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Lot 304 (Printed Books, Maps & Documents, Travel, Science & Engineering, 7th October 2020)

The South Sea Bubble and the Trial of the Earl of Macclesfield.

Sold for £1,600


The South Sea Bubble and the Trial of the Earl of Macclesfield. Summary of abstracts and accounts of the Masters and Usher of the court of Chancery in respect of money in the form of securities, annuities, bonds, etc. for various suitors, 1724, a clerical manuscript of 52 pages, (pp. 45-46 omitted from pagination but all bifolia intact with conjugate leaves), pp. 1-27 being a written summary address to 'Right Honoble the Lords of the Committee of His Majestys' most Honorable Privy Council' and with the names of 6 signatories (Jeff: Gilbert, Alex: Denton, Rob: Raymond, Nath: Gould, W: Thompson and John Hanger), dated 16 December 1724, followed by various tables, 'No. 1. A General Abstract of the Accompts delivered in by the Masters in Chancery and Usher of Securitys and Money remaining in their hands', 'No. 2. A Particular of the Several Species of Securitys the totals whereof are mentioned in the foregoing Abstract no. 1', 'No. 2. The Totals of the Several Species of securitys contained in the foregoing Particulars No. 2', 'No. 3. Particulars delivered in by the Masters and Usher to answer the ballance of cash in their respective hands', etc., the final leaf of text summary in the words of William Kynaston, one of the Masters of the High Court of Chancery, noting he 'maketh oath that he hath delivered a true and full account of all the causes in which he hath received money and securitys belonging to those causes to the best of his knowledge and belief... ', with names of signatories William Kynaston and Robert Halford at end, dated 11 December 1724, some spotting, browning and dust-soiling throughout, some corner curling, original marbled wrappers, stitched as issued, wrappers worn, split along spine and covers detached, folio (37 x 24 cm)

(Qty: 1)

An extraordinary document, no doubt one of the copies prepared for the trial and impeachment of the lord chancellor, the Earl of Macclesfield, this details the eye-watering sums of money that were being invested through the masters and usher of the Court of Chancery, with frequent mention of South Sea stock, annuities and bonds. The South Sea Company was a British joint stock company founded in 1711 to reduce the cost of the national debt. The company's dubious business practices resulted in a financial bubble and market collapse in 1720, though the company continued to manage part of the British national debt until 1853 when it was disestablished. The South Sea Bubble has since become synonymous with the world's first great financial scandal.

Thomas Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield, 1667-1732, was a lawyer and English Whig politician. Made a Privy Counsellor in 1710, he was Lord Chief Justice from 1710 to 1718 and Lord Chancellor from 1718 to 1725. In 1725 he was impeached for taking bribes and tried in the House of Lords. He was convicted by a unanimous vote for taking bribes. He was removed from the Privy Council, required to forfeit £100,000, fined an additional £30,000 and placed in the Tower of London until these sums were paid. Ruined financially, he retired to his home, Shirburn Castle, where he spent the rest of his life, never again holding public office. His magnificent library was dispersed and offered for sale by Sotheby's in twelve parts between 2004 and 2008.

'For some time there had been disturbing rumours that the masters in chancery had been misusing suitors' money in their custody, a practice which Macclesfield himself was believed to have encouraged. In November 1724, seemingly in response to what had developed into a public outcry, Walpole instigated an inquiry by committee of the privy council and by mid-December had produced a report. Its exposure of considerable financial abuse in several of the masters' offices implicated Macclesfield deeply and unequivocally. Walpole was now only too willing to assuage the rising tide of public indignation by discarding Macclesfield, and there was emphasis upon the ministry's wish to avoid being seen to harbour or ‘screen’ a corrupt colleague. It was in any case clear on less partisan grounds that Macclesfield could not remain as lord chancellor in the light of such grave accusations. He himself quickly acknowledged this, and on 4 January 1725 he surrendered his seals of office. But amid pressing demands for the restitution of missing funds, estimated at £60,000, the ministry's opponents ensured that he did not escape parliamentary trial. The ministry was ready to assist in this process, anxious that further investigations be kept within acceptable limits. A petition to the Commons on 23 January complaining of the disappearance of large sums placed in chancery belonging to the estate of one of the suitors, the dowager duchess of Montagu, commenced the process that led to his impeachment' (ODNB).

'The trial commenced on 6 May 1725, and lasted thirteen days. It took place in the House of Lords, and was presided over by Lord-chief-justice King. The articles of impeachment, which were twenty-one in number, charged Macclesfield with selling masterships in chancery; with receiving bribes for agreeing to the sale and transfer of offices; with admitting to the office of master several persons ‘who were of small substance and ability, very unfit to be trusted with the great sums of money and other effects of the suitors;’ with suffering the fraudulent practice of masters paying for their places out of the money of the suitors; with endeavouring to conceal the delinquencies of one Fleetwood Dormer, an absconding master; with encouraging the masters to traffic with the money of the suitors; with making use of it himself ‘for his own private service and advantage;’ with persuading the masters ‘to make false representations of their circumstances’ at the inquiry; and with assuming ‘an unjust and unlimited power of dispensing with, suspending, and controlling the statutes of this realm'' (DNB, vol. 43, p. 280).

Interestingly, Dormer's name appears in the manuscript for two of the final tables in the manuscript which are titled: 'Money received by Henry Edwards Esq. towards answering the demands upon Mr. Dormer's office since his admittance which was on the 18th May 1721' and 'An accompt of what money has been paid to the suitors of the court that was due from Mr. Dormer on his separate account and the names of the several causes in which the same has been paid'. In each case the total sums involved were around £23,000.

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Please note successful bids made via live bidding cannot be invoiced or paid for until the day after an auction. A live bidding fee of 3% + VAT (Dominic Winter website or or 4.95% + VAT (the-saleroom) will be added to your invoice.

Commission bid: Also called an 'Absentee bid'. A member of our staff will bid on your behalf and attempt to purchase the lot as cheaply as is permitted by other bids or reserves. Commission bids can be posted, faxed or emailed to us (please remember to provide your full name and address), or you can enter a bid on our website after completing the registration process. 

Telephone bid: You can contact our office to arrange a telephone bid. A member of our staff will telephone you a few minutes before bidding commences on your specified lot and will bid on your behalf, according to your instructions. This service is only available on lots with a minimum pre-sale estimated value of £300.

Auction: Printed Books, Maps & Documents, Travel, Science & Engineering, 7th October 2020

To see a page-turning version of our catalogue, please see our Virtual Catalogue.


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Dominic Winter (Auctioneers) Ltd

Conditions Of Sale And Business

Terms and Conditions of Sale 

1. (a) Dominic Winter (Auctioneers) Ltd ("the Auctioneer") sells as agents for the seller (except where otherwise stated) and as such is not responsible for any default by buyer or seller.

(b) The Seller warrants to the Auctioneer and to the buyer that he is the true owner or is properly authorised to sell the property by the true owner and is able to transfer good and marketable title to the property free from any third party claims.

2. (a) The highest bidder to be the buyer. If during the auction the Auctioneer considers that a dispute has arisen he has absolute authority to settle it or to re-offer the lot. The auctioneer may at his sole discretion determine the advance of bidding or refuse a bid, divide any lot, combine any two or more lots or withdraw any lot without prior notice.

(b) Where goods are bought at auction by a buyer who has entered into an agreement with another or others that the other or others (or some of them) shall abstain from bidding for the goods and the buyer or other party or one of the other parties is a dealer as defined in the Auctions (Bidding Agreements) Act 1927 and 1969 the buyer warrants that the goods are bought bona fide on a joint account.

3. The buyer shall pay the price at which a lot is knocked down by the Auctioneer to the buyer ("the hammer price") together with a premium of 20% except those lots asterisked (*) in the title, in which case the buyer's premium is 24% inclusive of VAT. By making any bid the buyer acknowledges that his/her attention has been drawn to the fact that on the sale of any lot the Auctioneer will receive from the seller commission at its usual rates in addition to the said premium and assents to the Auctioneer receiving the said Commission.

4. (a) The buyer shall forthwith upon the purchase give his name and permanent address together with proof of identity and pay the Auctioneer immediately after the conclusion of the auction the total sum due.

(b) The buyer may be required to pay down during the course of the sale the whole or any part of the total sum due, and if he fails to do so after such request the lot or lots may at the Auctioneer's absolute discretion be put up again and resold immediately.

(c) The buyer shall at his own expense take away any lot or lots purchased no later than five working days after the auction day.

(d) The Auctioneer may at his discretion agree credit terms with a buyer and extend the time limits for collection in special cases but otherwise payment shall be deemed to have been made only after the Auctioneer has received cash or funds by bank transfer or a sterling banker's draft or the buyer's cheque or debit/credit card payment has been cleared.

(e) All sums due to the Auctioneer shall be paid as shown and he reserves the right to charge interest which shall accrue at the rate of 4% over such base lending rate of National Westminster Bank Plc as shall be in force at the date that interest becomes due, such sum to be calculated per annum from day to day on all amounts due but unpaid. This right shall be exercisable without prejudice to any other right of the Auctioneer.

5. (a) If the buyer fails to pay for or take away any lots pursuant to clause 4 or breaches any other condition of that clause the Auctioneer as agent for the seller shall be entitled after consultation with the seller to exercise one or other of the following rights:

(i) Rescind the sale of that or any other lots sold to the buyer who defaults and re-sell the lot or lots whereupon the defaulting buyer shall pay to the Auctioneer any shortfall between the proceeds of that sale after deduction of costs or re-sale and the total sum due. Any surplus shall belong to the seller.

(ii) Proceed for damages for breach of contract.

(b) Without prejudice to the Auctioneer's rights hereunder if any lot or lots are not collected within five days or such longer period as the Auctioneer may have agreed otherwise, the Auctioneer may charge the buyer a storage charge up to £1.00 per lot per day.

6. (a) The seller shall be entitled to place a reserve on any lot and the Auctioneer shall have the right to bid on behalf of the seller for any lot on which a reserve has been placed. A seller may not bid on any lot on which he has placed a reserve.

(b) Where any lot fails to sell, the Auctioneer shall notify the seller accordingly. The seller shall make arrangements either to re-offer the lot for sale or to collect the lot and may be asked to pay a commission not exceeding 50% of the selling commission and any special expenses incurred in cataloguing the lot.

(c) If such arrangements are not made within seven days of the notification the Auctioneer is empowered to sell the lot without reserve by auction or by private treaty and to receive from the seller the normal selling commission and special expenses.

7. Any representation or statement by the Auctioneer in any catalogue, brochure or advertisement of forthcoming sales as to authorship, attribution, genuineness, origin, date, age, provenance, condition or estimated selling price is a statement of opinion only. Every person interested should exercise and rely on his own judgement as to such matters and neither the Auctioneer nor his servants or agents are responsible for the correctness of such opinions. No warranty whatsoever is given by the Auctioneer or the seller in respect of any lot and any express or implied warranties are hereby excluded.

8. (a) Notwithstanding any other terms of these conditions, if within fourteen days of the sale the Auctioneer has received from the buyer of any lot notice in writing that in his/her view the lot is a deliberate forgery and within fourteen days after such notification the buyer returns the same to the Auctioneer in the same condition as at the time of the sale and satisfies the Auctioneer that considered in the light of the entry in the catalogue the lot is a deliberate forgery then the sale of the lot will be rescinded and the purchase price of the same refunded. "A deliberate forgery" means a lot made with intention to deceive.

(b) A buyer's claim under this condition shall be limited to any amount paid to the Auctioneer for the lot and for the purpose of this condition the buyer shall be the person to whom the original invoice was made out by the Auctioneer.

9. Lots may be removed during the sale after full settlement in accordance with 4.d. hereof.

10. All goods delivered to the Auctioneer's premises will be deemed to be delivered for sale by auction unless otherwise stated in writing and will be catalogued and sold at the Auctioneer's discretion and accepted by the Auctioneer subject to all these conditions. In the case of miscellaneous books, maps and other items, the Auctioneer reserves the right to extract and dispose of items that, in the opinion of the Auctioneer at his absolute discretion, have no saleable value and, therefore, might detract from the saleability of the rest of the lot and the Auctioneer shall incur no liability to the seller in respect of the items disposed of. By delivering the goods to the auctioneer for inclusion in his auction sales each seller acknowledges that he/she accepts and agrees to all the conditions.

11. (a) Unless otherwise instructed in writing, all goods on the Auctioneer's premises and in his custody will be held insured against the risk of fire, burglary, water damage and accidental breakage or damage. The value of the goods so covered will be the hammer price, or in the case of unsold lots the lower estimate, or in the case of loss or damage prior to the sale that which the specialist staff of the Auctioneer shall in their absolute discretion estimate to be the auction value of such goods.

(b) The Auctioneer shall not be responsible for damage to or the loss, theft, or destruction of any goods not so insured because of the seller's written instructions whether caused by negligence or otherwise.

(c) Any liability of the Auctioneer for any claim arising from loss or damage of any kind in respect of goods whether caused by negligence or otherwise including any claims for compensation will be limited to the amount of insurance cover effected in accordance with the provisions of clause 11.a. above.

12. The Auctioneer shall remit the proceeds of the sale to the seller thirty days after the date of the auction provided that the Auctioneer has received the total sum due from the buyer. In all other cases the Auctioneer will remit the proceeds of the sale to the seller within seven days of the receipt by the Auctioneer of the total sum due. The Auctioneer will not be deemed to have received the total sum due until after any funds received from the buyer have cleared. In the event of the Auctioneer exercising his right to rescind the sale his obligation to the seller hereunder lapses.

13. In the case of the seller withdrawing instructions to the Auctioneer to sell any lot or lots, the Auctioneer may charge the seller a fee of 12.5% of the Auctioneer's middle estimate of the auction price of the lot withdrawn together with Value Added Tax thereon and any expenses incurred in respect of the lot or lots.

14. If, on collation, any named items in the catalogue prove defective, in text or illustration, the buyer may reject the lot provided he/she returns it within fourteen days stating the defect in writing. This however will not apply in the case of unnamed items, periodicals, autograph letters, manuscripts, music, maps, atlases, prints or drawings, nor in respect of damage to bindings, stains, foxing, marginal wormholes or other defects not affecting the completeness of the text, nor in respect of lack of list of plates, inserted advertisements, cancels or subsequently published volumes, supplements, appendices or plates or error in the enumerating of the plates, nor in respect of defects mentioned in the catalogue or announced at the time of sale.

15. The Auctioneer accepts no responsibility in connection with the commissioning of his staff to bid for any lots. Reserves, and commission bids given by telephone are accepted only at the sender's risk and must be confirmed in writing before the date of the sale. Lots will always be bought as cheaply as is allowed by other bids and such reserves as are on our books.

16. Buyers are advised that a storage charge of £1.00 per lot per day plus Value Added Tax at the current rate will be levied on all purchases not cleared within fourteen working days of the sale. After this period the buyer will be responsible for loss or damage.

17. Artist's Resale Rights ("Droit de Suite"). Lots marked with "AR" or another appropriate symbol and referenced as such in the catalogue are subject to the Artist's Resale Right law. The buyer agrees to pay the Auctioneer an amount equal to the resale royalty and the Auctioneer will pay such amount to the artist's collecting agent. Resale royalty applies where the Hammer Price is 1,000 Euro or more and the amount cannot be more than 12,500 Euro per lot.

The amount is calculated as follows:

Royalty For the portion of the Hammer Price (in Euro)

4.00% up to 50,000

3.00% between 50,000.01 and 200,000

1.00% between 200,000.01 and 350,000

0.50% between 350,000.01 and 500,000

0.25% in excess of 500,000

Invoices will be issued in Pounds Sterling. For the purposes of calculating the resale royalty the Pounds Sterling/Euro rate of exchange will be the European Central Bank reference rate on the day of the sale. Please refer to the DACS website for further details.

18. These conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law.


Buyer's Premium :

The buyer's premium is 20%, except those lots asterisked (*) in the title for which Value Added Tax (VAT) will be added to the premium, resulting in a buyer's premium of 24% inclusive of VAT. Eligible items include manuscripts, prints, photographs, drawings, framed maps, paintings, pens and other objects which are subject to VAT at a rate of 20% on the buyer's premium as part of the Auctioneers Margin Scheme. VAT zero-rated items such as books, unframed maps and albums are not subject to VAT on the buyer's premium.

Live Auction Charges

An additional commission of 3% plus VAT (3.6% inclusive of VAT) on the hammer price is payable if you use the live auction bidding facility on the Dominic Winter Auctioneers website ( This charge will be added to your invoice automatically.

An additional commission of 4.95% plus VAT (5.94% inclusive of VAT) on the hammer price is payable if you use the live auction bidding facility on the ATG Media website ( This charge will be added to your invoice automatically.

An additional commission of 3% plus VAT (3.6% inclusive of VAT) on the hammer is payable if you use the live auction bidding facility on the Invaluable website ( This charge will be added to your invoice automatically.

Payment (UK Buyers)

Payment is preferred by direct Bank Transfer to our bank account. Our bank details will be supplied to you with your invoice.

Payment can be made in cash at the Cashier's Office, either during or after the sale. Alternatively, you can pay by cheque (Pounds Sterling only), please allow 5 working days for the cheque to clear before collection of goods.

Credit or Debit Card payments will not be accepted by telephone unless by prior arrangement with the auctioneers. Card payments can be made in person at our premises but must be accompanied by relevant ID confirming address details. We do not accept payments by American Express.

Payment (Overseas Buyers)

Payment must be made by direct Bank Transfer to our bank account. Our bank details will be supplied to you on your invoice. No card payments will be accepted unless by special prior arrangements with the auctioneers. All transfers must state the relevant invoice number. The amount we receive must be the total due after currency conversion and the deduction of any bank charges (normally £7).

UK Shipping

We are not specialist shippers. Some items, such as framed & glazed or fragile goods, will require specialist handling and buyers will be asked to use Mailboxes or RF Shipping Ltd. (details below).

For non-fragile items and items of reasonably small size, we offer an in-house packing and shipping facility for UK buyers. When possible, purchases will be sent by either Royal Mail Special Delivery or DPD overnight service. The charge for this service is variable (£15 minimum per parcel) and will be added to your invoice. Please note shipments to the Highlands and Islands may require shipment by courier and may be more expensive. Please contact us for a quote before bidding.

For larger packages and fragile goods, we recommend Mailboxes, Pack & Send or RF Shipping Ltd who will collect fully paid-for purchases from us twice a week and liaise with the buyer direct. For more information please contact Sarah Ball by telephone on +44 (0)1285 860006 or email These companies will require payment direct for their services.