- Museum number
- Object: The Great Financier, or British Oeconomy for the Years 1763, 1764, 1765
Satire on George Grenville's austerity budget of 1765, referring to the Peace of Paris and the Stamp Tax. Grenville stands in the centre holding a balance in the lower scale of which is "140 Millions Debts" and in the upper, "Savings" consisting of a wig and a broken sword; from Grenville's coat protrudes a paper lettered, "Grant of Reversion 5000 a Year private OEconomy" (suggesting that he is receiving money for promising future posts). A fool kneels below the upper scale collecting candle-ends, ends of string, old boots, etc. with which he hopes to outweigh the debts in the other scale; a cat crouches between his legs; a candle-end stuck on a board lettered, "Magnum Vectigal" and supported by nails in place of a candle-stick emits smoke that rises up to where the disconsolate Britannia sits in front of a prison. An ape, with the collar of "The Right Honble. G[eorge] G[renville]" stamps on Britannia's broken spear, lettered "Officers dismissd" (referring to Isaac Barré and Henry Seymour Conway, both dismissed from their military posts after voting in parliament against Grenville in connection with the Wilkes affair) and pulls away blocks of stone from beneath her seat; above, hangs a chain lettered, "Gen. Warrants" (referring to the Wilkes affair), and a prisoner looks through the bars behind Britannia. To the left of Grenville stands William Pitt, supported by a crutch (a reference to his gout), whom Grenville asks "Tell me where?", a reference to the parliamentary debate where he had called for new taxes in the face of Pitt's opposition. Pitt gestures towards the scale holding "Debts" and says, "Conquests will ballance it", but Grenville has let fall recent British conquests (a reference to the Treaty of Paris), "Martinico", "Guardaloupe", "Havanna", "Newfoundland Fishery" and "Philipines". On the left, the figure of America, a yoke about her neck lettered, "Taxed without Representation", kneels beside bales of goods marked with a broad arrow; she holds a large bag of "Dollars" and says, "Commerce will outweigh it". Three tax men behind her reluctantly remove dollars from another bag, one of them saying, "Dam'me Jack better pillage the French"; behind are three ships, one with a broom at its mast indicating that it is for sale. Above, on a quayside towards the right, take pleasure in Britain's plight.
- Production date
- 1765 (circa)
Height: 220 millimetres (image)
Height: 292 millimetres (trimmed?)
Width: 320 millimetres (image)
Width: 324 millimetres (trimmed?)
- Curator's comments
- The print was announced in the Public Advertiser on 12 October 1765.
'Vectigal' is "A payment of the nature of tribute, tax, or rent, made to a superior or to the State." (OED)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number