22 JULY 1927, Page 38


Jenks. (A. A. Knopf. 18s.)—Vnder a somewhat forbidding title, Mr. Jenks, a young American economist, has written an intensely interesting book on the

• development of British investments overseas between 1815 and 1875, when this country, made rich by industry, was financing the world. Mr. Jenks rightly emphasizes the importance of the human element. British investors were profoundly influenced by clever men like the first Rothschild and the first Baring, by Nicholas Biddle, Hudson, Grant, McHenry and others, and their campaigns are well worth following in Mr. Jenks's learned and vivacious chapters. We . may direct special attention to the chapter - on " Anglo- American Finance, 1828-39," because it explains clearly why British people invested heavily in bonds of the Southern States and why these States defaulted. A gigantic, specula- tion, promoted by Biddle of the United States Bank and

based on cotton, collapsed and ruined half the planters. The defaulting States might, of course, have repaid their debts when they recovered their prosperity, but at the time .they could not do so, and all American securities were there- fore regarded with suspicion after 1839. Mr. Jenks's account of the railway schemes made possible by British enterprise is equally good. ' His book is a most valuable companion to the political histories of the •Victorian era.