November 1 1695
Bank of Scotland founded by an Act of the Scottish Parliament.
Today in 1695, Scotland made a serious bid to enter the lucrative English sea-trading
market. 'The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies' issued a
subscription list to stockholders in London. Later known as 'The Darien Company,'
£300,000 sterling was quickly raised, but London merchants saw it as a threat to their own
East India Company. They put pressure on the King, and the English subscriptions were
withdrawn at the behest of their government. Within a year, thanks mainly to the
enthusiasm of a misguided company director, Scottish subscriptions brought the capital
back up to £400,000 sterling, a considerable proportion of Scotland's entire wealth.
This was the beginning of the ill-fated Darien affair: all the capital was spent, as ships
and many lives were lost in a series of disastrous expeditions to a malaria-infested
colony on the Panama coast
The novelist and politician Naomi Mitchison was born in Edinburgh on this day in 1897. A
prolific and popular writer, she wrote socially relevant fiction in genres as diverse as
the historical novel and science fiction. Her brother was JBS Haldane, the pioneering
geneticist. Politically active from her Carradale home on the Mull of Kintyre, she was a
lifelong Socialist, Scottish Nationalist and campaigner for women's issues. She died
aged 101 in 1999
Joe Boyd Williams SRT
Cape Carancahua, Texas