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dated the 17th of October 1722 : “l cannot be said at present to be in any form life, but rather to live eartempore. The ate epidemical (South Sea) distemper eized me: I endeavoured to be rich, magined for a while that I was, and am some measure happy to find myself at Jhis instant but just worth nothing. If your lordship, or any of your numerous friends, have need of a servant, with the bare qualifications of being able to read and write, and to be honest, I shall gladly undertake any employments your lordship shall not think me unworthy of."
In 1720, soon after the bursting of the South Sea bubble, a gentleman called late in the evening at the banking-house of Messrs. Ilankey and Co. He was in a coach, but refused to get out, and desired that one of the partners of the house would come to him. Having ascertained that it was really one of the principals, and not a clerk, who jo. he put into his hands a parcel, very carefully sealed up, and desired that it might be laid on one side till he should call again, which would be in the course of a few days. A few days passed away—a few weeks, a few months, but the stranger never returned. At the end of the second or third year, the partners agreed to open this mysterious parcel, in the presence of each other. They found it to contain 30,000l., with a letter, stating that it was obtained by the South Sea speculation, and directing that it should be vested in the hands of three trustees, whose names were mentioned, and the interest appropriated to the relief of the poor, which was accordingly done.
It has been calculated,that the rise on the original South-sea stock often millions,and the subsequent advance of the company's four subscriptions, inflated their capital to nearly three hundred millions. This wnnatural procedure raised bank stock from 100l. to 260l. India, from 100l. to 405l. African, from 100l. to 2001. Yorkbuildings' shares, from 10l. to 3051. Lustring, from 5l. 2s. 6d. to 105L English copper, from 51 to 105l. Welch copper, from 4, 2s. 6d. to 95l. The Royal Exchange Assurance, from 5l. 5s. to 250l. The London Assurance, from 51 to 1751, to the great injury of the various purchasers at such prices.
The South Sea scheme terminated in the sudden downfal of the directors, whose estates were confiscated by parlia
ment, and the proceeds applied to the relief of many thousands of families, who had been wholly ruined by the speculation. These dupes of overweening folly and misplaced confidence, were further benefited by a remission in their favour of the national claims on certain of the South Sea company's real assets. The extent of these donations to the sufferers amounted to 40l. per cent. upon the stock standing in their names.
oth r it but now i.p.s.
One consequence of the prosperous appearance that the South Sea scheme bore, till within a short period before its failure, was a variety of equally promising and delusive projects. These were denominated bubbles. Alarmed at the destructive issue of the master-bubble, government issued the following manifesto: “ The lords justices in council, taking into consideration the many inconveniences arising to the public, from several projects set on foot for raising of joint-stocks for various purposes; and that a great many of his majesty's subjects have been drawn in to part with their money, on pretence of assurances that their petitions, for patents and charters to enable them to carry on the same, would be granted: to prevent such impositions, their excellencies ordered the said several petitions, together with such reports from the Board of Trade, and from his majesty's attorney and solicitor general, as had been obtained thereon, to be laid before them; and, after mature consideration thereof, were pleased, by advice of his majesty's privycouncil,to order that the said petitions be dismissed.” The applications thus rejected prayed o: for various fisheries, for building ships to let or freight, for raising hemp, flax, and madder, for making of sail-cloth, for fire-assurances, for salt-works, for the making of snuff in Virginia, &c.
In defiance of this salutary order, the herd of projectors, with an audacity that passed on the credulous for well-grounded confidence, continued their nefarious traffic. Proclamations from the king, and even acts of parliament, were utterly disregarded; * companies which had been established by charter increased the evil, by imitating the South Sea company's fatal management, and taking in subscriptions. This occasioned the lords justices to issue another order, wherein they declared that, having been attended by Mr.
attorney-general, they gave him express orders to bring writs of scire facias against the charters or patents of the York-building's company, |. company, English copper, Welsh copper, and lead, and also against other charters or patents which had been, or should be made use of, or acted under, contrary to the intent or meaning of an act passed the last session of parliament, &c.
They likewise instructed the attorneygeneral to prosecute, with the utmost severity, all persons opening books for public .. or receiving money upon such subscriptions; or making or accepting transfers of, or shares upon, such subscriptions; of which they gave public notice in the Gazette, as “a farther caution to prevent the drawing of unwary persons, for the future, into practices contrary to law.” This effectually frustrated the plans of plunder, exercised or contemplated at that period. How necessary so vigorous a resistance was must be obvious from this fact, that innumerable bubbles perished in embyro; besides an incredible number which could be named that were actually set in motion, and to support which the sums intended to be raised amounted to about 300,000.000l. The lowest advance of the shares in any of these speculations was above cent. per cent., most of them above 400l. per cent. : and some were raised to twenty times the price of the subscription. Taking these circumstances into account, the scandalous projects would have required seven hundred millions sterling, if such a sum could have been realized in the shape of capital. To such a height of madness had the public mind been excited, that even shares were eagerly coveted, and bargained for, in shameless schemes which were not worth the paper whereon their proposals were printed, at treble the price they nominally bore. From a list of only a part of those the the air of 'Changealley teemed with, the names of a few are here set forth :
For supplying London with cattle.
For a fish pool.
For making glass-bottles.
Jon NT Stock Companies of 1825.
The large quantity of surplus capital and consequent low rate of interes' during the last, and in the present, year. induce its possessors to embark treir money in schemes for promoting general utility. One of the advantages resulting from a state of peace is the influx of wealth that pours forth upon the country for its improvement. Yet it behoves the prudent, and those of small means, to be circumspect in their outlays; to see with their own eyes, and not through the medium of others. The premiums that shares in projects may bear in the market, are not even a shadow of criterion whereon to found a judgment for investment. This is well known to every discreet man who has an odd hundred to put out; and he who cannot rely on his own discrimination for a right selection from among the various schemes that are proffered to his choice, will do well to act as if none of them existed, and place his cash where the principal will at least be safe, and the
interest, though small, be certain. This quently declared frustrated; and there
month presents schemes sor Twenty Rail Road Companies, Twenty-two Banking, Loan, Investment, and Assurance Companies, Eleven Gas Compt lies,
being only £10,000 in the bankers' hands to pay “Mr. Hop-the-twig's bill of
citor is defrauded of the sum of 73 l. 13s. 4d. This is the rise and fall of a respectable
Eight British and Irish Mine Companies, bubble."
Seventeen Foreign Mine Companies, Nine Shipping and Dock Companies, and
Twenty-seven Miscellaneous Companies,
pany, A South London Milk Company, An East London Milk Company, A Metropolitan Milk Company.
A correspondent in the “London Magazine" declares, that “if we named the several divisions of the year after the French revolutionary fashion, by the phenomena observable in them, we should, from our experience of January, 1825, call it Bubblose—it has been a month of most flagutious and flourishing *. He Fo assumes that Mr. Jeremiah Hop-the-twig, attorney, at law, benevolently conceives the idea of directing “suplus capital" to the formation of “a joint stock company for the outfit of air-balloons, the purchase of herds of swine, and the other requisites for a flourishing lunar commerce; Capital One Million, divided into 10,000 shares of 100l. each.” The method is then related of opening an account with a respectable banking-house, obtaining respectable directors, appointing his son-in-law the re; spectable secretary, the son of a respected director the respectable standing counsel, and the self-nomination of the respectable Mr. Jeremiah H. and Co. as the respectable solicitors. Afterwards come the means of raising the bubble, to the admiration of proper persons who pay a deposit of 51 per share; who, when the shares “look down,” try to sell, but there are “no buyers,” the “quotations are nominal:" a second instalment called for, the holders hesitate ; “their shares are orfeited;" the speculation is conse
Undoubtedly, among these various
schemes afloat, son,e will be productive
of great benefit to the country; but it is seriously to be considered whether the estimation of some of them in a money view be not too high, and forced to an undue price by the arts of jobbing :
Haste instantly and buy, cries one Real Del Monte shares, for none Will hold a richel profit ; Another cries—No mining plan Like ours—the Anglo-Mexican As sor Del Monte scoff it.
This grasps my button, and declares
'scaped from the tornents of the mine
By Fire and Life insurers next
Last I am worried, shares to buy
FLORAL DIRECTORY. Stalkless moss. Phascum muticum.
Holiday at the Public offices except the Excise, Stamps. and Customs. CoN v Ension of St. PAUL. Sts. Juventimus and Mariminus, A. D. 363. St Projectus, A. D. 674. St. Poppo, A. n 1048. St. Apollo, A. D. 393. St Publius, A. D. 369.
On this day prognostications of the months were drawn for the whole year. If fair and clear, there was to be plenty; if cloudy or misty, much cattle would die; if rain or snow fell then it presaged a dearth; and if windy, there would be wars : If Shint Paul's Day be fair and clear. It does betide a happy year; But if it chance to snow or rain, Then will be dear all kinds of grain: If clouds or mists do dark the skie, Great store of birds and beasts shall die; And if the winds do fly aloft, I hen wars shall vex the kingdome oft. Willysord's Nature's Secrets.
The latter lines are allusive to the popular superstitions, regarding these days, which were before remarked by bishop Hall, who observes of a person under such influences, that “ St. Paule's day, and St Swithine's, with the twelve, are his oracles, which he dares believe against the almanacke.” It will be recollected that “the twelve" are twelve days of Christmastide, mentioned on a preceding day as believed by the ignorant to denote the weather throughout the year. Concerning this day, Bourne says. “How it came to have this particular knack of foretelling the good or ill fortune of the following year is no easy matter to find out. The monks, who were undoubtedly the first who made this wonderful observation, have taken care it should be handed down to posterity; but why, or for what reason, they have taken care to conceal. St. Paul did indeed labour more abundantly than all the apostles; but never that I heard in the science of astrology: and why this day should therefore be a standing almanac to the world, rather than the day of any other saint,
will be pretty hard to find out.” In an ancient Itomish calendar, much used by Brand, the vigil of St. Paul is called “Dies A.gyptiacus;” and he confesses his ignorance of any reason for calling it “an Egyptian-day." Mr. Fosbroke exlains, from a passage in Ducange, that it was so called because there were two unlucky days in every month, and St. Paul's vigil was one of the two in January. Dr. Forster notes, that the festival of the conversion of St. Paul has always been reckoned ominous of the future weather of the year, in various countries remote from each other. According to Schenkius, cited by Brand, it was a custom in many parts of Germany, to drag the images of St. Paul and St. Urban to the river, if there was foul weather on their festival.
St. Paul's day being the first festival of an apostle in the year, it is an opportunity for alluding to the old, ancient, English custom, with sponsors, or visitors at christenings, of presenting spoons, called apostle-spoons, because the figures of the twelve apostles were chased, or carved on the tops of the handles. Brand cites several authors to testify of the practice. Persons who could afford it gave the set of twelve; others a smaller number, and a poor person offered the gift of one, with the figure of the saint after whom the child was named, or to whom the child was dedicated, or who was the patron saint of the good-natured donor.
Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew Fair, has a character, saying, “And all this for the hope of a couple of apostle-spoons, and a cup to eat caudle in.” In the Chaste Maid of Cheapside, by Middleton, “Gossip" inquires, “What has he given her What is it, Gossip !" Whereto the answer of another “Gossip” is, “A faire high-standing cup, and two great 'postlespoons—one of them gilt.” Beaumont and Fletcher, likewise, in the Noble Gentleman, say:
“I’ll be a Gossip. Bewford, I have an odd apostle-spoon." The rarity and antiquity of apostlespoons render them of considerable value as curiosities. A complete set of twelve is represented in the sketch on the opposite page, from a set of the spoons themselves on the writer's table