City Men and City Manners The City, or The Physiology of London Business with Sketches on Change and at the Coffee Houses

City Men and City Manners The City, or The Physiology of London Business with Sketches on Change and at the Coffee Houses

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Notes

City Men and City Manners” was first published in 1845 and then updated by its author in 1851. It provides both a detailed account of the workings of the City from the desks of the clerks to floor of the exchanges, and, by way of the coffee-houses and alleyways, also shows us the people of those times, their character, condition and accomplishments. We see the brokers, jobbers, the “alley-men”, but also the bankers, underwriters, merchants, directors and “company mongers”, and even the people on the streets; porters, beggars and vagrants, all catching crumbs from the City’s table. Evans opens the doors on a wide range of institutions including the Royal Exchange, the various rooms of Lloyds, London’s other coffee houses; the American, Jerusalem, Jamaican, Baltic and Garraways, and looks in on the dealing in tallow and, in the trading rooms of Mincing Lane, tea and other commodities. The coffee houses are shown not only as places of business but as vital centres for information with intelligence gathered in from around the world and then disseminated amongst members, but also to an emerging and often critical press. The topsy-turvey psychology of the market place is also on show, with several episodes recounted, including the excitement of 1825-26 and its “bubble companies”, the Spanish Panic (1835), the “Little Go” that followed, and the railway fever of 1845. The last of these is given particular attention with its spectacular oversubscription of funds, often at the call of dubious subscription committees, “paralysing national commerce” in the pursuit of elusive new ventures and leading to the inevitable and painful unwinding. The author of this book, David Morier Evans, was editor of the Banker’s Magazine during the mid-nineteenth century and an astute observer of City life during a turbulent and exciting era. His writings included major works such as “The Commercial Crisis 1847-48“ (from which material concerning the Railway Mania is included in chapter five) and “Facts, Failures and Frauds: Financial, Mercantile Criminal”. He penned numerous essays on the workings of the city, the evolving practices of business and investment, and even fiction.

Keys

The City, London, Markets, Royal Exchange, Coffee Houses, Stock brokers, Jobbers

Contents

CHAPTER I

The City - City Life - The Power and Riches of England - The Banking Interest considered - The Bank of England - Meeting and Dividend - Management of the Public Debt - Change in the Charter - Competition with Private Banks - Contraction or Expansion of Issues - The Bank Parlour - Portraits of Cashiers - Abraham Newland - Bank Clerks' Salaries - Private Bankers - Failure of Private Banks - Progress of Joint-stock Establishments - Comparison of Joint-Stock Bankers' Clerks with Private Bank Clerks - Salaries in Joint-Stock Establishments - Colonial Banks - Their Success in Business - Bill Discounting - The Chief Houses and Mode of Business - Second and Third Class Discounters - The Clearing House and its Functions 1

CHAPTER II

The Stock Exchange - Its Origin - Increase of Business by the Introduction of Foreign Loans and Shares - The Excitement of the Year 1824-25 - Constitution of the House - Broker and Jobber, and Mode of Business - Speculators and Time Bargains - Stringent Regulations of the Committee - The Spanish Panic of 1835 - Zumalacarregui's Death - Bulls and Bears 22

CHAPTER III

The Stock Exchange, continued - The late Mr. Rothschild and his Speculations - His Mode of transacting Business - The quid pro quo - The Dinner Party at Stamford Hill - Pigeon Expresses - Their Establishment and Progress - The Death of Mr. Rothschild - Buying the News of a Pigeon Express - The Daily Press and their Expresses - The Railway Share Market - The late Mania - The Success of Young Speculators - The Commission of the Brokers - The Railway System - Fraudulent Companies - The 'Little Go' and the 'Alley-Men' - Their Stock Exchange and Manner of Dealing - Share Applications by the Fraternity 46

CHAPTER IV

The 'Little Go' continued - Allotments in 1836-37 - The System of Allotments and the Use of the 'Alley-Men' - 'Stag-hunting' - Sir Isaac L. Goldsmid and the 'Alley-Man' - Bill-stealers - 'Doing' a Bill and also the Acceptor - Bill-stealers and their Victims - The Formation of Public Companies - The Company-monger - Directors' Fees - The Calculation of the Guineas - Doctrine of Directors on Unpaid Services 55

CHAPTER V

The Railway Mania of 1845 - Its Progress - Board of Trade Interference - Business promoted at the Stock Exchange - The State of the Provincial Share Markets - Rapid Extension of the System - The Bubble Period-A Contrast of 1825-26 with 1845-46 - The Height of the Fever - Warnings of the Public Press - The Explosion of the Delusion - Final Collapse and Dispersion of Speculators 68

CHAPTER VI

The Royal Exchange - The Building - Its Altered Appearance since the Fire - 'Change and its Frequenters - Hours of 'Change - The Foreign Exchanges and the Dealers - The Rothschilds-Sketch of the Brothers-Their Mode of Business - The late Mr. Rothschild and his Wealth - The Barings - The Salomons and other People on 'Change - Characteristics of 'Change - Lloyd's Coffee-house - The Business of Lloyd's - The Subscribers' or Underwriters' Room - Lloyd's Books - Opening of the Rooms - Underwriting Vessels - Description of Underwriters - Speculative Underwriting - 'Good Books' and 'Bad Books' - The Merchants' Room - The Captains' Room - Mr. T. Ward - Mr. Joseph Somes - The Chart Room 98

CHAPTER VII

The North and South American Coffee-house - Next to Lloyd's in point of Importance - Class of Visitors and Arrangement of the Room for Subscribers - The Successful Organization of the Establishment - The Supply of American Papers to the Daily Press - The President's Message - The 'City Correspondent' of the Daily Journals - The 'City Article' - Its Utility to the Public - The Times and the Exchequer-bill Fraud - The Herald, Chronicle Post, and Advertiser, and the Spanish and Portuguese Bondholders - Complaints by the Brokers of the Power of the Press - The Compromise of Claims by Foreign States - The City Article first Commenced - Rothschild's Expresses - The Companies of the Bubble Period of 1825-26 - North and South American Visitors - The Hebrew and the Yankee - The Superintendent of the Subscription Room - Mode of Inquiries 116

CHAPTER VIII

The Jerusalem Coffee-house - The Manager's System of Management - Special Interests attended to - The East India Merchants and Australian - The India Mail - Class of Visitors - The Jamaica Coffee-house - Its Character and Frequenters - The Baltic Coffee-house - Speculations in Tallow - Russian Monopoly decreased by Supplies from Buenos Ayres and Sydney - Decrease of Speculation in the Article - Mr. Richard Thornton and his Dealings in Tallow - Mr. Thornton a General Speculator - Sales of Tallow, Oil, etc. - The Hall of Commerce - Mr. Edward Moxhay's alleged Motive of Construction - The Opening - Its Character - Rooms and their Purposes 132

CHAPTER IX

Garraway's Coffee-house - Its Business and Appearance - The Peculiarities of its Frequenters - Speculators at Garraway's - The Operations in Tea - Sutton the Superintendent - The Score settled - The Physiology of 'Change Alley - The Coffee-house Habitu - Hours of Attendance in the City - Mercantile Employment - Corresponding Clerks - Rates of Remuneration - The Brokers in the Produce Markets - Mincing Lane - Tea-brokers' Profits - The 'Monopolist' Brokers - The Brokers' Ticket - Fraudulent Speculation - Sales at the Commercial Rooms - Sketch of Mr. James Cook 145

CHAPTER X

Influential Hebrew Houses - Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid - Bustle and Activity of City Life - The City as a Residence - City People - Their Peculiarities in Dress - The Ticket-porters of the City - City Vagrants - Their Habits and Resorts 163