Claude Scott Food im­porter and trader

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOOD RIOTS -

Claude Scott made a for­tune out of the food short­ages through clever, opportunistic deal­ing. As a boy in Whitechapel he came to know the Lon­don traders and be­came a corn fac­tor in South­wark. By 1790, he was a wealthy mer­chant-im­porter, con­trol­ling about a quar­ter of the trade in the Lon­don wheat mar­ket of Mark Lane.

In De­cem­ber 1794, Scott wrote to the Trea­sury not­ing that while corn was ‘scarce and dear’ at home, he thought he could get large sup­plies abroad. They asked him to im­port as much as pos­si­ble, in se­cret from Canada, the Baltic and Poland. Progress was slow but when the car­goes ar­rived he re­leased the wheat care­fully and slowly in Lon­don and the prov­inces, to keep the price steady. In th­ese two years alone, he was paid an ex­tra­or­di­nary £1,250,000 as ad­vances, which he in­vested in East In­dia stock, and made more from fees as a gov­ern­ment agent, dis­pos­ing of goods seized on neu­tral ships. Soon Scott bought an es­tate near Brom­ley and in 1802 both he and his son Sa­muel (who mar­ried an heiress) be­came MPs in safe seats, as firm sup­port­ers of Pitt. In 1824, now a Dorset squire, he was made a baronet.

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