Pike County ILTidbits Project


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the nation was on the verge of bankruptcy. At this critical juncture John Law arrived and proposed his grand scheme of the Mississippi Company; 200,000 shares of stock at 500 livres each were at first issued. This sold readily and great profits were realized. More stock was issued, speculation became rife, the fever seized everybody, and the wildest speculating frenzy prevaded the whole nation. Illinois was thought to contain bast and rich mines of minerals. Kaskaskia, then scarcely more than the settlement of a few savages, was spoken of as an emporium of the most extensive traffic, and as rivaling some of the cities of Europe in refinement, fashion and religious culture. Law was in the zenith of his glory, and the people in the zenith of their infatuation. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, were at once filled with visions of untold wealth, and every age, set, rank and condition were buying and selling stocks. Law issued stock again and again, and readily sold until 2,235,000,000 livres were in circulation, equaling $450,000,000. While confidence lasted an impetus was given to trade never before known. An illusory policy everywhere prevailed, and so dazzled the eye that none could see in the horizon the dark cloud announcing the approaching storm. Law at the time was the most influential man in Europe. His house was beset from morning till night with eager applicants for stock. Dukes, marquises and counts, with their wives and daughters waited for hours in the street below his door. Finding his residence too small, he changed it for the Place Vendome, whither the crowd followed him, and the spacious square had the appearance of a public market. The boulevards and public gardens were forsaken, and the Place Vendome became the most fashionable place in Paris; and he was unable to wait upon even one-tenth part of his applicants. The bubble burst after a few years, scattering ruin and distress in every direction. Law, a short time previous the most popular man in Europe, fled to Brussels, and in 1729 died in Venice, in obscurity and poverty.


As early as 1750 there could be perceived the first throes of the revolution, which gave a new master and new institutions to Illinois. France claimed the whole valley of the Mississippi, and England the right to extend her possessions westward as far as she might desire. Through colonial controversies the two mother

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