Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Skull and Bones Accepted Hegel's Dialectic Theories

Freedom Through Order
The philosophy which has dominated the Western world since the mid 19th Century can be reduced to one tenet—ultimate peace comes only through conflict—derived from Hegel’s dialectic teachings.  It proposes that a clash between ideologies (thesis and antithesis) is a normal historical phenomenon which always results in compromise (synthesis) that advances civilization to a higher level of order.  Conflict, in other words, is good, and peace is not necessarily desirable (or profitable).[1]

Educated men had founded governments after a period of violence and chaos, a state that would return unless members of society advanced to a higher level—acceptance of a need to abide by voluntary rules of law and order.  Once most individuals accepted the “truth” that an ordered life brings greater peace, leaders could then frame institutions by which non-conformists could be forced into their “proper role” in a peaceful society.  

This philosophy, which had risen to increasing prominence by 1860, appealed to elitist Americans studying in German universities during those decades.  Recognizing a German need at the time to unify the nation state, Hegel’s writing also looked forward to a day of universal—global—brotherhood accomplished by rejecting selfish individualism.  Repelled by the chaos of the French Revolution, Hegel taught that political democracy and individualism ultimately resulted in repression rather than liberty and that an orderly and structured society afforded more freedom than a chaotic one.  

American students in Germany who were most attracted to this philosophy believed that Western classical liberal thought upon which America had been founded, rather than being the ideal toward which America should strive, was actually the enemy of progress toward universal brotherhood. Moreover, one of those students, William HuntingtonRussell, whose family had made a fortune by selling opium in China, returned to Yale in 1832 to found a branch of a German secret society at Yale with fellow student Alphonso Taft.[2] It is this secret society, now called Skull and Bones, into which both John Kerry and George W. Bush were inducted during their junior year at Yale.

Hegel’s German idealism (categorized as such because it stressed the dominance of ideas over physical environment) would become the philosophical basis for the work of both Karl Marx  and Adolph Hitler—each of whom envisioned different ends to be achieved by the same means—control over the individual by the state. This paradox—that Hegel’s theories were used as the foundation of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, while at the same time giving a basis to the fascist movement of the 1930’s—is not so extraordinary when we realize that, as AntonySutton’s research reveals, both extreme economic doctrines were financed by the same small group of Americans, at the core of which were members of the secret society that had previously been founded by Russell and Taft.[3]  This group became clustered around the Peabody and Morgan banking institutions.

One facet of dialectics was its philosophical justification for simultaneously supporting two opposite positions on a political issue, thus allowing its members to make a profit no matter which party was in power. Talk about hedging bets!  Skull and Bones was set up as a secret fraternity of men from elite social strata within the fields of education, religion, medicine, law, science, transportation, banking and the arts.  There was a place for opposing points of view within their scheme, as long as each man agreed to maintain the established class order and took an oath to keep everything related to Bones secret.  In this way, regardless of whether political power was in the right hand or the left, depending on which way the political pendulum was swinging, power would be in the skeletal hand of Yale’s elite Skull and Bones.

Pool of Wealth—a Goose That Lays Golden Eggs
In 1832, the year the first Skull and Bones class was initiated, America was not unlike Hegel’s Germany.  A generation after the War of 1812 the U. S. Constitution was still less than a half century old and the new nation more divided than ever. The failure of the Second Bank of the U.S. in 1832 left state chartered banks free to issue their own bank notes, which could be traded as currency—resulting in financial chaos leading to the Panic of 1837. Consequently, a uniform currency, a stable rate of exchange, and a secondary market for securities had to be created in order for the American economy to have liquidity. The National Currency Act of 1863 and National Bank Act of 1864 helped to achieve these needs, replacing state chartered banks with national ones, though it would be alleged after numerous panics—in 1873, 1893 and 1907—that there was a need for a centralized control in order to expand and contract the currency when needed. 

By 1878, once the country had recovered from the 1873 panic caused by the failure of Jay Cooke’s bank, New York City had replaced London as the dominant financial center for United States capital.  American businessmen were primed to get rich. Skull and Bones members decided their time had come to consolidate the power their founders had envisioned. 

What Russell and Taft envisioned by creating the Russell Trust was a network of men who could use surplus wealth (“golden eggs”) produced from the lucrative China Trade as a venture capital pool to acquire equity in business entities to be created by American entrepreneurs. The pool could be repaid with interest while helping the entrepreneurs become rich, with new pools of wealth springing up to seed new ventures. Each new pool of money is like a goose which lays golden eggs.

The idea was that Bonesmen would quickly advance to the top of their chosen profession in order to accumulate an endowment of surplus for investment, to be managed by fellow Bonesmen. As pointed out by Antony Sutton, Bonesmen, such as Daniel Coit Gilman and Andrew Dickson White, founded Johns Hopkins University and Cornell, respectively.  Similarly, those who chose careers in  religion, medicine, law, science, transportation, banking and the arts also controlled trust funds or handled large pools of money, which added to a huge pool ultimately managed by the same bank establishment, headeduntil his death in 1913by J. Pierpont Morgan.


[1] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831),  a German professor at the University of Berlin from 1817 until his death in 1831, deduced from his study of European history that mankind had made a transition from a natural life of savagery to a state of order and law.  Hegel asserted, “What is rational exists, and what exists is rational.” Following from that, events of history are not accidents, but instead, manifestations of the universal divine idea. While human conditions continuously change, Hegel believed, each change moves the world closer to the universal goal of history: the achievement of human freedom. Thus, history is the story of the progress of humanity toward true freedom.  Hegel explained the ongoing, progressive path of history through his “law of the Dialectic”.  “According to Hegel, every age is governed by a dominant idea, which he labels the spirit or the "thesis" of the age. In time, this thesis is challenged by a new concept, its ‘antithesis,’ which is incompatible with the "thesis." To resolve the conflict between the ‘thesis’ and the ‘antithesis,’ a blending of opposites occurs, thereby producing a higher ‘synthesis,’ which becomes the new dominant idea, or thesis, of the next age. History consists of the constant flow of ideas and their opposites, which when reconciled, reach purer forms. The new synthesis does not come without strife, but conflicts, commonly regarded as tragedies, to Hegel do not demonstrate the triumph of evil. They are necessary steps forward toward the universal goal, human freedom. To Hegel, however, the highest form of freedom was not the absence of self-restraint, for the true ethical unit was not the isolated individual but the state in which the individual lives. Consequently, the movement of history is not toward individual freedom but toward the freedom of the community as a whole. Therefore, Hegel's philosophy exalts the state because only through it can humankind find meaning and be truly free.”  Quoted in “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,”  World Eras, Vol. 9: Industrial Revolution in Europe (1750-1914). Gale Group, 2002.

[2] After his graduation from Yale, Russell would found a prepatory academy in New Haven called the New Haven Collegiate Institute with Stiles French, which later became the Russell Military Academy. 


Monday, September 30, 2013

Who was Alexander Brown?

A Protestant in Ireland, Alexander Brown had worked as an auctioneer in the linen market in Belfast, which after 1785 was conducted in an impressive building owned by the Earl of Donegall. The building's lease was bought by John Brown, founder of the Bank of the Four Johns in Belfast, but who does not appear to have been a close relation of Alexander. Although his auction business was profitable in Ballymena, after visiting a brother, Stewart Brown, in Baltimore, Alexander decided to settle in that city on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Another brother remained behind in London to work with him in an import-export business. By 1811 all four of his sons were partners with him in Alex. Brown & Sons, headquartered in Baltimore.

The British Browns

William Brown, his eldest son, returned to England in 1809 and set up a brokerage firm that would operate first as W. and J. Brown, renamed in 1839 as Brown, Shipley & Co., in Liverpool. William’s role in the business, among other duties, would be to find wealthy investors to buy the paper issued in America.

Finding such investors required that he create a network around himself of powerful society members with whom to socialize, possibly one of the reasons he first stood for Parliament in 1846. Twenty years later he was created a baronet, Sir William Brown of Beilby Grange (a mansion near Leeds) and Richmond Hill (near Lancaster). His descendants are set out in Burke's Peerage. (See also website, The Peerage).
Sir William Brown
It is a truism in banking families that they frequently marry not-too-distant cousins and relations of their father’s business associates, helping to keep the money—and the secrets—within the family. Researching genealogies is, therefore, a very useful tool in understanding confidential financial relationships.

When William returned to Britain in 1809, his younger brothers were still being educated by a country minister at Catterick in North Yorkshire. Initially, William went to Ireland to work at the market where Alexander had started his career. There he met and married the daughter of his father’s Belfast linen supplier, Andrew Gihon. Although they had eight children, only two lived to become adults, and none of those survived him.
  • Grace (1812-1849), in 1831 married John Hargreaves, whose family owned the calico print works at Accrington—midway between Leeds and Lancaster. Grace Hargreaves' son John continued with the calico business, while her son Thomas pursued a military career.
  • Alexander (1817-1849), married James Brown’s daughter, Sarah Benedict Brown, during a visit to America in 1838, thus uniting the English and American house of the brokerage company and the bank in which the brothers were all partners. Their children were as follows: William Richmond Brown (1840-1906); James Clifton Brown (1841-66); Louisa (1842-63), who married Capt. Alexander William Cobham; Alexander Hargreaves Brown (1844-76).
William's grandson, Alexander Hargreaves Brown, became a Member of Parliament in 1863 and served until 1902, while during that time becoming a partner of the Brown Brothers bank in 1875, later serving as senior partner in the London office on Pall Mall.
These two branches of Sir William's descendants continued to marry their children to their cousins and thus perpetuate the financial connections on both sides of the ocean.
James Brown was the only one of Alexander Brown's sons who married a native American girl. In December 1817 he married Louisa Kirkland Benedict, youngest daughter of Dr. Joel Benedict, and his wife Sarah McKown Benedict. Her father has sometimes been confused with Dr. Benedict's nephew and namesake, Rev. Joel Tyler Benedict, a Presbyterian minister who was working at a branch of the American Tract Society in Philadelphia when James arrived in that city, having been tasked by his father to  assist his brother, John A. Brown, in starting a branch of Alex. Brown & Sons there, and it is possible he met her through this relationship since the Brown family had long been Presbyterian rather than Episcopalian.

James Brown of New York

Eliphalet Nott
Connections to church hierarchies

In 1817 James Brown, Alexander Brown's youngest son who had recently relocated from Baltimore to Philadelphia, married Louisa Kirkland Benedict, youngest daughter of Dr. Joel and Sarah McKown Benedict.

Her parents' eldest daughter, Sarah "Sally" Benedict, was already 21 years of age by the time Louisa was born in 1795.  Union College was founded that same year in Schenectady, New York, and Dr. Joel Benedict's student and new son-in-law, Rev. Eliphalet Nott, was named the president of the college.

The eminent Potter family

Although Sally Benedict Nott died the year her husband ascended to that position, she left behind a daughter, Sarah Maria Nott, with whom Louisa was quite close. Seven years after James Brown became part of the Benedict family, his wife's niece married Rev. Alonzo Potter, her father's foremost divinity student at Union College. He also became a professor at the college (1831-45), after which he was named Bishop of the Pennsylvania Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

Louisa Brown died in 1829 and her niece followed a decade later. James Brown waited two years before marrying Eliza Maria Coe, the orphaned daughter of another Presbyterian minister, Dr. Jonas Coe of Troy, New York. Alonzo Potter married, after the death of Sarah Maria Potter, the daughter of her brother Robert, who was also named Sarah Benedict, and with her had three more sons.

The daughter born to James Brown and Louisa Benedict in 1827 would grow up to marry Howard Potter, the second son of Louisa's favorite niece, Sarah Benedict Nott and her husband Bishop Alonzo Potter. After their marriage, Howard Potter became a partner in the Brown Brothers & Co. investment bank in New York, although he spent many years as manager of the London office. It will be recalled that James Brown's eldest daughter, Sarah Benedict Brown, had married her first cousin Alexander, whose father was Sir William Brown of the Liverpool and London offices. Two of their siblings--Grace and William--were lost aboard ship in 1854 as young adults. The youngest sibling, Margaretta Hunter Brown, married James Couper Lord, a son of the firm's attorney, Daniel Lord and his wife Susan DeForest. The Lord family, as has been mentioned previously at this blog, is one of the most significant families involved in the Skull and Bones secret society.

It has also been mentioned at this author's blog, Quixotic Joust, that the DeForest family were connected to some high-level members of the Episcopal Church, such as Dr. Horatio Potter, who became acquainted with Frank G. Wisner shortly before he was chosen to become head of a select arm of intelligence in the United States. We will soon discuss how all these connections interlink with the Brown Brothers investments.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


In 2006 the author was asked to deliver a presentation for a Sanders Research Associates conference, that was later cancelled. The ideas that arose from that endeavor have been expanded. What appears below is the first segment, which will be continued later.

Micro Versus Macro View of the World

During my brief talk, I want give an overview of my own concept of the historical development of transnational globalism by use of a metaphor that effectively depicts the growth and evolution over the last five centuries of similar patterns that have occurred among various nations and the economic models they use to sustain that nation's economy.

Then I want to go into a little more detail into one family I have studied which has had a very significant role in behind-the-scenes transnational finance. The family we’ll be looking at, like most merchant bankers, started out as just merchants. Whether we use other terms, like “private” bankers, “investment” bankers, or simply “venture capitalists,” they are essentially small groups of very discreet people—often family members—who have access to vast pools of wealth, which they promise to invest at great rates of return. Their costumes may change from one generation to the next, but they are always at the scene, pulling strings (often hidden behind the curtain) to make history unfold as it does.

Patterns Beginning in Early 16th Century

The earliest examples we find of global trade, such as the exploits of Marco Polo, were family enterprises. Even Christopher Columbus, after his initial discovery of the “new world,” made four or five subsequent voyages with his brothers and son. Shipbuilding was a family business, and therefore the seamen who became traders operated in family units as they set out in search of the unknown.  Over time they established trading networks in various ports throughout the world, attempting to make a profit each time they unloaded their ships in a different location. The danger was great, but the promise of large returns on a successful voyage made the risk worthwhile.

It didn’t take the seasoned travelers long to realize, however, that competition brought profits down, and that it could be eliminated by acquiring a monopoly from their local prince, or a concession from a foreign one—to have the sole right to engage in that particular enterprise in that precise location. However, such a trading right would be worthless unless it could be protected by force. The development of nation states occurred as local fiefdoms expanded, garnering increased power to secure these commercial rights. Political boundaries went as far as the lord of that domain could protect the people within.

Organic Metaphor

I tend to think in organic, rather than mechanical, terms. Visualize if you can a series of oceans surrounding masses of land. Each mass of land with a separate economic system is depicted as if it were a self-sustaining plant growing in an earthen pot. There is a root system, a cluster of leaves and a stem.   

Spider Plant as metaphor
Over the centuries, as the plant increases in size, it becomes root-bound. The roots consist of members of the economic society who cultivate the soil in some fashion--like miners or farmers--who have become unable to provide enough resources from the restrictive boundaries of this pot to furnish nutrients for the plant’s leaves in order to produce a surplus above bare subsistence that would allow the plant to produce flowers or seeds to ensure physical survival. 

It was that lack of resources, as well as the bland existence of life that motivated explorers to escape the walls of the fief during the dark ages. And it was what they brought back from their adventures that resulted in further change.

Thus the Renaissance was like a genetic mutation of the medieval plant. Think of the stem of that plant as being the lord of the manor whose responsibility was to ensure the most efficient production of all units within the plant by properly coordinating distribution of raw resources and finished consumer goods. He served as the clearinghouse or marketplace where all such products were exchanged. He could maintain power only so long as he was able to satisfy the needs of these units. The lord recognized his power was draining away when there was no longer enough soil in the pot to feed all the leaves. He either had to enlarge the pot (something that would require a war), or he had to find another way of getting the necessary nutrients. The solution he found was to change the plant’s structure.  
Since this is my metaphor, I allowed my lord of the pot to create the spider plant; lords of the various pots equate to the crowned heads of seventeenth-century Europe, whose lawyers devised the concept of the chartered company. These crowned heads were, by this time, desperate for new resources, having found that wars to increase the size of their pots had further depleted their resources. As new lands were claimed on behalf of each root-bound pot by explorers  authorized to trade outside the pot, the lord found he or she had magically acquired the means to pay these explorers as bankers suddenly popped up, generously offering to turn that new land into ready cash (specie) for the pot.

 “Give us a portion of that new land as a grant,” they said, “and we will do your work for you, as long as we have a monopoly on the trade.”  

Like stems of a spider plant, each pot on the original map began sending out new shoots, each with its own cluster of roots and leaves ready to plant itself in new soil and recreate itself. When this shoot (like a colony) settles on soil, its roots can develop to feed its leaves while still being connected to the original stem by the stolon, which allows it to send the required percentage of absorbed minerals back to the parent plant, whether assessed against the company or the settlers brought there by the company.  

In return, the lord is able to promise protection to the colony should a threat occur. Thus a reciprocal relationship was developed between trading families who invested in such charter companies and the heads of state. That relationship persists to this day even though the legal framework has evolved from chartered companies into multinational corporations.

Unfortunately, a metaphor is not the truth. It is a visual and an intellectual aid to assist in understanding the truth. It must be tested for accuracy. The plant metaphor acts as the macro illustration of the world. What follows is the micro test. Here we focus on one example--one family network arrived in America only a decade or so after the Constitution was adopted. We will examine that family to learn how its banking business became intertwined with governments in America and abroad, in so doing testing whether the metaphor we have presented gives a true and accurate picture of the world.

With reference to modern financial institutions, what is now called Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, Inc. is the result of a series of investment bank buyouts culminating in 1999 when the German bank acquired all assets of the old  investment bank established in Baltimore, Maryland, by Alexander Brown who first arrived in America in 1800 to engage in the linen trade. 

White Linen Hall in Belfast, Ireland
Brown’s parents were William and Margaret Davison Brown, who were living in Ballymena, Ireland, when Alexander was born in 1764. Scots like the Browns had begun to settle in this section of Ireland at the height of Parliament's legal dueling with Charles I in 1641.

Fifty years later, upon accession of William and Mary and creation of the Bank of England, the Protestant population began to explode in Catholic Ireland restrictions on the woollen trade, coupled with legislation allowing linen to be shipped duty-free to England and to British colonies in America, increased the importance of the linen industry in Northern Ireland.

Most of the immigrating Scottish families stemmed from Huguenots who had fled France during the latter part of the 16th century rather than convert to Catholicism. For more than a century the flax and linen industry would be Northern Ireland’s main source of wealth as trading networks were established by immigrating families.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Conception of National Interest with Disastrous Implications

The Americans were marvelously ingenious in their exploitation of the commerce. They managed to circumvent both the East India Company's franchise and the Chinese Government's prohibition and carried on a very lucrative, if antisocial and ultimately ruinous trade. Finally, the fact of American participation in the [opium] traffic fundamentally altered the American posture in the Far East. It grew like the Southern view of slavery -- what began as an economic necessity ultimately developed into a conception of national interest with disastrous implications for the future.
Quoted from an article by Professor Jacques M. Downs, "American Merchants and the China Opium Trade, 1800-1840," published in The Business History Review, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Winter, 1968), pp. 418-442. Downs was professor of history at St. Francis College in Biddeford, Maine. (See his obituary in the September 17, 2006 Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.)

The entire 26-page research article (available for purchase at various websites or free from JSTOR in libraries which subscribe), from which the above quote is taken, appeared in print the same year that the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy ripped apart the United States. I remember that year with both horror and awe, as my own life suffered a violent philosophical wrenching so alien to what was occurring all around me. As a sophomore in high school when President Kennedy had died from assassins' bullets, I had almost completed my college courses as a major in history and government in my West Texas home by 1968. While friends and family carried on as though nothing had occurred, my life was changed forever.
Courtesy of Gnostic Center

The previous year my English lit class had studied Plato's Republic, and I felt as though I were living the scene where Socrates describes the cave-like prison where inhabitants face a wall where they view only the shadows of what is going on behind them, created by a light behind the events being played out in reality.

It was not unlike the mirror image of a world into which Alice had climbed--almost real, but not quite real. And the sound track was being provided for us daily to describe the events, that we couldn't quite trust as truth. My education was only just beginning, but it was interrupted for quite a few years of angry cynicism that kept me off-track. I did not know where to turn. I began to distrust everyone and everything. Finding my way back was a long, hard road. I watched as many of my contemporaries were sucked into Vietnam, either as war or anti-war participants. Little did we know at the time that the history about which Professor Downs had written was coming to pass.

Excerpts from "American Merchants and the China Opium Trade, 1800-1840," by Jacques M. Downs

An Existing Business Model
Most of our knowledge comes from the accounts of Europeans visiting or residing in Smyrna in the late century. More complete information apparently must await the systematic exploitation of Turkish records. [See - By far the best sources I have found to date are Salaheddin Bey, La Turquie a l'exposition universelle de 1867 (Paris, 1867) 48-56, and Carl von Scherzer, Smyrna (Vienna, 1873), 136-140. Scherzer was Austrian Consul at Smyrna for many years and should know his subject. See also O. Blau, "Etwas fiber das Opium" in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenliindischen Gesellschaft (1869), 280-281. The latter article, though very brief, cites several earlier sources in German and French. Unfortunately, neither Blau nor many of his references are readily available in this country.]
Opium was planted in late October and November and began to grow during the winter. Although the cold weather kept the plants small, the root-system developed considerably. Thus with the coming of spring, the plants would grow rapidly, each sending up from one to four stalks three or four feet high. At the end of April the poppies bloomed, and about two weeks after the petals fell, the poppy-head was fully developed and ready for harvesting....

Map of Ottoman Empire, circa 1792
The crop began arriving in Smyrna toward the end of July or the first of August and continued until the following spring. [See a letter from Thomas H. Perkins to John P. Cushing, January 15, 1825, Samuel Cabot Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.]  Merchants resident at Smyrna purchased the raw opium for shipment overseas, most importantly to the Orient, though one-quarter to one-half seems generally to have gone to Europe and elsewhere.

In the early days of this commerce most Americans employed the good offices of the British Levant Company, since it was customary to use "the flag and the protection" of a nation which had a trade agreement with the Sublime Porte. [fn. - The United States had no formal agreement with the Porte until the Rhind Treaty of 1830. For further information, see Samuel Eliot Morison, "Forcing the Dardanelles in 1810," New England Quarterly, I (April, 1928), 208-225.] For this service, they paid "a light consulage and dragomange duty, roughly about one per cent on the value of goods imported and exported." Although the British Consul-General in Constantinople reported as late as 1809 that Americans still preferred to consign their goods to the Levant Company, the trading pattern soon began to change.

As early as the late 1790's, American vessels were calling at Smyrna but it was not until 1804 that Philadelphia and Baltimore ships began the trade in earnest. [See Charles C. Stelle, "American Opium Trade to China prior to 1820," Pacific Historical Review, IX (Dec., 1940), 430-431. See also letter from R. Wilkinson to James Madison, January 15, 1806, U.S. Department of State, Despatches from Consuls in Smyrna, I, National Archives, Washington, D.C.] Probably the first figures of any consequence in the American drug trade from Smyrna to China were James and Benjamin C. Wilcocks. The former arrived in Smyrna in 1804 as supercargo of the brig Pennsylvania. They cleared for Batavia, but both were in China by the following October. Benjamin remained, but James appears to have gone home with the ship, to return via Smyrna on the Sylph the following year with more opium. [Note:  The Wilcockses sailed for their kinsmen, William Waln and R. H. Wilcocks of Philadelphia, who continued to send ships to Canton consigned to the brothers. See letter from Wilkinson to Madison, January 15, 1806; Despatches from Consuls in Smyrna. Benjamin Wilcocks remained in Canton until 1807 or 1808. He then returned home and established a business in Philadelphia but "was obliged to return . . . in 1811." See letter from John R. Latimer to Mary R. Latimer, March 30, 1830, John R. Latimer Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.]

Apparently the commerce paid, for several other American China merchants immediately showed an interest. Willings & Francis sent opium aboard the Bingham in the spring of 1805, [See letters from the supercargo, William Read, in the Willings & Francis Collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The brig Eutaw, Captain Christopher Gantt, of Baltimore was in Smyrna from July to November, 1805, and then sailed for Canton with 26 chests and 53 boxes of opium aboard, and in January of the following year, Stephen Girard seems to have become excited by the possibilities of the trade. He wrote two of his supercargoes in the Mediterranean:
"I am very much in favor of investing heavily in opium. While the war lasts, opium will support a good price in China .... " [See letter from Girard to Mahlon Hutchinson, Jr., & Myles McLeveen, January 2, 1805, Stephen Girard Papers, Girard College Library, Philadelphia, Pa. on microfilm at the American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia.]
James & Thomas H. Perkins of Boston, who had relatives in Smyrna, had inquired of their nephew at Canton as to the market for Turkish opium in China. [Note: Extracts from two letters from J. & T. H. Perkins to John P. Cushing June 19, September 23, 1805, quoted in J[ames] E[lliott] C[abot], "Extracts from the Letterbooks of J. & T. H. Perkins..." (See typewritten Manuscript, Massachusetts Historical Society, n.d.] John Cushing [See Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders by John N. Ingham] had gone to Canton as clerk to Ephraim Bumstead, a former apprentice in the Perkins house. Bumstead fell ill and died, and Cushing, age 16, took over. When he came of age, he was made a partner in the firm, Perkins & Company, which he had organized and run since his arrival. He proved to be a merchant of rare ability and amassed a fortune of nearly one million dollars before he finally sailed for home in 1831. Others soon joined them, and the first of a series of "opium rushes" was reported at Smyrna by Girard's disappointed agents. [See letter from Mahlon Hutchinson, Jr., & Myles McLeveen to Girard, March 30, 1806, Girard Papers.] In 1807, another Philadelphian, George Blight, reported from China that while opium "at times paid very well," it had "disappointed many the past season" because the trade had been far overdone. [See letter from Blight to Girard, March 4, November 21, 1807, Girard Papers.]
Opium As a Specie Substitute
Here was a pattern which was typical in the American China trade. Precisely the same configuration had appeared in the commerce in ginseng, sealskins, sandalwood, and just about every other specie-substitute American merchants discovered. The first ships would make a killing, the scent of which would draw others into the trade until the market was saturated, and the trade ceased to pay. Thereafter, periodic gluts would occur until the supply became exhausted (as with sandalwood and fur) or until a few of the stronger firms established some sort of loose organization of the market. In the Turkish opium trade, the organizers were Perkins & Company and its allied concerns in Boston.

America's War on Drugs

What we had begun to see by 1968 was a phony war against drugs. We were being told that marijuana was a gateway drug, not only highly addictive, but which would lead to even worse opiate addictions--primarily heroin. A war was necessary. Not only should all these narcotics be "controlled," but anyone who used or possessed them should be prosecuted as criminals. I was rebellious only in mind and spirit but quite conservative where behavior was concerned. I avoided all drugs, including tobacco, and had never even tasted beer or wine until after graduating college in 1970.

I lived and operated within a strange world of half-life, where I did what a good girl would do, while at the same time held those who would try to control my beliefs or actions in total and utter contempt. I knew in my gut that Lee Harvey Oswald, for example, had not killed President Kennedy, that Sirhan Sirhan was also a mind-controlled patsy, and that there was something much bigger and uglier than James Earl Ray who was responsible for killing Martin Luther King. I could not explain how I knew, but I did.

I had completed law school by 1975, while maintaining a deprecatory  opinion of lawyers and a fear of being co-opted if hired by a firm of them. I shunned the adversary system which I saw as a sham that required sophistry of the highest register. I refused to argue on behalf of or support people or principles with which I disagreed. Thus I eventually found a niche within the land title and abstract industry, which seemed so close to my love of history. In time, I prospered, grew ever confident within myself, and began to meet others who shared my point of view--thanks, of course, to the internet.

It was only after meeting such folks as Kris Millegan and Catherine Austin Fitts, hearing their stories, reading and researching with them in the mid-1990's, that I was able to free the restraints that kept me from changing my position in the cave. Only with their helpful insight did I begin to look at reality head on. I can never thank them enough for allowing me to step into the world of truth where we now reside together.

We had started to realize by that time that the drug war was being fought to benefit a secret intelligence group who wanted to eliminate their competition and thus effectively create a price support floor under the commodity which paid for America's "national security" infrastructure.

So many of our research community referred to this phenomenon as "CIA Drugs," but I knew it began much earlier than the year 1947, when the CIA was born. Little did I know that Professor Downs had already discovered in 1968 that elements within our government had conceived of this use of opium as a substitute specie as being in the "national interest," or national security interest as it became to be called, and that conception would have ever more disastrous  implications for us and our world.

Friday, August 16, 2013

From Oyster Bed to Walrus in One Fell Swoop

In "Seeing the World Whole," I tried to emphasize what two English men, prime minister Disraeli in 1844 and
Lewis Carroll in 1871, had discovered about the world in which they lived, during the same era in which the Forbes family came to prominence in the early years of self-government in the United States. We live simultaneously within alternative universes. THE WORLD IS NOT AS IT SEEMS.

Hedging Bets

Hartford Convention or LEAP NO LEAP, ca. 1814
As we ended the previous segment in 1776,  we were struck by the number of colonists, such as James Murray, who bet all they had on the wrong side. Loyal to the British Crown to the end, Murray went with others who opposed the revolution to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and forfeited all his interest in properties he owned within the newly declared nation.

His sister and two daughters, nevertheless, remained behind in Massachusetts and fought to retain title to the land and businesses they had worked for. The collected letters of James Murray, Loyalist, published in 1902, tell us that his these women were near Cambridge when they heard the guns from the battle at nearby Bunker Hill, and they fled from the Inman estate, taken over by patriot general, Israel Putnam, for his camp. They ended up at the Brush Hill mansion near Milton. Scroll down to the map inset below for these locations.

Murray's sister, Elizabeth Inman, remained in Massachusetts throughout the war and until her death in 1785. The property of Ralph Inman in Cambridge, though confiscated for a time, was returned to his family, all Tories as well, and sold in 1792; it is now part of the community northeast of Harvard. Elizabeth somehow reconciled with the old curmudgeon, and he survived her by three years, though his avarice and envy continued even as his wife lay dying. Dolly Forbes was present to witness this, while her sons were coming to adulthood.

Unlike her father and husband, Dolly was a realist who was able to cast aside any preference for British rule from a distance and take her chances with the new self-government. She did so completely alone, after her father's evacuation in 1776, her husband's departure in 1783, and her beloved aunt's death in 1785, living on her own there in Boston and its surrounding communities of Milton and Cambridge until her own death in 1811.

John Forbes, you may recall, had spent his adult years in East Florida while it, too, was British-owned, and we are told by E.L. Pennington in an article in "Florida History Quarterly," VIII, 164-68, January 1930 that he had:
received his education at King's College in old Aberdeen, where he passed through the ordinary course of Greek, mathematics, and philosophy, and attended lectures in divinity. The University of Aberdeen conferred on him the degree of M.A. in the spring of 1763, and he was then recommended to the bishops of the Church of England for ordination to the ministry.... In 1783, after nearly twenty years in the province, he returned to England on leave of absence, in bad health. He died in England, September 17, 1783, leaving a widow [Dolly] and three sons:
  • James Grant Forbes (1769-1826),
  • John Murray Forbes (1771-1831), and
  • Ralph Bennet Forbes (1773-1824).

It's Whom You Know...

The first Forbes son, James, took his ill father back to Scotland in 1783, and remained to be educated (see footnote in link) before pursuing the same career as his grandfather and many of his Murray relatives had chosen--trade in the West Indies--as he attempted to recoup his father's land at St. Augustine, East Florida, which had been part of that ceded to Spain in 1783. Some have called the term "West India trade" to be a mere euphemism for the slave trade, but by any definition, the region of Santo Domingo (today's Haiti). where they lived for a time was the center in the Caribbean islands for the triangular trade that did include slaves as one of its legs. 
Santo Domingo in the West Indies
John Murray "Jack" Forbes, Dolly's second son, entered Harvard that year at the age of only 15; in 1787, he graduated in the same class with future U.S. President, John Quincy Adams (hereafter J.Q.). Still operating under the articles of confederation, the new country had not yet adopted the current Constitution. J.Q.'s father, John Adams, a diplomat as well as vice president in George Washington's administration before he himself was elected the second U.S. President in 1796, worked hard to see the new country succeed, despite all attempts from opponents to ensure its collapse.

Four years older and more mature than his younger classmate, J.Q. on occasion dined at the Forbes home in Boston. James had returned from Scotland by then, as the two brothers are mentioned in the diary J.Q. kept. Selected excerpts from that diary indicate that most of J.Q.'s youth had been spent abroad with his father, both of whom were born in Braintree, later called Quincy, Massachusetts. A map of the colony, showing the area reveals how closely woven the Adams family's roots were with those of the Murray and Forbes haunts, labeled for convenience below.
Click to enlarge.
Showing the closeness of Forbes and Adams is the following whimsical verse they wrote together during their last year at Harvard. It first appeared in print in the Harvard Graduates' Magazine in 1917:

J.Q.'s diary relates that, after Harvard, he studied law under Theophilus Parsons (author of pamphlet, The Essex Result) in Newburyport before setting up a law practice in Boston in 1790. During this time, in the fall of 1788, J.Q.'s health suffered, and he found himself somewhat dependent upon opiates for sleep, the diary revealed, but whether the dependence continued we do not know.

Of Consuls, Spies and Sealing Wax

Dolly Forbes' son Jack also began the study of law at the same time, but under different men and locations in Massachusetts--in Lancaster under John Sprague and in Brookfield under Pliny Merrick. Intriguingly, however, he began a nonexistent practice in 1794 with Charles Porter Phelps (Harvard 1791), who married Theophilus Parsons' niece in 1800; after her death in 1817, he married Parsons' 27-year-old daughter, Charlotte in 1820. Phelps, like J.Q., studied law under Theophilus Parsons in Newburyport, but a few years later. The same year Phelps moved to Boston to begin his law practice, coincidentally, was the only year Forbes claimed to have been in practice, and it was the same year J.Q. Adams was named Minister to the The Hague, Netherlands by President George Washington.

Jack Forbes, really only a boy when they first met at Harvard, was described by Adams in an almost intimate March 1787 entry in his diary, shown in the inset below:

John Quincy Adams' description of John Bennet "Jack" Forbes I
J.Q.'s reference to Jack's older brother, James Grant Forbes, supplemented by footnote 3 which begins at page 343, gives sufficient details about Dolly's eldest son to discern that he was a soldier during the war of 1812, both under Gen. Andrew Jackson and under Gregor MacGregor, where he served as a spy for Secretary of State Adams in 1818 and subsequently.

During this same time the spy's younger brother Jack was serving in the new diplomatic corps being created for the United States by their friend J.Q., Secretary of State for President Monroe. About John Murray Forbes, footnote 2, which begins at page 343, in J.Q.'s diary states:
From J.Q. Adams' diaries about John Murray Forbes (1771-1831)

One month before leaving office in 1801, Pres. John Adams included as part of his "midnight appointments" a place for Jack as commercial agent in Le Havre. Although confirmed by the Senate, the papers were not delivered to him before Thomas Jefferson's inauguration, and Jefferson, suspecting these appointees would not be loyal to him, named his own man for the post. It took some lobbying before he agreed to name Forbes as consul in Hamburg--"a Situation of the highest Commercial importance and responsibility," as Jack Forbes termed it in a thank-you letter to the new President in 1802. At this consulate, Jack soon began to operate a "commercial partnership" with younger brother, Ralph Bennet Forbes, now at loose ends after the slave rebellion in Santo Domingo ended his prospects there. (The papers from Jack's days as U.S. Consul at Hamburg and Copenhagen, 1801-19, and U.S. Agent at Buenos Aires, 1819-31 are deposited at the Baker Library at Harvard.)

In a previously published version of this research it was stated:
The youngest son, Ralph Bennet Forbes, who learned the shipping business as an apprentice to his uncle, John Murray, in Virginia, made his first journey to the Bordeaux wine region of France in 1795 with a shipload of rice and tobacco, which he traded for brandy, a product which his ship then transported to Hamburg, the center of the old Hanseatic merchant associations, before making the return voyage, possibly loaded with salt and other commodities from that port. In this triangular fashion he spent much of his life, at times making his home in France, where two of his three sons were born. He was one member of a large family of adventuring merchants who had traveled the world in such fashion for many generations. [See The History of Milton, Mass.: 1640 to 1887 written by Rev. Albert Kendall Teele, (Boston: Press of Rockwell & Churchill), 1887, which mentions John B. Murray of Alexandria, Va., stating that Ralph was apprenticed to him in 1787, but it did not identify Murray as Ralph's uncle; that was an incorrect assumption on my part at the time of writing.] 
Of Slaves and Drugs and Sailing Ships

Ralph was in fact an apprentice to Dolly Forbes' first cousin, John Boyles Murray, whose father was Dr. John Murray, her uncle, a physician in Norwich, England. All of the Murrays seem to have been trained for trade with the West Indies, probably the British island of Jamaica, as well as British colonies in America before the revolution. James Murray had chosen to settle in North Carolina where many Scots were situated. At the end of Ralph's training period in 1791, he went to Port-au-Prince, St. Domingo now (Haiti) where his eldest brother, James Grant Forbes, was then engaged in the trade, most likely as an employee of James and Thomas Handasyd Perkins.

Slave revolts begin in 1792.
Thomas Handasyd Perkins was slightly older than James and had decided at a young age to be a merchant servicing as apprentice to the Shattucks in Boston until 1785, at which time he and his brothers entered into trade together between Santo Domingo and New England. That trade consisted of acquiring slaves from Africa with rum and iron taken there from New England. Their ships would then leave the West Indies with raw sugar and molasses produced by slave labor and delivered to New England to make rum.

The marriages that occurred in the Perkins family reveal much about the business climate in eastern Massachusetts at that time. This is the family into which the youngest Forbes son would marry in 1799. His wife's older siblings and their spouses welcomed him into their homes and took him into business with them. Together they would be numbered among the wealthiest families in the entire state.
Children of James and Elizabeth (Peck) Perkins:
  • Elizabeth in 1773 married Russell Sturgis;
  • James Perkins, Jr. in 1786 married Sarah Paine, daughter of Timothy Paine, a Tory-sympathizing judge, forced to publicly recant his views and resign his judgeship;
  • Thomas H. Perkins in 1788 married Sarah Elliott, daughter of Simon Elliott, a tobacco merchant in Boston, from whom they inherited some valuable mill property;
  • Samuel Gardner Perkins in 1795 married Barbara Higginson, daughter of Stephen Higginson of Salem, Mass.;
  • Ann Maynard Perkins in 1785 married Captain Robert Cushing, and their son John Perkins Cushing was taken into Thomas Perkins' home upon Ann's death.
James and Ralph Forbes remained in Haiti only until about 1795. The slave insurrections devastated any investments they may have made, as well as those of Ralph's in-laws, the Perkins family. 

See ebook segment and footnote below*
*(See page 568, in The History of Milton). At one time a firm of distillers called "Loring and Snelling" of which Caleb Loring of Hingham, Massachusetts, was a partner, owned a ship called Rising States; it was seized by the British during the war. Whether or not it was the same ship, one with the same name is mentioned in "Papers of the American Slave Trade." The Perkins family had also started their West Indies trade after starting life in Hingham. 

Time to Speak of Commerce, of Cabbages and Kings

What we learn from reading the diaries of various officials in the new U.S. government is that the consular appointments seemed to be rewards granted to men willing to engage in their own commercial business abroad and in turn send intelligence back to the President and his cabinet officials. To illustrate this point, read the biography of James Murray Robbins, son of Dolly Forbes' sister Elizabeth. Robbins was born and reared in Milton and actually moved into the Brush Hill mansion in 1805, where the Forbes girls had lived with their aunt before the revolution. The details were filled in by the Appendix to the Letters of James Murray, Loyalist (p. 310):
James Murray Robbins ... was born June 30, 1796, in the old Gooch house on Milton Hill. When he was nine years old his father removed from Milton Hill to Brush Hill, within the same town, making his residence in the Smith house, which had become the property of his wife; and here, eighty years later, the son died. He received his school education at the Milton Academy, which his father [Edward Hutchison Robbins] had been largely instrumental in founding, and of whose board of trustees the father and son filled the office of president for seventy-six years. At the age of fifteen [1811] he entered the counting-room of the prominent Boston merchants, James and Thomas Handasyd Perkins, and there acquired a thorough training in business habits. But the time was not propitious for commercial enterprise or success; the widespread stagnation of business, consequent upon the blockade maintained by the British fleet, and the hardly less oppressive acts of our own government, seemed to bar the way to entering upon the career of a merchant. In 1814 his cousin, John Murray Forbes, who was consul-general at Hamburg, invited him to accept official employment at the consulate; and it is not difficult to imagine how gladly the boy of eighteen must have exchanged the round of dull and apathetic duty in the counting-room for the excitement of the voyage and of foreign travel.
By 1811 Ralph had already been married to Margaret Perkins 12 years, and the brothers had given up trade in the West Indies for the East Indies, with China. In the meantime the young Robbins cousin went to Europe to replace Ralph Forbes. The editor of The Letters reports that President Monroe, through his secretary of state, Jack's old friend J.Q. Adams,  called Forbes home and entrusted him with negotiations following Napoleon's defeat at the hands of the British, while the teenage Robbins was sent to Elsinore [Helsingor], Denmark, not far from Jack's 1813 post in Copenhagen. Was he merely there to keep his eyes and ears open and courier intelligence back? 

The United States, as the only republic then in existence, had been engaged in war with the British monarchy since 1812, philosophically assisted throughout by the French after their own revolution against King Louis began in 1787. (See timeline and interactive maps.) The defeat of Napoleon in 1815 by an alliance between England and Prussia did not bode well for self-government. Did Jack Forbes laugh when the American officials trusted him with America's foreign affairs? Did President Monroe, the last Founding Father to serve as chief executive of the United States, know what was about to hit the fan? Did anyone understand at the time that the cost of such intelligence to the new nation was to allow those consular officials free reign in smuggling drugs?

We can only wonder now if Jack Forbes was a serious patriot to American constitutional government or whether he was only looking out for his family's business interests. Did he smile at all the brave oyster-like young men who followed in his steps, believing in their own patriotism? Lewis Carroll would later describe such gullible patriots well in his poem of how the walrus and the carpenter tricked a few eager oysters into becoming lunch by merely inviting them for a walk.

by Lewis Carroll
from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

The Walrus and the Carpenter
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

To Be Continued....