Anderson intelligencer.(Anderson, S.C.) 1878-06-06. · PDF file THEROTHSCHILDFAMILY. The...
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THE ROTHSCHILD FAMILY. The Greatest Ftnax-clera of the Affe.
The founder of the family, Meyer An¬ selm Rothschild, Baron of the Austrian Empire, was born ir, 1743 in the Juden- ga«se or Jews' Alley, of Frankfbrt-on- the-Main. The bouse i:i which be first saw the light of day w&s a humble and unpretending dwelling in an obscure and dirty quarter of the city. His father, Anselm Moses, a shrewd but conscien¬ tiously bouest trading Israelite, irteud- ec him for the ministry, and so dearly had be set his heart on this calling for his sou that on his death "bed he counselled the ; outhful Meyer, then only IS years of age, to proceed to Fürth, in Bavaria, there to study theology in order to be¬ come a rabbi. Provided with the neces¬ sary meaus, the orphan obeyed the wishof bis deceased father, and spent some time in the study of the Talmud and Rabbinical literature. Having, how¬ ever, imbibed a taste for commercial pursuits, which all the- honors of a pro¬ fessional-life were insufficient to eradi¬ cate, he abandoned l:he idea of entering the ministry, and returned to bis* native city, where, commencing at the lowest round of the ladder, he steadily and perseveringly mounted, until, by the time he had reached his seventeenth year, be had gained .in excellent reputa¬tion for business ability and whole- souled integrity. A prominent banker of Hanover, Herr Opperheim, becoming acquainted with the young manand de¬ tecting in him the germs of future great¬ ness, offered bini a situation, which was: at once accepted. Soon the clerk gained the confidence of the employer and be- came associate manager, which position he held fo: many years, until finally he resolved, to return to Frankfort and em¬ bark in business on his awn account. In bis twenty-seventh year he married Gu¬ dula Schwapper, and received with ber a liberal dowry. By this estimable lady1 he-had ten children, five'sons and five daughters. The former of these subse¬ quently composed that firm which, de¬ scending from generation to generation, is likely, to survive as long as many of the'.royal dynasties. Meyer Anaelm embarked in finance
and became a 'money changer, and ex¬ change broker, which business naturally developed into all the branches ofgeneral banking. About this time an event occurred which exercised a power¬ ful influence in determining the future of Rothschild and in laying the basis for his immense wealth. The Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, William IX,. who after¬ ward became Elector under the title of William I., seeking a.banker with whom to deposit the vast sums of. money in¬ herited from his father, Frederick II., sent for Rothschild, who bad been re¬ commended to him by Baron Estorff, the latter having learned the bankers's worth while he was yet a clerk with Herr Oppenheim.. On reaching the palace and entering the apartment of the Prince, Rothschild found him and the Baron en¬ gaged in a game of chess. Taking up a position behind the Landgrave's chair, the future millionaire watched the board closely and ' silently. The game was against William, who, at length in doubtwhat move to make, turned to the bank- o:r and suddenly asked him if he un¬ derstood chess. "Well enough, your Highness," he replied, "to induce me, were I playing, to castle on the king'sside." Tbc Prince acted on the sugges¬ tion of his visitor, and turned defeat into victory.' Placing his hand on Roths¬ child's shoulder, "You are a wise man," said he, ''and if you are. so good a chess¬ player, you must have a very clear head for business." Trifling as this incident vas, it was the commencement of a friendship between the Prince and Roth¬ schild, who was soon appointed' the royal banker, to the. no small surprise of his competitors, who all wondered why William should pass tbjtm by and select the Hebrew for so lesponsible and confi¬ dential a position. About $#),000,000 were thus transferred tov the keeping of the banker. He. proved worthy of the great trust, for he served the Landgrave through his later troubles with zeal and fidelity, and was the means of saving his wealth from felling into the hands of the French Napoleon, after the' battle of Jena, in .1806, pronounced the for¬ feiture of the Landgrave's estate, and ordered his. army to march on the cap¬ ital. William, who had in his palace vault about £1,000,000 in silver, to¬ gether with other valuable treasure, sent, in his extremity, for Rothschild, and offered him the free use of all this property, without interest, if he would bat remove, it to s place of safety. This, with the aid of. bin .Jewish friends, the banker succeeded in accomplishing, and it is said that during, the hostile occupa¬ tion of the city by the French, the treasure was concealed in large wine- casks in the cellar of Rothschild's bouse. When, however, eight years afterward, William-returned as Elector, Meyer Anselm was dead, but bis eldest sou, Anselm, accounted for every cent, and furnished the Elector with a full statement of his wealth, to which was added the interest. This latter, how¬ ever, William declined to receive, on the ground that he would havo lost everything had it not been for the fidelity of the father. The full amount was just ready for delivery when the r.ews arrived that the great Corsican had escaped from Elba. This so alarmed William that he begged Anselm Roth¬ schild to continue to Seep the money at 1! per cent, interest per annum. For a
Kriod of no less than nine years this¦ge deposit continued to remain with the firm, at the expiration of which time it was delivered to William's successor, every penny thereof being strictly ac¬ counted for.
Meyer Rothschild died in the old house in the Judengasse in 1812, being then in his seventieth year. His widow survived him 37 years, and when nearly 100 years old she, too, died in the same dwelling in which she aud her husband had lived, in which her children had been born, and where they had all had such remarkable prosperity. The wealth left by the founder of the family has been estimated at $20,000,000, but this is merely conjecture, for upon such mat¬ ters it has always been the policy of the family to preserve a strict silence. Of their numerous agents, accountants and employees, there is, perhaps, not one that knows anything of their private af¬ fairs beyond what is actually indispen¬ sable for the proper performance of the business upon which each may be en¬ gaged. Be this as it may, however, it is certain that the old Rothschild was possessed of vast wealth, and that, to his credit be it said, he made good use of it. His heart was ever ready to re¬ spond to the call of the deserving, and it was his greatest delight to dispense his charity where it was most needed, and in a manner so plain and unosten¬tatious that often the happy recipient was ignorant of the-donor. Through thewretched quarter in which he dwelt, and through the many abodes of poverty that existed in Frankfort, the million¬ aire banker would wander at night, thrusting money into the hands of the needy, distributing alms bountifully al¬ most before they were solicited, and stopping neither to inquire into the creed or nationality of the recipient nor to receive gratitude for bis generous deeds. Like many of bis charitable co¬ religionists, he believed that the truest charity, which is most acceptable in tbe sight of God, is not that which is parad¬ed in the public print or in the open light of day before an admiring multi¬ tude, but that which is done by stealth, which no eye seeth save that Eternal Eye which neither sleepeth. nor slumberetb. The central >ind most conspicuous re of this group cfjve brothers was n Nathan Meyer 'Rothschild/ He
bad scarcely reached his majority when he was sent to England by bis father to represent the firm in the city of- Man¬ chester. Commencing bis career in 1800 as a purchaser of goods for the Continent, he soon amassed a considerable fortune and removed to London, where be took up his abode and married a daughter of Levi Cohen, one of the richest and most prominent Jews in the metropolis. In 1808, at the time of the commencement of the war with Spain, the extraordinary means of Na¬ than Meyer were made apparent to the mercantile world. Through the agency of his father, large sums of money were placed at his disposal, andthese were invested with such good judgment that his capital rapidly in- crowed. Gradually his transactions pervaded the whole of the Continent, no operations in Europe having existed on entered into competition with the power¬ ful banking house of Goldsmid, another prominent Hebrew, and undertook ven¬ tures which tbe leading bankers of the day were too timid to touch. In 1810 he was brought in close connection with the Government. The Iron Duke, wbile engaged on the Peninsula, bad made some drafts which tbe Treasury could not meet. Rothschild, anticipating the result of the Conti: jntal war, purchased these at a liberal discount, renewed them to r.be Government, which subse¬ quent!v redeemed them at par. This operation greatly enlarged his capital,his opportunities,.and Eis connections. The Government e nployed him to trans¬ mit subsidies to tba Continent. By the interest of the Landgrave, he was ap¬ pointed agent for the payment of the $12,000,000, which, by the treaty of Toepliiz, England had to pay her Ger¬ man allies. As might be expected, large profits accrued to the bouse by these transactions. When the great battle off Waterloo took place, Roths¬ child knew the r suit 43. hours before the news of tbe victory reached London. The means of communication establish¬ ed by tbe house were truly wonderful. Carrier pigeons and fast-sailing boats of their own were used for tbe transmission of news. Reports in cipher of every im¬ portant event wert' tied under the wings of the birds which were constantly ar¬ riving in London, while at tbe same time trt