- Museum number
- Object: A patriot luminary extinguishing noxious gas!!!-
Brougham (left) directs the jet from a fire-hose on gas flames issuing from the mouth of Cochrane, who stands astride the summit of the gas-container, an oddly-shaped urn, round which two pipes are symmetrically twined, having the heads of serpents and forming two loops or handles which Cochrane supports on his shoulders. The heads of the serpents are supported by Cobbett who forms, in profile to the left, a figure-head for the container. Lighted gas-jets issue from the mouths of Cobbett and of the serpents; from his pocket hangs a fat purse inscribed 'My Politics'. Burdett, his back to Cobbett and Cochrane, with folded arms, is in a similar position, but lower down, against the back of the container. Two shorter serpent-pipes are looped against the sides of the container, terminating in the profile heads of Hunt, wearing a hunting-cap, and (presumably) Thomas Evans, whose pipe is inscribed 'Spencean Plan' (see No. 12868). These two are behind and slightly below Cobbett, in profile to the left. Over Evans's pipe hang little serpents, darting their fangs towards Brougham. The second pipe is not visible, being on the farther side of the urn, but is represented by Hunt's head, parallel with that of Evans. From the mouths of all issue flames of gas. Cochrane's left foot (and presumably his right) rests on the edge of a large tricolour disk (a cockade) which ornaments the side of the urn and is supported upon crossed daggers. He leans against the head of a (?) golden calf which rests on the upper curve of the urn. The container rests on a low stand of four curved legs, round and below which are adders, toads, and a lizard, all discharging venom against the low rocky platform on which Brougham stands.
The urn is filled with gas by a pipe issuing from a furnace on the extreme right, which a kneeling and simian demon, wearing a bonnet rouge, is stoking with newspapers, while he blows at the flames. In his right hand is 'Cobbe[tt's] Political Register'; in his left: 'Examiner Jany 26 Page 53 a continued experim[ent] at exciting an insurrection. d° P 82 Feb 9th'. At the ape-like creature's feet are other papers: 'Statesman', 'Morning C[hronicle]', 'Black Dwarf', 'Independent Whig', 'Hones Reformers Register', 'Spa Fields Resolutions' [see No. 12869, &c.], 'Br—kes's Club for Keeping new members out of Westminster'. Behind the furnace and the urn are black clouds; from these (right) a Fury emerges, with snakes for hair, holding in the right hand a firebrand, and in the left writhing serpents. Above are many night-birds, owls, bats, &c.
Brougham's fire-hose issues from a fire-engine, inscribed 'Parlaimetary [sic] Expositor', a box on wheels with two handles for pumping at which Eldon (left) in wig and gown, and Castlereagh (right) are working. On this is a (carved) British Lion trampling on a crowned eagle, to represent the defeat of Napoleon. Behind and on the extreme left is the trunk of an aged oak, wreathed with roses. On the ground at Brougham's feet are papers:  'His Royal Highness has enjoyed prosperity with his people he will prove himself ready to share their privations his royal Highness relinquishg £50,000 a year of his income & fears not but it will be recd as intended House of Commons Decr [i.e. Feb.] 7 1817'.  'Marqs Camden 10,000'.  'Ponsonby 400'. In the background (left), between the oak and the gas-urn, is the sea-shore with small trading vessels collecting casks, &c., and, in front, a man leading his horse to a plough, and others sheep-shearing. Partly hidden by the tree is a disk or a rising sun, containing the bewigged head of the Regent (cf. No. 12867 A). Below the design are Brougham's words: ""Sir, I will not show my friendship for the people by telling them falshoods.—(a loud cry of hear, hear!)—I will not be party in practising delusion on the people.—(hear, hear!)—I do not blame the petitioners, but I blame the fabricators of the petitions for having ye assurance to declare that universal suffrage, was a right for which our Ancestors shed their blood.—(hear hear)— Sir I would not be a party in telling the people (monstrous assertion!) that twelve hundd years ago, this Country enjoyed a perfect Constitution.—(hear, hear!) Twelve hundd years ago!!—in what history is it to be found, that this Country enjoyed a free & perfect Constitution at all, at that period? what do we know of the state of this Country in that respect, in ye year 618 two hundd years before ye difft Kingdoms of the Saxon heptarchy were united under one Monarch—(hear her) these Sir, are they who after poring for days & nights & brooding over their wild & mischievous schemes, rise up with their little nostrums & big blunders to amend the British Constitution! (laughter & loud aplause) vide Mr Br—gh—ms reply to Ld C—ch—ne Feby 14th 1817."
26 February 1817
- Production date
Height: 249 millimetres
Width: 346 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
On 14 Feb. various petitions for Reform were presented to the Commons, one by Brougham, who, however, spoke of 'the absurd and impracticable doctrine of universal suffrage'. He was answered by Cochrane; the passage quoted is an abridged quotation from Brougham's retort to Cochrane. 'Parl. Deb.' xxxv. 358 ff. Brougham was violently attacked for this speech by Hone in his 'Register', in a passage read by Cochrane in Parliament on 17 Feb. (ibid., pp. 368 ff.; Aspinall, 'Brougham and the Whig Party', 1927, p. 75; Wallas' 'Life of Place', 1918, pp. 120-6. The allegedly seditious passages from the 'Examiner' are (1) from an article on the approaching Session: 'Persons however in the situation of Parliament may be compelled without manual force, and will. Swords may be answered with swords, at least for a time; but there is no withstanding the universal will of a nation .... [The people] are too strong, too enlightened, and too angry, to suffer themselves to be duped again.' (2) A protest against the measures of repression, see No. 12871, &c.: 'the personal sufferings and irritability of the people are infinitely greater than they were in 95 and . . . will not endure violent treatment'. Wooler's 'Black Dwarf' (29 Jan. 1817-Dec. 1824) and Hone's 'Reformist's Register' (1 Feb-25 Oct. 1817) were two of the unstamped weekly papers that contributed to the agitation for manhood suffrage, and were more radical than Cobbett's 'Register'. See J. H. Rose, 'The Unstamped Press 1815-1836', 'Eng. Hist. Rev.', Oct. 1897; Aspinall, 'Circulation of Newspapers in the early Nineteenth Century', 'Review of English Studies', Jan. 1946. Burdett was holding aloof from the extremists, cf. No. 12869, and was denounced by Hunt; Burdett and Cobbett wavered between manhood suffrage and household suffrage. On 7 Feb. Castlereagh announced, among items of retrenchment, that the Regent, 'desirous to share the privations and sufferings of his majesty's subjects', wished to surrender £50,000, about a fifth of his income, and on 11 Feb. (in answer to a question) that Lord Camden had surrendered his sinecure Tellership of the Exchequer in return for an income of £2,500. 'Parl. Deb.' xxxv. 267, 324 f. (This had brought in a maximum income, according to the sums issued from the Exchequer, of over £23,000.) Ponsonby opposed Castlereagh's proposal that holders of public office should surrender a tenth of their salaries, the equivalent of what they would have paid in income tax, but surrendered 10 per cent, of his own pension. Ibid., p. 306; 'Examiner', 1816, p. 105. The unwonted praise of the Regent, Castlereagh, and Eldon illustrates the extent of the reaction from the demagogy of Hunt and others, leading to disturbances, which is seen also in Cobbett's protest against attacks on the Regent, and his warning to the Reformers against 'Political Clubs', 'Secret Cabals', and 'Correspondences'. 'Pol. Reg.' xxxii. 209, 220 (15 Feb. 1817), cf. No. 12864, &c. 'Br—kes's Club' is probably a punning reference to Samuel Brooks of the Westminster Committee which managed Westminster elections. Cf. No. 12633 on gas-lighting as a noxious innovation.
Reid, No. 659. Cohn, No. 1831.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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