|Content Description||For detailed descriptions see Pl F2/6/1-325 below.|
During 1720 the Duke of Portland got carried away in the general enthusiasm for speculating in the stock of the South Sea Company ('The Governor and Company of Merchants of Great Britain trading to the South Seas and other parts of America and for encouraging the fishery'), in part on his own account and in part for the trustees of his marriage settlement. His financial adviser was Sir John Meres, whose own losses were also extensive. The hoped-for means of making money was, it appears, to take future contracts in South Sea stock for which a 10% deposit was paid, and to deposit his own South Sea stock and borrow against it (in order to buy more South Sea stock on the margin or in future contracts).
All came to grief when the bubble burst. The Duke went to govern Jamaica (hoping to make a profit thereby, and safe from his creditors).
Much of this material is in very poor condition. It has not been possible to sort it fully because of that. Its original arrangement is uncertain and much of it has been placed in arbitrary bundles by the cataloguer: what is original, what was copied for near contemporary litigation and what relates to which piece of litigation all require attention. (It would appear that many items are in the hand of John Lucas.) Further listing may be necessary after conservation.
The Caswall litigation bundles are separate from the rest.
Pl F2/6/314-325 are strays presumed to belong in this series.
Pl E8/6/17-43 seems to be a related bundle of material, although mainly concerning Kent estate business.
See Pw B for further South Sea material and further correspondence with Sir John Meres.