For Christmas we received one of those tear-off daily calendars and this particular one is called Forgotten English about obscure ancient words. Below each definition is a short (vaguely) related article. With the discussions in the news about the responsibility of the heads of the banks, the one for last weekend was very appropriate.

A sum of money put out to interest in a bank. Aberdeenshire. —Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary, 1898–1905

Feast Day of St. Meingold,
a patron of bankers. American presidents have long held misgivings about the country’s banking system. In 1816, for example, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his old friend John Taylor, declaring: “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” In 1836, Andrew Jackson disbanded the second federal bank, remarking, “The bold effort the present bank made to control the Government…[suggests] the fate which awaits the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution.” Later, speaking to the bankers, he was more blunt: “You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out,” which he did. Even auto entrepreneur Henry Ford is said to have cautioned, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

© Jeffrey Kacirk

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