From page 212 of Simon Jenkins's "Short History of England":
"The so-called south Sea Bubble burst in September that year (1720) and stunned the nation . Thousands, mostly in London, were ruined and the Riot Act had to be read in the lobby of parliament. Stanhope ("first" minister) had a stroke in the House of Lords. The postmaster general took poison and the chancellor of the exchequer...was thrown into prison. It was proposed that bankers who had loaned against the (South Sea Company) shares be 'tied up in sacks filed with snakes and tipped into the murky Thames.'"
And also perhaps more enlightened. From page 216, quoting the younger Pitt:
"...it (is) dangerous to our liberties and destructive to our trade to encourage great numbers of our people to depend for their livelihood upon the profession of arms."
Messers Fox and Werritty please note.