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Merchant houses

Thomas & William Earle

The Earles were a family of prominent Liverpool merchants, consisting of Ralph (1715-90), Thomas (1719-82) and William (1721-88) who invested in the slave trade. William was himself the captain of a slaving ship. The business passed to William’s sons, Thomas (1753-1822) and William (1760-1839), who traded as T & W Earle & Co. and later invested in Guyana estates. ['Merely for Money'?: Business Culture in the British Atlantic, 1750-1815, Sheryllynne Haggerty, Liverpool 2012].

They bought plantation Utile & Paisible in Berbice in 1823 [D/EARLE/5/1/1-19] from James Blair, retaining the services of Blair’s attorney, John Ross, who continued to correspond with the company after his return to Inverness in the mid-1830s. In the 1830s they also acquired plantation Hanover as part of a bad debt [Seija-Riitta Laakso, Across the Oceans Development of Overseas Business Information Transmission, 1815-1875].

They employed the brothers Baillie Chisholm and William Chisholm on their plantations, William from 1836 and Bailie from 1838.