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in raising the market to its utmost height? Is it not notorious, upon the other hand, that millionaires have thrown large quantities of merchandise on the market, under certain circumstances, with no better or more honest motive than to ruin their competitors, so that they might add to their own millions by that ruin?
The amount of injury done in this manner is much greater than the public would believe ; it is so great, indeed, that it could not be repaired by the largest sums which our most wealthy millionaires could distribute freely among the people, by way of atoning for their past sins. Let those who doubt this bear in mind, that a hundred dollars might be of more value to one at one time than a thousand at another. None understand this better than the millionaire ; there are, perhaps, millionaires, who, if they had been caused to lose their first hundred might have been long enough in getting a second.
But the injury done by unscrupulous public monopolists is more odious, if not intrinsically greater, than that done by those equally unscrupulous and equally wealthy, who are engaged, however extensively, in private business. Take, for example, one or two of our railway monopolists; who considers himself an intelligent person, and is not aware of the fact that these persons destroy thousands of families in one season? What cares the speculator for this, when, in proportion, as he brings ruin on so many others, he increases his own millions ? Still less need he care when a large proportion, if not the majority, of his victims, have no idea that it was he who did them the mischief. Nay, many of them think he is their friend all the time; and, in order to strengthen the illusion, he occasionally gets up fêtes for their entertainment !
Nothing is more common among our political orators than to contrast our people with the "down-trodden masses” of Europe. The latter, they tell us, have no idea of rights, and accordingly do not expect to be well treated; whereas the former know all about their rights, and therefore none dare meddle with them; but, so far, at least, as resentment for wrong is concerned, the reverse of this is the fact. Even the king or the emperor cannot play the tyrant very
long; certainly if he does he must be ever watchful, or his life will be the forfeit. Let even the czar bring ruin on thousands of families in order to fill his own coffers, or for any other purpose, and his immense standing army could not
Probably no European people are more peaceful, or more law-abiding, than the English ; but woe to the man, or the woman, that defrauds or oppresses them!
Most of our readers know how often they have made the highest officers of the government; the greatest statesmen, and the bravest warriors ; quail before them. Even the Duke of Wellington could not prevent them from breaking every window in the fine residence (Apsley House) presented to him by the nation for having saved her from becoming the spoil of Napoleon. As for submitting to be defrauded by any private individual, no matter how many millions he owned, it would be impossible to constrain them. This is so well understood that the millionaires of England are always careful what they do. The Barings would not dare to imitate the example of some of our millionaires, even if inclined to do so, of which, indeed, there is no evidence. It is true that the fear of retribution is not the only check on the conduct of English millionaires; there are many reasons for the difference between them and our millionaires; but they need not be stated here. For the present it is sufficient to remark that money alone does not secure position in England; those having an ambition to be great cannot purchase greatness there; still less can they purchase impunity for themselves by the ruin of thousands.
We are often told that the French know less about their righits than the English, and consequently that they are more easily imposed upon by speculators. But the real facts do not justify any such statement. If they submit more quietly than the English to have the necessaries of life forestalled on them by millionaire speculators, they certainly do not submit more quietly than our people; but the reverse. This we might illustrate by many interesting examples; but one will suffice, especially as it is “a case in point." Thus, , in France, as well as in this country, millionaires have attempted to establish monopolies by which they could
command large sums of money and influence the market at any time, according as it happened to suit their own interests. In 1847, the Rothschilds had secured the control of several of the French railroads. It was suspected that their course in the management of the Chemin de fer du Nord, was not what it ought to be; many attributed to it the high prices for most of the necessaries of life, which led to the revolution of February, 1848. Whether the charge was just or not, the indignant people wreaked their vengeance on Baron James Rothschild. They repaired in a large body to his magnificent château at Suresnes, and in spite of all the authorities could do to prevent them, set fire to, burned and pillaged it. The loss sustained by the baron was very great, the château having been newly furnished in the most costly manner, and adorned with some of the finest paintings and sculptures which money could purchase; but he had the shrewdness to profit even from so terrible a manifestation of “the wild justice of revenge.” Instead of making any threat, or showing any sign of resentment, he began to contribute large sums for the benefit of the poor. Immediately after the revolution he sent his check for fifty thousand francs to the provisional government for the relief of the victims of February. In addition to contributing large sums in money for the benefit of the very class who burned and pillaged his château, he founded and endowed several charitable institutions. But all would not be sufficient had he persisted in those forestalling speculations which had proved so ruinous to a large proportion of the industrious class.
At the same time the Rothschilds cannot be considered exemplary men, with all their wealth, and their willingness, under certain circumstances, to make large donations. But, as millionaires, many consider them exemplary; although nowhere are they received on equal terms in good society. The emperor of Austria has indeed made a baron of one or two of the family, by way of rewarding them for the enormous sums of money they have, from time to time, furnished the government. In England they have been flattered in a similar manner in time of need; but never has the emperor of Austria, or the king or queen of England, been on visiting
terms with any member of the Rothschild family. Lionel Nathan, the head of the English branch of the house, was born in London ; his liberality in giving donations caused him to be elected member of parliament in 1847, but being a Jew, he was not allowed to take his seat until 1858-eleven years after his election! Although having millions at command, and very willing to pave the way with gold, all his efforts were in vain for these eleven years. It is well known that he would gladly have presented her majesty's ministers with fine houses; as for horses, every member of the government could have had a choice Arabian from him, had his wishes been complied with on such terms. But no; although both himself and his father had often given large sums to the government, he had to wait until the poorest of his Jewish brethren, entitled to a seat, were admissable.
The Rothschilds, as we have said, are respectable millionaires; yet it is universally believed that their boundless wealth has rendered them more corrupt than they would have been had they merely possessed a competency. Different reasons are assigned for this, but we need only mention one: nearly every member of the family has married his niece or first cousin, generally the former, so that no stranger, or even distant relative, should become a Rothschild millionaire. Even Baron James, the most respectable of the family, married the daughter of his brother, Solomon Rothschild. But neither the English nor the French care who their millionaires marry, provided they do not interfere with their interests, or attempt to ruin them with their gambling speculations,
But the worst conduct attributed to the Rothschilds, even when one of their princely residences was burned and pillaged, would be regarded anywhere as legitimate compared to that of which it is notorious some of our American millionaires are habitually guilty. The revelations made during the recent gold crisis can only be regarded as casual illustration of this; even then the chief actors in the conspiracy against the public enjoyed perfect impunity even from censure. Only the subordinate speculators were condemned; these, although used as scapegoats, were but gently
dealt with. What cared they, or any malefactors like them, about denunciations? It was no news to them to find themselves infamous. Infamy was no trouble to them as long as they were not restrained from pursuing their infamous course. They saw, from daily observation and experience, that if they only succeeded in securing a certain amount of millions, not only would their infamy be forgotten, but in a few brief years they might have colossal statues erected to their honor, and attract around these statues, at their inauguration, crowds of enthusiastic, wide-mouthed admirers, including even ministers of the gospel !
Be it remembered, that the two or three persons who have borne the brunt of the public scorn, do not yet own even one railroad; before they are recognized as great and honorable men, they must own, at least, two or three that
well. But once they are possessed of these, no matter how they get them, then their greatness and respectability are undisputed. They may then live on the most intimate terms with the highest of our rulers. If they wish to become great public functionaries, such as high chamberlains, ambassadors to foreign courts, &c., or even to make such of their hired eulogists or private secretaries, they have only to make a few liberal presents, and, if they are not very hard to be pleased, the whole affair will be arranged, in due time, to their entire satisfaction.
It is true that there were times when public offices were bought and sold openly like other commodities; though not in republics. This afforded the head of the state a handsome source of revenue. But the offices were not sold so loosely as might be supposed. The candidate for the purchase had to undergo a searching examination as to his qualifications; but, if not found unqualified, he might find a substitute, who should also be examined. Finally, if the price and qualifications proved satisfactory, a formal contract was entered into, by which the new official bound himself by adequate securities to perform his duties faithfully, and not to exact higher perquisites than his honest predecessors had been in the habit of charging.
It would not do at this time for the ambitious candidate,