The London Connection
"So you see, my dear Coningsby, that the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes."55--Disraeli, Prime Minister of England during Queen Victoria’s reign.
In 1775, the colonists of America declared their independence from Great Britain, and subsequently won their freedom by the American Revolution. Although they achieved political freedom, financial independence proved to be a more difficult matter. In 1791, Alexander Hamilton, at the behest of European bankers, formed the first Bank of the United States, a central bank with much the same powers as the Bank of England. The foreign influences behind this bank, more than a century later, were able to get the Federal Reserve Act through Congress, giving them at last the central bank of issue for our economy. Although the Federal Reserve Bank was neither Federal, being owned by private stockholders, nor a Reserve, because it was intended to create money, instead of to hold it in reserve, it did achieve enormous financial power, so much so that it has gradually superseded the popular elected government of the United States. Through the Federal Reserve System, American independence was stealthily but invincibly absorbed back into the British sphere of influence. Thus the London Connection became the arbiter of policy of the United States.
Because of England’s loss of her colonial empire after the Second World War, it seemed that her influence as a world political power was waning. Essentially, this was true. The England of 1980 is not the England of 1880. She no longer rules the waves; she is a second rate, perhaps third rate, military power, but paradoxically, as her political and military power waned, her financial power grew. In Capital City we find, "On almost any measure you care to take, London is the world’s leading financial centre . . . In the 1960s London dominance increased . . ."56
A partial explanation of this fact is given:
"Daniel Davison, head of London’s Morgan Grenfell, said, ‘The American banks have brought
the necessary money, customers, capital
55 Coningsby, by Disraeli, Longmans Co., London, 1881, p. 252
56 McRae and Cairncross, Capital City, Eyre Methuen, London, 1963, p. 1
and skills which have established London in its present preeminence . . . . only the American
banks have a lender of last resort. The Federal Reserve Board of the United States can, and does,
create dollars when necessary. Without the Americans, the big dollar deals cannot be put together.
Without them, London would not be credible as an international financial centre.’"57
Thus London is the world’s financial center, because it can command enormous sums of capital, created at its command by the Federal Reserve Board of the United States. But how is this possible? We have already established that the monetary policies of the United States, the interest rates, the volume and value of money, and sales of bonds, are decided, not by the figurehead of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, but by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The pretended decentralization of the Federal Reserve System and its twelve, equally autonomous "regional" banks, is and has been a deception since the Federal Reserve Act became law in 1913. That United States monetary policy stems solely from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is yet another fallacy. That the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is itself autonomous, and free to set monetary policy for the entire United States without any outside interference is especially untrue.
We might believe in this autonomy if we did not know that the majority stock of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was purchased by three New York City banks: First National Bank, National City Bank, and the National Bank of Commerce. An examination of the principal stockholders in these banks, in 1914, and today, reveals a direct London connection.
In 1812, the National City Bank began business as the City Bank, in the same room in which the defunct Bank of the United States, whose charter had expired, had been doing business. It represented many of the same stockholders, who were now functioning under a legitimate American charter. During the early 1800s, the most famous name associated with City Bank was Moses Taylor (1806-1882). Taylor’s father had been a confidential agent employed in buying property for the Astor interests while concealing the fact that Astor was the purchaser. Through this tactic, Astor succeeded in buying many farms, and also a great deal of potentially valuable real estate in Manhattan. Although Astor’s capital was reputed to come from his fur trading, a number of sources indicate that he also represented foreign interests. LaRouche58 states that Astor, in exchange for providing intelligence to the British during the years before and after the Revolutionary War, and for inciting Indians to attack
57 Ibid, p. 225
58 Lyndon H. LaRouche, Dope, Inc., New Benjamin Franklin House Publishing Co., N.Y. 1978
and kill American settlers along the frontier, received a handsome reward. He was not paid cash, but was given a percentage of the British opium trade with China. It was the income from this lucrative concession which provided the basis for the Astor fortune.
With his father’s connection with the Astors, young Moses Taylor had no difficulty in finding a place as apprentice in a banking house at the age of 15. Like so many others in these pages, he found his greatest opportunities when many other Americans were going bankrupt during an abrupt contraction of credit. During the Panic of 1837, when more than half the business firms in New York failed, he doubled his fortune. In 1855, he became president of City Bank. During the Panic of 1857, the City Bank profited by the failure of many of its competitors. Like George Peabody and Junius Morgan, Taylor seemed to have an ample supply of cash for buying up distressed stocks. He purchased nearly all the stock of Delaware Lackawanna Railroad for $5 a share. Seven years later, it was selling for $240 a share. Moses Taylor was now worth fifty million dollars.
In August, 1861, Taylor was named Chairman of the Loan Committee to finance the Union Government in the Civil War. The Committee shocked Lincoln by offering the government $5,000,000 at 12% to finance the war. Lincoln refused and financed the war by issuing the famous "Greenbacks" through the U.S. Treasury, which were backed by gold. Taylor continued to increase his fortune throughout the war, and in his later years, the youthful James Stillman became his protégé. In 1882, when Moses Taylor died, he left seventy million dollars.* His son-in-law, Percy Pyne, succeeded him as president of City Bank, which had now become National City Bank. Pyne was paralyzed, and was barely able to function at the bank. For nine years, the bank stagnated, nearly all its capital being the estate of Moses Taylor. William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller, had bought into the bank, and was anxious to see it progress. He persuaded Pyne to step aside in 1891 in favor of James Stillman, and soon the National City Bank became the principal repository of the Rockefeller oil income. William Rockefeller’s son, William, married Elsie, James Stillman’s daughter, Isabel. Like so many others in New York banking, James Stillman also had a British connection. His father, Don Carlos Stillman, had come to Brownsville, Texas, as a British agent and blockade runner during the Civil War. Through his banking connections in New York, Don Carlos had been able to find a place for
* The New York Times noted on May 24, 1882 that Moses Taylor was chairman of the Loan Committee of the Associated Banks of New York City in 1861. Two hundred million dollars worth of securities were entrusted to him. It is probably due to him more than any other one man that the government in 1861 found itself with the means to prosecute the war.
his son as apprentice in a banking house. In 1914, when National City Bank purchased almost ten per cent of the shares of the newly organized Federal Reserve Bank of New York, two of Moses Taylor’s grandsons, Moses Taylor Pyne and Percy Pyne, owned 15,000 shares of National City stock. Moses Taylor’s son, H.A.C. Taylor, owned 7699 shares of National City Bank. The bank’s attorney, John W. Sterling, of the firm of Shearman and Sterling, also owned 6000 shares of National City Bank. However, James Stillman owned 47,498 shares, or almost twenty percent of the bank’s total shares of 250,000. [See Chart I]
The second largest purchaser of Federal Reserve Bank of New York shares in 1914, First National Bank, was generally known as "the Morgan Bank", because of the Morgan representation on the board, although the bank’s founder George F. Baker held 20,000 shares, and his son G.F. Baker, Jr., had 5,000 shares for twenty-five percent of the bank’s total stock of 100,000 shares. George F. Baker Sr.’s daughter married George F. St. George of London. The St. Georges later settled in the United States, where their daughter, Katherine St. George, became a prominent Congresswoman for a number of years. Dr. E.M. Josephson wrote of her, "Mrs. St. George, a first cousin of FDR and New Dealer, said, ‘Democracy is a failure’." George Baker, Jr.’s daughter, Edith Brevoort Baker, married Jacob Schiff’s grandson, John M. Schiff, in 1934. John M. Schiff is now honorary chairman of Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb Company.
The third large purchase of Federal Reserve Bank of New York stock in 1914 was the National Bank of Commerce which issued 250,000 shares. J.P. Morgan, through his controlling interest in Equitable Life, which held 24,700 shares and Mutual Life, which held 17,294 shares of National Bank of Commerce, also held another 10,000 shares of National Bank of Commerce through J.P. Morgan and Company (7800 shares), J.P. Morgan, Jr. (1100 shares), and Morgan partner H.P. Davison (1100 shares). Paul Warburg, a Governor of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, also held 3000 shares of National Bank of Commerce. His partner, Jacob Schiff had 1,000 shares of National Bank of Commerce. This bank was clearly controlled by Morgan, who was really a subsidiary of Junius S. Morgan Company in London and the N.M. Rothschild Company of London, and Kuhn, Loeb Company, which was also known as a principal agent of the Rothschilds.
The financier Thomas Fortune Ryan also held 5100 shares of National Bank of Commerce stock in 1914. His son, John Barry Ryan, married Otto Kahn’s daughter, Kahn was a partner of Warburg and Schiff in Kuhn, Loeb Company, Ryan’s granddaughter, Virginia Fortune Ryan,
59 E.M. Josephson, The Strange Death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Chedney Press, N.Y. 1948
married Lord Airlie, the present head of J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation in London and New York.
Another director of National Bank of Commerce in 1914, A.D. Juillard, was president of A.D. Juillard Company, a trustee of New York Life, and Guaranty Trust, all of which were controlled by J.P. Morgan. Juillard also had a British connection, being a director of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. Juillard owned 2000 shares of National Bank of Commerce stock, and was also a director of Chemical Bank.
In The Robber Barons, by Matthew Josephson, Josephson tells us that Morgan dominated New York Life, Equitable Life and Mutual Life by 1900, which had one billion dollars in assets, and which had fifty million dollars a year to invest. He says,
"In this campaign of secret alliances he (Morgan) acquired direct control of the National Bank of
Commerce; then a part ownership in the First National Bank, allying himself to the very strong
and conservative financier, George F. Baker, who headed it; then by means of stock ownership
and interlocking directorates he linked to the first named banks other leading banks, the Hanover,
the Liberty, and Chase."60
Mary W. Harriman, widow of E.H. Harriman, also owned 5,000 shares of National Bank of Commerce in 1914. E.H. Harriman’s railroad empire had been entirely financed by Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb Company. Levi P. Morton also owned 1500 shares of National Bank of Commerce stock in 1914. He had been the twenty-second vice-president of the United States, was an ex-Minister from the U.S. to France, and president of L.P. Morton Company, New York, Morton-Rose and Company and Morton Chaplin of London. He was a director of Equitable Life Insurance Company, Home Insurance Company, Guaranty Trust, and Newport Trust.
The astounding idea that the Federal Reserve System of the United States is actually operated from London will probably be rejected at first hearing by most Americans. However, Minsky has become famous for his theory of the "dominant frame". He states that in any particular situation, there is a "dominant frame" to which everything in that situation is related and through which it can be interpreted. The "dominant frame" in the monetary policy decisions of the Federal Reserve System is that these decisions are made by those who stand to benefit most from them. At first glance, this would seem to be the principal stockholders of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. However, we have seen that these stockholders all have a "London Connection". The "London Connection" becomes more obvious as the dominant power when we find in The
60 Matthew Josephson, The Robber Barons, p. 409
Capital City61 that only seventeen firms are allowed to operate as merchant bankers in the City of London, England’s financial district. All of them must be approved by the Bank of England. In fact, most of the Governors of the Bank of England come from the partners of these seventeen firms. Clarke ranks the seventeen in order of their capitalization. Number 2 is the Schroder Bank. Number 6 is Morgan Grenfell, the London branch of the House of Morgan and actually its dominant branch. Lazard Brothers is Number 8. N.M. Rothschild is Number 9. Brown Shipley Company, the London branch of Brown Brothers Harriman, is Number 14. These five merchant banking firms of London actually control the New York banks which own the controlling interest in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The control over Federal Reserve System decisions is also founded in another unique situation. Each day, representatives of four other London banking firms meet in the offices of N.M. Rothschild Company in London to fix the price of gold for that day. The other four bankers are from Samuel Montagu Company, which ranks Number 5 on the list of seventeen London merchant banking firms, Sharps Pixley, Johnson Matheson, and Mocatta and Goldsmid. Despite the huge tide of paper pyramided currency and notes which are now flooding the world, at some point, every credit extension must return to be based, in however minuscule a fashion, on some deposit of gold in some bank somewhere in the world. Because of this factor, the London merchant bankers, with their power to set the price of gold each day, become the final arbiters of the volume of money and the price of money in those countries which must bow to their power. Not the least of these is the United States. No official of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, or of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, can command the power over the money of the world which is held by these London merchant bankers. Great Britain, while waning in political and military power, today exercises the greatest financial power. It is for this reason that London is the present financial center of the world.
61 McRae and Cairncross, Capital City, Eyre Methuen, London, 1963