John Law had fled to safety in Brussels, Belgium, in December 1720. His furtive exit from France confirmed for many people that he was a criminal. Yet only months before, he had been hailed as a financial genius and the second-most powerful person in France. In four years, he had managed to refinance the nearly bankrupt government of France, in the process creating new markets, institutions, and securities. Then a bubble and crash in France’s markets turned public opinion against him. In advance of petitioning for a return to Paris, Law needed to prepare a defense. To sustain a return, he would need to assert that the collapse of the Mississippi Company bubble was a matter of external circumstances and bad luck rather than mismanagement or fraud. On what circumstances could he pin the rehabilitation of his reputation?