- Museum number
Object: The last of the Boroughbridges.
Series: Political Sketches
No. 112. Wetherell (left), an invalid in dressing-gown and night-cap, reclines in an arm-chair, exhausted but laughing. Facing him stands Eldon in deep dejection, saying, with both hands raised, 'Poor Boroughbridge! how is it with you?' Cumberland, on the extreme right, stands behind Eldon, covering his face with his handkerchief; he says: 'Facetious to the last!—It is quite affecting!' Horace Twiss leans on the back of Wetherell's chair; Chandos, dressed as a woman, stoops over the patient; both are smiling. Wetherell: 'All over my friends! just in time to hear my "last speech and dying words"! But dont look so grave about it, I assure you we treat the matter in our house as if it was an excellent joke—to be sent out of the world with a dose of Russell's purge"! is so droll; & then, we are to have such a merry funeral'. On a commode is a bottle labelled 'Russell's purge'. Peel, smiling, and Goulburn, holding a handkerchief to his face and leaning on Peel, watch from the background. 7 March 1831
- Production date
Height: 269 millimetres
Width: 342 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', XI, 1954)
Reactions of ultra-Tories and Tories to Russell's exposition of the Ministerial Plan of Reform on 1 March, the sensation of which was the list of sixty boroughs to be disfranchised. These included Boroughbridge, Wetherell's constituency, and one of Newcastle's boroughs. Twiss (on 2 Mar.) and Wetherell spoke at length; the latter said he was "rising to make his last dying speech . . . the last address of the dying member for Boroughbridg"' ('Parl. Deb.', 3rd s. ii. 1220 f.). "He would call this Bill, Russell's Purge of Parliament . . . the nauseous experiment of a repetition of Pride's Purge" (ibid. p. 1240). Peel interposed only by "Hear Hear" to Althorp's statement that the Bill promised "to the people of England an overpowering influence in the choice of Representations" (ibid. p. 1143). He made a great speech on 3 March. Boroughbridge (cf. No. 14228) was to be par-excellence the abhorred and symbolic nomination borough (cf. No. 16610, &c); "Russell's Purge" became a catch-phrase, used till after the Bill was passed, cf. No. 17253.
Reproduced, Trevelyan, William IV, pl. xiv.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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