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- Object: France, (the Great Nation) driven by the North into the South!!!
Louis XVIII stands on a plateau facing the Pyrenees (right), to which a signpost points. His boots are on wheels (like roller-skates) and he stands within a circular frame (on castors) for supporting a toddling child (cf. BM Satires 7497). Into this he fits tightly, paunch and posteriors projecting above the rim. He wears military uniform with cocked hat and bag-wig, and holds a sword against his shoulder. He is pushed from behind by the Tsar and the Emperor of Austria, who lean towards him, applying the butt end of bayoneted muskets to his posterior. He makes a speech with (gloved) left hand extended: "Finding it Necessary to attack the South in order to escape from the North, I have done all that could be done against the Constitutional System—I have Stirred up Insurrection wherever it was possible!—I have armed & organized the Rebels!—All this I have done secretly,—But now!—that I have 100,000 men ready for the field with Prince Hilt at their head, & under the protection of the God of Saint Louis! I will march into Spain. & restore Petticoat Government—Embroidery—! [see BM Satires 12508] Priestcraft—Bigotery —and—The Blessed! Holy Inquisition! in all their Original Glory!!! [see BM Satires 13009]. The two emperors wear uniform with jack-boots. Alexander says: Aye! Aye go on Louis or I'll take the Other end of the Stick to you—But don't be afraid for I'll back-you with half a Million of Barbarians & what with the Power of our Brother Austria here, & Prussia, we'll trample the Liberty of Europe in the dust, & wash away the blessings of Freedom in the Blood of it's advocates. Francis, on Alexander's left, says: Go on Old Boy! "every thing that is Ancient is good" this "Liberty"—(as they call it,) is a Modern affair—we'll have none of it—Nor shall any body else—if we can help it!! The unwieldy king faces destruction in a deep valley which divides his plateau from the peaks of the Pyrenees. 18 February 1823.
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Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 350 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
For the pending invasion see No. 14497, &c. Louis XVIII's speech on 28 Jan. is parodied. The opening words, however, are those of Villèle, who said 'qu'il falloit attaquer le midi pour échapper au nord':¹ Spain must be attacked to prevent a Russian army from entering France. Villèle also avowed (8 Feb.) 'that insurrection was stirred up wherever it was possible'. The King said '. . . one hundred thousand Frenchmen commanded by a prince of my family . . .', invoking the God of St. Louis. Ann. Reg., 1822, pp. 149 f., 154. This was the most famous speech 'ever made to a parliament by a King of France'. Its absolutist doctrine raised a storm of protest in England. Temperley, Foreign Policy of Canning, 1925, pp. 78-80, 86; see Nos. 14511, 14512.
A pencil drawing, in reverse, signed. Louis points with his sword. Spaniards with a cap of Liberty man the slopes of the mountains, 1891,1117.102 (Binyon, i. 287, Pressmark 199.c.1/102). Also a sketch, not reversed (Pressmark 201.a.1*).
Reproduced, F. B. Artz, Reaction and Revolution 1814-1832, 1934, pl. 42.
¹ Temperley (op. cit., p. 72) attributes these words to a retrospective justification of policy made on 25 Feb. 1824.
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