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Opening of the Budget;-or- John Bull giving his Breeches to save his Bacon.

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Opening of the Budget;-or- John Bull giving his Breeches to save his Bacon.
  • Description

    Pitt (right) stands stiffly in profile to the left, holding open a large sack-like wallet inscribed 'Requisition Budget'. He addresses John Bull, the central figure, a stout yokel, who holds out his breeches in his left hand to Pitt, while he touches his hat. The budget and the breeches pockets are full of guineas. Pitt says: "More Money, John! - more Money! to defend you from the Bloody, the Cannibal French - They're a coming! - why they'll Strip you to the very Skin - more Money. John! - They're a coming - They're a coming."
    Dundas, Grenville, and Burke kneel on the right, bending towards the 'Budget', each with his left hand in an opening in a vertical seam, eagerly grabbing guineas. Behind them is the stone archway of the 'Treasury', with its high spiked gate. Dundas, the most prominent, wears Highland dress and holds a Scots cap full of coins. Grenville wears a peer's robe; Burke is behind. They echo Pitt: Dundas says "Ay! Ay! They're a coming! They're a coming!" Grenville: "Yes! Yes, They're a coming." Burke: "Ay They're a coming."
    John says: " - a coming? - are they? - nay then, take all I've got, at once, Measter Billy! - vor its much better for I to ge ye all I have in the World to save my Bacon, - than to stay & be Strip'd stark naked by Charley, & the plundering French Invasioners, as you say". His coat and waistcoat are sound, but the pockets hang inside out, empty. His lank hair, knotted kerchief, and wrinkled gaiters denote the small farmer.
    Behind (left), on the shore, stands Fox looking across the water towards the fortress of 'Brest' flying a tricolour flag. He hails it with upraised arms, shouting: "What! more Money ? - O the Aristocrat Plunderer! - Vite Citoyens! - vite! - vite! depechez vous! - or we shall be too late to come inn for any Snacks of the I'argant! - vite Citoyens! vite! vite!" 17 November 1796
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1796
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 253 millimetres
    • Width: 355 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within image and production details: 'Js Gy inv. et fect / Pubd Novr 17th 1796. by H Humphrey 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)
    The threat of invasion had been mentioned in the King's speech, see BMSat 8826; measures of internal defence were proposed on 18 Oct. 'Parl. Hist.' xxxii. 1208 ff. On 5 Nov. the Home Secretary sent a circular letter to the Lord Lieutenants of maritime counties on measures to be taken in view of invasion. 'Ann. Reg.', 1796, p. 129* f. Fox contended that the threat was visionary, and denounced the defence measures. 'Parl. Reg.' lxiii. 98 ff. Hoche's pending invasion of Ireland (see BMSat 8979) was unknown to the public, and peace negotiations (see BMSat 8829, &c.) were still proceeding. Pitt's budget speech was on 7 Dec. As in BMSat 8141 (1792) Pitt is accused of alarming and bewildering John Bull, this time to justify the burden of taxation and with implications of corruption against the Ministry (cf. BMSat 8654, &c.). A double-edged satire, similar in spirit to BMSat 8691. See also BMSats 8837, 8838, 8840, 8842, 8977, 8980, 8987, 8994, 9056. Cf. BMSat 9337.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 206. Wright and Evans, No. 137. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8836 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). 1796  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1796 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA142579

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