Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 13 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 89 pages of information about Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 13.

On Sunday, the 2nd of June, Benzualde and his Swiss withdrew from Law’s house.  Stock-jobbing was banished at the same time from the Rue Quincampoix, and established in the Place Vendome.  In this latter place there was more room for it.  The passers-by were not incommoded.  Yet some people did not find it as convenient as the other.  At this time the King gave up to the bank one hundred million of shares he had in it.

On the 5th July, a decree of the Council was issued, prohibiting people from possessing jewels, from keeping them locked up, or from selling them to foreigners.  It may be imagined what a commotion ensued.  This decree was grafted upon a number of others, the object of all, too visibly, being to seize upon all coin, in favour of the discredited paper, in which nobody could any longer have the slightest confidence.  In vain M. le Duc d’Orleans, M. le Duc, and his mother, tried to persuade others, by getting rid of their immense stores of jewels, that is to say, by sending them abroad on a journey—­nothing more:  not a person was duped by this example; not a person omitted to conceal his jewels very carefully:  a thing much more easy to accomplish than the concealment of gold or silver coin, on account of the smaller value of precious stones.  This jewellery eclipse was not of long duration.

CHAPTER CI

Immediately after the issue of this decree an edict was drawn up for the establishment of an Indian commercial company, which was to undertake to reimburse in a year six, hundred millions of bank notes, by paying fifty thousand dollars per month.  Such was the last resource of Law and his system.  For the juggling tricks of the Mississippi, it was found necessary to substitute something real; especially since the edict of the 22nd of May, so celebrated and so disastrous for the paper.  Chimeras were replaced by realities—­by a true India Company; and it was this name and this thing which succeeded, which took the place of the undertaking previously known as the Mississippi.  It was in vain that the tobacco monopoly and a number of other immense monopolies were given to the new company; they could not enable it to meet the proper claims spread among the public, no matter what trouble might be taken to diminish them at all hazard and at all loss.

It was now necessary to seek other expedients.  None could be found except that of rendering this company a commercial one; this was, under a gentler name, a name vague and unpretending, to hand over to it the entire and exclusive commerce of the country.  It may be imagined how such a resolution was received by the public, exasperated by the severe decree, prohibiting people, under heavy penalties, from having more than five-hundred livres, in coin, in their possession, subjecting them to visits of inspection, and leaving them nothing but bank notes to, pay for the commonest necessaries of daily life.  Two things resulted; first, fury, which day by day was so embittered by the difficulty of obtaining money for daily subsistence, that it was a marvel all Paris did not revolt at once, and that the emeute was appeased; second, the Parliament, taking its stand upon this public emotion, held firm to the end in refusing to register the edict instituting the new company.

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