Nook version of vintage magazine article originally published in 1874. Contains lots of great info and illustrations seldom seen in the past 140 years.
Read excerpt -
One of their favorite methods of speculating in those ante-telegraph days was to notify their well-known brokers to sell a certain stock or security. Everybody on the Exchange would be aware they were selling, and as they invariably had the earliest information, their action would have a very depressing influence on the market. The simple announcement, "The Rothschild’s are selling," let the security be what it might, would put down the particular secu¬rity from two to five per cent. After the decline the cunning Israelites would instruct their secret agents to buy at the reduced price; and the security, suddenly discover¬ed to be sound, would mount to its old or perhaps to a still higher figure.
They also set rumors afloat, as the bulls and bears of Wall Street do, to put down what they wished to buy or to put up what they wanted to sell; and having executed their purpose, the good or bad news of their invention would fail to be confirmed. They have persistently denied that they were ever stock-jobbers, though it would be hard to tell what they are if they are not such. They have never been desperate gamblers on the Exchange—they are too cool and acute for that they have never taken great risks, but they have arranged their program with all the chances on their side, and carried out the program to their entire advantage. When they gamble they usually have the cards marked so as to be guaranteed against loss. Rothschild is a smooth and complaisant creature, but those who play with him cannot be too sure of their own hand.
A great house like theirs understands of necessity the value of commercial honor—in plainer phrase, that honesty is the best policy. Their word is always religiously kept. Their promise, once given, is as certain of redemption as their drafts are to be paid. Their financial record is stainless. That which they say they will do may be regarded as already done. The perfect keeping of the trust reposed in Mayer Anselm by the Landgrave of Hesse is typical of every branch and individual of the world-renowned house. To put it simply, the Rothschild’s have common-sense and uncommon honesty. They are wise of their own interest. They know that to tell truth in their regular business, and to preserve their smallest covenant to the lightest shadow of its significance, pays in the long-run a better percentage than any investment, however attractive, in falsehood and perfidy.
A loan of the house to Spain years ago involved it in a loss of millions. The firms that had subscribed to the loan were called upon to contribute proportionally to their subscriptions. The eminent bankers were willing to grant a liberal discount, which was accepted by all their creditors except one. He declared he would pay in full, not¬withstanding the payment must ruin him. "Money," he continued, "may be regained, but honor, once gone, never can be. At all hazards, I will preserve my honor."
The chief of the house replied, "We will not ruin so upright and conscientious a man. If you will accept the position, we shall appoint you our general agent in your city for we feel assured we could not have a wor¬thier representative."