Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/113

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105
SKETCH OF SIR JOHN LUBBOCK, BART, M. P.

don, on the 30th of April, 1834. His early education was received in a private school kept by Mr. Waring; at a later period he was sent to Eton College, where he had the Earl of Dalkeith, Lord Grey de Wilton, Mr. Lefévre, and Mr. Chitty, Q. C, for fellow-pupils. He was withdrawn from school when fourteen years old without being allowed to enter the university, and put into the bank; for his father's partners had been taken suddenly ill, and it was deemed important that he should be prepared to assume control of the establishment as soon as possible in case death should take away its heads. His attention was here directed to quite different objects from those in which he had been interested, but he did justice to their demands, and exerted himself to become a complete man of business, with a success to which his subsequent accomplishments as a banker and the mark he has left in English methods of business bear ample testimony. He did not suffer this, however, to divert him from his former pursuits. He passed his leisure at the family seat of High Elms, near Farnborough, in Kent, "a goodly mansion in the midst of an estate of fourteen hundred acres, which had been purchased by his grandfather." Here he continued his studies in natural history, and made it an object to supplement and extend that education only the foundations of which are laid at school and college.

The banking-house of which Sir John Lubbock is the head—that of Robarts, Lubbock & Co., has been in existence since 1750, has always stood high, and has not decreased in stability during the administration of its present chief. Lender that administration it has promoted a reform in the methods of transacting business throughout the kingdom that has greatly facilitated and expedited it, by securing the extension of the clearing-house system of London to the country banks.

The clearing-house has long been a most useful institution among the London bankers for collecting the checks paid in by their customers with greater facility than by sending round to the various banks and getting the money over the counter, and, in their turn, having to pay to the messengers of other bankers the charges drawn on them. In the clearing-house building as many desks are arranged as there are bankers connected with the institution, each of which is allotted to a particular banker. A clerk, going with a number of checks upon some or all the bankers, puts those which are drawn upon each on his desk. At the same time all the other banks holding checks upon his bank place them upon his desk. When the day's business is completed, only the balances shown upon posting the checks pro and con have to be paid over, and this is done through drafts upon a special account in the Bank of England. Mr. Babbage had called attention to the proportion of transactions of bankers that passed through the clearing-house to those that did not. Acting upon the suggestion given by Mr. Babbage, Sir John, taking an amount of $115,000,000 that passed through the hands of his house during the last few days of 1864, analyzed the