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- Object: Catlap for Ever, or the Smuggler's Downfall
Pitt addresses a crowd of women in Leadenhall Street outside the India Office, on his measure to reduce the duty on tea in order to prevent smuggling. He stands in profile to the right on a tea-chest, which rests on the back of Fox who lies prone. All the women except the foremost are of the poor and disreputable sort; the foremost, who is stout and whose hair is fashionably dressed, may be intended for Mrs. Hobart but more probably for a bawd. Pitt says: "Ladies, notwithstanding I secure universal approbation by reducing the price of Tea, a weed, so nourishing that it may be called the Manna of Females, I shall in good time, turn the waste Lands into Juniper grounds, that you may never be in want of a drop of Gin, to comfort your Bowels and reconcile you to the loss of Day light, Fire-light & Candle light". Behind Pitt (left) stands Sam House, shaking his fist and saying, "Dam your Catlap - give us Windows, Coals and Candles, or my eyes and limbs, I'll thump Your bread-basket". Fox, whose head is close to Sam's feet, says, "Push him off, Sam, or, he'll squeeze my lights out". The foremost woman says, "Billy for ever, Huzza!" The next, who wears a ragged apron, says, "Bless the little Cock of Wax". One behind says, "Give us glorious Gin and then you'll be a greater man than your Father". The tea-chest on which he stands is inscribed with quasi-Chinese characters and the words 'Bohea Tea Duty Free' and 'East India Bill'. The India House (left) is shored up by two beams inscribed 'Majority' and 'Prerogative' (see BMSat 6368, &c). On its cornice stands a spurred game-cock saying "Cock a doodle doo". 8 July 1784
- Production date
Height: 324 millimetres
Width: 240 millimetres (trimmed)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
For Pitt's reduction of the tea-duties and substitution of a window-tax (Commutation Tax) see 'Parl. Hist.', xxiv. 1008 ff. (20 June); for the taxes on coals (withdrawn) and candles see ibid., pp. 1027-9 (30 June). Sam House as a publican would naturally object to cheap tea combined with taxes on windows, coals, and candles. Pitt's India Bill was debated on 6 July, ibid., pp. 1085 ff.; see 'Cambridge Hist. of India', v. 200 ff. (cf. BMSat 6462). For the taxes see BMSat 6630, 6649, 6671, 6672, 6773, 6778, 6781, 6794, 6800, 6914, 6940, 6962, 7083, 7339, 7386, 7389, 7480, 7670.
Reproduced, 'Social England', ed. Traill, 1904, v. 647.
For a complete impression, but of the re-issue by H.Humphrey, see 1868,0612.1217.
- Not on display
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