The Economic History Review

Merchants and planters revisited

Volume 55 Issue 3
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Pages: 434-465Authors: S. D. Smith
Published online: March 7, 2003DOI: 10.1111/1468-0289.00227

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This article’s principal source is a database of loans granted by the merchant Henry Lascelles (1690-1753) to clients in the West Indies. Lascelles’ long-term lending in the Caribbean is compared with his English loans, his investment in securities, his purchases of English real estate, and short-term credits granted to planters by the London commission house of Lascelles and Maxwell. The data indicate that lending on mortgage grew in importance from c. 1740 in Lascelles’ financial dealings. The article supports the view that the development of the West Indies was dependent on imports of British capital during the eighteenth century.