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Merchant houses

Gordon, Murphy & Co

William Gordon (1772-1823), who from 1815 took the name William Duff-Gordon, and John Murphy were partners in the merchant house of Gordon, Murphy & Co which was known principally for importing Spanish sherry to London. The business failed in 1820 but for a short time c1819 the partners owned plantations Profit, Success and Relief with 273 slaves on the west sea coast of Berbice [Slave Registers]. The plantations were managed for them by Lewis Cameron.

In 1815 William Gordon succeeded his uncle Sir James Duff, 1st Baronet, as 2nd Baronet of Halkin.

An account written in 1848 [Church of England Quarterly Review] describes the partnership as having a reputation . . .

. . . for wealth and the extent of its transactions second . . . to none in the city of London at that period . . . Sir William Duff Gordon, was in all respects a most remarkable man. With a noble bearing, a handsome figure, and a countenance which, though dark, was singularly pleasing in its expression, he was graceful in his manner and courteous to every one who approached him. . . . [He] established himself in a splendid house in Stanhope-street, May-fair, which, he furnished with admirable taste, having, about that time, married the daughter of Sir George Cornwall, of Moccas-court, in Herefordshire. We are told that he presented his bride with diamonds of such costliness as to attract a host of fashionable sightseers to Messrs. Rundell and Bridge's, where they were exhibited for some time.

John Murphy was born in Spain of Irish parents and later lived in Portland Place, London.

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