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Lloyd's Coffee Shop Has You Covered!

One thinks of ship captains and sailors visiting the local pub for some ale, but when talking business they meet in a coffee shop. Edward Lloyd has just opened a coffee shop and it is a place where business gets done. It is also a place where insurance for shipments (especially slave shipments) is negotiated. Edward is not just serving coffee. He is writing down what he learns and sharing it with his customers. Over time, Mr. Lloyd will offer advice on which ships have the most competent captains and crews and thus how likely a shipment will get to its destination on any particular carrier. This is the beginning of the famous insurance underwriter, Lloyd's of London. They will move to Lombard Street in 1691 and in 1774 they will move to the Royal (Stock) Exchange as The Society of Lloyd's. Sometime thereafter they will attain a Royal monopoly on maritime insurance. Most of Lloyd's of London's early history will be shrouded in mystery after a fire breaks out and destroys all of their early records. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Lloyd's of London insured Betty Grable's legs for 1 million dollars. They also insured Jimmy Durante's nose, Brooke Shield's legs, and "Ugly Betty's" smile.. that is... the actress America Ferrera's smile. These seem like silly things to insure but you can be sure that the insurance premium will be correspondingly high. The reason insurance premiums are always high is to avoid the moral hazard that low insurance premiums can create. For example: if I own a warehouse that stores goods for sale, I will insure the warehouse in case of fire, but if the insurance premium is too cheap, I am tempted to set fire to my own warehouse and collect the insurance rather than sell the goods. Without the insurance I would have NEVER set fire to my own warehouse so it is the lower premium that creates the moral hazard. The other issue with insurance is that some things are not insurance. They are prepayments. Medical insurance is a good example. When I KNOW that I will have certain medical expenses, the premiums I pay are not insurance against a possible expense. They are prepayments for a KNOWN expense. Another issue with insurance seems like fraud to me. If I pay to insure myself against an event that has ZERO CHANCE to occur, isn't that fraud? If part of my medical insurance premium pays for a possible pregnancy AND I AM MALE AND UNMARRIED, what is up with that? I'm just saying... [5]

Germantown Gives the Boot to Bondage *

Several prominent citizens of Germantown, Pennsylvania compose a two page letter protesting slavery. It is deceptively simple and concise. It begins by reminding their fellows of their own fears of slavery (what is called "White Slavery" in the modern day): "How fearful and faint-hearted are many at sea, when they see a strange vessel, being afraid it should be a Turk, and they should be taken, and sold for slaves into Turkey." They take their personal fear of being taken into slavery and use that feeling to extend compassion to the black slave. They remind their fellows that as Christians they should treat everyone well, regardless of age, common birth or color... buyer and bought alike. The people of Germantown are Quakers, Mennonites and at least one Lutheran who tends toward Quakerism. They have come to Pennsylvania for liberty of thought, so how can they deny a man the liberty of his body except when the man should commit a crime? They reject slavery and this letter constitutes the first objection by white people to slavery in the English colonies. [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Avalon Project has a copy of the original letter and it is worth study. I tried reading it quickly and realized that in the first few sentences I had already blown past several important points. I slowed down, and read carefully. They are using simple words, but the ideas they are conveying are monumental. It is not as elegant as the Declaration of Independence. It is common sense aimed at the common man. One need not be a scholar, nor an aristocrat to understand the principles of liberty. Today's educational systems will have us believe that lofty words and soaring rhetoric are required to frame great ideas, and only the finest minds can understand them. But George Orwell thought differently. He said, "One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool." [9]

King Billy and the Glorious Revolution

A son is born to King James the 2nd of England but the King is Catholic and England is Anglican despite any laws regarding tolerance of other religions. The King is bypassing the Parliament and the leaders of Parliament see no end to Catholic rule so they have written a letter to Prince William the 3rd of Orange (a PROTESTANT) and his wife, Mary the 2nd (the former heir apparent of King James and a PROTESTANT). Parliament offers them the throne of England by whatever means necessary... meaning militarily. An invasion force launches across the English Channel in November and lands at Torbay, but resistance is light. King James seems to have lost heart. Prince William leaves him an opening and the King escapes to France in December with the Queen and his son. The fight will drag on in Ireland and Scotland. The Irish and the Scots will call Prince William, "King Billy". By next year this war will be called "The Glorious Revolution" but for now, it seems that everyone is standing around wondering what will happen next. [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
If you think this all happened spontaneously, I have a bridge I'd like to sell to you. Right or wrong, everyone knew that the Anglicans were running the institutions of government. The Catholics were being ill-treated, but even if that could be worked out, the people felt put upon because the King was Catholic. The Anglicans were dragging their feet all the way and that may explain why King James gave in without much of a fight. He was not an absolute ruler like the King of France so he couldn't rule against the will of the people for very long. The invasion was simply proof of something known for a long while. England would not tolerate a Catholic king and nothing was going to get done until that changed. The change actually sparked an economic boom as people started getting in gear again. [13]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1688, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 314-315. “London underwriters begin meeting regularly at Lloyd's Coffee House” 
  2. Lloyd's of London - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 August 2015. “The market began in Lloyd's Coffee House, opened by Edward Lloyd in around 1688 on Tower Street in the historic City of London. This establishment was a popular place for sailors, merchants, and ship owners, especially those involved in the slave trade, and Lloyd catered to them with reliable shipping news.”
  3. Lloyd's Coffee House - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “Lloyd's Coffee House was a coffee shop in London opened by Edward Lloyd (c. 1648–15 February 1713) originally on Tower Street in around 1688. The establishment was a popular place for sailors, merchants and shipowners, and Lloyd catered to them with reliable shipping news. The shipping industry community frequented the place to discuss insurance deals among themselves. The dealing that took place led to the establishment of the insurance market Lloyd's of London, Lloyd's Register and several related shipping and insurance businesses.”
  4. Royal Exchange, London - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 December 2015. “The Royal Exchange in London was founded in the 16th century by the merchant Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. The site was provided by the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, who still jointly own the freehold. It is trapezoidal in shape and is flanked by Cornhill and Threadneedle Street, which converge at Bank junction in the heart of the City. The design was inspired by a bourse Gresham had seen in Antwerp, and was Britain's first specialist commercial building.”
  5. Betty Grable - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 December 2015. “Grable's legs were famously insured by her studio for $1 million as a publicity stunt.”
  6. Resolutions of The Germantown Mennonites. The Avalon Project (February 18, 1688). Retrieved on 23 September 2015. “These are the reasons why we are against the traffic of men-body, as followeth”
  7. Historic Germantown. Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia (2009). Retrieved on 6 December 2015. “In 1688 four Germantown settlers drafted a protest against slavery within the Dutch-German Quaker community that is considered to be the earliest antislavery document made public by whites in North America.”
  8. Francis Daniel Pastorius - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 December 2015. “In 1688 he drafted the first protest against slavery in America. Pastorius was a cosigner of the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, the first petition against slavery made in the English colonies.”
  9. George Orwell - Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org (2015). Retrieved on 7 December 2015. “Misattributed: 'There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.' Possibly a paraphrase of Bertrand Russell in My Philosophical Development (1959): 'This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.' It is similar in meaning to Orwell's line from Notes on Nationalism (1945): 'One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.' However, Russell was commenting not on politics, as Orwell was, but on some philosophers and their ideas about language.”
  10. William III of England - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “He is informally and affectionately known by sections of the population in Northern Ireland and Scotland as 'King Billy'.”
  11. Invitation to William - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “The Invitation to William was a letter sent by seven notable Englishmen, later named the Immortal Seven, to William III, Prince of Orange, received by him on 30 June 1688 (Julian calendar, 10 July Gregorian calendar). In England a Catholic male heir to the throne, James Francis Edward Stuart, had been born, and the letter asked William to force the ruling king, his uncle and father-in-law James II of England, by military intervention to make William's Protestant wife Mary, James's eldest daughter, heir, on the grounds that newborn Prince of Wales was allegedly an impostor.”
  12. Glorious Revolution - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “The Glorious Revolution,[b] also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (James VII of Scotland and James II of Ireland) by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange). William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascending of the English throne as William III of England jointly with his wife Mary II of England, in conjunction with the documentation of the Bill of Rights 1689.”
  13. Alex Shrugged notes: A past King of France had a similar problem with having the wrong religion. France was Catholic but the new King was Calvinist. He stayed Calvinist for a little over a year and had to renounce Calvinism in order to rule. I suspect that he could not get the bureaucracy to move until he did so.

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