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give up the hope of profit and wealth XIV. died soon after, and, in 1716, the by means of Louisiana; and the Regent Duke of Orleans, the Regent, found the and his advisers determined to hand it financial condition of France to be truly over to the famous Company of the desperate. “The public debt was imWest, better known as the Mississippi mense; it was a legacy bequeathed Company, through whose management by the military glory of Louis XIV., it was confidently believed that im- and the other pompous vanities of his
mense wealth would flow into long reign. The consequence was, that
the empty treasury of France. the load of taxation was overwhelming, This gigantic scheme, one of the most merely to pay the interest of this debt, extensive and wonderful bubbles ever without any hope of diminishing the blown up to astonish, delude, and ruin capital. All the sources of industry thousands of people, was set in opera- were dried up: the very winds which tion, and its charter registered by the wafted the barks of commerce, seemed parliament of Paris, on the 6th of to have died away under the pressure September, 1717, the capital being a of the time; trade stood still; the manhundred millions of livres.
ufacturers were struck with palsy; the The fertile brain of John Law gave merchant, the trader, the artificer, once birth to this mighty project of making flourishing in affluence, were now transevery body rich with nothing more formed into clamorous beggars, and substantial, in fact, than pieces of those who could yet command some paper. Law was born in Edinburgh, small means, were preparing to emiin 1671; and so rapid had been his grate to foreign parts. The life-blood career, that, as Mr. Gayarré says, at that animated the kingdom, was stagtwenty-three years of age, he was "a nated in all its arteries, and the danger bankrupt, an adulterer, a murderer, of an awful crisis became such, that it and an exiled outlaw.” But he was was actually proposed in the Council of undoubtedly a man of financial ability, State, to expunge the public debt, by and by his agreeable and attractive an act of national bankruptcy. But manners, and his enthusiastic advocacy the Regent has the credit of having reof his schemes, he succeeded in inflam-jected the proposition; and a commising the imaginations of the mercurial sion was appointed to inquire into the Frenchmen, whose wishes—fathers to financial situation of the kingdom, and their thoughts—led them readily to to prepare a remedy for the evil."* adopt any plans for obtaining wealth Law now stepped forward, and the in preference to those of steady indus- Regent eagerly caught at the proposed try and the natural gains of honest and means of relief; a bank was eshonorable trade.
tablished, as an experiment, bearArriving in Paris with two million ing Law's name, with a capital of six and a half francs, which he had gained millions of livres, divided into shares at the gambling table, he found himself there just at the right time. Louis * Gayarré's “ History of Louisiana," vol. i. p. 199.
of five hundred livres. This bank was In March, 1718, three vessels reached very successful, and a year afterwards Louisiana, with three companies of inits notes were ordered to be received fantry and sixty-nine colonists; as specie by the royal treasury. From and in June of the same year,
one step to another is always some eight hundred persons, colonists,
easy, and so it happened that convicts, and troops, also safely arrived : Law's bank was abolished in December, these were the first installments of the 1718, and the Royal Bank, with Law six thousand whites and three thousand as director-general, sprang into exist- negroes which the Mississippi Company
The same grand speculator was agreed to introduce. Bienville was reappointed director-general of the Mis- appointed governor, and soon after sent sissippi Company, and both institutions a party of convicts to clear up a swamp were merged into one.
the site of the present city of New Our limits do not admit of following Orleans, so named after the Regent the almost incredible career of John of France. A few years later BienLaw, and the frenzy of cupidity dis- ville removed thither the seat of govplayed by the Parisians and others, in ernment, and time has justified his forethe insane attempt to accomplish the sight and perspicacity in the choice of payment of their debts, and increase this locality for the commercial capital their wealth, by means of an inflated of the valley of the Mississippi. Law paper currency.
The bubble burst had reserved to himself twelve miles after a few years, scattering ruin and square on the Arkansas, whither he distress in every direction: the bank had sent fifteen hundred German setstopped payment in May, 1720, at tlers. During the prosperity of the which time there was paper in circula- paper scheme, money was profusely tion, amounting to 2,235,085,590 livres. spent in promoting enterprise and colThe whole of it was suddenly reduced onization in Louisiana, but when this to the value of so much waste paper, scheme exploded these foreign reand no more. Law fled from the fury sources suddenly ceased, and the setof the people to Brussels ; nearly every tlers, who were in a great measure thing was lost; he visited England in dependent on them, were reduced to 1721; left it in 1722, and died in ob- great distress. scurity and poverty at Venice, in 1729. A war having broken out with Truly, to use the words of Mr. Gayarré, Spain, Pensacola was twice taken by "he who could write in all its details the French, but in 1721 it the history of that Mississippi bubble, was restored again to its forso fatal in its short-lived duration, mer owners, and the River Perdido would give to the world the most in- became the dividing line between structive composition, made up of the Spanish Florida and French Louismost amusing, ludicrous, monstrous, iana. A military establishment of and horrible elements that were ever about a thousand troops was kept up; jumbled together!"
and a considerable number of Capu
PROSPERITY OF LOUISIANA.
chins and Jesuits had charge of the fleet of sixty boats and canoes, and spiritual concerns of the colonists. with about twelve hundred Choctaws “Rice was the principal crop, the as allies, Bienville ascended the main resource for feeding the popu- Tombigbee River to the head
lation. To this were added of navigation, and attacked the Chick
tobacco and indigo. The fig asaws near that point; but the French had been introduced from Provence, were repulsed and compelled to reand the orange from St. Domingo.” | treat. Three years later the whole In 1727, the population amounted to strength of the French was put forth something more than five thousand, to overcome this haughty and powerful half of this number being negroes. tribe; sickness, however, and scarcity
Périer, in 1726, was appointed gov- of provisions, soon thinned the ernor in place of Bienville, whose re- ranks of the French troops, and, moval had been effected by his pertin- probably in consequence of dissensions acious enemies; soon after, difficulties among the officers, in 1740, they were began to arise with the Indians. The glad to withdraw their forces and leave Natchez tribe, who had at first amicably the Chickasaws unsubdued. The home received the French, and in whose ter-government was greatly displeased with ritory Fort Rosalie had been erected, Bienville's ill success in this undertaknow became jealous of their growing ing; and shortly after, in 1743, the demands for territory: urged on by Marquis de Vaudreuil was sent the Chickasaws, and falling suddenly out as his successor. Bienville,
upon the fort in 1729, they at the age of sixty-five, left Louisiana
massacred all the male inhab- never to return to the colony he loved itants and carried away the women and had served so long and well. and children into slavery; but a year
From this date onward, for many or so afterwards, the French nearly years, Louisiana, under the adminisexterminated the whole tribe, and sent tration of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, several hundred of them to be sold as enjoyed comparative tranquility, and slaves in Hispaniola. The Chickasaws, gradually advanced in prosperity. De who traded with the English, and ob- Vaudreuil was a nobleman of honorstructed the communication between able standing, and endeavored to give Upper and Lower Louisiana, now gave a high tone to his government, and asylum to the poor remains of the although troubles with the Indians Natchez tribe; for these offences the and other difficulties interfered with French determined to subdue them. his comfort and the progress of the
The Mississippi Company, in 1732, colony, yet, on the whole, matters went resigned Louisiana into the hands of on as well as could be expected. In
the King, and Bienville was 1753, De Vaudreuil was trans
again appointed governor, and ferred to Canada, and Kerlerec, directed to make preparations for a a captain in the Royal Navy, succeeded war against the Chickasaws. With a him as governor of Louisiana.
A brief survey of the condition of the colonies important - Population of Virginia ----State of manners, habits, cuis
toms, progress in trade and commerce -- Report made to the Board of Trade Complaint of the Virginians as to the conduct of the royal officers -- Population of Massachusetts -- Trade, etc. -- Connecticut and Rhode Island — Militia force - Iron works — Mining operations - Progress of New Hampshire - The throat distemper - Earthquake in New England -- Religion in New England - Improvement in manners and general intercourse — Mode of living, fashions, etc. — Discussions as to the intentions of the colonists on the subject of independence - Population and progress of Maryland -- Trade, etc., of the Carolinas - Hurricane - Yellow fever ---- New York - Tea - Contraband trade Manners and social life in New York – Albany and its people - New Jersey - Pennsylvania ; its trade, etc., compared with New York Value of this imperfect sketch of the condition of the colonies - Final struggle approaching between the English and French in America.
At this point in the progress of our were then in number less than ten thounarrative, it will be profitable as well as sand: in 1722, they numbered eighteen interesting to pause a while, and take thousand, from which it is fair to infer a brief survey of the position and gen- a proportionably great increase in the eral condition of the American colonies. general population. In 1750, We have already, here and there, called Virginia numbered at least one the attention of the reader to the grad hundred and sixty thousand inhabitants, ual development of wealth and energy more than half of whom were slaves. in the colonies; it will conduce, how- At Williamsburg, the seat of governever, to additional clearness of ideas, as ment, there were three public buildings, well as better understanding of the ac- in 1727, which were considered the finest tual-though not yet understood or ap- specimens of architecture in the counpreciated-strength of the colonies, if try the College, the State House, and we devote a few pages more particu- the Capitol. Hospitality, to a profuse larly to this subject, and endeavor to extent, and card-playing among the upascertain what was the real condition per classes, were quite common,
and of things during the first half of the hunting and cock-fighting were amuseeighteenth century. In doing this, we ments in which all were interested. shall rely mainly upon Mr. Grahame, There was also in this town a theatre, whose resumé of this topic, as far as it the first that arose in the British colgoes, we look upon as worthy of entire onies. Many persons of proud families confidence.
at home, came to Virginia to escape the At the beginning of the eighteenth | being looked down upon by their more century, the population of Virginia wealthy aristocratic friends; and it was amounted to sixty thousand, of whom customary for young women, who had about one half were slaves. The militia met with misfortune or loss of charac
VIEWS OF THE BOARD OF TRADE.
ter in their native land, to emigrate to all the rights and privileges of an EngAmerica, where they were at liberty to lish parliament, and begin to search into establish their claims to better charac- the records of that honorable House for ters, and more honorable positions in precedents to govern themselves by. life than they could ever have attained The Council imagine that they stand
elsewhere. Printing was first upon equal terms with the British House
established in Virginia, in 1729; of Lords.” Probably, we think, these and the first newspaper in this colony statements were due as much to the was published at Williamsburg, in jealousy of the Board as to the careful 1736. From Virginia and Maryland investigation of the facts in the case. there were
now annually exported The Virginians, no doubt justly, comabout one hundred thousand hogsheads plained of the insolence of the comof tobacco, (valued at £8 per hogs- manders of ships of war sent to cruise head) and two hundred ships were off the coast for the protection of trade, commonly freighted with the tobacco --insolence which at no late day became produce of these two provinces. The utterly insufferable, and added not a annual gain to England from this trade little to the readiness of the provincials was about £500,000. The articles of to measure arms with the haughty and iron and copper ore, beeswax, hemp, overbearing regulars, who prided themand raw silk, were first exported from selves so much on their superiority in Virginia to England, in 1730.
all respects. Virginia was warm in its In a report made to the Board of attachment to the parent country; but Trade in the reign of Queen Anne, we they, too, had begun generally to quesfind the following statements: “On tion the right to impose restrictions on every river of this province, there are
commerce, a right constantly claimed men, in number from ten to thirty, who, and almost as constantly resisted or by trade and industry, have got very evaded; and the Virginia Assembly had complete estates. These gentlemen take no disposition to keep in repair forts and care to supply the poorer sort with goods such like, which might be turned to and necessaries, and are sure to keep their hurt in case of a contest. them always in their debt, and conse- Massachusetts not less than Virginia quently dependent on them. Out of had advanced in population during this number, are chosen the Council, this period. At the beginning of the Assembly, justices, and other officers of eighteenth century there were between government. The inhabitants consider seventy thousand and eighty thousand that this province is of far greater ad- inhabitants; in 1731, the number is vantage to her majesty than all the rest estimated at one hundred and of the provinces besides on the main twenty thousand freemen and land, and therefore conclude that they two thousand six hundred slaves: and ought to have greater privileges than in 1750, it had reached not less than the rest of her majesty's subjects. The two hundred thousand. Six hundred Assembly think themselves entitled to ships and sloops were engaged in