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Lock, Stock, and History

"Napoleon is Dead!" —- The Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814

On February 21st, 1814 a man disguised as Colonel du Bourg, aide-de-camp of Lord Cathcart, raced down the streets of Dover shouting “Bonaparte is dead, the war is over!”.  He the traveled between Dover and London, stopping at every tavern and inn along the way to spread the good news.  Later, around noon, a coach holding three “French officers” circulated about the streets of London, distributing leaflets announcing that Napoleon Bonaparte had been killed by a band of Cossacks and the Bourbon government had been restored to power.

The news of Napoleon death and peace in Europe brought joy and celebration to the people of Dover and London.  However there was only one problem, Napoleon was not dead, in fact he was still very much alive and remained Emperor of France.  As it turns out news of the end of the war was a blatant hoax. After an investigation by British authorities the purpose of the hoax became very clear.  On the day the hoax occurred the price of stocks and bonds soared as news of peace boosted investor confidence.  The man found culpable was Lord Cochrane, a naval hero and politician who had sold over £1.1 million in government securities that day, turning a handsome profit on securities which he had purchased a mere week before.  He, along with two co-conspirators and the man who impersonated Col. du Bourg were arrested, charged with fraud and stock manipulation, and sentenced to  a fine of £1,000 each, one hour in the pillory, and a year of prison.

  1. danielletjones reblogged this from peashooter85 and added:
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  16. ladycashasatiger reblogged this from duchessofwellington and added:
    This is — unfortunately, because it is a great story — one of those popular embellished legends, which actually has its...
  17. doomsoblivion reblogged this from soliquidus-bosselot
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  21. azumashio reblogged this from josephine-and-jewelry and added:
    Bonaparte should have sued them for defamation
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  23. caulaincourt reblogged this from valinaraii and added:
    Didn’t they do the opposite in 1815, when the war was actually over? I believe the fraudsters this time were the...
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