“Land speculation was the main investment scheme of the age. It had been carried out with great appetite in colonial America, where large grants of land, often hundreds of thousand of acres, could be obtained from the Crown or from the colonial governments for a pittance. In 1748, for example, a group of influential Virginians formed the Ohio Company and secured half a million western acres; the following year, the Loyal Company, also composed of leading Virginians, acquired 800,000 acres. With a minimal investment, speculators could turn an exorbitant profit reselling land parcels to settlers. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and other founding fathers were all land speculators on a grand scale.” (p. 27)-- from Jay Feldman, When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes. Free Press, New York, 2005.