- Museum number
- Object: Election Compromise or a Cornish Hug in Westminster
An anticipation of the Westminster Election: Fox (left), very stout, and Hood (right), very lean and tall, hug each other, each holding the other round the waist; Fox says, "My dear, dear Lord!!!"; Hood, who wears naval uniform, says, "Oh, my Sweet Sir!!!" Both trample on a torn paper inscribed 'Freedom of Election Rights of Electors'. Sheridan (left) watches them intently, holding his hat in both hands; he says, "There's Situation - there's Characters - match them who can - there's stage effect - see how forcibly their Friendship appears after violent abuse - contrast has a happy Effect - egad, it will command notice on the day of public performance - as I am a Whig, and a Poet, and a long Speech maker and all that egad - ". Under his arm is a paper inscribed 'Election Coalition a Political Rehearsal by the Modern Bayes'. He wears a large curled wig and old-fashioned coat, indicating that he is Bayes in Buckingham's 'Rehearsal'. Behind him (left) stands Hall the apothecary in profile to the right, pounding in a mortar inscribed 'Compound of Fox dung and Sea Weeds to prevent Disorders'. The mortar stands on a cube-shaped box, one face of which is inscribed 'Wig Club' with two crossed pens, the other (with a slot for money) 'Pray Remember the Poor'. This scene is flanked in the foreground by the corners of two buildings symbolizing Carlton House (left) and the Treasury (right). On the left a padlocked door is decorated with the Prince of Wales's feathers; the Prince looks down from a window inscribed 'Bare as a Board'. From the wall four signs project on posts. From the uppermost, inscribed 'Patriotic Purse', hangs a torn purse inscribed 'M T' (empty). From the next, inscribed 'First Coalition - To get in Office', hangs a banner on which are Fox and North seated side by side, Fox looking insinuatingly at North (see BMSat 6179, &c). Below this is the 'Second Coalition - Preparing for Dissolution', with a banner inscribed 'Dissenting Interest' on which Fox, holding a book inscribed 'New Faith', and a dissenter resembling Priestley, holding a book inscribed 'Hypocrisy', embrace each other. The lowest beam is inscribed 'Third Coalition - Securing a Seat'; on the banner hanging from it is a fox on its hind-legs clasping an anchor (a parody of Pitt's crest, with a fox in place of a stork). On the right, from a window above the padlocked door inscribed 'Treasur[y]', looks Pitt, supporting his head on his hand, with the inscription 'Tired as a Dog'.
In the background are three groups of small figures in front of the façade of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, where the hustings was erected. Before it is a high gibbet, inscribed 'Next Coalition', rising from a bonfire; from it hangs a fox. A sailor, a butcher, &c, dance round the fire, the butcher with a marrow-bone and cleaver. They shout "No Smuggling of Seats" and "No Turncoat". Townshend, saying "I'll canvass the ladies for a Place" (cf. BMSat 7346, &c), and Hanger, a huge bludgeon under his arm (cf. BMSat 6924), turn their backs on this scene and walk off to the left. On the left three men wearing ducal coronets stand in conclave, saying, "We cant afford it"; they are Portland (left), Norfolk (right), and Devonshire (in back view). On the right is a crowd of electors, saying, "We Independent Electors are not to be Sold in this manner - Indeed Master Charley you are selling the Skin before you have caught the Bear." Below the title is etched:
'An entirely new Scene, got up at a trifling expence, now in private Rehearsal, and about to be produced on the Covent Garden Boards by the incomparable prime Manager of the Old House [Drury Lane], in the Character of Bayes [in Buckingham's Rehearsal]. Addressed (without permission) to the Electors of Westminster.
Says Sherry to Charley, her Grace is gone far away,
And his poor H------ss unable the Piper to pay;
Then says Charley to Sam, tho' I 'ave oft call'd you a Scrub,
If you please, our Interest we'll together now Club;
Says Sam, to refuse I should act very silly
Since I 'ave tired my Friends, even rich Master Billy;
So they give the close-hug and seem vastly civil,
Tho' each other they heartily wish at the Devil;
Thus they, who did each other so freely abuse,
By Coalition mean themselves as freely to chuse,
Unless the Electors, to whom they're so o'er civil,
For Men independent should pack 'em both to the Devil.' 30 March 1790
Etching with hand-colouring
- Production date
Height: 271 millimetres
Width: 373 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
A satire which shows that the agreement on the Westminster Election made on 15 March 1790 for the forthcoming general election between Lord Lauderdale and Pitt in the presence of Dundas quickly became known. It was agreed that each party should support one candidate only at the next election and during the next parliament, so long as either Portland or Fox on one part and Pitt or Grenville on the other were alive, Stanhope, 'Life of Pitt', i. 361. On 30 March Fox announced to the electors of Westminster that both sides had agreed to support one candidate only, but disavowed all collusion with Hood. Lord John Townshend declared his approbation, and spoke of the nearly 'ruinous consequences' of the last election to his noble supporters. 'London Chronicle', 1 April. The expenses of the by-election in 1788 had been enormous, see BMSat 7339 and 'Auckland Correspondence', ii. 223, and such agreements were a common consequence of excessive election expenditure; they are denounced by Oldfield as coalitions; 'History of Boroughs', 1792, passim. Cf. Laprade, 'William Pitt and Westminster Elections', 'American Historical Review', xviii. 273-4. For Fox and Priestley see BMSat 7628, &c. Horne Tooke came forward as an independent candidate, his election address being on lines similar to the thesis of this print. Stephens, 'Memoirs of Horne Tooke', 1813, ii. 83 ff. Parliament was prorogued on 10 June and afterwards dissolved. Press cuttings relating to the election are in B.M. Add. MSS. 27,837, ff. 36-45. See also BMSats 7641, 7642, 7652, 7654, 7655, 7658, 7659, 7682, 7691.
On the verso is a slip in the hand of Sarah Banks identifying the persons in the print; this is numbered J.4.220, but has not been catalogued on computer.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number