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- Object: Doctor Barnacle driving a load of Spittalfields Weavers to poll for Westminster
Hall, a Westminster apothecary who was a prominent supporter of Fox, walks beside the asses which draw (left to right) a cart crowded with disreputable voters. A signpost (right) is formed of a mask (on a pole) of the heads of the Duchess of Devonshire (left) and Fox (right) as in BMSat 6570. On the half-head of the Duchess is a Fox favour and a fox's brush. From each corner of the mouth issues a label terminating in a pointing hand: To Spittalfields (left) and To Covent Garden (right). Hall, in profile to the right, walks holding a whip over his shoulder. His hat is decorated by a fox's brush, a Fox favour, and a laurel branch; similar branches and favours decorate the (human) heads of the two asses which draw the cart, harnessed tandem. Hall says:
"If Carlo falls—no more the Graces smile;
Nor Lords with gluttony reward my toil;
So with expedient I'll cheer each drooping heart
And boldly deliver my vote-pregnant Cart."
The heads of the asses have ass's ears and are decorated with foxes' brushes and laurel-branches. The leader says, "The Major will call this reforming Parliament in a Summary way" [Major Cartwright, see BMSat 6474 and cf. BMSat 6478]. Round his neck hangs from a ribbon a medal on which is a portcullis, indicating that he is an active Westminster Justice of the Peace (see BMSat 4850); perhaps a Justice Kelly who was very active in Fox's interest, see 'Westminster Election', p. 360. See also BMSat 6593. The wheeler, with a broadly grinning face, says, "Fox, Fox, Fox, Fox, Huzza &c." He resembles Captain Morris, whose songs were a feature of the election, cf. 'Westminster Election', p. 277. On the front of the clumsy two-wheeled cart is inscribed 'H - ALL, Covent Garden, Common poll Cart, BMSat 6075'. On it stands a pestle and mortar inscribed 'Man-midwife'; in it is a laurel-branch. The wheels have just passed a rock inscribed 'Conscience', and are about to encounter a larger one inscribed 'Scrutiny'.
The small cart contains ten voters, their heads and shoulders arranged in a pyramid. The man who forms the apex holds up a large coin, shouting, "Fox and the Constitution - Alehouse for ever Huzza - huzza." All but three are hatless or wear caps; of those distinguished by hats (with election favours) two say, "A voting we will go we'll go - we'll go &c." and "Huzza, huzza"; the third holds up a pair of crutches from one of which hangs a flag on which is a shield with a dice-box and dice, a weaver's shuttle, and a paper inscribed '70,000 l.' Beneath are the words 'Fox and the Loom holders for ever.' 6 May 1784
- Production date
Height: 239 millimetres
Width: 330 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
'Spitalfields weavers' at this time stood for the poorest and least reputable of London artisans. There were allegations in newspaper paragraphs that Spitalfields weavers, who of course would not be qualified voters, had been brought to Westminster to vote for Fox, e.g.: 'Yesterday an eminent weaver gave information that near sixty distressed manufacturers in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields had been seduced to poll for Mr Fox' - quoted, 'Westminster Election', p. 243. 'Spitalfields. We understand in those parts, that perjury is an unexceptionable qualification', ibid., p. 262. See also p. 277.
For the Westminster Scrutiny see BMSat 6553, &c. For alleged voters from Spitalfields see BMSat 6557, 6583, 6593, 6627, 7366. For other pauper voters see BMSat 6547, &c.
- Not on display
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