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- Object: No grumbling
John Bull stands four-square, enormously fat but pressed down under a heavy load of planks or blocks which rests on his head, and which he supports with both hands, looking gloomily at the ground. He says: "If they squeeze much more I shall Burst." The word 'Tax' is repeated on his person, on his coat (twice), on his bursting waistcoat, on his shirt, on his breeches (three times), and on each fat leg. The three top buttons of his coat are 'T', 'A', 'X'. The King, Pitt, and the Prince of Wales are straining to push a huge block on to the top of the pile inscribed 'The Princes Debts Annuities Bonds &c. Mrs Fitsherbert [Mrs] Robinson, [Mrs] Crouch'. The King's words have been added in ink: "Load away Pitt, hey what what - no Grumbling, no Grumbling, Load Load". From his pocket hangs a paper: 'Age of Reason'. Below his left foot is inscribed ('ode to Liberty'). Pitt (right), in profile to the left, stoops to push hard with both hands, saying: "To be sure the Prince did Promise faithfully not to get in Debt any more, when we paid his Debts the last time but - push away - thats your sort [a catchword from 'The Road to Ruin', see BMSat 8073] No Grumbling!!!" From his pocket protrudes a paper 'Halhed on Brothers' (see BMSat 8627; Halhed, Orientalist and M.P., supported Brothers in pamphlets and in Parliament (31 Mar. and 21 Apr. 1795). See 'D.N.B.') The pile of taxes on John Bull's head is inscribed (reading downwards): 'Tax on Hearing seeing Thinking Walking. Crying Childreen &c - The Prince's Establishment, only 300.000 per Annum. The Princess of W-----s Establishment 200.000 pr An. Tax on Tiles. Windows. Doors. Bricks. Tiles. Deals. Coals. Salt. Butter Barley. National Debt. New Loan 18.000.000. Imperial Loan 6.000.000. Subsidies Naples Prussia Sardinia. Excise. Stamps. Breeches Tax. Malt Tax. Tax on Hair Powder. Tobbacco Tax, New Servants Tax, Shoe Tax, Stocking Tax, Places. Pensions. Sinecures. Secret Services. Spies.' By his right foot is a large tankard inscribed 'Tax Tax'. At his feet lies a discarded watch and chain.
On the left is a small house with a barber's pole and the words 'Jon Bull Barber' over the door. It is shored up by a beam inscribed 'Taxed'. The closed door is inscribed 'Starved out' and 'Tax'. A placard on the wall is inscribed 'To Let inquire at Mr Pitt Felons Sid Newgate'. 'Tax' is inscribed on the wall, on a window, on the roof, and above the chimney. 6 May 1795.
- Production date
Height: 251 millimetres
Width: 358 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
A satire on the heavy burdens on John Bull, in which taxes old, new, and imaginary are named, cf. BMSat 6914, &c.; the hair-powder tax, see BMSat 8629, &c, and the Prince's debts are stressed. The Prince's debts, which had impelled him to marriage, see BMSat 8610, &c, came before Parliament on 27 Apr. in connexion with the provision of an establishment for the Prince and Princess. Public reports on their amount varied from '£600,000' to '£1,700,000' and Pitt estimated them at from '£600,000' to '£700,000'. They were debated on 14 May. 'Parl. Hist.' xxxi. 1464-96. See BMSat 8673, &c.; for the bonds raised by the Prince see BMSat 7850 (1791). Paine's 'Age of Reason' was published in 1794 (Part I) and 1795 (Part II), and strengthened the feeling against him in England. Moncure, 'Life of Paine', ii. 181-222. 'No grumbling' was evidently a catch-word, used in relation to the powder-tax, cf. BMSats 8650, 8668, 8711. For the Imperial Loan and subsidies cf. BMSat 8658.
See also 1868,0822.7103, an impression with the publication address 'No 3 Piccadilly'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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