Collection online

The Crown & Anchor libel, burnt by the public hangman;-

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Crown & Anchor libel, burnt by the public hangman;-
  • Description

    Pitt as hangman stands beside a fire of faggots immediately outside the door of the 'Crown & Anchor' (name on door-post). In his right hand is an axe; he drops an open book into the flames, and looks over his shoulder at Reeves who is disappearing into the tavern. On one page (right) is the trunk of a tree surmounted by a crown and the words 'The Royal Stump', on the other: 'No Lords No Commons No Parliame[nt] Damn the Revolution'. He wears a long coat with a hangman's noose tied round his waist, a round hat, and wrinkled gaiters. From his pocket protrudes a book: 'Ministerial Sincerity and Attachment a Novel'. He says:

    "Know, villains, when such paltry slaves presume
    To mix in Treason, if the plot succeeds,
    You're thrown neglected by: - but if it fails,
    You're sure to die like dogs!"

    Reeves, with hands outstretched in protest, says: "O Jenky! Jenky! have I gone through thick & thin for this ?" From his coat-pockets hang papers: '£400 pr Ann, To the Chairm[an] of the Crown & Anchor', and, 'List of Spies Informers Reporters Crown & Anchor Agents'.
    On the right Fox, Sheridan, and Erskine blow at the fire; the two former on hands and knees, Erskine, in wig and gown, between them, an arm across the shoulders of each. Smoke and the lower parts of the adjacent houses form a background.
    The title continues: 'See the Proceedings of the House of Commns Novr 26th 1795 - To the Charman & Members of the truly Loyal Association at the Crown & Anchor this small token of Gratitude for Favors receiv'd, is respectfully dedicated by the Author'. 28 November 1795
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1795
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 248 millimetres
    • Width: 352 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title and production details: 'Js Gy desn et fect / Pubd Novr 28th 1795. by H. Humphrey N 37 New Bond Street'.
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
    Reeves founded, and became chairman of, the Association for preserving Liberty and Property against Levellers and Republicans, known as the Crown and Anchor Society, see BMSat 8316, &c. In 1795 he published anonymously 'Thoughts on the English Government. . .', denounced on 23 Nov. by Sturt as a libel on the constitution; Sheridan, Fox, and Erskine spoke. On 26 Nov. the debate was continued, being opened by Sheridan, who read the offensive passage: that the government was a monarchy, the ancient stock from which the branches, the Lords and Commons, had sprung, and might be lopped off, and the tree remain a tree. Erskine and Fox spoke. The pamphlet was defended by Windham, whose arguments were opposed by Pitt, and it was agreed to appoint a Committee to inquire who was the author. Its report (1 Dec.) showed that Reeves was the author, and that he had ordered six copies to be sent to the office of Lord Hawkesbury (the Board of Trade, of which Reeves was Law Clerk). Hawkesbury ('Jenky') denied (2 Dec.) that copies had been sent to him. 'Parl. Hist.' xxxii. 608 ff.; Farington, 'Diary', i. 111. See also Coleridge, 'Essays on his own Times', 1850, i. 79-80; 'State Trials', xxvi. 530 ff.; 'Monthly Review', 1795, p. 443, 1800, p. 81. Wolcot wrote verses on the incident, in which Reeves ('R------') was 'the Grand Informer'. See 'Liberty's Last Squeak', 1795, pp. 23-6. Cf. BMSats 8365, 8690, 9286. For the dedication cf. BMSats 8316, 8318.
    Grego, 'Gillray', pp. 194-5. Wright and Evans, No. 139. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8699 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1795  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1795 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA141932

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help