Abstract: The London East India Agency Houses, Industrialisation, and the Rise of Free Trade: Adaptation, Survival, and Demise, c. 1800-1850

Anthony Webster


This paper will examine the rise and evolution of the London East India agency houses during the early nineteenth century. Their commercial activities and efforts to shape the policies of the British government in India and the East will be a central theme. In this they were forced to compete with provincial industrial interests in Britain, and this battle for supremacy will be charted. The paper will offer new critical insights into the debate about the "gentlemanly capitalism" thesis offered by Cain and Hopkins.