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iii: The Fraud of 5 May 1803 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 10 Biographical Miscellany 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 10 Biographical Miscellany.
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First published by Cambridge University Press in 1951. Copyright 1951, 1952, 1955, 1973 by the Royal Economic Society. This edition of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., under license from the Royal Economic Society.
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The Fraud of 5 May 1803
On 5 May 1803, when war with France was about to break out again after the short-lived Peace of Amiens, a daring fraud was committed upon the Stock Exchange by the posting of a notice at the Mansion House announcing that the negotiations with France had been ‘brought to an amicable conclusion’. The prices of the Funds rose by about 10 per cent before the news was denied by the Lord Mayor. A meeting of the Stock Exchange was held and all bargains were declared void.1 The three stockbrokers to whom the following letter is addressed were presumably a committee appointed to clear up the consequences of the fraud: a process with which Ricardo was obviously very much concerned.2 Of this nothing is known in detail. But the author of the hostile pamphlet which has been quoted above, p. 93–4, suggests that it was Ricardo (even though he does not mention him by name) who ‘harangued upon the adopting, if he did not move,’ the cancellation of bargains.1
A similar fraud on the Stock Exchange was again attempted in 1814, which is known as the Cochrane hoax. Ricardo’s activity on that occasion as a member of the Committee for the Protection of Property against Fraud has been described above, VI, 106–7.
letter to a stock exchange committee2
I had little expectation that any circumstance connected with the transactions of the 5th of May 1803 could have afforded me gratification, but your letter,3 which I received this day, expressing your approbation of my conduct subsequent to that day, in terms so particularly grateful, has given me the most cordial satisfaction.—I have always placed too much value on your good opinion, Gentlemen, not to receive this testimonial of it with pride.—It shall be a further stimulus to me to endeavour to deserve your esteem.
I beg again to return my thanks for your disinterested services in a cause in which I was so particularly interested, and which by your zeal is at last brought to a happy termination.
May prosperity and happiness ever attend you.
Believe me Gentlemen with the greatest regard
Your obliged friend and Servt
Mile-end July 22d 1806.
Podmore C. H.
[1 ]See John Francis, Chronicles and Characters of the Stock Exchange, London, 1850, p. 185–6.
[2 ]These three (Podmore, Hancock and Steers), along with Ricardo, had been among those elected to the first Committee for General Purposes of the new Stock Exchange on 8 Feb. 1802. A few weeks later, on 3 March 1802, the three of them resigned from the Committee, and, the Minutes add, ‘Mr Ricardo, who was present, stated his reasons also and withdrew his name from the Committee.’ The reasons, however, are not recorded. (MS Minutes in the possession of the Stock Exchange.)
[1 ]An Exposé..., 1821, p. 6–7. Ricardo is alluded to as ‘one who afterwards led the combination against Goldschmidt’ and who ‘has risen to conspicuous importance in a certain assembly’.
[2 ]Addressed: ‘R. Podmore, C H Hancock and Jas. Steers Esqres’. MS (a copy in Ricardo’s handwriting) in R.P.
[3 ]This letter is missing.