- Museum number
- Object: Munchausen's return with the grand expedition.
John Bull, a sturdy citizen, stands on a bluff overlooking the 'Thames', looking up with clenched fist at Lord Chatham, in uniform, flying towards him on the back of a duck, which cries: 'Quack! Quack! Quack'. A chain hangs from the bird to which an irregular slab is attached inscribed 'Walcheren'; on this two star-shaped forts are marked, one inscribed 'Flushing', the other 'Middleburg'. Chatham, looking down, says: "Behold the Great Munchausen! the Prodigy of Valor safe returned!! bringing with him an Island hanging like a Mill-stone about his neck!!!—Rejoice! Rejoice! my worthy Master!! Order the Park & Tower Bulldogs to roar like Thunder!! and a general Illumination to take place throughout the Kingdom!!!!" John answers: "Is that worth Five Millions of Money? I sent you to bring me the Fleet, or to destroy it, the blow should have been struck at once, & then the Object of my Grand Expedition would have been accomplished; but you were playing at Chess, or dreaming about it, till the Opportunity was lost. D------me, I dont like your conduct Munchausen, you have no heart, or if you have one, it must lie in your breeches.!!" On the extreme left, and behind John's back a sailor and soldier talk together. The sailor, wearing a fur cap and wide trousers, stands fiercely with folded arms and legs apart; he says: "We cou'd have done it, & we wou'd have done it, but we were Obliged to wait for orders, from the Land Lubbers". The other, less pugnacious, answers: "Aye Aye so we could, as sure as a Gun but we wanted an Abercombie [sic]! a Moore! or Wellesley with us!!" Beyond the Thames are the buildings of 'Chatham', seen from above and backed by the 'Medway', and farther off and on the extreme right is the sea with a fleet making for shore. At John's feet is a scroll:
'Great Munchausen with one hundred Thousand Men
Sailed to flushing, & then flew back again.'
c. September 1809
- Production date
Height: 248 millimetres
Width: 344 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
A satire on the return of Chatham from the Scheldt, see No. 11364, &c., having failed to take Antwerp, but probably before the calamitous character of the occupation of Walcheren was apparent. The print is exceptional in its tribute to British generals, when Cobbett (among many others) was declaring the Spanish campaign disastrous and Talavera a defeat. Abercromby died of wounds after defeating the French at Alexandria in 1801; Moore at Corunna, 16 Jan. 1809. For the Tower guns cf. No. 11034; for Munchausen and Walcheren see No. 11389, &c.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number