- Museum number
- Object: The Caneing in Conduit Street.
A stout naval officer (right) is attacked by a taller and slimmer officer (left), who siezes him by the coat and raises his cane to strike. A civilian stands between them holding back the aggressor. The stout officer, Captain Vancouver, wears an enormous sword; a fur mantle hangs from his shoulders inscribed 'This Present from the King of Owyhee to George IIId forgot to be delivered'. From his coat-pocket hangs a scroll which rests on the ground, part being still rolled up: 'List of those disgraced during the Voyage - put under Arrest all the Ships Crew - Put into Irons, every Gentleman on Board - Broke every Man of Honor & Spirit - Promoted Spies - ' His left foot is on an open book: 'Every Officer is the Guardian of his own Honor. Lord Grenvills Letter'. From the pocket of the civilian (Vancouver's brother) projects a paper: 'Chas Rearcovers Letter to be publish'd after the Parties are bound to keep ye Peace.'
Vancouver's assailant, Lord Camelford, says: "Give me Satisfaction, Rascal! - draw your Sword, Coward! what you won't? - why then take that Lubber! - & that! & that! & that! & that! & that! & - Vancouver, staggering back, with arms outstretched, shouts: Murder! - Murder! - Watch! - Constable! - keep him off Brother! - while I run to my Lord-Chancellor for Protection! Murder! Murder! Murder". Behind him, on the ground, lies a pile of shackles inscribed 'For the Navy'. Two very juvenile sailor-boys stand together (left) watching with delight. On Vancouver's right is the lower part of a shop (right) showing a door and window in which skins are suspended. Round the door are inscriptions: 'The South-Sea-Fur-warehouse from China. Fine Black Otter Skins. No Contraband Goods sold here.' After the title: 'Dedicated to the Flag Officers of the British Navy.' 1 October 1796
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 349 millimetres
- Curator's comments
(Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
Vancouver returned from his voyage of discovery in 1795 and devoted himself to preparing his journals for publication. This, according to the 'Lond. Chron.', 5 Oct. 1796, was the reason he gave for not accepting the challenge of Lord Camelford whom he had flogged, put in the bilboes (cf. BMSat 7672), and discharged to the shore during his voyage. According to the 'D.N.B.' (where the date is incorrect), Vancouver expressed his willingness to fight if any flag-officer should decide that he owed Camelford satisfaction, while the caning was prevented by bystanders. Here, the intervener is Vancouver's brother, probably John, who edited the posthumously published 'Voyage of Discovery . . .', 1798. Gillray appears to identify him with the Charles Vancouver who wrote on agriculture, 1794-1813. For Camelford's eccentric and insubordinate career see 'D.N.B.' The print may reflect the growing discontent due to harsh naval discipline, cf. BMSat 9021.
Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 213-14. Wright and Evans, No. 154. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.
The cloak on Vancouver’s back is not fur but feather, and refers not to the sea-otter trade but to the gift of a cloak from Kamehameha that was made to Vancouver to present to George III, which is mentioned in Vancouver’s "A Voyage of Discovery…" See Lamb, The Voyage of George Vancouver, Hakluyt Society, p. 237.
(Information kindly supplied by Nigel Rigby via email on 6 March 2016).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number