- Museum number
- Object: The property tax for ever!!! Or a City MP feeling the pulse of his constituents!!!
Frontispiece [one impression is printed on thick paper, not folded, showing that it was issued separately] to 'Resist, or be Ruined! The Property Tax must be Abolishd now, or a State Inquisition will be Established in England for Ever. . . .' A scene on the platform of Guildhall; Alderman Atkins advances to its edge, and harangues those in the body of the hall, whose astonished and horrified faces look up at him from the lower left corner of the design. He holds his crescent-shaped hat, and raises his left arm, clenching his fist: "If I see fit I shall not be ashamed to lend my hand to Fix the Tax on Property!—I will never be / "restricted in my own Opinion!—No; I will not By GOD!!!— / "Conduct yourselves with more reason & calmness, for it is / "always the best policy!!!!" see Times." He tramples on a paper: 'Laws against Prophaness'. From the audience below ascends a stream of "Oh! O! O! O!!! O O O [&c.]." Sir William Curtis, much caricatured, wearing his alderman's gown over striped sailor's trousers, turns his back on Atkins, holding up his little sailor's hat (see No. 11353, &c.), to protect his ear from profanity, and saying "I'm shocked!" Between and behind them stands the (unpopular) Recorder (Silvester), in wig and gown, putting a spy-glass not to his eye but to his temple and, looking towards Atkins, says: "I never saw a Clearer Case". The Mayor, Matthew Wood, sits (right) on the chair of state, registering shocked disapproval. On his right stands a tall thin alderman raising both arms, and saying, "Oh Johnny Atkins! Johnny Atkins Oh!,, Wha would ha' thought it!—" (? Sir James Shaw, see vol. viii). Below the title: 'Atkins was a daring bold fellow—much given to curse & swear & speak "de great damn!" — vide Robinson Crusoe Vol II'.
16 February 1816
- Production date
Height: 200 millimetres
Width: 245 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
On 8 Feb. the Common Council unanimously passed a series of violent resolutions against the Income Tax; next day similar resolutions were carried at a meeting of the more radical Common Hall. Atkins (a City M .P.) concurred, but (perhaps imitating Burke to the electors of Bristol) 'insisted on his right to vote against the wishes of his Constituents, and swore (yes, this supporter of Church and State absolutely swore by God, that he would give them no pledge!—upon this, many laughed and more groaned and hissed— and the worthy Alderman seemed much enraged'. 'Examiner', 1816, p. 94. Both meetings are reported at length in 'The Times', 9 and 10 Feb.
The anonymous pamphlet illustrated is quoted by A. Hope-Jones, 'Income Tax in the Napoleonic War', 1939, p. 114: 'a government exercising inquisitorial prerogative, in the collection of a single tax, will easily build upon this precedent of tyranny'. For the agitation against the tax, frustrated in 1815, see No. 12750, &c.; for Atkins, No. 13254, &c.
Reid, Nos. 566, 4678. Cohn, No. 689.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Resist, or be Ruined! The Property Tax must be Abolishd now, or a State Inquisition will be Established in England for Ever...
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