The Last of the West Country Merchants: The Life and Times of Matthew Morry (1750-1836), One of the Last Generation of Merchant Adventurers in the Newfoundland Fish Trade

The Last of the West Country Merchants: The Life and Times of Matthew Morry (1750-1836), One of the Last Generation of Merchant Adventurers in the Newfoundland Fish Trade

by Christopher J. A. Morry


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The Last of the West Country Merchants is a historical narrative which focuses on one family, the Morrys, who originated in Devon, England and came to the Southern Shore of Newfoundland at the end of the 18th Century. The immigrant ancestor of that family, Matthew Morry, was a self-made man whose meteoric rise from ordinary Able-bodied Seaman, to Master Mariner, to ship owner and small-scale fish merchant and trader, came at a time when the larger West Country merchants, better known in the literature, had already made their fortunes from the lucrative Newfoundland cod fishery and retired in comfort to their provincial estates in England. Men like Matthew Morry, of whom there were no doubt scores, each occupying a position of prominence in one of the many Newfoundland outports, represented a different class of entrepreneur - the last of the West Country merchants - those who came and stayed. In so doing, they provided the essential infrastructure and economic support to their small communities that allowed the people of those villages to eek out an existence during the first half of the 19th Century at a time when support from England was declining, along with the interest of the large merchant class families, and the push for Responsible Government was just beginning to take shape. This important aspect of Newfoundland's development has received insufficient attention in the major histories of Newfoundland, in the estimation of the author, and hence the impetus for his preparing this book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781775353508
Publisher: Avalonia and Hibernia Enterprises
Publication date: 03/24/2019
Pages: 234
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.49(d)

About the Author

This is the second foray into the field of historical writing by the author who, having been educated and trained in the environmental sciences, and having worked in that field for over forty years, has produced scores of scientific and technical papers, book chapters and research and science policy monographs.
This second book contains the essence of his 25 years of research on his own family, the Morrys of Devon and Newfoundland, as a model of the group of small to medium-scale merchants from the "West Country" who came at the very end of colonial exploitation of the Newfoundland cod fishery and chose to remain in their adopted home.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements

Chapter One - Land and Sea

Chapter Two – Building the Historical Narrative

Chapter Three – Early Roots In Stoke Gabriel

Chapter Four - The Transition Years

Chapter Five - The Dartmouth-Newfoundland Connection

Chapter Six - Striking Out For Parts Unknown

Chapter Seven – Court Cases Involving Matthew and John Morry

Chapter Eight - Caplin Bay and Ferryland

Chapter Nine – First Generation Newfoundlanders

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