The House of Rothschild: Volume 1: Money's Prophets: 1798-1848
In his rich and nuanced portrait of the remarkable, elusive Rothschild family, Oxford scholar and bestselling author Niall Ferguson uncovers the secrets behind the family's phenomenal economic success. He reveals for the first time the details of the family's vast political network, which gave it access to and influence over many of the greatest statesmen of the age. And he tells a family saga, tracing the importance of unity and the profound role of Judaism in the lives of a dynasty that rose from the confines of the Frankfurt ghetto and later used its influence to assist oppressed Jews throughout Europe. A definitive work of impeccable scholarship with a thoroughly engaging narrative, ‘The House of Rothschild’ is a biography of the rarest kind, in which mysterious and fascinating historical figures finally spring to life.
contempt of the proud.” This accusation was unfounded. Yet it is important to stress that the Rothschilds did not confine their charitable activities exclusively to the Jewish community. At times of economic hardship—1814 in Germany, 1830 in France, 1842 in Hamburg, 1846 in Ireland—they donated money to the poor without religious distinction. Nathan contributed to a number of apparently non-denominational establishments, including the Society of Friends of Foreigners in Distress (though it is
bloodless triumph won, And many a panic stay’d . . . Upon thy struggling path of life Strong lights and shades were cast, Which led through toil, suspense and strife To triumph at the last! In the continual conflict then, With selfish, artful, flattering men Through which thy spirit pass’d What wonder though some stains of earth, Were blended with thine inward worth. Though cold unto a stranger’s sight, Thy heart was generous found, Nor didst thou, like the Upas, blight The lowly
second generation and a number of key figures in the third generation of partners (as well as a few of the firm’s agents) corresponded with one another primarily in Judendeutsch: German written in Hebrew characters. This was partly because it was the family’s first language. But it was also partly to ensure that prying eyes would not be able to read the firm’s private correspondence. The difficulty which even Hebrew readers find in deciphering the relatively archaic script used by the brothers
crucial importance was the French government’s unequivocal commitment to the two protocols of January 1831, and its refusal to accept the Belgian offer of the crown to Louis Philippe’s son the duc de Nemours, or to support Belgian resistance against the territorial provisions of the protocols. Needless to say, it was good news from a Rothschild standpoint that Leopold of Saxe-Coburg emerged as the successful candidate for the Belgian throne. 3 James opposed the use of the brusque phrases
after arriving in Manchester. Yet no amount of travelling could ensure that suppliers delivered their goods on time, or, for that matter, delivered the goods that had actually been ordered. Much of Nathan’s correspondence was therefore concerned with cajoling manufacturers to comply with his orders. At the same time, there was no guarantee that customers would always be satisfied with the goods they received, and almost as much time had to be spent in haggling retrospectively about the price and