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- Object: A political concert; the vocal parts by 1.Miss America, 2.Franklin, 3.F-x, 4.Kepp-ll, 5.Mrs Britannia, 6.Shelb-n, 7.Dun-i-g, 8.Benidick Rattle Snake
A number of figures, sitting and standing, the words of their catch or song issuing in large labels from their mouths, their identity indicated by numbers referring to an explanation engraved beneath the title. In the centre stand (1) "Miss America" (left) and (5) "Mrs Brittania" (right) each with a hand on the staff of liberty, which is surmounted by a large Phrygian cap. America, wearing her head-dress of feathers and a draped kirtle with sandals, holds a sword; she sings, “Oh give me death or liberty O give me &c. . . .” and "Mrs. Brittania" holding her shield and spear, sings, “Brittons never shall be Slaves”. On each side of these two is a seated figure: (2), Franklin (left) next America, and (6) Shelburne (right) next Britannia. Franklin, a dignified figure, wearing a fur cap, as in recent French portraits, his left hand thrust into his waistcoat, sings, “We'll return it untainted to heaven well [sic] return &c... “. Shelburne, with a more jaunty air and his inevitable smile, sings, “Oh what a charming thing a Battle, Oh &c. &c.” Behind Shelburne (right), his hand resting on the back of his chair, and in profile to the left, stands (7) Dunning, in councillor's wig, gown, and bands, singing, “hum hum hum crick crack crick crack Cannons rattle Oh what a Charming thing a battle”. Dunning was known as 'Orator Hum', see BMSat 6042, 6091. Behind Dunning, on the extreme right, stands (8) “Benedick Rattle Snake”, a creature with a man's body, but a snake from the waist downwards and with the head of a snake. He wears the coat of a military officer; from the pocket hangs a paper, “dying Speech of Major Andree”. He is singing, “Blood & plunder oh what a Charming thing a Battle”. Over his head is suspended a hatchment, “Benedick Rattle Snake's Arms”, a gallows on the cross-beam of which sits a devil playing a fiddle. He is Benedict Arnold, see BMSat 5331, the American officer whose treacherous design to surrender West Point in 1780 involved the death of Major Andre as a spy. After serving as brigadier-general with the British, Arnold came to England in 1782. Behind Franklin (left) stands (4) Keppel, one hand thrust in his waistcoat, the other in his breeches pocket, singing, “Then a Crusing we will go then a Crusing we will go”. On the extreme left, next Keppel, stands Fox, his hands in his breeches pockets, singing “Give Peace America with you & war with all the World”. 18 February 1783
- Production date
Height: 241 millimetres
Width: 330 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
At this time the Ministry of Shelburne was falling; the terms of the peace were being attacked, he had made unsuccessful overtures, first to Fox and then to North, who had clearly been drawing together, and at the debate on the Address on the Peace in both Houses on 17 Feb. it appeared that a coalition between North and Fox was an established fact. On 18 Feb. it was reported that Shelburne was to resign immediately. Fitzmaurice, ‘Shelburne’, 1912, ii. 230 ff.
Another impression, Richardson's imprint erased, “Pubd by W. Humphrey 227 Strand London [n.d.]”.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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