The Darien Scheme

By FLETCHER, Andrew; et al, 1699 

A Defence of the Scots Settlement at Darien…

Social & Political
  • Author: FLETCHER, Andrew; et al
  • Publication place: Edinburgh
  • Publisher: Printed in the Year
  • Publication date: 1699.
  • Physical description: 5 works in 1 vol., small 4to (175 by 110mm) [8], 86, [2]pp., title creased with long vertical closed tear, errata to verso, dedication with pseudonym of Philo-Caledon at end, final leaf blank; [bound with] A defence of the Scots abdicating Darien, including an answer to the defence of the Scots settlement there, [variously attributed to James Hodges, Walter Harris and Archibald Foyer], n.p., 1700, [20], 60, 145–165, 167–168, [1]pp., texts continuous despite pagination; [bound with] An enquiry into the causes of the miscarriage of the Scots colony at Darien, or an answer to a libel… , [various attributions as above plus George Ridpath], Glasgow, 1700, [8, 112]pp.; [bound with] Observations upon Mr Johnson’s remarks, upon Dr. Sherlock’s book of non-resistance, [by William Sherlock?], 1689, [2], 21, [1], pp., closely trimmed at head affecting page numbers; [bound with] A reply to an unjust, and scandalous libel, intituled, A modest answer to Captain Smyth’s immodest memoirs of secret service… , by Matthew Smith, 1700 38 pp., some spotting and embrowning throughout, front f.e.p. with listed contents in an old hand, bound in half-calf over green marbled paper boards, spine in five compartments separated by raised bands, gilt, red morocco marble lettered in gilt.
  • Inventory reference: 1157

Notes

A rare collection of three works expounding the virtues of the newly formed Scots East-India Company, bound together with two contemporary works concerning the religious and political tensions in Britain at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called New Caledonia” on the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s. In practice the undertaking was marked by poor planning and leadership, lack of demand for trade goods, devastating epidemics of disease, and increasing shortage of food; it was finally abandoned after a siege by Spanish forces in April of 1700. As the Darien company was backed by about a quarter of the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left the nobles and landowners — who had suffered a run of bad harvests — almost completely ruined and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union of 1707. 

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