The end of trade with Livorno and the slave trade forced the Earle brothers to reduce their involvement in trade overall while seeking new specializations, such as the import of cotton from Guiana and Brazil and agricultural products, especially oilseeds, from Canada and the Baltic. Meanwhile, they lived as gentlemen, both brothers building large country houses, while William became a major collector of paintings. Thomas died in 1822 and was praised for his contributions to public service and his sociability as well as his success as a merchant. William survived a further 17 years, much of it in Rome. The book ends with an attempt to explain the success of the Earles which rested on striking a profitable balance between innovation and caution and an awareness of the ever-present possibility of disaster and bankruptcy.
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