- Museum number
- Object: A free born Englishman! - the pride of the world! and the envy of the surrounding nations!!!
A good-looking well-built man stands directed slightly to the right, heavily shackled, his lips closed by a large padlock. His fashionably cut clothes are ragged, his tattered pockets hang inside out. His hands are bound behind him; heavy leg-irons are attached by a rope to a ring round his waist. Under his feet are papers: 'Bill of Rights', 'Magna Charta', a long list of 'Bankrupts' and a 'Gazette'. In the background (left) is a dilapidated house, shored up with a beam, the door inscribed 'Mr Bull'. Two tax-collectors and a constable stand at the door shouting up at two windows where Bull, exclaiming "Mercy on us," and his family look out. They shout "Taxes, Taxes"; one has an open book: 'Kings Taxes'. On the right is a house with a (broken) shop-window, inscribed 'John England & Co', placarded: 'The Stock of this Shop Selling off under Commission of Bankruptcy'.
- Production date
Height: 354 millimetres
Width: 250 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
The victim is not unlike Leigh Hunt; though in prison for libel, cf. No. 12006, he was not silenced: he continued to edit the 'Examiner' and to attack the Regent in the vein of the offending article. The print derives from satires on the Treason and Sedition Bills of 1795, see No. 8693, &c., especially from No. 8710. The device of the padlocked mouth was again revived in 1819. Though there had been some trade recovery since 1812, corn prices were high until the excellent harvest of 1813. The 'Ann. Reg.', 1813, pp. 103 f., records increasing prosperity. See also Smart, 'Econ. Annals of the Nineteenth Century', i. 365. According to the 'Scourge', v. 453, June 1813, the manufacturers' condition was displayed by the bankruptcies in the 'Gazette', while the people were 'feasting on parish scraps'.
For adaptations see Nos. 12211, 13287, 13287 a. The last is perhaps a lithographic copy of a plate with the same title published by Martin, Apr. 1813 (Reid, No. 228).
Reid, No. 229. Cohn, No. 1129.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number