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The Silk Road to Leytonstone  By David Boote

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The merchants were isolated, living apart, not having family with them, and were reliant on locals for communication in Arabic.  Italian Jewish merchants established businesses in Halab and took local Jewish people into their employment and protection.  During the 18th c the consuls extended greatly the number of local people, mainly Christian, to whom they granted privileges, which included tax exemption.  These privileged Christians and Jews came to number about 1,500.

The foreign merchants would go hunting and horse-riding outside the city walls.  Otherwise alcohol and food were the chief ways to release the tensions of a restricted way of life.  There was a society at Halab with initiation rites, the ‘Knights of the Malhue’ 1 .  The foreign merchants dressed more like Turks than Europeans, and David Bosanquet II had himself painted in that costume when he was back in England.

1  ‘ A History of the Levant Company’ by Alfred C Wood

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David Bosanquet II returned to London and in 1729 became a director of the London Assurance Company, the practice of insurance having begun with ships and goods at sea and then extended to fire and life insurance.  A younger brother Pierre became the family’s representative in Halab.  In the period 1731-36 the Bosanquet family (David, Samuel and Claude) were the fourth largest British business importing silk from Halab, accounting for 8.3% of the trade 2 .  David Bosanquet II died in 1741 and was buried in Woodford where he had owned a house.  

2  Aleppo and Devonshire Square : English traders in the Levant in the eighteenth century by Ralph Davis

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