"THE EXTRAVAGANT HUMOUR OF STOCK-JOBBING” AND THE MEMBERS OF THE ENGLISH BODY POLITIC, 1690-1720
The title of a 1697 pamphlet about London’s stock-jobbers referred to the “extravagant humour of stock-jobbing,” using the imagery of contemporary medical knowledge to suggest that stock-jobbers represented a potentially unbalancing element within the English body-politic. Members of different social orders, however, perceived differently the threat stock-jobbers allegedly posed. Landowners, merchants, craftworkers, bureaucrats, and the officers of joint-stock companies all saw the stock-jobbers perils specific to their own social statuses and ambitions. The few defenders of the stock-jobbers therefore also sought to demonstrate the benefits that dealings joint-stock companies could offer to the body-politic as a whole as well as to all its members in particular.