Collection online

The dagger scene;-or-the plot discover'd.

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1851,0901.633

  • Title (object)

    • The dagger scene;-or-the plot discover'd.
  • Description

    A caricature of the famous scene in the House of Commons on 28 Dec. 1792. Burke (right) stands in profile to the left, his hands extended, having just thrown down the dagger, which lies at his feet; he looks with a contemptuous frown at Pitt and Dundas, who are seated on the Treasury Bench (left). On the extreme left the Speaker is represented by his hat, wig, and gown; his headlessness perhaps indicates Gillray's opinion of Addington. On the opposite side of the table Fox clutches his hat, looking at Burke out of the corners of his eyes with an alarmed expression; Sheridan, equally alarmed, clutches Fox's shoulder; behind them sits M. A. Taylor, clasping his hands. Burke, whose corpulence and a bag-wig suggest that he is now drawing funds from the Treasury, says: "There! that is what you are to gain by an alliance with France! - such are the Instruments with which they have determin'd the destruction of the Human race! - Three Thousand such Daggers are now manufacturing for this Country! - for where French principles are introduced, you must prepare your hearts for French Daggers! - Nineteen Assassins are already here, who aided & abbetted by wretches who do not believe in a God, are preparing to scour the filth from your Streets with the Blood of all who are Virtuous & Honorable!!"
    Pitt, seated in profile to the right, very thin, with his hair rising on his head in terror, says, "The blood of the Virtuous & Honorable ? then Lord have mercy upon Me!" Dundas, wearing a tartan plaid, adds, equally terrified, "And upon Me!" Fox says "Confusion! - one of Our daggers, by all thats bloody! how the devil did he come by that ? - ha! what's that ? Nineteen Assassins ? - O damnation! - we're found out & all our schemes ruin'd for ever!!!" Sheridan says: "O Charley, Charley! - farewell to all our hopes of Levelling Monarchs! - farewell to all our hopes of paying off my debts by a general Bankruptcy! - farewell to all hopes of plunder! - in a moment of Victory we're trap'd & undone!!!" 30 December 1792
    Hand-coloured etching

    More 

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1792
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 374 millimetres
    • Width: 302 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within image and publication detail: 'Pubd Decr 30th 1792. by H. Humphrey N. 18 Old Bond Street / Js Gy dn et ft pro bon publico'.
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    Burke's words are based on his speech on the Alien Bill, in answer to one by Fox opposing the Bill, when he 'mentioned the circumstance of three thousand daggers having been bespoke at Birmingham.... It is my object to keep the French infection from this country; their principles from our minds, and their daggers from our hearts'. 'Parl. Hist.' xxx. 189. For the order of 20,000 daggers by a Dr. Maxwell, of dimensions which tally with those of the dagger thrown down melodramatically by Burke, see Rose, 'Pitt and the Great War', p. 64. 'Bland-Burges Papers', pp. 203-4; Twiss, 'Life of Lord Eldon', i. 217-18. Cf. BMSat 8131. See also BMSat 8148.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 155 (reproduction, p. 154). Wright and Evans, No. 96. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Reproduced, 'Social England', ed. Traill, 1905, p. 669.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8147 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1851

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1851,0901.633

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE. (BMSat). 1792  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE. (BMSat). 1792 Hand-coloured etching

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA141113

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...