The South Sea Company (officially The Governor and Company of the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the South Seas and other parts of America, and for the encouragement of fishing) was a British joint-stock company founded in 1711, created as a public-private partnership to consolidate and reduce the cost of national debt. The company was also granted a monopoly to trade with South America and nearby islands, hence its name (the modern use of the term "South Seas" to refer to the entire South Pacific was unknown in England at the time). When the company was created, Britain was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession and Spain controlled South America. There was no realistic prospect that trade would take place, and the company never realised any significant profit from its monopoly. Company stock rose greatly in value as it expanded its operations dealing in government debt, peaking in 1720 before collapsing to little above its original flotation price; the economic bubble became known as the South Sea Bubble.
In Great Britain, a considerable number of people were ruined by the share collapse, and the national economy greatly reduced as a result. The founders of the scheme engaged in insider trading, using their advance knowledge of when national debt was to be consolidated to make large profits from purchasing debt in advance. Huge bribes were given to politicians to support the Acts of Parliament necessary for the scheme. Company money was used to deal in its own shares, and selected individuals purchasing shares were given loans backed by those same shares to spend on purchasing more shares. The expectation of profits from trade with South America was used to encourage the public to purchase shares, but the bubble prices reached far beyond the profits of the slave trade.
A parliamentary inquiry was held after the crash to discover its causes. A number of politicians were disgraced, and people found to have profited unlawfully from the company had assets confiscated proportionate to their gains (most had already been rich men and remained so). The company was restructured and continued to operate for more than a century after the Bubble. The headquarters were in Threadneedle Street, at the centre of the financial district in London. At the time of these events, the Bank of England was also a private company dealing in national debt, and the crash of its rival consolidated its position as banker to the British government..
|South Sea Company|
In August 1710 Robert Harley was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in a government of commission. The government at this time had become reliant on the Bank of England. This was a privately owned company, chartered 16 years previously, which had obtained a monopoly as the lender to Westminster, in return for arranging and managing loans to the government. The government had become dissatisfied with the service it was receiving and Harley was actively seeking new ways to improve the national finances.
A new Parliament met in November 1710 with a resolve to attend to national finances, which were suffering significantly from two simultaneous wars: the war with France, which ended in 1713, and the Great Northern War, which was not to end until 1721. Harley came prepared, with detailed accounts of the situation of the national debt, which was customarily a piecemeal affair, with different government departments arranging their own loans as the need arose. He released the information steadily, continually adding new reports of debts incurred and scandalous expenditure, until in January 1711 the House of Commons agreed to appoint a committee to investigate the entire debt. The committee included Harley himself; the two Auditors of the Imprests, whose task was to investigate government spending; Harley's brother Edward; and Paul Foley, his brother-in-law. Also included were the Secretary of the Treasury, William Lowndes, who had had significant responsibility for reminting the entire debased British coinage in 1696; and John Aislabie who represented the October Club, a group of around 200 MPs who had agreed to vote together.
Harley's first concern was to find £300,000 for the next quarter's pay for the British army operating in Europe under Marlborough. This was provided by a private consortium of Edward Gibbon, George Caswall and Hoare's Bank. The Bank of England had been operating a state lottery on behalf of the government, but this had not been particularly successful in 1710, and another had already begun in 1711. This too was performing poorly, so Harley granted authority to sell tickets to John Blunt, a director of the Hollow Sword Blade Company, which despite its name was an unofficial bank. With sales commencing on 3 March 1711, tickets had completely sold out by the 7th. This was the first truly successful English state lottery.
The success was shortly followed by another, larger, lottery, "The Two Million Adventure" or "The Classis", with tickets costing £100, a top prize of £20,000 and every ticket winning a prize of at least £10. Although prizes were advertised by their total amount, they were paid in the form of a fixed annuity over a period of years, so that the government effectively held the prize money as a loan until it was paid out to the winners. Marketing was handled by members of the Sword Blade syndicate, Gibbon selling £200,000 of tickets and earning £4,500 commission, and Blunt selling £993,000. Charles Blunt (a relative) was made Paymaster of the lottery with expenses of £5,000.
The national debt investigation had concluded that a total of £9,000,000 was owed, without any allocated income to pay it off. Edward Harley and John Blunt together had devised a scheme to consolidate this debt in much the same way that the Bank of England had consolidated previous debts, although the Bank still held the monopoly on operating as a bank. All holders of the debt would be required to surrender it to a new company, the South Sea Company, which in return would issue shares to the same amount. The government would pay the company £568,279 10s 0d (6% interest plus expenses) annually, which would be distributed as a dividend to shareholders. The company was also given a monopoly to trade with South America, a potentially lucrative enterprise, but one controlled by Spain, with whom Britain was at war.
At that time, when continental America was being explored and colonized, Europeans applied the term "South Seas" only to South America and surrounding waters. The concession both held out the potential for future profits and encouraged a desire for an end to the war, necessary if any profits were to be made. The original suggestion for the South Sea scheme came from William Paterson, one of the founders of the Bank of England and the financially disastrous Darien Scheme.
Harley was rewarded for the scheme by being created Earl of Oxford on 23 May 1711, and was promoted to Lord High Treasurer. With a more secure position, he began secret peace negotiations with France. Commercially, since the lotteries were discredited, some of the debt intended to be consolidated under the scheme was available in the open market before the scheme was announced, at a discounted rate of £55 per £100 nominal value. This allowed anyone with advance knowledge to buy debt cheap and sell at an immediate profit, and made it possible for Harley to bring further financial supporters into the scheme, such as James Bateman and Theodore Janssen.
Unless the Spaniards are to be divested of common sense, infatuate, and given up, abandoning their own commerce, throwing away the only valuable stake they have left in the world, and in short, bent on their own ruin, we cannot suggest that they will ever, on any consideration, or for any equivalent, part with so valuable, indeed so inestimable a jewel, as the exclusive trade to their own plantations.
The originators of the scheme knew that there was no money to invest in a trading venture, and no realistic expectation that there would ever be a trade to exploit, but the potential for great wealth was widely publicised at every opportunity, so as to encourage interest in the scheme. The objective for the founders was to create a company which they could use to become wealthy, and which offered future scope for further government deals.
The Charter for the company was drawn up by Blunt, based on that of the Bank of England. Blunt was paid £3,846 for his services in setting up the company. Directors would be elected every three years and shareholders would meet twice a year. The company employed a Cashier, Secretary and Accountant. The Governor was intended to be an honorary position, and the position was later customarily held by the ruling monarch. The charter allowed the full court of directors to nominate a smaller committee to act on any matter on its behalf. Directors of the Bank of England and of the East India Company were disbarred from being a director of the South Sea Company. Any ship of more than 500 tons owned by the company was to have a Church of England clergyman on board.
The exchange of government debt for stock was to occur in five separate lots. The first two of these, totaling £2.75 million from about 200 large investors, had already been arranged before the company's charter was issued on 10 September 1711. The government itself exchanged £0.75 million of its own debt held by different departments (at this time, individual office holders were responsible for money in their charge, and were at liberty to invest it to their own advantage before it was required). Harley exchanged £8,000 of debt and was appointed Governor of the new company. Blunt, Caswall and Sawbridge together provided £65,000, Janssen £25,000 of his own plus £250,000 from a foreign consortium, Decker £49,000, Sir Ambrose Crawley £36,791. The company had a Sub-Governor, Bateman; a Deputy Governor, Ongley; and 30 ordinary directors. In total, nine of the directors were politicians, five were members of the Sword Blade consortium, and seven more were financial magnates who had been attracted to the scheme.
The company created a coat of arms with the motto A Gadibus usque ad Auroram ("from Cadiz to the dawn") and rented a large house in the City as its headquarters. Seven sub-committees were created to handle its everyday business, the most important being the "Committee for the affairs of the company". The Sword Blade company was retained as their banker and on the strength of its new government connections issued notes in its own right, notwithstanding the Bank of England monopoly. The task of the Company Secretary was to oversee trading activities; the Accountant, Grigsby, was responsible for registering and issuing stock; and the Cashier, Robert Knight, acted as Blunt's personal assistant at a salary of £200 per year.
The Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 granted Britain an Asiento lasting 30 years to supply the Spanish colonies with 4,800 slaves per year. Britain was permitted to open offices in Buenos Aires, Caracas, Cartagena, Havana, Panama, Portobello and Vera Cruz to arrange the Atlantic slave trade. One ship of no more than 500 tons could be sent to one of these places each year (the Navío de Permiso) with general trade goods. One quarter of the profits were to be reserved for the King of Spain. There was provision for two extra sailings at the start of the contract. The Asiento was granted in the name of Queen Anne and then contracted to the company.
By July the company had arranged contracts with the Royal African Company to supply the necessary African slaves to Jamaica. Ten pounds was paid for a slave aged over 16, £8 for one under 16 but over 10. Two-thirds were to be male, and 90% adult. The company trans-shipped 1,230 slaves from Jamaica to America in the first year, plus any that might have been added (against standing instructions) by the ship's captains on their own behalf. On arrival of the first cargoes, the local authorities refused to accept the Asiento, which had still not been officially confirmed there by the Spanish authorities. The slaves were eventually sold at a loss in the West Indies.
In 1714 the government announced that a quarter of profits would be reserved for the Queen and a further 7.5% for a financial advisor, Manasseh Gilligan. Some Company board members refused to accept the contract on these terms, and the government was obliged to reverse its decision.
Despite these setbacks, the company continued, having raised £200,000 to finance the operations. In 1714 2,680 slaves were carried, and for 1716–17, 13,000 more, but the trade continued to be unprofitable. An import duty of 33 pieces of eight was charged on each slave (although for this purpose some slaves might be counted only as a fraction of a slave, depending on quality). One of the extra trade ships was sent to Cartagena in 1714 carrying woollen goods, despite warnings that there was no market for them there, and they remained unsold for two years.
The company was heavily dependent on the goodwill of government; when the government changed, so too did the company board. In 1714 one of the directors who had been sponsored by Harley, Arthur Moore, had attempted to send 60 tons of private goods on board the company ship. He was dismissed as a director, but the result was the beginning of Harley's fall from favour with the company. On 27 July 1714, Harley was replaced as Lord High Treasurer as a result of a disagreement that had broken out within the Tory faction in parliament. Queen Anne died on 1 August 1714; and at the election of directors in 1715 the Prince of Wales (the future King George II) was elected as Governor of the Company. The new King George I and the Prince of Wales both had significant holdings in the company, as did some prominent Whig politicians, including James Craggs the Elder, the Earl of Halifax and Sir Joseph Jekyll. James Craggs, as Postmaster General, was responsible for intercepting mail on behalf of the government to obtain political and financial information. All Tory politicians were removed from the board and replaced with businessmen. The Whigs Horatio Townshend, brother in law of Robert Walpole, and the Duke of Argyll were elected directors.
The new government led to a revival of the company's share value, which had fallen below its issue price. The previous government had failed to make the interest payments to the company for the last two years, owing more than £1 million. The new administration insisted the debt be written off, but allowed the company to issue new shares to stockholders to the value of the missed payments. At around £10 million, this now represented half the share capital issued in the entire country. In 1714 the company had 2,000 to 3,000 shareholders, more than either of its rivals.
By the time of the next directors' elections in 1718 politics had changed again, with a schism within the Whigs between Walpole's faction supporting the Prince of Wales and James Stanhope's supporting the King. Argyll and Townshend were dismissed as directors, as were surviving Tories Sir Richard Hoare and George Pitt, and King George I became governor. Four MPs remained directors, as did six people holding government financial offices. The Sword Blade Company remained bankers to the South Sea, and indeed had flourished despite the company's dubious legal position. Blunt and Sawbridge remained South Sea directors, and they had been joined by Gibbon and Child. Caswall had retired as a South Sea director to concentrate on the Sword Blade business. In November 1718 Sub-Governor Bateman and Deputy Governor Shepheard both died. Leaving aside the honorary position of Governor, this left the company suddenly without its two most senior and experienced directors. They were replaced by Sir John Fellowes as Sub-Governor and Charles Joye as Deputy.
In 1718 war broke out with Spain once again, in the War of the Quadruple Alliance. The company's assets in South America were seized, which the company claimed cost it £300,000. Any prospect of profit from trade, for which the company had purchased ships and had been planning its next ventures, disappeared.
Events in France now came to influence the future of the company. A Scottish economist and financier, John Law, exiled after killing a man in a duel, had travelled around Europe before settling in France. There he founded a bank, which in December 1718 became the Banque Royale, national bank of France, while Law himself was granted sweeping powers to control the economy of France, which operated largely by royal decree. Law's remarkable success was known in financial circles throughout Europe, and now came to inspire Blunt and his associates to make greater efforts to grow their own concerns.
In February 1719 Craggs explained to the House of Commons a new scheme for improving the national debt by converting the annuities issued after the 1710 lottery into South Sea stock. By Act of Parliament, the company was granted the right to issue £1,150 of new stock for every £100 per annum of annuity which was surrendered. The government would pay 5% per annum on the stock created, which would halve their annual bill. The conversion was voluntary, amounting to £2.5 million new stock if all converted. The company was to make an additional new loan to the government pro-rata up to £750,000, again at 5%.
The South Sea company presented the offer to the public in July 1719. In March there was an abortive attempt to restore the Old Pretender, James Edward Stuart, to the throne of Britain, with a small landing of troops in Scotland. They were defeated at the Battle of Glen Shiel on 10 June. The Sword Blade company spread a rumour that the Pretender had been captured, and the general euphoria encouraged the South Sea share price to rise from £100, where it had been in the spring, to £114. Annuitants were still paid out at the same money value of shares, the company keeping the profit from the rise in value before issuing. About two-thirds of the in-force annuities were exchanged.
The 1719 scheme was a distinct success from the government's perspective, and they sought to repeat it. Negotiations took place between Aislabie and Craggs for the government and Blunt, Cashier Knight and his assistant and Caswell. Janssen, the Sub Governor and Deputy Governor were also consulted but negotiations remained secret from most of the company. News from France was of fortunes being made investing in Law's bank, whose shares had risen sharply. Money was moving around Europe, and other flotations threatened to soak up available capital (two insurance schemes in December 1719 each sought to raise £3 million).
Plans were made for a new scheme to take over most of the unconsolidated national debt of Britain (£30,981,712) in exchange for company shares. Annuities were valued as a lump sum necessary to produce the annual income over the original term at an assumed interest of 5%, which favoured those with shorter terms still to run. The government agreed to pay the same amount to the company for all the fixed term repayable debt as it had been paying before, but after seven years the 5% interest rate would fall to 4% on both the new annuity debt and also that taken over previously. After the first year, the company was to give the government £3 million in four quarterly installments. New stock would be created at a face value equal to the debt, but the share price was still rising and sales of the remaining stock, i.e. the excess of the total market value of the stock over the amount of the debt, would be used to raise the government fee plus a profit for the company. The more the price rose in advance of conversion, the more the company would make. Before the scheme, payments were costing the government £1.5 million per year.
In summary, the total government debt in 1719 was £50 million:
The purpose of this conversion was similar to the old one: debt holders and annuitants might receive less return in total, but an illiquid investment was transformed into shares which could be readily traded. Shares backed by national debt were considered a safe investment and a convenient way to hold and move money: far easier and safer than metal coins. The only alternative safe asset, land, was much harder to sell and it was legally much more complex to transfer ownership.
The government received a cash payment and lower overall interest on the debt. Importantly, it also gained control over when the debt had to be repaid, which was not before seven years but then at its discretion. This avoided the risk that debt might become repayable at some future point just when the government needed to borrow more, and could be forced into paying higher interest rates. The payment to the government was to be used to buy in any debt not subscribed to the scheme, which although it helped the government also helped the company by removing possibly competing securities from the market, including large holdings by the Bank of England.
Company stock was now trading at £123, so the issue amounted to an injection of £5 million of new money into a booming economy just as interest rates were falling. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Britain at this point was estimated as £64.4 million.
On 21 January the plan was presented to the board of the South Sea Company, and on 22 January Chancellor of the Exchequer John Aislabie presented it to Parliament. The House was stunned into silence, but on recovering proposed that the Bank of England should be invited to make a better offer. In response, the South Sea increased its cash payment to £3.5 million, while the Bank proposed to undertake the conversion with a payment of £5.5 million and a fixed conversion price of £170 per £100 face value Bank stock. On 1 February, the company negotiators led by Blunt raised their offer to £4 million plus a proportion of £3.5 million depending on how much of the debt was converted. They also agreed that the interest rate would reduce after four years instead of seven, and agreed to sell on behalf of the government £1 million of Exchequer bills (formerly handled by the Bank). The House accepted the South Sea offer. Bank stock fell sharply.
Perhaps the first sign of difficulty came when the South Sea Company announced that its Christmas 1719 dividend would be deferred for 12 months. The company now embarked on a show of gratitude to its friends. Select individuals were sold a parcel of company stock at the current price. The transactions were recorded by Knight in the names of intermediaries, but no payments were received and no stock issued – indeed the company had none to issue until the conversion of debt began. The individual received an option to sell his stock back to the company at any future date at whatever market price might then apply. Shares went to the Craggs: the Elder and the Younger; Lord Gower; Lord Lansdowne; and four other MPs. Lord Sunderland would gain £500 for every pound that stock rose; George I's mistress, their children and Countess Platen £120 per pound rise, Aislabie £200 per pound, Lord Stanhope £600 per pound. Others invested money, including the Treasurer to the Navy, Hampden, who invested £25,000 of government money on his own behalf.
The proposal was accepted in a slightly altered form in April 1720. Crucial in this conversion was the proportion of holders of irredeemable annuities who could be tempted to convert their securities at a high price for the new shares. (Holders of redeemable debt had effectively no other choice but to subscribe.) The South Sea Company could set the conversion price but could not diverge much from the market price of its shares. The company ultimately acquired 85% of the redeemables and 80% of the irredeemables.
The company then set to talking up its stock with "the most extravagant rumours" of the value of its potential trade in the New World; this was followed by a wave of "speculating frenzy". The share price had risen from the time the scheme was proposed: from £128 in January 1720, to £175 in February, £330 in March and, following the scheme's acceptance, £550 at the end of May.
What may have supported the company's high multiples (its P/E ratio) was a fund of credit (known to the market) of £70 million available for commercial expansion which had been made available through substantial support, apparently, by Parliament and the King.
Shares in the company were "sold" to politicians at the current market price; however, rather than paying for the shares, these recipients simply held on to what shares they had been offered, with the option of selling them back to the company when and as they chose, receiving as "profit" the increase in market price. This method, while winning over the heads of government, the King's mistress, et al., also had the advantage of binding their interests to the interests of the Company: in order to secure their own profits, they had to help drive up the stock. Meanwhile, by publicising the names of their elite stockholders, the Company managed to clothe itself in an aura of legitimacy, which attracted and kept other buyers.
The South Sea Company was by no means the only company seeking to raise money from investors in 1720. A large number of other joint-stock companies had been created making extravagant (sometimes fraudulent) claims about foreign or other ventures or bizarre schemes. Others represented potentially sound, although novel, schemes, such as for founding insurance companies. These were nicknamed "Bubbles". Some of the companies had no legal basis, while others, such as the Hollow Sword Blade company acting as the South Sea's banker, used existing chartered companies for purposes entirely different from their creation. The York Buildings Company was set up to provide water to London, but was purchased by Case Billingsley who used it to purchase confiscated Jacobite estates in Scotland, which then formed the assets of an insurance company.
On 22 February 1720 John Hungerford raised the question of bubble companies in the House of Commons, and persuaded the House to set up a committee, which he chaired, to investigate. He identified a number of companies which between them sought to raise £40 million in capital. The committee investigated the companies, establishing a principle that companies should not be operating outside the objects specified in their charters. A potential embarrassment for the South Sea was avoided when the question of the Hollow Sword Blade Company arose. Difficulty was avoided by flooding the committee with MPs who were supporters of the South Sea, and voting down the proposal to investigate the Hollow Sword by 75 to 25. (At this time, committees of the House were either 'Open' or 'secret'. A secret committee was one with a fixed set of members who could vote on its proceedings. By contrast, any MP could join in with an 'open' committee and vote on its proceedings.) Stanhope, who was a member of the committee, received £50,000 of the 'resaleable' South Sea stock from Sawbridge, a director of the Hollow Sword, at about this time. Hungerford had previously been expelled from the Commons for accepting a bribe.
Amongst the bubble companies investigated were two supported by Lords Onslow and Chetwynd respectively, for insuring shipping. These were criticised heavily, and the questionable dealings of the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General in trying to obtain charters for the companies led to both being replaced. However, the schemes had the support of Walpole and Craggs, so that the larger part of the Bubble Act (which finally resulted in June 1720 from the committee's investigations) was devoted to creating charters for the Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation and the London Assurance Corporation. The companies were required to pay £300,000 for the privilege. The Act required that a joint stock company could only be incorporated by Act of Parliament or Royal charter. The prohibition on unauthorised joint stock ventures was not repealed until 1825.
The passing of the Act gave a boost to the South Sea Company, its shares leaping to £890 in early June. This peak encouraged people to start to sell; to counterbalance this the company's directors ordered their agents to buy, which succeeded in propping the price up at around £750.
The price of the stock went up over the course of a single year from about £100 to almost £1000 per share. Its success caused a country-wide frenzy—herd behavior—as all types of people, from peasants to lords, developed a feverish interest in investing: in South Seas primarily, but in stocks generally. Among the many companies to go public in 1720 is—famously—one that advertised itself as "a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is".
The price finally reached £1,000 in early August, and the level of selling was such that the price started to fall, dropping back to £100 per share before the year was out. This triggered bankruptcies amongst those who had bought on credit, and increased selling, even short selling (i.e., selling borrowed shares in the hope of buying them back at a profit if the price fell).
Also, in August 1720, the first of the installment payments of the first and second money subscriptions on new issues of South Sea stock were due. Earlier in the year John Blunt had come up with an idea to prop up the share price: the company would lend people money to buy its shares. As a result, many shareholders could not pay for their shares except by selling them.
Furthermore, a scramble for liquidity appeared internationally as "bubbles" were also ending in Amsterdam and Paris. The collapse coincided with the fall of the Mississippi Company of John Law in France. As a result, the price of South Sea shares began to decline.
By the end of September the stock had fallen to £150. Company failures now extended to banks and goldsmiths, as they could not collect loans made on the stock, and thousands of individuals were ruined, including many members of the aristocracy. With investors outraged, Parliament was recalled in December and an investigation began. Reporting in 1721, it revealed widespread fraud amongst the company directors and corruption in the Cabinet. Among those implicated were John Aislabie (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), James Craggs the Elder (the Postmaster General), James Craggs the Younger (the Southern Secretary), and even Lord Stanhope and Lord Sunderland (the heads of the Ministry). Craggs the Elder and Craggs the Younger both died in disgrace; the remainder were impeached for their corruption. The Commons found Aislabie guilty of the "most notorious, dangerous and infamous corruption", and he was imprisoned.
The newly appointed First Lord of the Treasury, Robert Walpole, successfully restored public confidence in the financial system. However, public opinion, as shaped by the many prominent men who lost money, demanded revenge. Walpole supervised the process, which removed all 33 of the company directors and stripped them of, on average, 82% of their wealth. The money went to the victims and the stock of the South Sea Company was divided between the Bank of England and the East India Company. Walpole made sure that King George and his mistresses were protected, and by a margin of three votes he managed to save several key government officials from impeachment. In the process, Walpole won plaudits as the savior of the financial system while establishing himself as the dominant figure in British politics; historians credit him for rescuing the Whig government, and indeed the Hanoverian Dynasty, from total disgrace.
Joseph Spence wrote that Lord Radnor reported to him "When Sir Isaac Newton was asked about the continuance of the rising of South Sea stock... He answered 'that he could not calculate the madness of people'." He is also quoted as stating, "I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men". Newton himself owned nearly £22,000 in South Sea stock in 1722, but it is not known how much he lost, if anything.
The South Sea Company was created in 1711 to reduce the size of public debts, but was granted the commercial privilege of exclusive rights of trade to the Spanish Indies, based on the treaty of commerce signed by Britain and the Archduke Charles, candidate to the Spanish throne during the War of the Spanish Succession. After Philip V became the King of Spain, Britain obtained at the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht the rights to the slave trade to the Spanish Indies (or Asiento) for 30 years. Those rights were previously held by the Compagnie de Guinée et de l'Assiente du Royaume de la France.
The South Sea Company board opposed taking on the slave trade that had showed little profitability when chartered companies had engaged in it, but it was the only legal type of commerce with the Spanish Colonies as they were a closed market. To increase the profitability, the Asiento contract included the right to send one yearly 500 ton ship to the fairs at Portobello and Veracruz loaded with duty-free merchandises, called the Navío de Permiso. The Crown of England and the King of Spain were each entitled to 25% of the profits, according to the terms of the contract, that was a copy of the French Asiento contract, but Queen Anne soon renounced her share. The King of Spain did not receive any payments due to him, and this was one of the sources of contention between the Spanish Crown and the South Sea Company.
As was the case for previous holders of the Asiento, the Portuguese and the French, the profit was not in the slave trade but in the illegal contraband goods smuggled in the slave ships and in the annual ship. Those goods were sold at the Spanish colonies at a handsome price as they were in high demand and constituted unfair competition with taxed goods, proving an important drain on the Spanish Crown trade income. The relationship between the South Sea Company and the Government of Spain was always bad, and worsened with time. The Company complained of searches and seizures of goods, lack of profitability, and confiscation of properties during the wars between Britain and Spain of 1718–1723 and 1727–1729, during which the operations of the Company were suspended. The Government of Spain complained of the illegal trade, failure of the company to present its accounts as stipulated by the contract, and non-payment of the King's share of the profits. These claims were a major cause of deteriorating relations between the two countries in 1738; and although the Prime Minister Walpole opposed war, there was strong support for it from the King, the House of Commons, and a faction in his own Cabinet. Walpole was able to negotiate a treaty with the King of Spain at the Convention of Pardo in January 1739 that stipulated that Spain would pay British merchants £95,000 in compensation for captures and seized goods, while the South Sea Company would pay the Spanish Crown £68,000 in due proceeds from the Asiento. The South Sea Company refused to pay those proceeds and the King of Spain retained payment of the compensation until payment from the South Sea Company could be secured. The break up of relations between the South Sea Company and the Spanish Government was a prelude to the Guerra del Asiento, as the first Royal Navy fleets departed in July 1739 for the Caribbean, prior to the declaration of war, which lasted from October 1739 until 1748. This war is known as the War of Jenkins' Ear.
Under the Treaty of Tordesillas, Spain was the only European power that could not establish factories in Africa to purchase slaves. The slaves for the Spanish America were provided by companies that were granted exclusive rights to their trade. This monopoly contract was called the slave Asiento. Between 1701 and 1713 the Asiento contract was granted to France. In 1711 Britain had created the South Sea Company to reduce debt and to trade with the Spanish America, but that commerce was illegal without a permit from Spain, and the only existing permit was the Asiento for the slave trade, so at the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 Britain obtained the transfer of the Asiento contract from French to British hands for the next 30 years. The board of directors was reluctant to take on the slave trade that was not an object of the company and had shown little profitability when carried out by chartered companies, but they finally agreed on 26 March 1714. The Asiento set a sale quota of 4800 units of slaves per year. An adult male slave counted as one unit; females and children counted as fractions of a unit. Initially the slaves were provided by the Royal African Company.
The South Sea Company established slave reception factories at Cartagena, Colombia, Veracruz, Mexico, Panama, Portobello, La Guaira, Buenos Aires, La Havana and Santiago de Cuba, and slave deposits at Jamaica and Barbados. Despite problems with speculation, the South Sea Company was relatively successful at slave trading and meeting its quota (it was unusual for other, similarly chartered companies to fulfill their quotas). According to records compiled by David Eltis and others, during the course of 96 voyages in 25 years, the South Sea Company purchased 34,000 slaves, of whom 30,000 survived the voyage across the Atlantic. (Thus about 11% of the slaves died on the voyage: a relatively low mortality rate for the Middle Crossing.) The company persisted with the slave trade through two wars with Spain and the calamitous 1720 commercial bubble. The company's trade in human slavery peaked during the 1725 trading year, five years after the bubble burst. Between 1715 and 1739, slave trading constituted the main legal commercial activity of the South Sea Company.
The slave Asiento contract of 1713 granted a permit to send one vessel of 500 tons per year, loaded with duty-free merchandise to be sold at the fairs of New Spain, Cartagena, and Portobello. This was an unprecedented concession that broke two centuries of strict exclusion of foreign merchants from the Spanish Empire.
The first ship to head for the Americas, the Royal Prince, was scheduled for 1714 but was delayed until August 1716. In consideration of the three annual ships missed since the date of the Asiento, the permitted tonnage of the next ten ships was raised to 650. Actually only seven annual ships sailed during the Asiento, the last one being the Royal Caroline in 1732. The company's failure to produce accounts for all the annual ships but the first one, and lack of payment of the proceeds to the Spanish Crown from the profits for all the annual ships, resulted in no more permits being granted to the Company's ships after the Royal Caroline trip of 1732–1734.
In contrast to the legitimate trade in slaves, the regular trade of the annual ships generated healthy returns, in some case profits were over 100%. Accounts for the voyage of the Royal Prince were not presented until 1733, following continuous demands by Spanish officials. They reported that profits of £43,607. Since the King of Spain was entitled to 25% of the profits, after deducting interest on a loan he claimed £8,678. The South Sea Company never paid the amount due for the first annual ship to the Spanish Crown, nor did it pay any amount for any of the other six trips.
The Greenland Company had been established by Act of Parliament in 1693 with the object of catching whales in the Arctic. The products of their "whale-fishery" were to be free of Customs and other duties. Partly due to maritime disruption caused by wars with France, the Greenland Company failed financially within a few years. In 1722 Henry Elking published a proposal, directed at the governors of the South Sea Company, that they should resume the "Greenland Trade" and send ships to catch whales in the Arctic. He made very detailed suggestions about how the ships should be crewed and equipped.
The British Parliament confirmed that a British Arctic "whale-fishery" would continue to benefit from freedom from Customs duties, and in 1724 the South Sea Company decided to commence whaling. They had 12 whale-ships built on the River Thames and these went to the Greenland seas in 1725. Further ships were built in later years, but the venture was not successful. There were hardly any experienced whalemen remaining in Britain, and the Company had to engage Dutch and Danish whalemen for the key posts aboard their ships: for instance all commanding officers and harpooners were hired from the North Frisian island of Föhr. Other costs were badly controlled and the catches remained disappointingly few, even though the Company was sending up to 25 ships to Davis Strait and the Greenland seas in some years. By 1732 the Company had accumulated a net loss of £177,782 from their eight years of Arctic whaling.
The South Sea Company directors appealed to the British government for further support. Parliament had passed an Act in 1732 that extended the duty-free concessions for a further nine years. In 1733 an Act was passed that also granted a government subsidy to British Arctic whalers, the first in a long series of such Acts that continued and modified the whaling subsidies throughout the 18th century. This, and the subsequent Acts, required the whalers to meet conditions regarding the crewing and equipping of the whale-ships that closely resembled the conditions suggested by Elking in 1722. In spite of the extended duty-free concessions, and the prospect of real subsidies as well, the Court and Directors of the South Sea Company decided that they could not expect to make profits from Arctic whaling. They sent out no more whale-ships after the loss-making 1732 season.
The company continued its trade (when not interrupted by war) until the end of the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). However, its main function was always managing government debt, rather than trading with the Spanish colonies. The South Sea Company continued its management of the part of the National Debt until it was disestablished in 1853, at which point the debt was reconsolidated. The debt was not paid off by World War I, at which point it was consolidated again, under terms that allowed the government to avoid paying down the principal.
The armorials of the South Sea Company, according to a grant of arms dated 31 October 1711, were: Azure, a globe whereon are represented the Straits of Magellan and Cape Horn all proper and in sinister chief point two herrings haurient in saltire argent crowned or, in a canton the united arms of Great Britain. Crest: A ship of three masts in full sail. Supporters, dexter: The emblematic figure of Britannia, with the shield, lance etc all proper; sinister: A fisherman completely clothed, with cap boots fishing net etc and in his hand a string of fish, all proper.
The South Sea Company had a governor (generally an honorary position); a subgovernor; a deputy governor and 30 directors (reduced in 1753 to 21).
|July 1711||Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford||Sir James Bateman||Samuel Ongley|
|August 1712||Sir Ambrose Crowley|
|October 1713||Samuel Shepheard|
|February 1715||George, Prince of Wales|
|February 1718||King George I|
|November 1718||John Fellows|
|February 1719||Charles Joye|
|February 1721||Sir John Eyles, Bt||John Rudge|
|July 1727||King George II|
|February 1730||John Hanbury|
|February 1733||Sir Richard Hopkins||John Bristow|
|February 1735||Peter Burrell|
|March 1756||John Bristow||John Philipson|
|February 1756||Lewis Way|
|January 1760||King George III|
|February 1763||Lewis Way||Richard Jackson|
|March 1768||Thomas Coventry|
|January 1771||Thomas Coventry||vacant (?)|
|January 1772||John Warde|
|March 1775||Samuel Salt|
|January 1793||Benjamin Way||Robert Dorrell|
|February 1802||Peter Pierson|
|February 1808||Charles Bosanquet||Benjamin Harrison|
|1820||King George IV|
|January 1826||Sir Robert Baker|
|1830||King William IV|
|July 1837||Queen Victoria|
|January 1838||Charles Franks||Thomas Vigne|
David Liss' historical-mystery novel "A Conspiracy of Paper", set in 1720 London, is focused on the South Sea Company at the top of its power, its fierce rivalry with the Bank of England and the events leading up to the collapse of the "bubble".
Charles Dickens novels are littered with stock-market speculations, villains, swindlers and fictional speculators. Little Dorrit (1857) The financial house of Mr Merdle; Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) 'Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Company, modeled loosely on the South Sea Bubble,- is in essence a classic Ponzi scheme; Nicholas Nickleby (1839) Ralph Nickleby's great Joint Stock Company, United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company; David Copperfield (1850) the false accounting by the sycophant Uriah Heep, clerk to lawyer Mr Wickfield;
was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar, the 1720th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 720th year of the 2nd millennium, the 20th year of the 18th century, and the 1st year of the 1720s decade. As of the start of 1720, the Gregorian calendar was
11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.1720 in Great Britain
Events from the year 1720 in Great Britain.Adam Anderson (economist)
Adam Anderson (1692 or 1693 – 10 January 1765) was a Scottish economist. He was a clerk for forty years or more in South Sea House, the headquarters of the South Sea Company; at his death at Clerkenwell in 1765, he had risen to chief clerk for the Stock and New Annuities of the South Sea Company.His life's work, commonly known as Anderson's History of Commerce, was published shortly before his death. The long, actual title is An Historical and Chronological Deduction of the Origin of Commerce from the Earliest Accounts to the Present Time. The title page goes on to say: "Containing, an History of the great Commercial Interests of the British Empire. To which is prefixed, an Introduction, Exhibiting a View of the Ancient and Modern State of Europe; of the Importance of Our Colonies; and of the Commerce, Shipping, Manufactures, Fisheries, &c. of Great Britain and Ireland: and their Influence on the Landed Interest. With an Appendix, containing the Modern Politico-Commercial Geography of the several Countries of Europe."
The work was reissued with a somewhat shorter title in four folio volumes in 1787.The freemason James Anderson may have been his brother.Asiento
The asiento was the license issued by the Spanish crown, by which a set of merchants received the monopoly on a trade route or product. They were included in some peace treaties. An example of it was the payment of a fee, granting legal permission to sell a fixed number of enslaved Africans in the Spanish colonies. They were usually sold to foreigners, mainly Portuguese. They were also considered a tangible asset, comparable to tax farming, and a source of profit for the Spanish crown. The original impetus to import enslaved Africans was to relieve the indigenous inhabitants of the colonies from the labor demands of the Spanish colonists. Dutch merchants became involved in the slave trade. In 1713, the British were awarded the right to the asiento in the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. The British government passed its rights to the South Sea Company. The British asiento ended with the 1750 Treaty of Madrid between Great Britain and Spain.
In Spain the asientos of the Genoveses (enemies of the Crown of Aragon) and later of the so-called Marranos or Portuguese Jews stand out.
In many cases, intra-nationally, a seat in the form of financing in the case of economies of scale resulted in a chartered company, which was a commercial company whose activities enjoyed the protection of the State by means of a special privilege, which, although it did not always constitute a total monopoly. Its existence dates back to 14th century in Italy, highlighting the British East India Company, the Dutch West India Company or the Casa de la Contratación de Indias in Seville.Benjamin Way
Benjamin Way (1740–1808) of Denham Place was an English politician, Member of Parliament for Bridport in 1765.The son of Lewis Way F.R.S., director of the South Sea Company by his third wife Abigail, he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford in 1758. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, elected 1771, and of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He acted as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1777; was President of Guy's Hospital; and was Sub-Governor of the South Sea Company.Corporation
A corporation is an organization, usually a group of people or a company, authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. Early incorporated entities were established by charter (i.e. by an ad hoc act granted by a monarch or passed by a parliament or legislature). Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.
Corporations come in many different types but are usually divided by the law of the jurisdiction where they are chartered into two kinds: by whether they can issue stock or not, or by whether they are formed to make a profit or not. Corporations can be divided by the number of owners: corporation aggregate or corporation sole. The subject of this article is a corporation aggregate. A corporation sole is a legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.
Where local law distinguishes corporations by the ability to issue stock, corporations allowed to do so are referred to as "stock corporations", ownership of the corporation is through stock, and owners of stock are referred to as "stockholders" or "shareholders". Corporations not allowed to issue stock are referred to as "non-stock" corporations; those who are considered the owners of a non-stock corporation are persons (or other entities) who have obtained membership in the corporation and are referred to as a "member" of the corporation.
Corporations chartered in regions where they are distinguished by whether they are allowed to be for profit or not are referred to as "for profit" and "not-for-profit" corporations, respectively.
There is some overlap between stock/non-stock and for-profit/not-for-profit in that not-for-profit corporations are always non-stock as well. A for-profit corporation is almost always a stock corporation, but some for-profit corporations may choose to be non-stock. To simplify the explanation, whenever "Stockholder" or "shareholder" is used in the rest of this article to refer to a stock corporation, it is presumed to mean the same as "member" for a non-profit corporation or for a profit, non-stock corporation.
Registered corporations have legal personality and their shares are owned by shareholders whose liability is generally limited to their investment. Shareholders do not typically actively manage a corporation; shareholders instead elect or appoint a board of directors to control the corporation in a fiduciary capacity. In most circumstances, a shareholder may also serve as a director or officer of a corporation.
In American English, the word corporation is most often used to describe large business corporations. In British English and in the Commonwealth countries, the term company is more widely used to describe the same sort of entity while the word corporation encompasses all incorporated entities. In American English, the word company can include entities such as partnerships that would not be referred to as companies in British English as they are not a separate legal entity.
Late in the 19th century, a new form of company having the limited liability protections of a corporation, and the more favorable tax treatment of either a sole proprietorship or partnership was developed. While not a corporation, this new type of entity became very attractive as an alternative for corporations not needing to issue stock. In Germany, the organization was referred to as Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung or GmbH. In the last quarter of the 20th Century this new form of non-corporate organization became available in the United States and other countries, and was known as the limited liability company or LLC. Since the GmbH and LLC forms of organization are technically not corporations (even though they have many of the same features), they will not be discussed in this article.Francis Gashry
Francis Gashry (14 November 1702–1762) of Hollybush House, Parsons Green, London was a British official and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1741 to 1762.
Gashry was the son of Francis Gascherie, perfumer, of Lamb’s St, Stepney and his wife Susanna. Gashry’s parents both originated from La Rochelle, France and his father was naturalized in 1709 as ‘Gascherye’...Gashry was Inspector of the captains’ journals and secretary to Sir Charles Wager in 1737, when Wager was first Lord of the Admiralty and was himself commissioner for sick and hurt seamen. He continued in Wager’s service when Wager was assistant secretary to the Admiralty in 1738. Wager brought Gashry in as Member of Parliament for Aldeburgh at a by-election on 30 March 1741 and promoted him as a commissioner of the navy in 1741. At the 1741 British general election Gashry was returned unopposed as Wager’s candidate at East Looe on the interest of Edward Trelawny. In 1742 he appeared before a secret committee appointed to inquire into Walpole’s Administration to give evidence on the payment of secret service money during Wager’s election for Westminster in 1741. He was appointed comptroller of victualling accounts in 1744. In 1747 he resigned his office which, under the Place Act of 1742, was about to become incompatible with a seat in the Commons. At the 1747 British general election he was returned unopposed again for East Looe. When Trelawny went to Jamaica as governor, Gashry became the intermediary between the Government and the Trelawny family, and also personal agent for the governor.
Gashry married before 1747, Martha Bolton, widow of Charles Bolton, who was a nephew of Admiral Charles Wager. Through his wife, Gashry succeeded to manor of Rotherhithe, and to Kilmenath, near Looe, when Wager’s widow died in 1748. He became a director for the South Sea Company in 1749 and was appointed treasurer and paymaster of the Ordnance in 1751.Gashry was returned unopposed as MP for East Looe at the 1754 British general election. As director of the South Sea Company and Treasurer of the Ordnance, he was consulted by Newcastle on financial matters and subscribed to Government loans. He was returned unopposed at the 1761 British general election. There is no record of his having spoken in Parliament.Gashry died without issue on 19 May 1762 having long been in a declining state.George Caswall
Sir George Caswall (died 1742) of Muddiford Court, Fenchurch Street, London was a British banker and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1717 and 1741
Caswell was the eldest son of James Caswall of Leominster, Herefordshire. He married Mary Brassey, daughter of John Brassey, a banker of Lombard Street, London. He became a partner in the firm Turner, Sawbridge and Caswall, bankers, operating as the Sword Blade Company of which he was a Director in. 1701. The Sword Blade Company were bankers to the South Sea Company of which he became a Director in 1711.Caswall was elected as Whig Member of Parliament for Leominster, at a by-election on 19 March 1717. The election was declared void on 30 May on account of Caswall's bribery, but Caswall was returned again at the rerun on 17 June 1717. He was knighted on 10 February 1718. He lost his Directorship of the South Sea Company in 1718, but was Sheriff of London from 1720 to 1721.The South Sea Company collapsed in 1720 and Caswall as a representative of the bank, was deemed to have played a significant part in running the scheme which led to collapse. A Parliamentary committee was set up in 1721 to investigate, and his specific offence was the acquisition – free of charge – of £50,000 of stock in the company while its formation was before parliament. Caswall was one of seven members expelled from the House of Commons and in addition a bill was introduced requiring Turner, Caswall & Co to make a restitution of £250,000. This bill, which would have broken Caswall, passed initial parliamentary stages but lapsed after parliament was prorogued. In the aftermath of the scandal, Caswall was involved in protracted legal proceedings against Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland. Despite being expelledl, Caswall was elected again for the seat of Leominster at the 1722 general election. He was re-elected in 1727 and 1734. . He stood down at the 1741 general election in favour of his son John. He was a director of the Royal African Company in 1742.Caswall's wife died on 8 August 1721, and he married secondly, before 1731, Mary Brassey, widow of Thomas Brassey. He left two sons by his first wife.James Anderson (Freemason)
James Anderson (c. 1679/1680 – 1739) was a Scottish writer and minister born and educated in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was ordained a minister in the Church of Scotland in 1707 and moved to London, where he ministered to the Glass House Street congregation until 1710, to the Presbyterian church in Swallow Street until 1734, and at Lisle Street Chapel until his death. He is reported to have lost a large sum of money in the South Sea Company crash of 1720. Anderson is best known, however, for his association with Freemasonry.John Hanger (banker)
John Hanger (c. 1656 – 1733) was a merchant of Trinity Minories who was Governor of the Bank of England from 1719 to 1721 when the Bank of England was closely involved in the financing of the South Sea Company. His family were closely associated with the hundred of Bray in Berkshire and a memorial to the family exists in St Michael's Church there.Joseph Jekyll
Sir Joseph Jekyll (1663 – 19 August 1738) was a British barrister, politician and judge. Born to John Jekyll, he initially attended a seminary before joining the Middle Temple in 1680. Thanks to his association with Lord Somers Jekyll advanced rapidly, becoming Chief Justice of Chester in 1697 and a King's Serjeant in 1702. He was returned as a Whig Member of Parliament for Eye in 1697, and was considered an excellent speaker in the House of Commons and one of the Whig Junto.
As a member of parliament Jekyll helped draft many bills, and was key in convincing the government to investigate the collapse of the South Sea Company in 1720. On 13 July 1717 he was made Master of the Rolls, and fulfilled his duties with "legal ability, integrity and despatch" until his death on 19 August 1738 of "a mortification in the bowels".List of Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain, 1720–1739
This is an incomplete list of Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain for the years 1720–1739. For Acts passed up until 1707 see List of Acts of the Parliament of England and List of Acts of the Parliament of Scotland. See also the List of Acts of the Parliament of Ireland to 1700 and the List of Acts of the Parliament of Ireland, 1701–1800.
For Acts passed from 1801 onwards see List of Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. For Acts of the devolved parliaments and assemblies in the United Kingdom, see the List of Acts of the Scottish Parliament from 1999, the List of Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the List of Acts and Measures of the National Assembly for Wales; see also the List of Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.
The number shown after each Act's title is its chapter number. Acts are cited using this number, preceded by the year(s) of the reign during which the relevant parliamentary session was held; thus the Union with Ireland Act 1800 is cited as "39 & 40 Geo. 3 c. 67", meaning the 67th Act passed during the session that started in the 39th year of the reign of George III and which finished in the 40th year of that reign. Note that the modern convention is to use Arabic numerals in citations (thus "41 Geo. 3" rather than "41 Geo. III"). Note also that Acts of the last session of the Parliament of Great Britain and the first session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are both cited as "41 Geo. 3".
Acts passed by the Parliament of Great Britain did not have a short title; however, some of these Acts have subsequently been given a short title by Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (such as the Short Titles Act 1896).
Before the Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793 came into force on 8 April 1793, Acts passed by the Parliament of Great Britain were deemed to have come into effect on the first day of the session in which they were passed. Because of this, the years given in the list below may in fact be the year before a particular Act was passed.Palmer baronets
There have been seven baronetcies created for persons with the surname Palmer, two in the Baronetage of England, one each in the Baronetages of Ireland and of Great Britain and three in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. Four of the creations are extant as of 2015, one of which became merged into the first grantee's later barony: Baron Palmer, the first baron being an heir to part of the Huntley & Palmers international biscuit business (as with the short-lived, single-holder 1904 creation) and a patron of music. The other current creations were awarded to a lawyer and politician of wealth under Charles II, to a South Sea Company director under George III and to a shipbuilder, shipbroker who was a Liberal statesman under Victoria.
The Palmer Baronetcy, of Wingham in the County of Kent, was created in the Baronetage of England on 29 June 1621 for Thomas Palmer. The third Baronet was High Sheriff of Kent in 1691. The fourth Baronet sat as Member of Parliament for Kent and Rochester. The title became extinct on the death of the sixth Baronet in 1838.The Palmer Baronetcy, of Carlton in the County of Northampton, was created in the Baronetage of England on 7 June 1660 for the lawyer and politician Geoffrey Palmer. The second Baronet was Member of Parliament for Higham Ferrers. The third, fourth and fifth Baronets all represented Leicestershire in the House of Commons. The fifth Baronet served as High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1782 and the eighth Baronet as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1871. The family seat for 500 years was East Carlton Hall, Northamptonshire until 1933 since when it has been Carlton Curlieu Hall, Leicestershire. The title vests in its twelfth holder.
The Palmer Baronetcy, of Castle Lackin in the County of Mayo, was created in the Baronetage of Ireland on 29 May 1777 for Roger Palmer. The fifth Baronet sat as Member of Parliament for County Mayo. The title became extinct on his death in 1910.
The Hudson, later Palmer Baronetcy, of Wanlip Hall in the County of Leicester, was created in the Baronetage of Great Britain on 28 July 1791 for Charles Grave Hudson, a Director of the South Sea Company and High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1784. In 1813 the second Baronet assumed by Royal sign-manual the surname of Palmer in lieu of his patronymic on succeeding to the estates of his maternal grandfather, Henry Palmer, of Wanlip. The title vests in its eighth holder.
The Palmer Baronetcy, of Grinkle Park in the County of York and of Newcastle upon Tyne, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 31 July 1886 for Charles Palmer, a coal and shipping magnate and Liberal politician. The third Baronet, residing at Walworth Castle was High Sheriff of Durham in 1915. The title vests in its fifth holder.
The Palmer Baronetcy, of Reading in the County of Berkshire, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 25 August 1904 for Walter Palmer, Member of Parliament for Salisbury and the son of George Palmer, the founder of Huntley & Palmers, biscuit manufacturers. The title became extinct on his death in 1910.
The Palmer Baronetcy, of Grosvenor Crescent in the City of Westminster, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 26 January 1916. The title vests in its fourth holder who is the fourth Baron Palmer.Pennsylvania pound
The pound was the currency of Pennsylvania until 1793. It was created as a response to the global economic downturn caused by the collapse of the South Sea Company. Initially, the British pound and certain foreign coins circulated, supplemented from 1723 by local paper money, called Colonial Scrip. Although these notes were denominated in pounds, shillings and pence, they were worth less than sterling, with 1 Pennsylvanian shilling equalling 9 pence sterling.
The Pennsylvania Pound was first conceived by Francis Rawle, who can be rightly called The Father of the Pennsylvania Pound.In March 1723, it issued Colonial Scrip, paper bills of credit to the amount of $60,000, made them a legal tender in all payments on pain of confiscating the debt or forfeiting the commodity, imposed sufficient penalties on all persons who presumed to make any bargain or sale on cheaper terms in case of being paid in gold or silver, and provided for the gradual reduction of the bills by enacting that one-eighth of the principal, as well as the whole interest, should be paid annually. Pennsylvania made no loans but on land security or plate deposited in the loan office, and obliged borrowers to pay 5% for the sums they took up. The scheme worked so well that, in the latter end of the year, the government emitted bills to the amount of $150,000 on the same terms. In 1729 there was a new emission of $150,000 to be reduced one-sixteenth a year. Pennsylvania was one of the last colonies that emitted a paper currency. In 1775, the Colonial "Scrip" currency was replaced by Continental currency. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued Continental currency denominated in £sd and Spanish dollars, with 1 dollar equalling 7 shillings and 6 pence. The continental currency was replaced by the United States dollar at a rate of 1000 continental dollars = 1 U.S. dollar in 1793.Plaza San Martín (Buenos Aires)
Plaza San Martín (English: San Martín Square) is a park located in the Retiro neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Situated at the northern end of pedestrianized Florida Street, the park is bounded by Libertador Ave. (N), Maipú St. (W), Santa Fe Avenue (S), and Leandro Alem Av. (E). Its coordinates are 34°35′42″S 58°22′32″W.Richard Hopkins (died 1736)
Sir Richard Hopkins (died 1736) of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London was a British merchant and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1724 to 1727.
Hopkins was born after 1676, the son of Richard Hopkins of St. Botolph’s and his wife Rose Sherard, daughter of George Sherard of Bushby, Leicestershire. He became a merchant trading with Turkey and member of the Cutler’s Company. He married Ann Lethieullier, daughter of William Lethieullier, merchant of London.Hopkins was Director of the Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation in 1720 and became a Director of the South Sea Company in 1721 for the rest of his life. He was knighted on 26 July 1722. In 1723, he stood as a Whig in a hard-fought contest for Sheriff of London and served for the year 1723 to 1724. He was elected Alderman for Lime Street Ward on 4 March 1724. Also in 1724, he was elected Member of Parliament for the City of London at a by-election on 11 December 1724. He lost the seat in the contest at the 1727 general election. He translated to the Fishmongers Company on 26 May 1730 and was prime warden of the Fishmongers’ Company from. 1730 to 1732. He became Sub Governor of the South Sea Company in 1733.Hopkins died on 2 January 1736 and was said to be worth £100,000.SSC coinage
Coinage of the South Sea Company was minted in Britain in 1723, after the South Sea Company (SSC) discovered silver in (and shipped it back from) Indonesia in 1722. The coins minted were Crowns, Half Crowns, Shillings and Sixpences. The Crown is the rarest of them, although the Half-Crown is also difficult to find in higher than VF condition. The shilling is common, with even mint state examples being easily found. The sixpence is common in most grades, though mint condition ones are rare. All these coins carry "SSC" in the reverse quarters of the cruciform shields.
Several die errors and corrections of interest exist on the shilling, including the slightly scarce error SS/C where an engraver accidentally punched the C in the wrong place and then stamped the SS over it. On these pieces you can see a faint C under the SS. There is also a far rarer variety, which catalogues near £100 in F condition, where the whole collection of shields is rotated.War of Jenkins' Ear
The War of Jenkins' Ear (known as Guerra del Asiento in Spain) was a conflict between Britain and Spain lasting from 1739 to 1748, with major operations largely ended by 1742. Its unusual name, coined by British historian Thomas Carlyle in 1858, refers to an ear severed from Robert Jenkins, a captain of a British merchant ship. There is no evidence that supports the stories that the severed ear was exhibited before the British Parliament.
The seeds of conflict began with the separation of an ear from Jenkins following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in 1731, eight years before the war began. Popular response to the incident was tepid until several years later when opposition politicians and the British South Sea Company hoped to spur outrage against Spain, believing that a victorious war would improve Britain’s trading opportunities in the Caribbean. Also ostensibly providing the impetus to war against the Spanish Empire was a desire to pressure the Spanish not to renege on the lucrative asiento contract, which gave British slavers permission to sell slaves in Spanish America.The war resulted in heavy British casualties in North America. After 1742, the war was subsumed by the wider War of the Austrian Succession, which involved most of the powers of Europe. Peace arrived with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. From the British perspective, the war was notable because it was the first time that a regiment of colonial American troops (Oglethorpe's Regiment) was raised and placed "on the Establishment" – made a part of the regular British Army – and sent to fight outside North America.