The Mississippi Bubble

A Scottish émigré became the most powerful man in the French government, and sold hundreds of thousands of shares in land holdings in the Mississippi Valley

The curious table shown opposite, with its montage of hand-painted scenes, commemorates a grand financial debacle in eighteenth-century France that was commonly known as the Mississippi Bubble. The bubble was blown by John Law, a native of Scotland whose brain worked like a computer and who for a couple of years was the most powerful man in the French government with the possible exception of the Duc d’Orléans, regent for the boy-king Louis XV. Read more »

I Soldiered With Charlie

Charlie and I first met under the most informal conditions imaginable—we were both stark naked. We were not alone in this, for with hundreds of others we were taking a physical examination for acceptance in the first officers’ training camp at Fort Myer, Virginia. The date was May 16, 1917. Read more »

Remme’s Great Ride

The thud of horses’ hoofs resounds through history, and occasionally a great ride is singled out for song or story—Paul Revere’s, Jack Jouett’s, and those fellows’ who brought the good news from Ghent to Aix, for instance. Louis Remme’s great ride was possibly more heroic than any of those, although it was not made for any lofty, altruistic purpose. It was made, quite simply, to save his fortune. We retell the story here as adapted from an account m the Portland Oregonian for February 12, 1882.Read more »

A Lion In The Street

How J. P. Morgan, like a “one-man Federal Reserve,” calmed the bankers and helped ease the Panic of 1907

On August 8, 1911, a committee of the House of Representatives was interrogating George W. Perkins, a former partner of the House of Morgan, about the control of the Morgan firm over the steel industry. Tempers matched the heat of the Washington weather as the questioning ranged over every aspect of the firm’s affairs. Time and again the witness and Chairman Augustus O. Stanley clashed—interrupting each other repeatedly, their voices rising.