- Museum number
- Object: A new way to pay the national-debt
George III and Queen Charlotte stand before the open gate of the Treasury, from which Pitt has just wheeled a barrow laden with money-bags. Pitt, the straps of the barrow round his shoulders, his coat-pocket bulging with guineas, obsequiously hands the king a money-bag. George III stands full-face, legs astride, a money-bag inscribed '£100000' under his right arm, another in his right hand and all his pockets overflowing with guineas. Queen Charlotte (left) stands on his right taking a pinch of snuff, and looking up at him with a smile of greedy and satisfied cunning; in her apron is a heap of guineas. Military officers wearing high cocked hats with feather trimmings (in a French fashion), and long pigtail queues, stand round the King and Queen, in a semicircle, in front of the spiked gates of the Treasury, playing musical instruments: fifes, bassoons, a horn, &c. The pockets of the two in the foreground (left and right) are crammed with guineas, those of the others, presumably equally full, are concealed. They represent the placemen and Ministerialists of the Treasury Bench. The most prominent (right) is probably Lord Sydney. In the foreground (left) an old sailor, armless and with two wooden legs, sits on the ground, his empty hat before him. On the right the Prince of Wales, in rags, hesitates to take a paper inscribed 'Accept £200000 from your Friend Orleans', which a slim and foppish Frenchman, in bag-wig and 'chapeau-bras', standing on the extreme right, offers him, taking his hand. He is very different from the heavily built Due d'Orléans (who succeeded his father in Nov. 1785) who had recently presented his portrait by Reynolds (now at Hampton Court) to the Prince of Wales. He had adopted the English manner of dress and made it fashionable in France. See Britsch, 'La Jeunesse de Philippe Égalité', 1926, pp. 417, 419.
On the Treasury wall is a number of placards and torn shreds of paper: 'Charity A Romance' (torn); 'God save the King' (torn); 'Last Dying Speech of Fifty-Four Malefactors executed for robbing a Hen-Roost', headed by a number of bodies hanging from a gibbet (an allusion to the king's farming activities at Windsor, see BMSat 6918, &c.); a bill headed by a violin and bow and inscribed 'From Germany just arrived a large & Royal Asortment' (on the king's fondness for German musicians); 'Œconomy an old Song' (torn); 'British Property a Farce' (torn); 'Just publish'd for the Benefit of Posterity: The Dying Groans of Liberty'; a placard with the Prince of Wales's feathers and the motto 'Ich Starve' (torn), in place of 'Ich dien', and another with two clasped hands and the word 'Orleans' (torn). The last two are above the heads of the Prince and the Due d'Orléans. After the title is etched, 'Dedicated to Monsr Necker'. 21 April 1786
- Production date
Height: 413 millimetres
Width: 513 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
A satire on the debates of 5 and 6 Apr. 1786 on Pitt's motion for a grant of £210,000 to discharge the debts on the Civil List. 'Parl. Hist.' xxv. 1348- 57; Wraxall, 'Memoirs', 1884, iv. 304-7. Fox urged an additional grant for the Prince, whose debts were notorious. For the proposed loan by Orleans see the letter of the Duke of Portland to Sheridan 13 Dec. 1786, quoted, Huish, 'Memoirs of George IV', i. 168-9. Portland was anxious to get rid 'of this odious engagement'. For Necker cf. BMSat 5657 (1780).
The first of many allusions to the supposed miserliness of the King and Queen, see BMSat 7836, &c. For the Prince's debts see BMSat 6967, &c.
Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 79-81 (reproduction). Wright and Evans, No. 18.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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