- Museum number
- Object: Civil War, or Lord Lunatic encouraging the Hollanders to knock down the Orange Party
Lord George Gordon stands between two Dutch burghers of the party of Patriots, representing members of the States General at Amsterdam, who are about to throw clubs at a pile of balls (oranges) on the opposite side of a piece of water. Gordon holds a firebrand inscribed 'No Popery'; in his left hand are three papers inscribed respectively 'To the French Amba[ssador]', 'To the Prussian Minister', and 'To my dear Cousin G------l G------n'. He says, "Who throws at my yellow cock ? - confusion - why thus hesitate - knock one down you have them all" (an allusion to the old practice of throwing clubs at cocks on Shrove Tuesday). The Dutchman aims his club, which is inscribed 'Faction', the other stands behind Gordon, smoking and waiting his turn. The ground is intersected by strips of water representing canals. On the farther side of a canal stands an officer with an enormous sabre whose hat is inscribed 'Prussia'; he addresses the Patriots, saying, "If you dare to spill one drop of the Orange juice, our Tall regiment shall squeeze your High Mightiness's [Hogan Mogan] guts out - dam 'me". He is evidently Frederick William II, brother of the Princess of Orange. In the distance (right) a foppish Frenchman, his hands in a muff, says, "Ah, Ah, by gar, de French politics vos make de countries conquer demselves". Beneath the title is etched:
'"------O, mischief! thou art swift"
"To enter in the thoughts of desperate men." Shakspere.' 30 January 1787
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 348 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
The feuds between the Patriots and the Stadholder's party or Orangists portended civil war. France was supporting the Patriots (cf. BMSat 6292) against the House of Orange, whose position appeared desperate. It seemed probable that France would gain a complete ascendancy over the United Provinces and the Dutch East Indies (cf. BMSat 7141). Frederick William II refused help to his sister and (May 1787) contemplated a joint mediation with France in Dutch affairs, which would have been a severe diplomatic defeat for England. Thus the print is contrary to the diplomatic situation, which, however, was shortly to be reversed (see Rose, 'Pitt and National Revival', pp. 363 ff.). Lord George Gordon had been actively mischief-making by his attack on Marie-Antoinette and the French Ambassador over Cagliostro (see BMSat 7010) and over the prisoners in Newgate (see BMSat 6992). He had already attempted to interfere in Dutch affairs, see BMSat 6666, and early in 1787 went to Amsterdam, while proceedings for libel were pending against him. His 'cousin' may be O. D. Gordon, Colonel of the patriotic corps of Utrecht, known as the Utrechtsche Gordon genootschap (company), see Van Stolk, BMSats 4848, 4849 (1787); or, more literally, Lieut.-General Lord Adam Gordon. For the Dutch crisis see BMSat 7172, &c.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number