French Essays

In September 1717 the Regent of France, Philippe, duke of Orléans, fearing that the province would again drain his country's already bankrupt treasury, placed its fortunes into the hands of John Law, a Scottish investment banker.Seeking instant fortunes, peasants and nobles from all over France jammed the Rue Quincampoix, otherwise known as "The Street of Speculators," before the offices of the Mississippi Company in Paris.Nicholas de Fer, Les costes aux environs de la Riviere de Misisipi. Crozat gained a monopoly over all foreign and domestic trade, the right to appoint all local officials, permission to work all mines, title to all unoccupied lands, control over agricultural production and manufacture, and sole authority over the African slave trade.

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Already a vast empire, the French government and its highly centralized bureaucracy disfavored policies that would have nurtured the economic independence of its colonies. Although few settlers escaped the hardships, by far the sturdiest members were those who had accompanied Iberville from Canada. In an effort to instill vitality into Louisiana, King Louis XIV granted a proprietary charter on September 14, 1712, to the merchant and nobleman, Antoine Crozat.

Further, the French treasury, depleted by wars in Europe, was unable to finance adequately the Department of the Marine, which oversaw colonial operations. Louis XIV, King of France, Lettres Patentes du Roy, Qui permettent au Sieur Crozat Secretaire du Roy, de faire feul le Commerce dans toutes les Terres possedées par le Roy, & bornées par le nouveau Mexique & autres, 1712. The royal charter afforded Crozat exclusive control over all trading and commercial privileges within the colony for a 15-year period.

The colony could neither be governed adequately nor profited from.

Estimates placed Crozat's losses in Louisiana at just under 1 million French livres (about $1 billion).

Lured by promises of mines and gold, most of the early settlers made little effort to hunt or plant crops.

This 1701 mapby Nicholas de Fer depicts the colony in its infant stages, a period when Louisiana's settlers were neglected by the government and left entirely to their own resources. Since the earliest settlers were never furnished with adequate food supplies, they frequently resorted to scavenging for crabs, crayfish, and seeds of wild grasses. Few farms developed along the banks of the Mississippi or along the sandy coast.Investors mortgaged estates in an effort to purchase 100-par shares of John Law's stocks, which at one point were valued at 00 apiece.Only those few who had managed to turn their stock into solid value were saved from ruin.From its inception Louisiana faced an inauspicious existence. Disease, particularly yellow fever, diminished the community.Its fate was bound to the French economy during the last years of the reign of Louis XIV. Floods, storms, humidity, mosquitoes, and poisonous snakes added to the misery. Force Papers, Peter Force Collection, Series 8D, no. Having maintained direct control over its Mississippi colony for 13 unprofitable years, the French court held less than sanguine prospects for its future development.Unable to sustain the colony any longer, in August 1717 he petitioned the king and his ministers for release from his charter.Crozat's failure to turn Louisiana to his financial advantage once more made the colony a ward of the crown.Everywhere, domestic couplehood is emphasised as the happy way for women to live.Indeed, the only way to live." "Suddenly I’m the one that’s no longer 'normal.' My rolls of fat aren’t 'normal' because I’m not comparing them to the perfectly chiseled stomach of an extremely famous model, but to something a lot closer: the perfectly chiseled stomach of my third-floor neighbor, who I ~casually~ found on Instagram." You can also read this essay in Spanish.

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