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- Object: Citizens visiting the Bastille
Sir Francis Burdett, one hand on the knocker of the large iron-studded door, addresses the gaoler, a burly ruffian with large keys, who stands just inside, holding open one leaf of the door. He says, one finger raised: "Hush! - Harkee! - open the door! - I want only to see if my Brother Citizens have Candles & Fires, & good Beds, & clean Girls, for their accommodation, - that all!!! Hush! open the Door! quick!!" The gaoler answers: "Hay? - what? - let You in, hay? - no! no! - we're bad enough here, already! - let you in! no! - no! - that would be too bad; - You're enough to corrupt the whole College." From Burdett's pocket hangs a paper: 'Secret Correspondence with O'Conner Evans Quigley Despard' (see BMSat 9189).
In the background a hackney coach is driving under the high prison wall towards the gate. The profile of Courtenay (on the extreme left) looks from the window to say: "Drive me to the Bastille you dog". The driver answers: "To Cold Bath College, you mean I suppose! - to take up your Degrees Master." Above the massive gateway is inscribed: 'The House of \ Correction for the \ County of Middlesex. \ 1794 \ .' 16 January 1799
- Production date
Height: 345 millimetres
Width: 256 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
Uncoloured impression in 'Caricatures', v. 65.
A satire on the debate of 21 Dec. 1798 on the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, when Courtenay described his visit to the prison with Burdett to see the State prisoners (Despard and others) imprisoned there under the Act. He said that he took a coach and after ordering the man to drive 'to the Bastile' elicited the answer'... every body knows the Bastile in Cold-Bath Fields'. Burdett also spoke on the ill-usage of prisoners. 'Parl. Hist.' xxxiv. n 1 ff. Burdett made himself the champion of the prisoners and the Middlesex election of 1802 was fought on this issue, see vol. viii. See BMSats 9340, 9345, 9416. 'College' was slang for prison. Grose, 'Dict. Vulgar Tongue', 1796. For Burdett and O'Connor see BMSats 9213, 9245, &c.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 255; Wright and Evans, No. 217. Reproduced, M. W. Patterson, 'Sir Francis Burdett and his Times', 1931, i. 70.
- Not on display
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- Prints and Drawings
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