- Museum number
- Object: War of posts
The new Ministry (left), seated on 'posts' or small columns inscribed with their offices which they ride like hobbyhorses, holding reins, attack the old Ministry (right), who are being driven by the help of a devil into the jaws of Hell. Behind in the centre is the temple of the 'Constitution', a dome supported on five pillars and built on a rock. Its base is inscribed "Founded on a Rock", and its three nearer pillars are inscribed "Habeas Corpus" (a), "Representation" (right), and "Free Press" (left).
The identity of the combatants is shown by numbers which refer to names in the lower margin. (1) ("Pi--t") stands (left) holding a sheaf of thunderbolts, a black cloud is above his head, from which dart zigzags of lightning inscribed "Vox Populi Vox Dei", and extending across the design to the ex-Ministers; he is saying, "The Lightining [sic] of my father". (2) ("Kepp-I"), astride on a post inscribed "Ld of the Admiralty"], in naval uniform with a drawn cutlass is saying "Encrease your navy. (3) ("Conw-y"), in general's uniform with a drawn sword, on a post inscribed "of all the [land]" Forces is saying "The Cloven tongued crew". (4) ("Burk-"), riding a post inscribed "Pay Master", holds a paper inscribed "Œconomy" and says, "Pay the Taxes by Œconomy". (5) ("Fox"), in the form of a fox, astride a post inscribed "Secretery [sic] of State, says, An infamous administration". (6) ("Richm-n"), astride on a cannon or gun-carriage, inscribed "[Mas]ter of the Ordnance", points, saying, "They have Sapped the Constitution".
The "Treasury Bench", a four-legged stool, lies upside down between the two parties. The Devil (7) ("Nick") prods (8) ("Sand-ch") with a fork, saying "Bid them go to Hell to Hell they go" [A quotation from Johnson's translation ('London') of Juvenal's third satire, cf. 5133], Sandwich says "All hope is Over". He stands by a broken anchor on which (9) ("Amher-t") stands, saying, "I'd promote the Devil for money". (10) ("No-th") stands on papers inscribed "Taxes, Soap, Beer", he says "beat in the War of Posts"; his arms are stretched out and his back is to the spectator. Behind him stands (11) ("Mansf-Id"), who says, "we have passed the Rubicon"; he is standing in the flames inscribed (12) ("Hel-"), which issue from the jaws of Hell, the open mouth of a monster, partly cut off by the right margin of the print.
Behind (right) three minute figures dangle from a triangular gallows inscribed respectively "An English Sec . . . An Irish Sec . . . .a Scotch Sec. . . . " The three Secretaries of State in the outgoing Ministry were Lord Stormont, a Scot and a nephew of Lord Mansfield, Lord Hillsborough, an Irish peer, and Lord George Germain (Colonies). As a pendant to this a stout man (left) stripped to the waist stands in a pillory, while another man scourges him. This is inscribed "Thirteen Stripes" and probably represents John Bull beaten by America, see BMSat 6202. 1 May 1782
- Production date
Height: 246 millimetres
Width: 343 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
The second appearance of Pitt in this Catalogue, an interesting indication of the part he already took in popular estimation, though he was not in the Ministry. Cf. Mason's 'Ode to the Honourable William Pitt', dated 11 May, 1782 (B.M.L. 840,1.4/13). For North's unpopular taxes, see BMSat 5964, &c.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number