- Museum number
- Object: Magic - the green bag metamorphosed - or the mountain in labour ...
The Green Bag, see No. 13735, &c., is transformed into a hillock covered with grass and foliage, but keeping the contour of a sack; it is inscribed in large letters: 'Commons Green Bag'. On the left it is watched by a group of Ministers, on the right by the Queen and her supporters. The foremost of the latter is Brougham, in wig and gown, who points a rod inscribed 'Queens Attorney General' towards the bag; a mouse crouches in a little hollow at its base. Under his arm is a large document inscribed 'Resolution ..... [Ma]jesty'. The Queen, her hands extended towards him, turns to a second barrister who stands in back-view, saying, "I should make a brave Queen to be frightened at a Mouse." The barrister, Denman, the Queen's Solicitor-General, answers: "A good Conscience is a Wall of Brass, your Majesty will not shrink at a Royal Tiger." On the extreme right, Wood, in an alderman's gown, is speaking to a lady, evidently Lady Ann Hamilton.
On the extreme left is a curtain from behind which the King, his head and most of his person being hidden, speaks to Lord Eldon (who like his colleagues is gaping at the bag-mountain): "Why Bags! what's all this!" Eldon, in wig and gown, holding a large document and the Purse of the Great Seal, answers: "The Cat's out of the Bag Sire thats all." Canning exclaims: "Pro-di-gi-ous! as my Friend Domine Sampson [in Scott's 'Guy Mannering', 1815] says!" Castlereagh, very scared, says to Sidmouth: "Doctor could you not prevented [sic] this untimely Birth!" Sidmouth stoops forward, squirting a clyster-pipe at the mouse; in his right hand, like a doctor's gold-headed cane, is a constable's staff. He exclaims: "A Delivery without Nurse or Doctor by Heaven." From his pocket hangs a paper: 'Foreign Circular' [cf. No. 13282]. After the title: 'When mountains cry out, people may well be excused the apprehension of some prodigious Birth, this was the case the Public were all at their wits end, to consider what would be the Issue, and instead of the dreadfull Monster that they expected, out comes at last a contemptible Mouse—The Moral. Much ado about Nothing.— Reflection. What are all the extravagant attempts and enterprises of weak Men, but morals more or less of this Fable what are mighty pretences without consideration or effect, but the vapours of a distemper, that like sickly Dreams have neither issue nor conection. and the dissapointment is not all neither, for men make themselves ridiculous instead of Terrible, when this Tympany shall come to end in a Blast, and a Mountain to bring forth a Mouse, vide L'Estrange's Esop.—'
28 June 1820
- Production date
Height: 235 millimetres
Width: 338 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
An attempt to pre-judge the report of the Secret Committee. Greville wrote 23 June: 'it seems doubtful whether the Green Bag will ever be opened, so strong is the repugnance of the H. of Commons to enter upon such an investigation. It is this feeling in the House which in all probability emboldens the Queen to hold out with the firmness and constancy she has hitherto displayed.' 'Memoirs', 1938, i. 98. Lady Anne Hamilton, her lady-in-waiting, went to France with Alderman Wood, see No. 13730.
There is an uncoloured impression, B.M.L. 1852. b. 9/111.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number