South Sea Company: Notebook of Subscribers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Notebook containing a draft address to Robert, Earl of Oxford, by the subscription commission of the Corporation for carrying on trade to the South Seas, [1711], including a list of subscribers of more than 3,000. The names of Governors and Directors of the Corporation are indicated by a mark in the margin. The last page of the book has been reused for personal accounts, including the purchase of female mourning clothes, 1720.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford and Lord Treasurer, initiated a scheme for the funding of national debt through the South Sea Company, 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, eventually leading to the collapse of the stock market in 1720 (the South Sea Bubble) and the ruin of many investors. The Company, however, survived until 1853.

Arrangement

1 volume

Conditions Governing Access

Open.

Other Finding Aids

No further list required.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

12pp, in pale green paper covers overprinted in gold with an elaborate baroque design.

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

Copyright unknown.

Custodial History

Given by the British Records Association in 1962. Also known as R 0083.

Related Material

The British Library of Political and Economic Science holds another collection relating to the South Sea Company (Ref: SR 1073).

Corporate Names

Geographical Names