LAW, John.

Autograph letter signed to an unnamed "Monsieur", thanking him for his good wishes upon his appointment as Contrôleur general of finance.

Paris: 14 January 1720 Stock Code: 114640

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A fine example of the famous speculator John Law's signature, appended to an autograph letter, written in a neat cursive secretarial hand, to an unknown "Monsieur", thanking him for his complimentary letter following Law's appointment to the post of controller-general of finance of France.

"Monsieur, je reçois avec beaucoup de plaisir votre compliment sur la charge dont il a plu au Roy de m'honorer. Comme je suis persuadé de la verité de vos sentimens; je vous prie de l'estre aussi de celle aux la quelle je suis, Monsieur, Votre tres humble et tres affectué Serviteur, Law."

On 5 January 1720, John Law was appointed controller-general of the finances of France and "in April received the more prestigious title of superintendent (surintendant des finances, a title not used since 1661 and never again to be used in France). In the course of April and May 1720 he was effectively chief minister and minister of finance, a sort of latter-day Cardinal Mazarin and Nicolas Fouquet combined; but on 27 May, the first crisis of his 'financial system', he was temporarily dismissed from office and threatened with imprisonment in the Bastille in Paris. Yet the eclipse was only brief: he returned to office on 2 June with the additional responsibilities of the superintendence of French commerce, the director-generalship of the Banque Royale, and a councillorship of state with a seat in the council of regency. With the collapse of his system Law was forced to offer his resignation on 9 December 1720, and he went into exile abroad, first to the Austrian Netherlands on 17 or 18 December. He returned to England, though his time there was not untroubled. The death of the régent in 1723 wrecked his hopes for a restoration in France and he moved on to Italy two years later with a commission from the king of England to any other prince or state 'not for use but for protection' (DNB). He died from pneumonia at Venice in comparative poverty on 21 March 1729, having received the Catholic last rites. The collapse of his system had brought down his own personal finances, which though very considerable in 1720 (a letter from Law to the régent, dated 1 March 1721, talked of his shareholdings at that time being worth nearly 100 millions) had been inflated by paper assets which in the end proved worthless." (ODNB).

Docketed in the top left hand corner "M. Law. Remercimens du comp.s fait au sujet du controle general".

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Single folio sheet (317 x 207 mm). Sometime folded, preserved in a custom made chemise and slipcase.


Docketed in the upper left hand corner. Lightly spotted, a few small marginal chips; in very good condition.


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