« AnteriorContinuar »
man's trousers, white as the driven snow, and hung down to the For 8000 head of horned cattle, at 28. calf of the leg, just far enough to show under them a pair of
15,000 horses, at 6d. brown stockings, manufactured in Peru from the best Vicuna wool. The potro boots of Senor Candioti fitted his feet and ankles as
£1275 a French glove fits the hand, and the tops of them were turned
Cost, therefore, of the stock and fixtures over, so as to give them the air of buskins. To these boots were leaving the estate of twelve and a half square leagues, or thirtyattached a pair of unwieldy silver spurs, brightly polished. To com- seven and a half square miles, as a bonus to the purchaser. plete his personal attire, the princely Gaucho wore a large Peruvian Now, if it be considered that Candioti's journeys to Peru, bestraw hat, with a black velvet band around it, while his waist coming every year more profitable, enabled him at last to buy in was girded with a rich crimson sash of silk, serving the treble the year three or four such estates as that described above, it purpose of riding-belt, braces, and girdle for a huge knife in
will soon be seen how his landed possessions must have extended; a morocco sheath, from which protruded a massive silver how his horned cattle, his horses, and his mules, must have handle.
increased and multiplied; and how the man himself must have “ Gorgeous as was the apparel of the rider, it was, if possible, waxed 'exceeding great.' outdone by the caparison of his horse. Here all was silver, We stumbled upon this passage as we hastily opened the book, elaborately wrought, and curiously inlaid. The peaks of the and could not refrain from transcribing this picture of patrisaddle, and the complicated head-piece of the bridle, were covered archal dignity, but in doing so we have somewhat violated the with the precious metal ; the reins were embossed with it; plan we had proposed to ourselves. The career of Francia and in the manufacture of the stirrups there must have been possesses an interest very distinct from that derived from exhausted all the ingenuity of the best Peruvian silversmith, accounts of the manners of the people and the description of the with at least ten pounds of plata pina (or virgin silver) to work country; and these latter subjects, together with the personal upon. Such, in character and person, was Candioti, the patriarch adventures of our authors, we intend to recur to at some future of Santa Fé. To complete the sketch of him, I must give you period: at present we will contine ourselves to Francia, that some idea of his extraordinary and successful career in life; of arbitrary tyrant, whose iniquitous proceedings, in regard to the how he became possessed of such a vast extent of territory; and celebrated French botanist M. Bonpland, excited a great desire how his flocks and herds increased till they greatly exceeded in in the public mind to know more of such a character. number those of Jacob. Like him, Candioti waxed great and Before we go further, however, it may be necessary to state went forward, and grew until he became very great; and, like that the territory comprised in Paraguay, under the government Abram, he was rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. The town of Francia, is that which is separated from Brazil, on the North, of Santa Fé was originally founded about 1563, by a very intrepid by the Rio Blanco, a small river flowing into the Paraguay, in soldier, Juan de Garay, at the head of only eighty-six men. latitude about 21° South. The course of this river marks the The establishment of a town on that spot was undertaken by line of separation to its rise in the mountains of Santa Amam. order of Martin Saenz de Toledo, then governor of Paraguay, bay, which there form the boundary as far as the sources of the and with a view to extending the conquests and increasing the Ivinhama, which flowing into the Paraná, is the limit in that Indian subjects of Old Spain. In a short time, more than direction. The rivers Paraguay and Paraná, meeting at a point twenty-five thousand natives from the Pampas, Chaco, and other about 27° 30' S. lat., complete the boundaries. This explanation parts, submitted to Garay and his small band; and though many may be useful, since the term Paraguay was formerly applied of them afterwards dispersed, and the town was subject to to a district of greater extent. frequent attacks and inroads from hostile tribes of Indians, yet To return to Francia ; “ His father,”—we quote from our the conquest was maintained, and the settlement gradually in authors, and, to prevent interruption in the thread of our story, creased in strength and numbers. But it was not till within the shall in future intimate this fact merely by the use of the common last seventy or eighty years that it attained to even its present distinction of inverted commas ;- Francia's father, as alleged importance; and to that it reached in a way so connected with by himself, was a Frenchman; but generally believed to be a Candioti's rise in the world, that its traffic, wealth, and popu- Portuguese, who, having eniigrated to Brazil, had gone to the lation, such as they are, have run parallel with the fortunes of interior and ultimately settled in the Missiones * of Paraguay. its patriarch, and have been essentially owing to his spirit, Here he married a creole, by whom he had a pretty large family: industry, activity, and indefatigable perseverance. Having, in José Gaspar, now dictator of Paraguay, was his first son, and his youth, with a few mules for sale, made a short excursion into was born about the year 1758. Young Francia was originally Perú, at a time when the mines of Potosi, and other parts of intended for the church, and he received the rudiments of his that country, were yielding a vast produce, Candioti saw how education at one of the indifferent conventual schools of Assumpinadequate to the demand was the supply of those useful animals, tion. Thence he was sent to the University of Cordova de for the purpose of conveying ores and merchandise, as well as Tucuman. Having no taste however for theology, he turned, passengers, over a rocky and arid country. Increasing numbers at college, to jurisprudence, and took his degree of doctor in the of them were also required for the purpose of carrying the faculty of law with great éclat. Returning to Assumption, produce of Paraguay to Cordova, Mendoza, San Luis, Tucuman, which he never thenceforward left, he entered on his profession, Salta, and other towns. Returning to Santa Fe, the sagacious and as an acute wyer and eloquent advocate he soon stood speculator and observer invested the ten thousand dollars alone. His fearless integrity gained him the respect of all earned by his trip, in the purchase of an estate in the En- parties. He never would defend an unjust cause ; while he was trerios, about thirty leagues from Santa Fé, on the opposite ever ready to take the part of the poor and the weak, against side of the river Paraná. He determined to give his chief atten- the rich and the strong. But his manners were, generally, and tion to the breeding of mules for exportation to Peru. From especially to his own countrymen, distant and haughty; his this time forward he made an annual journey to that country; studies were incessant; and general society he shunned. He and every year a more successful one than that which had pre- never married ; his illicit intrigues were both low and heartless; ceded. As he returned periodically to his native town, he he had no friends ; he looked with cold contempt on every one regularly invested in new estates, contiguous to the old ones, and around him; and he thus gradually grew into that austerity of in cattle upon them, the whole profit of his year's adventure. habit and inflexibility of character, which so strongly marked At that period of superabundance of land in South America, his career in after life.” Oue anecdote strongly illustrative of and indeed up to a much later period, the mode of purchasing his relentless cruelty we cannot omit. an estate was not by paying so much a rood, an acre, a mile, or “Many years before Francia became a public man, he quareven a league for it; but simply by paying so much a head for relled with his father, though I believe the latter was in the the cattle upon it, and a trifling sum for the few fixtures, such, wrong. They spoke not, met not for years; at length the father perhaps, as half-a-dozen mud huts, and as many corrales, in was laid on his death-bed ; and before rendering up his great and which to shut up the live stock. The general price then paid final account, he earnestly desired to be at peace with his son for each head of horned cattle was two shillings, and for each José Gaspar. This was intimated to the latter, but he refused horse sixpence. An estate of five leagues in length, by two and the proffered reconciliation. The old man's illness was increased a half in breadth, that is, of twelve and a half leagues, might by the obduracy of his son, and indeed he showed a horror of have upon it, generally speaking, about eight thousand head of quitting the world without mutual forgiveness taking place. He horned cattle, and fifteen thousand horses. The price of it, at conceived his soul to be endangered by remaining at enmity with the above-mentioned rates, would be,
* The territory occupied by the Jesuits. w
his first-born. Again, a few hours before he breathed his last, were of such ancient fashion, size, and weight, that it required a he got some of Francia's relatives to go to him, and implore considerable effort to move them from one spot to another. him to receive the dying benediction of his father. He refused: / They were covered with old tanned ox-leather, indented with they told him his father believed his soul could not reach heaven curious hieroglyphics, and, from long use, very brown and glossy. unless it departed in peace with his son. Human nature shud- Their straight backs were conspicuously higher than the head of ders at the final answer which that son returned :-* Then tell the party seated upon them, and to sit in a reclining posture my father that I care not if his soul descend to hell.' The old was out of the question. The ground of the apartment was man died almost raving, and calling for his son José Gaspar.” scattered over with thousands of pieces of torn letters, and un
When, in common with the other Spanish settlements, Para- torn envelopes. An earthen jar for water, and a jug, stood guay threw off allegiance to the mother country, the government upon a coarse wooden tripod in one corner, and the doctor's was vested in a junta consisting of three members, assisted by a horse-furniture in another. Slippers, boots, and shoes, lay scatsecretary, an assessor, and a notary. Francia in the first instance tered about, and the room altogether had an air of confusion, held the post of secretary, but he quickly disagreed with his darkness, and absence of comfort, the more striking that the colleagues, and withdrew to his country house, where be occu- outside of the cottage, though lowly, was perfectly neat, and pied himself with so much tact and diligence, in exciting a dis
so romantically placed, as to have all the air of an abode at trust of the members of the government, at the same time skil- once of beauty and of peace. Not a trace of the sanguinary protully insinuating his own superior abilities, that he soon found pensities, or of the ungovernable caprice, by the exercise of bimself in possession of sufficient influence to command the which he afterwards attained so bad a celebrity, was power he coveted, and in a situation to give the law to all. It sable in the manner, or deducible from the conversation, of was during this period of retirement that Mr. J. P. Robertson, Francia, at the time I am now speaking. Quite the reverse. at that time a young man of twenty, who had just established His demeanour was subdued and unostentatious; his princihimself as a merchant in Assumption, first became acquainted ples, as far as they could be ascertained from his own declarawith Francia, and with his account of this remarkable interview, tions, just, though not very exalted ; and bis legal integrity, as we shall, for the present, conclude :
an advocate, had never been disputed. Vanity seemed to me to be "On one of those lovely evenings in Paraguay, after the south- the leading feature of his character; and though there was a latent west wind has both cleared and cooled the air, I was drawn, sternness and almost continual severity in his conntenance, yet, in my pursuit of game, into a peaceful valley, not far from when relaxed into a smile, they only made, by contrast, an imDoña Juana's, and remarkable for its combination of all the pression the more winning upon those with whom he conversed. striking features of the scenery of the country. Suddenly I
He was pleased it should be known that he understood French, came upon a neat and unpretending cottage. Up rose a par
a very uncommon branch of knowledge in Paraguay. He made tridge; I fired, and the bird came to the ground. A voice from Volney, and he concurred entirely in the theory of the latter,
some display of his acquaintance with Voltaire, Rousseau, and behind called out, “ Buen tiro'—'A good shot.' I turned round, But he was most of all proud to be known as an algebraist and and beheld a gentleman of about fifty years of age, dressed in a suit of black, with a large scarlet capote, or cloak, thrown over
He was, it is true, but a very short way inducted his shoulders. He had a mâté-cup in one hand, a cigar in the into these sciences. It was sufficient, however, in Paraguay, to other; and a little urchin of a negro, with his arms crossed, was verify the Spanish proverb, that · En tierra de los ciegos, el in attendance by the gentleman's side. The stranger's counte
tuerto es rey,'—' In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is nance was dark, and his black eyes were very penetrating, while king.' In Paraguay, an acquaintance with French, Euclid's his jet hair, combed back from a bold forehead, and hanging in Elements, eqnations, the mode of handling a theodolite, or with natural ringlets over his shoulders, gave him a dignified and books prohibited by the Vatican, was, in point of knowledge, striking air. He wore on his shoes large golden buckles, and at quite the exception to the general rule. Night drew on apace, the knees of his breeches the same. I apologised for haviog
and I bade adieu to my loquacious, as well as gracious, host. I fired so close to his house; but, with great kindness and ur
little fancied, then, either that he was to figure as he has since banity, the owner of it assured me there was no occasion for my end with so much injustice. At this time, Francia, though living
done, or that an intercourse, begun with so much civility, was to offering the least excuse ; and that his house and grounds were at my service, whenever I chose to amuse myself with my gun in in such apparent seclusion, it was afterwards known, had been that direction. In exercise of the primitive and simple hospi- busy in intrigue against the government." tality common in the country, I was invited to sit down under the corridor, and take a cigar and a mâté. A celestial globe, a Ou ! who would sit in the moonlight pale, large telescope, and a theodulite, were under the little portico;
Mock'd by the hooting owl ? and I immediately inferred that the personage before me was no Oh! who would sit in the silent vale other than Doctor Francia. The apparatus accorded with what
Where the winds go howl ? I had heard of his reputation for a knowledge of the occult sci. Our parlour floor, our parlour floor, ences; but I was not long left to conjecture on this point ; for Is better than mountain, moss, and moor. he presently informed me, in answer to my appeal whether I had
This lamp shall be our orb of night, not the honour of addressing Dr. Francia, that he was that
And large our shadows fall person. * And I presume,' he continued, that you are the
On the flowery beds all green and bright, Cavallero Ingles, who resides at Dona Juana Ysquibel's?' I
That paint our parlour wall; replied that I was ; when he said he had intended to call on me; And silken locks and laughing eyes but that such was the state of politics in Paraguay, and particu
Shine brighter than stars in bluest skies. larly as far as himself was concerned, that he found it necessary to live in great seclusion. He could no otherwise, he added,
Oh! the nightingale's is but a silly choice, avoid the having sinister interpretations put upon his most
To trill to the evening star, trifling actions. Passing from this subject, he was pleased that I
A listener cold-and sweeter the voice should know what were his occupations. He introduced me to
That sings to the light guitar. his library, in a confined room, with a very small window, and
For moonlight shades and brawling brooks that so shaded by the roof of the corridor, as to admit the least
We will have music and sunny looks. portion of light necessary for study. The library was arranged Oh! we will the happy listeners be, on three rows of shelves, extending across the room, and might
When songs and tales begin ; have consisted of three hundred volumes. There were many And at our open casement see ponderous books on law; a few on the inductive sciences ; some
How the rose is peeping in, in French and some in Latin, upon subjects of general literature, As it were a fairy with half-closed eye, with Euclid's Elements, and some school-boy treatises on al- That on this our pleasanter world would spy. gebra. On a large table were heaps of law-papers and processes. Oh! who would exchange a home like this, Several folios bound in vellum were outspread upon it; a lighted
Where sweet affection smiles, candle (though placed there solely with the view to light cigars) For the gardens, and banks, and “bowers of bliss," lent its feeble aid to illumine the room ; while a måté-cup and
In beauty's thousand isles ? inkstand, both of silver, graced another part of the table. There Oh! that Kaisar or King the peace could find was neither carpet nor mat on the brick-floor; and the chairs Within our bright walls, and a cheerful mind!
Rev, J. Eagles.
coward, you fool,' she exclaimed; "what, give them the money THE BASTINADO IN EGYPT.
on the very first demand! I suppose after five or six blows, you MR. WILKINSON, in his admirable book, the “ Manners and cried, I will pay, only release me! next year our taxes will be Customs of the Ancient Egyptians," thus describes to us the doubled through your weakness; shame ! shame!'- No, my employmerit of the bastinado as an ancient as well as a modern dear!' interrupted the suffering man, 'I assure you I resisted Egyptian punishment; adding, by way of illustration, an amus. as long as it was possible ; look at the state I am in, before you ing instance of the light in which the punishment is regarded upbraid me. I paid the money, but they have had trouble by the Copts.
enough for it; for I obliged them to give me at least a hundred "Some of the laws and punishments of the Egyptian army Ihlows before they could get it.' She was pacified, and the pity have already noticed ; and in military as well as civil cases, and commendation of his wife, added to his own satisfaction in minor offences were generally punished with the stick; a mode having shown so much ohstinacy and courage, consoled him for of chastisement stiil greatly in vogue among the modern inbabi- the pain, and, perhaps in some measure, for the money thus tants of the Nile, and held in such esteem by them, that, con- forced from him.- Wilkinson's Manners and Customs of the vinced of (or perhaps by) its efficacy, they relate its de- Ancient Eyyptians. scent from heaven as a blessing to mankind*.' “If an Egyptian of the present day has a government debt or
FREEDOM OF SPEECH. tax to pay, he stoutly persists in his inability to obtain the money, till he has withstood a certain number of hlows, and
The following observations on " freedom of speech," are considers himself compelled to produce it; and the ancient extracted from Discourses, by the Rev. Orville Dewey, an inhabitants, if not under the rule of their native princes, at least American clergyman. Though principally applicable to the in the time of the Roman emperors, gloried equally in the
state of society in the United States, they are not without obstinacy they evinced, and the difficulty the governors of interest to English readers :the country experienced in extorting from them what they were
“We, in this country, have our own dangers. And the bound to pay; whence Ammianus Marcellinus tells us, an Egyptian blushes if he cannot show numerous marks on his greatest of all dangers here, as I conceive, is that of general body that evince his endeavours to evade the duties (Amm. independence of character. I think that I see something of this
pusillanimity, of moral cowardice, of losing a proper and manly Marcel. Life of Julian.) “The bastinado was inflicted on both sexes, as with the in our very manners, in the hesitation, the indirectness, the
cautious and circuitous ‘modes of speech, the asking assent Jews. (Exodus xx. 1, 2.) Men and boys were laid pros; before the tongue can finish its sentence. I think that in orber trate on the ground, (as with the Jews,) and frequently held countries you oftener meet with men, who stand manfully and by the hands and feet while the chastisement was adminis. boldly up and deliver their opinion without asking or caring tered; but women, as they sat, received the stripes on their what you or others think about it. It may sometimes be rough back, which were also inflicted by the hand of a man. it unusual for the superintendants to stimulate labourers to how many relations, political, religious, and social, a man is
and harsh ; but at any rate it is independent. Observe, too, in their work by the persuasive powers of the stick, whether liable to find bondage instead of freedom. If he wants office he engaged in the field or in handicraft employments ; boys were sometimes beaten without the ceremony of prostration, the in blindness, and his lips in silence, towards all the faults of his
must attach himself to a party, and then his eyes must be sealed hands being tied behind their back while the punishment was
party. He may have his eyes open, and he may see much to applied.
condemn, but he must say nothing. If he edits a newspaper, " It does not, however, appear to have been from any respect, his choice is often between bondage and beggary; that may that this less usual method was adopted ; nor is it probable that actually be the choice though he does not know it: he may be any class of the community enjoyed a peculiar privilege on these
so complete a slave that he does not feel the chain; his passions occasions, as among the modern Moslems, who, extending their respect for the Prophet to his distant descendants of the thirty- may be so enlisted in the cause of his party, as to blind his dis
crimination, and to destroy all comprehension and capability of sixth and ensuing generations, scruple to administer the stick to
independence. So it may be with the religious partisan. He a Shereef until he has been politely furnished with a mat, on which to prostrate his guilty person. Among other amusing in his sect, fanaticism and extravagance in some of its measures.
knows, perhaps, that there are errors in his adopted creed, faults privileges in modern Egypt, is that conceded to the grandees, See if you get him to speak of them ; see if you can get him to or officers of high rank. Ordinary culprits are punished by the breathe a whisper of doubt. No, he is always believing: He hand of persons usually employed on such occasions : but a Bey, or the governor of a district, can only receive his chastise creed; he believes it ‘for substance of doctrine;' or, if he is a
has a convenient phrase that covers up all difficulties in his ment from the hand of a Pasha, and the genteel daboss (mace) layman,
perhaps he does not believe it at all. What then, is his is substituted for the vulgar stick. This is no trifling privilege; conclusion ? why, he has friends who do believe it; and he does it becomes fully impressed upon the sufferer, and renders him
not wish to offend them. And so he goes on, listening to what long after sensible of the peculiar honour he has enjoyed ; nor
he does not believe ; outwardly acquiescing; inwardly remon. can any one doubt that an iron mace, in form not very unlike strating ; the slave of fear or fashion, never daring, not once in a chocolate mill, is a distingué mode of punishing men who are
his life daring, to speak out and openly the thought that is in proud of their rank.
“ Having noticed the pertinacity of the modern Egyptians, in him. Nay he sees men suffering under the weight of public resisting the payment of their taxes, I shall introduce the fol- and he has never the generosity or manliness to say, 'I think so
reprobation, for the open espousal of the very opinion he holds, lowing story as remarkably illustrative of this fact. In the year too.' Nay, more; by the course he pursues, he is made to cast 1822, a Copt Christian, residing at Cairo, was arrested by the his stone, or he holds it in his hand at least, and lets another Turkish authorities for the non-payment of his taxes, and taken
arm supply the force necessary to cast it, at the very men who before the Kehia, or deputy of the Pasha. “Why,' inquired
are suffering a sort of martyrdom for his own faith!" the angry Turk, have you not paid your taxes ?' * Because,'
“I am not now advocating any particular opinions; I am replied the Copt, with a pitiable expression, perfectly according only advocating a manly freedom in the expression of those with his tattered appearance, I have not the means.' was instantly ordered to be thrown upon the floor, and bastina opinions which a man does entertain. And, if those opinions
are unpopular, I hold that, in this country (America) there is doed. He prayed to be released, but in vain: the stick con
so much the more need of an open and independent expression tinued without intermission, and he was scarcely able to bear
of them. Look at the case most seriously, I beseech you. the increasing pain. Again and again he pleaded his inability What is ever to correct the faults of society, if nobody lifts his to pay, and prayed for mercy, the Turk was inexorable ; and voice against them; if everybody goes on openly doing what the torments he felt at last overcame his resolution, they were everybody privately complains of; if all shrink behind the no longer to be borne. pay directly.' 'Ah! you Giaour, go! He was released and faint-hearted apology, that it would be over bold in them to taken home, and accompanied by a soldier; and the money religious fanaticism or social folly, if no one has the independence
attempt any reform? What is to rebuke political, time-serving being paid, he imparted to his wife the sad tidings. You
to protest against them? Look at it in a larger view. What * The Moslems say, “ Nezel min e'semma e'neboot, baraka min Allah." barrier is there against the universal despotism of public opinion « The stick came down from heaven, a blessing from God."
in this country, but individual freedom? Who is to stand against
it here, but the possessor of that lofty independence? There is of a quarrel between him and a Mr. Edward Wilson, which led to no king, no sultan, no noble, no privileged class, nobody else to a meeting in Bloomsbury square, when Mr. Wilson was killed stand against it. If you yield this point, if you are for ever on the spot, on the 9th of April, 1694. making compromises, if all men do this, if the entire policy of Mr. Law was immediately seized and tried for murder at the private life here is to escape opposition and reproach, every- Old Bailey, and received sentence of death, 20th April, 1794. thing will be swept beneath the popular wave. There will be uo But it not clearly appearing that the meeting was premeditated, individuality, no hardihood, no high and stern resolve, no self- his case was submiited to the crown, and he obtained a pardon; subsistence, no fearless dignity, no glorious manhood of mind but an appeal being lodged by deceased's brother, he was detained left among us. The holy heritage of our fathers' virtues will be in prison. This appeal was heard in Trinity term, 1694; several trodden under foot by their unworthy children. They feared objections were raised by Mr. Law which were overruled. But not to stand up against kings and nobles, and parliament and whilst this was pending, Mr. Law effected his escape and fled to people. Better did they account it that their lonely bark should the Continent. It is said that he officiated for some time as sweep the wide sea in freedom ; happier were they when their secretary to the British Resident in Holland, but the next sail swelled to the storm of winter, than to be slaves in palaces certain information we have of him is at the beginning of the of ease. Sweeter to their ear was the music of the gale that eighteenth century, when he published " Proposals and Reasons shrieked in their broken cordage, than the voice at home that for constituting a Council of Trade at Edinburgh ; but the said, 'Submit, and you shall have rest.' And when they reached scheme met with no encouragement. This publication had the this wild shore, and built their altar, and knelt upon the frozen effect of introducing him to several of the principal personages snow and the flinty rock to worship, they built their altar to of the country. Relying on their support, he offered in 1705 a freedom, to individual freedom, to freedom of conscience and scheme to Parliament for introduciog the circulation of paper opinion; and their noble prayer was, that their children might money in order to obviate the difficulties which Scotland was at be thus free. Let their sons remember the prayer of their that time labouring under, and he published another work, extremity, and the great bequest which their magnanimity has “Money and Trade considered, with a Proposal for supplying left us. Let them beware how they become entangled again in the Nation with Money,” explanatory of his scheme ; but the yoke of bondage. Let the ministers at God’s altar, let the although he was supported by the whole court party and guardians of the press, let all sober and thinking men, speak the that called the Squadrone, (a few monied men excepted,) yet his thought that is in them. It is better to speak honest error than plan was rejected ; the House passing a resolution that to to suppress conscions truth. Smothered error is more dangerous establish any kind of paper credit, so as to oblige it to pass, was than that which flames and burns out. But do I speak of an improper expedient for the nation *" danger? I know of but one thing safe in the universe, and that Mr. Law now resolved to try his fortune abroad, where he ad. is truth; and I know of but one way to truth for an individual dicted himself to all sorts of games, and by his skill in calculation mind, and that is unfettered thought ; and I know but one path was astonishingly successful. He visited many of the principal for the multitude to truth, and that is, thought freely expressed. cities in France, Germany, and Italy. He made three expeditions Make of truth itself an altar of slavery, and guard it about with to Paris, where he associated with the highest circles, and on a mysterious shrine, bind thought as a victim upon it, and let his first visit he gained an introduction to the Duc de Chartres, the passion of the prejudiced multitude minister fuel, and you afterwards Duc d'Orleans and Regent of France; on his second sacrifice upon that accursed altar the hopes of the world.” visit, he proposed a scheme to the king, (through Desmarets, the
comptroller general) for reducing the national debt, but Louis JOHN LAW OF LAURISTON,
inquiring whether he was a catholic, and being answered in the AND ACCOUNT OF THE CELEBRATED BUBBLE, KNOWN AS
negative, he declared he would have nothing to do with a heretic,
and dismissed the scheme. MISSISIPPI SYSTEM*.
In 1714 Mr. Law visited Paris for the third time, bringing [Some account of the" Missisippi System," that surprising speculation which in the early part of the last century turned the heads of all the Louis XIV. dying shortly after Mr. Law's arrival at Paris, the
with him about £110,000, the profits of his various rambles. inhabitants of Paris; which converted the very streets into one vast Stock
Duc d'Orleans assumed the reins of government, under the Exchange ; which elevated footmen to fortune, and reduced millionaires to beggary, will we think be acceptable to our readers, and with this abilities, and their disposition with respect to pleasure coinciding,
title of Regent. He, being fully aware of Mr. Law's superior purpose we lay before them a short sketch of the remarkable man who
he shortly afterwards appointed that gentleman one of the counfirst devised that gigantic undertaking, which, if suffered to remain under sellors of state. Mr. Laws management, instead of being seized upon by the despotic
The situation of affairs in France was at this time dreadful ; the government of France, would in all probability have enriched the nation, long wars of Louis had loaded the people with a national debt of instead of plunging it into bankruptcy.]
frightful magnitude, and they were also burdened with ruinous Joan LAW was born at Edinburgh in the year 1671, his father taxes imposed to pay the interest of the debt. All industry was William Law was great-grandson of James Law, archbishop of thus checked, trade almost annihilated, manufactures, commerce, Glasgow from 1615 to 1632, and second son of James Law, of and navigation, had almost ceased. The merchant and trader Brunton in Fife, by Margaret, daughter of Sir John Preston, of were reduced to beggary, and the artificer was compelled to leave Preston Hall, Bart. William Law followed the profession of a the kingdom for want of employment. goldsmith (a business then partaking more of the nature of a In this state of affairs a national bankruptcy was actually probanker than that to which the name is now restricted) with posed in council, but it was rejected by the regent, who adopted such success as to enable him to purchase the lands of Lauriston the plan of establishing a commission, or visa, to inquire into and Randleston, containing about a hundred and eighty Scottish the claims of the state creditors.
By this commission the national debt was at last put into a John Law, the subject of this memoir, was educated at kind of order, and the amount reduced to somewhat more than Edinburgh, and made himself perfectly acquainted with arith- 2000 millions of livres, which at 28 livres to the marc of metic, geometry, and algebra. He likewise bestowed much time standard silver (two pounds sterling,) the then denomination of and labour in acquiring a knowledge of political economy. the specie in France, made above 142 millions sterling. Of
He lost his father before he was fourteen, and falling into this sum, 1750 millions of livres were established upon pardissipated habits, he soon involved himself so deeply that by ticular funds at the rate of 4 per cent, and for the remaining deed, dated 6 Feb. 1792, he conveyed the estate of Lauriston to 250 millions the creditors obtained billets d'état as they were his mother, who paid his debts, and by her prudent management called, bearing also interest at 4 per cent, making altogether 80 freeing the estate from every burden, she executed entails in millions of interest per annum, which from the distressed situation order to continue the property in the family.
of the kingdom was very irregularly paid ; and after doing that, In London, whither Mr. 'Law now removed, his superior there hardly remained, out of an ill-collected revenue, a sum personal beauty, ready wit, and engaging manners, aided by sufficient to defray the necessary expense of the civil government. his propensity to deep play, procured him admittance into some Law, perceiving this calamitous state of affairs, determined to of the first circles. He had the reputation of being extremely exert himself in order to rectify the evil. The most efficacious fortunate in affairs of gallantry. One of these was attended mode he judged to be, the establishment of a well-regulated with disastrous consequences ; à Mrs. Lawrence was the occasion
* Smollett mentions this circumstance, and adds, that Dr. Hugh Cham* Life of John Law of Lauriston, by John Pbilip Wood, Esq. berlyne also proposed a scheme of the same nature, which was also rejected. that we had been forced into the measures by which we had * Another of Law's arguments was that gold merely received its value acquired territorial possessions in India, instead of voluntarily from being employed as a circulating medium, and that in effect it was adopting them.” indifferent whether gold or paper is employed, forgetting that gold has an intrinsic value.- Cours d'Economie Politique de M. Henri Storch.
paper credit ; but as this matter was little understood in France, interest themselves deeply in this new bank, so that the balance he translated into the French his publication on Money and of exchange with England and Holland soon rose to the rate of Trade, and explained its principles in a series of Letters addressed 4 and 5 per cent in favour of Paris. The bank subsisted in high to the Duc d'Orleans, and in two Memorials presented to that credit, to the no small profit of the proprietors, till the close of prince. In these he strongly inculcates his favourite maxim the year 1718, when the Duke of Orleans took it into the hands that the power and prosperity of a state increase in proportion of government, as at first proposed. The proprietors petitioned to the quantity of money circulating therein; and after asserting to be allowed to continue the general bank at the same time that even the richest nations have not specie sufficient to afford that the royal bank should be set on foot, but their request full employment to all their inhabitants, and to carry their trade was refused, to the height of which it is capable*, he expatiated on the Thus the bank, being placed in the king's hands, departed advantages of paper credit for supplying that defect. In support from the principles of private and mercantile credit upon of this proposition, he instances the vast benefits accruing to which Mr. Law had originally fixed it, and proceeded upon England and Holland from the banks of England and Amsterdam, those of public credit, which in an absolute monarchy is no other and adduces a variety of arguments to prove that the setting up than that of the sovereign, and consequently cannot be depended of an establishment of a similar nature, but on an improved plan, upon. To add to the evil, the tenor of the notes was changed, at Paris, would be accompanied with beneficial results.
and ran thus :-" The Bank promises to pay the Bearer at sight Law now proposed to open a national bank, but his scheme-livres in silver coin, value received," thus subjecting the was rejected, because the then present conjuncture was not notes to the variations in the value of specie. It had, however, thought favourable.
no effect on the credit of the bank. Of these notes there were Law then requested permission to open a private bank in to the amount of 1000 millions of livres fabricated betwixt the his house, in La Place de Louis le Grand. This bank was 5th Jan. and 29th Dec. 1719. In Feb. 1720, the royal bank established by letters patent, dated 2nd and 20th May 1716, was incorporated with the company of the Indies ; and from containing the following regulations :
that incorporation to the 1st May following, 1,696,400,000 livres The stock of the bank to consist of 1200 actions or shares of were fabricated, making altogether 2,696,400,000 livres in paper 1000 crowns, or 5000 livres each ; the denomination being then money, of which vast sum, 2,235,083,590 livres were in circulafixed by law, at 40 livres the marc, consequently each share tion on the 29th May 1720, when the bank stopped payment. was worth £250, and the whole stock £300,000 sterling.
After the establishment of the general bank, Mr. Law began All persons whatsoever to be at liberty to subscribe for as to lay open the plan of that great and stupendous project be many shares as they pleased, and it was declared that the bank had long meditated, known by the name of the Mississippi securities belonging to, as well as the money lodged in it, by System, which for a while turned the heads of the French, and foreigners, should not be subject to any confiscation or attach- attracted the attention of all Europe. The scheme was no less ment whatsoever, even in case of war with the nations to which than the vesting of the whole privileges, effects, and possessions, the proprietors respectively belonged.
of all the foreign trading companies, the great farms, All questions to be decided by vote.
the mint, the general receipt of the king's revenues, and The accounts to be balanced twice every year at stated periods. the management and property of the bank, in one great com
Two general courts to be held yearly, in which the state of the pany, who, thus having in their hands all the trade, taxes, and company's affairs were to be discussed, and their dividends settled. royal revenues, might be enabled to multiply the notes of the
The treasurer never to have more than 200,000 crowns, nor bank to any extent they pleased, doubling, or even trebling at any of the cashiers more than 20,000 in hand at a time.
will the circulating cash of the kingdom, and by the immensity The bank not to undertake any sort of commerce, nor to of their funds possessed of a power to carry the foreign trade charge itself with the execution of any commissions.
and the culture of the colonies to a height altogether impracti. The notes to be all payable at sight, and no money allowed cable by any other means. The outlines of this plan, being laid to be borrowed by the bank.
before the regent, met, it would seem, with the approbation of Various other regulations of minor importance were added. that prince, as measures were tal:en for the establishment of the
This association was carried on under the firm of The proposed company, and directions issued for making the requisite General Bank of Law & Co.; and Law and his brother William grants to enable them to commence their operations. were the principal proprietors.
In a future Number, we will proceed to trace the progress of The bank opened under very favourable auspices, it being this extraordinary scheme, which in the end caused so much known that they enjoyed the favour of the regent, and a high mischief and misery. idea of their stability was entertained from the discourse which Law unceasingly held, that a banker merited the punishment of death, if he issued notes or bills of exchange without having their effective value in his repositories. But what most attracted the 1821 and 1922, tells us that he visited the governor of Shahrood,
MR. Fraser, in his narrative of his travels in Khorasan in public confidence, was the security their notes provided against
a Persian frontier town, not far from Astrabad, on the shores of the arbitrary practice of varying the standard of the coin at the the Caspian sea. “ He received me with much kindness in hk will of the monarch ; an unjustifiable measure frequently put in dewan-khaneh, a comfortable warm room, where he entertained execution by the French government, to the infinite prejudice
with tea and fruit, and held a long conversation with me on of debtors and creditors, particularly at the general coinages in
a variety of subjects. He was very inquisitive on the subject of 1709 and 1716, by the former of which the king gained 2373
Europe, and of England in particular, imagining, however, what per cent, and by the latter 20 per cent upon the whole specie of I found was a common mistake even amongst the best-informed the kingdom. The terms in which the notes of the general people, that England was but a city of Peringheestan or Europe. bank were couched, viz:-" The Bank promises to pay to the He put many questions about America (yengee dunia, or the Bearer, at sight, the sum of - crowns, in coin of the weight
new world) and India, and wished to know what sort of inha. and standard of this day, (of the date of each note,) value re
bitants the former had, whether they were Mahometans or ceived,” effectually guarded against this contingency. On this Christians ; how they lived, what were their habits and customs, account, as well as from the quickness and punctuality of the
of what description was the country, and its productions. Of payments, and the orders given to the officers of the revenue in
the latter he made inquiry as to the extent of territory in the all parts of the kingdom to receive the paper without discount, English possession ; and whether any, and how much, remained in payment of taxes, the notes of the general bank soon passed to the native powers. I discovered that he, in common with current for 1 per cent more than the coin itself. This bank produced the most beneficial results on the industry and trade had gone to India with the premeditated intention of conquering
most of his countrymen, had taken up the idea that the British of the nation;
the taxes and royal revenues being by means of the country; so, as the best mode of combating this impression, the notes remitted to the capital at little expense, and without I gave, as well as I could, a short account of the rise and prodraining the country of specie. Foreigners who had hitherto gress of the British power in India, showing, as I proceeded, been very cautious of dealing with the French, now began to
* The notes were of four different denominations, viz:–10,000, 1000, 100, Paris, 1823,
and 10 liyres.
LAUDABLE CURIOSITY OF A PERSIAN GOVERNOR.