17-LETTER FROM NYC

Dear Mayer,

 

I’m writing from New York City. If I didn’t write sooner, it’s because the sea voyage really weakened me, and because I wanted to have a better understanding of the city before putting pen to paper.

Let me start by saying that I arrived in Rotterdam as planned after an uneventful five-day coach ride. Since you had sent the five chests of pennies ahead with Thurn and Taxis, I didn’t have anything to worry about, and it allowed me to better enjoy the company of the people I met in the relay inns. Upon reaching Rotterdam, I went directly to David and Hannah’s place, and it was a moment of great conviviality. I’d missed them, they’d missed me, and I wanted to know everything about them, and they wanted to know everything about me. I can only say that I’m very impressed with what they’ve done. They have a beautiful home, the counting house is well-appointed, and they seem to have contacted everyone worth knowing with Montefiore’s help, a truly great gentleman. There’s no doubt in my mind that your decision to send David to Rotterdam was the right one, and I can only hope to do as well for you in New York

I left Rotterdam, and I crossed the channel to London where I waited for a ship that took on passengers for New York. I soon found what I was looking for, and I booked passage on a good-looking ship about to lift anchor. The ocean crossing took more than two months and was very unpleasant. The captain told us it was the worst weather he’d seen in years. I spent a lot of time turning green and wondering if life was worth living, and when it got too bad, I stayed in my hammock, and that, I’m sure, was what saved my life.

I did, however, have a few days of relief during which time I managed to get my hands on some moldy dry bread and barely drinkable water laced with rum, and having digested this doubtful ration, I was able to observe the world around me with some degree of lucidity. Most of the crew members were of the unrefined variety, but they were competent and helpful. There were several gentlemen who were going to the colonies to strike it rich, but my most interesting encounter was with a fellow named Ephraim Hart. He was especially interesting because he was returning to New York to resume his business activities, and he provided me with much information concerning the ins and outs of life in the colonies. When we arrived, I was in a pitiful state, and Ephraim was kind enough to introduce me to that fine landlady with the big house who has a fireplace in each bedroom, the same one I had fantasized about, remember? Well, it isn’t quite so, but it is a fine house. And Gutle, you’ll be happy to know she’s Ashkenazi and feeds me schmaltzy food, American style, and my ribs are no longer showing.

It’s been two weeks since I’ve arrived, and it’s the first day I feel disposed to write. On the day of my arrival, I managed to get my personal affairs transported to the boarding house, and you’ll be happy to know the five chests containing the thousand pounds of pennies are safe and sound. New York is a garrison town like Hanau, and there are hundreds of English soldiers and sailors roaming the wide avenues. Therefore, you need not worry about me or the money.

There are around fifteen thousand people living here. The city is located on the tip of an island that’s hidden behind a much bigger one that protects it completely from the onslaught of the ocean. The military installations are on the southern tip of the island, and the port facilities are built along the Hudson River on the west side and the East River on the other. One couldn’t dream of a more accessible and well-protected deep-sea water port.

The city is traversed north and south by a main artery called Broadway that runs from the Battery, the British military fortifications at the southern tip, to a fresh water reservoir called Collect Pond, and is approximately one mile long in English units. The city covers an area approximately one mile by one half mile. There are three main streets, Broad, William and Queen, running in a north-south direction. All streets run north-south and east-west and are therefore perpendicular to each other. Most streets are pebbled and have paved walkways on either side, so one can easily access all parts of the city on foot or on horseback. Community life revolves around houses of worship, and there are many, including an imposing synagogue on Mill Street not far from Broad Street.

On my first outing, I walked to Collect Pond and I was encouraged to follow Boston Road north because of the beautiful colors of autumn. There’s a native tree called the maple that turns all colors this time of year, and it makes for a most spectacular sight. However, as I walked the streets, I couldn’t help but notice that people leave much of their waste on the roadways. They even leave dead horses to rot, and although pigs and wild animals act as scavengers, they only clean up so much. There are pigs, cows and many other animals roaming about because as the city expanded northward from Wall Street, many people used their large plots of land to grow food and raise animals.

Another downside is that one can smell human waste just about everywhere one goes. It would seem that the more responsible home owners dig a hole in the back of their house and build what is called an outhouse, and when the hole is filled, they cover it with earth, dig another hole and move the outhouse accordingly. Others use a simple pail toilet and empty it in out of the way places when people aren’t looking. There are many stories concerning chamber pots and how carelessly they’re emptied. For instance, I’m told it’s wise to hug the walls of buildings when walking in the city at night, for one never knows what can fall from the heavens.

Since there is so much waste being added to the soil, much of the water from the privately dug surface wells tastes bad and smells. A proud Philadelphian once wrote that here in New York ‘people drink a proportion of their own evacuations, as well as that of their horses, cows, pigs, dogs, cats, and other putrid liquids so plentifully dispensed.’ In all fairness, in comparing the two cities, that gentleman didn’t take in consideration the fact that Philadelphia has two rivers bringing it plenty of fresh drinking water, giving it a decided advantage. As for waste disposal in Philadelphia, I’m told it’s not much better than it is here. Its narrow unpaved streets crammed with poorly built houses are strewn with dejections, and the large deep wells dug in strategic parts of the city to accommodate waste produce a pervasive foul odor.

As a way of combating the scarcity of good drinking water, just about everybody, young and old, drinks beer. From the very first days of the colony, the Dutch drank beer and the English followed suite by bringing their brewers and beer making equipment with them. Everybody lives by an old European adage that says one doesn’t get sick if one drinks ale. However, many of the more fortunate English families tend to drink tea and buy their water from water peddlers who go door-to-door with horse drawn wagons laden with huge wooden casks. Obviously, these solutions are out of reach for the working poor. When all is said and done, as a community, New York doesn’t seem to consider having good drinking water to be a priority. When one compares the conditions here with the Judengasse ghetto and its superb sewers and abundant pristine drinking water, one can only wonder.

New York has a great middle class, composed chiefly of tradesmen and merchants. They are all housed in splendid residences, and most, including lawyers and doctors, have built their mansions on William, Broad and Queen Streets. On the other hand, the humbler folk who work for these prosperous citizens are parked along the East River in an area called the flats. It consists of an agglomeration of shacks and lean-tos built on either side of a street appropriately called Water Street, and even though they can throw their waste directly into the East River, these poor people don’t have access to clean drinking water and don’t always have the pennies needed to buy beer. Their lot isn’t at all enviable.

The mansions and office buildings are built of stone or brick, and the Governor’s House, Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Church, Columbia College and the hospital are all within one block of Broadway. There’s a lot of wealth generated here irrespective of the sanitary conditions that I’ve described, and, not surprisingly, the population is said to double every ten years or so. For the time being, my boarding house located on Broad Street just south of Wall Street will serve me well, for I have access to all manner of businesses in the financial and port districts. It’ll be very easy to rent or buy office space, and you’ll be glad to know, that everything costs a fraction of what it does in Frankfurt. For instance, you can build a large two-story stone building on Broad Street for slightly more than five hundred pounds. According to Ephraim, you could have a five-hundred-ton capacity ocean-going vessel, all rigged and made of oak that can withstand thirty years of rot, built right here in New York for about the same price. This got me thinking as a banker, and I’m sure you’ll be interested in the suggestions I make further on in this letter.

First, let me tell you more about Philadelphia. It’s bigger than New York and it lies far up the Delaware River. A religious group from England called Quakers, a people known for their peaceful ways and tolerance, settled there. Since they were not tolerated in England, they’re not as loyal to the English crown as their counterparts in New York, and this could be worth remembering as the political storm builds over what is considered unfair taxation by the Mother Country. A large population of Swedes and many Germans from Frankfurt have settled there as well. However, because the tolerant Quakers are intolerant when it comes to language and want everybody to learn English, the three groups tend to stand apart.

The Delaware River being a more modest river than the Hudson, and Philadelphia being far upstream, the English have naturally built the bulk of their military facilities in New York City where they have ocean access to the whole coast. Another noteworthy fact is that Philadelphia though a long distance from New York City by sea is quite close by land. After crossing the Hudson River from New York City by ferry, it’s a mere two-day stagecoach ride to Philadelphia, and the service has been in operation for years. This situation is unique in the colonies, for all the other capitals remain quite isolated from each other.

Both the Delaware and Hudson River basins are very fertile and have been developed along the same pattern. Following the early Dutch East India Company guidelines, both valleys developed using the patroon system. The idea probably came from the Huguenot refugees who first settled in Rotterdam and later in New Rotterdam. In wanting to encourage settlements, the Dutch granted patroonships that spanned 16 miles in length on one side of the river, or 8 miles if spanning both sides. Later the plot sizes were cut in half in order to accommodate more Dutch Americans in good standing. The title of patroon derived from the word patron and meaning boss in French, grants powers and privileges just like they do to our princes in Europe. The patroon creates civil and criminal courts, appoints local officials, and holds land in perpetuity. In return, he is commissioned by the Governor to establish a settlement of at least fifty families within four years. As tenants working for the patroon, the settlers don’t pay public taxes for the first ten years, but they do compensate the patroon in money, goods, or services as agreed to by all parties. The patroon lives in a luxurious, well-built house of brick or stone, has a retinue of servants, large barns, orchards and gardens, and broad pasture lands. A patroonship has its own village infrastructure that includes a church which records births, baptisms, and marriages. On the one hand, the English encourage this system because the large tracts of land are very productive. On the other hand, they forbid the patroons from manufacturing goods for resale. As can be expected, the patroons disregard the interdiction, and continue to operate their foundries and other small industries that produce iron goods, furniture, and cloth. They then float all their excess production, along with all the furs they can get from the natives, downriver to New York where they sell the lot to the citizens and merchants totally disregarding the English interdictions.

The patroons and the merchants have developed a bartering system. They exchange local goods for manufactured goods coming from England, and keep track of how much one owes the other. No matter, there’s a real money problem here, and it lies in the fact there isn’t much silver specie to buy and sell the little things that ordinary people need in everyday life. When Ephraim told me that the Bank of England completely ignored the needs of colonials by refusing to inject silver specie in the colonies, I didn’t quite believe him, but it’s even worse than that. Not only do colonials have little sterling, but the English refuse to accept the plentiful Spanish dollars at par with the Pound, in spite of the fact they both contain the same amount of silver. By establishing an exchange rate of 4 to 1 in favor of the Pound, they are strangling the local economy. That combined with the fact that they ban the importation of non-English goods and discourage the locals from manufacturing their own very much foments ill feelings towards the Mother Country. This doesn’t make for a healthy political situation, and there’s even a growing dissident movement called Sons of Liberty that’s present throughout the colonies, especially in Boston where the English have massacred a number of their sympathizers last year. The Boston Massacre, as it’s decried on the street, has even enflamed the very loyalist Southern Colonies.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about these tensions at a future date, but for now, here are some of my views regarding facilitating trade with Europe. I’ve talked to Ephraim about this, and he thinks that our services are highly needed here in the colonies because although trade is increasing at a rapid rate, credit is hard to get, there’s very little specie and England is maintaining very unjust exchange rates in favor of the pound. But if we were disposed to finance a shipment of tobacco to Rotterdam, here’s how it could be done. I would ask a fellow I met, Robert Morris, or someone of his stature, to buy and deliver a load of tobacco consisting of a thousand hogsheads to Rotterdam. A hogshead contains a thousand pounds of tobacco worth a penny per pound and costs around £4. Morris would receive a bill of exchange reflecting a guaranteed price of, let’s say, five pennies per pound payable to him when David took possession of the tobacco in Rotterdam. Morris would then issue his own bill of exchange to the producer in Williamsburg payable when the tobacco is delivered in Rotterdam, and he would also give him written proof that taxes are paid and that the cargo is fully insured. In this scenario the seller in Williamsburg is guaranteed a full penny per pound for his tobacco payable in six months’ time with interest as required, and the merchant Robert Morris is guaranteed five pennies per pound when the shipment arrives in Rotterdam. David in Rotterdam will have by then sold the tobacco well below its market price if need be, let’s say, ten pennies per pound. In a worst-case scenario, the producer gets £4000, the shipper makes £16000 (£20000 less £4000), minus expenses, and our counting house make £20000 (£40000 less £20000), minus expenses. All parties make a handsome profit, and since we have such a huge profit margin to play with, since tobacco is in such high demand, and since it would be sold ahead of time, it could be said there’s no risk at all.

If you wanted to finance shipments going from Rotterdam to New York or London, I have two suggestions, and they have to do with two French products. As you know, before I met you I had been travelling in France, and that’s when I became aware of them. I’m talking about two products the English in England, and especially in the colonies, aren’t familiar with. It has to do with a cloth from Nimes in the south, and an extraordinary wine from the Burgundy area further north.

If Burgundy wines became known, the demand for them would explode, I’m sure. The English are already very fond of Bordeaux clarets, and once they taste these delightful wines from Bourgogne, they’ll surely be overwhelmed. I personally tasted them and know how good they are. But here’s why I think they’re worth investigating further. I’ve heard that wines can now be shipped in bottles instead of casks, an innovation that not only guarantees the original quality of the wines but allows them to age to their sublime potential before they reach the palates of connoisseurs. In a word, if we found a way to have Burgundy wine bottled, corked and packaged before sending a shipment of it to Rotterdam and London, it would surely become an overnight sensation, and its price would increase exponentially.

As for the cloth, it’s an ingeniously woven cotton fabric manufactured in Genoa, Italy. The cloth got its French name when a Huguenot silk manufacturer from Nîmes bought the Genoa business during the religious persecutions. The cloth had been used for making sails, but in wanting to expand the business, the Frenchman thought of marketing the fabric for the making of work clothes. There was much talk about this white-blue ‘de Nîmes’ cloth when I was in Lyon. In spite of cotton being outlawed by the King, people kept asking for it, claiming it could outlast Indian cotton ten to one. Judging from that experience, I can say with assurance that if you financed a shipment of that fabric to America you would make a mindboggling profit. The cost of working clothes is so high and disproportionate to income in the Colonies that the demand for a cheap, attractive and tough cloth would surely be overwhelming.

Unfortunately, I have no way of looking into those products at this end. It would be necessary for someone to go to France and see about their availability. As far as I know, there are three key cities involved: Nîmes for the cloth and information regarding the bottle corks, Lyon for the bottles, and Beaune for the wine. The three cities are in a north-south axis along the Rhone-Saone River corridor. The corks, the bottles and the wine would come together in Beaune, and from there, the ‘de Nîmes’ cloth and the now-bottled wine would be transported over an excellent old Roman road that goes from Beaune to Basel on the Rhine, and from there the merchandise could be shipped down the Rhine River to Rotterdam or anywhere in between.

I hope you don’t think I’m being bold in making these suggestions. I’m just trying to give you useful information. There are many other possibilities, and I’m sure you’ll advise me. But I’m convinced that indigo, rum and tobacco from the Americas, Burgundy wine and ‘de Nîmes’ cloth from France, and colorful cotton fabrics from England are the sort of exotic merchandises that would generate extremely high profits.

There’s something else I have to tell you, and it has to do with a discovery that I’ll refer to as the Atlantic ‘stream’. Don’t fret if you’ve never heard of it, hardly anyone has. It’s an ocean phenomenon that’s been confirmed by a very ingenious fellow called Benjamin Franklin, a Philadelphian who has become the Colonies’ emissary to England. For some time now, merchants have been wondering why it takes longer to sail to New York than it does to the southern colonies even though they’re much farther, and this fellow Benjamin figured it out by listening to the New England whalers. The whalers kept saying that in order to catch more whales they followed what seemed to be a big river of warm water that flowed right through the Atlantic Ocean. This river was full of plankton, whale food for the uninitiated, and it flowed in an easterly direction. If they followed this river, they were sure to bring back all the whale oil their ships could hold.

Benjamin was paying attention, and on one of his trips to Europe, he got the captain to agree to zigzag his way across the ocean, thus going in and out of the supposed river of warm water. As he did so, he recorded water temperatures and latitudes, and the result was very convincing. He was able to chart this ‘stream’ of warm water and show that it flowed at a speed of around four knots. He published his findings in England, but since mighty English captains have nothing to learn from lowly colonial whalers, this discovery is still not being exploited by the English. But the fact remains, if one were to sail north or south of it on the westward leg, one could shorten the journey by as much as two weeks, and if one were to sail in it on the eastward leg, there would be much time gained as well. I thought you might find this information useful because I remember you telling me in your tongue-in-cheek way that having a good communications network and knowing things ahead of everybody else could be very profitable.

In closing, let me say that I intend to proceed with the rental of office space on Broad Street. I also took the liberty of having a small quantity of bills of exchange printed. I’m enclosing a sample for your perusal.

As I await your answer which will probably arrive in four or five months from now, I’ll get acquainted with merchants and find out what merchandises are the most profitable to finance. I’ll also make a point of going to Philadelphia and meet with a fellow called Bernard Kratz who’s trying hard to have a synagogue built over there. I’m sure I’ll find out everything there is to know about Philadelphia through him. As I await your reply, regardless of the financial activity I pursue, it won’t involve big sums. When I get your letter, if you’ve decided to go with tobacco, I’ll be ready. Needless to say, a four or five-month correspondence delay doesn’t simplify matters, but once I know exactly how you want to proceed, things will get sorted out. Rest assured that I don’t see any major impediments at this end, at this time.

 

Regards,

 

Haym

16-HAYM SALOMON

America kept popping up in Mayer’s mind because he saw the New World as a place offering a fantastic banking opportunity. Mayer knew the English were having trouble over there because he had learned through General von Estorff that they were seriously thinking about sending Hessian soldiers to the colonies. It seemed the colonials weren’t happy because the mother country wasn’t providing enough credit while gauging them with taxes. He just had to find a way to get firsthand information on what was really going on over there.

Mayer automatically thought of Haym Salomon who was presently working for him in Hanau. He invited him to Judengasse for a good schmaltzy dinner because he wanted to know what his wife Gutle thought of him before asking him to go to America. Haym was an extraordinary young man whom Mayer had befriended in Hanover. He was a Sephardi whose family had fled Portugal and settled in Poland. Haym had left what family he had in Poland, traveled through Europe, and had learned eight languages. While helping Mayer in Hanau, he had learned all there was to know about how to buy and sell bills of exchange and was getting ready to move on.

As they approached the north gate of Judengasse, they dismounted and left their horses at the blacksmith’s barn where Mayer kept his mounts and carriage. The guard at the gate recognized Mayer readily and saluted the two men as they entered. When they entered the ghetto, Haym couldn’t help but notice a crude drawing depicting Jews doing unnatural things to a sow, which included eating her excrement. Haym, a Sephardi, was taken aback, and he couldn’t help thinking that Ashkenazim must be spineless to let goys treat them that way.

Mayer knew what he was thinking and told him there was no use spending energy fighting such vulgarities. Since the Frankfurt Council turned a blind eye on such abuses, and thereby encouraged the lowlifes that perpetrated hate crimes, wiping the wall clean would only make things worse. He continued by saying that the age of enlightenment would soon reach the Hesse region, and the walls would come down. Mayer preferred becoming rich and powerful, and taking down the walls stone by stone with his bare hands when the time came. One engaged in battle only when one was sure of victory.

As they went down Judengasse, Haym wondered how people could live in such crammed conditions, with so much noise, so little light, and so many strange odors, while Mayer saluted everybody, addressing most of them by name, inquiring about their families, and wishing them well.

They reached the tall narrow house where Mayer lived, and where his wife was waiting for them. They sat down for dinner, and Mayer started the conversation by asking Haym what he thought of America. Haym answered that there seemed to be a lot of fertile land to be had, that the winters were harsh, and that there was a well-established Sephardi community in New York City. He had also heard that it was a good place for an ambitious young man who wanted to get rich. Mayer replied that he was getting a good feeling for the colonies from the newspapers he read, but that he’d really like to have first-hand knowledge. Then he asked directly if Haym would be interested in going to America. Mayer was willing to pay his passage and set him up as a shipping broker in New York City. Haym was to open a New York counting house that would work with the Rotterdam one run by David. The Sephardi community in New York would surely welcome him, and since Haym was a smart good-looking young man, he would have no problem finding a wife.

Mayer continued by saying Haym could count on his unqualified support, and that he would have all the money he needed. In the first instance, all he had to do was keep Mayer informed. If everything turned out to be like Mayer expected, Haym would then come back to Frankfurt to be debriefed, and they’d both decide what to do next. If Haym disliked New York City to the point of wanting to come back to Europe early, Mayer would not hold a grudge. All he asked was for Haym to give him fair warning if he so decided.

When Haym asked when Mayer expected him to leave, Mayer answered that winter crossings were very rough, and that it would be wise to leave as soon as possible. He hoped that Haym didn’t suffer from seasickness, for a westward crossing could take anywhere from two to three months.

Haym said he was more worried about New York’s cold winter, and that all he hoped for was to find a rich widow who had a well-built boarding house with a fireplace in each room.

13-INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

The Anglican religion, England’s state religion, can hardly be called protestant like the Lutheran or Calvinist religions, it’s a pseudo Catholic religion. When King Henry VIII personally replaced the Pope as head of the Church of England, he and the country remained very much Catholic. In time, that church was strongly influenced by the Puritans and the Lollards who had followed John Wycliffe’s teachings and wanted to change the liturgy, but it remained true to its Roman Catholic roots. The strong anti-royalist or anti-papist feelings in England in the 17th century were a sign of the growing opposition to Church abuse, of course, but the Catholic Church’s demise was mainly due to the work of the Jews and the Huguenots who had created the East India Company in Amsterdam, in 1602. As the company dominated world trade, its owners became very powerful, and they were more determined than ever to destroy their mortal enemy, the Holy Roman Empire, or the Ancien Regimes of Europe.

When Charles I was decapitated in 1649, it marked the beginning of the end for the Absolute Kings of Divine Right and the Ancien Regime of England. At that time, the East India Company effectively controlled the economy of the Netherlands, but it had always wanted to move its headquarters from Amsterdam to the City in London. However, because Cromwell had disappointed his sponsors when he failed to establish a proper parliamentary system in England, they had had to postpone democracy for another 40 years until the circumstances were favorable for William and Mary to wear the crown.

In 1694, once established in the City at the helm of the Bank of England, investment in research and development (R&D) could start in earnest. Because they were sure to have their loans repaid in a timely and just fashion, they invested with abandon and launched what became known as the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to ready credit, the English economy became dynamic, and European know-how flowed into the country. The bankers then started financing infrastructure projects in order to facilitate tax collection, internal trade, commerce and exchange of ideas. However, developing road and canal transport didn’t happen overnight, and the Industrial Revolution had to wait for the steam engine to really get started.

Denis Papin, a Huguenot from Hesse, had developed the cylinder and piston concept as early as 1695, but the use of steam was not fully exploited until James Watt invented the condenser in 1765. The Industrial Revolution coincided with the creation of the Bank of North America and Elie Whitney’s mindboggling invention, the cotton gin with interchangeable parts, in 1781. The main industry of the times, cotton, had experienced a great leap forward with the invention of the flying shuttle in 1733, the spinning Jenny in 1764, and the spinning frame in 1769, but it was the use of steam power and the invention of the cotton gin that revolutionized the greatest industry of the times.

On the iron side of things, railroads started being built in early 19th century, but the rails were made with wrought iron and were not durable. Sir Henry Bessemer, another Huguenot, changed all that when he invented a steel making process in 1856. In his blast furnaces, air oxidized and raised the temperature of the molten pig iron, while a small quantity of molten pig iron containing manganese was added and converted the whole large mass of molten iron into steel in just minutes, without the need for any additional fuel. That’s when track started being laid non-stop across Europe and America. In 1876, limestone was added to draw out phosphorous and make the steel less brittle, turning it into the wondrous material we know today.

Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844, Elias Howe, the sewing machine, in 1846, Graham Bell, the telephone, in 1876, Thomas Edison, the light bulb in 1879, Galileo Ferraris & Nikola Tesla, the A/C motor in 1888, and Charles Steinmetz, the A/C transformer in 1893. When George Westinghouse bought Tesla’s invention and started distributing A/C electrical current over long distances, the whole world lit up.

The Bank of England created in 1694 was the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution, but it didn’t get started until steam power became a functional everyday reality. But more was to come. Because the Bank of England was made up of dozens of private bankers, it didn’t speak with one voice, and though the bankers had become very powerful, they had also become very English, and very parochial. It wasn’t until the first genuine international banker created the Bank of North America in 1781, and officially took over the English monetary system in 1810, did the world have an international financial institution that spoke with one voice. Today, two hundred years after that takeover, we are the ones who enjoy the benefits of the great market economies made possible by that man and his dynasty.

12-GLORIOUS REVOLUTION

The word revolution is a banker’s term. It was used by the owners of the East India Company when they launched their first revolution, in England, in 1688. It was called the Glorious Revolution. A revolution is a well-planned, well-financed affair that succeeds and is permanent in nature. It is always part of a bigger plan for a better world. The Glorious, Industrial, American and French revolutions are all interrelated, and they opened the door to the great world we live in today. A war, an uprising, a rebellion, a revolt, or a military coup can only be called a revolution if it succeeds and is permanent in nature, in other words, if it has the international financiers’ approval.

When the owners of the East India Company decided to finance the construction of the chateau de Versailles, it was with the aim of destroying the Holy Roman Empire. Naturally, they started with the most obvious target, France, its crown jewel. The construction of the chateau was the first step in a long series of events that would lead to the French Revolution. Construction of the chateau began in 1661, and by 1678, it looked like the chateau we know today. Once things were well under way in France, the owners of the East India Company turned their full attention to the upcoming Glorious Revolution. In 1688, that revolution would give England a constitutional monarchy, and the world a new form of government called democracy.

After his father’s execution in 1649, Charles II of England had fled to the Netherlands where he had lived in exile until he had been invited back in 1660 after Cromwell’s demise. He subsequently wore the English crown from 1660 until his death in 1685. As the shareholders of the East India Company had expected, much of England grumbled under his rule because he was for letting Catholics sit in parliament, and because he had befriended King Louis XIV of France. The shareholders of the East India Company, who effectively ran the Netherlands, did their best to encourage the antipapist feelings, hoping to have him deposed and replaced with a constitutional monarch. When, in 1672, king Charles asked Louis XIV to do him a favor and declare war on the Netherlands, it was time to act and figure out a plan.

Since Charles II had no legitimate heir, his younger brother, James II, a catholic, was next in line. They would wait for Charles’ term to run out, while continuing to stoke anti-royalist feelings among English parliamentarians. Then, since James II had a daughter who was being raised as an Anglican, arranging a marriage between her and William III seemed to be a good long-term goal. As a Catholic, James II would be easy to overthrow, and when the time came, the crown would be handed to Mary who was next in line.

In 1677, the marriage between Mary II of England and William III of Orange was celebrated in St. James Palace, and it wasn’t a happy affair. At fifteen, an arranged marriage with a much older and repulsive William was not meant to make Mary happy, and she cried throughout the whole ceremony. She had a very unhappy life, especially while in the Netherlands, where she lived for the first eleven years of their marriage. William was a homosexual who spent most of his time leading a double life away from home, and Mary spent all that time in a castle on the outskirts of The Hague. She returned to England in 1688 after the “Immortal Seven” invited her and her husband to come to England and wear the crown. William landed in England with a small army, and he marched on London without hardly firing a shot. James II took off for France, and parliament subsequently declared the crown vacant. William and Mary were then both offered the crown after signing the Bill of Rights which precluded that they submit to parliament’s authority and have no catholic descendants. That series of events is known in the history books as the Glorious Revolution.

However, that was only half of what was to be democracy, England now needed a financial institution. And as it so happened, not about to throw in the towel, and wanting James II to reclaim the crown of England, the Pope gave the financiers the perfect opportunity to create the Bank of England. The French king’s powerful navy gave the English navy a good drubbing as it went about invading England by way of Ireland. Naturally, the English parliament was asked by King William to retaliate and build a strong navy. But since no public funds were available, and since the credit of William III’s government was non-existent, it was impossible for parliament to borrow the huge sums needed. The East India Company shareholders were waiting for just that moment. They readily offered to become private subscribers providing they be incorporated into a company that would be known as the Bank of England. The bank was to be given exclusive lending rights to the government, and it was to be the only entity allowed to issue bank notes or coin money. Once the conditions were accepted, the necessary funds were raised in a matter of days, and the private financial institution known to this day as the Bank of England was created

For the first time in the history of mankind, the bankers were sure of being repaid in an orderly and just fashion. Parliament got rid of the antiquated Farmers’ General tax collection system inherited from France and proceeded to develop the country’s infrastructure in order to be better able to collect taxes. The shareholders of the East India Company had wanted an autonomous parliament because they were banking on a human foible whereby the people’s representatives, once their political campaigns, elections and salaries properly funded, would want to prove their worth and do things before taxes were collected. Since the Bank of England’s shareholders, now established in the City and in control of the English monetary system, could accept or refuse to finance the parliamentarians’ projects, they indirectly controlled all important developments in the country. That was democracy then, just as it today, and it’s the owners of the East India Company who created the concept. Democracy can only work if the concerned country is indebted, and a democracy is always indebted.

If democracy has proven itself to be the best political system in the world, it’s because people representation and monetary control are separate. The people’s representatives manage things while the bankers decide what’s to be managed by increasing or decreasing the flow of credit. If the one who prints the money is the same as the one who spends it, that is, if the parliamentarians do the printing and the spending, the system can only implode.

11-VERSAILLES

 

France had so many indirect taxes, and they were so complex, that the king, who was forever broke, was quite happy to farm out the tax-collecting chores to accelerate cash flow. The Farmers General, as they were called, would buy a six-year lease for a price corresponding to the total amount of taxes they deemed they could collect in that period of time. Obviously, the estimates were always on the low side, but the king, forever short of money and anxious to get at these huge upfront sums of money, wasn’t inclined to negotiate to any great extent. As one would expect, since the Farmers General kept all the taxes collected and acted in the name of the king, they used very aggressive tactics in dealing with the citizens.

The Farmers General became fabulously rich, pocketing as much as half of the total taxes paid out by the citizens. They would also routinely coerce and blackmail the producers in order to buy their goods at ridiculously low prices, and then they would sell the same goods to city merchants at the other end at exorbitant prices. They were the most hated men of the realm and much of the bitterness was directed at the king, for they acted in his name. When a finance minister was to be named, they directly influenced the king in his choice, thus getting the most accommodating candidate. When Nicolas Fouquet was named Superintendent of Finances, the East India Company shareholders were offered a great opportunity.

Louis XIV was a born megalomaniac, and in 1661, he was humiliated by Nicolas Fouquet who was suspected of having doubtful dealings with the Farmers General. Fouquet had invited the king to his magnificent château de Vaux-le-Vicomte that he had just built, and the king upon seeing the magnificence and the beauty of the domain, not only envied his achievement but wondered where all the money to build it had come from. Smelling a rat, he confiscated Fouquet’s assets and threw him in prison.

The shareholders of the East India Company seized the opportunity and relieved the King’s rancour by making all necessary credit available through third parties so that he could build the most sumptuous kingly residence in the world, the chateau de Versailles. Louis XIV proceeded to hire the great artisans that had created the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, architect Louis Le Vau, painter Charles Le Brun, and garden designer André le Nôtre, and construction began.

By this time, the owners of the East India Company were the masters of international trade and commerce and their navy ruled the oceans of the world. The shareholders of the East India Company were Jews and Huguenots, and although they were business men and bankers first and foremost, they harbored a festering hatred directed at the Holy Roman Empire, the politico-religious institution that had persecuted them for centuries. They were intent on bringing it down, and the obvious starting point was France, the cornerstone of that empire. In financing the construction of the chateau de Versailles, they were looking well ahead. They had found a way to divide in order to better conquer when the time came. By separating the seat of power from the people, Versailles was twenty kilometers from Paris, the king would become vulnerable. Eventually, Versailles would be perceived as a den of vipers living off the misery of the people, and the King would easily be brought down. The occult financing of the chateau de Versailles by the Amsterdam financiers was the seed that would develop into the French Revolution a hundred years later.

By 1789, bread continued to be the most important ingredient in a Frenchman’s diet. It was central to people’s lives, and though it was the corrupt Farmers General who controlled the supply of cereal and created famines, the bakers were the ones perceived as profiting from dearth and famine and making huge profits by selling this vital commodity at a high price. Bakers were often accused of hoarding stocks and were frequently assaulted. Being lynched became the occupational hazard of bakers. So, limiting the supply of cereal was a very easy way to create unrest in the major urban centers.

There was such unrest in the realm when the tennis court oath under the leadership of Mirabeau in June, 1789, the taking of the Bastille under the sponsorship of Louis-Phillippe d’Orléans in July, and the March on Versailles under the guard of Lafayette in October, were carried out. These incidents were obviously organized by well-paid East India Company agents, and the March on Versailles is perhaps the one that best shows that. In October of that year, a very odd crowd of transvestites went to Versailles to fetch the royal family, “the baker, the baker’s wife, and the baker’s apprentice” as their chant went. The untypically aggressive ‘ladies’ even entered the royal residence while Lafayette and his mounted guard made no attempt to stop them. How such an ungainly disguised group could go to Versailles, capture and bring back the royals to Paris with Lafayette’s National Guard standing by is a mystery that the history books fail to examine.

The East India Company was established in 1600 and was made up of patient and determined men. It took control of international commerce as early as 1624 when it established a foothold on the shores of the Hudson River in America and especially when it took possession of Cape Town in 1652. The owners created democracy by financing an independent parliament in 1689, and creating the Bank of England in 1694. Sure of having their loans repaid by the people’s parliament, they financed unlimited research and development which became known as the Industrial Revolution.

Following a hundred years of mindboggling growth and wealth, they were ready to launch the French Revolution in 1789. In 1810, even though the Bank of England was taken over by the banking dynasty that had created the Bank of North America in 1781, the transition was harmonious, and investments in R&D continued to grow exponentially worldwide. The dynasty that took control of the Bank of England and the City then is the same that rules the financial world today, and we should consider ourselves very fortunate indeed.

8-MARRANOS

 

When the prelates decided to revamp the image of the revered messiah Apollonius by changing his name and turning him into the son of God, the founding fathers had a problem. The Apollonius lookalike had to be an Essene from Palestine, and that meant he had to be a Jew. How does one build a Roman religion based on the teachings of a Jew? Well, they did it by likening the money-lending Jews of the Temple of Jerusalem to Jews in general. By conjuring up a story where the invented messiah was violently opposed to the Jewish usurers, and where these same usurers were responsible for his horrible death on the cross, it would be one way to turn him into a very acceptable Jew. Furthermore, the faithful would readily accept the idea that Apollonius, their long-departed Greek messiah, had, some 300 years prior, accomplished miracles and was indeed the Son of God as touted by the prelates of the Church of Rome. Whether the results were desired or not, Jews would henceforth bear the Christ-killer stigma. Christians, believing that Jews were responsible for the death of their Christ, wouldn’t be unduly upset to see them tortured, burned at the stake, or despoiled and banned from their homes.

Geographically, France is the hub of Europe, and it naturally became the cornerstone of Christianity when the Church of Rome took over the administration of Gaul and the Western Roman Empire after Constantin’s departure for Byzantium. Clovis, a Frank, was the Church’s first anointed king of divine right, and during his reign, he did his best to persecute and convert the ‘barbarians’ who were by then called Arians.

Once the converting tactics were well under way, the Church of Rome turned its attention to the Jews. In 629 CE, the Pope directed King Dagobert to expulse the Jews from Christian Gaul. Later, in 996 CE, when King Robert the Pious came to power in France, he burned a great number of Jews at the stake. When in 1009 the Muslims burned the alleged Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Christians blamed the Jews, and consequently, many French Jews were again tortured and massacred. Later, in 1096, Jews started being systematically despoiled, and burned at the stake or expulsed from the realm. It was the start of the first crusade, and Philip 1st and his noblemen had taken advantage of the situation in order to replenish their coffers. By despoiling the Jews and expulsing them, they were killing two birds with one stone. Philip was not only doing his Christian duty but he had found a way to finance the crusade ordered by Pope Urban II. Over the next centuries, when King Philippe Augustus and others needed money they would let the Jews back in for a fee, and the whole process would start over again. However, in 1394, Charles VI officially declared the definite expulsion of Jews from France, and as many as 100 000 French Jews made their way to Spain.

They chose Spain not only because it was close to France, but it was also because the Muslims were by then in full control of Spain and were more tolerant towards other religious groups. But when the Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula in 1478, the Pope ordered an Inquisition as soon as it became feasible. The Jews were again forced to convert to Christianity, and if they refused, they were burned at the stake. Understandably, many Sephardim chose to convert while continuing to practise their religion in secret, and they became known as Marranos. In 1492, they were expelled from Spain and many of them fled to Portugal and Morocco.

In 1536, there was another Inquisition directed at Jews in Portugal. Once more, facing torture and death, many Jews fled. This time, because a world shattering event had just taken place in England, many of the great banking and shipbuilding Jewish families chose to go there. It had to do with Henry VIII after the Pope had refused to annul his marriage. The Pope, who was in the habit of arranging and annulling royal marriages for political and religious reasons, had refused to grant Henry VIII his divorce, and here’s why. King Henry had married a Spaniard, Catherine of Aragon, and since the Church of Rome considered the Kingdom of Spain much more important than the Kingdom of England, it was therefore unwilling to displease the King of Spain. When the Pope refused to grant Henry VIII his request, the latter was so determined to have a son that his present wife could not give him that he declared himself head of the Church in England, separated from Rome, and divorced Catherine.

In the process, England was deprived of the financial services of Rome. At first, Henry sold off all the unprofitable Church property and even had his friends rummage through the unsold properties for possible treasures and valuable materials, but it was a futile move. Most of the revenue derived from these operations ended up in the hands of those doing the demolishing and the selling, and very little revenue reached the state coffers. Not surprisingly, many old aristocratic families are to this day indebted and loyal to the King of England.

With no other option, Henry decided to admit the Jews back into England. The Jews had been expelled from England since 1290, but these were special Jews. The Marranos or Conversos, as they were called, professed to be Christians when in fact they still practised their religion in secret. But Henry overlooked their deceitfulness, for he was in dire financial straits and needed their financial skills. In accepting Jews for their financial skills and Huguenots for their great entrepreneurship, Henry caused a breach in the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire as a financial and political power.

7-HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

From 481 to 751, the Merovingians converted the Arian populations to Christianity with great success, and since conversion implied conquest, France became the greatest power within the Holy Roman Empire.

In 771, after the suspicious death of his brother Carloman I, Charlemagne ousted his two young nephews, legitimate heirs of their father, and took possession of the kingdom. The nephews took refuge in Italy among the Lombards with their mother. Charlemagne pursued them and captured them in Verona where they vanished without a trace, probably having been imprisoned in a convent.

After conquering the Lombards, Charlemagne spent several years subduing the Saxons to the north and conquering the Muslims to the south. Charlemagne became extremely powerful, and before France engulfed the Holy Roman Empire altogether, the Pope reacted. He decided to consecrate Charlemagne emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Rome on December 25 of the year 800. Feeling more important as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire than as king of France, Charlemagne accepted, and without realizing it, restored the authority of Rome over France.

Europe being entirely converted, and the faithful being obliged to pay tithes, it resulted in considerable revenue for the empire. In addition, many of the faithful were willing to pay to have their sins redeemed, and many others bequeathed their property to the Church in order to secure a place in heaven after death. The Holy Roman Empire thus became not only a gigantic financial power, but also a power that tolerated no competition.

In a position of strength, the Bishop of Rome undertook to convert the populations of England, Scotland and Ireland. He chose to send William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, across the Channel in order to make him King of England. But in doing so, the Pope made a major mistake, because when William the Conqueror was crowned King of England, he continued to be Duke of Normandy, and that didn’t bode well for future relations between France and England. When, in 1152, William’s great-grandson, Henri Plantagenet, married Aliénor of Aquitaine, ex-wife of Louis VII, king of France, the kingdom of France and that of England became seriously entangled. In fact, when the third son of Eleanor and Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, became King of England in 1189, he was Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, Count of Maine and Earl of Anjou. Fortunately, during his reign, which only lasted from 1189 until his death in 1199, he spent barely a few months in England, and thus, there was no war between France and England during that period. The first war took place in 1202 when Philippe Auguste, king of France, seized the Duchy of Normandy which had been passed down to Jean sans Terre, Richard’s youngest brother. The Hundred Years’ War between French Kings of England and French Kings of France was to officially start in 1337. That’s when Edward III, king of England, and direct descendant of the king of France on his mother’s side, declared himself to be king of France. The battle for the crown of France remained a bloody family affair for over a century.

Nonetheless, when the Pope sent William the Conqueror to England in 1066, Rome’s cruel ways didn’t lessen in other parts of the empire, and the historical period that followed was extremely violent. In 1095, Pope Innocent III launched the first crusade in order to liberate the holy places of Jerusalem from the Muslims who forbade their access to Christians. In 1099 the Franks managed to seize the city of Jerusalem. After two hundred years of rule, the Frank kingdom known as the Kingdom of Jerusalem collapsed in 1291 following the defeat of the Franks in Saint-Jean-D’Acre.

In France, the crusade against the Albigensians began in 1209 with the Béziers sack where the whole population was massacred, and officially ended in 1321 when the last of the Good Men, Guillem Bélibaste, was burned at the stake. But in fact, the last group of Cathars, 510 strong, died in a cave in Lombrives in 1328 after the crusader, Simon de Montfort, walled the entrance to the cave and left them to die. For many centuries, countless infidels, whether Cathars, Muslims or Jews, were tortured, killed and sent to the stake by the Bishop of Rome’s henchmen, and this heretic cleansing lasted long after the death of Joan of Arc in 1404. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII preached an inquisition against witchcraft, an attack directed against women where many were condemned to the stake. Later, this religious barbarism was even adopted by the Protestants, as exemplified by the Salem trials in America in 1692, where dozens of women were hanged for witchcraft.

With regards to the fratricidal wars between England and France, when Edward I of England was crowned king in 1272 following his return from the ninth crusade, he declared he had legitimate rights over France because he held title to all the fiefs of western France, from Flanders to Aquitaine. And Philip IV, known as Philip the Fair, who reigned from 1285 to 1314, didn’t help to pacify things. During his reign, he transferred the Holy See of Rome to Avignon, and because the kings of the Holy Roman Empire were not disposed to submit to the authority of a Pope who answered to the King of France, the transfer was short-lived. However, when he officially declared that Aquitaine belonged to France, that decision was to lead to a fratricidal war that would last more than one hundred years.

Philippe the Fair having died in 1314, in 1337, Edward III of England not only declared that Aquitaine belonged to him, but that he was the legitimate heir to the throne of France on his mother’s side. His mother was Isabelle of France, daughter of Philip the Fair. Not surprisingly, the Plantagenets and the Valois clashed on the battlefield many times over the next hundred years, until Louis XI, king of France, took definite possession of Aquitaine in 1453.

The atrocities committed against the “heretics” by the Bishop of Rome with the help of his absolute kings of divine right over so many centuries, were unspeakable. And they continued after the 100 Years War with Inquisitions against the Jews in the Iberic Peninsula. However, when the Church started to persecute the Protestants within France’s borders, it signed its death warrant. The Protestants, also called Calvinists or Huguenots, were business entrepreneurs with great know-how, and they wanted to make up for lost time following 116 years of senseless war. But because the idea of making a profit went against the Roman Church’s doctrine, the Bishop of Rome decided to apply his well-tried persecution tactics with the help of his French kings.

The French Protestants would become the Church’s mortal enemy, and would eventually join forces with the Jews in Amsterdam. The two persecuted groups would go on to create the East India Company in 1600, an institution that would eventually replace the Holy Roman Empire as a financial and political power. However, the Bishop of Rome had seen the threat developing in early 16th century, and had anointed Charles-Quint Emperor of the Holy Germanic Empire in 1520. But the latter failed in his mission to counter French power, as well as in his attempt to put an end to the Protestant Reformation, and his reign was not only ineffective but a serious setback for the Holy Roman Empire.