- Museum number
- Object: The secret insult! Or Bribery & corruption rejected!!!
Queen Caroline, dignified and regal, stands with extended right arm facing Lord Hutchinson (identified by Reid as Liverpool), a thin man in court dress who bows low, holding out a large purse inscribed '£50,000'. He looks up at her with a servile and apprehensive grimace, saying: "Abandon your claim to the Throne, Change your Name & the Livery & retire to some distant part of the earth were you may never be seen or heard of any more; & if 50,000£ pr Annm will not satisfy you, what will?" She answers: "Nothing but a Crown!" In her left hand is a paper: 'Lawful Claims'. At her side (right) stands Alderman Wood, noble and stalwart in Roman armour; he holds a sword, whose wavy blade (representing flame) is inscribed 'A Swoard for the Guilty', and a shield: 'A Shield for the Innocent—'. Behind Hutchinson and in back-view stands Brougham in barrister's wig and gown; he holds a broom, and says: "I turn my back on such dirty work as this." The Devil, on the extreme left, clutches his arm, saying: "Well done Broom! you have done your business well." Behind Wood is a ship at anchor, her poop inscribed 'The Wooden walls of Old England'; she flies a Union flag inscribed 'Caroline'.
11 June 1820.
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 365 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
Lord Hutchinson accompanied Brougham to St. Omer (3 June) with the Ministry's offer to the Queen: an annuity of £50,000 in return for absence from England and a renunciation of her claim to the position of Queen consort. Wood had already joined her; she refused to listen to the offer, and sailed that night for Dover in the 'Prince Leopold', hired by Wood. Hutchinson writes: 'Before our arrival she had organized every thing for stage effect: her chief performer was that mountebank Alderman Wood.' Wood sent the Ministerial letter and other particulars to the Press; they appeared in the papers of 6 June, the day of her arrival in London as the idol of the mob. Bennet asked in Parliament on that day 'whether Lord Hutchinson had instructions ... to call upon the Queen to lay down her right and title for a bribe of 50,000 a year'. Brougham's equivocal position as both Ministerial envoy and accredited adviser to the Queen is satirized; his intentions are still obscure. [In June 1819 he had proposed to Liverpool, without informing his client the Princess, similar but less favourable terms. These were taken as an admission of her guilt.] 'Letters of George IV', ii. 338 ff.; 'Parl. Deb.', N.S. i. 171-4, 938 f.; 'Examiner', 11 June; 'Ann. Reg.', 1820, pp. 121 ff.; 'Greville Memoirs', 1938, i. 94 f.; Yonge, 'Lord Liverpool', iii. 54 ff.; Brougham, 'Life and Times', ii. 352 ff.; Aspinall, 'Lord Brougham and the Whig Party', 1927, ch. vi.
The 'bribe' figures conspicuously in satire, see Nos. 13750, 13778, 13798, 13839, 13884, 13951, 13998, 14022. Cf. No. 14145, &c.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number