1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cassel, Sir Ernest Joseph
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Cassel, Sir Ernest Joseph
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CASSEL, SIR ERNEST JOSEPH (1852-1921), Anglo-German financier, was born at Cologne March 3 1852. His father, Jacob Cassel, was a small banker in that city, and the son at the age of 16 became a clerk in the banking firm of Elspacher, but in 1870 came to London and entered the foreign banking house of Bischoffscheim and Goldsmid. There, before he was 20, he attracted notice by his skilful disentanglement of the accounts of the Khedivial loans. In 1884 he set up for himself and became largely interested in South-American finance. He reorganized the finances of Uruguay, and issued three Mexican loans, as well as acquiring the Royal Swedish railway and financing enterprises such as Vickers' absorption of the Maxim-Nordenfelt Co. and the building of the Central London railway. He also raised a Chinese loan after the war with Japan. His principal achievement was, however, the financing of the Nile irrigation work, and in connexion with that, the founding of the National Bank of Egypt. In these schemes he worked hand in hand with Lord Cromer. For these services he received a Privy Councillorship in 1902 and was created K.C.V.O. He had previously been created K.C.M.G. (1890) and he subsequently received the G.C.M.G. (1905), the G.C.V.O. (1906) and the G.C.B. (1909). He was also the recipient of decorations from the Governments of France, Sweden, Turkey and Japan. During the World War, though he had long been a naturalized British subject, an attempt was made to have his name removed from the list at the Privy Council. It did not succeed. He had retired from active financial operations in 1910. His benefactions were extensive, and included £500,000 for educational purposes, £225,000 for a hospital for nervous diseases, £50,000 to King Edward's Hospital Fund in memory of his only child, Mrs. Wilfrid Ashley, who died in 1911, besides large gifts during the war to the British Red Cross. He also built and endowed an Anglo-German Institute in 1911 in memory of King Edward VII., with whom he had been upon terms of close friendship. He was a considerable breeder and owner of race-horses; and he acquired a collection of Early English pictures, including a celebrated Raeburn. He married in 1878 Annette, daughter of R. T. Maxwell. She died in 1881. Sir Ernest died in London Sept. 21 1921.