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- Object: The dissolution of aristocratic tyranny. Or vox populi - vox Dei
The Reformers (left), using a long strip or bandage inscribed 'Reform—Reform . . .', tug at a pile of bulky documents, each with the name of a constituency. A similar but wider strip, inscribed 'Aristocratic Influence', which also encircles the pile, has broken, leaving the Tories weeping in despair on the right. Wellington, a small figure seated on the top, is about to fall as the pile tilts. On the end of the strip (left) is the King looking over his shoulder at his Ministers to say: 'Now my Boys I have given you an oppertunity of making—A long Pull,—a Strong Pull—, and a Pull altogether! and like the baseless fabric of a Vision leave not a Wreck behind'. The Ministers are (left to right) Brougham, Lord J. Russell (?), Althorp (?), and Grey, who is nearest the pile. On the extreme left are some freely sketched heads. Above this left group the words 'People, King, and Ministers' are faintly etched. The weeping Tories with flexed knees, are caricatured. Those in front (left to right) are Sugden, Peel, and the bulky Twiss. Behind are three poorly characterized; two of whom seem to be Wetherell and Sadler. They say: 'Our hopes are all blasted now this cursed Dissolution, Oh—Oh—Oh—Oh—and be for ever fallen!!!' The boroughs, reading downwards, are: 'Boroughbridge' [see BM Satires No. 16602], 'Dartmouth', 'Hanwith' [sic], 'Bury' [St. Edmunds], 'Newport', 'Cambridge Town', 'Wigan Bath', 'Sarum', 'Lanark', 'Wigton', 'Armagh', 'Carlow', 'Sligo', 'Callington', 'Gatten' [sic]. 1831
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 349 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', XI, 1954)
For the Dissolution as a death-blow to the Tories see No. 16641, &c. Only five of these boroughs were in Schedule A (see No. 16610, &c.), none in Schedule B, while Scotland and Ireland were outside the Bill. The allusion may be to constituencies on which the Tories rely in the election, in which "quite unnecessarily", the Whigs "sullied their victory by the extravagant use they made of the King's name. . . . The fact is that although on one side a most indecent use of the King's name has been made, on the other there is nothing that is not asserted with equal confidence about "his difficulties, his scruples, etc"." Le Marchant, 'Memoir of Viscount Althorp', 1876, p. 313. See Nos. 16607, &c, 16670, 16676, 16677, 16678, 16679, 16680, 16681, 16686, 16689, 16690, 16692, 16698, 16709, 16710, 16714, 16731, 16819.
The belief that the King was an ardent Reformer was widespread in 1831. Cf. an elaborate engraving, 'Designed, Engraved & Publish'd by J. Latham, N° 2 Bridges Street, Strand, London', with a bust portrait in Coronation robes: 'Tribute of the Esteem and Regard of a Devoted & Affectionate Nation for its truly Patriotic Sovereign, William the Fourth, who has nobly stood forward as the First Royal Champion of Reform and Popular Rights, and who, by supporting the beneficent Plans of Earl Grey, Lord Brougham, Lord J. Russell, and his other Virtuous and Upright Ministers, has shewn himself desirous of possessing A Throne Established in the Hearts of his Grateful and Loyal People'. Six lines of verse follow.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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