Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds
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waggons were required for its transport. Law complained to the regent, and urged on his attention the mischief that would be done, if such an example found many imitators. The regent was but too well aware of it, and, sending for the Prince de Conti, ordered him, under penalty of his high displeasure, to refund to the bank two-thirds of the specie which he had withdrawn from it. The prince was forced to obey the despotic mandate. Happily for Law’s credit, De Conti was an unpopular man: everybody
neighbours. Dated, Saturday, May 25th, 1720.” The immense number of spies with which the city was infested rendered the people mistrustful of one another, and beyond some trifling disturbances made in the evening by an insignificant group, which was soon dispersed, the peace of the capital was not compromised. The value of shares in the Louisiana, or Mississippi stock, had fallen very rapidly, and few indeed were found to believe the tales that had once been told of the immense wealth of that
English Copper and Brass Company, with the following epigram: “The headlong fool that wants to be a swapper Of gold and silver coin for English copper, May, in Change Alley, prove himself an ass, And give rich metal for adultrate brass.” The eight of diamonds celebrated the company for the colonisation of Acadia, with this doggrel: “He that is rich and wants to fool away A good round sum in North America, Let him subscribe himself a headlong sharer, And asses’ ears shall honour him or
 On the 5th of May, 1716, a royal edict was published, by which Law was authorised, in conjunction with his brother, to establish a bank under the name of Law and Company, the notes of which should be received in payment of the taxes. The capital was fixed at six millions of livres, in twelve thousand shares of five hundred livres each, purchasable one fourth in specie, and the remainder in billets d’état. It was not thought expedient to grant him the whole of the privileges prayed for in
Mississippi bonds. The Rue de Quincampoix was the grand resort of the jobbers, and it being a narrow, inconvenient street, accidents continually occurred in it, from the tremendous pressure of the crowd. Houses in it, worth, in ordinary times, a thousand livres of yearly rent, yielded as much as twelve or sixteen thousand. A cobbler, who had a stall in it, gained about two hundred livres a day by letting it out, and furnishing writing materials to brokers and their clients. The story goes, that a