Talk:Nathan Mayer Rothschild

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Legend[edit]

Rothschild developed a system of communication that was faster than those of most governments at the time. It is believed he used carrier pigeons and semaphore to communicate across the English Channel. Following the Battle of Waterloo he used this system to stunning effect. Through a clever stratagem, and foreknowledge of the outcome at Waterloo, Rothschild made an immense fortune by manipulating the London stock market.

British consols were non-term, government issued bonds that paid interest as long as the government remained solvent. The morning after the battle, a nervous looking Rothschild entered the London Stock Exchange, took his usual place at the Rothschild Pillar, and began quietly dumping his huge portfolio of consols. The word quickly spread: "Wellington lost...! Rothschild knows!" The decline soon turned into a rout, with desperate consol holders selling off in the free falling market. At the nadir of this collapse, upon a silent command, Rothschild agents quickly began buying back consols at a mere fraction of their former value. By closing time he'd bought back many, many more than he'd sold.

Later in the day, news of Wellington's great victory arrived. Backed by the now strongest government in Europe, the cost of British consols soared. "In that one day, he (Rothschild) increased his already immense fortune many times over." John Reeves, 1887, The Rothschilds: the Financial Rulers of Nations.[1]

--- This para was removed because it is fiction; see revised version. --mervyn 17:51, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that it's an open-and-shut case that this is total legend. Here's a review of another Rothschild book in Business Week:
"The most widespread Rothschild myth was that Nathan, after receiving news by carrier pigeon of Wellington's victory at Waterloo, made a vast fortune speculating on the rise in British government securities. The reality, says Ferguson, was quite different. The Rothschilds' couriers did alert them first to Napoleon's defeat, but since they had bet big on a protracted military campaign, any quick gains in bonds after Waterloo were too small to offset the disruption to their business.
Rothschild capital did soar--but over a much longer period. Nathan's breakthrough was a deal to supply cash to Wellington's army in 1814. Waging a high-risk campaign of exchange-rate transactions, bond-price speculations, and commissions, the family garnered huge profits from this governmental financing. Then, from 500,000 pounds in 1818, Rothschild capital rose to 4,330,333 pounds in 1828--about 14 times the resources of their nearest competitor, Baring Brothers, which had been a close second."
So, it seems that he did have advance knowledge via carrier pigeon, he did perhaps act on that advance knowledge, and he did finance the war, which he benefited from later. Whether the bonds the family previously had taken out expecting a long war offset the massive gains that he could have gotten from advance knowledge that day is what's causing the difference in stories, it seems. It doesn't seem that it was totally made up from nothing, though, as the article now implies.--Gloriamarie 15:06, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Note that "The reality, says Ferguson, was quite different" and also note that "the family garnered huge profits from this governmental financing" -- the role in supplying cash to Wellington is well documented and is quite different from the legend about speculating on news of battle. Note also that the large increase in capital was between 1818 and 1828, well after Waterloo. I don't think that an encyclopedia should be perpetuating a legend, but perhaps there can be some rephrasing. --mervyn 15:42, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Have now added an accurate quote of the "legend" and put it into context, plus other expanded info and removal of speculation. --mervyn 11:04, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Frederic Morton spells it out in some detail in his 1962 authorised (and very sycophantic) family portrait. Ferguson as usual is being less than 100% honest. They made a 4-way profit on the gold to Wellington, with money that was embezzled in the first place - Ferguson's point is massively disingenuous to start off with. They then went on to financially control the British Empire - something Nathan publically boasted about.

From Morton: "The Battle of Waterloo established England as the foremost European power. To the Rothschilds, her chief financial agents, Waterloo brought a multimillion-dollar scoop. The fame of that scoop has endowed it, in later years, with carrier pigeons and other legendary appurtenances. But like most family feats, it was based on very hard work and very cold cunning. The hard work had started a long time before. As soon as the boys had fanned out from Frankfurt, they had started sending each other industriously, endlessly, items of commercial or general interest. Soon a private news service developed. (At the London house it survived down to World War II in the form of a dozen blue-clad couriers ready to fly off at a moment's notice to Rio, Melbourne or Nairobi.) Rothschild coaches careered down highways; Rothschild boats set sail across the Channel; Rothschild messengers were swift shadows along the streets. They carried cash, securities, letters and news. Above all, news---latest, exclusive news to be vigorously processed at stock market and commodity bourse. And there was no news more precious than the outcome of Waterloo. For days the London 'Change had strained its ears. If Napoleon won, English consols were bound to drop. If he lost, the enemy empire would shatter and consols rise. For thirty hours the fate of Europe hung veiled in cannon smoke. On June 19, 1815, late in the afternoon a Rothschild agent named Rothworth jumped into a boat at Ostend. In his hand he held a Dutch gazette still damp from the printer. By the dawn light of June 20 Nathan Rothschild stood at Folkstone harbor and let his eye fly over the lead paragraphs. A moment later he was on his way to London (beating Wellington's envoy by many hours) to tell the government that Napoleon had been crushed. Then he proceeded to the stock exchange. Another man in his position would have sunk his worth into consols. But this was Nathan Rothschild. He leaned against "his" pillar. He did not invest. He sold. He dumped consols. His name was already such that a single substantial move on his part sufficed to bear or bull an issue. Consols fell. Nathan leaned and leaned, and sold and sold. Consols dropped still more. "Rothschild knows," the whisper rippled through the 'Change. "Waterloo is lost." Nathan kept on selling, his round face motionless and stern, his pudgy fingers depressing the market by tens of thousands of pounds with each sell signal. Consols dived, consols p1ummeted---until, a split second before it was too late, Nathan suddenly bought a giant parcel for a song. Moments afterwards the great news broke, to send consols soaring. We cannot guess the number of hopes and savings wiped out by this engineered panic. We cannot estimate how many livened servants, how many Watteaus and Rembrandts, how many thoroughbreds in his descendants' stables, the man by the pillar won that single day." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.233.160.78 (talk) 15:41, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Biassed quotes[edit]

I removed a section of quotes added by an anon -- they are highly POV and from dubious sources, not suitable for an encyclopedia article:

Quotes[edit]

  • "One cause of his [Nathan's] success was the secrecy with which he shrouded, and the tortuous policy with which he misled those who watched him the keenest." John Reeves, The Rothschilds, Financial Rulers of the Nations, 1887, page 167.
  • Nathan is described by the historian John Reeves as being a very shrewd, unscrupulous and uncouth man, and exceedingly close fisted. He says that, "He never paid his employees a farthing more than was necessary for their bare subsistence, or at least not a farthing more than they could compel him to pay." George Armstrong, "The Rothschild Money Trust", 1940, pg. 26

--mervyn 15:01, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

"The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply." This quote is found on many conspiracy-oriented web sites. I would love if someone could definitively show it to be either true or a hoax. I find it improbable that a man who supposedly "controlled the British Empire" would openly and arrogantly say so. 174.24.109.124 (talk) 13:42, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

This empire quote seems highly improbable to me and conjured up after the British Empire decline. It shows a lack of understanding of the British imperial era. The British Empire wasn't something anyone could "control" like a corporation. It was a vast and highly complex network of trade links and individual enterprises (many controlled privately by traders and individuals operating under Royal Charters). It gradually involved countries coming under British administration but they were not directly governed from Britain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.221.148.50 (talk) 15:54, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

The quote refers to the fact he controlled the Bank of England, Britain's Central Bank. If someone controls the money supply (which conveniently is the only legal tender - a monopoly), then that man can create recessions, economic bubbles, redistribution of purchasing power, etc. That means that he basically controls the wealth of the nation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 200.104.118.79 (talk) 02:40, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Waterloo[edit]

  • This section should assume a neutral point of view. Some people claim the story is legendary, others believe it is true in whole or part. It should be noted also that the Rothschild family lost their 1912 injunction seeking to suppress the story as libelous. See [1] Karpouzi (talk) 22:40, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

The story (legend) is wholly false. The injunction was denied because Nathan was dead in 1912, and under British law you can not libel dead men, although the story itself was libelous and could not have been printed during the lifetime of Nathan, there being no proof whatsoever for it. Kraxler (talk) 15:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

As noted above, according to Frederic Morton's authorized 1962 family portrait, the story is true:

Chapter 4: Rothschild vs. Napoleon

Round Four: The Scoop of Scoops

"The Battle of Waterloo established England as the foremost European power. To the Rothschilds, her chief financial agents, Waterloo brought a multimillion-dollar scoop. The fame of that scoop has endowed it, in later years, with carrier pigeons and other legendary appurtenances. But like most family feats, it was based on very hard work and very cold cunning. The hard work had started a long time before. As soon as the boys had fanned out from Frankfurt, they had started sending each other industriously, endlessly, items of commercial or general interest. Soon a private news service developed. (At the London house it survived down to World War II in the form of a dozen blue-clad couriers ready to fly off at a moment's notice to Rio, Melbourne or Nairobi.) Rothschild coaches careered down highways; Rothschild boats set sail across the Channel; Rothschild messengers were swift shadows along the streets. They carried cash, securities, letters and news. Above all, news---latest, exclusive news to be vigorously processed at stock market and commodity bourse. And there was no news more precious than the outcome of Waterloo. For days the London 'Change had strained its ears. If Napoleon won, English consols were bound to drop. If he lost, the enemy empire would shatter and consols rise. For thirty hours the fate of Europe hung veiled in cannon smoke. On June 19, 1815, late in the afternoon a Rothschild agent named Rothworth jumped into a boat at Ostend. In his hand he held a Dutch gazette still damp from the printer. By the dawn light of June 20 Nathan Rothschild stood at Folkstone harbor and let his eye fly over the lead paragraphs. A moment later he was on his way to London (beating Wellington's envoy by many hours) to tell the government that Napoleon had been crushed. Then he proceeded to the stock exchange. Another man in his position would have sunk his worth into consols. But this was Nathan Rothschild. He leaned against "his" pillar. He did not invest. He sold. He dumped consols. His name was already such that a single substantial move on his part sufficed to bear or bull an issue. Consols fell. Nathan leaned and leaned, and sold and sold. Consols dropped still more. "Rothschild knows," the whisper rippled through the 'Change. "Waterloo is lost." Nathan kept on selling, his round face motionless and stern, his pudgy fingers depressing the market by tens of thousands of pounds with each sell signal. Consols dived, consols p1ummeted---until, a split second before it was too late, Nathan suddenly bought a giant parcel for a song. Moments afterwards the great news broke, to send consols soaring. We cannot guess the number of hopes and savings wiped out by this engineered panic. We cannot estimate how many livened servants, how many Watteaus and Rembrandts, how many thoroughbreds in his descendants' stables, the man by the pillar won that single day." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.233.160.78 (talk) 10:52, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, Morton's book is very dated, very journalistic, and doesn't give much sourcing for his stories. --Lessogg (talk) 16:21, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
His sources were the family archives to which he was granted special access; this was an authorised family story. The date it was written is immaterial - information does not automatically become more reliable the more modern it is. User Kraxler above is therefore wrong when he says there is no proof to the legend. Yes there is - the family have essentially acknowledged the part played by one of their ancestors in allowing Morton's work to be published. Unfortunately we are unlikely to get any more explicit admission than this but the fact remains that those who claim there is no proof to the "legend" are suffering from wishful thinking or wilfull blindness. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.233.160.78 (talk) 11:28, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Or perhaps users such as Kraxler are agents of the family trying to cover it up! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.235.33.208 (talk) 00:01, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Deleted paragraphs[edit]

I have deleted two passages from this page. The first was added by the blocked user(s) User:90.180.82.152 / User:Edumacater on 21 August 2014‎:

In 1815, Rothschild made his famous statement: "I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls the British money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply."[1]

It came with a reference (without page number) apparently citing Volume 2 of Niall Ferguson's "The House of Rothschild", but since that volume deals with the years 1849-1999, it seemed to me at the very least rather doubtful considering Nathan died in 1836.

I also deleted the following paragraph from the "Business career" section:

His four brothers helped co-ordinate activities across the continent, and the family developed a network of agents, shippers and couriers to transport gold—and information—across Europe. This private intelligence service enabled Nathan to receive in London the news of Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo a full day ahead of the government's official messengers.[2] He is famously quoted as saying "Buy when there’s blood in the streets", though the original quote is believed to have appended "even if the blood is your own". The quote refers to his contrarian investing strategy that he is well known for adhering to as to buy assets when the financial markets are crashing and panicking investors are selling. The quote has a tremendous impact today on value investing and modern businesspeople and investors alike when buying assets in down markets when investment opportunities arise.[3][4][5]

The first part of this concerning the Battle of Waterloo has already been adequately dealt with. The second part of this seems equally dubious, and I can't find a good source for it. You can find this "buy when there is blood in the streets" quote in many modern business books, but they hardly count as a reliable source for a biography of Nathan Rothschild. The earliest sources I've found so far date from 1907/8 - for example Thomas Gibson's Market Letters for 1907 contains the following supposed conversation:

"Buy Rentes," advised Rothschild.
"But the streets of Paris are running with blood."
"That is why you can buy Rentes so cheap."

Needless to say, this is not a reliable source, and I wonder if the story comes from a similar anti-Semitic source as the Waterloo story. Pasicles (talk) 18:47, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

The "1815" statement leads to a similar attributed statement from Mayer Amschel Rothschild.
It seems Dunning have the same quote like conspiracy author G. Edward Griffin: "Give me control of a Nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws." But he quote the full source statement. This leads to
  • National Economy and the Banking System, 1939, p. 99 "Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws. Mayer Anselm Rothschild, 1790" (1791 was the establishment of the First Bank of the United States. Alexander Hamilton is seen in many conspiracy books as agent of Rothschild.)
An this leads to Wikiwuote where the first apperance is 1912/1913 (and this seems to be the original source):
--Franz (Fg68at) de:Talk 03:36, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
  1. ^ The House of Rothschild (vol. 2) : The World's Banker: 1849-1999 by Niall Ferguson. Diane Publishing Co. (1999) ISBN 0-7567-5393-7
  2. ^ Gray, Victor; Aspey, Melanie (May 2006) [2004]. "Rothschild, Nathan Mayer (1777–1836)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 May 2007.
  3. ^ Forbes Magazine: Buy When There's Blood In The Streets, 23 February 2009
  4. ^ "'Buy When There's Blood In The Streets': How Contrarians Get It Right". Forbes. 5/25/2012. Retrieved 26 April 2015. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ ""Buy When There's Blood in the Streets" and Other Lessons from Venture Capitalists Fred Wilson and Josh Kopelman". Wharton. Retrieved 26 April 2015.