His father was a taxcollector and money-lender on a small scale; his mother was the sister of a senator.
He became an associate of Jay Gould in the development and sale of railways; and in 1863 removed to New York City, where, besides speculating in railway stocks, he became a money-lender and a dealer in "puts" and "calls" and "privileges," and in 1874 bought a seat in the New York Stock Exchange.
In what are commonly called loans of money, it is not really the money, but the money's worth, that the borrower wants; and the lender really assigns to him the right to a certain portion of the annual produce of the land and labour of the country, As the general capital of a country increases, so also does the particular portion of it from which the possessors wish to derive a revenue without being at the trouble of employing it themselves, and, as the quantity of stock thus available for loans is augmented, the interest diminishes, not merely "from the general causes which make the market price of things commonly diminish as their quantity increases," but because, with the increase of capital, "it becomes gradually more and more difficult to find within the country a profitable method of employing any new capital" - whence arises a competition between different capitals, and a lowering of profits, which must diminish the price which can be paid for the use of capital, or in other words the rate of interest.
Knight made lender the direction of Professor Osborn.) FIG.
The business of the professional money-lender is one which, as tyranny and abuse are likely to appear, all countries have at different times endeavoured to regulate.
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