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Gambling in france in all times , chapter 5, page 1

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Volume I Volume II

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz

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Casino Gambling in history

CHAPTER V. page 27

John Law, whom the French called _Jean Lass_, opened a gulf into
which half the nation eagerly poured its money. Fortunes were
made in a few days--in a few _HOURS_. Many were enriched
by merely lending their signatures. A sudden and horrible
revolution amazed the entire people--like the bursting of a bomb-
shell or an incendiary explosion. Six hundred thousand of the
best families, who had taken _PAPER_ on the faith of the
government, lost, together with their fortunes, their offices and
appointments, and were almost annihilated. Some of the stock-
jobbers escaped; others were compelled to disgorge their gains--
although they stoutly and, it must be admitted, consistently
appealed to the sanction of the court.

Oddly enough, whilst the government made all France play at this
John Law game--the most seductive and voracious that ever
existed--some thirty or forty persons were imprisoned for having
broken the laws enacted against games of chance!

It may be somewhat consolatory to know that the author of so much
calamity did not long enjoy his share of the infernal success--
the partition of a people's ruin. After extorting so many
millions, this famous gambler was reduced to the necessity of
selling his last diamond in order to raise money to gamble on.

This great catastrophe, the commotion of which was felt even
in Holland and in England, was the last sigh of true honour among
the French. Probity received a blow. Public morality was
abashed. More gaming houses than ever were opened, and then it
was that they received the name of _Enfers_, or `Hells,' by which
they were designated in England. `The greater number of those
who go to the watering-places,' writes a contemporary, `under the
pretext of health, only go after gamesters. In the States-
general it is less the interest of the people than the attraction
of terrible gambling, that brings together a portion of the
nobility. The nature of the play may be inferred from the name
of the place at which it takes place in one of the provinces--
namely, _Enfer_. This salon, so appropriately called, was in the
Hotel of the king's commissioners in Bretagne. I have been told
that a gentleman, to the great disgust of the noblemen present,
and even of the bankers, actually offered to stake his sword.

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