- Museum number
- Object: The state windmill
A windmill with four sails, two sinking to the left, one from an almost vertical, the other from an almost horizontal position, one being near the ground, the other in the air, the other two opposite these and rising to the right. The body of the mill, a small timber building, rests on a tripod of three beams springing from a low stone-built cylinder on a small mound. Politicians are climbing about the mill and others are inspecting it from the ground; they are identified by numbers referring to names engraved below the print. On the summit of the highest sail (which tilts downwards to the left) sit (1) "Lord N-----h" and (2) "C. F--x" (right); they hold hands. North says, "By G--d I am too heavy my dear friend Charley". Fox answers, "Hush my gentle Boreas, stick fast & we'll support one another - The summer approaches and we shall have easy weather". (3), "Mr B------ke" hangs suspended in front of the sail holding on to a leg of North and a leg of Fox, saying "My conscience bears me up"; he wears a Jesuit's biretta, as in BMSat 6205, &c. On the sail on the right, which is rising out of the horizontal, four men sit, gazing upwards. (4), "Lord S-----y" [Surrey] holds up both arms, saying "Here we go up! up! up!" (5), "Lord M--h--n" [Mahon] says "Up we go!" his right arm is across the shoulder of (6) "Gov J------ne" [Johnstone], who says "Huzza for a fresh gale".
Next him is (7) "Lord K--p--l" [Keppel] looking up. Commodore or Governor Johnstone, a supporter of Sandwich and Sir Hugh Palliser against Keppel (cf. Wraxall, 'Memoirs', 1884, ii. 68-70), seems out of place among these Foxites. Clinging to the end of the opposite sail (left) is (8) "The late C------r" [Chancellor], Lord Thurlow, in judge's robes, his wig falling from his head, saying "By G--d I can hold no longer What a d--m--d bluster this is". Beneath him, falling head downwards, is (9) "Lord Sh------ne" [Shelburne] saying, "Lord what a fall". On the ground at his side is (10) "T. T--s--d". Townshend, cr. Baron Sydney, 6 March 1782, for his defence of the Shelburne Ministry and the peace against the attacks of Fox and North. He is saying, "What a sudden change. I'll pledge myself that by Christmas next we shall be up or down", a prophecy which was literally fulfilled by the dismissal of the Coalition and the formation of the Pitt Ministry on 22 Dec, with Sydney as one of the Secretaries of State. The next three figures are engaged in repairing (or demolishing) the foundations
of the windmill. (11), "Lord A------te" (Dundas, the Lord Advocate of
Scotland) stands in legal robes holding a saw across his shoulder, saying, "It wants mending - but the foundation is good". (12), "Mr S--d--n" [Sheridan] stands at the foot of a ladder leading to the door of the mill, holding a beam, and saying to Pitt, "Take care rash young man". (13), "Mr P--tt" stands on the ladder wielding an axe; he says, "We must make a new Machine this is rotten & half the corn is devoured by lurking vermin".
On the opposite (right) side of the base of the mill, four figures (unspecified) cling to the lowest sail, which is a mere ladder-like framework. Four men stand on the right gazing up at Fox and North on the summit of the windmill. One, looking through a small telescope, says, "These Stars have a black Aspect"; his neighbour, waving a larger telescope, says, "Past their Meridian Altitude". A man using a sextant says, "Two degrees of North declination"; his neighbour on the extreme left, looking through a single eye-glass, says, "An Owl & a Magpie by Jasus". 10 June 1783
- Production date
Height: 285 millimetres
Width: 243 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, though Fox had lost his popularity, the ministry appeared firmly established, with an unshakable majority in the House of Commons. Cf. Wraxall, 'Memoirs', 1884, iii. 115 ff. Pitt's activities against the 'vermin' represent his motion for Parliamentary Reform, and his Bill for a reform of abuses in public offices, see 'Parl. Hist.' xxiii. 827 ff. (7 May); pp. 945 ff. (2 June). For Sheridan and Pitt cf. BMSat 6212.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number