The Political Mouse-Trap; or, a Great [House] in an Uproar
- The Political Mouse-Trap; or, a Great [House] in an Uproar
Satire on Samuel Martin's duel with Wilkes. On the left, two Scotsmen support Lord Sandwich who is holding up a copy of Wilkes's Essay on Woman saying, "This will do for him I warrant ye". In front of them the diminutive figure of Samuel Martin fires a shot at a mouse representing Wilkes. In the centre, behind Martin, a group of four men express their horror at the Essay: Kidgell proclaiming, "I'll publish a Narrative about it", Bishop Warburton holding up a copy and condemning it as blasphemy, and Lord Lyttleton crying, "O 'tis so shocking I can't bear it." In the centre, a Scot (Bute?) wearing a bonnet with a feather draws his sword at the mouse. To the right, Britannia, naked to the waist, swoons as a rat representing Bute attacks her heart; she is attended by Newcastle, Temple, Pitt and Cumberland. Engraved inscriptions and speech-balloons, letterpress title and verses in two columns, and one vertical and one horizontal segment of type ornament. ([London], Sumpter: )
- Published in: London
- (Europe,British Isles,England,London)
- Height: 355 millimetres (printed area)
- Width: 225 millimetres (printed area)
- Height: 169 millimetres (etching)
- Width: 225 millimetres (etching)
Inscription ContentLettered at the foot of the sheet: "Sold by E.Sumpter, Three Doors from Shoe-Lane, Fleet-Street: whre may be had, The British Antidote to Caledonian Poison, 2 vols. Price 5s."
Kidgell obtained proofs of the Essay on Woman which he disclosed to Lord Sandwich precipitating prosecution of Wilkes for obscene libel. He attempted to justify his actions by publishing "A genuine and succinct narrative of a scandalous, obscene, and exceedingly profane libel, entitled 'An essay on woman', etc.", but in the event he was condemned as a hypocrite and left the country. Warburton was satirised in the Essay as the supposed author of the notes to the poem; these contained as much obscenity as the verses. Lord Lyttleton had objected to Sandwich's reading of the Essay in parliament.
The facial types and the swooning figure of Britannia are close to those in satires designed by Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale.
For another impression printed in black, with the imprint cropped, see BM 1868-8-8-4344.
Satires British Unmounted Roy
- Representation of: William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester
- Representation of: Samuel Martin
- Representation of: George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton of Frankley
- Representation of: Richard Grenville Temple, Earl Temple
- Representation of: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
- Representation of: Britannia
- Representation of: John Wilkes
- Representation of: Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland
- Representation of: William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham
- Representation of: John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute
- Representation of: Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle
- Representation of: John Kidgell
Prints & Drawings
A broadside satirising the political situation in England in 1763, when great efforts were made to expel John Wilkes from Parliament while the allegedly damaging impact of Lord Bute was ignored; with an etching, partly printed in red, showing on the right Britannia being attacked by a rat, representing Lord Bute, she faints and is supported by William Pitt and other politicians, in the centre a mouse, representing Wilkes, surrounded by a group of agitated gentlemen, one drawing a sword against the mouse and and another, representing Samuel Martin, shooting at her; with engraved inscriptions and speech-bubbles, and with letterpress title and verses in two columns, and with one vertical and one horizontal segment of type ornament. ([London], Sumpter: )
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: PPA201900
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.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.