- Museum number
- Object: Economy -
Plate to the 'Scourge', xi. 321 [one impression is not folded, showing that it was issued separately], one of two designs placed side by side, see No. 12767. Brougham, in the guise of John Bull, wearing top-boots and a round hat, appears to the Regent, holding up a broom which points towards a small scene surrounded by clouds, in the upper right corner of the design. The Regent, who has been revelling over a large bowl of punch, falls back terrified, overturning his chair. Brougham, his left arm extended towards the Regent, declaims: "Retrench! Retrench [debauched Prince (almost obliterated)], reflect on the distressed state of your Country, & remember the Security of ye Throne rests on the happyness of ye People; that its lusture [sic] does not consist in finery, or five-Clawed Dragons—neither is its stability consulted, by treating its supporters with contempt.—" Venienti Occurrite Morbo"— meet the evil; take timely warning, & retrench, before it be too late." The Regent falls on to McMahon, a tiny figure on hands and knees, gazing up at Brougham; he supports himself with his right hand on the knee of Lady Hertford (see No. 11853, &c.) who is seated beside him. All three register astonishment and terror. The Regent exclaims: "D—n such Economy say I, why I might as well turn to eating husks at once! What the Devil do You want? have I not recommended Economy [in my speech (almost obliterated)]? have I not enforced precept, by Example? Have I not discharged four of my footmen? What more would you have?!!" Behind the Regent and Lady Hertford are the fringed curtains of a canopy. Four terrified heads, on the extreme left, peep round the curtain, one above the other. The lowest resembles John Nash, the next (? Lord Hertford, Lord Chamberlain) says: "Have we not turn'd away a number of petty clerks & supernumeraries? what other retrenchments wod these Grumblers wish for?" A pair of legs from a prostrate courtier projects into the design (left). Another pair belongs to a man who crawls under the table-cloth of the round table on which are punch-bowl, decanters, and dessert. From behind the punchbowl looks an angry face (? Castlereagh), saying: "curse that Broom 'tis always conjuring up something to frighten us."
The vision above Brougham's head is of the Regent and McMahon, both ragged, seated facing each other at a plain wooden table on which are a jar of 'Spring Water' and a lighted candle-end stuck in a bottle. The Regent gnaws a bare bone; McMahon (in miniature) takes up a small fish by the tail.
1 May 1816
- Production date
Height: 208 millimetres (cropped)
Width: 492 millimetres (cropped)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
For Brougham's speech on 20 Mar. see No. 12756. He called the Regent one of those 'who in utter disregard of the feelings of an oppressed and insulted nation, proceeded from one wasteful expenditure to another, who decorated and crowded their houses with the splendid results of their extravagance [see No. 12747, &c.], who associated with the most profligate of human beings . . . [&c.]'. 'Parl. Deb.' xxxiii. 497. Castlereagh informed the Regent that the debate would probably have ended in a ministerial defeat 'upon the principle of economy', 'if Mr. Brougham had not made a most violent speech . . .'. 'Corr. of George IV', 1938, ii. 161. See also 'Memoirs of Romilly' (20 Mar.) who calls the speech 'very injudicious as well as very unjust' and 'in terms not too strong to have described the latter days of Tiberius'.
Reid, No. 577. Cohn, No. 732.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number