- Museum number
Object: Going to the fair with it!
Series: Political Sketches
No. 477. A group of men watching street performers; at left, a man seated on the ground in front of poles lettered with 'Irish Tithes' and 'Appropriation Clause.', swallowing a sword lettered with 'Repeal.' (Daniel O'Connell); in centre, a man standing on top of a pole lettered with 'Irish Corporation Bill - Majority 80.' (Lord Russell); at right, a man balancing an object with the image of a church on a long pole on his chin (Thomas Spring Rice); their audience standing in the background (from left to right, Lord Ebrington, Sir William Molesworth, Charles Buller, Joseph Hume, Lord Brougham, John Arthur Roebuck, Sir John Cam Hobhouse, Sir Francis Burdett, John Bull, Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley). 30 March 1837
- Production date
Height: 276 millimetres (approximately)
Width: 373 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from 'An Illustrative Key to the Political Sketches of H.B.', London 1841:
Nothing moderate gives satisfaction now - there must be excitement, and excitement is to be produced only by extravagance. 'Nil admirari' may be a very good rule,
"To make men happy, and to keep them so;"
but people do not want to be made happy; they would rather be made to stare; and statesmen, if they wish to thrive, must take this truth for their guide.
This sketch exhibits Ministers in the act of performing, before a numerous assemblage, the extravagancies necessary to keep up excitement. The most conspicuous figure is Lord John Russell, balancing himself on a pole which bears the inscription of "Irish Corporation Bill - majority 80." His Lordship is manifestly so placed to represent that the whole administration depended for support on the measure referred to, and the majority in its favour. The ticklish trick of balancing the church is performed by Mr. Spring Rice, in allusion to the measures which he proposed with regard to church-rates. The other performer, (Mr. O'Connell,) though not strictly one of the administration, may be said to be one of their party, and his grand trick is the swallowing of the sword on which "Repeal" is inscribed. It is understood, however, that though he swallows the sword, he does not swallow the handle, but makes use of it to draw the sword out again, and flourish it over the heads of his foes as terrifically as ever. The bye-standers are all men of political importance. Beginning at the left-hand they are as follows - Lord Ebrington, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. C. Butler, Mr. Joseph Hume, Lord Brougham, Mr. Roebuck, Sir John Hobhouse, Sir F. Burdett, John Bull, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley, Lord Lyndhurst, Sir Robert Inglis, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and each of them is making some appropriate remark.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number