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The Swallow Packet, or, A belly full of good news, piping hot from Bristol, in spite of contrary winds

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Swallow Packet, or, A belly full of good news, piping hot from Bristol, in spite of contrary winds
  • Description

    Pitt (left) reads from a large document, his words reach the gaping mouths of four men (right) with grotesquely protruding and globular stomachs. He casts a shadow which forms a diminutive replica of himself, blowing bubbles from a pipe, and saying "How high we keep it up". These bubbles are respectively 'India Stock', 'Bank Stock', 'Credit'. In the shadow's left hand is a coronet (cf. BMSat 6631, &c). Behind Pitt, and on the extreme left, kneels Dundas, plying a pair of bellows inscribed 'Dispatches', whose nozzle is inserted between Pitt's coat-tails. He says, "By my troth an a Man finds the Wind Against him - he has nought to do but to give a gude Puff or two an ye ken how kindly they swallow it; and now my bonny lad, we may gang down to our Seats, with gude grace and stand the wrangle". Below the bellows is inscribed, 'The Art of Puffing', and below Dundas and Pitt, '"A whole packet of News" Scrub in the Stratagem' [Farquhar's 'Beaux Stratagem']. Words issue from Pitt's mouth in four curving lines, each ending in a gaping mouth; he reads: [1] 'The Rains over - their Cloaths dried - full Bellies - in high spirits.' [2] 'Great exertions - plenty of Forage - glut of Rice - Droves of Bullocks'. These lines reach the mouths of men who resemble William Curtis and his brother, see BMSat 7676. The next [3], 'Offer of Peace - rejected - Tippoo at point of Death - hem'd in', reaches the mouth of Brook Watson (with a wooden leg). [4] 'Tippo's People starved - Seringapatam swallowed up' reaches a bearded Jew. 28 January 1792


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1792
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 198 millimetres
    • Width: 276 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within image and publication line: "Pub by W.Dent Jan 28 1792"
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    At this time credit and the Stocks were so high that Pitt contemplated a bill for the reduction of the Four per cents to Three and a half, but deferred the measure, hoping in the next session to be able to reduce them to Three per cents. Stanhope, 'Life of Pitt', i. 429-30. See BMSat 8065. Here Pitt is accused of publishing false reports from India in order to improve credit (cf. BMSat 7928). It was known that the 'Swallow' packet was bringing news from India, see BMSat 8060, and cf. BMSat 8090, &c. News of the total defeat of Tipu by Cornwallis in February actually reached London on 23 June. 'Lond. Chronicle', 26 June 1791.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8059 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  28 January 1792  Etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 28 January 1792 Etching

Image description



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