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- Object: Begging no Robbery;-i.e.- Voluntary Contribution;-or-John Bull escaping a Forced Loan
John Bull (left), a stout countryman wearing jack-boots, rides (right to left) through a wood on a wretched hack, ready to fall under his weight. Pitt kneels on the ground (right) in profile to the left, aiming a blunderbuss (which is supported on crossed sticks) point-blank at John; it is inscribed 'Standing Army'. He masquerades as a beggar: his dress is tattered, on the ground is his hat, containing coins; he says: "Good Sir, for Charity's sake \ "have Pity upon a poor ruin'd Man; - \ "drop if you please, a few bits of \ "Money into the Hat, & you shall \ "be rewarded hereafter -" From his coat-pocket project a cocked pistol and a paper: 'Forced Loan in reserve'. He points to a document on the ground beside him: 'Humble Petition, for Voluntary - Contribution Subscriptions & new Taxes, to save the Distres'd from taking worse Courses.'
John Bull has dropped his righteins and holds his hat, full of guineas; he looks with melancholy distrust at Pitt, but drops guineas into his hat. His horse, disfigured with sores, is evidently the white horse of Hanover, its head-band is red and blue, the Windsor uniform (cf. BMSat 8691, &c). From the bushes behind Pitt emerge the heads and shoulders of (right to left) Dundas, Grenville, and Burke, each with a pistol levelled at John Bull. Dundas wears Highland dress, Grenville peer's robes and a grenadier's cap with the letters 'Wm R' (cf. BMSats 7479, 7494, &c.): he looks down reflectively at Pitt instead of at his victim, implying that he is his cousin's henchman; Burke has a pen in his hat. On the left is a signpost pointing (right) 'From Constitution Hill' (cf. BMSat 8287) and (left) 'To Slavery Slough by Beggary Corner.' 10 December 1796
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Height: 259 millimetres
Width: 355 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 'Loyalty loan' of £18,000,000 and on the defence measures for which it was raised: a special levy of 15,000 men to reinforce the army, 20,000 irregular cavalry, and 60,000 Supplementary Militia (see BMSat 8840) which are pilloried as unconstitutional, see BMSat 8836, &c. The loan was raised by a direct appeal to the public in a letter to the Lord Mayor and Directors of the Bank of England on 1 Dec, at a rate (5 5/8 per cent.) lower than would have prevailed in the open market. Rose, 'Pitt and the Great War', p. 305; Newmarch, 'On the Loans raised by Mr. Pitt, 1793-1801', 1855, pp. 16-18. Cf. C. Abbot, 'Diary', p. 76: 'The loan for 18,000000 1., was this day [1 Dec] settled; after all the apprehensions of a voluntary subscription with compulsive clauses, 8.000.000 1. were subscribed the same day.' These apprehensions derived from a conference with the bankers, at which Pitt said that if voluntary subscriptions were not forthcoming, 'a peremptory mode of drawing forth the resources of the kingdom must be adopted ... in the last resort'. 'Lond. Chron.', 29 Nov. 1796. Sheffield wrote, 3 Dec: 'To threaten those who will not subscribe, to oblige them to pay extravagantly, is in the tone of the highwayman or of the rogue who sends a threatening letter: "Deliver your money, or, d------n you, I'll blow it out of your pockets."' 'Auckland Corr.' iii. 366. See BMSats 8843, 9033. Cf. BMSats 8829, 8836.
Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 206-7. Wright and Evans, No. 158. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
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