- Museum number
- Object: Billy in the dumps, or how to manage affairs on the next meeting of Parliament.
Pitt (right) sits at a table in profile to the left, his head supported on his hand, his hair rising from his head (as in BMSat 8517). At his elbow are three large bags inscribed 'Subscription Money'; under his left hand are papers: 'The Loss of Tolon' [sic], and, 'A Plan for Raising a sum to Enab[le] His Maj[esty] to Carry on the War'. The King and Queen have entered from the left, both wearing hats, and advance towards him; the King says, "Dear Dear How. How. How. How. his Spirits are Sinking." Both have expressions of alarmed concern; the Queen's left hand (a large ring on her little finger) rests on the table, on which are piles of coins and an ink-pot. Behind Pitt's chair (right) is the Devil saying "Work the Public Billy". On the extreme right, and looking through a door, a man (? Dundas) stands gazing at Pitt, his finger to his nose. ?March 1794
- Production date
Height: 246 millimetres
Width: 342 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
Toulon was evacuated by the Allies on 19 Dec. 1793 (see BMSats 9157, 9231), Parliament met on 21 Jan. 1794. Dundas had issued circulars recommending that bodies of volunteers should be formed, and that a public subscription should be raised for the purpose. Attacks were made in both Houses on 'Voluntary Aids for Public Purposes without the Consent of Parliament', and Dundas's circular of 14 Mar. 1794 was laid before the House (24 and 28 Mar.). 'Parl. Hist.' xxxi. 83 ff.; Stanhope, 'Life of Pitt', 1879, ii. 33-4. A similar issue was raised in 1778, see BMSat 5471. For Pitt's budget, &c, see BMSat 8425; for military and diplomatic failures, BMSat 8496, &c. Cf. BMSat 8631.
A French copy (aquatint) of this print (not in B.M.) has the title 'Guillot effrayé ou Pitt aux Expediens'. The inscriptions are 'emprunt de 5 millions pour des subsides secrets'; 'Plans manqués'; 'Succès de la flotte de Rochefort'; 'Sortie de la flotte Toulon'. The Devil says, "Travaille le public Guillot." The King says, "vois, vois, vois comme il perd courage"; the Queen, "Ouais! comme le bon homme rumine". de Vinck, No. 4390 (where the man looking through the door is identified as Fox). [The print has since been acquired by the BM, see 1989,1104.113].
Information from Andrew Norton, 4 March 2008: The original publication line read, "Pub Jany 10 1794 by J Aitken No14 Castle Street Leicester Square"; Roberts took over Aitken's stock in 1801 and remained in business until 1806. The print was presumably published before Pitt's death in January 1806.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number