- Museum number
- Object: General Nap turned methodist preacher, a new attempt to gull the credulous;'
Heading to a printed broadside. After the (printed) title: 'Dedicated to Mr. Whitbread. "Dear Sam, repeat my Words, but not my Actions.' Napoleon (a good portrait) preaches from a high pulpit in a Gothic church. He wears a gown over a military coat, an ill-fitting wig is poised on his cropped head, and decorated with tricolour cockade, a tiny tricolour flag with a bonnet rouge, and a cross and crescent. In his left hand is a musket barrel, with a bayonet across which is fastened a tiny toy windmill. In the clerk's desk below the pulpit sits Ney wearing uniform with plumed cocked hat and large spectacles. Both are in profile to the right, facing the choir, elderly Frenchmen seated on drums in quasi-military dress with clerical bands, each with a musical instrument, French horn, trumpet, cymbals, &c. Those in a third row stand; they scowl disconsolately at Napoleon but say: "Vive l'Empereur! how happy we are!!!" and "Vive l'Empereur." In the centre of the design is the organ in a gallery decorated with the letter 'N'; the pipes are made of cannons. Looking from the gallery is a soldier holding a lighted candle. Under the gallery, rows of scowling French soldiers stand at attention holding bayoneted muskets. They are thin and knock-kneed. The side of Napoleon's pulpit on the extreme left is headed 'Vestry'; three of Napoleon's costumes hang from it: a military coat and cocked hat with a blood-stained dagger inscribed 'Imperial Cross'; a mitre and bishop's robe supported on a musket and inscribed 'Scarecrow'; a Mahometan turban and robe, with a bottle inscribed 'Arsenic for the Poor Sick of Jaffa' [see No. 10063]. Napoleon's sermon is printed below the title : 'Dearly beloved brethren, Honour, Country, Liberty! this is the order of the day; far from us all idea of conquest, bloodshed and war. Religion and true Philosophy must ever be our maxim. Liberty, a free Constitution, and no Taxes, that is our cry. No Slave-Trade; humanity shudders at the very thought of it!! The brave, the excellent English detest it. Yea we shall all be happy. Commerce, Plenty, and all sorts of pretty things will be our lot. Good Jacobins rise and assert your rights. And you, brave Soldiers, the honour of France, Plunder and Blood shall once more be your cry. Double pay and cities burnt will come down in showers upon you. Yea! ye shall all be Generals, all be Members of the Legion of Honour! The Eagles will once more cover the world. Now is the time to destroy Great Britain, that treacherous country which always seeks our ruin. Honour and Victory will lead us.
'Dear Countrymen, without good faith there is no tie in this world. Dear Jacobins, we all acknowledge no God, and nothing else. Let the altars be lighted up, and your organs play the Marseillois, that sacred air, which fires every Frenchman's breast. Yea, I swear by this holy cross I now hold in my hands, and in this sacred place, where you are all free and without restraint, that my intentions are pure, and that I wish for nothing else but Peace, Plunder, and Liberty. Amen!!' Ney intones 'Nay then I say Amen'.
c. May 1815
Hand-coloured etching and letterpress
- Production date
- 1815 (c.)
Height: 275 millimetres (image)
Height: 465 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 283 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
A satire on Napoleon's proclamations and promises on his return from Elba, on his attempts to conciliate the Republicans, and especially on the 'Acte Additionel' (22 Apr.) by which he offered France a constitution, and on the abolition of the slave trade (29 Mar.) in an attempt to conciliate British opinion, Louis XVIII's Government having refused abolition. A lengthy abstract of the 'Acte' appeared in the 'Examiner' of 30 Apr., and was the subject of a leading article. The Constitution (see S. Charléty, 'La Restauration', 1921, pp. 51-6) was submitted to a plebiscite and proclaimed with great pomp on 1 June at the Champ de Mai. It was, however, a mere attempt to influence opinion in France and abroad : Napoleon admitted in St. Helena to Gourgaud that he had intended to dismiss the Chambers 'as soon as I was a conqueror' (though he spoke very differently to Las Cases). See Nos. 12553, 12558, 12563, 12589, 12623, 12711, 12712. For Napoleon's peace overtures see No. 12541; for the slave trade, Nos. 12312, 12553, 12558, 12613, 12623. For his professions of Mahometanism, recalled as a warning against the emptiness of his promises, see No. 9973, &c. For Whitbread and the war see No. 12538, &c. For the windmill as a symbol of French inconstancy cf. No. 12522.
Reid, No. 177. Cohn, No. 1150. Listed by Broadley (attributed to Oct. 1808, following E. Hawkins). Reproduced, Grand-Carteret, 'Napoléon', No. 215.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number