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of the West, to whom was granted the whole province of Loui. fiana, or the country on the river Missisippi; from which last circumstance, its subsequent proceedings came to be included under the general name of the Misisippi Syitem. Of this company 200,000 actions (or shares) were created, fated at 500 livres each ; and the subscription for them was ordered to be paid in billets d'etat, at that time so much discredited, by reason of the bad payment of their interest, that 500 livres nominal value in them would not have sold upon 'change for more than 150 or 160 livres. In the subscription they were taken at the full value, so this was effectually a loan from the company to the king of 100 millions. The interest of that fum, to be paid by his majesty to the company, was fixed at the rate of 4 per cent, the first year's interest to be employed for commercial purposes, and the annual-rents of the following years to be allotted for paying regularly the dividend on the actions, which was fixed at 20 livres per annum on each, exclusive of the profits of the trade.

« Of this Company of the West, Mr. Law (who had now ad. vanced fo high in the regent's 'favour, that the whole ministerial power was reckoned to be divided betwixt him, the Abba du Bois, minifter of foreign affairs, and M. D'Argenfon, keeper of the seals), was named director general. The actions were eagerly sought after, Louisiana having been represented as a region abounding in gold and silver, of a fertile soil, capable of every fort of cultivation. The unimproved parts of that country were sold for 30,000 livres the square league, at which rate many purchased to the extent of 600,000 livres; and vigorous preparations were made for fitting out vessels to transport thither labourers and workmen of every kind. The demand for billets d'etat, for the purchase of actions, occafioned their immediately rising to their full nominal value,'

Our limits will not permit us to enter more at length into the curious and particular details given by the author, on this fingular and interesting subject. Suffice it to observe, that the fárm of tobacco, the East Indian trade, the mint, and the great farms, were foon after concentered in this company; which thus became the managers of the whole foreign trade and pos, sessions of France, and the collectors of all the royal revenues, The following anecdotes may amuse the reader after these dry numerical narrations.

· The unexampled rise of the price of actions afforded an opportunity to many obscure and low individuals to acquire at once princely fortunes. A widow at Namur, called Madame de Chaumont, who followed the trade of supplying the army with tents and other neceffaries, gained no less than 127 millions of livres;


one M. de Vernie made 28 millions; a M. de Farges 20 millions; and Messrs. Le Blanc and de la Faye 17 millions each, in the Missisippi. Such rapid revolutions were productive of many laughable occurrences. A footman had gained so much that he got himself a carriage, and the firit day it came to the door, he, instead of ftepping inco the vehicle, mounted up to bis old place behind. Mr. Law's coachman had also made so great a fortune, that he asked a dismission from his service, which was readily granted, on condition of procuring another as good as himself. The man thereupon brought two coachmen, told his master theyu were both excellent drivers, and desired him to make choice of one, at the fame time saving, he would take the other for his own carriage. - One night at the opera, a Mademoiselle de Begond observing'a lady enter, magnificently drefid, and covered with diamonds, jogged her mother and said, I am much mistaken if this fine lady is not Mary our cook. The report spread through the theatre until came to the ears of the lady, who, going up to Madame de Begond, said, I am indeed Mary your cook, I have gained a great sum in the Rue Quinquempoix, I love fine clothes and fine jewels, and am accordingly apparel'd, I have paid for every thing, am in debt to nobody, and pray who here can say more? At another time, some persons of quality beholding a gorgeous figure alighting from a most fplendid equipage, and enquiring what great lady that was, one of her lacqueys fell a laughing and said, she is one who has fallen from the garret story into a chariot.'

The situation of France was so much improved, in 1719, as to appear incredible to those who had witnefed the depression of the finances of that kingdom in 1715. In 1720 Law was declared comptroller-general

, and was universally adored in France. Such apprehensions were raised in the other European kingdoms, when they beheld the prosperity of France, that every art was exerted to undermine Law's credit with the regent: and in these arts cardinal du Bois, one of the most profligate of men, and the other ministers, eagerly joined. It was artfully stated to the regent that it was become absolutely necessary to form an equal proportion between the paper currency and the coin, the former now doubling the latter. On the 21st of May 1720, the fatal arret, wrested by insidious art from the careless ignorance of the regent, was issued, by which a diminished value was imposed by the wanton hand of governmentupon the shares of the company, and upon the bank-notes. The step was decisive. The fabric fell at once with hideous ruin.

Law was thus hurled by the ignorance, obstinacy, and injustice of others, from the summit of power, wealth, and po

pularity, pularity, to a comparatively indigent and abject state; exhibiting, says our author, a sad example of the insecurity of all property in an absolute monarchy.

.. To this circumstance is perhaps in a great measure owing, that most of the French writers who have had occasion to treat of the history of these times, have used the liberty generally taken with the unsuccessful, of grossly calumniating the reputation of this great man, stigmatizing him as an unprincipled knave, and pittributing the downfall of the system to his machinations. to the last accufation, they either must have had positive evidence, evidence of which in all my researches I have been unable to find, the smallest trace, of his advising the publication of the fatal arset, by which all was ruined, or they must have wilfully cholen in overlook his opposition to that infamous decree, which I hope has been sufficiently established in the preceding narrative. As to the charge of knavery, a very strong proof of the uprightness of his intentions arises from the circumstance of vetting his whole acquisitions in landed property in France, and not remitting any part thereof to foreign countries, which could have been done with the utmost facility. If to this we add the active part he took to prevent the alteration in the tenor of the bank notes, and con-. sider that the whole operation of the system were conducted pub-, Jicly, the fabrication of notes, the creation of actions, and every grant and alienation made to the India Company being done by. public acts of the king and council, it appears to be adding cruelty co injustice to asperse, in the manner these gentlemen have done, the character of Mr. Law, The injustice of this conduct is aggravated by its ingratitude, fince if he had not been over ruled by the regent and his counseļlors, and if the operations of the fyftem had been conducted agreeably to his advice, France, from being reduced to beggary by the late king's wars, was in a fair vay of becoming the richest, most powerful, and most flourishing ftate in Europe ; in which case the name of Law might have ranked next to that of Bourbon. Whatever love he might once have felt for his native country, he had transferred all his affections to France; of which, when he was prime minister, his constant discourse was, thac he would raise the nation so high that every kingdom in the world would send ambasladors to Paris, while his moit Christian majesty would only dispatch couriers to the other courts in return.'

The other adventures of Law are briefly detailed. From France he fled to Bruffels, whence he went to Rome; and then migrated north to Copenhagen: from thence he proceeded to London, and in Octcber 1721 was presented to George 1. He afterwards went to Venice, where he died in March 1729, aged fifty-eight.


In person he was tall and well proportioned; his mien bespoke importance, his face was oval,' his forehead high, fine eyes, a mild aspect, aquiline nose.

• His external appearance was uncommonly engaging, few equalling him in personal graces, and his mental powers were every way answerable. These qualifications united to diftinguished politeness, and the sweeteft and most infinuating manners, could not fail to attract the regard of those who knew him. The duches of Orleans relates, that considering he was a foreigner, he did not speak the French language ill; and the highly commends his polite, yet spirited behaviour, when he first came into power.'

Mr. Law's French tracts on finance were collected into ani octavo volume, published at Paris in 1791.

The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

A new Translation from the Greek Original; with a Life, Notes, 3c. By R. Graves, M. A. 8vo. 6s. boards.

Robinsons. 1792. pHilosophy has so feldom been cultivated on a throne, that

the few instances which occur of that phenomenon hare met with general admiration ; and among these, none is more deservedly celebrated than the work now before us. The Meditations of the Roman emperor are not only interesting on account of the author's high rank, but their own intrinsic merit. They prefent us with a series of virtuous precepts and refolutions for the conduct of life, that often approaches, in purity of doctrine, to the standard of moral perfection. But the philosophy of Antoninus, though it restrained the pailions, and strongly inculcated the exercise of the social duties, was still deficient in a point of the utmost importance: that life which it studied to render useful and happy, it inconlistently admitted, in some cases, the horrible expedient of throwing away. By the light of nature, the ancient sages made, doubtless, great advancement in moral speculation ; but nothing less than revealed religion could totally eradicate the principles of human ignorance and error.

Marcus Aurelius was born about the vear 121 of the Chriftian æra ; soon after the emperor Hadrian's accession to the throne. He was of an illustrious family, both by the father's and mother's side ; being the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Calvilla Lucilla; both whofe fathers were of consular dig. nity. He was first called Annius Verus; but on being adopted into the Aurelian family by Antoninus Pius, he took the name


of Aurelius, to which, on coming to the empire, he added that of Antoninus. This event happened in the year 161; and we are told it was with difficulty he was prevailed on to take the reins of government. In conformity to the intention of Hadrian, he immediately assumed Lucius Verus, as his partner in the empire: to whom also he contracted his daughter Lucilla. M. Aurelius had married the younger Faustina, his first cousin, being the daughter of Antoninus Pius, by the elder Faustina, fister to M. Aurelius's own father. This excellent emperor died, after a short illness, in his fifty-ninth year, at Vindebonum, now Vienna, in his last expedition against the northern nations.

We have extracted these few memoirs from the life of M. Aurelius, prefixed to the Meditations by the translator ; who has likewise given, in the preface, a fhort account of the Stoic philofophy; the system approved by Antoninus.

The Meditations are divided into twelve books; but there differ not from each other with regard to the nature of the subjects. Some of them appear to have been written during military expeditions. That they never had received the emperor's corrections, seems evident from the repetitions with which they abound : and it may be inferred with equal probability, that they were not intended for publication. It is fortunate, however, that the design of the imperial author has been, in this respect, frustrated; for M. Casaubon has, in our opinion, not over-rated the merit of the work, when he 'pronounces it to be one of the most excellent of antiquity.

The emperor begins, as Mr. Graves observes, with great modesty and fimplicity, by gratefully recollecting those on whose model and instructions he had formed his moral character. The following is part of the exordium.

• J. From the example of my grandfather Verus, I acquired a virtuous disposition of mind, and an habitual command over my temper.

2. From the character which I have heard and from what I myself remember of my own father, I have learned to behave with modesty, yet with a manly firmness, on all occasions,

• 3d. My mother I have imitated in her piety and in her generous temper, and have been taught not only to abstain from doing any wicked action, but from indulging a thought of that kind.

By her also I was habituated to a simple and abstemious way of life; very far from the luxury of a sumptuous table.

* 4. To my great-grandfather I am obliged, both for permitting me to attend the publick recitals, and declamations in the


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