Alfred’s grandfather: William Marshall (1780-1828)

William Marshall; East Indiaman off Cape Town; late 18th century map of Cape Town; 1819 map of Mauritius; Sir Ralph Darling, Acting Governor of Mauritius; Map of Leith; Louisa Bentall.


YOU ARE HERE: The Wrong Marshall ► 6. Alfred’s grandfather: William Marshall (1780-1828)

5. The halt, the maimed and the blind◄ ● ► 7. The orphans


Coase presented Alfred’s grandfather, William, as another example of family deceit. To support his claims, he commented on William’s competence, his supposed business failures and the inscription on his grave.

One of the first people I was introduced to, when commencing my research into my Marshall ancestors was “Captain William Marshall”, Charles Henry Marshall’s father. That is how he was presented in the family tree I was given in the late 1980s. The family believed that he had been in the Royal Navy. Mary Paley Marshall’s note to Keynes, saying that he was “a paymaster in the Navy”, and the inscription on his grave quoted by Coase further bear this out (M.P. Marshall 1924; Coase 1994,132). The fact is that he did not serve in the Royal Navy, as Coase correctly pointed out. How, then, did this family story come about?

William was the third son of Rev. John Marshall and Mary Hawtrey. As discussed by Coase, William’s two older brothers, Edward and Charles, became clergymen, but William did not. Coase concluded that this was because “he lacked the brainpower needed for this particular occupation” (Coase 1994,132). This was probably another statement made to entertain the after-dinner guests. Families, however, have closely correlated IQs based on shared genetics and environment, so it is extremely unlikely that William was particularly less intelligent than his brothers or parents (Steinberg 2012). His choice of career suggests that he was simply not attracted to the clerical life. He seems to have had a sense of adventure not displayed by his brothers or his father.

Surat Castle in 2 positions off Dover

Surat Castle. Thomas Whitcombe 1790.

Records show that in 1795, fifteen-year-old William Marshall became a mariner. He joined the Maritime Service of the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) as a captain’s servant to Thomas Palmer Acland of the Brunswick. William made two voyages on Brunswick and moved up the ranks. By the end of 1796 he had been promoted to midshipman, and by August 1799 he was 6th Mate. He then made three voyages on the East Indiaman Canton, by the end of which he was second-in-command with the rank of Chief Mate. His last voyage, as Chief Mate, was on the East Indiaman Surat Castle from 18 April 1807 to 19 May 1809. (T. Benthall 2017; Farrington 1999, 521; Hardy 1811, 170, 188, 200, 215, 233, 264)

The time of William’s service with the East India Company was an interesting one for a mariner. Britain was at war with France and its vassal state the Batavian Republic (The Netherlands). Voyages to the East Indies were risky affairs with ships subject to attack by French or Dutch warships, as well as the inevitable pirates. The East Indiamen were therefore not simple cargo vessels plying their trade between ports. The three vessels on which William served were similar. They were around 1,200 tons burthen, 150 feet in length, 45 feet in beam and 17 feet draught. They were multi-decked ships carrying 36 guns with which to protect themselves. They were effectively semi-naval vessels and were extensively used to carry troops.

A_fleet_of_East_Indiamen_at_sea (Lord Hawkebury Wiki)

A fleet of East Indiamen at sea. Nicholas Pocock 1802.
Wikipedia

William might not have had an academic inclination, but he was clearly not lacking in courage or the significant capabilities needed to be second-in-command of a large, armed, sailing ship charged with moving very valuable cargoes over vast distances through dangerous waters. He would have required skills and ability in seamanship, navigation, tactics and gunnery, logistics, and the management of a crew of 150. He would have had to have been tough and resilient. His berth as Chief Mate was an eight feet square canvas enclosure on the gun deck: canvas so that it could be quickly removed when the gun deck was cleared for action.

As an officer, on top of his salary, he would have been allowed “privilege tonnage” which would have given him the opportunity to trade on his own account, especially in respect of intra-Asian trade. As Chief Mate he would have been paid £5 per month and allowed eight tons of private cargo on outbound and return trips. This could have included chinaware and 246 pounds of very valuable tea when returning from China. These privileges for officers were the primary attraction of the positions, as they allowed the accumulation of private wealth. It is impossible to know how much capital William accumulated, but, given the documented cases, it would probably have been some thousands of pounds. (Chatterton 2008, 150)

William resigned from the East India Company on 19 January 1810. He married Louisa Bentall 9  on 16 February 1810, and the couple moved to Cape Town where William took up the position of Assistant Deputy Paymaster General with the British Army (Leibbrandt 1902, 958; Morning Post 1810). This appointment was probably obtained due to his family’s connections to Thomas Peregrine Courtenay, who was Deputy Paymaster for the Forces within Treasury and controlled appointments throughout the Empire (Fisher 2009a). Courtenay was strongly connected to the Marshall, Bentall, and Adams families who controlled Totnes – the so-called “Adams-Bentall-Marshall interest” (Fisher 2009b). He became M.P. for Totnes in 1811 on the death of William Adams (1752-1811), thanks to the support of this family coalition. Courtenay was a contemporary of William’s and it seems likely that he attended Exeter Grammar School with William for part of his schooling. William’s father, Rev. John Marshall, was the headmaster, while Courtenay’s father, Right Rev. Henry Reginald Courtenay (1741-1803), was the Bishop of Exeter.

Kasteel-de-Goede-Hoop

5 Buitenkant Street.
In 1810 the shoreline was where the train tracks are now.

1788 Cape Town Panorama

As reported by Coase, William and Louisa Marshall arrived at the Cape on 1 October 1810. William purchased 5 Buitenkant Street, which was located near the Cape Town castle and had a large stable and several detached buildings. They remained at the Cape until after March 1816, during which time William and Louisa had four children. Two, Mary and Charles, died as infants, but William (Alfred’s father) and his brother John survived. (Philip 1981, 267)

William then moved to Mauritius with the Army. The British Army Lists for January, February, March, and April 1817 show him as Assistant Deputy Paymaster General, Mauritius (War Office 1817). He then joined the Mauritius Police Force whose website states:

After the British occupation in 1810, a British Officer, Mr. A. W. Blane, took command of the Force.

In 1816 a Corps of Gendarmerie was formed following the French pattern and for linguistic reasons the command of the Force was, at the same time, shared by a British and a French Officer between 1816 and 1818. 10

This is the position to which William moved. He became Commissaire Général de Police, which is translated as Commissary General of Police and is a rank equivalent to that of Superintendent. William was in joint command of the Mauritius police force with M. Journel (La Gazette de Maurice 2007). His duties included dealing with the slave trade that was extensive on Mauritius at the time. 11  He remained in this position until June 1818. His abilities clearly extended to commanding a police force.

Coase and Groenewegen described the disastrous investment that William made in the batelage 12  at Port Louis harbour in December 1817 (Coase 1994, 133; Groenewegen 1995, 32). Both presented William’s failure as being due to his incompetence for, firstly assuming that the port would remain open to trade until 1820, when it in fact closed at the end of March 1818, and, secondly for over-bidding. They further presented him as seeking to shirk personal responsibility by alleging false bidding at the auction and claiming unexpected seizures of ships by the government. They referenced a despatch sent by the Acting Governor, Major General Ralph Darling, to the Colonial Secretary, Earl Bathurst, on 18 March 1819, 13   which includes a memorial from William seeking financial relief on these grounds as well as the destruction of his equipment by the hurricane of March 1818 (Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 1818). (Full Transcript of Despatch)

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 5.42.51 pm MPG 1_1227 Small Henry_Bathurst,_3rd_Earl_Bathurst_by_William_Salter
Portrait of Ralph Darling. J. Linnell. 1825
National Library of Australia PIC Screen 23 #R9877
Sketch of the Isle of France. 1819
The National Archives MPG 1/1227
Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst. William Salter
Wikipedia

This despatch, however, does not support Coase’s and Groenewegen’s comments. Some of their comments also raise questions about the quality of their analysis. Both Coase and Groenewegen, for instance, referred to the investment as being the purchase of “the farm of the batelage or exclusive privilege of shipping and landing goods in the harbour of Saint Louis.” This was close to a verbatim quote from William Marshall’s memorial, but William used the correct name for the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis, not Saint Louis. Also, this memorial was dated 31 December 1818 and addressed to Earl Bathurst, rather than dated April 1818 and addressed to the Assistant Governor, as claimed by Coase. William did address two memorials, both dated 6 April 1818, to Major General Gage John Hall, the Acting Governor at the time, but these do not contain the statements quoted by Coase and Groenewegen. The repetition of the naming error by Groenewegen also suggests that he might have simply paraphrased Coase’s work rather than re-examining the primary sources.

Some historical background will be helpful in analysing Coase’s and Groenewegen’s propositions. Mauritius was captured from the French in 1810 and Sir Robert Farquhar was appointed Governor on 4 December 1810. He remained as Governor until 20 May 1823, but returned to England from 10 November 1817 until 6 July 1820. During his absence he was represented by Acting Governors, namely Major General Gage John Hall from 10 November 1817 until 10 December 1818, Colonel John Dalrymple from 10 December 1818 until 6 February 1819, and Major General Ralph Darling from 6 February 1819 until 6 July 1820.

Mauritius was a centre for French naval and mercantile activity in the Indian Ocean. When the British captured the island in 1810, the requirements of the Navigation Act meant that only British ships could trade via Port Louis. This caused a significant drop in trade and threatened the financial viability of the island as it did not have a developed agricultural base. In 1814, Farquhar opened the port to trade, but was rebuked by his superiors. In March 1817, however, he persuaded the Colonial Office to open the port to free trade for one year and part of the reason for his return to London was to lobby for its extension. The one-year concession expired in March 1818, but the restriction was ultimately removed in 1819 following Farquhar’s lobbying in London.

William paid $23,000 per year for the two-year contract, but claimed that the auction had been rigged and that bids above $17,500 were not the result of fair competition (Transcript). Included in the despatch is a report to Darling from Colonel Draper, the government officer responsible for the conduct of the auction, that makes it clear that William was right. The bidding was indeed rigged, and, what is more, rigged on the orders of the Acting Governor:

I beg to state, for Major General Darling’s information, that I have every reason to believe that no competitor appeared beyond the Sum of 17,500 Drs per annum, except Bidders employed by Government to run up the sale, if possible, to the amount of 24,000 Drs the price fixed by Major General Hall. (Transcript)

Draper also provided a certified copy of Major General Hall’s orders to him on the matter, which include the following statements:

I therefore suggest that the propriety, and expediency of its [the batelage contract] being again put up to Auction on Friday next, and that unless Twenty four Thousand Piastres are bid it shall be bought in for Government.

With a reference to the enormous profit of last year, I should not feel myself justified towards the Government, if I permitted it to be disposed of on lower terms, for alltho’ it possibly may so happen that the profits of the future year, may not equal the present, (which is quite a speculative question) yet I cannot foresee such a disproportionate return as is represented –

We can have no difficulty in finding active, faithful, and respectable Englishmen to take charge of so important, and lucrative an Establishment. (Transcript)

It is perplexing that Coase made no reference to Draper’s report despite Darling specifically stating that it was the reason for his recommending that relief be given to William. Coase, by selectively quoting from Darling’s despatch to avoid the reference to Draper, instead presented Darling’s request as being based on William’s inability to fulfil the contract. Coase wrote of Darling:

The next Acting Governor did, however, forward William Marshall’s memorial with the comment that it was “reasonable … to afford Mr. Marshall some relief … there appearing no chance whatever, of Mr. Marshall being able to fulfil his Engagement.” (Coase 1994, 134)

Whereas what Darling actually said (with Coase’s extract highlighted) was:

I presume from Colonel Draper’s statement, a copy of which I have the honor to enclose herewith, Your Lordship will consider it reasonable under the circumstances of the case, to afford Mr. Marshall some relief. I must at the same time request to be favored with Your Lordship’s Commands as to the Contract being closed, there appearing no chance whatever, of Mr. Marshall being able to fulfil his Engagement. (Transcript)

Coase, it seems, wanted a quotation that supported his claim that William was not very smart or capable.

Colonel Draper’s note also makes clear that Major General Hall clearly expected Port Louis to remain open to foreign ships after March 1818. He could not have justified his valuation of the batelage contract on any other basis. He could not have reached his valuation if he had been contemplating the closing of the port three months into the contract term. With the governor, and therefore the local government, expecting the port to remain open, it was not unreasonable for William Marshall to have had the same expectation, and to have had his expectation reinforced when he saw government bidders advancing the price well above historic levels. It is also quite plausible that William’s claim of public reports regarding the continuation of free trade were true, especially as Farquhar had gone to London to seek an extension of free trade.

William also complained that soon after taking over the contract, ships were seized for carrying goods that, whilst prohibited, had previously been allowed to be landed under certain restrictions. These were probably goods controlled under the Navigation Act. These seizures were ordered by Hall and represented a tightening of the rules imposed by Farquhar who Hall believed to have been too loose in his application of the law. He was not supported in this move by the local Admiralty Court and as a result he suspended the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, and the Collector of Customs (Colonel Draper). This was one of a number of actions that led Earl Bathurst to recall Hall to London at the end of 1818, citing “lack of judgement” (Fletcher 1984).

Coase further implied that Hall had refused William’s first memorial because William’s claims of a rigged auction and the seizure of ships lacked merit. This was not the reason. Hall, it seems, did not want his actions brought to the attention of the Colonial Secretary. This proposition is strengthened by the fact that Hall did not forward William’s amended memorial either.

The impact of the hurricane, an event beyond William’s control, should not be lightly discounted. It was a significant natural disaster that caused serious damage. It was the most intense storm recorded to that date at Mauritius and the island has only experienced two of (slightly) greater intensity since – in 1892 and 1960. The Asiatic Journal reported that there were more than sixty dead bodies and that the loss in shipping alone exceeded 350,000 dollars with fifty vessels having sunk, drifted or suffered damage. The frigate HMS Magicienne was one of the ships driven ashore. Its log records:

Daylight, hurricane unabated; observed all the ships in the harbour (except the American brig Jason), forty-one in number, were either on shore or sunk. (Reid 1846, 158-163)

The Asiatic Journal also reported that many houses in the town were ruined and that, “Many planters have lost their all, and the distress is general.” William would have suffered significant losses to his boats, buildings and other infrastructure. Without modern insurance he had to absorb these losses himself with no buffer from profits accumulated from previous periods. (Asiatic Journal 1818, 223,315)

We do not have the results of Earl Bathurst’s deliberations, but it is interesting to speculate whether Thomas Peregrine Courtenay might have played any part in them. In 1819, Courtenay was Secretary of the India Board of Control and Earl Bathurst one of the Board’s Commissioners, so it seems reasonable to assume that the two men were in regular contact. (Fisher 2009a). Courtenay was also related to Bathurst – his grandmother was Bathurst’s aunt. Given Courtenay’s connections to William Marshall, it would seem likely that, if asked, Courtenay would have supported William’s case. It also seems possible that William might have written to Courtenay seeking his assistance. There is, however, no evidence of any involvement by Courtenay.

The inclusion of all the information in Darling’s despatch paints a very different picture of William from that portrayed by Coase and Groenewegen. William should not have offered a price that depended on open trading continuing when this was not guaranteed, but his assumption that it would continue was not unreasonable. He bid too much, but he was the victim of the capricious behaviour of the Acting Governor in both rigging the auction and in his authoritarian application of the Navigation Act. William was also unlucky to have had his business damaged by a severe hurricane. He was granted some relief, but clearly lost a considerable sum: an entrepreneurial man learning life’s hard lessons rather than a fool.

It is not clear how William supported his family after leaving the police, but he remained at Mauritius, and five more children were born there, with the last, Thornton, being born on 6 March 1822 (Family Chart). His wife, Louisa, died on 24 March 1823 at Mauritius, probably from the cholera that was sweeping the island at the time (L. Benthall 1871; Cercle de Généalogie Maurice). Coase and Groenewegen proposed that William then moved to Leith with the children and established a business there. This is not what occurred. The time period is too short for this sequence of events as William is shown as a merchant in Leith in the Post Office Directory for Edinburgh and Leith, dated 18 May 1823 (Post Office Annual Directory 1823, 461). We also know that the children did not accompany their father.

The two eldest boys, William and John, returned to England to attend school most probably sometime during 1821, because on 26 September 1821, Mary Ann, wife of William Searle Benthall and the boys’ aunt, commented in a letter that the two boys had returned to Totnes. Both are described as “very pleasant children,” with William attending Totnes Grammar School as a boarder and John living with the family (M. A. Benthall 1821).

The younger children followed more than a year after their mother’s death. Shipping records show that “Miss Marshall” and “four Masters Marshall” arrived from Mauritius on board the Hero of Malown, docking at Falmouth on 5 June 1824 (Asiatic Journal 1824). A letter written from Craven Street, Westminster, by Thomas Peregrine Courtenay, to Thornton Benthall (William’s brother-in-law), on 8 June 1824 confirms this and the family’s concerns (Courteney 1824). He wrote:

On my arrival here after a most tiresome Dusty journey I was greeted with the intelligence that all William Marshalls children would probably be in London in a few days as Mrs. Jennings has received a letter from their father to that effect   John[a] is most disconcerted as Mrs. Garfield [?] cannot possibly accommodate them  I shall write to Hounslow on the subject today and if I find that your sister[b] does not wish to have them there I have made up my mind to take the whole of a Coach which carries six inside and set off myself with all the family as soon as they arrive but I cannot help having some hope that the Captain of the Ship will have sense enough to send them immediately to Totnes, the poor dear children have only a Negro woman with them and what we are to do I cannot imagine   I am afraid that Mary[c] will be completely overcome with all this additional anxiety – Old Mr. Waterfield and his son[d] came to call on me last night and found me as you may suppose rather nervous for I had received eight letters in addition to [illegible]   They were uncommonly kind and offered to take some of the children but I cannot impose any more on their good nature.

[a] John Benthall. His residence in London was at 37 Craven Street, Westminster and the address from which Thomas Peregrine Courtenay wrote this letter.

[b] Samuel Adams and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at Hounslow. Elizabeth was the sister of John, Thornton, and Louisa Benthall.

[c] Thomas Peregrine Courtenay’s daughter, Mary (born 1811).

[d] Thomas Nelson Waterfield (1799-1862), who later married Thornton Benthall’s niece, Elizabeth Benthall (1804-1886), on 17 May 1826.

It is not known whether they did go to Totnes, but they ultimately went to Leith.

The timing of William senior’s return to England is not clear. He must have left Mauritius by February 1823 in order to have met printing deadlines in Leith. He probably returned during 1822, but is not recorded as having attended the celebration in Totnes for the 80th birthday of his aunt Dorothy Marshall on 29 August 1822, although his sons, William and John, are (D. Marshall 1822; Copy and transcript). This suggests that he was either already in Leith, with his sons in Totnes for the school holidays, or had not yet arrived in England.

I support Coase’s contention that William is the person listed as a merchant at John’s Place, Leith in the 1823, 1824, and 1825 Postal Directories. There must have been a commercial purpose for William to have set up as a merchant in Leith, which is a long way from Totnes and Devon. He possibly had commercial connections with his brothers-in-law or his cousins in Devon and London. He could have been arranging the purchase and transport of products from Leith or the delivery of products from the family’s overseas and southern interests.

Coase further described William’s career in Leith, saying, “As was perhaps to be expected, this business venture [as a merchant] does not appear to have been a success since by 1827 his occupation is given as a clerk” (Coase 1994, 134). Groenewegen repeated this proposition (Groenewegen 1995, 33). Neither is correct. Their misconception is best explained by examining the entries in the Postal Directories for Williams Marshall in Leith from 1823 to 1827: 14

1823 1824 1825
1823
 
1824
 
1825
 
1826 1827
1826 1827

Coase’s statement that William was shown as a merchant as well as a clerk in the 1825 Postal Directory is incorrect (Coase 1994, 134). There are, in fact, two separate entries on two separate lines for two different Williams Marshall at different addresses. One is our merchant, the other a clerk.

The more compelling, reason for rejecting Coase’s and Groenewegen’s descriptions of William as a clerk is the Marshall entries in the 1827 Postal Directory. There is indeed a clerk at Giles Street, as there was in 1826, but it is the entry above this one that tells the true story. This shows William (Wm.) of the Devon Insurance Company, living at 30 Constitution Street. The Devon Insurance Company was, more accurately, the South Devon Marine Insurance Company, which numbered amongst its directors William’s brother-in-law, Thornton Benthall, and other family connections (Liverpool Mercury 1825). William was obviously representing the family’s business interests in the northern port city of Leith. His maritime and mercantile experience made him an ideal candidate for this position.

There is no explanation as to why William did not have an entry in the 1826 Postal Directory. The South Devon Marine Insurance Company was founded in 1825, so it is possible that William was recruited to the business some time that year or early the next. Whatever the reason, he seems to have missed the publication deadline for the 1826 Postal Directory.

William changed career. He did not fail at his business as suggested by Coase who commented that:

He died in 1828, characteristically without having made a will, was buried with a false inscription on his gravestone, and was forgotten. It is not difficult to understand why Alfred Marshall’s family did not keep his memory alive. (Coase 1994, 134)

William did indeed die intestate, but this should not be taken as implying that there was no provision for his children. William’s probate shows that his estate comprised investments in government securities (a 3½% Reduced Annuity and a 3% Consolidated Bond) worth £1,790, cash of £72, and plate, linen and other items worth £110 (W. Marshall 1828; Copy and transcript). This was a not insubstantial legacy at the time. It is difficult to determine what a comparable value would be today, but if we compare £1,862 to average incomes at the time and calculate what sum would similarly compare to average incomes today, the value is £1.6 million. Using a cost of living index (which, for technical reasons, tends to understate the comparative value), the value today would be £160,000. A healthy legacy whatever the conversion method. 15   Even if he had had some business difficulties in Leith, for which there is no evidence, he had still provided fairly generously for his family via his investments. Clearly not someone devoid of financial acumen, as Coase suggested. It is quite possible that he died suddenly, and given his relatively young age of 48, had not yet considered it necessary to make a will.

The inscription on William’s gravestone was:

William Marshall – Died 17th Jan 1828 aged 47 formerly Paymaster R.N. (Arthur 2017).

Groenewegen supported Coase’s proposition that this demonstrated the family’s tendency to enhance their social status (Groenwegen 1995, 33), although it is unclear as to why saying he had been a paymaster in the Navy instead of the Army would be self-aggrandisement. The inclusion of the “R.N.” on his gravestone is, however, easy to explain. William had been involved in maritime activities against the French and Dutch fleets during the Napoleonic wars as second-in-command of a well-armed ship. His only family in Leith at the time of his death were probably his children, who undoubtedly would have heard stories of his experiences of this time before they were born. He had also been involved with the military as an Army paymaster, which his son William would have remembered, and he had been a policeman. His family thought he had been a Naval officer. They put it on his gravestone and kept on believing it. As I said before, he was introduced to me as “Captain William Marshall”. Nothing conspiratorial or self-aggrandising. And given his positions on the East Indiamen, stating his occupation as “paymaster” was the opposite of self-aggrandisement.

Coase stated that the family had forgotten William and that he had been erased from the family memory (Coase 1994, 147). This is demonstrably not true. In the first instance, his extended family could hardly have forgotten him when they were, in fact, employing him. More than that, the Marshall descendants are avid collectors and preservers of family history and memorabilia. I am William’s great-great-great-granddaughter and would not have known of him had he been forgotten. This, however, is about more than just what is on the family tree.

Charlotte, Charles Henry Marshall’s young bride, kept a journal while on honeymoon in the Lake District and Scotland. On 15 October 1857, she recorded:

After Breakfast got into a Leith Omnibus … & we went to Leith. We saw the house where Charles used to live when a boy, & we also saw the place where his father was buried, which is in a Scotch Church Yard in Constitution Lane. The English Church having no Burial Ground attached to it. (C. A. D. Marshall 1857)

Charles had not forgotten. He shared his memory of his father with his new wife, nearly thirty years after his father’s death, and they kept remembering.

I have a copy of the following photograph of Charlotte’s drawing room, taken at some time during World War I when my grandmother, Margaret Ayliff, and her siblings, Janet, Charlotte, and Harold, visited their grandmother, Charlotte, while they were serving as VADs and in the Royal Air Force in France and England. It clearly shows portraits of William and Louisa prominently displayed on the wall, flanking the sideboard. I also have photographs of those portraits, which are now held by other members of the family. Charlotte kept William Marshall’s memory alive even after Charles’s death in 1874, and throughout her second marriage to William Knighton, and it has been passed on to younger descendants of Charles Henry Marshall.

Charlotte Augusta Dring Marshall's house in Surrey

Charlotte’s drawing room, prominently displaying portraits of Charles Henry Marshall’s parents,
William Marshall & Louisa Bentall, on either side of the sideboard
©Megan Stevens

Coase incorrectly suggested that William, because of his incompetence, had dissipated the capital he had received from his father and his wife on ill-considered business ventures, ended up as a clerk, and, that because the Marshall family would not discuss failures, all knowledge of his wife and her illustrious relations would be lost (Coase 1994, 147-48). Groenewegen incorrectly suggested that lack of knowledge of the Bentall family connections was due to William having squandered his material inheritance from his father and father-in-law (Groenewegen 1995, 33). William was in fact an entrepreneurial man who built his own capital, had a business failure and lost some money, but kept trying. He was supported by his family and, at his death, left a healthy legacy for each of his children. He died relatively young, far from his relatives in Totnes, and he, his wife and their families were remembered. They still are.


5. The halt, the maimed and the blind◄ ● ► 7. The orphans


Megan Stevens
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