- Museum number
- Object: View of the Husting in Covent Garden.
Above the design, 'Publish'd for the History of the Westminster & Middlesex Elections, Novr 1806', and a folding pl. from the book. A section of the hustings extends across the design, bisected by one of the vertical posts supporting the (invisible) roof. On this are two placards: 'Loyal Parishes of St Paul's and St Giles's' and 'State of the Poll - . Paul - Hood - Sheridan'. The base of the design is formed by the heads and raised arms of the mob below. Hood and Sheridan, with their supporters, are on the left of the post, Paull and his supporters on the r. The supporters wear favours (buff and blue on the left) with the names of their candidates. On the extreme left. is a stout man holding a whip. Next, Hood in uniform, with his empty r. sleeve, turns in profile to the left., away from Sheridan, putting his hand to his mouth to cover a smile. Sheridan stares in bewildered an speechless anguish, horrified at the shouts of the mob and at Paull's words Whitbread, standing behind, puts his left hand reassuringly on his shoulder and offers him a foaming tankard inscribed 'Whitbread new Loyal Porter'. His is 'Hood & Sheridan'. On Sheridan's l. a dog, its collar inscribed 'Peter Moore', barks savagely at Paull, who stands hat in hand, r. arm extended towards Sheridan, addressing the crowd: " - the sunk, the lost, the degraded Treasurer" [Sheridan]. On Paull's l. is Burdett; next, and on the extreme right., is Bosville. Between and behind Paull and Burdett stands Cobbett, holding an issue of the 'Political Register' on which the word 'Cobbett' is legible. These three have tickets inscribed 'Paull' in their hats. Behind Paull on the left, and watching him with a sly grin, stands the Duke of Northumberland, Sheridan's enemy, see BMSat 10606. He holds a paper: 'To the Vestry of St Margaret'; in his hat is 'No Coalition' [i.e. between Hood and Sheridan]. Behind these first two rows on the hustings, heads recede until they merge in shadow. Three men behind Sheridan appear to be portraits; two have favours inscribed 'Sheridan' (one probably Lord William Russell, Sheridan's seconder); the third is a fat and grotesque man in uniform wearing a plumed death's head cap and a gorget. He is Downes, an undertaker, and a major in the St. James's Volunteers (of which Sheridan was Colonel): there were shouts of 'no major Downes the undertaker' (see BMSat 9750). See 'Pol. Reg.' x. 810, 836. The rank and file of Sheridan's supporters look anxious, those of Paull are grinning.
Below the hustings some of the mob hold up their hats to cheer their candidate, others flourish bludgeons or insulting emblems. From l. to r.: shouts are for "Hood [four times], Hood for ever; no Picton". Then (against Hood): "Two Faces under a Hood; no False Votes." Against Sheridan: "No Placemen in Parliament; No Harlequin Turncoat; No Stage Tricks!; No Vagabond Representative; Pay your Debts; Mr Treasurer; Where's my Renters share, dam' you." Next is a group with bludgeons inscribed 'Sherry' who shout: "Sherry & Liberty"; "Sherry for Ever"; "Sherry." Next, below Paull, a group which shouts "No Paul". A pair of shears, a smoothing-iron, and a cabbage speared on a stick, are held up, with the respective shouts: "no Paul Goose"; "no Stitching Representative"; "no Cabbaging Candidate". On the extreme right. are Paull's supporters, these wear bonnets rouges (coloured red and blue) with tricolour favours inscribed 'Paul'. They shout "Paul & Independence"; "Paul for Ever"; "Paul & Plumpers" [see BMSat 10608]. 15 December 1806
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 355 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
The poll for Westminster was from 3 to 19 Nov., Paull being nominated by Burdett, Sheridan by Peter Moore. The return of Sir Samuel Hood was certain; he was a cousin of Lord Hood (Sir Samuel before 1784) who represented Westminster 1784-8, 1790-6 (when he was raised to the English peerage). Commodore Hood succeeded Gardner (cr. a peer in 1806). Sheridan claimed to be the successor of Fox. Lord Holland records that this was against the advice of his friends, and without the concurrence of the Government who gave him reluctant assistance. He relied 'with inordinate vanity' on his personal popularity, but was 'absolutely execrated by the people'. Rhodes, 'Harlequin Sheridan', 1933, p. 216 f. Nevertheless, he would have been returned unopposed except for Paull, who intervened as an independent candidate as Horne Tooke had done in 1790 and 1796 (see BMSat 7638, &c, 8813, &c), and Graham in 1802 (see BMSat 9876), but with much greater support: that of Burdett with his friends Tooke and Bosville, and Cobbett, inveterate enemy of Sheridan (often attacked in the 'Political Register' as a corrupt placeman), who had denounced the latter's intervention in the by-election in September as a trick to secure Percy's return (see BMSat 10606). Col. Fullarton on the hustings on 4 Nov. charged Hood with supporting Picton in (alleged) misgovernment at Trinidad. On 5 Nov. Hood and Sheridan joined their interests. Till 6 Nov. Paull was at the head of the poll; Sheridan was at the bottom till 14 Nov., when he passed Paull by 103 votes. The final results (19 Nov.) were Hood 5,478, Sheridan 4,758, Paull 4,481. Sheridan's deep humiliation is shown in Gillray's cruel caricature; others, except Downs, are scarcely caricatured, while Cobbett (see BMSat 10608) and Burdett are not unflattering portraits. The bitterness of the contest was extreme. Cobbett wrote of Sheridan: 'I have seen him receive, in the loud and unanimous reproaches of the people, a punishment far beyond the measure of any revenge my heart is capable of entertaining.' For over a week he did not appear on the hustings and Whitbread made speeches on his behalf. 'Pol. Reg.', 15 Nov.; see also 29 Nov. For 'renters' shares' (in Drury Lane Theatre) cf. BMSat 10459. See 'Hist. of the Westminster Election', 1806; Patterson, 'Burdett and his Times', 1931, i. 178-82; see also BMSats 10605, 10606, 10607, 10608, 10609, 10620, 10621, 10622, 10703. For Paull's petition against Sheridan's return see BMSat 10708, &c. Cf. BMSat 10733, &c.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 341 f. Wright and Evans, No. 329. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Reproduced, 'Patterson', op. cit. i. 178.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 Jun-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Gillray and the Art of Caricature'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number