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usually known by the name of the projector, was born at Edinburgh, in

, usually known by the name of the projector, was born at Edinburgh, in April 1671; and on the death of his father, who was a goldsmith or banker, inherited a considerable estate, called Lauriston. He is said to have made some progress in polite literature, but his more favourite study was that of financial matters, banks, taxes, &c. and he was at the same time a man of pleasure, and distinguished by the appellation of Beau Law. Having visited London in 1694, his wit and accomplishments procured him admission into the first circles, and he became noted for his gallant attentions to the ladies. One of his intrigues having involved him in a quarrel with a Mr. Wilson, a duel took place, and Mr. Law killed his antagonist. He was then apprehended, and committed to the king’s-bench prison, from which he made his escape, and is supposed to have retired to the continent. In 1700, however, he returned to Edinburgh, as he appears in that year to have written his “Proposals and reasons for constituting a Council of Trade,” which, although it met with no encouragement from the supremo judicature of the kingdom, procured him the patronage of some noblemen, under which he was induced in 1705, to publish another plan for removing the difficulties the kingdom was then, exposed to by the great scarcity of money, and the insolvency of the bank. The object of his plan was to issue notes, which were to be lent on landed property, upon the principle, that being so secured, they would be equal in value to gold and silver money of the same denomination, and even preferred to those metals, as not being liable to fall in value like them. This plausible scheme being also rejected as an improper expedient, Mr. Law now abandoned his native country, and went to Holland, on purpose to improve himself in that great school of banking and finance. He aftewards resided at Brussels, where his profound skill in calculation is said to have contributed to his extraordinary success at play.