Membership by Inheritance Only
© 2005 by Linda Minor
On the night of November 22, 1910, a group of newspaper reporters stood disconsolately in the railway station at Hoboken, New Jersey. They had just watched a delegation of the nation's leading financiers leave the station on a secret mission. It would be years before they discovered what that mission was, and even then they would not understand that the history of the United States underwent a drastic change after that night in Hoboken. The delegation had left in a sealed railway car, with blinds drawn, for an undisclosed destination.... Aldrich's private car, which had left Hoboken station with its shades drawn, had taken the financiers to Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Club House at Jekyll Island, GeorgiaSome years earlier [1886 to be exact], a very exclusive group of millionaires, led by J.P. Morgan, had purchased the island as a winter retreat. They called themselves the Jekyll Island Hunt Club, and, at first, the island was used only for hunting expeditions, until the millionaires realized that its pleasant climate offered a warm retreat from the rigors of winters in New York, and began to build splendid mansions, which they called "cottages," for their families' winter vacations.... The Jekyll Island Club was chosen as the place to draft the plan for control of the money and credit of the people of the United States, not only because of its isolation, but also because it was the private preserve of the people who were drafting the plan (emphasis added)....
One-sixth of the total wealth of the world was represented by the members of the Jekyll Island Club. Membership was by inheritance only.”
Eustace Mullins, The Secrets of the Federal Reserve:
The London Connection (1993)
|Sen. Nelson Aldrich|
The primary plan of Senator Nelson Aldrich and his guests who departed from Hoboken in 1910 was the setting up a government-sponsored central bank owned by private banking interests. The plan’s success turned upon whether the bank would have a monopoly of the Government’s business. Thus a second plan—to put in motion the first war of global proportions—would create instant profits for shareholders of existing central banks, which would purchase shares in America’s Federal Reserve Bank. These banks would make loans to finance the purchase of weapons, to feed impoverished victims of the war, and to reconstruct destroyed cities.
This model for banking consolidation and war profiteering is one that has resurfaced repeatedly in the century since that ominous day in 1910 that led to America’s bloodless banking coup. War is a dual-edged sword, used by creditors both to collect their unpaid debts and to deprive wayward debtor nations of any hope of independent action. In this sense the motive behind today’s war in Iraq is thoroughly transparent—a transparency revealing the real beneficiaries of George W. Bush’s insane war in Iraq. All doubt is removed when we peer back in time to those men hiding behind drawn blinds in that plush private railroad car, the destination of which was Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Who was Nelson W. Aldrich, the owner of that railroad car, and who financed Aldrich’s rise to power?
The Rhode Island Elite
|Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Jr.|
It was the mission in life of Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich (1841-1915), a life-long resident of Rhode Island, to enact a centralized banking law in the United States—a law that would place control of a monetary system in the hands of a private consortium. Not born to wealth, Aldrich acquired accoutrements thereof when he rose from the status of retail clerk to ownership of a wholesale establishment in Providence, Rhode Island. Gaining support from powerful constituents who remained virtually anonymous, he was first elected United States Senator in a special election in 1881 and rose to the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee in 1899.
Senator Aldrich’s daughter, Abby Greene Aldrich (1874-1948) ) in 1901 married John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960), who first met his bride-to-be in 1894 while he was a student at Brown University in Providence—formerly known as the College of Rhode Island. The college’s name was changed to honor its largest donor, Nicholas Brown, Jr., some of whose family were “unapologetic slave traders,” according to the University’s own website. Other members of the family had helped to charter the college, along with religious leaders like Ezra Stiles from Yale. 
Devout Baptists, the Rockefellers would have been drawn to this Baptist University. Eliza Davison, who married William Rockefeller in Niles, Cayuga County, New York, inculcated her own religious precepts into her son John Davison Rockefeller.  When he chose Laura Spelman Rockefeller as his wife, she converted to the Baptist Church, though some of the Massachusetts Spelmans had been Baptists. 
A History of Religious Tolerance
Rhode Island had, of course, been founded by Roger Williams, who also established the Baptist Church in America. Williams—a dissenter’s dissenter—after having been exiled from Massachusetts, led several other disenchanted malcontents to Providence. He eventually secured a land grant from Charles II and a patent granting to "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," certain privileges and providing that no one be molested "for any difference in opinion in matters of religion."
By the 1750’s Newport, because of its religious tolerance, had attracted many of the descendants the twenty-three Sephardic Jews who had arrived in New Amsterdam from Brazil in 1654, and its citizens were primarily engaged in a flourishing “triangular trade,” mirrored after the commerce begun previously in South America. 
|Surplus capital came from slave trade in West Indies.|
The Dutch West India Company (chartered in 1621), of which a number of Jews in the Netherlands were shareholders, had been in charge of granting patroonships to settle Dutch colonies in America—what would become New York and New Jersey. The term “West India trade” was a euphemism emphasizing only one leg of the trading triangle. Merchants preferred not to refer to themselves as “slave traders,” a term that called greater attention to the African leg of the triangle, where human cargoes were purchased with proceeds from the sale of rum and other products in Africa. The enslaved Africans were then transported to sugar plantations in the Caribbean, where the ships took on cargoes of raw sugar cane destined for refineries in New York and Newport. There the cane was turned into either refined sugar or rum. The typical trade route is shown on the map below.
Unlike New England, the individuals largely responsible for exploiting New Netherland's resources were merchants of the home country. Secure in their Amsterdam countinghouses, the merchants grasped control of the colony's lifeline to Holland and held fast. Profits from their enterprises flowed into coffers in Amsterdam, thus depriving New Netherland of capital and the opportunity to develop a viable, colony-based merchant community.
It is good to keep in mind in this regard what was then occurring in Europe, particularly in England.  It was the period following the height of the Protestant Reformation. Religious and trade wars had devastated the English treasury, and a loan had to be obtained from Amsterdam, where Levant traders had transplanted their bank following the collapse of the Empire of Venice (where they had first founded a bank in the 12th century).
During this same time the Dutch and English were engaged in fighting over trade routes, not only in America but the Far East as well. The New York territory was divided up after the third Anglo-Dutch war by the Treaty of Westminster in 1674. As a result, New York and New Jersey were ceded to England; however, the loan that sealed the treaty allowing the English to purchase the land came from wealthy bankers in Holland. Since the investors in the West India company were only interested in profit, they cared little who owned the land, as long as the payment of their loan was adequately secured. To ensure obtaining the payments owed them, many Dutch bankers during this time immigrated to England, just as William of Orange of Holland was placed on the English throne alongside his British Queen. 
Merchants in Rhode Island established a private banking network for the trade in slaves, sugar and rum—the most notable of which was called the Four Browns of Providence, who built ships and made pig iron in Rhode Island as well as spermaceti candles from whale oil. The Brown family also had strong ties to the southern part of the Eastern seaboard where the Browns’ ships unloaded their cargoes of slaves for auction. Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia—which, incidentally, happened to have the largest population of Jewish immigrants, many of whom were related by blood to the Sephardic families in Rhode Island—were the primary southern ports affiliated with the Rhode Island businessmen.
Corner the Market and Control Supply
What is most fascinating from reading the papers of these merchant families is that they were making agreements among themselves to divide the commerce into territories to eliminate competition at least a century before the Rockefeller family instituted the same practice in railroads and the oil industry. One account published in 1910, pertaining to the dividing up of the commerce in tobacco, states:
Rhode Island now raised tobacco in large quantities, and it was an important factor in the West Indian trade. Sept. 30, 1766, there appeared to be an over supply. An agreement was made that Nicholas Brown & Co. might ship 75000 lbs., D. Jenckes & Son with E. Hopkins might ship 45,000 lbs., N. Angell and Job Smith 35,000 in three or more vessels consigned to Esek Hopkins. Sales to be made jointly, and any tobacco lost at sea was to be treated pro rata. The matter was to be kept secret and the West Indian price maintained until February 1, following. They hoped to buy all the tobacco in the colony. October 19, it was further agreed between the Browns, Jenckes and Angell, not to give directly or indirectly more than 5s. O.T. at six months for the whole quantity raised. If payment should be anticipated, ten per cent. should be deducted. February 2, 1767, there was too much tobacco on hand for Surinam, for a twelve months’ shipment; Jenckes & Son having 116,000 lbs., N. Brown & Co. 120,000 lbs., Angell and Smith 30,000 lbs. The parties were to ship pro rata for 12 months. If more should be bought ‘than is now grown’ the same rule was to apply (emphasis added). 
This model, used a decade prior to the American revolution, would be dusted off and adopted by John D. Rockefeller and his associates when Rhode Island whale oil (spermaceti) was replaced with what would for a time be called “rock oil,” coming as it did from the ground. Through the Rhode Island ancestors and associates of Senator Nelson Aldrich, we can detect this thread of knowledge being passed from one generation to another. We can also see the pre-civil war trading network still in action a generation after Lincoln’s assassination, when the new Senator from Rhode Island and his daughter’s in-laws, together with banker J. Pierpont Morgan, found isolated refuge from prying eyes in one of the South’s favorite islands for unloading human cargo.
|Jekyll Island's exclusivity|
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island, a small island east of Brunswick, Georgia, was purchased by an entity called the “Jekyll Island Hunt Club” in 1886, with final closing of the transaction in February 1888. The following year—1889—J.P. Morgan hosted a group of railroad men, representing the interests of many of the members of the hunt club, at his residence at 219 Madison Avenue in New York City. The purpose of that meeting, following the model used in Rhode Island in 1766, was to “make a strict compact which would efface competition among certain railroads, and unite those interests in an agreement by which the people of the United States could be bled even more effectively than before,” as Gustavus Myers so eloquently relates in his classic work.  Myers goes on to say: “But the magnates realized that the old indiscriminate system of competition was rapidly becoming archaic, and that the time was ripe for a more systematic organization of industry.”
The millionaire industrialists purchased the island from the last purchaser’s descendants—who were being represented by John Eugene du Bignon and the husband of his sister Josephine, Newton S. Finney. The last recorded deed had named Captain Christophe Poulain du Bignon as the purchaser in 1800. Captain Poulain du Bignon, born in Saint Malo, Brittany, had first arrived in Georgia in 1791—the year Toussaint L'Ouverture led the slave insurrection in St. Domingo (now Haiti), having spent his military career in the French East India Company. Joined by four French royalists, three of whom came from St. Domingo, he had bought both Jekyll and Sapeloe Islands in partnership but later acquired sole ownership of Jekyll as a home for his family, whom he brought to America when the French Revolution reached its peak.
Captain Christophe died in 1814, and between that date and 1888 the island was owned and managed by his heirs. According to one historian of the island:
During slavery days, the slave ships were wont to land their cargoes on the islands along the coast where the negroes were hidden until they could be disposed of. On the lawn in front of Faith Chapel on Jekyll is a large iron pot which bears the following inscription:“Mess kettle from slave yacht Wanderer, Captain Corry, used for feeding the slaves landed on Jekyl Island November 28, 1858. Yacht owned by Charles A .L. Lamar of Savannah, Ga.” 
Importing slaves had been outlawed in Georgia more than fifty years prior to secession, but still the trade persisted, aided greatly by shipping families in the northern and New England who had long made their living in the trade. For example, the T.H. Perkins family with all its branches, had also fled St. Domingo in 1791, only a few years before beginning to replenish their wealth in the opium trade.  The same can be said of another French emigre, Stephen Girard, who became Philadelphia’s wealthiest banker after years in the West India trade. Slaves and opium were the steppingstones to his fortune, though he never admitted that fact.
It is, therefore, only fitting that America’s central bank was born on Jekyll Island. The industrialists who joined the Jekyll Island Hunt Club in 1886 and later years were no different from the island’s previous dwellers who had profited from illicit commerce and secret cargoes. After all, business is business. And business secrets are much easier to keep when membership in the club is by inheritance only.
 According to an article visible in 2005 at Brown’swebsite, but since removed: “More than sixty signatories are registered on the charter, including the Reverends [James] Manning and [Ezra] Stiles, John and Nicholas Brown of the Providence merchant family, and several former or future governors of the colony.... It is often suggested that the University was established by and named for John Brown, who centuries later attained modest notoriety for his involvement in and support of the African slave trade. However, Rhode Island College was renamed Brown University some forty years after its founding and a year after John’s death, and the renaming honored John Brown’s nephew, Nicholas Brown Jr., a 1786 alumnus of the College. In September of 1804, Nicholas Brown Jr. contributed five thousand dollars ($5,000) toward the endowment of a professorship at the College. In recognition of his gift, the Corporation voted that henceforth the College would be known as Brown University.”
 They moved from here after burying one child in 1847, according to gravestones in the Niles cemetery.
 The Spelmans’ first American ancestor took root in Granville, Massachusetts after arriving from Danbury, Essex County, England. Many remained in that state, though one branch of the family had helped found the town of Granville, Ohio as early as 1805, while another had settled in Providence, Rhode Island in 1738, working in the shipping of grain and other commodities.
 Encyclopedia Judaica. An entertaining source of information about these elite families is Stephen Birmingham, The Grandees: The Story of America’s Sephardic Elite (New York: Dell, 1971). An online source of Jewish History with many photographs is also available. The following passages are from Marc Lee Raphael, Jews and Judaism in the United States, a Documentary History (New York: Behrman House, Inc., Pub, 1983), pp. 14:
"Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.
"This was no less true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the 'triangular trade' that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston in the 1750's, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760's, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760's and early 1770's dominated Jewish slave trading on the American continent."
[Author, Rabbi Marc Lee Raphael, is the Nathan and Sophia Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies, Professor of Religion, and Chair, Department of Religion, The College of William and Mary, and a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University. He has been the editor of the quarterly journal, American Jewish History, for 20 years, and a visiting professor at Brown University, the University of Pittsburgh, HUC-JIR, UCLA, and Case Western Reserve University.]
 Oliver A. Rink, Hollandon the Hudson: An Economic and Social History of Dutch New York, Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1986), pp. 212-213. Other references cited at the website called A Brief Outline of Dutch History and the Province of New Netherland include: Dennis J. Maika, Commerce and Community: Manhattan Merchants in the Seventeenth Century, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, 1995; John Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664 (New York: Scribner, 1909).
 A timeline of the history of banking by a writer affiliated with far-right conspiracy historian Willis Carto describes the period as follows: “Catholic king of England James II (Stuart) was overthrown through a well-organized invasion financed by the moneyed Jews of Amsterdam and led by the Prieure de Sion and the Orange Order. The king was exiled to France and in February of 1689 William of Orange, the prince of Nassau, was put upon the English throne by means of a coup d'etat, which became known as the Glorious Revolution....England at that time was in poor condition after more than 50 years of war with France and the Netherlands, and the new king, William III (of Orange), asked several powerful bankers for help. They provided the English state with a loan of 1.25 million pounds but only delivered 750,000 pounds. The terms of the loan were as follows: the names of the lenders were not to be revealed, and these were guaranteed the right to found the Bank of England, whose directors were ensured to establish a gold reserve so as to be able to issue loans to a value of 10 pounds for each pound deposited gold in the bank vault. They also were allowed to consolidate the national debt and secure payment for annuity and interest through direct taxation of the people (emphasis added.” [By Juri Lina, The Barnes Review, September/October 2004, p. 9]
 Almost a century after certain of the bankers and their descendants had left Amsterdam, it was discovered that a large portion of the deposits of the Bank of Amsterdam had disappeared around 1740, having been loaned by the bank to the East India Company, the Provinces of Holland and the City of Amsterdam itself—resulting in the Bank’s failure in 1790, according to Stephen Colwell, The Ways and Means of Payment (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1965), p. 180. See also Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations concerning how the Bank of Amsterdam operated; of course Smith’s book was first published in 1776, a few years before the bank’s failure. By the time Adam Smith was writing, the Bank of England had been controlling British colonial enterprises for almost 80 years. After the American revolution, the bankers would send their sons to America to ensure debts were collected from the former colonies, just as the fathers had been sent out from Holland to represent previous creditors.
 William B. Weeden, Early Rhode Island: A Social History of the People (New York: The Grafton Press, 1910). Relating to the slave trade, Weeden states: “Providence [in Rhode Island] dealt somewhat in slaves, though it did not equal Newport or even Bristol in the traffic....The commerce with the West Indies took out the produce of Rhode Island and such surplus merchandise as the exchanges with our own coast afforded. Candles and rum were constant staples. The Islands made rum, but the cheaper distillation of New England was wanted to send to Africa.....”
 Gustavus Myers, History of the Great American Fortunes (copyright 1909, First Modern Library edition, 1936). " A momentous gathering it was that assembled in Morgan's mansion on January 8, 1889. Who were they we note there? Apparently private citizens; in reality monarchs of the land: Jay Gould with his son George, held by the leading strings; Stickney, of the Northwest Territory; Roberts, of the Pennsylvania Railroad; sleek Depew, echoing the Vanderbilts; Sloan, of the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad, and a half dozen more magnates or their accredited mouthpieces. The honorable legislatures could gravely discuss the advisability of this or that legislation; the noisy ‘Congress of the United States’ could solemnly meet and after wearing out mouths in rodomontade, profess to make laws; the high and mighty Courts could blink austerely and pompously hand down their decisions. But in that room in Morgan's house sat many of the actual rulers of the United States; the men who had the power in the final say of ordering what should be done."
 Margaret Davis Cate, Our Todays and Yesterdays: A Story of Brunswick and the Coastal Islands, Revised Edition (Brunswick, Georgia: Glover Bros., Inc., 1930), p. 48. A part owner of the Wanderer was Colonel Charles A.L. Lamar from the Georgia branch of the French Huguenot family from which the second President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, also stemmed.
 A colorful description of the insurrection originally printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette may be read at this website.