A Great Merchant of the 17th Century

 

Sir Samuel Mico's trade links with Weymouth

 

by Eric Gill,  the Dorset Daily Echo

 

Extracts

 

 

               Samuel Mico was a Kondon merchant and shipowner, trading overseas to the Straits, which we call the Mediterranean, also with Turkey, Greece and the East Indies.

 

               He exported wools and woollens and other textiles, imported silks and calicoes from the East. also cargoes of Spanish wines and fruit from the Mediteranean and the Levant. He was also interested in the Newfoundland Trade.

 

               Like other merchants of his time he found  Weymouth a well situated and convenient port for carrying on a foreign trade and he used it extensively for his own ships and conducted hi business from premises on Weymouth Quay, afterwards known as the George Inn.

 

               Mico was admitted to the Mercers'  Company in 1633. The Mercers' Company today, as always, are the oldest , largest and wealthiest of the City Livery Companies

 

               In 1665 he became master of the company. Literally he became the most important merchant in the world, for the trade in wools and woollens of English manufacture was the greatset of all and the Mercers' Company controlled it.

 

               He was on the Court of Assistants of the powerful Levant Company and an Alderman of the City of London for the Ward of Farringdon Without.

 

               A prominent member of the East India Company he was knighted on March 18 1645. (other sources say 1665 MC)

 

               The East India Company suffered considerable losses through the depredations of Dutch pirates backed by their own Government, who resented England competing with them for the Eastern trade which they considered to be their own preserves. (Pepys diary  19 Feb 16--)

 

               In 1660 Sir Samuel stood for Parliament at Weymouth but was not elected. (His successful opponent was a Churchill .  MC)

 

               What is thought to be one of the earliest importations into England of golden raisins is mentioned in the lading of his ship which arrived at Weymouth in 1650 from the Levant and Malaga -- 240 cases Solis raisins, 37 butts sack  sheery, 91 pleges Malaga and Smyrna raisins.

 

               Sir Samuel entertained many big personages at his Weymouth house, Judges of the Assize visiting Dorchester among them

 

               The George, built in 1550 was demolished in 1880.It was a picturesque two-storied stone building with large residential accommodation.... ( Its replacement is a brick three storied building  MC)

 

               In1801 a famous privateer Unity of Weymouth, recorded that he remained hidden in a chimney of the George for a long time and thus escaped the press gang who were looking for him.

 

 

 

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