Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Law John

Law, John (1671-1729), the noted financier and company-promoter, was born at Edinburgh. The son in his early days was noted for his mathematical powers and his luck or skill in gambling. A visit to London led to his falling into debt and selling his estate of Lauriston to his mother, and terminated in a duel, a commuted death sentence, and an escape to the Continent, where he studied finance at Amsterdam. In 1700 he was in Scotland proposing a, Council of Trade and other economical measures, and his proposal for a State Bank with a large issue of paper gained him a reputation as a financier in London. For some years then he travelled on the Continent, gambling and proposing financial schemes. In 1716 the French Regent allowed him to start a bank and issue paper. The success of this was so great as to encourage him to put forth his "Mississippi Scheme" for the settlement of Louisiana; and, in spite of the jealousy of the Parliament, his bank became in 1718 the Royal Bank, and he had control of the Mint. The scheme flourished during 1719 and the early part of 1720, and great fortunes were won and lost in speculation; but the crash came, and Law had to fly the country, his property being confiscated. Declining an invitation from Peter the Great to St. Petersburg, he settled for some years in England, and finally died at Venice.