- Museum number
- Object: The storming monopoly fort or the directors in dismay.
Plate from the 'Scourge', v, before p. 89. On the left Ministers assail a young woman in classical draperies, representing the East India Company. On the right the fort of Monopoly is attacked from the sea by gun-boats flying the flags of 'Free Trade' and the Out Ports. The Company, in a fainting condition, sits on the ground directed to the right and leaning against a large tea-chest inscribed 'Con[gou]', next which is one inscribed 'Bohea'; under her dropping hand is the 'Chater [sic] Granted to the East I[ndia] Co.' Her left arm rests on a pile of three bales of textiles inscribed respectively 'Chinz', 'Muslins', 'Nankeens'. The weapons of the Ministers (as in No. 12008) are bulky rolled documents, all inscribed 'India Bill', which they hurl against her or use as bludgeons. The three foremost are Melville in Highland dress, Castlereagh, and Sidmouth. Behind them (left) runs up the fat Buckinghamshire, who has hurled one roll, and has two more under his arm. A paper inscribed 'a tour in Buckinghamshire' projects from his pocket. He is followed on the extreme left by Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, bringing up a load of 'India Bill' ammunition, and with papers inscribed 'Budget for 1813' in his pocket. Facing the distressed woman is a man who runs towards her with a protecting gesture, saying: "In Hume-man Man." A paper in his pocket inscribed 'Jack my Son's Speech' indicates Randle Jackson.
A low circular building on the sea-shore (right) inscribed 'Monopoly', flies the East India Company's flag, a striped ensign (see Perrin, 'British flags', 1922, p. 130); it is already damaged, and the only weapons of the defenders are bladders inscribed 'Sophistry', documents inscribed 'Speech', small framed mirrors inscribed 'Delusion', and 'Squibs' and 'Crackers' representing pamphlets, &c. Bladders, speeches, and mirrors are being hurled towards the nearest gun-boat. One of the defenders uses a cylindrical 'Long Speech' as a speaking-trumpet. The boat flies the flag of 'Liverpool' with a pendant inscribed 'Free Trade'. One man propels it with a pole, the other fires the gun in the bows; its blast inscribed 'Free Trade' shatters the masonry of the little fort. Three similar boats are approaching, all with the 'Free Trade' pendant, and with flags inscribed respectively 'Bristol', 'Glasgow', and 'Hull'. In the fort, and on the extreme right, is a wide breech within which men prepare 'Squibs' and 'Crackers'. One carries up a basketful to the defenders; a sheaf of 'Impartial Letters' in his pocket; other papers are inscribed 'Crœsus' and 'impar[tial] Letters'. Among them stands a man scattering coins and holding up a sheaf of 'India Bonds', showing that these pamphleteers are venal. On the ground by the breech in the fort lies a large paper headed: 'Proofs of utility of E.I.C. debts 3.000.000 l, loss to the public £16 000 000 000 gain to the company 10 pr Cent'.
In the foreground (right) and in front of the fort is a large chest inscribed 'Commercial Liberty' within which crouches a young woman holding a caduceus. One well-dressed man tries to raise the lid, while another holds it down. The former says: "In the cause of Freedom my impoliteness must be Excused"; the latter: "I cannot Grant it ('Grant' in large letters)," showing that he is Charles Grant. On the right stands John Bull, a stout 'cit' in dilapidated clothes, with a large cudgel. He turns to a haughty Oriental (right) to say: "Hapless me to be out-elbowed—impoverished—and insulted—by my own children." In the centre foreground John's dog, inscribed 'Bull', lies facing a dish of 'Pillaw', his mouth dripping saliva. Beside the dish are a jar of 'Currie powder', and another (overturned) of 'Pickle ...' In the background, across the water, is a flat (Indian) landscape with tiny figures: a procession headed by an ornate palanquin with a reclining figure, and many bearers. This is followed by a man regally enthroned on an elephant, probably Lord Moira, the Governor-General. [Moira's appointment was dated 18 Nov. 1812; he took over from Minto on 4 Oct. 1813.] Behind, a man prostrates himself at the feet of a boy. Some of the attendants caper gleefully in a ceremonial dance.
1 February 1813
- Production date
Height: 196 millimetres
Width: 497 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
See No. 11999, &c. The controversy over the renewal of the East India Company's Charter raged during 1812-13. Negotiations with the Company had at first been in the hands of Melville, President of the Board of Control till he was appointed to the Admiralty (March 1812) and succeeded by Buckinghamshire, who sided with the Out Ports against the Company. Randle Jackson (1757-1837) was Parliamentary Counsel to the E.I.Co. He made an important speech to the Court of Proprietors on 5 May 1812, urging them 'to resist the coercion of the merchants and the suggestions of the Ministry', which was published and went through five editions. He appears to allude to Joseph Hume (1777-1835), the radical politician (who in 1812 was a Tory M.P. for Weymouth), a member of the Court of Proprietors who advocated freedom of trade with India. Charles Grant (1746-1823), M.P. for Inverness-shire, took a leading part in the negotiations, his aim being to secure the Company's commercial privileges and the establishment of Christian missions in India. The organized propaganda against the commercial privileges of the Company was very effective; the best pamphlets in reply were by Grant and Jackson. It was alleged in Parliament that the borrowing of money for investments had increased the Indian debt by £16,000,000. The Company were at a disadvantage owing to divisions among the Directors and to their financial position: a large Indian debt, an almost empty home treasury which forced them, 9 Apr. 1812, to petition the Ministry for a loan of £2,500,000, and an unfavourable balance sheet. C. H. Philips, 'The East India Company, 1784-1834', 1940, pp. 178-80, 184. The print precedes the debates on the Charter (Charter Act, 23 July 1813), but not the many petitions from the Out Ports, the pamphlet-war, and the discussions in the Court of Directors and Court of Proprietors. There is no allusion to the print in the text, apart from an article (pp. 91-7) hostile to the Company.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013, Jun-Aug, Sydney, Australian NMM, 'East of India'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number