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Scotch Politics - To be read backward, like a Witch's Prayer

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Scotch Politics - To be read backward, like a Witch's Prayer
  • Description

    Satire on government corruption supposedly due to the continuing influence the Scots, i.e., Lord Bute. The scene is set in a government office with the royal coat of arms seen partly at top right. Two officials or ministers sit at a table: the man on the right is asleep, is elbow resting on a paper reading, "I take care of the National Debt 50,000,000" and an advertisement, "To be seen with half an eye at the Booksellers in Town & Country British Commerce or the Prime Minister's Shop Ope[ne]d"; a pile of papers on the table refer to other debts: "On the Irish Establis[h]m[en]t / L[ord] B[i]ngly 3500 / S-an Esqr. 6000 / S-w-ll 5000 / 3000", "Bank Bills 50000 / Government Places / Pensions", and, on other papers, a series of figures. The man at the left of the table, is rising to make off with a large money bag. A man on the right stands holding a wand, like a showman, pointing at a series of pigeon holes with letters of the alphabet to be read from right to left: a. a round box or basket with a label reading, "Heres powder'd Dust to blind a peircing eye"; b. a bag, "Heres Corks to stop both mouths and ears by th by"; c. three bottles, "Here's almond Oil to Grease a tardy Tongue"; d. a pot, "This makes white Black"; e. a book, "Coke upon Littleton / This Changes wright to wrong"; f. two bottles, "Heres Lethe's water Patiot thoughts to drown; g. a scroll, apparently unopened, "Heres Britains Magna [Carta]"; h. another scroll, "Here's ye Rights oth Crown"; i. a casket, "Heres Polar Stars by which a Statesman Steers"; k. two puppets dressed as bishops, "and heres the Lares of some Revd. Peers"; l. a book, "Joe Miller's Jests / Heres wit"; m. two books, "St Augustine's Works" and "St Athanasius" / "Here's Learning"; n. a small book, "Duo decimo / Politics are here"; o. papers, "Here's Titles"; p. further papers or scrolls, "Pensions"; q. yet more papers, "Grants of Thousands Clear"; r. a round box, "Heres curious salve to Plaster Britains wounds"; s. a drum and sword, "Heres our last War"; t. two money bags, coins spilling from one of them, "The Peace which all confound"; u. a man saying to a young woman, "Heres silken Pleasure"; w. a whip, "General Warrants / Wilkes cutting Rod"; x. five books, "Here's Law"; y. a bible, "Heres Gospel"; "z. four rolls of coins, "Here's our Se-tes God".
    Etching and engraving


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1763
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 195 millimetres (trimmed?)
    • Width: 228 millimetres (trimmed?)
    • Height: 184 millimetres (image)
    • Width: 217 millimetres (image)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with the title and captions in the image; annotated in ink on the recto '1763'.
  • Curator's comments

    The print must date from after John Wilkes's arrest on a general warrant in connection with the publication of the North Briton no. 45, on 23 April 1763.

  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 4039 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British Stephens series)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Description to follow.  Etching and engraving


Description to follow. Etching and engraving

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA199678

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