financier and speculator, son of a goldsmith and banker, born at Edinburgh; was early noted for his calculating power; visiting London in 1691 he got into debt, sold his estate, killed a man in a duel, and escaped to Amsterdam, where he studied finance; came to Scotland with financial proposals for the Government in 1700, but they were refused, and he spent some years on the Continent as a gambling adventurer; in 1716 he and his brother William started a private bank in Paris, the success of which induced the Regent Orleans in 1718 to institute the "Royal Bank of France," with Law as director; next year he floated the "Mississippi Scheme" for the settlement of Louisiana, but after a show of success the scheme proved a bubble; he had to fly to Brussels, his property being confiscated; he died at Venice, poor, but scheming to the end (1671-1729).

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

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