- Museum number
- Object: The brewer and the thistle.
Whitbread, his body, limbs, and head covered by tubs of varying shapes and sizes, raises a drayman's pole, to which is attached a hooked chain to smite the drooping head of a thistle with the features of Melville, his profile facing the ground; the flower forms a spiky coronet. The stem is inscribed 'Me quisque impune lacerrit' (replacing the 'nemo me impune ...' of the motto of the Order of the Thistle). Whitbread's heavy pole is 'Tenth Report'. The tub on his body is 'Wormwood', those on his legs are 'Quashee' [Quassia] and 'Aloes' (allegations of adulteration against his beer, cf. BMSat 10574). He tramples on torn papers: 'Trial by Peers' and 'Magna Charta'. Another torn paper is 'Criminal Prosecution by the Atty General'. A large intact paper is: 'New Law Inquisition Committees Torture Question Thumb Screw Peine forte [et dure]'.
On the r. is a ruinous ale-house, before the door of which Fox sits astride on a large cask. He holds a big frothing tankard and watches Whitbread with cynical satisfaction. The head of the cask is inscribed 'Old Hollan[ds] For Ullage Cas[k] defict . . . Millions.' (An allusion to his father, Lord Holland, as the 'public defaulter of unaccounted millions', a gibe recurring over a long period, referring to the City Petition of 1769, cf. BMSat 9739, &c.) Beside him a man in Highland dress, resembling Lauderdale, leans against the building, watching the outrage with frank pleasure. From a broken first-floor window leans Wilberforce, a sour sectary in a steeple-crowned hat inscribed 'Puritanism'. His hands are clasped; he says: "I say. Amen to all Cantwell." Above his head is a placard: 'Hymns & Spiritual Songs on the Slave Trade by St Wilber.' From his window projects a sign-board with a bust profile portrait of St. Vincent, hunch-backed and wearing a ribbon, inscribed 'System of Terror' and 'Hoc Signo non Vincent.' [Parodying the often-quoted in 'hoc signo vinces', the inscription on a vision of a fiery cross, to which legend attributed the conversion of Constantine. The 'non' is added inconspicuously with a caret.] On the building is a torn placard: 'performed The Tragedy Timon of [Athens] Lord Timon Mr Melville Lucullus a false friend & Kinsman Mr Kinhard [Kinnaird] little more than Kin and less than kind Scotch Reel &c.'
Facing the ale-house, and on the extreme left., is the corner of the poop of a ship, the Romney. From this projects a hand aiming a blunderbuss inscribed 'Pophams Defence' at the sign-board; a blast of flame and smoke issues from it. On the ship is a board inscribed 'Wanted Supply of naval Stores Inquire within'. Below her is a faint wraith-like ship, 'Melville Castle', whose poop and (unrigged) masts are behind the drooping thistle. Below the title:
'Sansterre [sic] forsook his Malt and Grains
To mash and batter Nobles Brains
By lev'lling Rancour led
Our Brewer quits Brown Stout and Washey
His Malt his Mash tub and his Quashee
To mash a Thistle's head.' 26 June 1805
Etching and aquatint
- Production date
Height: 356 millimetres
Width: 252 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
See BMSat 10377, &c. For Whitbread's determined attack on Melville, BMSat 10384, &c. The part taken by Wilberforce and his 'Saints' was decisive. 'Life', 1839, iii. 220-9. Lord Kinnaird was one of the Managers of Melville's impeachment; he was his neighbour but not his kinsman (see BMSat 10421). Sir Home Popham (see BMSat 9232), in the 'Romney', commanded a small squadron sent on a mission to the Cape, India, and Suez, 1800-3! expenditure on repairs, &c, to the 'Romney' in Calcutta was objected to; the Admiralty submitted papers alleging expenses of the most extraordinary and profligate nature to the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, who reported to the Commons in Feb. 1805. Popham protested in a published 'Statement of Facts . . .' showing that further investigation was necessary. A revised Report, dated 1 Apr. 1805, showed gross irregularities and exaggeration in the original report. A Select Committee established Popham's innocence, and by implication the (well-known) prejudice of St. Vincent against Popham. The further implication is that the Tenth Report was a manifestation of St. Vincent's animus against Melville who had replaced him as First Lord, see BMSat 10246, &c. For Santerre, the Paris brewer, see BMSat 8308, &c. See BMSat 10580, a sequel.
Described, J. A. Lovat-Fraser, 'Henry Dundas', 1916, p. 98.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number