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It is widely believed that officials of the South Sea Company deliberately engineered London’s stock market bubble of 1720, hoping in the process to line their own pockets. This article considers the available evidence, including some manuscript records of securities trading by Company officials, and finds there is little support for the standard view. An alternative account is proposed. The Company had broader aims to which the bubble was in fact a major obstacle. The directors acted to support the market price of South Sea stock whenever it came under downward pressure.