- Museum number
BM Satires 13504. A satirical pamphlet of 16 pages written in verse entitled, "The Free-Born Englishman deprived of His Seven Senses by . . . the Six New Acts of the Boroughmongers. A Poem, by Geoffrey Gag-'em-all. . . Illustrated with an appropriate Caricature Plate . . . [Price One Shilling.]"
Two verses are printed beneath the title:
"John Bull through 'Twenty years of war',
To LIBERTY had some pretences,
But 'six years peace' and 'six new acts',
Have reft him of his 'seven senses'.
Yet unborn 'millions' shall arise,
My poor John Bull, to rescue thee,
Unclose thy 'lips', thine 'ears' and 'eyes',
And set thy 'seven senses' free."
With the publisher's line at the bottom of the page:
"London: Printed and Published by John Fairburn, 2, Broadway, Ludgate-Hill. Price One Shilling."
The fold out frontispiece illustration, bound opposite the title page, represents John, a respectable but ragged citizen, kneeling on straw directed to the right in a bare dilapidated room. He is heavily shackled to a 'Pillar of Restriction' (left) with cannon-balls heaped at the base. On the capital, which is in the form of the Prince's triple ostrich plume, rests a platform supporting an Ensign flag, reversed and tattered, and inscribed 'Distress'; beside the flag is a cannon, 'Cannon Law', to which is tied a rope which is round John's neck. His arms and legs are tightly bound to the pillar by heavy chains. His lips are closed by a padlock (as in BM Satires No. 13287, &c.), his nose is pinched by nippers. He wears black spectacles and his ears are stuffed with plugs shaped like cannon. He kneels by a table, on which are thumb-screws confining his fingers. On the table are 'Magna Charta' and 'Bill of Rights', both transfixed by a heavy dagger of 'Manchester Steel' which drips with blood (see BM Satires No. 13258, &c). An ink-pot, pen, and sheet of stamped paper (see BM Satires No. 14231) fall from the table on which are, tantalizingly, a chop, decanter, and loaf.
On John's head is a pile of bulky papers: '6 New Acts'. On them squats Castlereagh, with the legs of a bird of prey, the talons dug into the papers; with a gesture of triumph he tears in half a paper inscribed 'Two penny Trash'. Against the wall is a tall bookcase, based on drawers, the upper ones padlocked, the others 'M T' [empty]. Above the shelves is a crown with 'G R' flanked by roses, with the inscription 'Hic Jacet Vox Populi' above one or two books. On an empty shelf: 'Exit [sic]—Omnes'. On the wall is a torn bill: 'Fund for Decay'd Authors and xxxxx—xxxxx The Devil'. Above the fireplace are a 'Map of Gt Britain' in tatters, and a candle eclipsed by a big extinguisher (cf. French 'Eteignoir' prints, BM Satires No. 12588). By the empty grate is a bundle of poker, shovel, &c., labelled 'Fire Arms Siezed accordg to the Act.' The heavily barred and padlocked door (left) has a small grille, like that of a prison or convent.
The 63rd of 66 verses (p. 16):
"Look to the Plate, ah! Reader, look,
Poor 'John Bull' bound and bleeding lies,
And e'er perhaps thou shut this book,
Freedom's last martyr faints and dies."
15 January 1819.
Handcoloured Etching and letterpress pamphlet
- Production date
Height: 205 millimetres (Approximate page height (fold out illustration)
Height: 220 millimetres (Approximate page height (pamphlet.))
Width: 283 millimetres (Approximate page width (fold out illustration))
Width: 130 millimetres (Approximate page width (pamphlet.))
- Curator's comments
- For another version of the print, not hand coloured or folded, see 1868,0808, 12894.
Bound as part of "Political Tracts Volume 3" a compilation of political pamphlets published circa 1819-1822, number 3 of 10 volumes.
(Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
The Six Acts were passed in the emergency Autumn Session of 1819. One (still valid) forbids drilling and military training; one (local and temporary) authorized the search for arms, see BM Satires No. 13291. The third put restrictions on public meetings of over 50 persons. For the two Press Acts see No. 13287; a third, the Procedure Act, was to prevent legal delays in Press cases. 'Two-penny Trash' was the name given to the cheap edition of Cobbett's 'Political Register' from 3 Nov. 1816 until stopped by 60 Geo. III, c. 9 (and used by him for a new monthly in 1830). For the freedom of the Press despite these Acts, cf. BN Satires No. 13963. For the fear of militarism, 'Cannon Law', see BM Satires No. 13288. For theme and title cf. BM Satires No. 13287. See also BM Satires Nos. 13508, &c., 13535, 13645, 13646, 13682, 13725, 13879.
The dagger of "Manchester Steel"makes reference to the "Peterloo Massacre"of 16 August 1819.
Cruikshank's pencil sketch is in the B.M., see BM Satires No. 13503; on it are six names not relating to the subject, perhaps added later.
Reid, Nos. 867, 4715. Cohn, No. 328.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: "Six Acts" passed in the emergency Autumn session of parliament, 1819 1819
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number