32-WATERLOO 1815

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When Napoleon returned from Russia, Nathan decided it was time to get rid of him. Nathan financed all the warring factions, not only Napoleon’s Army, but that of Austria, Prussia, Russia and England. Since the days of Aboukir, financing all sides continued to be a way of getting the desired results. Napoleon suffered defeat upon defeat, and after his encounters with Wellington in Spain, he was forced out of the Iberian Peninsula. He had by then lost most of his power. He signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau on April 11, 1814, abdicating in the process, and was sent to the Island of Elba.

However, something very odd happened on February 26, 1815. In wanting to completely uproot Napoleon’s dynasty by destroying what was left of the Imperial Army, Nathan probably arranged to have him escape from Elba and have him march on Paris. As the British guard ships looked the other way, Napoleon slipped away from Portoferraio on board the warship Inconstant with some 1,000 men, and landed between Cannes and Antibes on March 1. He knew that Royalist Provence would not be very friendly to him, and so, he avoided Provence by taking a route through the Alps.

Without firing a single shot, he marched unimpeded in a country in which he was reviled, and his troop numbers swelled until they became an army. On March 5, the Royalist 5th Infantry Regiment at Grenoble went over to Napoleon en masse. The next day they were joined by the 7th Infantry Regiment under its colonel, Charles de la Bédoyère, who would later be executed for treason by the Bourbons. An old anecdote illustrates Napoleon’s charisma. When Royalist troops deployed to stop the march of Napoleon’s force at Grenoble, Napoleon stepped out in front of them, ripped open his coat and said “If any of you will shoot his Emperor, here I am.” The men acclaimed him as they had when he had first gone to Italy.

Marshal Ney, a military commander under Louis XVIII, was heard to say that Napoleon should be brought to Paris in an iron cage, but on March 14, that same Ney rejoined his old comrade in arms with 6,000 men. Five days later, after making his way northward, promising constitutional reform and an elected assembly, Napoleon entered the capital to the acclaim of the crowds.

In the meantime, the Coalition countries met in Vienna and declared Napoleon an outlaw as they each pledged 150 000 men to defeat him. Unruffled, Napoleon decided to take the offensive by going after the weakest army, that of Wellington, which had marched into Belgium. Because English troops were still committed to the War of 1812 in America, Wellington didn’t have what could be called an elite army.

The Duke of Wellington with 110,000 men, and Prussia’s Field Marshal Blucher with 120,000 men were the only two armies close enough to threaten France, and so Napoleon decided to strike before the Russians and the Austrians arrived. Moving with stunning speed, he invaded Belgium with 125,000 men in a bid to split Wellington and Blucher’s armies, and defeat each separately.

Marshal Grouchy went to meet Wellington’s army while Napoleon defeated the Prussians. Then, with the Prussians on the run, Napoleon decided to personally go after Wellington to the north. Marshal Grouchy was to make sure the defeated Prussians to the east would not come back and join up with Wellington. However, it took more time than expected for Napoleon to drive through Wellington’s defenses, and surprisingly, Marshal Grouchy was unable to hold back the defeated Prussians. When Blucher’s forces joined up with those of Wellington, Napoleon didn’t have a chance. It marked the end of the Battle of Waterloo.

Nathan had put a formidable communications network in place, and on the day the battle, he was in London waiting for the official results of the battle. Even though Nathan was financing all the armies and knew that Napoleon didn’t have a chance, he wanted, nonetheless, to be absolutely sure before putting his devilish stock exchange swindle in motion. Nathan held a good portion of the 300 million pounds’ worth of Consols, the debt England had consolidated in funded government securities that were traded on the London Stock Exchange, but he wanted to own it all. As soon as the battle outcome was confirmed by his personal couriers who had waited for the carrier pigeons to arrive, and who had then rushed to the London Stock Exchange to inform the great man, Nathan started dumping all the Consols that he owned, making sure all the traders saw what he was doing. In no time at all, convinced that Nathan knew something they didn’t, the traders started dumping their Consols until the price of Consols dropped to ten percent of their value. When Nathan gave the signal, his aides bought back all the Consols as fast as they could. When the outcome of the battle was made public a short time later, and when everybody realized it had been Wellington, and not Napoleon, who had won, the price of Consols skyrocketed past their original high, and in a single day, Nathan had taken charge of the entire English debt and consolidated his control over the Bank of England.

Napoleon was exiled to St. Helens, and Louis XVIII was encouraged to try and establish a French constitutional monarchy. But the Catholic power machine was still too strong, and Louis XVIII was removed from power before the Absolute Kings of Divine Right got too deeply implanted. There would be two more tries at establishing an English style monarchy, in 1830 and 1848, but they would both fail for the same reasons, and around 1850, Lionel, Nathan’s son, decided that enough was enough. Paris, the center of power, would be transformed into the City of Lights, and France would return to being a republic as established under Napoleon, the only difference being that the Emperor would now be an elected President.

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31-MOSCOW CAMPAIGN

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After the War of 1812, Nathan, confident that the American politicians would renew his bank’s charter, turned his attention to Europe. He was anxious to send Napoleon to Russia. Like his father, he believed that more gold bullion was needed if the number of central banks, and hence the number of democracies, was to grow. It was crucial to accumulate as much gold as possible, at least until the US paper dollar became as good as gold, but that would take a lot of gold and was far down the road. The problem in 1812 was that gold mining was still in its infancy, and that even exploiting alluvial gold deposits was a problem. However, it just so happened that the most advanced mining engineering school in the world was in Paris. L’École des Mines de Paris founded in 1783 had developed the latest techniques for extracting alluvial gold, and this gave Nathan the wherewithal to pursue his plan.

In 1803, alluvial gold had been discovered on the western slope of the Urals in Russia, and it was well known that the Tsar wanted to keep it a secret, for he didn’t want the serf population to start a gold rush. In 1810, Nathan who was setting the world price for gold bullion out of the City in London, was well aware of that situation. Therefore, he would entice Napoleon to go and force Tsar Alexander’s hand to open the country to private gold mining. Napoleon would take a corps of engineers with him, and once Alexander was forced into accepting, that elite corps would be sent to the Urals in order to launch and supervise mining operations. Of course, Napoleon was to keep all the proceeds from the sale of the mined gold. Nathan would open a Russian bank and buy all the gold as it was being produced while giving the Tsar his royalties. Letters of exchange in pounds would be sent to Napoleon in Paris, and the gold would find its way to Nathan’s vaults in the City. Napoleon and the Tsar would get the paper, and Nathan would get the gold.

Napoleon started the Russian campaign in June, 1812, and he was heading into a Russian winter which made absolutely no sense. After major losses, he entered Moscow. But since the retreating Russian Army had burned and stripped the city of supplies, it was a deadly place to be for a starving army. He could easily have gone on to Saint Petersburg to defeat Tsar Alexander and winter his troops in that city, but he chose to stay in Moscow for a whole five weeks instead. Napoleon was obviously waiting for an answer from the Tsar, to whom he had issued an ultimatum regarding opening the country to gold mining. After likely receiving assurances from Tsar Alexander that it would be done, Napoleon decided to spare Saint Petersburg, and took off as fast as he could for France, but not before dispatching to the Urals a contingent of 22 000 men headed by the engineers from l’Ecole des Mines de Paris. If Napoleon then took the same direct way back to France, knowing full well the countryside was totally devastated by the passing of his army on the way to Moscow, and that winter was around the corner, it was because he was in a hurry to reap the benefits of the campaign and was willing to gamble. Napoleon made it OK, but his army wasn’t so lucky. Winter set in early, and his army was completely annihilated.

Later that year, the Russian Senate issued an Act authorizing subjects and private companies to mine for gold and silver ores providing they pay royalties to the Severnaya Kazna National State Bank. As expected, numerous private mining companies with Russian names started mining operations, and the country’s gold output was as much as 2 tons in a very short period of time. Financing research and development in gold mining technology and buying the gold produced at the price set by Nathan in the City would become the modus operandi for all time.

Meanwhile, in Judengasse, Mayer’s health was failing. Upon receiving the bad news, Nathan duly rushed to Frankfurt, and was at his father’s bedside when he died on September 19, 1812. One can only wonder if the War in America declared on June 18, 1812, happening at the same time Napoleon was starting his Russian Campaign, didn’t adversely affect Mayer’s health. Did he think Nathan was in too much of a hurry? Did he think too many people were being killed needlessly in the name of gold? Or was 68 considered a ripe old age for the times? No matter, the greatest man who ever lived passed away in almost total anonymity in the Frankfurt ghetto.

One thing is certain, Gutle must have reminded Nathan of the absolute necessity for discretion and anonymity so dear to his father. In London, Nathan had been doing exactly the opposite of what Mayer had always done, that is, keep a low profile while building the greatest financial dynasty of all time. Gutle couldn’t have been too happy with Nathan’s extravagant ways.

Nathan attended his father’s funeral with his son Lionel, who was four years old at the time. Gutle bonded instantly with her grandson, and when he took over the reins of power after his father’s death in 1836, Gutle was still living in Judengasse. She died much later, in 1849, and Lionel visited the old woman he loved as often as he could. Gutle had a great influence on him, for under his direction, the dynasty built by Mayer slowly went back to keeping a low profile, to the point where most people today wonder if it ever really existed. Nonetheless, to this day, Nathan’s bank in the City fixes the daily world price of gold.

30-LOUISIANA TO TRAFALGAR

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When Nathan moved to the City and took charge of the Goldsmid Bros. Bank, he was also taking charge of Bonaparte. One of the first things he did was help his father push through the Louisiana Purchase, and he was very successful, for the Treaties of Mortefontaine and San Ildefonso were both signed in 1800, and the Quasi-War came to a halt that same year.

Following the signing of the agreements, Bonaparte sent 35,000 French troops to free the eastern part of Santa Domingo in order to give it back to the Spanish as promised. But Bonaparte had another idea in the back of his head, for he intended to double-cross whoever was financing the deal. Once in Hispaniola, instead of freeing the island, he would use it as a military base. Being close to the USA, he could then easily land his troops in New Orleans and occupy Louisiana instead of selling it, and there was nobody to stop him. By occupying the land west of the Mississippi, a land France already owned, the French would create a bigger and more important country than the 13 loose-knitted English speaking Colonies on the east coast.

However, Nathan got word of his intentions, and was preparing to send in the English Navy to put things right when Bonaparte’s army was wiped out by yellow fever. Because the few remaining troops had to return to France, Bonaparte had no choice but to sell Louisiana to the Americans as arranged. However, he hadn’t lost out completely, for he still pocketed the sale proceeds. It was a win-win situation for all parties. The Americans got a deal beyond their wildest dreams, and the 15 million dollars went directly to Bonaparte. It was enough to satisfy all of Bonaparte’s ambitions, and he following year, in 1804, he crowned himself Napoleon. The megalomaniac had become emperor, and it was henceforth up to Nathan to keep him in check with the help of Talleyrand that he was indirectly controlling through Ouvrard.

After the signing of the Treaty of Mortefontaine with the USA, and the Treaty of San Ildefonso with Spain, the Quasi-War came to an end. The promised Louisiana Purchase that had been the bait was completed in 1803, the financing of the deal is proof of Mayer’s involvement. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the thirteen Colonies had around seven million dollars in revenues, a 3.2 million dollar deficit, and didn’t yet collect taxes. Naturally, it was the First Bank of the United States that proposed a loan, just like Mayer had wanted. Not only would this deal make First Bank of the United States indispensable, but the Louisiana Purchase would allow Congress to open up the west.

To everyone’s surprise, when Congress offered to pay fifteen million dollars for the port of New Orleans alone, Napoleon sweetened the deal by throwing in at no extra charge all of the French possessions, including Rupert’s Land, a territory that in large part is Canada today. That was, indeed, a mind-boggling offer, and though Congress couldn’t believe its luck, it didn’t bother to question this ‘divine’ intervention. What is never mentioned is that the intent was to unite Rupert’s Land north of the 49th parallel to Lower Canada. The straight line represented by the 49th parallel was drawn by the same ‘divine’ power that had devised the Manifest Destiny concept. America was on its way to becoming a coast to coast nation with Canada to the north, and Mexico to the south in spite of the fact there was still a strong Mexican presence north of the Rio Grande.

Nathan let Bonaparte have the proceeds in order to encourage him to accept the deal in the first place, but also to give him the means to crown himself Emperor Napoleon, which he did at Notre-Dame Cathedral, in Paris, on December 2, 1804. The megalomaniac gladly did what was expected of him, because in establishing order throughout France he was ensuring his renown. He started by ramming through the Civil Code on March 21, 1805. It marked the beginning of the end for the Catholic Royalists who opposed it violently because it meant they no longer had legal recourse with regards to their confiscated property. Unperturbed, backed by Fouché’s dreaded state police, the Prefects were given full powers in the departments, and the mayors answered directly to them. France thus became the centralist state that it is to this day.

But, in 1804, what remained of the French Navy was still very much commanded by Royalists. Therefore, in wanting to finish off the French Navy, Nathan, wanting Napoleon to invade England, told Ouvrard to promise the Emperor through Talleyrand all the financing needed if he decided to do so. The plan would unfold, and when the French fleet would be at its most vulnerable, Nathan would leak the information to the English Admiralty who would be pleased to have Admiral Nelson finish the job.

Since Aboukir, the French Navy had been rehabilitated by Latouche-Tréville, but it was Admiral Villeneuve, the same one who had fled at Aboukir who was given command of the fleet. Nelson, who was chosen to command the English fleet and who had great respect for Admiral Latouche-Tréville who had once routed him, didn’t know that the French had replaced him with Villeneuve. So, when Villeneuve took off for the Caribbean, Nelson thought it was Latouche-Tréville, and that he was headed for Egypt. Thanks to favorable winds, Villeneuve kept well ahead of Nelson and Napoleon’s deception worked. Villeneuve went to the Caribbean, and Nelson went to Egypt. By the time Nelson realized his mistake, Villeneuve had had time to rendezvous with other French units in the Caribbean thirty-two days ahead of Nelson’s arrival. Villeneuve’s Navy was shipshape, superior in fire power, and could have easily defeated Nelson, but instead of engaging the English fleet, Villeneuve, who had fled before Nelson at Aboukir, fled yet again.

But Napoleon was following a clever plan. By having his navy invade a few islands, he made the English Admiralty think the French were taking over in the Caribbean. Then, as expected, most of the English Navy was dispatched to the Caribbean, thus freeing the French ports that had been under siege. Villeneuve seized the opportunity and took off as fast as he could for Europe, heading for Boulogne-Sur-Mer where Napoleon and his Imperial Army were waiting. All the French ships from the now liberated French ports were to join him there and everything was going marvellously well for Napoleon. Then, for some unknown reason, Villeneuve made the worst decision possible, one that was as catastrophic as the one taken by de Brueys at Aboukir. Instead of continuing on to Boulogne, he turned back and headed south for the Spanish port of Cadiz. No doubt, Villeneuve had been intercepted and ordered to do just that. Until then, the plan to invade England had been unfolding flawlessly. Understandably, Napoleon was furious at Villeneuve and immediately sent orders to have him removed from command. However, before receiving those orders, Villeneuve joined up with the Spanish fleet and went to attack Nelson’s fleet that had been spotted approaching from the west. Why on October 21, 1805, off Trafalgar, Villeneuve decided to attack Nelson in the worst possible weather conditions remains a mystery.

At the head of a disorganized Franco-Spanish fleet, practically in a dead calm, Villeneuve headed north to engage Nelson. When Nelson saw that Villeneuve’s ships were scattered six miles wide, he seized the opportunity and, contrary to tradition, he divided his fleet into two columns, one of which cut the Franco-Spanish fleet in two. That column went in at right angles, firing broadsides to port and starboard while remaining totally immune to enemy fire. The other column went northward and sank any enemy ship that decided to turn about and come to the rescue of the sister ships being attacked. The whole Franco-Spanish fleet was either sunk or captured. The score at Aboukir had been 13 to 0 in favor of Nelson, and now at Trafalgar it was 33 to 0 in his favor, notwithstanding the fact that he died after being shot by a French sailor from one of the damaged ships.

Nathan had to be very happy with the results, for that meant the Atlantic Ocean was now under the control of only one navy, the English Navy. The Atlantic community could now flourish. Napoleon had to abandon his plan to invade England, but he was encouraged instead to go seek fame and fortune by attacking the Ancien Regime powers to the east. And since he kept all the spoils of victory, he was doubly motivated to go on the warpath. He defeated the Austrians in Italy and continued right into Austria where he defeated both Tsar Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II at Austerlitz. It marked the beginning of the end for all the Ancien Regime countries. A year later, the Holy German Empire was abolished and replaced by the Confederation of the Rhine, with Napoleon as ‘protector’.

Napoleon then took time out to tidy up his personal life. He wanted a male heir, and since Josephine couldn’t give him one, he divorced her. He married Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810, and the King of Rome was born in 1811. As far as Nathan was concerned, with the French Navy gone, with Napoleon having restructured France and with the Holy German Empire defeated, the Emperor and his Imperial Army were no longer needed. But there was one more thing Napoleon could do before he was given the coup de grace, he could go to Russia and force the Tsar to let private companies mine for gold in the Urals.