63-THE WALL

We have seen how two teens, each brought up in an intimate family environment, established a serious relationship that led to a great marriage, a great family and fabulous life occupations. Even if one is lucky enough to be in such an enviable position, like them, that person will still have to face the wall, for nobody is spared.

Genetically, females are not programmed to receive the male’s sperm past menopause, a reality that is often ignored. Even if some men, whether for reasons of nostalgia, domination, money, deprivation or perversion, occasionally ignore this imposition by having sex with post-menopausal women, the fact remains that when the female runs out of ovarian follicles she can no longer reproduce, and when this happens, males, who have a longer reproductive life, genetically stop desiring her sexually and want to have sex with a female who can reproducen. It’s a great injustice done to women by Mother Nature, for when women reach menopause, they stop sending the magical pheromone signals to their partner. Notwithstanding the fact that humans have practically lost their sense of smell since becoming intelligent millions of years ago, and that perfumes and synthetic products of all kinds tend to block them, pheromones are what triggers sexual arousal. They are mysterious agents that are not well understood by science, but be they visual, tactile or gustatory, pheromones are associated with sexual arousal, and when these misunderstood messengers stop triggering the partner’s hypothalamus, the latter is no longer sexually stimulated by the sender. Although very little is known about the interaction of pheromones between partners, they exist in the entire animal kingdom.

As a further injustice to women, for the last two thousand years, Christianity has taught us to equate sex with love. So, when the mature husband ceases to want to have sex with his mature wife, the latter believes her mate doesn’t love her anymore. The irony is that just when this situation arises, it’s often the time when males love their partners most. However, this usually means the end of a relationship unless it’s understood and dealt with.

Since the wife feels that it’s her fault for not being attractive enough, the female doubles the coats of paint and flaunts her badge of femininity with greater determination. Naturally, in doing so, the more clownish and vulgar looking she becomes, and the male is less and less apt to be aroused by her. Though women are the ones who often initiate divorce, the root cause is male genetic make-up. The husband may love his wife dearly, but genetically, he is less interested in having sex with her for reasons even he doesn’t understand. At this point, they seem hell bent on destroying their lifetime emotional investment, and two things happen. On the one hand, since modern couples measure their worth against their libido, the wife feels unwanted, unattractive and unloved, and on the other, she can’t help showing her displeasure. The situation escalates to the point where it gives the husband an excuse to have sex with the young secretary wearing the cute badge of femininity, the one who has always shown interest in him. Divorce is almost sure to follow. If, in some cases, divorce happens sooner, it’s for other reasons, the main one being that the couple never established a real relationship in the first place.

Barely 100 years ago, we left the world of self-empowerment for that of societal empowerment, and that turned out to be a disaster. Although the consumer world that followed was the greatest one that we could possibly imagine, it made us disconnect from the natural world. The world of leisure we found ourselves in was extremely attractive, but it soon became obvious that our specie is not genetically programmed for such a world. Naturally, with more time on our hands, our faky (virtual) and lusty (sexual) dispositions as human animals were exploited to the fullest, and paradoxically, individuals started running on empty in a world of plenty.

A lusty faky approach to life just can’t make us happy. And because our libido in all its disguises is driving our lives, and since relationships based on trust, emotional honesty and commitment have fallen by the wayside, we are forced into a corner. If we want to have a fulfilled life, we have to decide between instant gratification or lasting relationships. It’s really about lust or trust, yet today, when people get married, the first thing they do is sign a prenuptial agreement. Does that mean that they’re already thinking of divorce? Go figure!

Few people have been taught to live in intimacy, a key ingredient in a trusting and fulfilling relationship hopefully learned in early childhood. If we are not in the privileged position of knowing intimacy, then we must start off with trust instead of lust, and we need outside help. Matchmaking, a solution that is completely taboo in our societal empowerment world, would be the most obvious path to follow. Hassidic Jews are very good at matchmaking and we should learn from them. However, it’s not an easy thing to do, for in our consumer society most matchmaking venues try to match up the faky and lusty aspects of our nature in order to make easy money. So, if an emotionally honest person has enough fortitude to choose the taboo solution of matchmaking, he or she has a further task of finding a matchmaker whose prime concern is creating a successful emotional partnership.

A genuine matchmaker will stress above all the need to create a partnership. While he may take physical attraction into consideration, he will certainly not delve on lust. If he succeeds in combining all the qualities of one individual necessary to enhance the strengths and counter the weaknesses of the other, the matchmaker will have done a great job. If complete trust and honesty is mutually achieved, romance and love is almost sure to follow, in spite of the fact that becoming trusting and emotionally connected for the first time in one’s life is an almost impossible thing to do. No matter, matchmaking would be a serious option for achieving happiness if society did not berate it so.

Nonetheless, whether in the case of the ideal couple mentioned earlier, where they started with the lust option with the full support of the four parents, whether in the case of those who are not supported by family or those who want to establish a genuine partnership through the matchmaking process, all couples have to eventually face the wall mentioned earlier. Sexual attraction lasts only a short while, but love lasts a lifetime, and a couple will be able to go from sex mode to love mode and circumvent the wall only if their marriage is built on the basis of a strong partnership.

For two thousand years, Christianity has taught us that sex and love are one and the same, or at least should be, and that line of thinking has to be thrashed. We have even adopted the phrases ‘to fall in love’ when we’re horny, and ‘making love’ when we fornicate. Why can’t we simply ‘love’? Things are definitely askew when it comes to sex. If a couple wants a shot at the brass ring, it has to establish real intimacy in a real relationship right from the beginning, have children that they both treat as the most important life asset they have, stop using the words sex and love interchangeably, and be fully aware that they will have to face the wall.

At the beginning of most marriages, the husband can’t possibly imagine that

he will one day not want to have sex with his wife, yet it is a certainty. It may be construed as a negative thing to do, and it may be very hard, but they should talk about that matter in the early stages of their marriage, even if it’s just in jest.

In a nutshell, the ideal couple mentioned earlier has been intimately connected since forever, they have had a sex life that would put Bonobos to shame, they have two adorable children that are following in their footsteps, they are very successful and fulfilled in what they do for a living, and they love each other. However, though he will want to hug her and caress her when she reaches menopause, he will no longer wants to have sex with her. So, what to do?

If they both are convinced that sex is not love, the menopausal wife may feel relieved that she doesn’t have to pretend any more. Nonetheless, the husband’s testosterone keeps pumping, and he doesn’t know how to get rid of his wad. At this stage, it’s mainly about what to do with the husband’s libido, for the wife’s libido is no longer a factor although social pressure may tell her otherwise. Because the group tells us we’re nonentities if we’re not sexually active, both tend to pretend they are. Nonetheless, a smart couple seeking happiness and fulfillment will want to take full measure of the wall hurdle and overcome it. But they not only have social pressure to overcome, they also have the fond memories of their sexual deeds of yesteryears to deal with. When all is said and done, they have to be very strong to come to the conclusion that their sex life has come to an end and that family is what is most important. If they are, they then can talk frankly about what to do with their libido, especially the husband’s

At this point in the relationship, both parties must accept the fact that they are facing the wall and agree it’s a genetic, not a personal, thing. The couple must zero in on that problem and find ways on how the husband can relieve himself sexually in order to save the family. The husband can masturbate, go to a brothel, take on a mistress, have a live-in young concubine, or rent a bachelor pad where he keeps a sexbot, but these solutions are far from ideal. If he has a fatberg between the ears, he might even try to seduce his daughter or her girl friend who lives next door, rape his babysitter or co-worker, but these criminal alternatives are not what a sane mature man would want to do. When a man ceases to want to have sex with his wife and is continually turned on by younger women, it just means he is being ruled by his ANS. If he knows that’s the case, and if he loves his wife, he’s in a real bind. The more stupid men, often spurred on by their wives, will even take Viagra in order to re-establish a sexual relationship with the wife, which is a perfectly insane thing to do. It’s like an obese person doing everything it can to stimulate hunger. If the couple really knows what is happening to their libido, they should be thinking of diminishing not increasing the husband’s libido.

If the man didn’t let his libido define him as a person, and if he didn’t entertain the idea of having children in the future, orchiectomy would definitely be a serious option. At menopause, many wives no longer want to be bothered with sex anyway, unless they’re tuned in to the ‘desperate housewives’ thing, so why should the husband not stop his production of sperm? The sad part is that both the husband and the wife think that a man is no longer a man if he gets an orchiectomy. Nonetheless, if he is a psychologically well-constructed male, and has had a healthy sex life and built a loving family, he definitely doesn’t want to destroy his assets by seeking action left and right, by divorcing, or worse, by committing a crime. So, the best thing to do is to get rid of his urge to reproduce. Getting an orchiectomy to reduce libido could be compared to an obese person getting gastric bypass surgery in order to lose weight.

Orchiectomy is a banal outpatient operation. There is no physical deformation if saline implants are used to replace the gonads, and the operation is relatively side-effect free. If the husband loves his wife and family, and maintains a healthy diet while keeping fit, he will be as fulfilled as can be. The only thing he may require, if it comes down to that, is wear a hormone patch to compensate for the loss of testosterone. This operation is not meant for those with a poor self-image or a fragile ego, for it goes against the whole post-sapiens human culture that says one is not a man if one doesn’t screw.

36-BATTLE OF WATERLOO

When Napoleon returned from Russia, Nathan decided it was time to get rid of him. Nathan financed the armies of Austria, Prussia, Russia and England on the one hand and Napoleon’s Imperial Army on the other. Napoleon suffered defeat upon defeat, and after his encounters with Wellington in Spain, he was forced out of the Iberian Peninsula. Defeated, he signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau on April 11, 1814, abdicating in the process, and was exiled to the Island of Elba.

However, something very odd happened on February 26, 1815. In wanting to completely uproot Napoleon’s personal empire and destroy what was left of the Imperial Army in order to create, or at least try to create, a French constitutional monarchy, Nathan probably arranged to have him escape from Elba. As the British guard ships looked the other way, Napoleon slipped away from Portoferraio on board the French warship Inconstant with some 1,000 men and landed between Cannes and Antibes on March 1. He knew that Royalist Provence was not very friendly to him, and so, he avoided Provence by taking a route through the Alps on his way to Paris.

Surprisingly, 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 crossed 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 odd anecdote illustrates Napoleon’s charisma. When Royalist troops were dispatched to stop Napoleon at Grenoble, Napoleon stepped out in front of them, ripped open his coat and said “if any of you wishes to shoot his Emperor, here I am.” Instead of doing their duty, the men acclaimed him as his ‘grognards’ 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, Nathan arranged to have the Coalition countries, Austria, Prussia, Russia and England, to meet in Vienna where they proceeded to declare Napoleon an outlaw and pledge 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 there were still many English troops in Canada as a result of the War of 1812, 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 mysteriously, Marshal Grouchy failed to hold back the routed Prussians. According to legend, at noon, on the 18th of June, Grouchy was having lunch with a local notable and was more interested in finishing his meal and having his strawberry desert than in heeding his officer’s insistent and repeated warnings that the Prussians were returning. 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.

Meanwhile, Nathan had put a formidable communications network in place, and on the day of the battle, he was in London waiting for the official results. Even though Nathan was financing all the armies and probably had arranged to have Marshal Grouchy betray Napoleon, he wanted to be absolutely sure before putting his devilish stock exchange plan in motion. Nathan already held a goodly amount 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 thus was in total control of the Bank of England and the monetary system of Britain.

Napoleon was exiled to St. Helens, and Louis XVIII was encouraged to establish a French constitutional monarchy. But the Holy Roman empire power machine was still too powerful, and the attempt to establish a constitutional monarchy backfired when the royalists perpetrated the White Terror. Louis XVIII was then removed from power with the help of Adolphe Thiers, and Nathan made another attempt at establishing a constitutional monarchy with Charles X, but it was no better. So, again with Thiers’ help, Charles X was removed. Nathan tried again to establish an English style monarchy in 1830 with Louis-Philippe, the citizen king, but again it was unsuccessful. When Lionel, Nathan’s son, became head of the dynasty in 1836, he decided that enough was enough. Paris, the center of power, would be cleaned up and transformed into the City of Lights, and France would return to being a republic as established under Napoleon. In order to do that, he would once more use the very versatile politician, Adolphe Thiers.

Under Lionel’s direction, the first thing Thiers was asked to do was build a huge wall around Paris which he did starting in 1841. Then, in 1848, Lionel got Thiers to have the bumbling idiot, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, elected President. In 1852, as planned, with Adolphe Thiers by his side, President Napoleon III unilaterally declared himself emperor. With Thiers’ wall finished in 1844, the construction of the City of Lights began in 1848 with the help of Baron Hausmann. In 1870, Napoleon III declared a nonsensical war on Germany, but surprisingly, it was Bismarck who attacked France and laid Paris under siege. Many of the federalists, who were supposed to be rounded up and exiled to New Caledonia, having too valiantly opposed Adolphe Thiers’ troops, were instead shot like fish in a barrel. The remaining federalists were exiled to New Caledonia, the wall came down, and in 1875, the royalists threw in the towel by agreeing to the Constitutional Laws. France was now officially a republic and was to be governed by an elected president with a 7-year mandate. The French nightmare was over, thanks to Lionel who must have been devastated by the massacre perpetrated by Adolphe Thiers. The democratic dictatorship created at that time is still in place today.

 

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