29-THE QUASI-WAR

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In 1798, the French Republicans, feeling betrayed by the USA, wanted the latter to return the French aid package that had helped them win their independence in 1781. Since Congress was in no position to do that, there was no telling what the disorganized French government of the times would do. It was quite a threat, and if Mayer was to defuse the situation, he needed to have a strong presence in the City. That same year, he sent his very able 21-year-old son Nathan to England. Mayer’s plan was to get the American Congress to send diplomats to France and offer to compensate France by having the USA buy the unoccupied French lands west of the Mississippi, while Nathan worked on a plan to have the English Navy destroy the very royalist and redundant French Navy.

The Quasi-War, as it became known, had to do with the signing of Jay’s Treaty in 1793, a trade agreement that Mayer and Benjamin had deemed indispensable to the growth of the American economy. America and France had signed the Treaty of Alliance in 1778, and Jay’s Treaty was superseding that agreement. The French and many Americans had been incensed, for it had been seen as a treacherous act by both the US Congress and the Directorate in France. Naturally, the French revolutionaries insisted on the return of the 500 tons of French gold given to America in 1778.

When Mayer asked Robert Morris to get Congress to send an American delegation to Paris to offer compensation by putting the Louisiana Purchase on the table, he was sure it would work. If America bought the Louisiana lands from France, the latter would receive a huge sum of money and the Quasi-War would stop. But first, France had to reclaim the port of New Orleans that they had ceded to the Spanish when they left America after the Treaty of Paris, in 1763. Barras was to get Talleyrand to have the Spanish sign a treaty. He was to promise the Spanish that the half of San Domingo that belonged to them and was presently occupied by France would be returned to them in exchange for New Orleans. Once this was done, he would get the Americans to buy the whole of Louisiana from the French, and it would more than compensate for France’s generosity in 1778.

However, when the American delegation, consisting of three diplomats, arrived in Paris, they were treated very poorly by the Marquis of Talleyrand who had the gall to request personal compensation in order to intervene on their behalf. The American diplomats were so shocked by this turn of events that they returned immediately to America to report to Congress. Both parties in Congress spoke with one voice in condemning the French response to their genuine peace overture. Meanwhile, the French Navy continued seizing and sinking American merchant ships in the Caribbean, while the fledgling US Navy retaliated as best it could. That’s where things stood in 1798, and from Mayer’s point of view, the Quasi-War had to be stopped before it escalated.

Mayer especially didn’t want the English Navy getting involved in the Quasi-War. He controlled the American monetary system, that of England, and indirectly that of France, and he didn’t want the three countries who were now under his financial control to be fighting each other. France was definitely not an enemy, and because America, England and France were unofficially trading partners, one navy was all that was needed, the English Navy.

Nathan was to use Bonaparte in order to get part of the French Navy destroyed, stopping the Quasi-War in the process, and it had to be done without his knowledge. Since Bonaparte was being groomed as France’s soon-to-be strongman, he had to be handled with care. Nathan would tell Ouvrard to do whatever was necessary to get Talleyrand and Barras to send young Bonaparte on his Egyptian campaign, and we know what happened to the French Navy in that campaign.

The French Navy would be completely destroyed at Trafalgar a few years later, but for now, the important thing was to put an end to the Quasi-War. Finally, in 1800, when Bonaparte became 1st Consul, a deal was struck regarding the Louisiana Purchase, and the non-existent French-American naval war stopped. The Louisiana Purchase would be finalized in 1803 and it would give Bonaparte the wherewithal to declare himself Emperor Napoleon.

In London, Nathan was doing very well. By 1810, he had taken over from the Goldsmid Bros. and created his own bank, making him the most powerful banker in the City. His bank had immediately started setting the daily price of gold for the whole world. However, because Mayer had wanted to make sure Nathan didn’t have any official ties with him or the First Bank of the United States, Nathan opened his bank in the City, using his own name. That way, all possible ties to a father who lived in a ghetto, to the First Bank of the United States, and to the French real estate scam disappeared. Nobody would ever know where all that power and gold came from. Anonymity was the key to success.

Other than wanting to do a good job and making his father proud, Nathan had another pressing personal matter. He had been introduced to two families in London, and though it had been Moses Elias Montefiore’s family that had taken him in, Nathan had closer ties to the Levy-Barent Cohen family from when he was 18. In 1795, on a trip to America with his father and brothers, they had stopped over in London, and that’s when Nathan had met Hannah Cohen who was 12 at the time. When he arrived in London in 1798, he was quite anxious to see the girl he had dreamt about during all those years.

He lost no time in founding a family. In 1806 he married Hannah Cohen, in 1808 Lionel was born, and in 1809 he moved to St. Swithin’s Lane in New Court, where he proceeded to set up the official home of his banking dynasty. But first, Nathan had to take over from the Goldsmid Bros.

In taking over from the Goldsmid Bros., he was helped by destiny. Benjamin Goldsmid committed suicide in 1808 just prior to Nathan’s moving to Swithin’s Lane. It was said that Benjamin had been depressed for some time. When his 19-year old son converted to Anglicanism, it had shaken him up, and when his wife and daughters followed suite, it appeared to do him in. At that time, he had expressed the thought that he was saddened by the thought of being the last Jew in his family, and no doubt, that had led him to be further depressed, enough to take his life. One morning, he was found in his bedroom dangling at the end of his bathrobe chord.

Abraham was troubled by his brother’s suicide, and doubly so because he was now alone in facing his firm’s business obligations. He had bought £14,000,000 of Government Consols, and in order to do so he had contracted a sizeable loan with the East India Company in Amsterdam. In 1810, for reasons unknown to the public, the East India Company called in Abraham’s loan. That of course forced him to sell the Consols at below market, thus making him suffer a huge loss that resulted in the insolvency of the firm. Abraham honorably used the whole of his personal assets to pay back what he owed, and that left him penniless. He committed suicide in 1810. A handgun was found near his body lying in a wooded area not far from his home.

While Nathan was in the process of creating his bank in the City, Napoleon had turned France into an orderly centralist state. Napoleon had then been encouraged to go and defeat what was left of the Holy Roman Empire in Eastern Europe, which was achieved at the Battle of Austerlitz. By 1810, Napoleon had served his purpose by destroying most of the Ancien regimes, and it was time to get rid of him. But Nathan thought he could use him one last time by sending him to Russia in order to force the Tsar to open the country to private gold mining, and perhaps to let the Tsar know that there was an international power much bigger than Russia. There would always be time to get rid of Napoleon later.

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28-BATTLE OF THE NILE

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Because Bonaparte was popular and a nuisance, the great statesman, Talleyrand, who had been invited back from self-imposed exile and who had accepted now that the Terror was over, took him under his wing. Barras encouraged Talleyrand to get Bonaparte to go to Egypt. Nathan who was now in control in the City, had established a French chain of command. He operated through Ouvrard who financed Barras, who in turn financed Talleyrand. Bonaparte didn’t know it, but Nathan wanted to destroy a redundant French Navy which happened to be the fiefdom of royalists, and was sinking American shipping in the Atlantic.

So, Bonaparte went to Egypt, and after unloading his troops along the Egyptian coast, the French Fleet naturally found a place to lay at anchor while waiting for the troops to return. When Nathan got word, he leaked the information to the Admiralty in London, and the British Navy was only too happy to rush to Egypt in order to sink the French Navy that had defeated them at Yorktown. A new war tactic was being created, that of financing both sides in order to get the desired results.

When Bonaparte went off to Egypt in early 1798, the Directorate had chosen Admiral de Brueys to command the fleet. Bonaparte had no choice but to accept this incompetent, boot-licking coward, but he wasn’t overly concerned, for all he wanted was to get as many men as he could to the other side of the Mediterranean. Bonaparte even sacrificed space and sailors aboard the ships in order to transport more soldiers. Bonaparte was quite eager to go to the Middle East. He must have dreamt of riches and glory in wanting to reclaim Palestine, and to dominate trade with India by constructing the Suez Canal. Pillaging Egypt was no doubt in the back of his mind as well.

Admiral Horatio Nelson was the one chosen by the English Admiralty to command the English Fleet. Nelson was taking the looming battle very personally and very seriously. Like most of his countrymen, he wanted to settle the score for what had happened at Yorktown. The English Naval defeat in America had not gone down well, and Nelson had taken off with fourteen ships filled with hooligans hell-bent on killing frogs. Meanwhile, after unloading Bonaparte’s army, De Brueys anchored down in the Bay of Aboukir.

Although his naval force was inferior to that of Admiral de Brueys, Nelson was itching for a fight. When the English fleet was spotted in early afternoon on August 1st, 1798 by the artillery unit deployed on the heights dominating the entrance to the Bay of Aboukir, the Commandant of the French unit duly gave the alert, but there was no reaction on the part of Admiral de Brueys. His ships were at anchor, chained together from bow to stern, thus forming an impenetrable line of defense… or so he thought. Many of his more intrepid officers, Vice-Admiral Cheyla and others insisted he recall the sailors who were on shore and immediately take the offensive, for the favorable winds would have given them a decisive advantage. But he chose to do nothing as fourteen ships filled with vengeful, bloodthirsty Englishmen came bearing down on him.

Admiral de Brueys reasoned that it was 5:00 pm and was too late in the day for the English to attack. He didn’t even see the need to position frigates at the head of his anchored fleet to stop Nelson from sailing behind his position. It was as though he had decided to self-destruct. The great admiral kept repeating that Nelson would not attack on that day. So, the canons were not in position, and the decks were cluttered with everything except cannon balls, powder, and artificers.

Upon seeing the French fleet in such a vulnerable position, Nelson kept on going and attacked the ships on both port and starboard sides simultaneously. The French fleet was blown out of the water, while Nelson’s ships remained unscathed. Admiral Villeneuve, who commanded the flotilla at the head of the line and who could have used the favorable winds to counterattack, decided to escape, thus saving two ships of the line and two frigates.

The Egyptian campaign thus began in defeat. The only good thing that came out of the whole campaign was due to the great number of scientists Bonaparte had brought along with him. They, at least, were responsible for some major scientific discoveries. Politically, Bonaparte left behind an efficient Egyptian governing body. However, with regards to the survey of the proposed Suez Canal, the plan to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea was stopped dead in its tracks. Because it was wrongly concluded that the waterway would require locks to operate and would be very expensive and take a long time to construct, it was abandoned. The survey report made clear that the Red Sea was 33ft higher than the Mediterranean, an error of monumental proportion.

Bonaparte had several costly victories in Palestine, but they all went for naught. He had accumulated tons of artifacts, but since he had no ships to bring them back to France, it turned out that it was the English Navy that eventually transported most of those artifacts back to London. As for Bonaparte, leaving his army behind in Egypt, he took off for Paris. When he arrived, his propaganda machine had worked wonders, and he was again acclaimed as a hero. Thereafter, Barras quietly retired, and Bonaparte casually assumed power by declaring himself 1st Consul with Talleyrand by his side.

27-RECRUITING BONAPARTE

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Paris Commune1n late 1793, when Gutle heard of the Vendean genocide, she took it very hard, for she hadn’t yet gotten over Marie-Antoinette’s execution on Oct. 14th of that same year. If her man was the most powerful banker in the world, and he was, he just had to do something about stopping the atrocities.

Mayer agreed. The time had come to put an end to the terror. When Barras returned to the Convention from Toulon, he was widely acclaimed as a hero, and Mayer seized the moment. He wrote to Ouvrard telling him to finance Barras and give him all the means necessary to put an end to the Paris Commune working out of Paris City Hall. Not only was Robespierre running the guillotine at full speed, but he had set up procedures for mass trials after which 50 to 60 victims were executed at a time.

Barras became very affluent in a very short period of time and took charge of the Convention. Barras was influential, and when he sensed that the moderates were ready to get rid of the mad dogs (les sans-culottes) in the Assembly, he moved to have Robespierre and his lieutenants arrested on July 27th, 1794. However, Robespierre was brought to the Hotel de Ville run by his friends, the sans-culottes. So, Barras had no time to lose. He accepted the nomination to become commander of the Paris military forces and immediately went to City Hall to fetch Robespierre. Robespierre was wounded in the process, and the next day, on July 28th, 1794, he was guillotined, followed by 80 more mad dogs the following day. The French Revolution ended overnight.

A year later, when the Royalists threatened to take control of the Convention, Barras had a way to stop them. He employed an idle Bonaparte who had long sought from the revolutionary government to be reinstated as brigadier general. On October 5, 1795, Barras commanded him to stop the Royalists who were marching on the Convention. Using artillery, Bonaparte massacred 300 Royalists on the steps of St. Roch Church. The young man received all the honors of victory, and Barras praised him highly in the presence of the assembly. His appointment to the rank of general of division was voted by acclamation while his protector, Barras, settled in the Luxembourg Palace.

Barras was a completely debauched individual, and he welcomed bribes from military suppliers and big business in order to pay for his mistresses, and his aristocratic lifestyle. Ouvrard himself gave him a contract to supply the Navy. He was quite generous towards his friends as he entertained many at the Castle of Grosbois which served both as his summer headquarters and his hunting lodge. Suppliers, solicitors, horses, and adventurers of all kinds, accompanied Barras wherever he went. Barras was the most popular of the five directors and his court presented a singular mixture of the biggest names of old aristocratic France and ‘nouveaux riches’. Being indirectly financed by Mayer, and having the full support of Bonaparte to whom he had given his mistress, Joséphine Beauharnais, he had nothing to worry about.

From his headquarters in Luxemburg Palace, Barras became known as le ‘roi pourri’, the rotten king. Of course, this dictatorship wasn’t meant to please the Royalists who were almost totally excluded from power, but they weren’t about to demonstrate in the streets of Paris again, especially since Bonaparte, the ruthless one, was in charge of the Paris garrison and was protected by Barras. However, after the Toulon massacre, when Barras had asked Bonaparte to take charge of the Paris Garrison and protect the Convention, he had warned Barras, “Once my sword is drawn, it will not be sheathed until order is restored”.

On March 9, 1796, Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais. Two days after his marriage, Barras sent him off to take charge of the Army of Italy. It was quite a promotion, but it was in fact a way to keep him out of the way. Not surprisingly, what Bonaparte found was an army  weak, hungry, and running out of supplies. Nonetheless, in less than one year, he had recruited one hundred and fifty thousand soldiers, five hundred and forty cannons, not to mention horses, uniforms and weapons for all.

When he went to Italy, he was quite aware that his future rested on the shoulders of his ‘grognards’, and he set about turning them into soldiers. In no time, he had them eating out of his hand, and if they called him “Petit Caporal,” it was not because of his rank or his size, it was an affectionate term they used in addressing a great General who spoke their language. He made them feel he was one of them by showing great familiarity without ever jeopardizing his commander status. He was a man of stature who treated them with respect.

Bonaparte authorized his soldiers to take what they needed in an orderly way, and because northern Italy was such a rich region, the conquering army soon started looking like one. As Bonaparte’s fame and fortune grew, so did his soldiers’ self-esteem, for they were the recipients of many promotions and decorations and they basked in glory. In no time at all, the “grumblers” were draped in well-fitting uniforms, had shining weaponry, and the officers were riding spirited horses. The medals that were handed out in profusion made the spectacular uniforms even more striking. It was only natural for Bonaparte to make Italy his home base, where he accumulated victories and worked on his propaganda machine, for he had Italian blood and spoke Italian.

While he ruled in Italy, Bonaparte never stopped chasing the Austrians. Throughout the autumn of 1796, he whittled away at the Austrian army with victories at Castiglione, Bassano and Arcole. In March 1797, just two months after routing the enemy at Rivoli and driving them from northern Italy, he crossed the Alps into Austria itself, and by April 7, 1797, was within seventy-five miles of Vienna. Stunned by the advancing French armies, the Austrian Emperor sued for peace.

His way of fighting was like no other before him, he made great use of artillery, moved his army with lightning speed, and never satisfied with just winning a battle, he always went in for the jugular. He was a ruthless foe, using ungentlemanly tactics unknown to Ancien Regime field commanders.

Each victory was not only related in detail, often in advance, but embellished as well. In every French village, it was a common occurrence to hear the church bells heralding a news bulletin describing the great exploits of Bonaparte, the crier never failing to stress the General’s great courage and prowess. The fact that these bulletins were more often than not written by the great man himself didn’t seem to bother anybody. The French were a battered people and they couldn’t get enough of these great military feats involving brave Frenchmen. Bonaparte was building a solid reputation that no one in metropolitan France would dare attack, not even the newly-entrenched landed gentry. Understandably, when he returned to France in 1797, he was acclaimed as a hero.

26-TERROR

KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE, AND KNOW INNER PEACE

In the latter part of 1792, the Illuminati set up a shadow government, the Paris Commune, in the Paris City Hall. Sitting as Montagnards in the Legislative Assembly, their representatives voted to abolish the Assembly and replaced it with the Convention. The September Massacres followed. For a whole week, teams of workers went about butchering a lot of innocent people. They would leave Paris City Hall in the morning wearing leather aprons and carrying hatchets, and go and butcher inmates and patients in prisons and hospitals. They would return at night with bloodied axes and sullied aprons to collect their day’s pay. It transfixed the French and all of Europe with fear. And even worse, as the September Massacres were being carried out, the guillotine started beheading people by the thousands. The Illuminati were not only bringing down the political structures of the Ancien Regime, they were also venting their deep festering hatred for their perennial enemy.

The Roman Catholic Empire was rather helpless during this cataclysm, but when the royal family was guillotined, the Roman Catholic Empire put all its might behind the Federalists in order to protect the catholic populations that were resisting in the Vendean region to the west and in the other major cities. In retaliation, the revolutionary government gave orders to apply scorched earth tactics to the Vendean region, and a genocide of great magnitude was carried out.

In order to save Toulon, the Federalists had taken it with the help of the French navy whose many Royalist commanders espoused their cause. However, once in command of the port, faced with a superior advancing Convention army who had just defeated their counterparts in Nimes, Avignon and Marseille to the west, the Federalists decided to surrender their city to the English whose navy had been blockading the port. It was a good tactic, for with thousands of English soldiers occupying the port, the Convention forces were kept at bay.

Mayer was appalled by the Vendean genocide where thousands of Catholic men, women and children were being exterminated, but when he got word of what was happening in Toulon, he became fully aware of the magnitude of the Terror. The year before, one Paul Barras, an aristocrat, had been elected to the Convention Assembly as a Montagnard representing the Var region. He was an unscrupulous, penniless and debauched individual from a well-to-do and respected family. He was initiated as a Freemason and joined the Jacobin Club like all Illuminati recruits of note. Since he represented the Var and had a military background, he was sent as emissary to the Italian Army Command which had been sent to liberate Toulon. When he got there, the Convention troops were in disarray, and nothing was being done. That’s when a young artillery lieutenant called Bonaparte suggested to the generals that it would be best to shell the port before any attempt to launch a frontal attack. The generals paid no attention to him, but Barras did. Since Barras had the authority, he told the generals to give the young man permission to get his canons. In quick order, Bonaparte proceeded to gather all the artillery he could from Marseille and other surrounding cities as well as the Italian Army Command to which he belonged. From the heights of Toulon, Bonaparte had a great advantage over the English forces, and after relentless shelling, the English were forced to flee taking some Federalists with them. But when told what happened to the Federalists who were left behind, Mayer was aghast. Barras and Freron had ordered their troops to take the city and butcher the Federalists at will. Notably, a wounded Bonaparte, not having participated in the massacre, was made General, and he owed it all to Barras.

In the meantime, Ouvrard had reported to Mayer that he had started selling off the unwanted secondary assets of the great estates he had purchased. The sale of the detached lands and buildings, as well as the furnishings and livestock, had pacified the local notables and farmers who didn’t have enough money to bid at auction and felt the revolution had cheated them. By encouraging them to pool what metal money they had, Ouvrard had made it possible for them to buy a lot of good property and chattels at an affordable price. Ouvrard told Mayer that he sometimes hesitated selling off the chattels because he didn’t know what prices to set. So far, he was using the original Convention evaluations set in pounds, but he wanted Mayer to confirm what exchange rates to use. Although there was hardly any metal money in circulation, fortunes in silver and gold had been hidden away.

Mayer had obviously thought it all out. The French livre would remain fixed to the English pound. 4 livres worth 1 oz of gold or 16 ozs of silver. With regards to the property values, the Convention evaluations would do just fine. Mayer told Ouvrard he was primarily interested in receiving gold as payment because of the sixteen to one weight advantage. He didn’t tell him the real reason.

The agents in France were extremely motivated, for they were becoming rich beyond their wildest dreams, commissions on billions of pounds being paid out in silver. But now Mayer wanted to thank them in a special way. He told Ouvrard that when the remaining Émigré real estate was bought up, he and the agents would be free to use their commissions to bid on any property they wanted. But when the auctions stopped, he was to tell François to stop printing assignats. Mayer would acquaint François with that decision from his end.

With thousands of tons of gold accumulating in the Goldsmid vaults, Mayer would soon need to have one of his sons take charge of family affairs in the City. Nathan, the pugnacious one, would be sent to the City in London when he reached 21, in five years’ time.

25-REAL ESTATE SCAM

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PART III – How the City became the head office of international finance

In 1789, upon hearing that Benjamin was feeling poorly, Mayer decided to go to America with his three teenage sons, Amschel, Salomon and Nathan. The last time he had travelled to the new world was in 1785, following Haym’s death. On this trip, he wanted the boys to get a feeling for this wondrous new country, but above all, he wanted the boys to meet Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, Benjamin being old and in poor health, they arrived too late.

But business went on. Mayer met with Moses Hayes in Boston, Ephraim Hart in New York and the Gratz Brothers in Philadelphia. Robert Morris who had done such a superb job as head of the Bank of North America and Superintendent of Finance had passed on the torch to his young protégé, Alexander Hamilton, who was now Secretary of the Treasury. Alexander was a true prodigy and was handling the young nation’s finances brilliantly. When Mayer met with Robert Morris, he told him how satisfied he was with their work and that he was henceforth free to use his own good judgment in the running of the country’s finance. Of course, Robert was expected to consult with Alexander, Moses, Ephraim and the Gratz Brothers if urgent matters came up, and directly with Mayer in Frankfurt if he deemed it necessary.

He then met with Washington in his magnificent renovated Mount Vernon estate and congratulated him on his election victory. He assured him that since trade and commerce was developing at breakneck speed, he and his political supporters would continue receiving unlimited funding in order to carry out their mandates as they saw fit.

Next, he met with Alexander Hamilton and congratulated him on getting George Washington elected. He also told him how impressed he was with the work he and Robert Morris were doing. He then brought up the subject of the Bank of North America charter that was expiring in 1791. Hamilton was way ahead of him on that one, for a first draft of the 1st Bank of the United States of America charter that was to run for another twenty years was already being circulated and was meeting with very little opposition. Mayer was indeed impressed by this young man.

The states were developing by leaps and bounds, Mayer’s people were rich and getting richer, and his bank’s charter was about to be renewed for another twenty years. There was absolutely nothing for Mayer to worry about. He always treated his collaborators as equals, and always made sure they had enough money to reach any goal or satisfy any whim without their having to ask Mayer. People don’t necessarily like being on a string, but severing a link to such bounty is unthinkable, especially when it’s so easy to forget the string exists. One thing was certain, America and his bank could look forward to twenty years of peace and prosperity.

The only matter that needed immediate attention was getting permanent residences for the President and Congress. Mayer agreed that having the federal capital at the head of the Potomac River was the best choice since the area was slightly in the southern portion of the new nation, and strategically well-protected. Having an executive building for the President and his staff separate from that of the people’s representatives was deemed important as well. However, although the constitution, drafted by Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson who had just come back from Paris, had been submitted the year before, some states were still holding back. Nonetheless, Alexander was certain the US Constitution and the Compromise of 1790 would be accepted, and would lead the way in the creation of a strong federal state.

Before setting sail for the trip home, Mayer and his boys decided it would be a good idea to go by way of Paris, in order to see what was happening in France. Mayer was anxious to know how much gold bullion his real estate operations were generating. When they arrived in Amsterdam, they took a Thurn and Taxis mail coach in order to avoid problems with the French authorities. Mayer had written ahead to David Schiff, Moses Montefiore, Gabriel Julien Ouvrard, and the Goldsmid Bros. convening them to a meeting in Paris.

The meeting took place in Gabriel’s mansion in Paris, and since it wasn’t a good idea to display wealth at that time, they kept the meeting low key which suited everybody. Mayer and the boys listened with the greatest attention as they were briefed on the state of the real estate sales and on the latest developments of the ongoing revolution.

The counterfeit assignats printed by Johannot were being circulated undetected, and Ouvrard’s agents, Huguenots working out of the lodges of the Grand Orient of France, were having no trouble buying the prodigious properties as they were put up on the auction block. Ouvrard and his agents flipped the properties to anxiously waiting French buyers with the help of Cambacérès’ law firm that was always on hand to do the necessary legal work. The word had gotten around that gold could be used to buy the properties at a reduced price, and the wealthy buyers were queuing up. For instance, if a buyer personally purchased confiscated Church property at auction, he had to use assignats which he had to buy at face value from the government. By purchasing a property worth a 100 million pounds at auction, he needed to buy 100 million pounds’ worth of assignats at face value. But if he bought the same property from Ouvrard, he would only need to have 50 million pounds in gold.

As the sales were completed, Ouvrard had the gold transported to Paris by Thurn and Taxis. The gold was then shipped down the Seine to Le Havre where a waiting Baring ship from the East India Company took it to London where it was deposited in the Goldsmid Bros. vaults in the City. Montefiore in London made sure everything went smoothly at that end. So far, there had been no hitches and the elite group assembled in Paris didn’t foresee any. Mayer’s boys were in admiration of their father who had set up such a marvelous scam where no one was harmed that hadn’t been already.

Mayer and the three boys left Paris in good spirits, except for Nathan who was complaining about not being allowed to go and witness the demolition of the Bastille prison. In order to humor Nathan, Mayer talked about plans for the family as it pertained to London. Soon, he would need to have one of his sons take charge of family affairs in the City. It was a foregone conclusion that Amschel, the eldest son, would be the future head of the family and remain in charge in Frankfurt, and that Salomon was to go to Vienna to supervise the massive banking operations in the loosely united Holy German Empire. As for London, since Nathan spoke English best, he would be sent to the City when he reached 21. That definitely took Nathan’s mind off the Bastille.

When Mayer got back to Frankfurt, the first thing he did was sit down with his wife Gutle and acquaint her with the latest American and French developments. All was going as planned in America, and there wasn’t much to add to what she already knew. Though Benjamin’s passing had been deeply felt by Mayer, business carried on as usual. The 1st Bank of the USA was about to receive a 20-year charter, and the buildings housing the President and Congress were to be built at the head of the Potomac River. With Morris and Hamilton at the helm, things were going fabulously well.

In France, however, it was another matter. The year before, in 1789, the Illuminati had financed a meeting of provincial representatives who had been either named or elected in order to draw up lists of grievances in view of bringing them to the King’s attention. When they congregated in Versailles, the clergy and nobility refused to sit in the same room with them, and the King cancelled the meeting. Mirabeau, a great orator, then convinced the people’s representatives to hold a meeting of their own. Naturally, when they declared their body to be the official government of France, the King sent in the National Guard to disband them. Mirabeau then seized the moment, stood up to the sergeants, and the assembly refused to disperse.

Planned famines continued to undermine major French cities, and the Illuminati were using the Palais Royal, the Paris residence of the King’s cousin, the Grand Master of the Orient of France, Louis Philippe d’Orléans, as their center of operations. The courtyard was a meeting place for all the hotheads, lowlifes and unsavory characters attracted by the firebrand speeches. In July of that year, a throng assembled in the courtyard, fired up by the speeches, went and stormed the Bastille, the much hated royal prison. The prison governor was decapitated and his head was paraded through the streets of Paris.

A few weeks later a procession of very odd masculine ladies accompanied by Lafayette’s National Guard went to fetch the royal family in Versailles. Oddly, the royals were brought back to Paris without any intervention on the part of Lafayette and his guard. The royals were put under house arrest, and the newly formed National Constituent Assembly had followed them to Les Tuileries in order to be at the center of power. Because the National Assembly had no source of revenue, its members immediately voted to confiscate and sell church property as planned. They voted to have assignats printed and sold for hard currency, and only those with assignats were to be allowed to buy the confiscated Church property put up at auction throughout France.

When the auctions got going Ouvrard’s agents were already in place and Johannot’s high quality counterfeit bills were being circulated. A number of prestigious properties had already been bought. Ouvrard’s agents having unlimited amounts of assignats had no problem outbidding the French who were quite willing to wait and buy the properties for gold at a discounted price. Ouvrard was directed to ship the gold bullion to the Goldsmid Bros. in the City, in London. Francis Baring, the Chairman of the East India Company in Amsterdam, was charged with conveying the bullion to the Goldsmids, and always had a ship at the ready in Le Havre. The Goldmids were soon the most powerful bankers in England.

Gutle was greatly troubled by the counterfeiting operations, but was happy to hear that the bullion was being stockpiled in the City, as planned by Mayer. She was relieved that nobody knew what Mayer was really worth, for most people didn’t even know he existed. Some knew he was rich, but since he lived in a ghetto, they didn’t know what to make of it. It would have been a far reach for anybody to even think that Mayer controlled the monetary system of the United States of America. In time, the American politicians would question the bank’s origins and wonder who the owners were, but Mayer would maintain total anonymity. People didn’t know that what was best for the bankers was also what was best for the people, and they tended to envy and even revile the bankers. But since there was not much they could do if they didn’t know where to point the finger, that’s the way it would continue to be. As long as everybody was kept guessing concerning the working of the monetary system, and as long as Mayer did what was best for the country, the people would eventually and grudgingly accept the fact that it was the only way democracy could work without ever really understanding what democracy was.

24-MANIFEST DESTINY

KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE, AND KNOW INNER PEACE

Mayer went to meet with Benjamin who had just arrived in Philadelphia. Though Mayer was much younger, they had become the best of friends, and they greeted each other enthusiastically. They had enjoyed the time spent together before Benjamin left for France, and again when they had met in Paris. They couldn’t wait to have a tête-à-tête which they arranged to have the day after the official welcoming ceremonies that were planned for Benjamin.

Benjamin’s German hadn’t improved much, but Mayer had since picked up an English word here and there, and they managed to communicate quite well. Mayer congratulated Benjamin on his masterful use of Morris Notes sent to him in Paris in order to pay for the French arms supplied by Vergennes and sent to Schiff in Rotterdam. Thanks to him, David had channelled vast quantities of surplus French arms to the Colonies. In other words, Mayer wanted to let Franklin know that without him, the victory at Yorktown, the founding of the Bank of North America and the about-to-be-signed Constitution would have been impossible.

Benjamin thanked him for his kind words, but he was more interested in knowing how Robert Morris had used the French gold to capitalize the Bank of North America. So, Mayer started by saying that the French gold was intact and had been used to back up the Morris notes. Morris had become the Bank of North America’s main shareholder, and the bank was on the verge of obtaining a 20-year charter from Congress. Mayer admitted that he now controlled America’s monetary system and that it was making him very rich, but was quick to add that past a certain point being rich is of no consequence. The only thing that mattered was accumulating more gold bullion in order to create more credit and strengthen the burgeoning economy. There were, however, two main concerns. Getting more gold out of the ground was limited by current technology, and it was hard to maintain anonymity while controlling the monetary system.

The subject then turned to France. Benjamin had much to say, and Mayer was all ears. Benjamin felt that France was a kettle ready to boil over. Masonic Lodges were mushrooming throughout France since the Congress of Wilhelmsbad, because members no longer had to swear on the Catholic bible in order to become freemasons. The change had opened the door to the Huguenots who were infiltrating France from England, Holland and Germany. Somebody was pushing for change in France, and that initiative seemed to be originating in the City, in London. Benjamin was quite sure the English bankers were out to destroy the Ancien Regime of France. People like Mirabeau and many others were already talking about France having a Constitutional Monarchy like that of England.

It seemed that Versailles was creating a problem. The King was completely isolated and surrounded by his aristocratic cronies in a lush setting while a starving Paris grumbled. Benjamin had personally felt this unrest in Paris in spite of the fact that Versailles was now occupied by Louis XVI and his young wife, a rather congenial couple.

Mayer then gave Benjamin some bad news concerning the Treaty of Alliance of 1778 that had unofficially made France America’s major trading partner. Since then, America’s economy had grown tremendously and now needed a stronger trading partner. Because of turmoil in France, Mayer thought that a formal trade agreement with England had to supersede the treaty that Benjamin had ratified in Paris in 1778. He knew that the French and the American citizenry would be very upset with what they would deem treacherous, which, in fact, it was. Nonetheless, Mayer wondered if Benjamin could accept to work with him if such a trade agreement were reached. Mayer saw it as an urgent matter, and a logical thing to do in that America was mainly English-speaking and Protestant just like England, notwithstanding their historical, economic and cultural ties.

Benjamin was truly taken aback by this suggestion and remained quiet for the longest time. His natural inclination was to mistrust any man who dealt in betrayal. But because he knew Mayer was right in that they had no control over what was happening in France, and because he truly admired this man, he dismissed his gut reaction. He knew that Mayer felt the same way he did about France, and that he felt very bad about not honoring the Treaty of Alliance, even though it hadn’t been an official trade agreement. Reluctantly, he agreed with Mayer. Mayer added that he would make it up to France by always giving it top consideration in all future economic and cultural matters and would do everything in his power to give France a Constitutional Monarchy like that of England.

In the meantime, if Congress was to be receptive to the idea, Mayer told Benjamin his help was sorely needed. Although he was thinking of retirement, he urged him to accept the seat he was being offered in the Senate. With him sitting in the Senate, and Alexander Hamilton controlling finances under Morris’ leadership, they could easily steer the ship. It was the only way to successfully address the pressing matters facing the 13 Colonies. Getting the constitution signed, a President elected, permanent residences built for both the President and Congress, and a trade agreement signed with England would require all their attention.

So far, Hamilton had written newspaper articles that had led to the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by New York, and he was now in the process of drafting the constitution with Madison. With regards to the ceded lands by England, since the individual Colonies had claims on them, Mayer had asked Robert Morris to forgive their war debts on condition that they sign over their rights to Congress, and it seemed to be working. There wasn’t much doubt that all would accept, and in so doing, they would be accepting the authority of Congress. That in turn would open the door to their accepting a residence for both the President and Congress up the Potomac River, and thus, a federal state.

Because Mayer thought things were going well and in the right direction, he added that it was probably now time to start thinking about the territorial boundaries of this great nation in the making. After the signing of the Paris Treaty in 1763, when the French had repatriated their administration and military leaving America to the English, and the signing of the Paris Treaty of 1783, when the English had left the 13 Colonies to the Americans, it was now time to start thinking of expansion westward.

Mayer was also thinking of a way to repay France for coming to America’s aid in 1778. America would offer to buy its vast land possessions that stretched from New Orleans to Hudson Bay and to the west right up to and including the great prairies for a substantial amount of money. The windfall would also compensate in part France for its loss regarding the upcoming trade agreement with England. Mayer would find a way to arrange a mindboggling deal that both France and Congress would be only too happy to agree to. Then, a huge buffer zone north of the 49th parallel could be created, and the USA would be free to expand westward in an orderly fashion along that parallel. Once the West was opened, the Spanish-Mexican problem to the south would be addressed. Congress would first help Mexico gain its independence from Spain, and down the road, offer to purchase the Mexican lands north of the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande would then become the southern boundary line. The American states west of the Mississippi would be incorporated as warranted by population growth, and the USA would become a coast-to-coast nation, with Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Unlike Europe, the USA would be a coast-to-coast homogeneous country, with a mainly white, English-speaking, Protestant population. It was the ‘manifest destiny’ of the USA to become the greatest country the world had ever seen.

The Jew and the goy looked at each other in total agreement, and embraced. In that instant, they took full measure of the situation, and the long silence that followed, steeped in humility and mutual respect, spoke volumes about what they had accomplished.

23-FEDERALIST PAPERS

KNOW HOW WE GOT HERE, AND KNOW INNER PEACE

In 1785, Benjamin returned home to Philadelphia after a very successful nine years spent in France. Mayer decided it was a good time to go to America. He would spend some time with Haym Salomon, Robert Morris, Ephraim Hart and the Gratz Bros and consult with Benjamin as well. He had arranged to be in America around August, but upon hearing of Haym’s passing, he had left immediately and had arrived in New York in late June. Haym and Ephraim had recently gotten the Bank of New York, a branch of the Bank of North America, up and running, and it was proving to be a huge success. Robert Morris who had just been replaced by Alexander Hamilton as Superintendent of Finance was by Ephraim’s side, and that had been very reassuring for the business community of New York.

Hart was at dockside to welcome him when he arrived, and the first thing Mayer wanted to see was the building that housed the Bank of New York. The Bank of Philadelphia on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia had become the Bank of North America in 1782, but the Bank of New York built by Haym on St. George Street in NY was the new seat of power. When Mayer saw the building, he was very proud indeed, but his thoughts quickly turned to Haym. He was very grateful for all the work he had done, and he asked to be driven to Haym’s residence in order to pay his respects to his wife. He would visit the bank later.

Haym was thought to be a very wealthy man, for he and Morris had officially organized and financed the meeting of the politicians in Philadelphia in 1774, and had supplied military equipment to all the militias from the very beginning. Nobody knew Haym had been working for Mayer, and being so busy with what he was doing, Haym had put very little money aside for himself and his family. So, Mayer wanted to tell his wife that she didn’t have to worry about the welfare of her family, and that Ephraim Hart would make sure that the family’s future was secure.

After spending the night at Ephraim’s mansion, the two men met with Robert Morris the next morning in the executive offices of the bank. The mood was one of friendship and celebration. These men, not forgetting Haym of course, had accomplished a great deal in a very short time, and Mayer was justly proud of their achievements. With the Bank of New York as the new seat of power, with branches already built in Philadelphia and Boston and others being built in the other capitals of the 13 Colonies, Mayer’s federal bank was here to stay. The merchants and the politicians had no choice but to acknowledge that this financial institution was formidable, and no one was inclined to regret the Continental Dollar. Unofficially, there was only one currency in the 13 Colonies, the US dollar, and it was the currency that would continue to be used in the existing branches of the Bank of North America. It would become the official currency of the nation when the Constitution was ratified.

Many in Congress reviled the unknown bankers that were getting fabulously rich running the Bank of North America, and Morris, who had been the Superintendent of Finance as well as the bank’s main shareholder, had quietly resigned. Although the central bank was stable, inspired confidence, and was helping the economies of the 13 Colonies grow at breakneck speed, and although it was becoming, like the Bank of England, an indispensable financial institution, it was best not to foment envy. So, Mayer, in wanting to keep feelings under control in Congress, and wanting to maintain a low financial profile, had asked Morris to resign from the post of Superintendent of Finance the year before. He had been replaced by three non-descript commissioners of finance.

When faced with the need to find a new Superintendent of Finance, Mayer’s attention turned to young Alexander Hamilton who seemed to be the right man for the job. The young prodigy from New York, who had recommended Robert Morris for the post of Superintendent of Finance in the first place, was a protégé of both George Washington and Robert Morris, and if put forward, his nomination would be assured. Morris had painted a very favorable picture of the young Hamilton saying how vital he had been in the creation of the B of NY, and Mayer was anxious to actually meet him.

Alexander Hamilton, a boy of questionable lineage had come to New York by way of the Caribbean islands. Thanks to a clergyman who recognized his talent, he came to New York and studied at King’s College. He was a brilliant student and a courageous one. In August 1775 he formed a militia called the Hearts of Oak which later participated in a successful raid against the British. He had seized the cannons stored in the Battery at the tip of Manhattan in spite of being under fire from HMS Asia. Alexander was naturally made Captain in the Continental Army. He was rapidly promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel in George Washington’s ‘family’ of aide-de-camps. He became disgruntled when he lost his most favored position to the young Marquis de Lafayette when the latter arrived from France in 1777, and he resigned his commission. Early on, Morris had taken him under his wing and had sent him back to King’s College to study law. In 1779, he introduced him to Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a very wealthy merchant whom Alexander married in 1780. In 1781, Alexander fought at Yorktown, after apparently making his peace with Washington. Nonetheless, after Yorktown, he went back to his wife in Albany where he got special permission to pass the bar exam before the required time of internship. He was elected to Congress and was appointed receiver of taxes for NY in 1782.

In 1783, Hamilton came to practice law in NYC where he distinguished himself by defending the rights of loyalists who were returning to NYC. Morris liked his ideas concerning central banking and central government, and he had hired his law firm to draft the incorporation documents for the Bank of New York. Hamilton had used the Bank of England as a working model, as per Mayer’s instructions, and he had done a superb job.

They adjourned for lunch with the intention of inviting Alexander Hamilton to the afternoon session. After lunch, when Mayer was introduced to Hamilton, he congratulated him on his drafting of the bank’s constitution. However, Mayer didn’t think it was necessary to say more for now, though he was definitely impressed by the young man. Mayer turned the discussion to another matter that was on all their minds, the Constitution of the United States of America. They all knew they had to act fast, especially when the two biggest Colonies, Virginia and New York, were both reticent to the idea of a strong central government. So, Mayer told then that there was no time to lose if they were to succeed in unifying the 13 States.

An initial constitution in its most simplistic form had to be drafted as soon as possible, one that could easily be signed by all. Since the agricultural states in the south disagreed with many of the ideas held by the merchants in the north, and since many in both camps were anti-federalists, it was imperative to have the document written by a southerner who believed in a strong central government in collaboration with someone from the north who had the same convictions. Thomas Jefferson from Virginia had been the obvious choice, but he was presently in France, so James Madison, his closest associate, who had drafted Virginia’s Constitution, was the next best choice. When Mayer asked if anyone knew of someone from NY who would be prepared to work with Madison and had the necessary skills to sell the newly drafted constitution to the New York Congress, all eyes turned to young Alexander.

Hamilton felt he had to say something and simply said he would be honored to help out in whatever way he could. He had met James Madison and he thought highly of him. He, like the others, knew that if New York and Virginia, both anti-federalist states, were made to take the lead and sign the Constitution, then it would be easy to get the other Colonies to come on board. They all agreed that Hamilton seemed to be the right man for the job, but he was from NY, and they all knew that it would be better if it was written by Madison who was from the south. Hamilton simply added that he would be willing to cooperate wholeheartedly with Madison who was perfectly qualified to draft the official document, and that he would welcome Madison’s input in helping him promote it via the local newspapers. He was convinced they would work well together, for they both believed in a strong federal state.

Mayer was quite happy with that answer and told him so, but not being inclined to squander praise, he immediately brought up the other pressing matter, that of the assumption of war debts. Mayer told them he was going to Philadelphia to meet with Benjamin Franklin who had arrived from France. Benjamin was getting on in years and was thinking of retiring, and Mayer would try to convince the ‘Father of Independence’ to accept a seat in the Senate, and use his influence while working with Morris. The two men would spread the word that war debts incurred by the individual Colonies would be forgiven if they surrendered their rights to Congress regarding the lands east of the Mississippi, the lands that had been ceded by England in the recently signed Paris Peace Treaty. All the federalists were bound to welcome such an initiative, and by going along with it, the 13 States would be officially recognizing the authority of Congress and the existence of the Bank of North America. The desired political union would be achieved, and the bank would become entrenched as a financial institution. Best of all, the compromise would in no way affect the bottom line of the Bank of North America. The war debt incurred by the Colonies would simply be transferred and become a federal debt. The amount owed Mayer’s bank, the Bank of North America, would remain unchanged, only the name of the debtor would change.

When he asked Morris what progress was being made regarding the matter, he answered using quite colourful language. The whole universe tended to take the path of least resistance, like water flowing downhill, and people were part of that universe. By facilitating the solution of a problem with a financial enticement, all the states were bound to welcome the initiative, it was just a matter of time. They were all amused by his rhetoric, for they all knew he was right

Mayer told him not to take anything for granted and to keep pushing as hard as he could. He was to spread the pork freely, and to wine and dine everyone who needed to be swayed. Results were all that mattered. Then he turned to Hart and asked him how the Bank of New York was doing. Ephraim answered that confidence in the bank was growing on a daily basis, and that the bullion accumulating in the bank’s vaults was having a snowball effect.

Mayer had already inspected the bank’s vault, so the news didn’t take him by surprise. He then turned his attention to another pressing political matter. They all knew that George Washington would be acclaimed President when the Constitution was signed, but the two major obstacles, that of getting the Constitution drafted and signed, and finding a place to house the President and Congress were pressing matters. He wanted to know what the politicians were saying, and turned to Morris once again. Morris said that as far as the Constitution was concerned, there was no consensus. With regards to the Constitution, he suggested that it was indeed a good idea to have James Madison and his staff in Virginia draft the Constitution in consultation with Alexander Hamilton and his staff in New York. As for a President, there seemed to be no real opposition to the candidacy of George Washington. The residence of the President and the Government, however, was another matter. Morris went on to say that the only way to satisfy the two big States, Virginia and New York, was to locate the houses of government in a neutral central place like at the head of the Potomac River. This neutral territory would become an independent center of power very much like the City in London.

Mayer then turned to Hamilton to ask him if he had further suggestions with regards to the drafting of the Constitution. Alexander reiterated that he was more than willing to work with Madison, for he was the most qualified, having already drafted the Constitution of Virginia. As far as he was concerned, the only thing that was absolutely imperative was to have a tripartite system, one where the three branches of power, the legislative, the executive and the judiciary were separate. He and his staff could start promoting the ideas of federalism by publishing weekly instalments in all the local papers, something that could be called the Federalist Papers. He was ready to start as soon as Mayer gave his OK, and he added one more thing. If the Constitution was to be kept simple in order for everyone to sign it at the earliest possible time, as suggested by Mayer, it was imperative to keep the Bill of Rights out of it. They would have to make that very clear, and promise the politicians that as many amendments as necessary could be added after the signing. That would keep the debate wide open while making it possible for everyone to sign.

Mayer agreed, of course. For now, selling the idea of forgiving the war debts of the major colonies, and offering generous compensations to those with little war debt in exchange for giving up their land claims, was urgent. Hart was to continue coordinating the bank’s activities, those of Philadelphia, Boston and New York as well as the others soon to be created. Madison and Hamilton were to have all the financing needed to have the constitution drafted in the shortest delays. The last item that Mayer wanted to bring up was the trade issue with Britain.

According to Ephraim, there was a great cry to re-open trade with England. The merchants had always traded with England, and although the States had signed an Alliance Treaty with France in 1778, trading with that country was proving to be very unsatisfactory. Something had to be done to stimulate transatlantic trade. Mayer said he would decide what to do after meeting with Franklin.