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Historical Error #1: A Bogus Quotation from Sir Josiah Stamp on the Evils of Central Banking

Gary North
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Ellen Brown fills her book with bogus quotations from famous people and supposed insiders in order to strengthen her case in Web of Debt. This quotation is the first one. There are many others, as I will prove in this series.

Sir Josiah Stamp was a director of the Bank of England, beginning in 1928, according to Wikipedia. Ellen Brown attributes this statement to him. It is from a speech delivered in 1927.

The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin . . . . Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. . . . Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. . . . But, if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit. [Web of Debt, p. 2]


Throughout her book, she italicizes parts of primary source documents. She never informs her readers that these are her emphases, not the author's (or alleged author's). This practice is not allowed in professional historical journals or books. It is seen for what it is: deceptive. As someone with a Ph.D. in history, let me assure you that a historian is expected to write "emphasis added" when he italicizes any document. This is basic to historical scholarship. Ellen Brown, never having been trained as an historian, is unaware of this.

I shall now examine the veracity of this document.

First, she says that it was a 1927 speech at the University of Texas. There is no record of this speech.

Second, can you imagine a man becoming a director of the Bank of England a year after he gave such a speech? It is preposterous. In any case, she does not tell the reader that he was not a director in 1927.

Third, she offers a footnote to an obscure magazine, Alarm Magazine (May 1995). This is another tip-off: the editor of the magazine had no source document.

In the Wikipedia entry for Stamp, we read another version of this quote. It is not word for word. This is a tip-off that the quotation is bogus. We read:

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take away from them the power to create money and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money." (Said to be from an informal talk at the University of Texas in the 1920s, but as yet unverified.)


I'll say it's unverified! It is all over the Web, on tiny blogs and obscure sites. There is never a reference to the source. As baseball manager Casey Stengel used to say, "You can look it up." You won't find it.

This quotation is so obviously bogus that it astounds me that she could take it seriously. No trained historian would have fallen for it.

This quotation does not pass the smell test. Anyone with training in history would spot it as a fake.

If Brown were arguing a case in court, the opposing attorney would humiliate her. "Fake!"

Think of me as the opposing attorney.

Here is my response to her attempt to refute me on this point:


For a detailed critique of Ellen Brown's economics, go here:

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