Download Dangerous and Dishonest Men: The International Bankers of by G. Rowlands PDF

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By G. Rowlands

In the beginning of the eighteenth century Louis XIV had to remit large sums of cash in a foreign country to aid his armies throughout the struggle of the Spanish Succession. This ebook explains how foreign bankers moved French funds throughout Europe, and the way the foreign currency echange approach was once so overloaded by means of the calls for of battle immense banking crash resulted.

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14 Half a century later bankers may have remitted more money for the state but they were not so directly linked with ministers. After the Franco– Spanish War ended in the Peace of the Pyrenees France certainly exported funds, generally in the shape of subsidies to German princes, Sweden and England, especially to purchase neutrality in the 1660s to 1680s, but the sums were small beer compared to those of the 1700s. In the second half of Louis XIV’s ‘personal rule’ the state’s ability to get foreign exchange greatly increased, in part reflecting the growth in French domestic banking and its foreign correspondences.

The remitting system developed as the banking world evolved. Lyon dominated international remitting and settlement for much of the sixteenth century, but it encountered severe difficulties from the early 1570s, while Piacenza – whose fairs were known by the name of ‘Bisenzone’, reflecting their earlier incarnation in Besançon – became more important up to the early 1620s in terms of volume of money moved. The seventeenth century would see an acceleration and expansion of foreign exchange activity, as the banking cartels that had so dominated operations in the previous century faded,6 and as the number of bills of exchange issued greatly increased.

But, although there was a need for remitting to French forces in northern Italy, in the period after 1635 there seems to have been much less international remitting than there would be in the 1700s. This was in part because French armies were operating quite close to or on France’s frontiers for the most part, and campaigning and garrison armies abroad were much smaller than in the early eighteenth century. The most important bankers for France were Jan Hoeufft, a naturalised 38 Dangerous and Dishonest Men French subject from the Spanish Netherlands, who was critically important for getting French money to Amsterdam, for passing on to armies and allies abroad in 1635–45, notably to the great German condottiere, Duke Bernhard of Sachsen-Weimar.

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