29-TERROR AND BARRAS

In the latter part of 1792, the Illuminati set up a shadow government, the Paris Commune, in 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 population 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.

Though the Holy Roman Empire was rather helpless during this cataclysm, when the royal family was guillotined, it 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 major French 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. And it wasn’t much better in France’s major cities.

In order to save Toulon, the Federalists had taken it with the help of the French navy whose 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 it was only when he got word of what was happening in Toulon did he become fully aware of the magnitude of the Terror and decided to put a stop to it. Maybe someone like Barras could be useful.

The year before, 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 ordered their troops to take the city and butcher the Federalists at will just like they had done in Marseille. Notably, a wounded Bonaparte, though 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 hadn’t had enough money to bid at the auctions and had felt cheated by the revolution. 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 the only thing that mattered was receiving gold as payment because of the sixteen to one weight advantage. He didn’t tell him the real reason.

The Huguenot agents were extremely motivated, for they were becoming rich beyond their wildest dreams, commissions on billions of pounds being paid out in silver were mindboggling. 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 still available. And when the auctions stopped, he was to tell François to stop printing assignats. Mayer would acquaint François with his decision at 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.

28-REAL ESTATE COUP

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 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, and directly with Mayer in Frankfurt if urgent matters came up.

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 they were always made to feel free to satisfy any whim without 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 more or less in the south, 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. Regardless, 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 wanted to see first hand how his real estate operations were going. 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 paid to do the necessary paper 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 badly depreciated assignats which he had to buy at face value from the government. In other words, by purchasing a property worth 100 million pounds at auction, he needed to buy 100 million pounds’ worth of assignats at face value, whereas if he bought the same property from Ouvrard using gold, he could get it for 50 million pounds.

As the sales were completed, Ouvrard sent the gold 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 German states. 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. 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, just like Mayer had foreseen.

When the auctions got going Ouvrard’s agents were already in place and Johannot’s high quality counterfeit bills were ready to be circulated. A number of prestigious properties had already been bought by Mayer’s people. 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 soon became the most powerful bankers in England.

Gutle was greatly troubled by the counterfeiting operations, but she was happy to hear that the operation of stockpiling gold bullion in the City, as planned by Mayer, was going smoothly. She was especially relieved knowing that nobody would ever know what Mayer had done, and that most people would continue ignoring his existence. 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 ddn’t grasp 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. However, 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.

27-MANIFEST DESTINY

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. When Benjamin learned that Mayer had financed the creation of the recently-opened École des Mines in Paris with gold extraction in mind, he was in full of admiration of the man.

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, for 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.

The news was no surprise to Mayer. It was now his turn to give 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 treachery, which, in fact, it was. Nonetheless, Mayer wondered if Benjamin could accept to work with him if such a trade agreement were signed. Mayer saw it as an urgent matter as well as a logical thing to do. America was mainly English-speaking and Protestant just like England, and the merchants in both countries were familiar with each other’s ways, for they had been trading with each other for a long time.

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 of state. 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 thinking of a way to repay France for coming to America’s aid in 1778. America would 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. His bank would advance the money, and the loan would be added to the federal debt. For France, the windfall would be a compensation for aiding America in 1768, as well as 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 and would accomplish.

26-FEDERALIST PAPERS

In 1785, Benjamin returned home to Philadelphia after a very successful nine years spent in France. Mayer decided it was an opportune time to go to America. He would spend some time with Haym Salomon, Robert Morris, Ephraim Hart and the Gratz Bros, and have the added pleasure of meeting with Benjamin. 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 resigned 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 excluding 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 supposedly 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 in lieu of Mayer, 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. When George Washington became President, and there was no doubt about that, Morris would encourage him to nominate Alexander Hamilton to the new post of Secretary of the Treasury. In the interim, three nondescript commissioners would fill in as managers of the country’s finances.

When George Washington became President in 1789, as planned, he appointed young Alexander Hamilton who was more than qualified for the job of Secretary of the Treasury. The young prodigy from New York, who had recommended Robert Morris for the post of Superintendent of Finance in the first place, had been a protégé of George Washington during the revolutionary war and had drawn up the constitution of the Bank of America in 1781 as well as that of the Bank of New York in 1784. His nomination to the post of Secretary of the Treasury was accepted without opposition.

Alexander Hamilton, a man 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. 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, and he married her in 1780. In 1781, he fought at Yorktown, and then rejoined 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, he practised law in NYC where he defended the rights of returning loyalists. Morris liked his opinions concerning central banking and central government and 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, like he had for the Bank of America in 1781 as per Mayer’s instructions, and he had done a superb job in both cases.

Mayer, Robert and Ephraim 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. 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.

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. All agreed that Hamilton was the right man for the job, but since he was from NY, they further agreed 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 regarding the lands east of the Mississippi, the lands that had been ceded by England in the recently signed Paris Peace Treaty, to Congress. 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 the official 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 Mayer asked Morris, what progress was being made, he answered using 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 specie accumulating in the bank’s vaults was having a snowball effect as expected.

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, but agreed 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.

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. Morris and Hart would continue coordinating the bank’s activities, those of Philadelphia, Boston and New York as well as the others being 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.

25-WILHELMSBAD

 

Mayer didn’t want to scare his wife Gutle by telling her about the huge tract of land he had recently bought on the outskirts of Frankfurt. It was a parcel of around two hundred acres of forest and marshland to the north of the city, well beyond its walls. Now that Haym was more or less confirming what he already knew regarding America, it was obvious he would need more office space. As soon as the landscaping allowed it, he would go ahead with the building of a grandiose manor that would serve as his headquarters. The marshland would be transformed into a vast botanical garden, and he already had a name for the palatial structure to be built at the north end facing south. It would be called Green Castle. Officially, it would be Peter Heinrich von Bethmann’s residence, but unofficially, it’s where Bethmann would run Mayer’s banking operations. Mayer would keep the top floor of one wing for his personal use. The manor would be a perfect place to initiate his children to the world of finance and to the world of the goys. From the terrace of Green Castle there would be a panoramic view of huge stretches of lawn, trees, ponds and many exotic plants and animals, things that were completely foreign to the Judengasse ghetto. It would be a peaceful place where Gutle could go and enjoy the fresh air and the luscious green beauty with the children. He knew Gutle would find this private green paradise hard to resist once she was introduced to it. Above all, this property was subject to the authority of Prince Wilhelm, not that of the Frankfurt Council.

As expected, on a glorious spring day in 1782, Gutle was truly enjoying a picnic with her family on the grounds facing the newly-built Green Castle. A gentle brook was trickling down into a pond where the swans were slaloming around water lilies. Mayer was sitting by her side, her boisterous children were running around chasing the strange creatures that populated the marvelous gardens, and she was happy. However, even though Mayer owned the property, it was part of the goy world, a world that threatened her family.

Mayer is forever trying to reassure his worried wife. He tells her that though their children will know a different kind of world, the family’s roots are so deep, its values so time-honoured and its commitment to honesty so true, that the children will never forget their upbringing. The boys will become powerful men and live with goys, but they will always remember who they are and where they come from.

Gutle knows Mayer is right. Judengasse may be a narrow sunless street, but it is the artery that has brought life, love, and joy of living to them all. Nobody who has lived there can ever forget the bonds that holds the community together. But now that Mayer’s bank, the Bank of North America, had been accepted as the official bank of the United States of America, Gutle has even more reason to worry.

Mayer is more concerned with what is about to take place in Hanau. Prince William is hosting a meeting in Wilhelmsbad, and the participants are coming from all over Europe. The Illuminati, or Enlightened Ones as they like to call themselves, are preparing to free Europe from the yoke of the Holy Roman Empire. The Huguenots and the Sephardim in the City are apparently planning the destruction of the Ancien Regime of France, the cornerstone of that Empire.

After the Huguenots and Sephardim created the East India Company in 1600, they had immediately started undermining their enemy’s stronghold. In early 17th century, they decided to isolate the French King from Paris, the center of French political power, by financing the construction of the Chateau de Versailles. Now, a century later, they were getting ready to topple Louis XVI, and they needed a communications network on French soil. Since 1773, many Masonic Lodges had opened throughout France, and the City bankers had even recruited the king’s cousin, Louis Philippe d’Orléans, as Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France. At the Congress of Wilhelmsbad, the Illuminati’s intention was to have the French lodges break away from the Scottish rite in order to make them available to all faiths. Members had always been required to swear on the Roman Catholic bible in order to become a freemason, and they wanted to do away with that requirement. Prince William, a Calvinist, had embraced the idea, and had allowed them to hold a meeting in Wilhelmsbad, near Hanau.

Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, a very prominent and well-respected French Freemason, organized the meeting, but violent men like Adam Weishaupt also participated. Weishaupt was heard to say that his only hope was to one day see the last priest strangled with the guts of the last king left standing. This did not augur well for France who was the main target.

With the Scottish rite gone, the Illuminati would then start undermining the French political structures and force the absentee King in Versailles to agree to a Constitutional Monarchy like the one created in England a hundred years earlier. In order to separate Church and State, they would confiscate all Church property and sell it at auction instead of giving it to the aristocrats like Henry VIII had done in England. They had already recruited a very powerful individual by the name of Mirabeau, who just happened to be a physiocrat. Mirabeau believed like many French economists of the times that the wealth of nations was derived from the value of land. Benjamin Franklin had held similar ideas when Mayer had first met him, but his thinking had since changed.

Notes backed by Church property would be a huge success at the outset, but the bankers in the City as well as Mayer in Frankfurt knew that human nature being what it is, the people’s representatives would be inclined to print ever more notes based on that success. The Bank of England would then surely take advantage of the situation by dumping a gigantic number of counterfeit notes into the French economy in order to have the currency depreciate and bring down the regime. The bankers would then facilitate the creation of a Constitutional Monarchy with Louis Philippe d’Orléans as king, and Mirabeau as Prime Minister.

Mayer had good reason to believe what he was hearing, and he came up with a plan of his own. He would ask François, the silk manufacturer, who had been a very successful printer in Lyon before coming to Frankfurt, to meet with him. A few years back, his silk mill had not been doing all that well in Frankfurt, and Mayer had asked him to run the goldsmith house in Hanau. He had since taught gold engraving while working on stereotype printing in his spare time. Printing was his first love, and since he missed France, Mayer would offer him the opportunity to return to Lyon by giving him the necessary financing to start his own printing house.

If the Bank of England could print counterfeit French notes, so could Mayer. If François returned to France and started his printing business in the immediate future, he would be ready to print the counterfeit notes in tandem with the new government when created. Having perfected a wet mat method for creating matrixes for stereotype printing and having access to the same paper as the one that would be used by the new government through Julien Ouvrard, he would be able to produce quality notes many times faster at a fraction of the cost.

Gutle was shocked to hear she was about to become a counterfeiter’s wife, and Mayer was quick to explain that his action wouldn’t hurt anybody. He wouldn’t be taking property from anyone, for the properties would already be confiscated. All Mayer would be doing is buying the confiscated properties at auction with counterfeit notes and selling them back to anxiously waiting Frenchmen for gold. The English bankers’ main objective was to destroy France in order to destroy the Holy Roman Empire. Mayer wanted to have enough gold to take control of the Bank of England in order to create more democracies and have America, France, England and the rest of Europe trade fairly and freely with each other. Mayer’s action would not hurt France, on the contrary, he would turn France into a democracy and he would do it in total anonymity.

Mayer added that he was an Ashkenazi first and a banker second, and though he was very rich, he hadn’t changed as a person. He was still Mayer, the happiest man alive, and it was not due to his business activities, but rather to his family. He admitted his ego did influence his business persona, for it was only natural to be proud. After all, he had devised a way to take over the Bank of England.

French-speaking agents, Huguenots all, recruited in England, the Netherlands and Germany would use the new Masonic Lodges in the various French communities as their base in order to communicate with Julien Ouvrard and François Johannot using the dependable and safe Thurn and Taxis mail service. Speaking French and having an unlimited supply of notes, the agents would easily outbid everybody as the properties came up on the auction block. The properties would be immediately flipped to waiting buyers for gold, and the law firm of Jean-Jacques Cambacérès would do the necessary title transfers. Ouvrard, a young financial wizard working in tandem with Cambacérès, would have the Thurn and Taxis immediately transport the gold bullion down the Seine to a waiting ship in Le Havre headed for London. With the properties being the choicest in the world and the French currency depreciating at a rapid rate, wealthy Frenchmen would want to invest in real estate directly and thus bypass the worthless yet very expensive government Assignats. Mayer expected to have accumulated several thousand tons of gold by the time it was all over. The agents, Cambacérès and Ouvrard would all be compensated beyond their wildest dreams, and the gold bullion transported by Thurn and Taxis would be sure to reach the vaults of the Goldsmid Bros. in the City, in London.

Mayer would not be involved directly, and the French authorities wouldn’t know which way to turn, especially with the English bankers flooding the market with their own counterfeit notes. Within two or three years, Mayer expected to have accumulated more gold than any other individual in the world. In a few years’ time, Nathan would replace the Goldsmid Bros. and personally take charge of things in the City.

Gutle wondered what the City was, and Mayer was more than willing to explain. He told her that, in 1694, the Jewish and Huguenot bankers, in wanting to be completely independent of the English Government, had taken over the City. The City was a financial district on the banks of the Thames and had the status of a territory. It had its own administration and was off limits to English authority. It was unassailable financial ground from which Nathan would soon launch international banking.

24-BANK OF NORTH AMERICA

American Independence and the French Aid package to America was what was foremost on Mayer’s mind, for that was the way he would become sole banker for the American Congress, just like the shareholders of the East India Company had become sole creditors to the English Parliament in 1694. After the Trenton defection of nearly 900 Hessians in 1776, and especially after the capture of Burgoyne’s army in Saratoga, in 1777, Louis XVI, impressed with Benjamin Franklin as a man and in awe of the American victories, had signed the Treaty of Alliance with the 13 Colonies, thus declaring war on England in the process. Thanks to Benjamin Franklin’s diplomatic skills, France had come to America’s aid.

The English High Command retaliated by attacking the French fleet which was in the Caribbean. Clinton, the new commander of the British forces, then sent Cornwallis to re-establish control over the southern colonies. Cornwallis’ army won major victories in Charlestown and Camden, but the English Navy had a bad time of it in the Caribbean. To make matters worse for the English, the American general, Nathaniel Greene, started hit and run tactics against Cornwallis, forcing the latter to chase him throughout the Carolinas. Eventually, Clinton had Cornwallis rest his demoralized army in the ice-free port of Yorktown in Chesapeake Bay. Clinton intended to resupply him as needed, and Cornwallis was to go back on the offensive after a much-needed rest. But they hadn’t taken into account General Rochambeau, Commander-in-Chief of the French forces, and a great military strategist.

Rochambeau was a professional soldier trained in the art of warfare, and he singlehandedly coordinated the military operations that would lead to the Yorktown victory. He marched his very well rested and disciplined army out of Newport towards New York City, and as planned, he met up with Washington’s army at Wethersfield, Connecticut, in late May. When Rochambeau saw Washington’s army in tatters, he also realized there was mutiny in the air. The troops had had it with Washington’s leadership and his ‘military family’, a group of young aides-de-camp who rode well-bred horses with fine saddlery and spent a lot of time feasting with the General. So, Rochambeau proceeded to pay the American troops what was owed them, gave them food, proper uniforms and much needed military supplies. The allies then got ready to attack New York City. But when Rochambeau got word that Admiral de Grasse had defeated the English in the Caribbean, he had a change of plan.

He knew Cornwallis’ army was recovering in Yorktown and realized how vulnerable it was. It was obvious that defeating Cornwallis’ army would be easier and have a greater impact than facing Clinton’s well-entrenched and well-supplied army in New York City. After convincing Washington, he sent word to Admiral de Grasse in the Caribbean and Admiral de Barras in Newport informing them of his change of plans. Luckily for everybody, the two admirals agreed to go along with Rochambeau, and both headed for Chesapeake Bay. Admiral de Grasse got there first and easily defeated the English fleet off the Virginia coast, while Admiral de Barras arrived from Newport and blockaded Cornwallis’ army by positioning his fleet at the mouth of the York River. Having joined forces, the two French fleets easily outnumbered anything the British were able to muster. When Rochambeau and Washington arrived at Yorktown, they had the troops dig a siege line behind Cornwallis’ position, thus entrapping his army. The allies then tightened their stranglehold, digging a second siege line closer to Cornwallis’ army. As the naval and land artillery kept pounding away from front and rear, Cornwallis realized he didn’t have a chance. The English redoubts were taken one by one, forcing Cornwallis to surrender. When the English Parliamentarians learned they had lost another army, they decided to put an end to the war, but it wasn’t to be made official for another two years.

Meanwhile, in Frankfurt, Mayer was telling Gutle, his only confidante, how Haym had convinced a lot of Hessians to defect while he was under house arrest, and how Haym had later been named broker to the French Consul, and Treasurer of the French Army when he arrived in Philadelphia. Haym had then made sure the French army, as well as Washington’s army, the 13 militias, and the politicians had everything they needed. But now that the politicians were about to take over, Mayer hated to tell Gutle that he had chosen Robert Morris instead of Haym as the one to deal with Congress. Because America was no readier than Europe to accept Jews in a leadership role, it was Robert Morris, a goy, who would look after Mayer’s finances in 1781. The continental currency that Congress had issued at the start of the war and that had somewhat helped to finance the war had by now completely depreciated. Fortunately for Congress and for Mayer, the ‘Morris Notes’ backed by the French gold had replaced the worthless currency.

When Gutle asked if Mayer has stolen the French gold, Mayer gives her a long homily on the magic of gold. He starts by telling her that it was officially all spent but that it remained stockpiled in his vaults. He continues by saying there are two ways of looking at gold bullion. The first is where the owner uses it to further his personal ambition in order to gain influence, and the second is where it is used to establish a credit system and to build a monetary system like Mayer was doing. The gold provided by France was doing what it was supposed to do. It was helping America win the war like Louis XVI had wanted, but it would do much more than that, it would help create a government, a country and an economy. When gold bullion is used to make more credit available, it becomes the cornerstone of the economic structure, whereas it accomplishes nothing if used as currency. Gold bullion is meant to be gathered in a pile, as huge as possible, and the pile is meant to remain inviolate and observable. The notes and the bills are issued and spent, but the gold stays in a neat pile. The banker who possesses the gold can issue bills of exchange in which everybody has the highest confidence, and as the pile of gold grows, it acts as a starter or mother for more notes and more bills. Confidence in the bills issued is what makes it all possible. Of course, the process of creating credit makes the gold holder richer, but beyond a certain point, getting rich is no longer the point, amassing more bullion and shoring up the monetary system is.

Creating credit is akin to controlling the monetary system, and controlling the monetary system isn’t about increasing the wealth of one individual. In Mayer’s case that’s already a given. It’s more about pointing the economy or the country in the desired direction and creating more credit and more wealth, and buying more gold. Elected individuals can’t possibly control a monetary system, for they are too subjective and think too short-term, and the monetary system is sure to founder under the weight of their greed, corruption and short-sightedness. Only objective private interests totally intent on building thriving market economies can succeed. However, because the privately-owned Bank of England was myopic and parochial in nature, contrary to Mayer’s bank that was international in nature, his bank would one day take over the prestigious Bank of England.

He continued by giving a brief account of what had been accomplished so far. The Bank of North America had been created on May 26, 1781 by the Confederation Congress, at which time, Alexander Hamilton had recommended Morris for the position of Superintendent of Finance. The constitution for the Bank of North America had been drafted by Alexander and was modeled after the Bank of England. Morris had then submitted his legislative proposal based on that draft, and that’s how Mayer’s bank became the first private commercial bank in the USA.

When Robert Morris became superintendent of finance the continental currency had ceased to be issued. On April 30, 1781, Alexander Hamilton was advised to tell Morris that the bank’s capital would consist of 1,000 shares priced at $400 each. When Mayer offered Benjamin Franklin, who was still in France, a symbolic share in order to show the great American’s faith in the Federalists and his confidence in the new bank, he gratefully accepted. Thomas Willing, the original President of the bank of Philadelphia, and William Bingham, were both given shares as well. But Robert Morris was the one chosen to front Mayer’s bank, and he held more than 90% of the shares, thanks to the French gold in his possession.

23-WORKING FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

 

Franklin left Philadelphia on the 26th of October, accompanied by his illegitimate son, William Temple Franklin, and his grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, son of Sarah. Sarah was the daughter he had with Deborah Read, his common-law wife.
They sailed on board the Continental sloop-of-war Reprisal which carried sixteen guns. He had to be protected, for if Franklin had been captured by the English on the high seas he would have been hanged for treason. The 70-year-old American, widely referred to by the English as ‘chief of the rebels’ or as ‘General Franklin’, was deemed dangerous. The British Ambassador to France expressed his regrets that some English frigate had not met and dispensed with him on the high seas. However, he landed at Auray on the Loire River and made his way to Nantes with great difficulty. From there, the 250-mile trip into Paris was like a triumphal procession. He was wined and dined by scientific and literary notables on the way, and his entry into Paris caused a sensation.
Franklin’s fame was due not only to his scientific reputation, but also to the French rage for what philosopher Rousseau called ‘the natural man’. There was a vogue for things American in France at this time. Many French intellectuals looked to America as a new world, a fresh world, a world where human nature was closer to its natural origins. And Franklin, of course, was more than pleased to cater to French expectations. When he arrived in Paris, he was wearing a little fur cap to keep his bald head warm. To the French, the hat was the embodiment of the rugged American frontiersman and proof that Franklin was a true ‘natural man’. Even though no one knew what exactly he was doing in France, the French welcomed him with open arms, and he became a pop culture icon. Images of Franklin, wearing a fur cap instead of a wig, were depicted in paintings, engravings, medallions, rings, and snuffboxes.
After the Battle of Saratoga and the humiliating defeat of the British army commanded by General Burgoyne, Franklin, in spite of his struggling with the French language, used his charm, wit, and knowledge, to parlay this English defeat at the hands of American militias into a gigantic diplomatic victory. The French foreign minister, Count of Vergennes, wasted no time in officially acknowledging that the United States was an independent country. A formal treaty with France followed in 1778.
When he first arrived in Paris, Benjamin settled in Passy, a very affluent part of the city. It was necessary to seek out the French elite in order to achieve his goal. He had no direct access to the King, but he could influence those around him in order to get financial and military aid for America. He would seek out the most select salon he could find, and since he was a freemason, he would frequent a local lodge, where the great men of the day, the enlightened ones, were members.
Upon his arrival he was introduced to the salon of Mme Helvetius in Auteuil. At the relatively late age of 29, Mme Helvetius had married the French philosopher and poet, Claude Adrien Helvétius, who had amassed a fortune as a Farmers General tax collector. The couple settled in the Paris suburb of Auteuil, and Minette, as she was called, opened a salon where she entertained some of the greatest figures of the Age of Enlightenment. Among them were Suzanne Necker, Diderot, Duclos, André Chénier, Condorcet, l’Abbé Sieyès, Buffon, Condillac, d’Alembert, Lavoisier, and such politicians as Malesherbes, Talleyrand, Madame Roland, Mirabeau, and it included of course, Voltaire.
Twenty years into her marriage, her husband died, and in 1776, she and Jérôme de Lalande opened the ‘Loge des Neuf Sœurs’, a masonic lodge that was affiliated to the Grand Orient of France. Freemasonry was incontestably one of the great changes that were taking place in the west. It was where new ideas were expressed, and where men influenced the course of events. Of course, Benjamin frequented that French lodge from the very beginning. Two years later, in 1778, he was initiated as a member, and, in 1779, he was made Worshipful Master. A few weeks before his death, Voltaire was initiated as a member, and Benjamin was greatly impressed with the man. They became good friends, and when asked by Benjamin, he even gave his blessings to his grandson. Needless to say, the lodge was an excellent way for Benjamin to meet great men who had influence in the highest levels of society.
But Benjamin was also a ladies’ man. His wife had died in 1774, and in spite of his age, while in France, he was treated like a rock star, and he couldn’t help being a flirt. One lady whom he considered his equal was Mme Helvetius, and he may have even proposed to her. One thing for sure, he wanted to share her bed. He called her Notre Dame, and in one of his notes to her, he writes: ‘if Notre Dame is pleased to spend her days with Franklin, he would be just as pleased to spend his nights with her; and since he has already given her so many of his days, although he has so few left to give, she seems ungrateful in never giving him one of her nights’.
Franklin frequented the upper classes and the aristocrats, for they were the ones he had to convince in order for them to convince the king. The salon of Mme Helvetius and the Lodge of the Nine Sisters served his purpose well, but that was not his only activity. He was in constant communication with Robert Morris in Philadelphia, because, as arranged by Mayer, he depended on his financial help. There was a four-way communication between Mayer, David Schiff, Robert Morris and Benjamin because arms, clothing and war material shipments to America had to be organized as well. Because Benjamin had so many important contacts in Paris, and because he was such a hit with the French, he had been able to convince Minister Vergennes to replace the outdated arms in France’s numerous arsenals and send them to America. The arms then found their way to Rotterdam from where David shipped them to America through St. Eustatius. So, from 1776 to 1778 ever more arms and powder made their way to America.
Back in NYC, in 1776, after being arrested by the English for helping the Sons of Freedom, Haym had started interpreting for the Hessians. That’s when he befriended Colonel Johann Rall, a Hessian, and by pulling all the right strings, he managed to have him command the Hessian troops sent to hold the Trenton position opposite Philadelphia. Haym had explained to Rall that Philadelphia was a community made up of Germans who had come from the Frankfurt region just like them, and if they were to defect, not only would they feel at home but they would be given large parcels of land and enough money to start a new life. The Trenton Hessian soldier pickup was a total success, more than 900 Hessians crossed the Delaware with Washington’s help. More importantly, it was construed as a major American victory over the English, and it gave quite a boost to American morale.
Later, on July 12th, 1778, when the French Ambassador sailed up the Delaware, Mayer had been forewarned and had sent word to Haym who was in NYC. Haym escaped without too much difficulty, and though the English sentenced him to death in absentia, he arrived safely in Philadelphia ahead of the French Ambassador.
After settling in the counting house run by Bernard Gratz, Washington backed Haym’s candidacy as broker of the French aid package. But the French Ambassador was already looking for Haym, thanks to the recommendations of Benjamin in Paris. That’s how, with Benjamin’s help and the support of influential members of the Continental Congress, Haym was chosen by the anti-Semite French to be their American treasurer. Haym was not only named broker to the French Consul, but also Treasurer of the French Army, and Fiscal Agent of the French Minister to the United States. Most important of all, some 500 tons of gold were added to the bullion already in his Philadelphia vault.
However, working within Congress was another matter. Both Haym and Robert worked for Mayer, but Robert Morris was the one chosen to become a member of Congress because he was a goy. Not only that, but he was, as far as the colonials were concerned, a rich merchant who had supplied them arms and ammunitions since 1774. David had sent on the arm shipments to America as directed by Mayer, but it was Morris’ arms importing company that had fronted the operations. Congress and the militias had gotten arms and powder, and they had been too grateful to ask questions. Mayer had total confidence in Robert Morris, and since Americans, like Europeans, were not yet ready to accept Jews in the inner sanctum of political leadership, Robert worked inside Congress, and Haym outside. Mayer couldn’t have been more satisfied with the results.