« ForrigeFortsett »
protruded through the half open door to every wig of the white inclined plane, at announce that “ Jones and Williams was the upper end of which I was standing called on.” Down went the poker, and turned round; and in an instant I had
with streaming robes, the eyes of seventy « learned friends" leaving me to meditate on the loss which looking me full in the face! It is hardly the case would sustain for want of his to be conceived by those who have not assistance at the expected discussion. gone through the ordeal, how terrific is Having' waited some further space, I this mute attention to the object of it. heard a rustling of silks, and the great How grateful should I have been for any
our commander in chief, sailed into thing which would have relieved me from the room.
As he did not run foul of me, I its oppressive weight--a buzz, a scraping think it possible I may not have been of the shoes, or a fit of coughing, would invisible to him; but he furnished me have put me under infinite obligations to with no other evidence of the fact. He the kind disturber. What I said I know simplyedirected the attorney to provide cer- not; I knew not then; it is the only lain additional affidavits, tacked about and part of the transaction of which I am zailed away.
And thus ended the first ignorant; it was “a phantasma, or consultation. I consoled myself with the hideous dream.” They told me, however, thought that I had all my materials for my great surprise, that I spoke in a myself, and that from having had so much loud voice; used violent gesture, and as more time for considering the subject than I went along seemed to shake off my trepi. the others, I must infallibly make the best dation. Whether I made a long speech or speech of the three. At length the fatal a short one I cannot tell; for I had no day came. I never shall forget the thrill power of measuring time. All I know with which I heard open the case, is, that I should have made a much longer and felt how soon it would be my turn to one, had I not felt my ideas, like Bob speak. O, how I did pray for a long Acre's courage, oozing out of my fingers' speech ! I lost all feeling of rivalry; and ends. The court decided against us, would gladly have given him every thing erroneously as I of course thought, for that I intended to use myself, only to the young advocate is always on the right defer the dreaded moment for one half- side. The next morning I got up early hour. His speech was frightfully short, to look at the newspapers, which I exyet, short as it was, it made sad havoc pected to see full of our case. In an with my stock of matter.
obscure corner,and in a small type, I found speaker's was even more concise, and yet a few words given as the speeches of my my little stock suffered again severely. leaders : and I also read that “Mr.– I then found how experience will stand followed on the same side" in the place of study. These men could not, from the multiplicity of their engagements, have spent a tithe of the time upon the case which I had done: and yet they had seen much which had escaped my research. At length my turn came.
It is affirmed of sir William Blackwas sitting among the back rows in the
stone, that so often as he sat down to the old court of King's Bench. It was on the first day of Michaelmas term, and late in
composition of his Commentaries on the the evening. A sort of “darkness visible" bottle of wine wherewith to moisten the
Laws of England, he always ordered a had been produced by the aid of a few dryness of his studies; and in proof that candles dispersed here and there. I arose, but I was not perceived by the judges, their cares by otherwise disporting them.
other professional men sometimes solace who had turned together to consult, sup- selves, there is a kind of catch, the words posing the argument finished. Bwas the first to see me, and I received from
of which, having reference to their art or hiin a nod of kindness and encourage that they chant it with more glee than
mystery, do so marvellously inspire them, ment which I hope I shall never forget. gravity, to a right merry tune :The court was crowded, for it was a question of some interest; it was a dreadful moment—the ushers stilled the
A woman having settlement,
Married a man with none; audience into awful silence. I began, The question was, he being dead and at the sound of an unknown voice,
If that she had was gone !
Quoth sir John Pratt, her settlement all the annuities that should be subscrihed Suspended did remain,
into its fund, and which, if all subscribed, Living the husband—but, him dead, would have amounted to the sum of It doth revive again,
3,567,5031.; amounting, with the aboveCHORUS OF PUISNE JUDGES.
mentioned sum, to 7,723,809l. : in case Living the husband—but, him dead, all the annuities were not subscribed, the It doth revive again.
company agreed to pay one per cent. foi
such unsubscribed annuities. FLORAL DIRECTORY.
To this arrangement parliament acPeziza. Peziza acetabulum. .
ceded, and an act was passed to ratify this contract, and containing full powers to
the company accordingly. In March folJanuary 24.
lowing South Sea stock rose from 130 to St. T'imothy, disciple of St. Paul. St. 300, gradually advanced to 400, declined
to 330, and on the 7th of April was at Babylas, A. D. 250. St. Suranus, 7th cen
340. This so encouraged the directors, tury. St. Macedonius. St. Cadoc, of that on the 12th they opened books at the Wales.
South Sea house for taking in a subscripCHRONOLOGY. 1721. On the 24th of January in this tion for a portion of their stock to the
amount of 2,250,000l. every 1001. of year, the two houses of parliament ordered several of the directors of the South mediately subscribed for at that price, to
which they offered at 300l.: it was imSea company into the custody of the be paid for by nine instalments within usher of the black rod and serjeant at
twelve months. On the 21st, a genera) arms: this was in consequence of a par- court of the company resolved, that the liamentary inquiry into the company's Midsummer dividend should be 10 per affairs, which had been so managed as to involve persons of all ranks through- and all other additions to their capital
cent., and that the aforesaid subscription, out the kingdom in a scene of distress before that time, should be entitled to the unparalleled by any similar circumstance said dividend. This gave so favourable in English annals.
a view to the speculation, that on the 28th the directors opened a second sub
scription for another million of stock, In 1711, the ninth year of queen Anne's which was presently taken at 4001. for reign, a charter of incorporation was every 1001., and the subscribers had three granted to a company trading to the years allowed them for payment. On South Seas; and the South Sea com- the 20th of May, South Sea stock rose to pany's affairs appeared so prosperous, 550. So amazing a price created a gethat, in 1718, king George I. being chosen neral infatuation. Even the more prugovernor, and a bill enabling him to ac- dent, who had laughed at the folly and cept the office having passed both houses, madness of others, were seized with the on the 3d of February, his majesty in mania ; they borrowed, mortgaged, and person attended the house of lords, and sold, to raise all the money they could, in gave the royal assent to the act. A brief order to hold the favourite stock; while history of the company's subsequent pro- a few quietly sold out and enriched themgress is interesting at any time, and more selves. Prodigious numbers of people especially at a period when excess of spe- resorted daily from all parts of the kingculation may endanger private happiness, dom to 'Change-alley, where the assemand disturb the public welfare.
bled speculators, by their excessive noise On the 27th of January, 1719, the and hurry, seemed like so many madmen South Sea company proposed a scheme just escaped from cells and chains. Au to parliament for paying off the national thoughts of commerce were laid aside for debt, by taking into its funds al, the debt the buying and selling of estates, and which the nation had incurred before the traffic in South Sea stock, Some, who year 1716, whether redeemable or irre- had effected sales at high premiuins, were deemable, amounting in the whole to the willing to lay out the money on real prosum of 31,664,5511. 18. 11d. For this perty, which consequently advanced bethe company undertook to pay to the use yond its actual value: cautious land. of the public the sum of 4,156,3061.; be- owners justly concluded that this was the sides four years and a hall's purchase for time to get money without risk, and there
SOUTH SEA BUBBLE.
fore sold their propeity; shortly after- On the 8th of September, the stock fell to wards they had an opportunity of pur- 640, on the 9th to 550, and by the 19th chasing more, at less than half the price it came to 400. On the 23d the Bank of they had obtained for their own.
England agreed with the South Sea comOn the 2d of June, South Sea stock pany to circulate their bonds, &c. and to rose to 890. On the 15th, many persons take their stock at 400 per cent., in lieu of who accompanied the king on his foreign 3,775,0001., which the company was to journey, sold their stock, which suddenly pay them. When the books were opened fell; but the directors promising larger at the Bank for taking in a subscription dividends, it got up higher than ever. On for supporting the public credit, the conthe 18th they opened books for a third course was at first so great, that it was subscription of four millions more stock, judged the whole subscription, which was at 1000l. for each 1001., and before the intended for 3,000,0001., would have been end of the month it had advanced to filled that day. But the fall of South Sea 11001., between which and 1000l. it fluctu- stock, and the discredit of the company's ated throughout the month of July. On bonds, occasioned a run upon the most the 3d of August they proposed to receive eminent goldsmiths and bankers, some of subscriptions for all the unsubscribed an- whom, having lent great sums upon the nuities, and opened books for the purpose stock and other public securities, were during the ensuing week, upon terms obliged to shut up their shops. The which greatly dissatisfied the annuitants, Sword-blade company also, who had who, confiding in the honour of the di- been hitherto the chief cash-keepers of the rectors, had left their orders at the South South Sea company, being almost drawn Sea House, without any previous con- of their ready money, were forced to stop tract, not doubting but they should be payment. All this occasioned a great run allowed the same terms with the first upon the Bank. On the 30th South Sea subscribers. Finding, to their great sur- stock fell to 150, and then to 86. prise and disappointment, that, by the “ It is very surprising,” says Maitland, directors' arrangements, they were only “ that this wicked scheme, of French exto have about half what they expected, traction, should have met with encouragemany repaired to the South Sea House to ment here, seeing that the Mississippi get their orders returned; but these being scheme had just before nearly ruined that withheld, their incessant applications and nation. It is still more surprising, that reflections greatly affected the stock, ino- the people of divers other countries, notmuch that, on the 22d of the month, at withstanding the direful effects of this the opening of the books, it fell to 820. destructive scheme before their eyes, yet, The directors then came to the desperate as it were, tainted with our frenzy, began resolution of ordering the books to be to court their destruction, by setting on shut; and on the 24th they caused others foot the like projects : which gives room to be opened for a fourth money sub- to suspect,” says Maitland,
" that those scription for another million of their destructive and fatal transactions were stock, at 1000l. for each 1001., payable by rather the result of an epidemical distemfive instalments within two years : this per, than that of choice; seeing that the million was subscribed in less than three wisest and best of men were the greatest hours, and bore a premium the same sufferers; many of the nobility, and perafternoon of 40 per cent. On the 26th sons of the greatest distinction, were unthe stock, instead of advancing, fell below done, and obliged to walk on foot; while 830. The directors then thought fit to others, who the year before could hardly lend their proprietors 4,0001. upon every purchase a dinner, were exalted in their 1000l. stock, for six months, at 4 per coaches and fine equipages, and possessed cent. ; but the annuitants becoming very of enormous estates. Such a scene of clamorous and uneasy, the directors re- misery appeared among traders, that it solved that 30 per cent. in money should was almost unfashionable not to be a be the half-year's dividend due at the bankrupt : and the dire catastrophe was dext Christmas, and that from thence, for attended with such a number of self-murtwelve years, not less than 50 per cent. in ders, as no age can parallel.” money should be the yearly dividend on their stock. Though this resolution raised Ilooke, the historian of Rome, was a the stock to about 800 for the opening of severe sufferer by the Sonth Sea bubble. the books, it soon sunk again.
He thus addresses lord Oxford, in a letter
dated the 17th of October 1722: “I can- ment, and the proceeds applied to the renot be said at present to be in any form lief of many thousands of families, who of life, but rather to live extempore. The had been wholly ruined by the speculalate epidemical (South Sea) distemper tion. These dupes of overweening folly seized me: I endeavoured to be rich, and misplaced confidence, were further imagined for a while that I was, and am benefited by a remission in their favour in some measure happy to find myself at of the national claims on certain of the this instant but just worth nothing. !f South Sea company's real assets. The exyour lordship, or any of your numerous tent of these donations to the sufferers friends, have need of a servant, with the amounted to 40l. per cent. upon the stock bare qualifications of being able to read standing in their names. and write, and to be honest, I shall gladly undertake any employments your lordship
OTHER BUBBLES. shall not think me unworthy of.”
One consequence of the prosperous ap
pearance that the South Sea scheme bore, In 1720, soon after the bursting of the till within a short period before its failure, South Sea bubble, a gentleman called late was a variety of equally promising and in the evening at the banking-house of delusive projects. These were denomiMessrs. Hankey and Co. He was in a nated bubbles. Alarmed at the destructive coach, but refused to get out, and desired issue of the master-bubble, government that one of the partners of the house would issued the following manifesto : “ The come to him. Having ascertained that it lords justices in council, taking into conwas really one of the principals, and not sideration the many inconveniences arising a clerk, who appeared, he put into his to the public, from several projects set on hands a parcel, very carefully sealed up, foot for raising of joint-stocks for various and desired that it might be laid on one purposes; and that a great many of his side till he should call again, which would majesty's subjects have been drawn in to be in the course of a few days. A few part with their money, on pretence of days passed away—a few weeks, a few assurances that their petitions, for patents months, but the stranger never returned. and charters to enable them to carry on At the end of the second or third year, the the same, would be granted : to prevent partners agreed to open this mysterious such impositions, their excellencies orparcel, in the presence of each other. They dered the said several petitions, together found it to contain 30,0001., with a letter, with such reports from the Board of stating that it was obtained by the South Trade, and from his majesty's attorney Sta speculation, and directing that it and solicitor general, as had been obtained should be vested in the hands of three thereon, to be laid before them; and, trustees, whose names were mentioned, after mature consideration thereof, were and the interest appropriated to the relief pleased, by advice of his majesty's privyof the poor, which was accordingly done. council, to order that the said petitions be
It has been calculated, that the rise on the dismissed.” The applications thus reoriginal South-sea stock often millions,and jected prayed patents for various fisheries, the subsequent advance of the company's for building ships to let or freight, for four subscriptions, inflated their capital raising hemp, fax, and madder, for makto nearly three hundred millions. This ing of sail-cloth, for fire-assurances, for unnatural procedure raised bank stock salt- works, for the making of snuff in from 1001. to 2601. India, from 1001. to Virginia, &c. 405). African, from 1001. to 2001. York- In defiance of this salutary order, the buildings' shares, from 101. to 3051. Lus- herd of projectors, with an audacity that tring, from 51. 28. 6d. to 1051. English passed on the credulous for well-groundcopper, from 51. to 1051. Welch
ed confidence, continued their nefarious from 41. 28. 6d. to 951. The Royal Ex- traffic. Proclamations from the king, change Assurance, from 51. 58. to 2501. and even acts of parliament, were utterly The London Assurance, from 51. to 1751., disregarded; and companies which had 10 the great injury of the various pur- been established by charter increased the
evil, by imitating the South Sea company's
fatal management, and taking in subscripThe South Sea scheme terminated in tions. This occasioned the lords justices the sudden downfal of the directors, to issue another order, wherein they dewhose estates were confiscated by parlia- clared that, having been attended by Mr.
chasers at such prices.
attorney-general, they gave him express for making glass bottles.
copper, and lead, and for trading in hair. also against other charters or patents For loan offices. which had been, or should be made use of, For dealing in hops. or acted under, contrary to the intent or For making of china ware. meaning of an act passed the last ses- For furnishing funerals. sion of parliament, &c.
For a coral fishery. They likewise instructed the attorney. For a flying machine. general to prosecute, with the utmost For insuring of borses. severity, all persons opening books for For making of looking-glasses public subscriptions; or receiving money For feeding of hogs. upon such subscriptions; or making or For buying and selling estates. accepting transfers of, or shares upon, For purchasing and letting lands. such subscriptions ; of which they gave For supplying London with provisions public notice in the Gazette, as “a farther For curing the gout and stone. caution to prevent the drawing of unwary for making oil of poppies. persons, for the future, into practices con- For bleaching coarse sugar. trary to law.” This effectually frustrated for making of stockings. the plans of plunder, exercised or con- For an air-pump for the brain. templated at that period. How necessary For insurance against divorces. so vigorous a resistance was must be ob- For making butter from beech-trees. vious from this fact, that innumerable For paving London streets. bubbles perished in embyro; besides an in- For extracting silver from lead. credible number which could be named for making of radish oil. that were actually set in motion, and to For a perpetual motion. support which the sums intended to be For japanning of shoes. raised amounted to about 300,000,0001. For making deal boards of sawdust. The lowest advance of the shares in any of For a scheme to teach the casting of nathese speculations was above cent. per
tivities. cent., most of them above 4001. per cent. ; and some were raised to twenty times the price of the subscription. Taking these JOINT STOCK COMPANIES OF 1825. circumstances into account, the scandalous projects would have required seven
The large quantity of surplus capital hundred millions sterling, if such a sum
and consequent low rate of interest could have been realized in the shape of during the last, and in the present, year, capital. To such a height of madness induce its possessors to embark teir had the public mind been excited, that money in schemes for promoting general even shares were eagerly coveted, and utility. One of the advantages resulting bargained for, in shameless schemes which from a state of peace is the intiux of were not worth the paper whereon their wealth that pours forth upon the country proposals were printed, at treble the price for its improvement. Yet it behoves the they nominally bore. From a list of only prudent, and those of small means, to be a part of those that the air of 'Change- circumspect in their outlays; to see with alley teemed with, the names of a few are
their own eyes, and not through the mehere set forth :
dium of others. The premiums that Projects
shares in projects may bear in the mar
ket, are not even a shadow of criterion For supplying London with cattle. whereon to found a judgment for investFor supplying London with hay.
ment. This is well known to every discreet For breeding and feeding cattle.
man who has an odd hundred to put out; For making pasteboards.
and he who cannot rely on his own disFor improving the paper manufacture crimination for a right selection from among For dealing in lace, hollands, &c.
the various schemes that are proffered to For a grand dispensary.
his choice, will do well to act as if none For a royal fishery.
of them existed, and place his cash where For a fish pool
the principal will at least be safe, and the