- Museum number
- Object: The evil genius of England represented in several scenes relating to the war
Satire on Walpole's corrupt government and the incompetent conduct of the early stages of the war of Jenkins' Ear, in seven numbered compartments, each with a title, surrounded by a rococo frame. In the centre (1), "The Evil Genius and his Levee", in which the devil crowned with "Debts & Taxes shall [n]ever [c]ease" and holding a mask, having risen from his throne and trampling on papers lettered "Liberty" and "Trade", hands a heavy bag of gold to Walpole, saying "They can be ruin'd no way but by Placemen and Pensioners"; Walpole answers, "I'll obey your influence in ev'ry thing & do all the Mischief I can" as he tosses coins to a group of followers who agree to appease the Spanish; a man standing behind the devil says, "The want of publick spirit is all our Support". At top left (2), "War Proclaimed", a street in the City of London with the chief herald reading the Declaration of War in October 1739 to the delight of the crowd; his followers include a mace-bearer, trumpeter and kettle-drummer all on horseback. At top centre (3), "The Pacific Fleets", a map showing southern Spain and the western part of the north African coast with British ships sailing in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and doing their best to ignore the Spanish, including the "Assogue Ships" carrying quicksilver (mercury) from the south America silver-mines, but taking the treasure ship, St Joseph. At top right (4), "Britains Glory Adm. Vernon's Tryumphs" with a map of the Caribbean and the adjacent coast of America and a medallion with a statue of Vernon in Roman dress superimposed on Virginia; labels issue from various Spanish colonies expressing fear that Vernon will attack, although naval success will do nothing to aid British merchants. At bottom right (5), "The Mask taken off or the Cadiz Squadron let loose" with a map of Spain and the western part of the north African coast and the Spanish fleet free to sail from Cadiz because British ships which had been blocking the port for six months had been ordered to sail for Minorca. At bottom centre (6) "Britains Disgrace or the Merchants distress" with a map of the south coast of England, France and the northern coast of Spain with many Spanish privateers at sea, including one on which Colonel Braithwaite, Governor of Cape Coast Castle, had been killed and "The Lisbon Packet Boat" which had been captured by a privateer near the Lizard; a label from one ship states that there are 18 Frenchmen to every three Spaniards on the privateers, although France was still officially neutral; the ports of Bilbao and San Sebastian are said to be thronged with captured British ships. At bottom left (7), "The Tables turn'd, or Spain gotten uppermost", with a map of southern Ireland, England, and the continental coast from Portugal to Holland; a medallion with a Cardinal Fleury is superimposed on France, a "Cardinal Wind" (i.e., French money allegedly paid to Walpole) blowing towards the Channel to prevent the English fleet from leaving port and intercepting the French and Spanish who are shown as therefore able to sail across the Atlantic; a label from Cork complains of the prohibition on export of provisions, specifically beef. Explanatory verses are etched on ribbons issuing from the mouths of devils' heads beneath the compartments. 6 December 1740
Etching with engraved lettering and some hand-colouring
- Production date
Height: 336 millimetres
Width: 408 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The St Joseph from Caraccas was captured in October 1739, and several tons of silver taken from it were brought to London and lodged in the Bank of England (see Gentleman's Magazine, November 1739).
Wind from the east did keep the British fleet under Sir John Norris from sailing out of the Channel in 1740.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: War of Jenkins' Ear 1739-1742
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number