- Museum number
- Object: The Triumph of Quassia.
The triumphal procession (left to right) of a black woman symbolizing Quassia, a drug obtained from the Quassia tree, which is supposed to have supplanted hops in brewing. She sits astride a drayman's pole (as in BMSat 10580, &c), from which is suspended horizontally a cask inscribed 'True Quassia Free from Taxation'; the pole is supported on the shoulders of two brewers, Whitbread (r.), and Combe (l.). She holds up in one hand a branch of the noxious tree, with a (tricolour) scroll: 'Kill-Devil [rum] for ever', and in the other a frothing tankard inscribed 'Quos-sia'. This is irradiated, the rays being inscribed 'Apoplexy', 'Palsy', 'Consumption', 'Debility', 'Colic', 'Stupor', 'Dropsy', 'Scurvy', 'Dysentery', 'Hæmorrhoids', 'Hydrophobia', 'Idiotism'. A third brewer, the very corpulent George Barclay, follows on the extreme left., waving his hat. He holds up a (tricolour) standard: 'Pro bono Publico - Quassia for Ever, - No Hops! no Malt! Down with all the Private Breweries! - Kill-Devil and Quassia for Ever!' From his apron projects a book: 'Receipts to make a Cauliflour Head'. In front of the procession is a dray-horse, with dangling chains which show that the barrel has been detached from them; its head is cut off by the r. margin. On its back sits the bulky Grenville between Fox and Petty who clings to his waist. All are in court dress, and exultingly wave their cocked hats, which, like the hats of the brewers, are decorated with large tricolour favours inscribed 'Quassia for Ever'. On the horse is a pannier with a (tricolour) label: 'Grains from the Quassia Breweries for the New Piggery' [cf. BMSat 10540]; this, like the riders' pockets, is overflowing with guineas. From Petty's hat fall two bundles of papers: 'Tax upon Private Brewer[ies]' and 'Tax upon Maid-Servants'. Whitbread, who looks round at the spectator, has a favour in his hat larger than the others and having the additional inscription. 'No Private Breweries - Impeachment of Malt & Hops! No Scotch Barley', indicating his charges against Melville (see BMSat 10576, &c). On the ground lie broken hop-poles, with hop-vines still attached to them. Behind are conical stacks of hop-poles 'To be Sold for Fire-Wood'. 10 June 1806
- Production date
Height: 245 millimetres
Width: 350 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
In the debate of 6 June Rose (cf. BMSat 10591) maintained that the public brewer did not deserve 'favour and protection by imposing a countervailing duty on private brewers', who used much more dutiable malt. Whitbread, supported by Combe, answered that 'the public brewer must know little his trade, and make little of his capital, if he could not produce a better article out of a smaller quantity of malt and hops than a private brewer could'. 'Parl. Debates', vii. 528. Cf. BMSat 10578. It is alleged that the proposed tax was in the interest of the brewers, three leading brewers in the House (here accused of adulterating beer) being Foxites. For the proposed tax on private breweries and its relation to maid-servants see BMSats 10571, 10583. Quassia, amed after the negro who discovered the virtues of the tree in 1730, is the wood, bark, or root of a South American tree from which a bitter
decoction is obtained for medicinal purposes. For Barclay, M.P. for Bridport, see BMSat 9379; for Combe, M.P. for London, vol. vii.
Grego, 'Gillray', p. 334. Wright and Evans, No. 318. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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