© National Portrait Gallery, London

Dudley North

(1641 - 1691)

A successful Restoration merchant and later a Tory politician, Dudley North began his career in the Levant trade with £1,400; nineteen years later, upon his return to London from Constantinople, his capital had grown by more than 1,471 percent, to £22,000. Known as an early proponent of laissez-faire economics, he considered the Mediterranean’s free-trade zone the ideal model. His biographer Richard Grassby notes his “business expertise did not translate readily into political wisdom,” although he was knighted by Charles II and later served James II.

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