First published in 1960, acclaimed American journalist and biographer Virginia Cowles provides rich background information on 18th century English politics and economic theories, as well as the story of a national speculation that became a national swindle. It is a "e;serious and scholarly study specifically concentrated on the financial swindle in all its ramifications, rather than on a portrait of the times."e;Here, in minute detail, Cowles charts both the Mississippi Bubble in France and the South Sea Bubble in England, as speculators and manipulators sold the public from the royal house down on a new way to absorb the gigantic national debts. That the promised dividends were to come out of non-existent resources and funds-backed by the presumed integrity of those who launched the scheme-was branded by Robert Walpole as "e;evil of the first magnitude."e; Here was the initial "e;stock market swindle"e; in history, which spread to the launching of lesser swindles and highlighted the depravity of the age.A fascinating historical read.Illustrated throughout with portrait paintings.