By Ralph Davis
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Additional resources for Aleppo and Devonshire Square: English Traders in the Levant in the Eighteenth Century
The three main centres of English trade were all great and busy cities. Stamboul had at least three-quarters of a million 1The Company's principles in this matter were set out in I 7 so in a letter to the Ambassador (SP I I0-29-189). THE LEVANT TRADE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 39 inhabitants; Aleppo was said to have 285,000 in 168o, 235,000 in the mid-fifties, 150,000 around q6o after the earthquake and plague - figures which may truly represent, but equally may exaggerate its decline. 1 Smyrna's population was near Ioo,ooo in qoo.
And finally young John Radcliffe, fresh from Eton, riding cheerfully into Aleppo on a bright March morning in 17 58, conscious no doubt that he was to revive the name of a great and old-established house, and learning too quickly that he had come to a land whose promise had faded since his uncle Edward first passed through the gateway of the Great Khan fifty-one years before. 1 Herts 4904. The Levant Trade In the Eighteenth Century If we can't supply your Markett at the price other silk is sold at, we must not expect to have this trade long, as the rising the price of our cloth in proportion to the high price of silk only hinders its consumption, and has already done us a very great injury,for the consumer of any goods will always buy that which is cheapest, and our cloth is much beyond its value in proportion to the French cloth.
The silk merchants would often enough, presumably, have been glad to sell for cash - they disposed of their barter cloth to wholesale and retail cloth merchants as quickly as they could, for they needed money to pay the Syrian silk producers - but since the English usually took much the greatest part of the silk at market they had to accept barter. All English correspondents in the Levant were constantly reporting to London barter transactions in such terms as these : Have just now made a bargain with Sidi Hassan Eben Abdraman for 74 bales silk of which I 8 Latakia, I 2 Antioch, 5 Adaci, 39 Fine Mountain, making in all about 28 Kintal at 22 per R.
Aleppo and Devonshire Square: English Traders in the Levant in the Eighteenth Century by Ralph Davis