- Museum number
- Object: Administration & opposition as exhibited April 3rd 1780 at the Pantheon masquerade.
Two men dressed as if for a masquerade stand side by side. The bodies of both are covered with grotesque masks, which are intended as caricatures of supporters of the Ministry and Opposition respectively. Each wears a peaked cap almost covered by a pictorial placard. "Administration" (left) is a stout rubicund man capering with an expression of convivial jollity; he holds a wine-bottle in his right hand, an embossed goblet in his left. On the placard on his cap is a fat pig guzzling grapes inscribed "Administration". His person is almost covered by seven masks, all grinning with expressions of sly satisfaction. One beneath the wearer's chin appears to be intended for North, next it on the right is probably Sandwich; all are grotesquely caricatured, with large mouths and a display of teeth.
The figure on the right and the masks with which he is decorated have expressions of melancholy ferocity. The placard on his cap is inscribed "Opposition" and depicts a fox trying in vain to reach the grapes above his head. The only mask which can be identified with any certainty is that of Wilkes, squinting violently. "Opposition" holds out to "Administration" a paper inscribed "The Scourge. N° 17. To the Ministry". This was a libellous and scurrilous pamphlet against the Government issued by one W. Moore weekly from 1 Jan. to 8 June 1780, which was followed up during the Gordon Riots by inflammatory leaflets entitled 'The Thunderer' and 'England in Blood', see BMSat 5685, 5844. No. 17 (20 May 1780) contains inflammatory verses, "The Cries of Liberty for a Redress of Grievances. Vox Populi Vox Dei", ending with an appeal for "another glorious Revolution", unless grievances are redressed. (B.M.L., P.P. 5394 d.)
In his left hand "Opposition" holds out papers inscribed "Scheme of Oeconomy in the State" and "Count[y] Petitions]."
Beneath the design, in two columns, songs are etched:
"Song by ADMINISTRATION.
Let hungry Patriots lick their lips at our rich-season'd dainties,
And snap & snarl, we mind them not, well knowing all in vain 'tis;
Inquiries & Impeachments, & State Reformation schemes Sir
To Us (when seated round good Wine) are but as mirthfull themes Sir,
For of our annual Thousands sure in Coffers we can store 'em,
To laugh & joke & sing & smoke & push about the forum."
(Two more verses follow.)
"Song by OPPOSITION.
Tho' laughter now characterize our vile Administration,
The Curs will snivel when we've jostl'd each one from his Station.
For like Distiller's grain-fed Hogs they swill & gorge & sleep,
But soon for food they shall be fore'd a sharp look out to keep,
So Brother Patriots, one & all, let's steadfast be & warm O,
In carry'ng on our rustling, bustling tustling State Reform O."
(Two more verses follow.)
Across the bottom of the sheet is etched:
"Song, sung by the above Characters, after having form'd a Coalition.
Ist Since Opposition has at length put on her Wings & fled,
And Coalition's taken place in party jingling's stead.
A drinking we will go &ct
2nd I say since we're all friends together let us sing & drink,
And deem that Man an Ass. who from his bumper first does shrink,
And sneaking home does go &ct
3rd Now North Germaine & Sandwich Richmond Shelburne Fox & Barre,
No longer need bark at each other till their jaws are weary,
But a drinking may all go &c.
4th And as for State reforming plans - why we shall let them drop,
Since from the dripping pan each party now can take a sop.
Then a drinking may all go &ct" January 1781
- Production date
Height: 324 millimetres
Width: 313 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
This, of course, is far from representing the political situation in 1781. The overtures to the Rockingham Whigs in 1779 and 1780 had come to nothing and the coalition of Fox and North could not then have been anticipated. One of the few satires attacking the Opposition, see BMSat 5334, 5644, 5665, 5836, 5962. For County Petitions see BMSat 5638, &c.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number