45-CONSPIRACY AND CONTROL

When we became intelligent some three million years ago, we became aware of our mortality and were consequently scared out of our wits. This led to unrest and confusion within our specie for the longest time. Fortunately, in 325 of the Common Era (CE), a group of good men decided to create a very effective religion, one meant to control man’s behavior by instilling the fear of God in him. That religion, Christianity, invaded the infrastructure of the Roman Empire like a hermit crab. Once established with its network of kings, it forced all the citizens of the empire to adopt the Nicene Creed. It ruled by diplomacy and fear of God, and when that didn’t work, it used threats of excommunication, wars, crusades, and inquisitions to set things right. The official religion was not only intolerant and exclusive but was opposed to the spread of knowledge as well. It was created on the premise that poverty was godly, and that science was the work of the devil. Its finances were based on tithing and deeding by those who wanted to buy their way into heaven when the time came. It was a haphazard but boundless source of revenue, and corruption set in. The Vatican ruled very inefficiently. Not surprisingly, along the way, it created two deadly enemies, the Jews and Huguenots (French Protestants). Those two enemies joined forces in London in 1600, but finding more tolerant political conditions in Amsterdam, they established their headquarters there in 1602. Under the guise of the East India Company, they ruled the oceans of the world for nearly a century. As soon as it became feasible, in 1688, they returned to London and established their head office in the City. The next step was the creation of a political system called democracy.

In 1694, the East India Company created the Bank of England, a financial oligarchy that now ruled the oceans out of the City in London instead of Amsterdam. The bankers were determined to turn the world into one great market economy, an English one, of course. That short-sightedness was what allowed Mayer Amschel Rothschild to create the Bank of North America in 1781 and his son, Nathan, to take over the Bank of England in 1810. Mayer’s far-sightedness gave us international finance, a system where market economies, or democracies, freely traded with each other. Mayer’s dynasty had the added advantage of not only speaking with one voice, but in making credit accessible to governments as well as merchants and ordinary citizens, it could only know lasting success. Today, we are all living witnesses to that fact.

Credit is the most sophisticated and cleanest method of control, and more importantly, it’s always in great demand. The credit machine could be compared to a water pumping system where the big water reservoir is the hundred and fifty thousand of gold stockpiled in the City and its Central Banks. From that reservoir, the gold is magically transformed into paper dollars before being sent on their way. The added magic in this operation is that no matter how many dollars are printed, the stockpile of gold never decreases, quite the opposite, it is meant to increase in size as more gold is mined and bought up. Today, the good as gold dollars, paper or electronic, soon to be replaced by virtual bitcoins, flow to the central bank of each country as well as the multiple world organizations such as the United Nations, Unesco, World Bank etc. These are connected to smaller pipelines going down to industries and individuals in the form of loans, and to the man on the street in the form of a salary. On each pipeline there is a tap that controls the output, the tap being the interest rate. If the City wants a country or a multinational to shape up, it gets Standard and Poor’s or some other mysterious entity to let the Gorgon Sisters, Reuters, AP and AFP, tell the world that their credit is no good. Then the NYSE, the first domino in a long chain of dominoes, falls in the desired direction, thus starting a chain reaction. The dominoes are manipulated by the ‘suits’, politicians, traders, professors and journalists, who are never told what to do or say, but know exactly what the one who pays their salary wants, and act accordingly. No matter how many dominoes there are in a given sequence, they all fall in the direction in which the original domino fell, and if one domino fails to fall, it is simply replaced or bypassed, and the chain restarted. All people who receive a salary do what is expected of them, and that includes everybody, the President on down, but no one is made to think he’s a pawn, for democracy is all about instilling the feeling of empowerment.

Credit control works extremely well, but when drastic action like war is needed, the people must be made to believe that it’s necessary and to not question it. Credit control depends on democracy, and democracy depends on the empowerment of the people. People have to be made to believe they are the ones deciding or democracy can’t work. In the good old Holy Roman Empire days, the clergy used very crude ways to impose its will, as mentioned earlier, but Mayer’s dynasty in the City has always used more sophisticated controls such as free speech, job creation, and media feed in order to sway public opinion. But in dire cases, it gets America, the City’s executive arm, to arrange for a Pearl Harbor or a 9/11 in order to get things done.

First, the people must be empowered, and that comes about largely with the creation of jobs. When war is being planned, huge sums of credit are injected to fuel the arms industry, creating a lot of employment and making a lot of people rich in the process. But swaying public opinion is trickier. The process begins with the Gorgon Sisters feeding the various media with the necessary information or misinformation, and encouraging ‘free’ speech. Those who speak for the war are good patriots and good leaders while those who oppose the war and question the facts leading up to it are quickly branded conspirators, or even traitors. The Gorgon sisters freely let conspiracy theories flow into the media because they can easily counter them by having a number of respected ‘suits’ defend the City’s point of view that has become theirs. People eventually become blasé to conspiracy, to the point where every time they hear the word, they switch off. Honest citizens don’t listen to those nuts, and when it comes to the crunch, they trust their elected leaders and their media, regardless.

In 1913, after the Federal Reserve Act was signed into law, Hollywood started sending pictures depicting the greatness of democracy around the world. The dollar was becoming as good as gold, and the image was becoming the message. On the one hand, Mayer’s dynasty controlled the dollar and the many currencies tied to it, and therefore unofficially ruled the financial world, and on the other, the ‘land of the free’, or the ‘land of opportunity’, became everyone’s ideal on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Every able-bodied person wanted to come to America or be like Americans. It opened wide the door to globalization.

Today, Marshall McLuhan’s maxims, ‘the image is the message’, and ‘the global village’ have become more meaningful than ever. Hollywood followed by TV, the internet, and the smartphone gave us an image-oriented society and virtually empowered us. But as incomes grew, people had more leisure time on their hands, and that meant the Gorgon Sisters had to play an ever-greater role in filling the airwaves. Politics, religion, sports, entertainment along with local news had to keep everybody focused. Now people do it all by themselves through the social networks.

However, the citizen needing ever more direction, the old overpowering control, the one based on the fear of God and the threat of damnation no longer sufficing, a new concept was introduced. Since humans are genetically conditioned to live with fear, it is very easy to condition them to forever expect dread, as long as they are convinced that their leaders will save them if and when disaster strikes. In fact, it is a simple control, very much like a riding crop used to make horses do what they are meant to do. A horse would not be worth his salt if it didn’t do what its owner wanted it to do, so, once broken in, the crop is used to remind it of a looming threat. A good owner never hits the horse with the crop, but simply makes sure the horse is aware of it. In a democracy, people may have the illusion of being free and empowered, but they react to credit and media just like the horse to the crop. Instilling fear into a population must go hand in hand with the assurance that it is protected. People may complain, and that is useful in keeping their minds busy, but they must above all trust the one who brandishes the crop, or it doesn’t work.

Fear comes with names like Hitler, Khomeini and Bin Laden, and words like anarchists, Marxists, communists, fascists, terrorists, ISIS, Al Qaeda and Dahesh, Stalin and Putin, names and words that were and are repeated in the media thousands of times each day throughout the world. From atop his elevator shoes, the leader of North Korea threatens to blow up the whole world, and we tremble. And though the five permanent Security Council members, America, Russia, England, France and China are under one roof and have never fired a shot at each other, we continue fearing Russia to this day. The banking dynasty in the City created the Permanent Security Council and controls all the central banks of the world, yet we still fear being annihilated by an atomic bomb coming from Russia, and even North Korea, as ludicrous as that is. The Gorgon Sisters know how and when to brandish the crop, and by sending images of terrorist attacks, along with ridiculous military parades and the lighting of wet firecrackers out of North Korea, they make us tremble, just like they did with Russia not so long ago. As more and more people become smombies, that is glued to their smartphones, we could say that they are hardwired to the Gorgon Sisters who constantly spew out marching jingles.

Two great examples of the way the crop is used have to do with airport security checks and the climate change debate. Anybody who has a million dollars can hijack or blow up a plane anytime, anywhere in the world, and any professional killer can use a plastic card in his wallet, or the plastic food utensils on board, to kill or threaten to kill anybody at will. As for security checks per se, if people are asked to remove their belts and shoes, it is simply a symbolic way to instil fear in the middle class of the world, the flying population, by symbolically having them drop their pants and walk bare-footed, for it serves absolutely no other purpose. The only valid control at the airport is the metal detector that’s meant to stop the ordinary crazies who may be tempted to carry a knife or a gun on board. As for climate change, it is a reality, but not for the reasons the Gorgon Sisters give. The reality is that we’re on the warming leg of a glacial cycle, and that the production of CO2 is irrelevant. But, like with the horse who trusts the crop holder, we trust the one who spews out the fabricated hype about CO2. The more the crop is brandished, the more we walk the line.

 

 

42-CITY OF LIGHTS

In France, in 1804, after the Civil Code was rammed through, non-elected Prefects answered directly to the central authority in Paris and ran their departments with the help of the dreaded Fouché police. After Napoleon was sent to St. Helens, Nathan, who was head of his dynasty in the City, had taken a wait and see attitude in order to determine whether or not a constitutional monarchy was possible for France. He let Louis XVIII have a go at it, followed by Charles X and Louis-Philippe d’Orléans. Those three monarchs were more interested in doing the Holy Roman Empire’s bidding by perpetrating the White Terror and taking their revenge on the Bonapartists and old revolutionaries in general than in founding a constitutional monarchy. When Nathan died in 1836, France was still being plagued by political unrest, and his son Lionel decided to put the French constitutional monarchy matter to rest. Putting a stop to anarchy in a country to which Mayer’s family was so beholding, was the only decent thing to do. Lionel decided to turn Paris into the City of Lights and give France stability by enshrining the centralist state put in place by Napoleon.

The 500 tons of gold sent as an aid package to America in 1768 had been used by Mayer to open the Bank of North America, and the roughly 5000 tons of French gold generated by the real estate scam in 1789 and stored in the Goldsmid Bros. vaults in the City, had been used by Nathan to take over the Bank of England. Lionel, as head of the family dynasty, now controlled the monetary systems of America, England, France and most of Europe, and he personally wanted to do something special for France. This country had given a lot to his family and the world, and yet had been subjected to untold miseries just because it happened to be the cornerstone of the Holy Roman Empire. Things had to be put right.

Adolphe Thiers was an active French political figure from 1825 to 1875, and no doubt did the City’s bidding during that time. In 1830, after helping to bring down Charles X, who had replaced Louis XVIII, he supported the Orléanist Louis-Philippe and had him elected with Lafayette’s help. When this third attempt at Constitutional Monarchy failed, political unrest continued, and Lionel decided that enough was enough. In 1841, mindboggling amounts of credit were made available to Thiers in order for him to build a wall around Paris.

When the wall was completed in 1844, it was time to get rid of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, the last king that was to be. In 1848, Lionel had Thiers support Louis-Napoleon, a Bonapartist, who was easily elected President with the help of intellectuals such as Victor Hugo. Thiers then encouraged Louis-Napoléon to declare himself Emperor Napoleon III, which he did in 1852, before starting to demolish much of Paris, for this would not be a very popular move. In 1853, Adolphe Thiers and Baron Haussmann, the Paris Prefect, started levelling whole sections of the city to make wide avenues that would, as far as the federalists were concerned, facilitate the movement of troops within the city. Nonetheless, the demolition of crowded and unhealthy medieval neighborhoods, the building of wide avenues, parks and squares, the annexation of the suburbs surrounding Paris, the construction of new sewers, fountains and aqueducts, and row upon row of the most beautifully designed residential buildings in the world, continued. Since gas used for lighting was now accessible throughout the city, Paris became known as the City of Lights. One could ask, however, why they had surrounded Paris with an impregnable thirty-three-kilometer wall bordered by an elevated 250-meter strip of land defended by sixteen fort cities that were part of that wall?

It obviously meant there was a Machiavellian plan in place. In fact, as beautiful as Paris had become, the fortifications had turned Paris into a fishbowl that was meant to contain the Federalists. When the time came, they were to be rounded up with their families and sent into exile to New Caledonia, thus removing a major political obstructionist force. Although the Federalists were true democrats, like none before or since, and as appealing as pure democracy is in theory, it is not feasible. Human nature simply won’t allow it. The only type of democracy possible is one where the monetary system is run by private interests. The one who prints the money cannot be the one spending it, and that’s what the Federalists were in effect trying to do. The very unique and democratically minded Federalists had to go.

Moreover, if France was to be stabilized, the Royalists had to be given a death blow as well. The period from 1789 to 1840 had proven that the two groups could never achieve constitutional government on their own. The only solution was to enforce the centralist state concept that Napoleon had put in place in 1804, and have the population elect a president every seven year. This would empower the people at the expense of the Federalists and the Royalists who would never recover.

So, when the City of Lights was more or less completed in 1870, it was time to get rid of the Federalists. Louis-Napoleon, listening no doubt to a divine voice coming from the City, made the most absurd decision by declaring war on Prussia over an insignificant diplomatic incident. Even more bizarre, he wasn’t the one who attacked Bismarck, it was Bismarck who attacked Paris. After the preordained siege of Paris, Louis-Napoleon fled to England, and Thiers, now the self-proclaimed head of government, transferred his whole administration to Versailles. Surprisingly, he came up with the colossal sum of money needed to buy back the 100,000 French prisoners from Bismarck. Inexplicably, it was Thiers, not Bismarck, who marched into Paris with the recently purchased French prisoners. His orders were undoubtedly to surround and capture the members of the Commune, Federalists all, before exiling them to New Caledonia, but things didn’t work out as planned. The Federalists put up too strong a resistance, and a panicking Thiers commited the worst atrocities imaginable. Tens of thousands of Federalists, including women and children, were executed, while perhaps twice as many were imprisoned under atrocious conditions and died in the process. Thiers did succeed in exiling thousands of Federalists to New Caledonia, and it did mark the end of that political force, but the Paris Commune remains one of the worst blood baths in history, much to Lionel’s chagrin, to be sure.

On January 3rd, 1875, Henri Wallon tabled an amendment proposing that the President of the Republic be elected by an absolute majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for a renewable seven-year period. It became known as the Constitutional Laws of 1875 which officially established France as a centralist state. Thiers, who had been chosen as the 1st President, conveniently resigned, and Patrice MacMahon, a catholic aristocrat who was neither monarchist nor republican, was elected to succeed him. The wall that had cost countless billions to build was torn down, and the Stockholm syndrome kicked in. The French have since put their trust in one man, their President. They elect their President, a “father knows best” figure, who somehow becomes l’État, and they trust l’État more than they do their fellow citizens. The people’s Assembly is composed in great part by duly elected mayors, and since mayors answer directly to prefects nominated by the President, it means that France is a centralist state, or a democratic dictature.

41-INDIA-JAPAN-CHINA

The East India Company established company rule in India in 1757, and it lasted till 1858. In 1857, after a major rebellion in which over 100 000 Indians were killed, Lionel, Mayer’s grandson, decided to dissolve the East India Company and put an end to the Maharajahs’ power by establishing the British Raj or Crown rule which lasted till 1947.

In 1930, Mohandas Ghandi led a revolt that galvanized the country, but it was short-lived. Nevertheless, after many subsequent years of haggling in the halls of power, both in India and London, it was agreed, in 1947, that two republics should be created, that of Pakistan (mainly Muslim) and that of India (mainly Hindu). That agreement later caused more religious tensions and more bloodshed, but nonetheless, there was an Indian general election in 1951. The Indian National Congress won a landslide victory, at which time Jawaharlal Nehru became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the country. Religious tension remained high, but politically, India and Pakistan were working democracies and would never look back.

China, on the other hand, was a much more complicated matter. It was the biggest, most populated country in the world, had no permanent borders, no army, no national identity, no national pride, no economy to speak of, and was ruled by warlords. So, in 1947, with India on the verge of becoming a democracy and Europe on the verge of signing the Treaty of Rome, it was time to transform China into what was to become the world’s second largest market economy.

It was Lionel who had started the process way back in 1853 when he decided to use Japan, a country that was totally isolated from the west, to do his bidding. That year, American Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Edo (Tokyo) Bay with four battleships, two of which were powered by steam. The Japanese marveled at this awesome technology that was totally unknown to them. However, their admiration would have been tempered if they had known that this impromptu visit was meant to usher in the end of an era, the Tokugawa shogunate.

In 1854, the Convention of Kanagawa was signed forcing the Japanese to open their ports and trade with the U.S. In 1868, the City financed the Meiji restoration, a political movement that gave Japan a constitutional monarchy, which meant that the City now controlled its monetary system and could allow credit to flow in. The Meiji restoration ushered in modernization and westernization, and as expected, the Japanese played the game of fukoku kyokei, a game that turned their country into a rich and aggressive military power. Japan’s power grew, and the proud Samurais, not satisfied with their colonial status, developed a warring culture that would spread beyond its borders.

However, Japan had no raw materials to speak of and was dependent on the US for oil, rubber, and iron. In other words, because it was vulnerable, it could easily be controlled. Japan was encouraged to expand and become the most important military and economic power in Asia. It grabbed Manchuria, Taiwan, and parts of Northern China in 1894, defeated Russia in 1904, and took possession of Korea in 1910. By 1929, it was an empire, and its expansionism knew no bounds. When Emperor Hirohito defied America by refusing to retreat from China, the US turned a blind eye and didn’t retaliate. Instead, the US slowed down the flow of raw materials for the world to see, but not enough to stop Showa expansionism. Japan had a job to do, and that was to clean up the warlords in China.

WWII was the time chosen to destroy the Japanese empire that had by then finished its work in China. The City then proceeded to the next step, which was securing China’s borders. China had Russia and Mongolia to the north, the Himalayas to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, but the South China Sea border had a few leaks. After the war, England returned to Hong Kong, Chiang Kai-shek took charge of Taiwan in 1949, and in 1950, after a longer than expected war, North Korea became a buffer zone between China and Japan. After the Indochina war that led to the creation of a nationalist Vietnamese government in 1975, the Southern Chinese border was sealed. However, for good measure, in the 1970’s, the City allowed both Pakistan and India to develop the nuclear bomb. China was now effectively contained, and the process of unification could continue.

As early as 1934, the City had found the man who would help get the job done. Mao Tse-tung had caught the City’s attention when he was elected Chairman of the Soviet Republic of China, which, at the time, consisted only of a small communist controlled mountainous area in Jangxi province. The City started financing Mao after his famous Long March in 1935 when he evaded the Nationalist troops at the head of some eight thousand men, becoming a Chinese hero in the process. With the City’s help, Mao Tse-tung went on to fight Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists, and in 1949, the Nationalists were forced to retreat to Taiwan, and Mao became President of the People’s Republic of China. From 1949 to 1958, Mao organized the peasants into collectives. He followed that up with his disastrous Great Leap Forward in 1958, when at least twenty million Chinese peasants starved to death. It was only after the purges of the Cultural Revolution, when the Red Guards went through China with a fine-tooth comb waving the Little Red Book and forcing everybody to follow the party line that the country started responding to one authority, Mao’s Communist Party. It was time to turn it into a market economy.

The City was so confident that China would turn out the way it did, that immediately after WWII, in 1945, it gave China a permanent seat in the UN Security Council along with France, Russia, U.S.A., and the UK. In 1964, it allowed it to join the nuclear club, and in 1980 it opened the first of several Special Economic Zones in Shanghai.

 

38-WILDCAT BANKING

Mayer created the Bank of North America in 1781, and after sending his son, Nathan to take over the Bank of England in 1798, by 1810, the two banks were operating under one roof. The City would henceforth be the board room of world finance headed by Nathan’s bank in the City, while the Secretary of the Treasury in the District of Colombia would unofficially be its chief executive. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that, in 1810, Nathan’s bank in the City was already fixing the daily price of gold for the whole world, which it continues to do to this day.

Things were going smoothly when suddenly the US President threatened to get rid of private banking. When the 20-year charter for the 1st Bank of the United States was about to run out in 1811, hostility to private banking in the US was at a peak, and the hot-head, Andrew Jackson, convinced James Madison, the President, not to renew the bank’s charter. A year before, in 1810, Nathan had seen the problem developing and had issued an ultimatum: “either the application for the renewal of the charter is granted, or the United States will find itself involved in a most disastrous war.” Madison and Jackson couldn’t believe that one man could have that kind of clout, and they didn’t alter course. After declaring that he would teach the impudent Americans a lesson and bring them back to colonial status if they didn’t renew the bank charter, he proceeded to do just that.

In early 1812, the English Navy started harassing the American merchant marine by impressing 10000 American sailors into her Majesty’s service. It was an intolerable situation, and President James Madison was forced to declare war on the English, a war he could ill afford, especially since the bank created by Nathan’s father, the Bank of North America-cum-1st Bank of the United States, no longer officially existed. Nathan’s plan was to force the United States to fight a war and sink them deeply into debt. Surprisingly, after the US declared war against England on June 18, 1812, it was the English that attacked.

The English moved troops into Canada. Some units went up the St. Lawrence and the great lakes right up to Fort Erie and Detroit while others went up the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain. Meanwhile, the English Navy was blockading all the ports it could along the Atlantic coast. All in all, it was a war of attrition that cost the Americans dearly. When the English burned down the White House on August 24, 1814, it was a determining moment. The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814, and the US Senate ratified it on February 16, 1815. All territory went back to its original owners, and nothing changed. The real results were unofficial and never linked with that treaty. The 20-year charter for the 2nd Bank of the United States was signed on April 10, 1816. There was a welcome result in that anglophone Upper Canada and francophone Lower Canada had found a degree of identity in adversity, an element that would lead to the creation of the country we know today.

When the second charter for the 2nd Bank of the United States came up for renewal in 1836, President Andrew Jackson didn’t hesitate to veto it. If, contrary to 1812, Mayer’s dynasty in the City didn’t insist on getting the charter renewed at this time, it was because of the possibility of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. After completing the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the West had naturally opened up. Now, in 1836, thirty years later, the City bankers decided it was time to let America expand at breakneck speed, a period that would become known as the Wildcat Banking Years.

The modus operandi was simple. During the period of 1836 to 1863, they would let ambitious men open banks, claim land, prospect for gold, drill for oil, and do all the dirty work so to speak. The frenetic development that ensued was like a gigantic rodeo where no-nonsense men rode bulls and wild broncos. It was definitely wild, but it was OK because the rodeo was taking place in a secure corral. In other words, the dollar used by the defunct but still operating 2nd Bank of the United States and its affiliates on the east coast was tied to the English pound which was tied to gold, and all the funny money being printed in the emerging American States had no choice but to stay more or less pegged to the dollar. The shinplasters, as the state currencies were called, were meant to fail just like the Continental currency had during the War of Independence. When the time came and everybody cried for more financial stability, the dollar would again be officially re-instated throughout the country.

In 1863, Congress passed the Banking Laws Act, and the dollar became the official currency in all the States. Key industries working in the US dollar financial zone had prospered, and their tentacles reached across the entire nation. The oil industry, the railroads, the steel industry and industrial America generally, were run by men like Westinghouse, Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, while the Lehmans, the Kuhns, the Loebs, etc. continued running the branches of the defunct 2nd Bank of the United States. The Federal Reserve Board would have to wait until 1913.

During the Wildcat banking years, from 1836 onwards, Lionel, Nathan’s son, who had become head of the family dynasty in the City, was satisfied to let the American West open up in a free-wheeling manner, for he had three other worldly matters that required his attention. The most pressing one was getting the Spanish-Mexicans to move South of the Rio Grande in order to establish a permanent Southern US border. The French administration along with its military had left America in 1763, that of England in 1783, and now it was the Spaniards’ turn. Once that was accomplished, the Manifest Destiny concept could then be realized, for Lionel would populate California with Americans, and he already had an idea on how to do it.

The two other matters had to do with China and France. On the one hand, it was imperative to get Japan to invade China and get rid of the Chinese warlords, and on the other, to give France political stability by exiling the federalists, who controlled Paris, to New Caledonia, and then bulldoze Paris, the center of power, and re-establish the central state concept laid down under Napoleon. In the process, transforming Paris into the City of Lights would help to have the population swallow the pill. The building of democracies in the ancient regime countries of Europe with their many languages, traditions and cultures would not happen overnight, and it was best to get started as soon as possible. The Chinese and Indian democracies would be easy enough to establish, but Europe would take a very long time. Although globalization was very much on Nathan’s mind when he created his bank in the City, in 1810, it was Lionel, his son, who would be the catalyst.

33-NATHAN IN THE CITY

When he arrived in England in 1798, other than wanting to do a good job and making his father proud, Nathan had a pressing personal matter. In 1795, on a trip to America with his father and brothers, they had stopped over in London, and he had been introduced to two families. Though Moses Elias Montefiore’s family was the one meant to welcome him when he moved to England, Nathan developed closer ties to the Levy-Barent Cohen family, for ever since 1795 when Nathan met Hannah Cohen, who was 12 at the time, that adorable little girl had been constantly on his mind.

Nathan started off by going undercover to Manchester. He had left the Judengasse ghetto as a penniless young man in 1798, and in the space of 8 years, he supposedly became the wealthiest man in the world. After achieving this feat dealing in the cloth business, he went to London. Other than wanting to see Hannah Cohen in London, being the man that he was, he must have been also champing at the bit to take over from the Goldsmids in the City. In 1806, he married Hannah Cohen, in 1808 Lionel was born, and in 1809 he moved to St. Swithin’s Lane in New Court. In 1810, after replacing the Goldsmid Brothers, he proceeded to create a bank in his own name, N M Rothschild & Sons, and overnight, he was recognized as the most powerful banker in the City, and hence, the world.

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

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

In that same year, at age 33, Nathan opened his bank in the City. Miraculously, he was instantly recognized as the most powerful banker in the City. He probably had taken possession of his father’s gold in the Goldsmids coffers, almost half the gold ever produced in the world, some 5 thousand tons. Consequently, his bank immediately started fixing the daily price of gold for the whole world, and continues to do so to this day. If Nathan opened the bank in his own name it was because Mayer wanted to make sure Nathan’s bank didn’t have any official ties with himself. In doing so, all possible ties to a father who lived in a ghetto, to his bank, the First Bank of the United States, and to the gold accumulated during the French real estate scam, vanished. Nobody would ever know where all that power and gold enjoyed by Nathan came from. Anonymity was the key to success.

1810 was also a time to decide Napoleon’s fate. That year, Napoleon was tidying up his personal life. He had wanted a male heir, and since Josephine couldn’t give him one, he divorced her very solemnly and publicly. He married Marie-Louise of Austria later that year, and his son, the King of Rome, was born in 1811. Nathan thought that Napoleon had served his purpose. After shoring up Barras who put an end to the Terror, after serving as a catalyst for the demise of the French Navy, after politically transforming France into the centralist state that it is to this day, and after dismantling the Holy Roman Empire on both sides of the Rhine, Emperor Napoleon and his Imperial Army were no longer needed. However, 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.

 

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.

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