- Museum number
- Object: A few illustrations for Mr Warbertons Bill
Ten vignettes arranged round a central and larger vignette (No. 6).  'The Rich.' Three coffins, decorated with coronet, &c, in a vault lit by a slanting beam from a barred window.  'What the poor mans Grave used to be—' A country churchyard; a grave in the foreground has a headstone inscribed 'Here Lies A Poor but Honest Man'; the sun sets behind trees.  'What the poor mans Grave is to be.' A sow routs in a dunghill from which project bones and a human leg; a dog bites a skull. The heap surrounds a post with a placard: 'Desected Remains May be Shot here'; on this stands a carrion bird.  'Whats to become of the Grave diggers.' Two ragged fellows in mournful colloquy in an empty enclosure with a board: 'Church Yard to Let on Building Lease'; one sits on the ground, the other stands by, spade in hand.  'Application to the Jailer.' An old woman, a handkerchief to her eye, addresses an obese and fierce-looking jailer, holding keys. Above: 'The Body of your Daughter—You an't going to Gammon me—I'm not to be done out of my dues we sold her.'  'Wholesale Market for Carcasses.' A space between the doors of a 'Workhouse' (left) and a 'Jail' (right). On the door-step of the former a spruce surgeon with eye-glass and cane addresses a fat man wearing an apron and butcher's steel. The wall is placarded 'Fresh every Day'. A (?) medical student with sack and knife addresses a similar but more ruffianly fellow (right) holding a bunch of keys. The workhouse keeper: 'Any thing in my way to day Governor? got a Nice fresh Old Woman | 10 ½ pr Pound.' The jailer: 'What do ye buy—buy—buy—Cheap & good here—No Kagmag—buy—buy—buy.' An elderly doctor looks on. The iron door behind the jailer is placarded 'Nice Fat Murderer Just Dead.' In the background is a crowd of traffickers in corpses; a woman carries on her head a basket containing a girl's body. Behind are frontages of two buildings: 'Hospital', with a placard '0/6pr Pound', and 'Kings Bench' [prison].  'Application to the Overseer.' A thin ragged and distraught man addresses an obese and scowling overseer: above: 'Your Friends eh? do you suppose we are to keep a parcel of rascals in our House to be Buried like their Betters—No no they are cut up long before this.'  'Retail Dealer.' A furtive and evil-looking butcher, knife in hand, stands by his stall where human fragments are spiked on hooks. A small black footboy in livery, holding an empty basket and a key addresses him: 'Dr Rawhead want afore quarter and some Inside.'  'Dismal times—for the Undertakers.' Two ragged mutes stand hat in hand each side of a collecting-box in the form of a coffin which stands on a mound of straw, and is inscribed 'Drop one Half-penny.' Over this are crossed two of the draped staves carried at funerals. They say: 'We are starving & can be Mutes no longer.'  'Studying.' Three youthful but ferocious students tackle a dead body. One puts an axe to the neck, another raises a mallet to drive home the axe; the third twists off a foot. 30 May 1829
- Production date
Height: 304 millimetres (cropped)
Width: 504 millimetres (cropped)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', XI, 1954)
A gross misrepresentation of the Anatomical Regulation Bill introduced by Warburton, on account of the Burke and Hare murders. It passed its third reading on 20 May, but was shelved in the Lords (5 June) on the ground that it was "extremely unpopular out of doors". 'Parl. Deb.', N.S. xxi. 1167, 1394, 1489, &c. Its object was to prevent crime, and to provide subjects for dissection, with safeguards against abuses. Peel "hardly dared think" the Edinburgh murders (see No. 15942, &c.) were the only crimes arising from the present system. Cobbett called the Bill one "for creating all the parishes . . . into a sort of Grand Joint Stock Company of body-snatchers . . . this atrocious measure". 'Pol. Reg.', 21 Mar. 1829. See Nos. 15779, 15782. A similar Bill was passed in 1832, the Anatomy Act, which is still the basis of the law, see Appendix to Roughhead's edition of the trial of 'Burke and Hare', 1921; B.M. Add. MSS. 27828, ff. 261-337 (Place's narrative); Sprigge, 'Life and Times of T. Wakly', 1897, pp. 433 ff.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012-13 Oct-Apr; London, Museum of London; "Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men"
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number