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- Object: Election - candidates; - or - the republican-goose at the top of the pol(l)e
The rival candidates swarm up a pole, inscribed 'Westminster Election', in front of the hustings in Covent Garden. At the top is Burdett with the body and beak of a goose as in BMSat 10708, &c. He is precariously poised on one webbed foot, the r. leg. hanging down, dripping blood from a wound in the thigh (from Paull's bullet), but he is supported by a pitchfork held against his rightump by Horne Tooke, or the Devil, who stands astride the roof of the hustings. Tooke has webbed wings inscribed 'Deceit' and 'Sedition', cloven hoof and barbed tail, with round hat, coat, and clerical bands. Burdett's wings are 'Conceit' and 'Vanity'; his neck is stretched out towards an irradiated sun in the upper right. corner of the design, at which he is hissing, 'ssss [&c]' issuing from his beak. On the disk is a crown on a cushion; it is encircled by the words: 'The Sun of the Constitution'. Just below the goose is Cochrane, wearing the cocked hat and coat of a naval officer with striped seaman's trousers. He is active and agile, one hand on the pole, and one leg round it. In his right. hand he holds up a bludgeon: 'Reform', shouting fiercely to the mob below; his right. foot rests on the cask which encloses the paunchy body of the man below (Elliot), who is falling backwards. From his pocket issues a paper: 'Charges against St Vincent.' Below him legs and arms wildly outflung emerge from the cask which is inscribed 'Quassia' [see BMSat 10574]. The head of the falling cask, inscribed 'Elliots Home Br[ewed], drops off, and its foaming contents pour down. Elliot drops a paper: 'Sixpenny Jack's Address'. Below Elliot, Sheridan, in his Harlequin suit (see BMSat 9916), enormously fat, grasps the pole with arms and legs, making no progress. Below him Paull falls head foremost and in back view to the ground; he is dressed as in BMSat 10725 and his (wounded) l. leg breaks above the top-boot. He drops his shears and a cabbage.
The hustings are crowded: one man addresses the mob; some are impassive, others wave their hats. On the supporting posts (two being obscured by the climbers up the pole) are placards indicating the Westminster parishes: 'St Pauls', 'St Giles' [not in Westminster], 'St James'. In front of the hustings is Burdett's mob with the traditional band of butchers banging marrow-bones and cleavers, with whom are two chimney-sweeps with brush and shovel. These are (l. to r.) Windham, as a sweep, 'Burdett & Reformation' on his shovel; Temple, with 'Burdett & Popery' on his cleaver; Howick, with 'Burdett & Revenge' on his; Grenville, with 'Burdett and Opposition'. These three (as butchers) wear over-sleeves. Next is Petty as a sweep, with Burdett and Independence' [cf. BMSat 10264] on his shovel. On the r. are hats only, one with a 'Burdett' favour. The mob is divided from the hustings by a barrier forming a lane in front of the poll-clerks who are in the front and lowest seat of the hustings. A bearded Jew (r.) is about to take the oath: a clerk with a pen in his mouth hands him a book. With the voters inside the barrier is a constable with his staff. On the roof of the hustings are a dead cat and vegetables. In the background (l.) is a sea of heads, a corner of the stand filled with spectators (cf. BMSat 8815), and roofs and upper stories of houses in Covent Garden. After the title some words beginning i.e. have been erased; it continues: 'The Devil helping behind! - Vide. Mr Paul's Letter - Article - Horne Tooke - also, an exact representation of Sawney Mc Cochran flourishing the Cudgel of Naval Reform lent to him by Cobbett; & mounting Triumphantly over a small-beer-Barrel - together with an Old-Drury-Lane-Harlequin trying in vain to make a spring to ye Top of the Pole, his Broad-Bottom [cf. BMSat 10530] always bringing him down again! - & lastly, poor little Paul ye Taylor done over! - wounded by a Goose, & not a Leg to stand on - '. 20 May 1807
- Production date
Height: 362 millimetres
Width: 258 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
The Westminster Election was sensational from the defeat of the two official candidates, Whig and Tory (despite the Paull fiasco, see BMSat 10725), by two radicals supported by a Committee that remained in being as the democratic body for local politics. See Wallas, 'Life of Place', 1925, pp. 44 ff. Cf. BMSat 11414, &c. Gillray depicts the Whigs as supporters of Burdett: they regarded him as a mere favourite of the mob (see 'Corr. of Lord G. L. Gower', 1916, ii. 250); Tooke was anxious that he should not be associated with the Whigs at the election. Cobbett wrote in a 'Letter to the Electors . . .': 'If you succeed in causing Sir Francis Burdett to be returned . . . you will have done more for the country . . . than has been done for it, during the last hundred years.' He defended him from the accusation of 'the venal prints and especially the Morning Chronicle ... of being a mere instrument in the hands of others, as being if true, of little consequence . . .'. 'Pol. Reg.', 16 May 1807. The election was from 7 to 23 May, Burdett taking no personal part. The results: Burdett 5,134, Cochrane 3,708, Sheridan 2,645, Elliott 2,137 (the two latter joining their interests as in 1790, 1796, 1802, and 1806, cf. BMSat 10619), Paull 269; he withdrew on 13 May. According to Place 'Sheridan was so far behind that he had no chance . . . and as he begged hard to be permitted to make as respectable show of numbers as he could, Lord Cochrane took his inspectors away, and Sheridan polled whom he pleased, and the same man over and over again'. Add. MSS. 27850, fo. 81. He was returned for Ilchester before the close of the poll. Burdett's platform (as spokesman of the people) was freedom of elections, the exclusion of place-men and pensioners from Parliament, with indeterminate views on Reform. The enthusiasm was for Burdett, little attention was given to Cochrane. See Patterson, 'Sir Francis Burdett and his Times', 1931, i, ch. x, and BMSats 10725, 10731, 10733, 10734, 10736. Cf. BMSats 10742, 10744. Elliot's nickname derives from the high price of his porter. 'London und Paris', xx. 90.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 349. Wright and Evans, No. 333. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Cf. BMSat 10608.
- Not on display
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