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The Knights of Industry

The Knights of Industry

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Excerpt from The Knights of Industry: Revelations About Foreign Long-Firms in London

The reason why this book was written, is in the first place to draw the attention of governments and the trading community, on the strength of documentary evidence, to certain crying evils that, as all and everything in our times, have grown to gigantic proportions, endangering the commerce in a most serious manner. The culminating point was reached, when a London enquiry-office, enjoying the absolute confidence, not only of their customers, but also of kindred trade-protecting institutions, entered into a conspiracy with a well organized gang of long-firm swindlers. Exporters and manufacturers were by this dangerous combination at the mercy of a gang of relentless robbers. Betrayed for years by those whom the victims considered their protectors, they were defrauded of goods to an incalculable value.

The material referring to this conspiracy is of a most sensational character. As soon as I had ascertained the facts, I opened my attack against the confederates in the columns of the "Kolnische Volkszeitung" (The Cologne People's Gazette), a leading political, and, with regard to commercial matters, most important daily paper in Germany, to which I am for many years the London correspondent. But my warning voice was stiffled - for a time at least. The second article was in the press, when the proprietor of the said enquiry office, Lothar Lehnert, of 46, Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C., and his so-called manager, but in fact partner, Gustav Opitz, brought a criminal action for libel against me. Not to become guilty of contempt of court, I was obliged not to proceed further with my revelations.

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