Michael Lok, Mercer and Merchant Adventurer
By James McDermott
ok, the other principal protagonist in the northwest enterprise, was the antithesis of Frobisher's semi-piratical adventurer. A cultured man of business, much-travelled polyglot and scholar of cosmography, Lok brought respectability and a valuable list of business acquaintances to the prospective project in 1575. However, his uncharacteristic lapse of judgement in committing the greater part of his own wealth to the project, together with his subsequent bitter enmity with Frobisher, brought his financial ruin in the aftermath of the enterprise. He was to spend the rest of his extremely long life attempting to recover some small part of his fortune and reputation. This paper examines the life of one of the more complex and enigmatic examples of the "good merchant".