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- Object: The surrender of Government Castle, in March 1782, to the late besieging minority
A companion print to BMSat 5985 by the same artist. Government Castle (right) is in good repair, cannons instead of heads project from the embrasures. The king in profile to the left leans over the battlements, his arms held out, saying to his defeated ministers,
To lose you Sirs, concerns me more
Than all I lost by you before."
A foot-guard stands as sentry at the gate.
In the upper part of the design a procession of defeated ministers and their adherents (the garrison) walk right to left. from the castle, headed by a tall thin man in general's uniform (Lord Amherst); he says, "We ought to have had the honours of war for we have stood a long Siege". After him walks North, one hand on his breast, saying, "I leave the Castle as clean as Soap can wash", one of many allusions to his unpopular tax on soap, see BMSat 5964, &c. The next two say "There are stores in the Castle but the Specie is almost spent", and "We have held out like veterans". A stout man in clerical wig and bands, probably Markham, Archbishop of York, says "These hot Patriots deserve cooling in a Spanish Inquisition". (Cf. BMSat 5958.) A man in a tie-wig says, "My Lord they are guilty of an Assault, or I do not understand Law" (he is probably Mansfield). The next three say: "It is better to surrender than hold out and lose our heads; Our fate is not the hardest, we have got something, and lost neither head nor limb; G. Conway's attack carried all before it". Next comes Sandwich, saying, "Well I shall be no more plagu'd with combined fleets". The last two say: "We were overpower'd by numbers", and "Let us be resign'd to the fortune of war".
After these leaders, and in front of a group of followers, walks the Devil, with horns, hoofs and forked tail, saying, "I am sorry we have lost Brimstone Hill". (Brimstone Hill, a fortification on St. Kitts, surrendered to de Bouillé on 12 Feb. 1782.) The followers, who represent the subordinate placemen, are immediately to the left of the castle; they say, "We shall have no more golden Eggs for Fox has got the goose".
The castle and the departing garrison fill the upper part of the print. Below is a procession of the new Ministry and their camp-followers marching from left to right to occupy the castle. Facing them and immediately beneath the castle is a mob (right) of men and boys shouting acclamations to the new garrison. One shouts "General Conway for ever". A man with an apron bawls, "Fox for ever", another shouts "Keppel for ever". The new Ministry is headed by a man in military uniform holding up a drawn sword, saying "For our Country let us be vigilant". As in BMSat 5985 the figures are poorly characterized, appearance and words often appear out of character. The succeeding figures say: "Let us be vigilant and faithful"; "There must be much better œconomy"; Keppel in naval uniform says, "We must watch the Combin'd Fleet like a Hawke". [Hawke died in 1781 and his name had scarcely come before the public since his retirement from the Admiralty in 1771, except that he had signed in Dec. 1778 the protest of the admirals against the court-martial on Keppel. The remark, however, is singularly apt, as his views had been expressed in a memorandum: "Our enemies being peculiarly attentive to their marine, our fleet could only be termed considerable in the proportion it was to that of the House of Bourbon." W. M. James, 'The British Navy in Adversity', 1926, p. 15.] The next say, "We shall silence the Dutch"; "Early Intelligence must be attain'd"; "I hope we shall reconcile America"; "We must shew the Monsieurs old English play"; "Placemen and salaries must be reduc'd". The last, who is in riding dress, says "No contractor must sit in Parliament". The Contractors' Bill was in committee before the fall of North, it was debated in the Commons 8 April, and became law 27 May. The placemen and followers say, "We shall do pretty well with half their Salary".
Beneath the title is engraved N.B. "The old Garrison and Placemen are marching out, the new Garrison and new Placemen are marching in. Success to Old England".
In the upper left corner of the print is engraved, "Articles to be observed by the Garrison".
1. "All the Privates to remain in the Garrison."
2. "All the principal Officers to march out, not allowed the honours of war."
3. "They shall lay down their Titles and Symbols of honour where they received them."
4. "They shall not enter any of his Majesty's Fortifications eccept it be the Tower."
5. "They shall be accountable for the Specie expended in Government Castle."
6. "Their parole shall be from Government Castle to Tower hill, and from Tower hill to Temple bar and no farther, till they shew satisfactory accounts." 10 May 1782
- Production date
Height: 300 millimetres
Width: 376 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
Threats of impeachment were hanging over the heads of the ex-Ministers; for North's fears see R. Lucas, 'Lord North', 1913, ii. 209 ff. Cf. BMSat 5660, 5661, 5969, 6046.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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