"Vystlag der Wind Negotie", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (circa)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid
Color: Hand Color
14.5 x 11 inches
36.8 x 27.9 cm
This satirical engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. The scene includes numbered figures whose corresponding description is included in the Dutch text below. Among the figures are a man in a chair, with clouds beneath his feet, giving out "Acties op voordeel" (shares of advantage) while holding a horn of plenty out of which pours cabbages, and Bombario, a peddler of quack medicine. Also shown is a man sitting upon a chest with an inscription at his feet which translates to: "I thought to have filled this chest with money, but it is only filled with horse dung," while another watches his investment go up in smoke. Dimensions include Dutch text below engraving.
John Law, a Scottish financier, established the Banque Generale (central bank) in France. He was then granted control of Louisiana and founded the Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident, in 1717. Law developed an elaborate plan to exploit the fabulous resources of the region, which quickly gained popularity and people rushed to invest, not just in France, but throughout Europe. This resulted in the development of several other overseas companies, such as the English South Sea Company and a number of smaller companies in the Dutch Republic. The share price of the (Carte du Mexique et de la Floride) rose dramatically in a frenzy of speculation. In 1720 the bubble burst; speculators cashed in, caused a run on the shares, and the company went bankrupt. As a consequence of the failure, confidence in other similar companies failed, and thousands of individual investors across Europe were ruined.