This chapter examines the issue of obligation in British Atlantic trade during the period from 1750 to 1815. It describes how merchants fulfil their obligations in their daily business procedural norms, payment, and what contemporaries called ‘indulgence’. It analyses the obligatory relationship of elite merchants with the state and the wider community in which they worked. This chapter suggests that obligations were an important part of the business culture in this period and presents a story which highlighted the fact that obligations involved far more than one-to-one reciprocity.
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