The Wikipedia article for the South Sea Company says that: "Among the many companies to go public in 1720 is - famously - one that advertised itself as 'a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is'".

I was curious as to whether anything ever came of this company, but a google search yielded no real further information on the company. Was this just another company in that investment-frenzy phase, or did it ever amount to anything more (and what did the company actually do)?

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    To whomever edited the title, the question is not about the purpose of the South Seas company but about the purpose and fate of a un-named company mentioned in the wikipedia article.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 4, 2015 at 9:30
  • Ah, so I've answered the wrong question. Oh, well! Will edit back a more useful title. Oct 4, 2015 at 9:32
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    SteveBird My apologies then, but I find the way it is worded quite confusing. I'm editing it to include the sentence since that makes a lot more sense.
    – Semaphore
    Oct 4, 2015 at 11:13
  • @Semaphore, not a problem, I had to read it a couple of times to work out what was being asked. Your edit on the first paragraph is an improvement.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 4, 2015 at 11:33
  • Given the age, one option would be that they wanted to launch pirate ships.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 4, 2015 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


As the wikipedia article states, the quote is from Charles Mackay's "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds". The quoted lines appear on page 57, as item 17 in a list of over 80 "bubble" companies that were made illegal and abolished by the Privy council on the 12th July 1720. No further details are included.

Without the company name or it's company officers, it would be impossible to determine who started the company and what it's purpose was (if it had one other than fraud).

  • Yeah, that's all I could find as well. Too bad that it might not be possible to dig up anything more on it. Oct 4, 2015 at 11:16
  • Since they appear to be paraphrased rather than directly quoted, I would guess that the actual descriptions in the list are Mackay's own summary of each company's purpose. It might be possible to find the full text of the Privy Council's order and get more details from that. However, I suspect that it was simply a shell to exploit the investment frenzy with no greater purpose or existence.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 4, 2015 at 11:31

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