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|Very quick response
Written by Caroline
(3/12/2003 1:43 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Tilson's bank: a wild speculation, and a sober thought, penned by Linden
Clive(?) Caplan, who inspired some of Jason's recent posts, produced a wonderful article for JASNA's Persuasions a couple of years ago about Henry's career as Banker, Taxman, Army Agent and Wine importer. I really don't want to go into too much detail right this minute, because a) I'm really busy this week, again, b) Because the article absolutely begs to be read in toto, and I do not want to get into the question of how much to reproduce, and c) Because I have a feeling that Jason may already be on the case, and produce something magnificent to amaze us all if we are patient. Therefore, I will be brief in my remarks right now, to salve my conscience and to whet people's appetites...
Henry Austen actually owned 4 (country)banks and had dibs in two London ones. In an age where the concept of limited liablity was unheard-of, he was in charge of literally hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum, and seems to have been as honest as the day is long with everybody. Lord Moira wasn't the only one who owed him over six thousand pounds- there were a few others who borrowed much from him and never, ever, paid it back. At a time when country banks were failing at the rate of two or three per month, Henry lost all his banks, most of his army jobs and his wine importation business ground to a halt. The worst that Caplan says about Henry's capabilities is that the men he lent money to didn't repay. Henry was definitely not flighty or not diligent in all this.
Linden- here's something you might like... which Caplan doesn't go into deeply, and might be worth exploring: Lord Moira is Henry's Wentworth Woodhouse connection, and was not Henry's only customer in the Ministry of All Talents. Can you put thise things together and come up with anything interesting?
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