- Museum number
- Object: The court of aldermen
Probably from a magazine. The Lord Mayor is seated in a raised chair at the head of the table, aldermen in furred gowns sit on both sides of the table. The six Aldermen on his right. wear laurel wreaths; over the head of each of the seven seated on his left. dangles a noose of rope. In the Lord Mayor's hand is a paper, "Grant for Pressing"; a noose hangs over his head. Immediately below him a clerk is writing at the table. In the foreground a hangman bows hat in hand to the alderman sitting on the extreme right., at the near end of the row on the Lord Mayor's l.; in his 1. hand is a rope; from his pocket protrudes a broadside headed by a cut of a man hanging from a gibbet. He says: "I am a Servant to Mr. All-man Shockspar and shall be glad to serve you." c.1770
- Production date
Height: 117 millimetres
Width: 167 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
This appears to represent the inquiry into the conduct of the Recorder, Sir James Eyre, for refusing to attend the presentation to the king of the City Remonstrance on 23 May, 1770. The actual proceedings took place at a meeting of the Common Council on 27 Sept. 1770. A vote of censure was moved, being voted for by six aldermen and fifty-one commoners, against seven aldermen and eighty-eight commoners. The proceedings were published at length in the Wilkite magazines; see 'London Museum', ii. 410 ff., Sharpe, 'London and the Kingdom', 1895, iii. 101.
Among the six Wilkite aldermen on the r. of the chair Wilkes is speaking; he says: "You may Nash your teeth, Mr. Alderman, but we shall carry it Plumb in spite of your Kites and Blackbirds we will have the foolish Lad broke for neglect of Duty". William Nash, Samuel Plumbe, Sir Robert Kite, John Bird, and Sir Robert Ladbroke were anti-Wilkite aldermen. Another alderman is saying: "He must let out his large House in Lincoln's Inn Fields to lodgers" (the Recorder lived in Lincoln's Inn Fields).
Four of the seven aldermen of the court party are speaking; they say (l. to r.): "They seem all to be out of their Heads; He's a man of Honor & a Gentleman" (the speaker is identified by Mr. Hawkins as Harley, the leader of the Court party in the City); a man with the head and pointed beard of Shakespeare to indicate that he is Alderman John Shakespeare says: "I should not like to dangle in my own Manufacture"; the last, seated on the outside, and identified by Mr. Hawkins as Sir Robert Ladbroke, says: "No Body will ever regard our Resolutions". For Ladbroke see BMSat 4379.
The Lord Mayor is Barlow Trecothick, who held office between the death of Beckford on 21 June, 1770 and the election of Brass Crosby on 9 November. As was customary, he had backed a Press Warrant issued by the Lords of the Admiralty to enable it to be executed within the precincts of the City. A man impressed on this warrant was brought on 26 October before Wilkes, who was sitting at Guildhall as a Justice of the Peace for the City. Wilkes discharged the man on the ground that Press Warrants were illegal by Magna Carta. 'London Museum', ii. 491 ff.; 'Ann Reg.' xiii. 161, 162; Sharpe, op. cit. iii. 106. For Sir James Eyre and his obsequiousness to the Court see BMSat 4408.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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