Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

means would permit, but, dying when he was at the age of eleven, left him to his own resources.

He then earned a scanty living by writing, which he soon abandoned for a trade. But his ambition was to be a priest of his religion. Fortunately for tottering dynasties of the present day, this was not accomplished. His trade required him to travel; and after some years he returned to his native place, and established a small business. He soon, however, gained considerable notoriety as a collector of old and curious coins, which brought him much in contact with persons of rank, among whom it was fashionable to make such collections; and finally he went to Hanover, as a clerk in a large house. Subsequently, with a few years' savings, he returned to Frankfort, married, and commenced a little exchange business. His great sagacity, strict punctuality, and rectitude of conduct, pushed him rapidly forward, and towards the close of the century the Frankfort banking house had become famous, and the profits large. The banker in the meantime brought up ten children, of whom five sons were “after his own heart;" and when he died, he left them his vast wealth and extensive business, with the injunction to dwell in strict and unbroken unity. And the injunction then bestowed has been faithfully carried out. The five sons conducted as many banking houses at the leading capitals of Europe. They were as follows: the eldest, Anselm, was born in 1773, and was the most substantial citizen of Frankfort; and, representing the father, was the head of the whole operations of the house. The second, Solomon, born in 1774, became a citizen of Vienna, where he is held in high estimation as a man, as well as a member of the most stupendous banking house in the world. The fourth son, Charles, was born in 1788, and has, since 1821, conducted the house at Naples, where his popularity is equal to any of his brothers. The youngest son, Jacob, was born in 1792, and is the banker for Paris, where he maintains a splendor that eclipses most of the princes of Europe. The third son we have yet to mention, Nathan, who was born in 1777, and became the head of the London house in 1798, and was in every intellectual respect a giant. It was observed of him that, should he share in the chase, it could only be to hunt elephants.

These five houses, combining all the financial resources of Europe in their movements, which are always simultaneous, have exercised for fifty years a power unseen, but overwhelming. Nearly all the government debts of Europe are of their contracting. Through the wars of Bonaparte their information was always correct, and always in advance of the British government, which was often a dependent upon them for information, as well as means of action. Although their residences were always widely separated, each controlling all means of information, no important transaction was entered into

without consultation and strict harmony of opinion among them all. Commercial exchanges and all movements of business were often known to and controlled by the old Jew in Frankfort, who could, in the exercise of his great power, look with contempt upon feeble despots crying to him for help; and the aid asked depended on the assent of the five brothers. Accordingly they were courted in every possible way. In 1813, they were made private commercial counsellors to the Hessian government; also to the Austrian Emperor, who conferred on them the rank of Barons. In 1836, Nathan died, leaving 63,000,0001, and seven children, of whom four were sons. The eldest, Lionel, who had been made Knight of Isabella by the Catholics at Madrid, and who is a Baron of Austria in right of his father, appeared, in 1836, on the London Change in the place his father had occupied for thirty-eight years. This gentleman it is who has become a member of Parliament at the expense of a change in the English Constitution.

The house combined has loaned the King of the French the money necessary to keep him on the throne a few years longer. It is manifest that as this house has grown up with government debts, the continuance of their power is in some degree dependent upon existing governments. À branch of the house has been established in New York, conducted by Auguste Belmont, a relative of Solomon Rothschild, of Vienna. Republican free trade, however, is not the soil on which the stupendous business of the great loan contractor will best flourish.

NAPOLEON'S PROPHECY.

We are not disposed to treat modern prophets or their prophecies with much consideration. It happens occasionally, that things which are predicted actually occur, and when this is the case, ignorant individuals incline to a belief in the power of some men to foretell events. The following, however, is a remarkable prophecy of Napoleon, being a suppressed passage from both the French and English editions of Count Las Casas's Journal, and which has been furnished us by a literary gentleman of eminence:-" In less than fifteen years from the present time,' said the Emperor Napoleon to me, one day, as we stood viewing the sea, from a rock which overhangs the road, “the whole European system will be changed. Revolution will succeed revolution, until every nation becomes acquainted with its individual rights. Depend upon it, the people of Europe will not long submit to be governed by these bands of petty sovereigns, these aristocratic cabinets. I was wrong in re-establishing the order of nobles in France. But I did it, to give splendor to the throne and refinement to the manners of the people, who were fast sinking into barbarism, since the Revolution. The remains of the feudal system will vanish before the sun of knowledge. The people have only to know, that all power emanates from themselves, in order to assert their rights to a share in their respective governments. This will be the case even with the boors of Russia. Yes, Las Casas, you may live to see the time, but I shall be cold in my grave, when that colossal but ill-cemented empire will be split into as many sovereignties, perhaps republics, as there are hordes or tribes which compose it.”

After a few more reflections on the future prospects of Europe, his majesty thus continued: “Never was a web more artfully woven over a nation than that horrible debt which enslaves the people of England. It has been the means of enriching the aristocracy beyond all former example in any country, whilst it has, at the same time, insured as many fast and powerful friends to the government, as there are individuals who receive interest for that money so extravagantly squandered to crush liberty in other countries. Even that must have an end; some accidental spark will ignite the combustible mass, and blow the whole system to the devil. If this mighty debt were due to foreigners, those cunning islanders would not bear the burden an hour, but would, on some pretext or other, break with their creditors, and laugh at their credulity ; but they owe the money to individuals among themselves, and are, therefore, likely to enjoy the pleasure of paying the interest for some generations to come. France, too, has a debt. These Bourbons think to maintain them. selves on my throne, by borrowing largely of the present generation, in order to lay heavy taxes on the next, and all future ones. But I know the French people too well to suppose that such a system can be long tolerated. I know that they have too much natural affection for their offspring to entail upon them a national debt like that of England, however artfully incurred. No! no! my subjects are too sharp-sighted, to let the property accumulated for their children be mortgaged to pay the Russians and English for invading them, and for the restoration of the vieille cour des imbéciles' who now insult them. They will, after a time, make comparisons between them and me, they will recollect that the expenses of my government were defrayed by imposts during the year—that my wars cost France nothing—that I left her not one Napoleon in debt, but that I enriched every corner of her territory. Such comparisons will not be favorable to the Bourbons. The French will cast them and their debt from their shoulders, as my Arabian would any stranger who should dare to mount him. Then, if my son be in existence, he will be seated on the throne amidst the acclamations of the people. If he

be not, France will go back to a Republic, for no other hand will dare to seize a sceptre which it cannot wield. The Orleans branch, though amiable, are too weak, have too much of the other Bourbons, and will share the same fate, if they do not choose to live as simple citizens under whatever change takes place.” Here the Emperor paused a few moments; then waving his hand, he exclaimed in an animated tone, his dark eye beaming with the enthusiasm of inspiration, “France once more a Republic, other countries will follow her example-Germans, Prussians, Poles, Italians, Danes, Swedes and Russians, will all join in the crusade for liberty. They will arm against their sovereigns, who will be glad to make concessions of some of their minor rights in order to preserve a minor authority over them as subjects; they will grant them Representative Chambers, and style themselves Constitutional Kings possessing a limited power. Thus the feudal system will receive its death-blow-like the thick mist on that ocean, it will dissipate at the first appearance of the sun of liberty. But things will not end there; the wheel of revolution will not stand still at this point; the impetus will be increased in a ten-fold ratio, and the motion will be accelerated in proportion. When a people recover a part of their rights as men, they become elated with the victory they have achieved, and having tasted the sweets of freedom, they become clamorous for a larger portion. Thus will the states and principalities of Europe be in a continual state of turmoil and ferment, perhaps, for some yearslike the earth, heaving in all directions, previous to the occurrence of an earthquake. At length the combustible matter will have vent; a tremendous explosion will take place. The lava of England's bankruptcy will overspread the European world, overwhelming kings and aristocracies, but cementing the democratic interest as it flows. Trust me, Las Casas, that, as from the vines planted in the soil which encrusts the sides of Etna and Vesuvius, the most delicious wine is obtained, so shall the lava of which I speak prove to be the only soil in which the tree of liberty will take firm and permanent root. May it flourish for ages! You, perhaps, consider these sentiments strange and unusual; they are mine, however. I was a Republican, but fate and the opposition of Europe made me an Emperor. I am now a spectator of the future!- English Paper.

The electric current, as near as can be ascertained, travels at the rate of 288,000 miles per second. VOL.—MAY, 1848.

16

EXTRAORDINARY INDIAN CITY.

The New Orleans National, in its sketch of Col. Doniphan's late remarkable expedition, gives the following account:

The Navajo Indians are a warlike people, have no towns or houses or lodges; they live in the open air or on horseback, and are remarkably wealthy, having immense herds of horses, cattle, and sheep. They are celebrated for their intelligence and good order. They treat their women with great attention, consider them equals, and relieve them from the drudgery of menial work. They are handsome, well made, and in every respect a highly civilized people, being, as a nation, of a higher order of beings than the mass of their neighbors, the Mexicans. About the time Col. Doniphan made his treaty, a division of his command was entirely out of provisions, and the Navajos supplied its wants with liberality. A portion of the command returned to Cuvano. Maj. Gilpin's command, together with Col. Doniphan, went to the city of the Sumai Indians living on the Rio Pesco, which is supposed to be a branch of the Geyla, made a treaty of peace between the Sumais and Navajos, and then returned to the Rio Del Norte.

These Sumais, unlike the Navajos, live in a city, containing, probably, 6,000 inhabitants, who support themselves entirely by agriculture.

The city is one of the most extraordinary in the world. It is divided into four solid squares, having but two streets crossing its centre at right angles. All the buildings are two story high, composed of sun burnt brick. The first story presents a solid wall to ihe street, and is so constructed that each house joins, until one fourth of the city may be said to be one building. The second stories rise from this vast solid structure, so as to designate each house, leaving room to walk upon the roof of the first story between each building. The inhabitants of Sumai enter the second story of their buildings by ladders, which they draw up at night, as a defence against any enemy that might be prowling about. In this city were seen some thirty Albino Indians, who have, no doubt, given rise to the story that there is living in the Rocky mountains a tribe of white aborigines. The discovery of this city of the Sumai will afford the most curious speculations among those who have so long searched in vain for a city of the Indians who possessed the manners and habits of the Aztecs. No doubt, we have here a race living as did that people, when Cortez entered Mexico. It is a remarkable fact that the Sumaians have, since the Spaniards left the country, refused to have any intercourse with the modern Mexicans, looking upon them as an inferior people. They have also

« ForrigeFortsæt »