Nathan Mayer Rothschild
|Nathan Mayer Rothschild|
|Born||16 September 1777|
Free City of Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||28 July 1836 (aged 58)|
Nathan Mayer Rothschild (16 September 1777—28 July 1836) was a Jewish financier of the famous House of Rothschild and the founder of the London branch of the dynasty. He is perhaps most infamous because of his part in the Rothschild—London Stock Exchange swindle during the Napoleonic Wars. In which Rothschild; whose family backed both sides; is said to have tricked the gentile stock and bond holders into thinking that Wellington lost to Napoleon at Waterloo and then bought up all their bonds at rock bottom prices. In 1847 he was first elected for the Liberal Party as one of the four Members of Parliament of the City of London, despite Jews being banned from sitting in the chamber of the House of Commons. Following emancipation he took his seat but refused to swear the Loyal Oath upon the Christian Bible.
To the Rothschilds, [England's] chief financial agents, Waterloo brought a many million pound scoop. A Rothschild agent jumped into a boat at Ostend, Nathan Rothschild let his eye fly over the lead paragraphs. A moment later he was on his way to London (beating Wellington's envoy by many hours) to tell the government that Napoleon had been crushed: but his news was not believed, because the government had just heard of the English defeat at Quatre Bras. Then he proceeded to the Stock Exchange.
Another man in his position would have sunk his work into consols, already weak because of Quatre Bras. But this was Nathan Rothschild. He leaned against "his" pillar. He did not invest. He sold. He dumped consols. Consols dropped still more. "Rothschild knows," the whisper rippled through the 'Change. "Waterloo is lost." Nathan kept on selling, consols plummeted—until, a split second before it was too late, Nathan suddenly bought a giant parcel for a song. Moments afterwards the great news broke, to send consols soaring. We cannot guess the number of hopes and savings wiped out by this engineered panic.
—Frederic Morton, The Rothschilds: A Family Portrait, 1962.