivens, a boiler salesman, and his wife, Selena (Nina), née Ailion. His father was a Roman Catholic, and his mother was Jewish; in later life ...

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Jacob, William (1761/2–1851), merchant and writer on the corn trade, was by the early 1790s well established in business as a merchant, in partnership with John Jacob, in premises in Newgate Street, London. According to Joshua Wilson he had become a 'commercial man of considerable credit' and was 'one of the few Englishmen who, in the present day, has carried on a direct trade with ...

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Keymer, John (fl. 1584–1622), vintner and writer on commerce, is first heard of as a vintner in Cambridge. In 1583 Queen Elizabeth had granted Sir Walter Ralegh the farm of wines, each retailer to pay him £1 annually for a licence, and Keymer...

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John MacGregor (1797–1857) by unknown engraver, pubd 1848 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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MacGregor, John (1797–1857), civil servant and free-trader, was born at Drynie, near Stornoway, the eldest son of David MacGregor and Janet Ross. He had at least two brothers. In 1803 his parents took him to Canada, where they lived in Nova Scotia before moving to ...

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Pegolotti, Francesco di Balducci (b. c. 1280?, d. in or after 1347), merchant and author, was born into a well-to-do Florentine family, probably about 1280. His father, Balduccio, was an ambassador to Siena (c.1311) in negotiations concerning Florentine access to the port of ...

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Prentice, Archibald (1792–1857), journalist and free-trader, was born on 17 November 1792 at Covington Mains, a farm in the Upper ward of Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was one of seven children born to the yeoman farmer Archibald Prentice and his second wife, Helen, daughter of ...

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C. A. Harris

revised by Philip Carter

Rawle, Francis (c. 1660–1727), writer on trade and finance, was probably born in Plymouth, the son of Francis Rawle and his wife, Jane. He was descended from an old Cornish family of some wealth and standing, once settled near St Juliot on the north Cornish coast and later in the ...

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Smith, Charles (1713–1777), writer on the corn trade, was born in Stepney, the son of Charles Smith, a corn mill owner of Croydon, Surrey, and his wife, Anne, daughter and coheir of James Marrener, a naval captain with the East India Company. His family had been profitably engaged in the grain trade for two generations. ...

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Smith, John Benjamin (1794–1879), promoter of free trade, was born in Manchester, the eldest son of Benjamin Smith, a cotton merchant there. A brother, Thomas Smith (d. 1864), settled at Colebrooke Park, Kent. Smith married Jemina, daughter of William Durning of Liverpool...

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Williams, (Owen) Alfred (1877–1930), poet and writer on rural and industrial life, was born in South Marston, near Swindon, Wiltshire, the fifth of eight surviving children and the youngest of four sons of Elias Lloyd Williams (1849–1899), a decorative woodworker from Conwy, Wales...