1 Smollett in his History of England says: " The directors (April 7,1720) opened their books for a subscription of one million, at the rate of £300 for every £100 capital. Persons of all ranks crowded to the house in such a manner, that the first subscriptions exceeded two millions of original stock. In a few days this stock advanced to £340; and the subscriptions were sold for double the price of the first payment.
"The infatuation prevailed till the 8th day of September, when the stock began to fall. Then did some of the adventurers awake from their delirium. The number of the sellers daily increased. On the 29th day of the month, the stock had sunk to one hundred and fifty. Several eminent goldsmiths and bankers, who had lent great sums upon it, were obliged to stop payment, and abscond. The ebb of this portentous tide was so violent, that it bore down everything in its way: and an infinite number of families were overwhelmed with ruin. Public credit sustained a terrible shock; the nation was thrown into a dangerous ferment; and nothing was heard but the ravings of grief, disappointment, and despair. Some principal members of the ministry were deeply concerned in these fraudulent transactions. When they saw the price of stock sinking daily, they employed all their influence with the bank to support the credit of the South Sea Company."