[MISSISSIPPI BUBBLE]. Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid, vertoonende de opkomst, voortgang en ondergang der Actie, Bubbel en Windnegotie, in Vrankryk, Engeland, en de Nederlanden, gepleegt in den Jaare MDCCXX. [Amsterdam: l'Honoré and Châtelain?], 1720. Folio, 377 x 242 mm. (14 13/16 x 9 5/8 in.), contemporary (publisher's?) vellum over pasteboard, covers panelled in gilt with Latin mottoes gilt lettered above and below large central arabesque stamp, fleurons at corners of inner panel, somewhat worn and soiled, tears at head and tail of spine, first 3 leaves tearing along gutter, 9 plates with short tears or fold breaks, occasional dampstaining. Engraved additional title, letterpress title in red and black, 67 engraved plates of which 11 large and folding, comprising 65 plates of caricatures and 2 folding maps, 8 of the plates mainly letterpress text with engraved vignettes, 6 pamphlets bound in at end. Kress 3217; Goldsmiths' 5829.
A collection of short pieces in prose and verse satirizing the disastrous Mississippi scheme (1718-1720) of the French Compagnie d'Occident and the speculation on its stock that led to the complete ruin of many of its over-eager French, English and Dutch shareholders. John Law (1671-1729), the son of an Edinburgh banker and successful financier who had established the Banque Générale in France in 1715, founded the Compagnie de l'Occident for the exploitation of the resources of French Louisiana after Antoine Crozat had surrendered his charter in 1717. "Law's reputation caused the stock to sell readily, and the organization soon enlarged the scope of its activities by absorbing other commercial companies, its name then being changed to the 'Company of the Indies'. Enormous profits were anticipated.. and the increasing demand for its stock led to wild speculation... Many Frenchmen invested their all in the company's stock... The anticipated immense and immediate profits were not realized, and soon the scheme revealed itself as a purely speculative venture. In 1720 the company failed, the 'bubble' burst, and the stockholders lost their entire investment, many being completely ruined" (Concise Dictionary of American History, NY: Scribner's, 1962, pp. 617-18). Copies of this Dutch collection vary greatly in the number of plates, inserted pamphlets, and text, some copies including up to 80 plates as well as additional parts.