English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century. - How they Illustrated and Interpreted their Times.
by Graham Everitt
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We have entered rather fully into this matter, because it seemed to us necessary, in order that the reader might understand the temper of Caroline, and the motives which influenced her in the extraordinary course of conduct which she afterwards thought fit to pursue. She was treated, we have seen, with the most cruel and studied insult; excluded from ceremonials at which her rank and position entitled her to be present. "Sir," said the unfortunate woman in the letter to her husband to which we have alluded, "the time you have selected for this proceeding is calculated to make it peculiarly galling. Many illustrious strangers are already arrived in England; among others, as I am informed, the illustrious heir of the house of Orange, who has announced himself to me as my future son-in-law. From their society I am unjustly excluded. Others are expected, of rank equal to your own, to rejoice with your Royal Highness in the peace of Europe. My daughter will for the first time appear in the splendour and publicity becoming the approaching nuptials of the presumptive heiress of this empire. This season your Royal Highness has chosen for treating me with great and unprovoked indignity; and of all his Majesty's subjects, I alone am prevented by your Royal Highness from appearing in my place, to partake of the general joy, and am deprived of the indulgence of those feelings of pride and affection permitted to every mother but me." Poor mother! who may help pitying her! Her most prejudiced enemy will admit that this was an eloquent and noble protest. Had she only maintained this language and attitude, we should justly assign to her a place amongst the royal martyrs of history. Naturally this barbarous, impolitic treatment soured her, as it would sour even the sweetest disposition. In an evil hour for her, and we may add for this country, she solicited and obtained permission to travel abroad.

No sooner was she freed from the restraints which had surrounded her at home, than her conduct not only makes us doubt whether she had any hand in the composition of this maternal appeal, but appears to justify the conclusions at which the commissioners of 1806 and 1813 seem to have arrived. Her temper was obstinate and wilful. She knew that she was watched; and from a spirit apparently of wanton mischief, designed with the view doubtless of annoying her enemies, she indulged in a series of the most extraordinary and undignified vagaries. She took into her service and received into her closest confidence and favour persons of the lowest position. It was impossible for rumours of her extraordinary eccentricities not to reach, not only the ears of those who detested her, but in an imperfect and incorrect degree those of the general public. That this was the case is shown by a caricature entitled, Paving the way for a Royal Divorce, published by Johnston on the 1st of October, 1816, in which we see the corpulent Regent at table with Lord Liverpool, "Old Bags"[33] (Chancellor Eldon), Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough, Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and another, probably intended for Viscount Sidmouth. His Royal Highness is made by the caricaturist to say that he and his sympathizers think "we shall now succeed, having secured some evidence from the coast of Barbary.... I have got everything as clear as the sun at noon-day.... Now for a divorce as soon as possible." Lord Chancellor Eldon says, "I'll stick to your Highness through thick and thin, or never call me 'Old Bags' again as long as I live." Lord Liverpool supports him by the assurance, "I'm an unmatched negotiator, and I'll enter into a treaty with the House of Commons to secure your suit." The temper of the Commons is shown by the doubts expressed by the individual we take to be intended for Viscount Sidmouth. "I have my doubts," says this person, at the same time laying his hands on the port wine decanter, "I have my doubts and qualms of conscience, your Highness; what say you, Van?" "Oh, my lord," replies Vansittart, who is seated on the "Budget," "I have some strange touches of feeling on the subject." Up rises the hot-tempered Lord Chief Justice, upsetting a decanter of port wine, and at the same time the chair on which he has been sitting, "Don't put me in a passion with your 'qualms' and your 'touches'; they are all false, false as h——! I'll blow you all to the d——l if you don't stick to your master manfully!!" By the side of the prince we see, as usual, a pailful of wine bottles, and at his feet, in allusion to his notorious infidelities, an open volume entitled, "The Secret Memoirs of a Prince, by Humphrey Hedghog, Esq., 1815." By the side of the Lord Chief Justice lie three portly volumes labelled, "The Law of Divorce." It will be evident from the foregoing, that from an early period, the satirists on the popular side gave credit to the prince and his advisers for being members of a secret conspiracy for compassing the ruin of the erring and unfortunate woman.

Now what was the "evidence" to which the corpulent Regent is made to refer in the sketch before us? It was not of course evidence, but rumour; and rumour said the strangest things of the Princess Caroline. It associated her name with that of a courier,—a low Italian, named Bartolomeo Bergami; it said that she had enriched and ennobled this man and other members of his family; procured for him a barony in Sicily; decorated him with several orders of knighthood; and asserted in the plainest terms that she was living with him in a state of open and notorious adultery. These reports rendered it necessary to ascertain on what foundation they rested, and the result was that in 1818, Mr. Cooke, of the Chancery Bar, and Mr. Powell, a solicitor, were despatched into Germany and Italy to collect evidence with respect to her conduct. This inquiry, which is generally known as the "Milan Commission," seemed certainly preferable to an investigation of a more public and notorious character; and upon the evidence these gentlemen obtained was founded the "Bill of Pains and Penalties," which we shall presently have to consider.


It is quite clear that the ministers of 1820 were strongly averse to the introduction of the "Bill of Pains and Penalties," which is now known to us as the "Trial of Queen Caroline." The whole odium indeed of the proceedings rested upon them at the time; but we have no reason to doubt the statement of Mr. Charles Greville, under date of 20th February, 1820, that they had offered to resign, "because the king would not hear reason." It seems at any rate tolerably certain that, although they brought forward the "Bill of Pains and Penalties" under pressure of the Crown, they did not do so until they had well-nigh exhausted every effort short of actual resignation (this dignified position they did not take) to avoid it. Mr. Wade tells us that "their first indiscretion consisted in commencing hostilities against the queen by the omission of her name in the liturgy, thereby provoking her claim to legal rights;"[34] but this omission, which appears to us justifiable under the circumstances, Mr. Greville shows us was due to the action of the king himself.[35] In the month of June, 1819, a communication appears to have been received from Mr. Brougham, the professional adviser of the princess, and understood to be charged with the confidential management of her affairs. The proposal contained in this communication was in substance, that her then income of L35,000 a year should be secured to her for life, instead of terminating with the demise of the crown: and that she should undertake upon that arrangement being made to reside permanently abroad, and not to assume at any time the rank or title of Queen of England. This proposal, however, being stated to be made without any authority from the princess, or knowledge of it on her part, the Government at that time replied that there would be no indisposition at the proper time to entertain the principle on which the proposal was grounded, if it met with the approbation of her Royal Highness on the king's accession. The ministers, reverting to Mr. Brougham's proposal, offered to raise the already handsome allowance to L50,000 a year, subject to the conditions before mentioned. Caroline, however, peremptorily declined the proposal, alleging that it had been made without her knowledge or sanction. Unfortunately, too, this offer when made to Caroline herself, was coupled with the intimation that if the queen should "be so ill-advised as to come over to this country, there must be an end to all negotiations and compromise."[36] Considering the temper and disposition of the woman, the fact that she had demanded the insertion of her name in the liturgy, the haughty assertion of her claim "to be received and acknowledged as the Queen of England," and the communication made at the same time of her desire that a royal yacht should be in readiness to receive her at Calais,[37] it appears to us a greater mistake on the part of the ministry could scarcely have been made. It aroused her woman's nature, and flaming with the anger and resentment which she had nourished for so long a course of years, she boldly took up the gauntlet her enemies had flung at her feet, and crossed the Channel almost as soon as the astonished Government messenger himself.

The queen (for she was titular Queen of England now) arrived in London on the 7th of June: "the road was thronged with an immense multitude the whole way from Westminster Bridge to Greenwich. Carriages, carts, and horsemen followed, preceded, and surrounded her coach the whole way. She was everywhere received with the greatest enthusiasm. Women waved pocket-handkerchiefs, and men shouted wherever she passed. She travelled in an open landau, Alderman Wood sitting by her side, and Lady Ann Hamilton [the Duke of Hamilton's sister] and another woman opposite.... The queen looked exactly as she did before she left England, and seemed neither dispirited nor dismayed."[38] In one of the popular satires of the day we see her standing on the balcony of Alderman Wood's house in South Audley Street, receiving and acknowledging the enthusiastic plaudits of her admirers. The very day she arrived at Dover, a royal message was sent down to Parliament, by which the king commended to the Lords an inquiry into the conduct of the queen; while on the following day, Mr. Brougham read in the House of Commons a message or manifesto from his client, declaring that her return was occasioned by the necessity her enemies had laid upon her of defending her character and conduct.


Both parties now stood irrevocably committed to the fatal measure. A secret committee of the House of Lords proceeded to open the celebrated green bag, which contained the reports of the Milan Commission; and on the 4th of July they made their report, recommending a solemn inquiry into the conduct of the queen. Next day the Earl of Liverpool presented a "bill of pains and penalties" entitled, "An Act to deprive Her Majesty Queen Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the title, prerogative, rights, privileges, and exemptions of Queen Consort of this realm, and to dissolve the marriage between His Majesty and the said Caroline Amelia Elizabeth" on the ground of the grossly immoral conduct therein alleged against her.

The ill-advised proceedings once commenced, no time was lost in carrying them through. On the 7th of July the Italian witnesses in support of the bill (twelve in number) landed at Dover. The object of their visit soon became known, and on emerging from the custom house they were set upon and badly beaten by a furious crowd, composed principally of women. They were lodged in a building then separating the old houses of Parliament, which, with its enclosure, was called Cotton Garden; the front faced the abbey, the rear the Thames. "The land entrance was strongly barricaded. The side facing Westminster Bridge was shut out from the public by a wall run up for the express purpose at a right angle to the Parliament stairs. Thus the only access was by the river. Here was erected a causeway to low-water mark; a flight of steps led to the interior of the inclosure. The street was guarded by a strong military force, the water side by gunboats. An ample supply of provisions was stealthily (for fear of the mob) introduced into the building; a bevy of royal cooks was sent to see that the food was of good quality, and to render it as palatable as their art could make it. About this building, in which the witnesses were immured from August till November, the London mob would hover like a cat round the cage of a canary. Such confinement would have been intolerable to the natives of any other country, but it was quite in unison with the feelings of Italians. To them it realized their favourite 'dolce far niente.' Their only physical exertion appears to have been the indulgence in that description of dance that the Pifferari have made familiar to the Londoner."[39] Such was the residence of the Italian witnesses against the queen, and it is certain that if they had ventured beyond its precincts they would have been torn in pieces.

The appearance which Caroline of Brunswick presented at her trial was an outrageous caricature, and is thus described by one then distinctly friendly to her cause—the Earl of Albemarle: "The peers rose as the queen entered, and remained standing until she took her seat in a crimson and gilt chair immediately in front of her counsel. Her appearance was anything but prepossessing. She wore a black dress with a high ruff, an unbecoming gipsy hat with a huge bow in front, the whole surmounted by a plume of ostrich feathers. Nature had given her light hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion, and a good-humoured expression of countenance; but these characteristics were marred by painted eyebrows, and by a black wig with a profusion of curls, which overshadowed her cheeks and gave a bold, defiant air to her features." The names of the witnesses, and possibly the precise nature of the testimony against her, would seem to have been unknown to the queen, for we have it on record that when the first witness (Teodoro Majoochi, the celebrated "Non Mi Ricordo") was placed at the bar, on the 21st of August, Her Majesty, "uttering a loud exclamation, retired hastily from the House, followed by Lady Ann Hamilton."[40] She evidently laboured under some strong emotion, whether of surprise or displeasure, or both, seems never to have been ascertained.

Among the general public, and even in the House of Commons itself, the falsehood of all that had been alleged on oath against the queen was assumed as an undeniable axiom; the witnesses were loaded with the most opprobrious epithets, while those who had been concerned in collecting or sifting evidence were represented as conspirators or suborners. We shall see, when we come to speak of the caricatures of Robert Cruikshank, the light in which these unhappy witnesses were regarded by the graphic satirists on the popular side.[41] Nevertheless, if their testimony is carefully read over by any unprejudiced person having any knowledge of the law of evidence, in spite of the badgering of Mr. Brougham, the admirable speech of that gentleman, and the testimony of the witnesses on the other side, I think he cannot fail to come to any other conclusion than that expressed by the then Lord Ellenborough, that Her Royal Highness was "the last woman a man of honour would wish his wife to resemble, or the father of a family would recommend as an example to his daughters. No man," said his lordship, "could put his hand on his heart and say that the queen was not wholly unfit to hold the situation which she holds."[42] He will see too, by reference to the report of the proceedings in the "Annual Register," that of the peers who decided to vote against the second reading of the bill on the ground of inexpediency, a large majority gave it as their deliberate opinion that the case had been proved against the queen.[43] In a very clever pictorial satire, published by S. Humphrey in 1821, the queen, Bergami, and a third figure (possibly intended for Alderman Wood) are represented as standing on a pedestal forming the apex of a slender stem labelled "Mobility," which rests on a base marked "Adultery." The whole structure depends for support on a broom (in allusion of course to Mr. Brougham) and two frail pieces of wood, labelled respectively, "Sham addresses," and "Sham processions," which in turn rest on a slender railing, while a ladder on either side, marked "Brass" and "Wood," lend a further slight support to the very insecure fabric. The superincumbent weight of the queen and Bergami breaks the frail stem in pieces, and the three figures tumble to the ground together. The back of the design is occupied with scenes and incidents detailed in the evidence. A very clever caricature, without date (published by T. Sidebotham), I am inclined to assign to this period; and if so, it is one of the most plain spoken and telling satires ever published. It is entitled, City Scavengers Cleansing the London Streets of Impurities; a placard which has fallen in the street sufficiently explains its meaning: "By particular desire of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, D— of K—t in the chair, ordered that the city officers do keep the streets clear of common prostitutes.—Signed, Wood, Mayor."[44]

A more foolish and undignified proceeding, however, than this "Bill of Pains and Penalties" can scarcely be conceived. Its fate might almost have been predicted from the first. The second reading was carried on the 6th of November, by a majority of twenty-eight, but the third (for the reasons already given) by a majority of nine only; whereupon, the Earl of Liverpool said that, "had the third reading been carried by as considerable a number of peers as the second had been, he and his colleagues would have felt it their duty to persevere with the bill and to send it down to the other branch of the legislature. In the present state of the country, however, ... they had come to the determination not to proceed further with it."[45] The victory will be acknowledged by us now-a-days as damaging as a defeat; but the result, curious to relate, was hailed by the queen and her party as if her innocence had been triumphantly vindicated. In signing a document prepared by her counsel on the 8th of November, she wrote, "Carolina Regina," adding the words, "there, Regina still, in spite of them." The abandonment of the bill was followed by three nights of illumination; but it was observed that they were of a very partial character, wholly unlike those which had greeted the great victories by sea and land, in which the public sympathy was spontaneous and universal. The mob in some cases testified its disapproval when these signs of satisfaction were wanting; and one gentleman in Bond Street, on being repeatedly requested to "light up," placed a single rushlight in his two-pair-of-stairs window. Some of the transparencies were, as might have been expected, of a singular character. A trunk maker in the same street displayed the following new reading from Genesis: "And God said, It is not good the King should reign alone." A publican at the corner of Half Moon Street exhibited a flag whereon, in reference to the unpopular witness Teodoro Majoochi, was depicted a gallows with the following inscription:—

"Q. What's that for? A. Non Mi Ricordo."

An enthusiastic cheesemonger at the top of Great Queen Street displayed a transparency on which he had inscribed the following verses:—

"Some friends of the devil With mischief and evil Filled a green bag of no worth; But in spite of the host, It gave up the ghost And died 53 days after birth."

The caricaturists of course were not idle, and the trial of Queen Caroline provoked a perfect legion of pictorial satires. The queen's victory is celebrated in one of the contemporary caricatures (published by John Marshall, junior) under the title of The Queen Caroline Running down the Royal George; while on the ministerial side it is recorded (among others) by a far more elaborate and valuable performance (published by G. Humphrey), called, The Steward's Court of the Manor of Torre Devon, which contains an immense number of figures, and wherein the queen is seated on a black ram[46] in the midst of one of the popular processions, the members of which carry poles bearing pictorial records of the various events brought out in evidence against her.

It is one of the peculiarities of our "Glorious Constitution," that while the ministers who acted under his direction incurred all the blame, the prime instigator of all these exposures was enabled to shelter himself behind the backs of his "advisers." The ministers were unpopular,—they deserved to be so, for, whatever might have been the consequences to themselves so far as loss of office was concerned, they should have refused from the first to lend themselves to the publication of a scandal so utterly grievous. The king himself at this time was far from unpopular; the odium he had incurred the previous year by the thanks he had caused to be conveyed to Major Trafford, "and the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates" of the yeomanry who had signalized themselves in the massacre at Manchester (an outrage which, by the way, led to a number of pictorial satires), seemed to have wholly passed away. He was at Ascot only two days before the queen's arrival, and "was always cheered by the mob as he went away. One day only a man in the crowd called out "Where's the Queen?"[47] Again, we find on the same authority, that on the night of the 6th of February, 1821: "The king went to the play (Drury Lane) for the first time, the Dukes of York and Clarence and a great suite with him. He was received with immense acclamations, the whole pit standing up, hurrahing and waving their hats. The boxes were very empty at first, for the mob occupied the avenues to the theatre, and those who had engaged boxes could not get to them. The crowd on the outside was very great.... A few people called 'The Queen!' but very few. A man in the gallery called out, 'Where's your wife, Georgy?'[48] His reception at Covent Garden the following night appears to have been equally loyal and gratifying.

The truth was, that the numerous and truly honest people who sympathized with Queen Caroline, did so from little admiration for herself, but because she had been the victim of twenty-five years' persecution; because, however great her follies, they had been grievously provoked; and above all, because they felt that the man who was her most powerful and relentless persecutor, was the very last who was justified in casting a stone against her. The ministerialists and their supporters, however, attributed the sympathy which was shown by her professed admirers exclusively to a political origin, and thus stigmatized the motives of their opponents (with more justice than poetry) in one of the jingling rhymes of the day:—

"What's the Queen to Reformists? as Queen was to France, Round her head and her consort's they'd equally dance. They care not for Caroline, nor king, nor for queen, A pretext they want their intentions to screen, 'The Queen!' is the Radicals' rallying cry; A queen bears the standard the king to defy."

How entirely unfitted this mistaken woman was to figure in the august position of a queen of England may be judged from her subsequent conduct. Instead of contenting herself with her victory, such as it was, she had the ill taste, in spite of the remonstrances of her friends and advisers, to communicate to the Lord Mayor, through the medium of her "vice chamberlain," her intention to proceed to St. Paul's in a public manner on Wednesday, the 29th of November, there and then to offer up her thanksgivings for the result: and this resolution she actually carried out. The details of her procession, which really reminds us of the entry of a company of equestrians into some provincial town, need not be entered into here; suffice it to say that it comprised trumpeters without number, stewards' carriages, gentlemen on horseback, the corpulent queen herself, with her attendant, Lady Ann Hamilton, and the indispensable Alderman Wood, the whole closing with "the various trades with flags and banners." It would appear to us that one of the rarest of the caricatures on the ministerial side has reference to this triumphal entry. It is labelled, Grand Entrance to Bamboozlem, and was published by Humphrey shortly afterwards. The queen is represented at the head of a procession, all the members of which (herself included) are mounted on braying "jackasses." A figure, intended no doubt for Alderman Wood, habited in a fool's cap and jester's dress, holds her by the hand; the lady who follows him, playing on the fiddle and wearing a Scotch bonnet, is meant for Lady Ann Hamilton (she is named "Lady Ann Bagpipe" in the sketch); Bergami (immediately behind) carries a banner inscribed "Innocence"; and next him, his fat sister, whom the queen had dignified with the title of a countess; Venus and Bacchus appear amongst the crowd, and are labelled "Proteges and bosom friends of Her M——y." She is welcomed by an enthusiastic body of butchers with marrow-bones and cleavers; while among the crowd waiting to receive her we notice Orator Hunt and the other popular leaders of the day.

And here we drop for the present the subject of Queen Caroline, a subject we have approached with caution, although conscious that it can be by no means omitted from a work treating of graphic satires of the nineteenth century. That she should now accept the L50,000 per annum which she had previously refused, will probably not surprise the reader. The end of a career so strangely undignified will be seen when we come to treat of the caricatures of George Cruikshank.

The duel between the Dukes of Buckingham and Bedford; the erection of the statue of Achilles in Hyde Park; the new Marriage Act; the second French invasion of Spain under the Duc d'Angouleme; the Tenth Hussars; Miss Foote, the celebrated actress; Edmund Kean; and the commercial distress of 1825-6, afford subjects for the pencils of the caricaturists, and will be mentioned in the chapters which relate to the graphic satires of the brothers Cruikshank.


The pictorial satirists were kept fully employed by the political events of 1827 and 1828. The former year beheld the sanguinary Greek war of independence. Things turned out badly for the over-matched Greeks, until at last Great Britain, France, and Russia interposed with Turkey on their behalf. The proposals offered were such as the Turks refused to entertain. The Porte, in refusing them, maintained that, though mediation might be allowable in matters of difference between independent states, it was utterly inadmissible as between a power and its revolted subjects. The allied powers then proposed an armistice, demanding a reply within fifteen days, plainly intimating that in the event of refusal or silence (which would be construed into a refusal), they should resort to measures for enforcing a suspension of hostilities.


In the meantime arrived at Navarino the Egyptian fleet, consisting of ninety-two sail, including fifty-one transports, having on board 5,000 fresh troops. Ibraham Pacha's attempt to hoodwink the British, and to land these troops at Patras, was foiled by the vigilance and determination of the English admiral. Disappointed in these attempts, he proceeded, in the teeth of the warnings which had been given him, to execute his orders to put down the insurrection on land, and carried them out with merciless atrocity,—ravaging the Morea with fire and sword. Resolved now to bring matters to an issue, the combined fleets in October, 1827, entered the harbour. As was expected would happen, the Turks fired upon them, and then ensued the famous battle of Navarino, in which, after a four hours' engagement, the Turkish and Egyptian fleets were annihilated, and the bay strewed with the remains of their ruined vessels.

Russia declared war against Turkey the following year, and we meet with many miscellaneous caricatures having reference to the conflict which followed. In one, published by Maclean (without date) entitled, Russian Bears' Grease, or a Peep into Futurity, we see the Russian bear running off with Greece in spite of England, France, and Austria. Another (also without date), is labelled The Descent of the Great Bear, or the Mussulmans in a Quandary. In a third (also without date), called The Nest in Danger, we see Turkey sitting on a nest marked "Greece" disturbed by Russia, whilst the British lion stands looking on at no great distance, discontentedly gnawing a bone labelled "Navarino." By the time peace was concluded between the belligerents in 1829, England would seem to have realized the fact that she had been made the tool of Russia, and this is the obvious idea intended to be conveyed by the satirist in another caricature (also without date, but bearing obvious reference to the same subject). The Porte is represented in the act of presenting a bill of indemnification to George the Fourth.


The principal political topic remaining to be noticed is the Catholic Relief Bill of 1829, a measure forced upon the king, the ministry, the church, and the aristocracy by the imperative force of circumstances, directed by the prescience of a minister who, sharing at first all the objections of his colleagues, felt nevertheless that a large portion of his Majesty's subjects were labouring under disabilities and fettered by restrictions inconsistent with the boasted liberties of a free people; and that such a measure, in the face of the political changes which had been loudly demanded for a long time past, could no longer be delayed. It is not surprising, however, that Wellington and his colleagues, following out the maxims of a Whig policy, should be viewed by their own party somewhat in the light of traitors. Accordingly we see them figuring in this character in some of the caricatures of the day, one of which (one of the "Paul Pry" series), published by Geans in 1829, may be cited as an example of the rest, and shows them to us in the act of Burking Old Mrs. Constitution, aged 141.

In this and the two preceding chapters we have attempted to give an account of some of the leading events of the first thirty years of the century, illustrating them by reference to a few of the miscellaneous caricatures of the period. We have adopted this method of arrangement because, if our theory be correct, it was during this period that the art of caricature continued to flourish, and it is from this period that we date its speedy decline and downfall. We think that the prime cause of this decline may be traced to the fact that George Cruikshank, the best of nineteenth century satirists, had by this time resigned the art to follow his new employment of an illustrator of books; we think, too, that caricature received an additional impetus in its downward progress by the secession from the ranks of its professors of the veteran Thomas Rowlandson, who, although he did not die until 1827, had virtually given up caricature in favour of book illustration[49] many years before. Further illustration of some of the events already related, and of others to which we have no occasion at present to refer, will be found in the chapters devoted to the work of Isaac Robert Cruikshank and his brother George.

A considerable number of the caricatures which belong to the first quarter of the century have an anonymous origin; whilst a large proportion are due to William Heath, who, either in his own name, or often under the distinguishing hieroglyphic of "Paul Pry," contributed largely to the political and social satires of his day. Other caricaturists of the period were H. Heath (hundreds of whose comic sketches were collected and published by Charles Tilt), Theodore Lane, and his friends Isaac Robert and George Cruikshank. To these names we must add those of the last century men who continued their work into the present, James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, George Moutard Woodward, C. Williams, Henry William Bunbury, Robert Dighton, and others. Some idea of the industry of the nineteenth century satirists may be gathered from the fact that the "Paul Pry" series of political satires of 1829-30, alone number some fifty plates, which in our day can rarely be purchased at three times their original cost.

* * * * *


On the walls of some old-fashioned dining-rooms, and the parlours of provincial inns, may still be seen an engraving, called The Enthusiast, which some of my readers may remember to have seen in the print shops of some twenty or five-and-twenty years ago. It represents an old disciple of Izaac Walton, whom the gout has incapacitated from following his favourite pursuit, so devoted to the sport, that we see him fishing for minnows in a water-tub, instead of the rippling stream out of which he has been accustomed to whip his favourite speckle-backed beauties. The painting from which this engraving was taken was the work of Theodore Lane, who, although his work is limited to the short space of five or six years, seems to call for special mention by virtue of his tragic ending, the short span allotted to his life and labours, and the superiority of his talent and genius to those of many of his contemporaries. Lane was literally a comic artist of the nineteenth century, having been born at Isleworth in 1800. He was apprenticed to a colourer of prints at Battle Bridge, named Barrow; and, shortly after completing his time, produced (in 1822) six designs illustrative of "The Life of an Actor," and with these in a small portfolio under his arm, went out into the world to seek his fortune as other comic artists have done before him and since. Pierce Egan, at this time, was the most popular man in town; his name (on very insufficient literary merits) was identified with the success of the most famous book of the century—we allude to the "Life in London." To his residence in Spann's Buildings, St. Pancras, Lane betook himself; showed him his sketches, and said if Egan would only undertake the letterpress, he should find no difficulty in getting Ackermann, Sherwood, or any of the art publishers of the day, to undertake its publication. But Egan's hands were full, and he declined the offer. Two years later on, author and artist again met, and the result was that "The Life of an Actor, Peregrine Proteus," made its appearance, "illustrated by twenty-seven coloured scenes and nine woodcuts, representing the vicissitudes of the stage". The publisher was Arnold, of Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, who paid the young artist one hundred and fifty pounds fifteen shillings for his share of the work. "The Life of an Actor" was published at a guinea, and dedicated to Edmund Kean; and a contemporary critic describes it as "one of the best exemplifications of Mr. Egan's peculiar talent. It is impossible for us," he continues, "to do justice to the spirit of the designs, many of which would [of course] not discredit the pencil of Hogarth." Lane's association with one of the most noted sporting characters of the day opened the way to him for further engagements, and for another work, entitled, "A Complete Panorama of the Sporting World," he executed thirteen original etchings, and an equal number of designs on wood.

Among the number of Theodore Lane's social satires may be mentioned Scientific Pursuits, or Hobbyhorse Races to the Temple of Fame, four folio plates; The Parson's Clerk (a comic song), four illustrations in ridicule of cant and hypocrisy; Legal Illustrations (seventy humorous applications of law terms); The Masquerade at the Argyll Rooms (a large plate full of vigour, life, and character); New Year's Morning: the Old One out, and the New One coming in, a party of topers, one of whom—the chairman, with the empty punch-bowl on his head (representing "the old one out")—merrily points at the waiter bringing a full bowl ("the new one") in; Sunday Morning—the Barber's Shop; Shilling Fare to a Christmas Dinner, or Just in Pudding Time; The Rival Whiskers; and Amorous, Clamorous, Uproarious, and Glorious (a pair of admirable and amusing satires of the prevailing features, vices, and follies of the day); Crowding to the Pit and Contending for a Seat (two capital theatrical subjects). Lane also made a sketch entitled, Paul Pry's First Night in a Boarding House, intended to be succeeded by eleven others, the publication of which was however prevented by the death of Liston. McLean published a large and clever design, bearing the somewhat lengthy title of Law Gorging on the Spoils of Fools and Rogues, and Honest Men among Knavery, producing Repentance and Ruin; or, the Fatal Effects of Legal Rapacity,—wherein the highway of Law conducts to Ruin through a series of toll-gates labelled respectively, "Opinion of Counsel," "Injunction," "Filing the Bill," "Consultation," "Procrastination," etc.

Like his contemporaries the Cruikshanks, with whom he was familiar, Theodore Lane mixed freely with the young bloods of his day, termed in the slang of his time "Corinthians," and the results are shown in his designs. He might often be seen at the "Craven's Head," in Drury Lane, kept by a host known to his patrons by the familiar title of "Billy Oxberry"; at the Saturday night harmonic meetings held at the "Kean's Head," in Russell Court, Drury Lane; at "The Wrekin," in Broad Court, Long Acre, at that time frequented by gentlemen of the Press; at "The Harp," in Russell Street, Drury Lane, a well known house of call for actors, and appropriately immortalised in one of his illustrations to "The Life of an Actor"; at the "Cider Cellar"; at the "Fives Court"; at the numerous "Masquerades" of the day; at any place of resort, in fact, which offered studies of life and character or subjects of social satire. He figures in his own sketch of The Masquerade at the Argyll Rooms, where we recognise him (in one of the right hand boxes) in a white sheet, a tall paper cap on his head, and a staff in his hand. His impersonations were sometimes singularly original. At one of these "masquerades," for instance, he represented a "frozen-out gardener" soliciting charity, and holding in his hand a cabbage covered with icicles; at another, he appeared as a hospital "out-patient," wearing a hideous mask (designed by himself) representing some dreadful disease, from which the bystanders recoiled in horror and amazement. With all this drollery Lane kept himself well out of mischief, and was moreover, in days when young and old were more or less inclined to be topers, a strictly temperate man.

But Lane's talents were not confined to comic etching or designs on wood. He was also an artist in oil and water colour. He painted in oils The Drunken Gardener; The Organ of Murder, a clumsy, nervous craniologist feeling his own head in doubt and perplexity to ascertain whether the dreadful "organ" is developed in himself; An Hour before the Duel (exhibited at the Institution in Pall Mall). Other subjects of his pictures were: The Poet reading his Manuscript Play of Five Acts to a Friend; Too many Cooks Spoil the Broth; The Nightmare; The Mathematician's Abstraction (the latter purchased by Lord Northwick). His most ambitious work in oils (upwards of seventeen feet in length) was called A Trip to Ascot Races. His last work, The Enthusiast (the first we have mentioned), was exhibited at Somerset House at the time of his death.

The fate of this clever young artist and satirist was both singular and tragical. It appears that on the 21st of February, 1828, Theodore Lane, who then resided in Judd Street, Brunswick Square, called upon his brother-in-law, Mr. Wakefield, a surgeon of Battle Bridge, intending to proceed in the latter's gig to Hampstead, to join a party of friends who had gone there to spend the day. Mr. Wakefield having to visit a patient in Manchester Street, Gray's Inn Lane, drove there with his brother-in-law, and this was the last time he was seen alive. Close to the place was a horse bazaar, which the artist appears to have entered by way of passing the time. The horse and trap were there, but no trace of poor Lane; and on search being made, his body was found lying lifeless at the foot of the auctioneer's stand. He appears to have wandered into the betting-room, and by some unexplained means or other fallen backwards through an insufficiently protected skylight. The clever head was battered so completely out of recognition that he was only identified by his card-case. That Lane was a man of unusual promise is shown by the fact that amongst the subscribers for the benefit of the widow and children of the deceased, we find the names of Sir Thomas Lawrence, president of the Royal Academy; F. Chantrey, R.A.; George Westmacott; Cooper, the celebrated animal painter; and Leahy, the painter of the celebrated picture of "Mary Stuart's Farewell to France." The remains of this ill-fated, talented young fellow lie in the burial ground of old St. Pancras.


[23] "Fifty Years of my Life," by George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, vol. i. p. 270.

[24] "Annual Register," 1813.

[25] Ibid. (Chronicle), 342.

[26] See the letter of the Princess of Wales, "Annual Register," 1813 (Chronicle), 342.

[27] See speech of Mr. Whitbread, "Annual Register," 1813 (20).

[28] "Annual Register," 1813 (Chronicle), 345.

[29] "Annual Register," 1813, p. 24.

[30] Whitbread.

[31] Sir John and Lady Douglas.

[32] Letter from the queen to the Princess of Wales of 23rd May, 1814.—"Annual Register," 1814, p. 349.

[33] So called because he carried home with him, in sundry bags, the cases pending his judgments.

[34] Wade's, "British History," p. 765.

[35] See "Greville Memoirs," vol. i. p. 24 (February 24th).

[36] "Annual Register," 1820, p. 135.

[37] Ibid., pp. 131, 132.

[38] "Greville Memoirs," vol. i. p. 28.

[39] "Fifty Years of my Life," by George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, vol. ii. p. 123.

[40] "Annual Register," 1820, p. 986.

[41] See caricatures of Robert Cruikshank, 1820.

[42] "Annual Register," 1820, p. 1149; see also the impartial opinion of the Duke of Portland, "Greville Memoirs," vol. i. p. 56.

[43] See "Annual Register," 1820, p. 1139 et seq.

[44] This of course may not be the case. The Duke of Kent, we know, was dead at the time, and Wood, we believe, was not Lord Mayor. He had been Lord Mayor some time before, and the satire may possibly allude to some order made at that time. At the same time, I find the caricature amongst those assigned (in the large but badly arranged collection to which I have present access) to this particular period.

[45] "Annual Register," 1820 [190].

[46] There is a custom in the Manor of Torre Devon, that when a copyhold tenant dies, his widow has her free-bench in his land, but forfeits her estate on committing the offence with which the queen was charged; on her coming however into court riding backward on a black ram, and repeating the formula mentioned in the design, the steward is bound to reinstate her. Without this explanation the meaning of this telling satire would not be understood. For the formula (which cannot be repeated here) I must refer the reader to Jacob's Law Dictionary, ed. 1756, title, "Free Bench."

[47] "Greville Memoirs," vol. i. p. 27.

[48] Ibid., p. 43.

[49] Unlike George Cruikshank, Rowlandson seldom dropped caricature in his book illustration. When he does so, as in his designs to "Naples and the Compagna Felice," he shows (as in his water colour drawings) his wonderful graphic powers. His illustrated books are rare, and command good prices. William Coombe's English "Dance of Death" and "Dance of Life" (I refer of course to first editions) can only now be purchased at L14.




It was the misfortune of the brothers Cruikshank that they outlived their popularity: in the case of the younger brother, this result (as we shall presently see) must be attributed in a certain measure to his own fault; but as regards Robert, his efforts as a caricaturist were destined to be eclipsed by the greater novelty and attractions of HB, whilst a tendency to carelessness, and the absence of actual genius, prevented him from attaining lasting celebrity in the line of book illustration which George made so peculiarly his own. The final result, however, was the same in both cases; and the brothers might have said with truth, that, in suffering both to die poor and neglected, the British public treated both with the strictest impartiality. Here, however, the impartiality ended; for whilst over two hundred articles have been penned in praise of the brilliant man of genius, poor Robert Transit[50] (a name strictly appropriate to his memory) reposes in his nameless grave still unregarded and still forgotten. Few writers indeed have wasted pen and ink about Robert Cruikshank or his work: Robert William Buss, in his book on "English Graphic Satire" (a work published for private circulation only), devotes exactly a line and a half to his memory; his friend, George Daniel, gives him a few kindly words in memoriam; Professor Bates's essay on his brother George contains several pages of valuable information in relation to some of his book illustrations; whilst Mr. Hamilton presents us with a dozen specimens of work of this kind which are nothing less than libels on his graphic powers. To the general public of to-day the name of Robert Cruikshank is so little known, that comparatively few are cognizant of the fact that he was one of the most popular and successful graphic satirists of his time. It is the misfortune of the caricaturist that his wares attain only a transitory popularity, whilst it is their peculiarity that after he is dead their value is increased fourfold. It is by no means uncommon for five and even seven shillings to be demanded and obtained for one of the impressions of Robert's plates, which in his lifetime could have been purchased at the cost of a shilling. It is the design of this chapter to rescue the memory of a clever artist from undeserved oblivion, and restore him to that place in comic art which he once occupied, and which it seems to us he deserved to fill not only on account of his own merits, but by reason of being associated in illustrations of a different character with such men as his brother George, Robert Seymour, Thomas Rowlandson, John Leech, and other artists of genius and reputation.

Isaac Robert, or rather Robert Cruikshank (as he usually styled himself), was born in 1790. He had as a boy acquired the groundwork of his technical education as an artist and etcher under the direction of old Isaac his father; but we personally have met with little of his work prior to 1816, which is accounted for by the fact that he followed for a short time a sea life in the service of the East India Company, and after having thrown this up in favour of a calling more congenial to his tastes, he devoted himself for some years almost exclusively to miniature and portrait painting, by which he earned not only a fair livelihood, but a certain amount of fashionable patronage. Gradually, however (George tells us), he abandoned this occupation, and took almost exclusively to designing and etching. He occasionally alternated his work with water-colour drawing, in which he is said to have greatly excelled. His works in this line are extremely rare, for Robert had neither the means nor the patience to wait for the tardy patronage to be commanded by a higher walk in art; there was a demand for caricatures and comic etching in his day, which afforded a present means of livelihood, and Robert's water colours were executed more by way of relaxation than in the way of actual artistic pursuit. Among his early caricatures we may mention a rough and coarsely coloured affair engraved by him after the design of an amateur, published by Fores on the 28th of April, 1816, entitled, The Mother's Girl Plucking a Crow, or German Flesh and English Spirit. The Princess Charlotte, as we have seen, had an undoubted will of her own, and could, as we have also seen, assert it when occasion demanded. Here she is presented to us at the moment when a hideous German duenna, catching her in the act of writing to her mother abroad, orders her at once to desist. The princess, however, in plain terms, enforced with a clenched fist, gives her clearly to understand that she fully intends to have her own way. Another caricature, published by T. Sidebotham, in 1817, bearing the title of The Horse Marine and his Trumpeter in a Squall, is dedicated to the United Service Club.


Subjects for the pencil of a clever graphic satirist were not wanting sixty years ago. France in those days set the fashion both in male and female attire, and the strangest eccentricities had marked the emancipation of that country from the thraldom of the Terror. There were the incroyables, a set of young dandies who affected royalist sympathies, and paraded the streets of Paris when young Napoleon was yet a general in the service of the Directory. They wore short-waisted coats with tails of preposterous length, cocked hats of ponderous dimensions, green cravats, powdered hair plaited and turned up with a comb, while on each side of the face hung down two long curls called dogs' ears (oreilles de chien). These charming fellows carried twisted sticks of enormous size, as weapons of offence and defence, and spoke in a peculiarly affected manner.[51] Some fourteen or fifteen years later on, when we had driven Joseph Bonaparte and his brother's legions out of Spain, the fashions had not improved. The biographer of Victor Hugo gives us the picture of one Gile, a Parisian dandy of that period, whose coat of olive brown was cut in the shape of a fish's tail, and dotted all over with metal buttons even to the shoulders. Young men who went to moderate lengths in fashion were content to wear the waists of their coats in the middle of their backs, but the waist of this Gile intruded on the nape of his neck. His hat was stuck on the right side of his head, bringing into prominent notice on the left a thick tuft of hair frizzed out with curling irons. His trousers were ornamented with stripes which looked like bars of gold lace; they were pinched in at the knees and wide at the bottom, giving his feet the appearance of elephant's hoofs. Our own costume had been strange enough, in all conscience; but when Napoleon's continental system had been broken up after Leipzig, and a free market had been once more opened out between this country and foreign nations, fashions more strange and eccentric, if possible, found their way into England. Thackeray, when writing his "Vanity Fair," the scenes of which are laid prior and subsequent to the battle of Waterloo, was fain to confess that he had intended to depict his characters in their proper costumes; "but when he remembered the appearance of people in those days, he had not the heart to disfigure his heroes and heroines by costumes so hideous," and thenceforth he habited these men and women of 1815 in the costume of the men and women of 1848. George Cruikshank's "Monstrosities" are familiar to all acquainted with his works; and his brother Robert and his contemporaries were equally fond of ridiculing the preposterous fashions of their time. We find in the year 1818 a pictorial satire by Robert, which shows us a pair of Dandies at Tea, habited in the short-waisted, long-tailed coats, tight breeches, terrific stocks, shirt collars, and top boots of the period. "My dear fellow, Mr. Sim," one of them, asks, "is your tea agreeable?" to which the other answers, "Charming, my dear Lollena; where do you buy it?" They are seated in an attic, which, like that of the cobbler, serves "for parlour and bedroom and all," and the washing of the tenant hangs suspended on a line above the heads of the interesting pair. We find another the same year, entitled, Dandies having a Treat, wherein we are shown a couple of eccentricities in a confectioner's shop; one of them, who eyes himself with much complacency in the glass, has his back to us, and is habited, a la Gile, in a very tight coat, whose tail commences just below its collar and narrows to a very fine point when it reaches its extremity; short wide trousers terminate at the knees, at which points they are met by a pair of Wellington boots. He entreats his equally strangely dressed companion to pay no attention to the uncomplimentary remarks of certain rude people who stand at the door and seem strongly inclined to subject them to the discipline of the pump. The pretty girl in attendance expresses to herself a hope that "the creatures will leave the shop," as she fears the exasperated people will do some mischief. Another caricature of the same year shows us A Dandy Shoemaker in a Fright, or the Effects of Tight-lacing. In stooping to measure a lady's foot, the fellow's stays have given way, and he evidently fears he shall tumble to pieces. In another subject, Robert shows us a couple of dandies diving into a countryman's pockets, in the neighbourhood of St. James's Palace; others are entitled respectively, A Dandy put to his Last Chemisette, or Preparing for a Bond Street Lounge; A Dandy Cock in Stays; and The Hen-pecked Dandy. Besides those already mentioned, I find four or five other coarse caricatures of Robert's, published by Fores in 1818.

Robert Cruikshank was "a man about town" in those days, and the "dandies" whom he and his fellow caricaturists satirized and ridiculed were the sham "Corinthians" of his time. Apart from the idea of caricature they must have been queer fellows—these men with the large eye-glasses, squat broad-brimmed hats, huge cravats and collars, cauliflower frills, tight coats, short bell-shaped trousers, and well-spurred Wellington boots! In one of the satires of the time (which I take to be Robert's) we see five of them preparing for conquest in a hairdresser's shop; and the "make up" comprises, in addition to the tremendous neckties, cauliflower frills, and top-boots of the period, false calves and stays, a pair of which the Frenchman hairdresser is lacing for one of his customers. Another of the party, who has completed the upper part of his toilet, is so hampered with the voluminous folds and stiffening of his cravat that he cannot wriggle into his unmentionables. The caricaturists take us into the garrets of these fellows, abodes of squalor and wretchedness, and show us that beneath their exterior magnificence there is nothing, or next to nothing. In a pair of rough anonymous satires—The Dandy Dressing at Home and The Dandy Dressed Abroad—the former shows us how the completed figure is built up. The absence of a shirt is concealed by an amply frilled "dickey," the dirty feet protrude from the well-nigh footless stockings, the bare arms are clothed at the extremities only by the cuffs, while a pair of huge seals dangling from a ribbon guard form pendants to a latch-key instead of a gold watch. The fellow's washing bill, which lies on the dressing-table before him, comprises four items—all of them collars. On the ground, side by side with the Wellington boots, which he himself has just been cleaning, lie the open pages of "The Beau's Stratagem." In a sketch by the always coarse satirist Williams, two of these fellows have been decoyed into an infamous house and drugged, and the indignation of the bully and his female assistants is intense when they find that their watches are not even pinchbeck, but only pincushions.

The "Corinthian Kates" who figure in the satirical sketches of this period are members of the demi monde. An excellent undated sketch, signed "J. L. M. fect.," entitled, A Dandyess, is divided into two compartments. The first scene shows us the completed figure (a most absurd one), and the second (which is laid in the lady's garret) how the magnificent result has been attained. We find her engaged in ironing her chemisette; over the fire are suspended her stockings; on a stool near her stand her bottles of cosmetic and a pot of rouge; on the floor her "artificial hump"; while her preposterous bonnet and other articles of costume hang from different articles of the scanty furniture.


Robert Cruikshank continues his attacks upon the fops in 1819. In that year we meet with A Dandy Sick; Dandies on their Hobbies, and Female Lancers, or a Scene in St. James's Street, chiefly remarkable on account of the costume of the two men who figure therein. Besides these we meet with a sort of pictorial allegory, entitled, The Mysterious Fair One, or the Royal Introduction to the Circassian Beauty, in which a foreign fair one is supposed to be introduced to the Regent's harem. The veil being removed discovers to him the well-known features of his neglected wife, from whom he recoils in abhorrence. The bulky figure of the Regent who, under the influence of copious port wine libations and general good living, had grown preposterously fat, is admirably preserved by both the Cruikshanks. The head and wig, tapering to an apex, remind one somewhat of the French poire caricatures which disturbed the serenity of Louis Philippe, and preceded the revolutionary period of 1848.

Other caricatures by Robert of this year (1819) are labelled respectively, The Political Champion turned Resurrection Man, having reference to Cobbett and "Orator Hunt"; The Master of the Ordnance Exercising his Hobby; A Steward at Sea in a Vain Tempest, or Gaining the Point of Matrimony in Spite of Squalls; A New Chancery Suit Removed to the Scotch Bar; The Ladies' Accelerator (two women on hobbies); Collegians at their Exercises, or Brazen Nose Hobbies; A New Irish Jaunting Car; and a satire entitled Landing at Dover and Overhauling the Baggage, which would appear to refer to some incivilities on the part of the custom house authorities to the Persian ambassador and his suite. The subject was probably only etched by the artist from the design of another, and is so grossly treated that in spite of the admirable workmanship we cannot further describe it. Besides these we have the now well-known Going to Hobby Fair (the only caricature of Robert which would seem to be known to those who have troubled themselves about him), and a far better one of contemporary date, entitled, Cruising on Land, or Going to Hobby Horse Fair.


Among the caricatures on the popular side in connection with the queen's trial in 1820, we find one by Robert, entitled, The Secret Insult, or Bribery and Corruption Rejected, which has reference to the overtures which, as we have seen in the previous chapter, were made to her by the ministers in the hope of avoiding, if possible, a public exposure; and here Lord Liverpool is represented in the act of offering to Her Majesty a purse. "Abandon," he says, "your claim to the throne, change your name and the livery, and retire to some distant part of the earth, where you may never be seen or heard of any more; and if L50,000 per annum will not satisfy you—what will?" To which the queen (who assumes an appearance of virtuous indignation) replies, "Nothing but a crown." Brougham turns his back, saying, "I turn my back on such dirty work as this," the fact being, as we have seen, that he had really entered into negotiations with the ministers on the queen's behalf, which she afterwards angrily repudiated. The devil pats him on the back. "Well done, Broom," he says; "you have done your business well." By the side of the queen stands a figure, possibly meant for Alderman Wood, carrying "a shield for the innocent," and "a sword for the guilty"; behind her in the distance is a ship, bearing the title of "The Wooden Walls of Old England."

In our last chapter we mentioned the estimation in which the witnesses against Caroline of Brunswick were held by her sympathizers and the general public, and Robert's political views naturally inclined him to take the popular side. Those who saw them before they were housed in Cotton Garden, describe them as swarthy, dirty looking fellows, in scanty ragged jackets and greasy leathern caps; at the bar of the House, however, they looked as respectable as fine clothes and soap and water could make them. To this a caricature of Robert's, entitled, Preparing the Witnesses—a View in Cotton Garden, refers. Three dirty foreigners are being washed, with no satisfactory result, in a bath labelled, "Waters of Oblivion," "Non Mi Ricordo," and "Ministerial Washing Tub." One of the operators (probably the Attorney-General, Sir Robert Gifford) remarks that "he never had such a dirty job in his life"; seated around are a number of equally dirty foreigners awaiting their turn. On the same theme and in the same year we find The Milan Commission (a very rough affair); The Master Cook and his Black Scullion composing a Royal Hash; and a satire on the alderman, who, in spite of his Carolinian and popular sympathies, figures therein under the familiar title of "Mother Wood."


The following year gives us All My Eye (a skit upon Hone's "Eulogium on the Radical Press"), representing a large eye, within the pupil of which we see a printing press, whereon rests a portrait of Queen Caroline; and also an admirable work, divided into two compartments, bearing respectively the titles of The Morning after Marriage, and Coke upon Albemarle—not Coke upon Littleton.


A somewhat ludicrous affair of honour took place in 1822. In consequence of some words used by the Duke of Bedford in reference to the Duke of Buckingham at the Bedfordshire county meeting, a hostile meeting took place in Kensington Gardens between the two noblemen on the 2nd of May. The seconds were Lord Lynedock and Sir Watkin Williams Wynn. Both parties fired together at a distance of twelve paces, but without effect; when the Duke of Buckingham, observing that the Duke of Bedford fired into the air, advanced to his grace, and remarking that for that reason the affair could go no farther, said: "My Lord Duke, you are the last man I wish to quarrel with; but you must be aware that a public man's life is not worth preserving unless with honour." The Duke of Bedford replied, that "upon his honour he meant no personal offence to the Duke of Buckingham, nor to impute to him any bad or corrupt motive whatever"; and here this somewhat absurd event terminated. Robert commemorates it in a caricature, entitled, A Shot from Buckingham to Bedford, which cannot be said to be complimentary to either of the principals, one of the walls bearing the inscription in very large letters of "Rubbish may be shot here." Another admirable caricature of the year is entitled, The Treadmill, or Stage-struck Heroes, Blacklegs, and Cadgers stepping it to the tune of Mill, Mill O! a sort of general satire; card-sharpers, decayed "Corinthians," and other vagabonds, are undergoing a course of hard labour upon the wheel, which was then a comparatively new invention,[52] their movements being accelerated by a gaoler armed with a heavy whip, who bears some resemblance to, and is probably intended for, the artist himself. A third excellent pictorial satire of the same year bears the title of Pope Mistaken.


The year 1823 is remarkable for the interposition of the French Bourbon king into Spanish politics. The Spanish military, under the influence of Riego and other officers, and encouraged by the discontent of the middle classes, had revolted in 1820 against the despotism of Ferdinand, and succeeded in establishing a constitution, which, in spite of its imperfections, was preferable to the absolute and irresponsible government of the Spanish monarchy. This state of things was peculiarly distasteful to Louis XVIII., on account of the evil example it afforded to his subjects; and, fortified by the sympathy of the "Holy Alliance" (which may be shortly described as a sort of trades union of sovereigns to resist all political changes not originating with themselves), he determined to put it down. In his speech to the chambers on the 28th of January, he announced that, "the infatuation with which the representations made at Madrid had been rejected, left little hope of preserving peace. I have ordered," he said, "the recall of my minister; one hundred thousand Frenchmen, commanded by a prince of my family [the Duc d'Angouleme]—by him whom my heart delights to call my son—are ready to march, invoking the God of St. Louis, for the sake of preserving the throne of Spain to a descendant of Henry the Fourth, of saving that fine kingdom from its ruin, and of reconciling it with Europe." The real cause of interposition, however, is indicated a few sentences afterwards: "Let Ferdinand the Seventh be free to give to his people institutions which they cannot hold but from him, and which, by securing their tranquillity, would dissipate the just inquietudes of France, [and] hostilities shall cease from that moment."

We have neither time, space, nor inclination to relate the events of this invasion; suffice it to say that, owing to the cowardice of the Spaniards, it was a complete "walk over" for the French, who, in five months after they had crossed the Bidassoa, had penetrated to Cadiz, dispersed the Cortes, and restored the despotism of Ferdinand.

The contemplated crusade had aroused a certain amount of sympathy in favour of Spain in England, but it did not go farther than the giving of a splendid entertainment to the Spanish and Portuguese ambassadors at the London Tavern on the 7th of March, under the presidentship of Lord William Bentinck. The truth was that John Bull had not forgotten the ungrateful and cowardly conduct of the Spaniards when we drove the French out of their country in Napoleon's time; added to which England was saddled with a heavy national debt, which made us still less inclined to intermeddle with the affairs of our neighbours. Robert Cruikshank produced a caricature in reference to our position, called, John Bull Flourishing in an Attitude of Strict Neutrality, wherein he shows us Spain in the act of imploring his assistance, which, however, poor John is in no position to render, seeing that he wants help himself, being placed in the stocks and heavily burdened with the weight of "last war's taxes." In the distance appears fat Louis, mounted on a cannon, driven by the Pope, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, in allusion, of course, to the "Holy Alliance" (the three latter powers had recalled their ambassadors from Madrid on the 5th of January), while the devil condescends to lend his assistance by pushing on behind. This caricature is probably the best that Robert ever designed. Another satire on the same subject bears the title of King Gourmand XVIII. and Prince Posterior in a Fright.


One of Robert's satires of this year, entitled The Golden Football, has obvious reference to Hughes Ball, known at Eton by his surname of Hughes only, but who took the further name of Ball on coming into a fortune of forty thousand a year left him by his uncle, Admiral Sir Alexander Ball, and thenceforth received his appropriate nickname of the "Golden Ball." He was considered a great catch by all the mothers in London; but, notwithstanding his money, was unfortunate in love, being jilted by Lady Jane Paget, rejected by Miss Floyd (afterwards the wife of Sir Robert Peel), and then by Lady Caroline Churchill. The young ladies hearing of his numerous disappointments, were disinclined to encourage a man so proverbially unfortunate. By way, perhaps, of revenge, Hughes Ball this year ran off with and married Mademoiselle Mercandotti, premiere danseuse at His Majesty's Theatre, a beautiful girl of sixteen, reported in the scandal of the day to be a natural daughter of the Earl of Fife. The incident of Lady Jane Paget we have mentioned is thus referred to by Charles Molloy Westmacott, the Ishmael of the press of his day, in the English Spy, a work which, as we shall presently see, was also illustrated by the artist:—

"Now, by my faith, it gives me pain To see thee, cruel Lady J——, Regret the Golden Ball. 'Tis useless now: 'The Fox and Grapes' Remember, and avoid the apes Which wait an old maids' fall."

Other of Robert's satires of the same year bear the title of The Commons versus the Crown of Martyrdom, or King Abraham's Coronation Deferred; and A View in Cumberland, that is the royal duke of that name—a most unpopular personage, and of course proportionately fertile subject of satire in his time.


Among Robert's pictorial satires of 1824, I find one entitled Arrogance or Nonchalance? of the Tenth Reported,—the "tenth" here referred to being the Tenth Hussars. This distinguished regiment set the pencils of the Brothers Cruikshank and their fellow caricaturists in motion at this period, and I find an amazing number of caricatures of the date of 1824, of which they form the subject. The officers would seem to have acquired considerable unpopularity by the exclusive airs they gave themselves in society, refusing to dance, declining introductions at public and private balls, and otherwise assuming an arrogant and exclusive tone which made them supremely ridiculous. So far did they carry these absurdities, that they even declined to associate with an officer of their own regiment unless he previously submitted to them the particulars of his birth, parentage, and education, and general claim to be admitted to the privilege of their august society. A certain Mr. Battier, who seems to have been ignorant of the peculiar arrangement they had established in opposition to the rules and policy of the service, had obtained from the Duke of York a cornetcy in the regiment, but not having submitted himself to the examination referred to, or possibly not answering to the exclusive requirements of the regiment, was forthwith sent to Coventry by his courteous brother officers. The result, of course, was that the unlucky gentleman, finding no one to speak to him, was forced to retire on half pay, which he was unfortunate enough afterwards to forfeit by not unnaturally sending a challenge to the colonel of the regiment.[53]


Maria Foote at this time was one of the most popular actresses in London. Some years before she had come on a starring tour to Cheltenham, a town much affected by the notorious Colonel Berkeley, who being passionately devoted to the stage, and possessed moreover of some histrionic ability, gallantly offered to perform for her benefit. The colonel was notorious for his gallantries; under a promise of marriage—which could not then, he said, be carried into effect, inasmuch as he was then petitioning the Crown to grant him the dormant peerage, which a marriage with an actress could not fail to prejudice—he succeeded in accomplishing her seduction, and she continued to live under his "protection" till, on the birth of her second child, she arrived at the true conviction that he never had any intention of fulfilling his promise. There was at this time a silly fellow about town, Mr. Joseph Hayne, of Burderop Park, Wiltshire, familiarly known (in reference to the colour of his coat) as "Pea Green Hayne," who fell in love with and proposed to the fascinating actress. There was no attempt at concealment on her part: it was stated at the trial which followed that she herself wished to communicate to him the circumstance of her connexion with Colonel Berkeley, when this gallant gentleman saved her the trouble of doing so, and one night when they were in the pit of the opera together, took the characteristic course of making Hayne acquainted with the liaison, and the fact that it still existed. Hayne immediately broke off the engagement; but soon afterwards not only renewed it, but fixed the day of marriage. Again he broke it off, again yielded to the fascinations of his enslaver, and this time not only was the wedding-day fixed and the license obtained, but "Pea Green Hayne" took a solemn vow that nothing should separate him from the object of his affections. Believing that all was safe, Miss Foote now threw up her engagement and disposed of her theatrical wardrobe, but the weak-minded, vacillating creature, who could not summon up resolution either to have or to leave her, let matters go on to the very day, and again failed to put in an appearance. Some preliminary letters having passed between the parties, Maria then issued a writ, and recovered L3,000 damages in the action which followed. The plaintiff, who seven years afterwards became Countess of Harrington, died in 1867.

"Pea Green" Hayne was also known as the "Silver Ball," in allusion to his large income, which was smaller however than that enjoyed by his friend and contemporary, Hughes Ball. After his exposure in the action Foote v. Hayne, he received the far more appropriate nickname of "Foote-Ball."

The opportunity of course was improved by the caricaturists, and Robert's contributions on the subject (1824 and 1825) are labelled respectively, Miss Foote in the King's Bench Battery; Miss Foote putting her Foot in it; and A Foot on the Stage and Asses in the Pit, or a New Year's Piece for 1825. Other pictorial satires of Robert's bearing the date of 1824, are: A Civic Louse in the State Bed; A Cut at the City Cauliflower; The Corinthian Auctioneer; two very coarse but well drawn subjects—Moments of Prattle and Pleasure and Moments of Parting with Treasure; and an exquisitely drawn sketch bearing the title of Madame Catalani and the Bishop of Limbrig, having reference to some musical festival at Cambridge, the point of which has been lost, but which is remarkable for the admirable likeness of the popular singer.


The conduct of Colonel Berkeley in reference to the case Foote v. Hayne, called forth, as might have been expected, some severe strictures from the press, and in particular Mr. Judge, editor of the Cheltenham Journal, which place the colonel honoured with his patronage and society, had occasionally indulged in animadversions on his conduct. In one of the numbers of his paper an article appeared, in which some satirical observations were made with reference to the annual "Berkeley Hunt" ball. On the afternoon of that day Colonel Berkeley accompanied, by two of his friends, called at Mr. Judge's residence, and being invited to walk in, the colonel asked Mr. Judge if he would name the author of the papers which had appeared in the Journal. Mr. Judge said he did not know whom he had the honour of addressing, and on learning who he was, proposed that he should call at the office of the paper, "where he would give him every satisfaction." Colonel Berkeley replied, "No, sir! Now, sir! Now, sir!" and without further notice commenced a cowardly attack on the unarmed man by beating him over the head and face with the butt-end of a heavy hunting whip. To make the dastardly affair more dastardly if possible, one of the two fellows with him stood at the door, and the other near the fire place, so as to prevent Judge from seizing any weapon or calling any one to his assistance. For this ruffianly assault, which placed poor Judge for some time in considerable danger of his life, he subsequently recovered substantial damages against his cowardly antagonist. The Colonel got a far worse dressing from Robert Cruikshank who, in a severe contemporary skit, named (in allusion to the colonel's notorious illegitimacy) Colonel Fitz Bastard, depicted him and his friends in the act of assaulting the editor of the Cheltenham Journal.


The artist's tastes and sympathies threw him much in the society of actors. The following year his thoroughly Bohemian friend, Edmund Kean, was mulcted in L800 damages, in consequence of a disgraceful liaison with the wife of Alderman Cox; and while audiences thronged the one theatre to testify their sympathy for a favourite and popular actress, they crowded the other to howl and hiss at the thoroughly disreputable and disgraced tragedian. The episode is referred to by the artist in three of his contemporary caricatures, labelled respectively, Wolves Triumphant, or a Fig for Public Opinion; A Scene from the Pantomime of Cock-a-Doodle-Doo, lately performed at Drury Lane with unbounded applause; and the Hostile Press, or Shakespeare in Danger, all of which contain perhaps the best theatrical portraits of the popular tragedian which are extant.

Sir Walter Scott also figures in one of Robert's satires of this year entitled, The Great Unknown lately discovered in Ireland, wherein he is represented in Highland costume, with the Waverley novels on his head, holding by the hand a small figure in hussar uniform, intended for his son, Captain Scott of the 18th hussars, who this year had married Miss Jobson, of Lochore. The pair after their marriage returned to Ireland, where the captain was quartered, and where he and his wife were visited by Sir Walter in August of this year. Although the fact was pretty well known, the authorship of the novels was not avowed until February of the following year, when with Sir Walter's consent it was proclaimed by Lord Meadowbank at a theatrical dinner on the 27th of February.


A very curious personage makes his appearance in Robert's sketches of this year, who would seem at first sight to be the most outrageously caricatured of any of his subjects, and yet this in truth is not the case. This person was the celebrated Claude Ambroise Seurat, "the living skeleton," who was exhibited at the Chinese saloon in Pall Mall, and whose portrait from three different points of view was taken by Robert Cruikshank, and afterwards appeared in the first volume of Hone's "Every-day Book," where a full account of this very singular personage will be found. The repulsive object, who (with the exception of his face) presented all the appearance of an attenuated skeleton, was exhibited in a state of complete nudity with the exception of a fringe of silk about his middle, from which (out of two holes cut for the purpose) protruded his dreadful hip bones. Seurat, as might have been expected, forms the subject of numerous contemporary caricatures; and in one of these, by way of comical contrast, the worthy but corpulent alderman, Sir William Curtis, distinguished by a similar scantiness of attire, figures with the living skeleton in a lively pas de deux. William Heath, in another of contemporary date, represents the fat alderman standing on a map of England, and Seurat on a map of France. Says Sir William: "I say, friend, did you ever eat turtle soup?" to which Claude Ambroise replies, "No, sare; but I did eat de soupe maigre." In another (also I think by the same artist), labelled, Foreign Rivals for British Patronage, the living skeleton and a favourite male Italian singer of the time are represented in the act of preparing for mortal combat.[54]

A number of the caricatures of 1825 (and among them many by Robert) are singularly illustrative of the morals of the time. About this year had been published a work professing to contain the memoirs of an apt disciple of Mrs. Mary Anne Clarke, which was made the vehicle of extorting money. The modus operandi appears to have been as follows. In the month of March, 1825, a well-known M.P. of that day received a letter from this creature in the following terms:—


Sir,—People are buying themselves so fast out of my book, ...[55] that I have no time to attend to them; should be sorry not to give each a chance, if they chuse to be out. You are quizzed most unmercifully. Two noble dukes have lately taken my word, and I have never named them. I am sure —— would say you might trust me never to publish, or cause to be published, aught about you, if you like to forward L200 directly to me, else it will be too late, as the last volume, in which you shine, will be the property of the editor, and in his hands. Lord —— says he will answer for aught I agree to; so will my husband. Do just as you like—consult only yourself. I get as much by a small book as you will give me for taking you out, or more. I attack no poor men, because they cannot help themselves.

"Adieu. Mind, I have no time to write again, as what with writing books, and then altering them for those who buy out, I am done up—frappe en mort.

"Don't trust to bag[56] with your answer."

That this extraordinary communication was no idle threat was proved by the fact that a respectable statuary, carrying on business in Piccadilly, who had refused to pay black-mail, brought an action for libel in the King's Bench on the 1st of July against a man named Stockdale, publisher of the infamous production referred to, and recovered L300 damages. The same year Popple, the printer, brought his action against this fellow; but Mr. Justice Best directed him to be nonsuited, on the ground that he was not entitled to remuneration for printing a work of such a character.

The Catholic Relief Bill, which was thrown out this year, is the subject of several of Robert's satires, bearing the titles of John Bull versus Pope Bull; Defenders of the Faith; The Hare Presumptuous, or a Catholic Game Trap; A Political Shaver, or the Crown in Danger. The Catholic Association, or Paddy Coming it too Strong, has reference to Mr. Goulburn's motion to suppress the Catholic Association of Ireland, which was carried by 278 to 123, and the third reading by a majority of 130. The language used by Mr. O'Connell on the occasion was so strong that an indictment was subsequently preferred against him, which, however, was thrown out by the grand jury. Matheworama for 1825 depicts that celebrated impersonator in thirteen of his characters. Duelling deserves particular mention by reason of the admirably designed landscape and figures. It represents one of the principals (who looks very far from comfortable) waiting, with his second and a doctor, the advent of the other parties. The Bubble Burst, or the Ghost of an old Act of Parliament, has reference to the speculation mania of 1825. Others of his satires for the year are labelled respectively, Frank and Free, or Clerical Characters in 1825; A Beau Clerk for a Banking Concern; The Flat Catcher and the Rat Catcher; and A Pair of Spectacles, or the London Stage in 1824-5, which, although unsigned and bearing no initials, I have no hesitation in assigning to Robert Cruikshank.

I am unable to indicate the dates of the following: Football, very clever, and probably earlier than any of those already mentioned; Waltzing, "dedicated with propriety to the lord chamberlain," a very coarse and severe satire upon the immoralities of the Prince Regent. Besides those we have already mentioned, we have others with which the volume miscalled "Cruikshankiana" (so often republished) has made the general public probably more familiar, such as the Monstrosities of 1827; A Dandy Fainting, or an Exquisite in Fits; The Broom Sold (Lord Brougham); Household Troops (a skit on domestic servants); and A Tea-party, or English Manners and French Politeness, all of which may be dismissed with the remark that they are the worst specimens of Robert's work which could probably have been selected.

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