The Brothers Goldsmid and the Financing of the Napoleonic Wars

Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England,

January 17, 1939

One of the most prosperous and happy periods that England has ever known, the nine years of peace enjoyed since the termination of the American War, ended abruptly in 1792. Events now precipitated themselves: in Paris the Republic was proclaimed, Louis XVI was executed, and in 1793 England mobilised against France. Burke’s prophecy, ” It will be a long and dangerous war,” was to become true. It raged for twenty-three years almost unceasingly on land and water against an enemy whose name was first the French Revolu? tion, subsequently Napoleon, and not before the 18th of June, 1815, had Wellington finally broken the resistance of the most powerful antagonist England had yet known.

From 1783 Pitt had stood at the head of affairs. When he took office Consols were quoted at 54; his wise financial policy and the

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