South Sea Company: Parliamentary Reports

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Printed reports of the House of Commons Committee of Secrecy, 1721, appointed to enquire into the 'Act for Enabling the South Sea Company to increase their present capital stock by redeeming such publick debts and incumbrances...and for calling in Exchequer Bills remaining uncancelled...'.

Administrative / Biographical History

The South Sea Company was founded in 1711 to trade with Spanish America, on the assumption that the War of the Spanish Succession would end with a treaty permitting such trade. The Treaty of Utrecht, 1713, was less favourable than had been hoped, but confidence in the Company remained artificially high. In 1720, there was an incredible boom in South Sea stock, as a result of the Company's proposal, accepted by parliament, to take over the national debt (South Sea Bubble). This eventually led to the collapse of the stock market in 1720 and the ruin of many investors. The House of Commons ordered an inquiry, which showed that at least three ministers had accepted bribes and speculated.

Arrangement

1 volume.

Conditions Governing Access

Open.

Other Finding Aids

No further list required.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

The British Library, London, holds records of the South Sea Company, 1711-1856 (Ref: Add Mss 25494-584); the House of Lords Record Office has minutes, accounts, receipts and subscription books, 1711-1733; the Guildhall Library, London, contains correspondence and receipts, 1711-1765; the University of London Library holds warrants, deeds and accounts, 1712-1724 (Ref: Mss 89, 394); London Metropolitan Archives has a register of clerks, 1720-1853.

Conditions Governing Use

[Crown copyright].

Custodial History

Bought in 1947. Also known as R 1073.

Related Material

The British Library of Political and Economic Science holds another collection relating to the South Sea Company (Ref: SR 0083).

Geographical Names