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schemes of the company, that it was found necessary to increase its capital stock to nearly $60,000,000, with shares set at a par value of $500.
The Bank of England, fearful of the rapidly-growing power of the South Sea Company, made a similar proposition to the Government, offering as a premium $15,000,000. This offer was more than doubled by the South Sea Company. Under the wing of even royalty itself, and with emissaries and agents in every quarter promulgatiug the most fabulous stories, backed up by the free use of money and presents of stock, the corporation had their offer accepted in both Houses of Parliament, by a vote of 83 to 17 in the House of Lords and 172 to 55 in the Commons. So well were the plans laid, and so general was the desire for speculation, that the shares of the company were eagerly sought after at $1,500 per share. On the 14th day of April, 1720, subscription books were opened to the public, of $10,000,000 of stock at $1,500 per share, and was almost immediately taken, with $1,000,000 more before the books were closed. On the 30th of April of the same month and year, a further amount of $5,000,000 was offered at $2,000 per share, and the amount taken in a few days, and $2,500,000 in addition. As an illustration of greed and infatuation of a speculative people, hoodwinked by stories only found in sober moments in the 'Arabian Nights" and tales of like ilk, history furnishes but few equals. Rich and poor alike parted with the most substantial securities, many leaving them in the hands of the company to secure a preference of shares, without limit as to price. The stock rose rapidly to $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, with many fluctuations, and reached the top figure of $5,000 per share, equal to $300,000,000—when the bubble burst. It gradually leaked out that the chairman of the company, Sir John Blunt, a man of low origin but extraordinary financial ability, and one of the chief projectors of the scheme, together with the favored few having the management of its affairs, were selling out. The ruin and desolation that followed—the disappointment, rage and desire for revenge of the deluded ones—turned all England into a chaos of financial distress.
Parliament was convened, and measures immediately taken for the punishment of the schemers, who, but a little while back, were lauded as the kings of finance. Many of the leaders were arrested and imprisoned, and a fine of $10,000,000 imposed and collected, to be distributed among the deluded stockholders. The Bank of England and the East India Com*pany were induced to come to the rescue, they taking and sustaining millions, and easing down one of the greatest financial crashes in the history of any country. Enough of the stock and bonds of the company were secured, together with the fines imposed, to enable the Government to declare a dividend among the stockholders of nearly forty per cent, still leaving an immense sum to be carried and taken care of by the Government.
One hundred and twenty-five years after the incipiency of this scheme, I find the following in a financial statement of the funds of Great Britain:
South Sea Debt and Annuities.—This portion of the debt, amounting, on the 5th of January, 1836, to 10,144,584 pounds sterling, or $50,722,920 of our money, is all that now remains of the capital of the once famous, or rather infamous, South Sea Company. The company has, for a considerable time past, ceased to have anything to do with trade, so that the functions of the directors are wholly restricted to the transfer of the company's stock and the payment of the dividends on it, both of which operations are performed at the South Sea House, and not at the bank. The dividends of the old South Sea annuities are payable on the 5th of April and 10th of October; the dividends on the rest of the company's stock are payable on the 5th of January and 5th of July.
In 1727, three-fifths of the public debt of England was held by the South Sea Company—or about two hundred and seventeen millions, five hundred thousand dollars.
Call us not weeds, we are the flowers of the sea.
E. L. Avel1ne.
IN making a journey through these garden spots of the Pacific, for geographical reasons, it is assumed that our voyage commences at the Galapagos Islands; and that all longitudes are taken from Greenwich, east or west, as the case may be.
The Galapagos, some fifteen in number, lie on both sides of the equator, being about 600 miles westerly from the coast of Ecuador, to which republic they belong. Their area is 3,000. square miles, with a population of 4,000. The principal islands in the group are Albemarle, James, Chatam, Indefatigable, Hood, Charles and Narboro. Their curious geological formation, and evident volcanic origin, has given rise to much speculation on the part of scientists. There are to be seen in the group nearly 2,000 craters of extinct volcanoes, leaving one with the impression, that a permanent residence here, with the fear of an eruption continually before the mind, would not be pleasant. There is probably no place in the world, where turtles are so abundant, as at these islands. In their layingseason they literally swarm along the shores, and are hunted and slaughtered by thousands. An establishment or several of them, might be located here for catching and canning turtle, that would no doubt prove a great success, and is well worth the thought and enterprise of the commercial world.
THE MARQUESAS GROUP.
Leaving the Galapagos, we sail away west by south for the Marquesas Archipelago, discovered by Mendana in 1595. The islands in this group stand high above the level of the sea, some of the mountain peaks towering up in the clouds, while their steep and rugged sides, sweep down in many places to the waters edge.
They are thirty-five in number, situated between latitudes 7 deg. 53 min. and 10 deg. 30 min. south, and longitudes 138 deg. 43 min. and 140 deg. 44 min. west. The area of the whole group is something like 1200 square miles, with a population of 20,000 people.
We found the landings here very difficult, and were forced to lay off and on, quite a distance from , shore. Nuka-Hiva, the principal island, is about eighteen miles long from east to west, and ten miles wide. After several attempts we finally made a landing, and were very agreeably surprised at the great beauty and fertility of the lands back from the coast. Many of the valleys in the interior were one mass of tropical foliage, with the huts of the natives peeping here and there, from among the groves of cocoanut, bread fruit and orange trees. The natives, although kind and hospitable to our party to the last degree,