English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century. - How they Illustrated and Interpreted their Times.
by Graham Everitt
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With the year 1825, our record of Isaac Robert Cruikshank's caricature work somewhat abruptly terminates. We cannot assert that after that date it wholly ceased, but, inasmuch as we have selected those we have named from a mass of some of the rarest pictorial satires published between the years 1800 and 1830, I think we are fairly justified in assuming that after this period his contributions to this branch of comic art became fewer. If this be the fact, it confirms the conclusion at which we have arrived, that at this time caricature had begun its somewhat hasty decline. Those I have named comprise over seventy examples; and their value, which is great on account of their scarcity, will be increased by the possibility that in the conception and execution of some of them the mind and hand of Robert might have been assisted by those of the more celebrated brother. "When my dear brother Robert," says George in writing to the compiler of the famous catalogue of his own works, "when my dear brother Robert (who in his latter days omitted the Isaac) left off portrait painting, and took almost entirely to designing and etching, I assisted him at first to a great extent in some of his drawings on wood and his etchings." If this be the case, it is at least possible that he lent the assistance of his cunning hand and original fancy to the preparation of some of these contributions to pictorial satire. It appears to us, therefore, that a just idea of George's own work as an artist can scarcely be arrived at (especially his share of the famous "Life in London") until we have first considered the early work of himself and his brother Robert as graphic satirists and caricaturists. They were closely associated in artistic work during their early career; and it was not until both had given up social and political satire, and devoted themselves to the then comparatively new field of book illustration and etching on copper, that the superiority, originality, and genius of the younger brother became so manifest and incontrovertible.


[50] The name given him by Bernard Blackmantle.

[51] Further particulars of them will be found in the "Memoirs of the Duchess d'Abrantes" (Madame Junot). The fashions of the years which immediately preceded the Revolution appear to have been almost as funny. I have somewhere seen a French semi-caricature depicting fashionables of the Palais Royal in 1786, and the people who had their heads cut off in '93 were almost as queer as the dandies of the Directory and the Consulate.

[52] The treadmill was the invention of Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Cubitt, of Ipswich. It was erected at Brixton gaol in 1817, and was afterwards gradually introduced into other prisons.

[53] The Marquis of Londonderry.

[54] What became of Seurat we do not know, but we lately came across the following: "the Siamese twins married; the living skeleton was crossed in love, but afterwards consoled himself with a corpulent widow." The authority is George Augustus Sala in "Twice Round the Clock." We strongly suspect that the wit extracted the information out of his own "inner consciousness."

[55] We purposely omit the title.

[56] Presumably post "bag."




In perusing various articles on George Cruikshank in which reference is made to the "Life in London," we have been struck with the almost utter absence of Robert Cruikshank's name; further than this, it seems to have been the almost universal impression that it was his association with George on this memorable book which secured such reputation as Robert himself enjoyed. So far, however, was this from being the case, that not only was Robert, in 1821, a caricaturist and satirist of acknowledged reputation, but he was believed at this very time by the general public to be the cleverer artist of the two. Robert, indeed, has been treated with curious injustice in relation to this famous book, which owes its very existence (as we shall presently see) to him alone. While according to George (as in effect they do) the whole merit of the performance, many of the writers of the articles referred to acknowledge that they find it impossible to assign to him his share of the illustrations; and that difficulty will be largely increased to any one who has studied Robert Cruikshank's caricature work. The fact is that few of these famous plates will bear comparison with the best of Robert's pictorial satires; while the kindred book of the "English Spy," which was illustrated (with the exception of one plate) by Robert alone, contains designs quite equal to those which adorn the "Life in London." When it is admitted that Robert executed three parts of these illustrations, while those who have written upon him say that they are unable to identify George's share of the work,[57] it seems unjust (to say the least of it) that the credit of the whole performance should be assigned to him alone. Let us be just to Robert, even though his merit as a draughtsman has been lost sight of in the fame which the younger brother achieved by virtue of his greater genius.


The reader need not be told—and we are not going to tell him what he knows already—that the "Life" was dramatized by four writers for different theatrical houses. The most successful version was the one produced at the Adelphi, previously known as the Sans Pareil theatre. The first season of this house, which Messrs Jones and Rodwell had recently purchased for L25,000, was only moderately successful; but the fortune of the second was made by "Tom and Jerry." Night after night immediately after the opening of the doors, the theatre was crowded to the very ceiling; the rush was tremendous. By three o'clock in the afternoon of every day the pavement of the Strand had become impassable, and the dense mass which occupied it had extended by six o'clock far across the roadway. Peers and provincials, dukes and dustmen, all grades and classes of people swelled the tide which night after night rolled its wave up the passage of the Adelphi. It was a compact wedge; on it moved, slowly, laboriously, amid the shouts and shrieks, the justling and jostling of the crowd which composed it, leavened by the intermixture of numbers of the swell mob, who plied their vocation with indefatigable industry and impunity. Nevertheless, the reader will be surprised to learn (and it is probably little known) that in spite of this amazing popularity, the first night of "Tom and Jerry" met with such unexpected opposition that Mr. Rodwell declared it should never be played again. Luckily for himself and his partner he was induced to reconsider this decision. The tide was taken at the flood, and it led—as the poet assures us that it will lead when so taken—to an assured fortune.

One night a stranger entered the private box of the Duke of York at the Adelphi, and seated himself immediately behind his Royal Highness, who took but little notice of the intruder. The mysterious stranger had been brought in and was fetched by a plain green chariot; and the few that saw him said that he was a portly gentleman, wrapped in a long great coat and muffled up to the eyes. Keeping himself well behind his Royal Highness, the portly stranger took a deep but unostentatious interest in the performance. In his Haroun al-Raschid character he had been present, with his friend Lord Coleraine (then Major George Hanger), at some of the actual scenes represented; and in particular, by virtue of the fact of his wearing "a clean shirt," had been called upon by the ragged chairman at a convivial meeting of the "Cadgers" to favour them with a song, which had been sung for him by his friend and proxy the Major. The mysterious stranger in fact, as the reader has already guessed, was his gracious Majesty King George the Fourth, and his visit incognito having been made by previous notice and arrangement, the passages were kept as clear of the general public as possible.

The scenery of the Adelphi version was superintended by Robert Cruikshank himself. "Tom and Jerry" brought a strange mixture of visitors to attend the rehearsals. Corinthians (men of fashion)—members of the turf and the prize ring, who found a common medium of conversation in the sporting slang which Mr. Egan has made so familiar to us. Naturally there was a mixture. Tom Cribb, whom the Cruikshanks had temporarily elevated into the position of a hero, was indispensable; and the silver cup which figures in Robert's sketch was every night made use of in the scene depicting the champion's pot-house sanctum. Among the frequenters at these rehearsals was a quiet man of unusually unobtrusive deportment and conversation,—this man was Thurtell, the cold-blooded murderer of Mr. Weare.

Since the days of the "Beggars' Opera," a success equal to that which attended the "Life in London," and its several dramatized versions by Barrymore, Charles Dibdin, Moncrieff, and Pierce Egan, had been unknown. The exhausted exchequers of four or five theatres were replenished; and as in the days of the "Beggars' Opera" the favourite songs of that piece were transferred to the ladies' fans, and highwaymen and abandoned women became the heroes and heroines of the hour, so, in like manner, the Cruikshanks' designs were now transferred to tea-trays, snuff-boxes, pocket-handkerchiefs, screens, and ladies' fans, and the popular favourites of 1821 and 1822 were "Corinthian Tom," "Jerry Hawthorn," "Bob Logic," "Bob the dustman," and "Corinthian Kate."

The success of "Life in London" was not regarded with equal satisfaction by all classes of the community; the serious world was horribly scandalized. Zealous, honest, fervid, and terribly in earnest, these good folks, in their ignorance of the world and of human nature, only added to the mischief which it was their honest wish to abate. They proclaimed the immorality of the drama; denounced "Tom and Jerry" from the pulpit; and besieged the doors of the play houses with a perfect army of tract droppers. Anything more injudicious, anything less calculated to achieve the end which these good people had in view, I can scarcely imagine; for it is a well-known fact that the best method of making a book or a play a "commercial success," in England, is to throw doubts on its moral tendency.[58] The more respectable portion of the press did better service to their cause by showing that, in spite of their popularity, "Tom and Jerry" were doing mischief, and that the theatres lent their aid to disseminate the evil, by nightly regaling the female part of society "with vivid representations of the blackest sinks of iniquity to be found in the metropolis." Called on to defend his drama, Moncrieff, strange to say, proved himself no wiser than his assailants. All he could allege in its behalf was that "the obnoxious scenes of life were only shown that they might be avoided; the danger of mixing in them was strikingly exemplified; and every incident tended to prove"—what? why,—"that happiness was only to be found in the domestic circle"! This was special pleading with a vengeance! Of course all that the theatres really cared to do was to fill their exhausted exchequers; while as for Bohemian Robert and his friend Egan, the idea of making the "Life in London" a moral lesson never once entered their heads. The artist however was shrewd enough to take note of the observation for future use; and seven years later on, when he and Egan produced their "Finish to the Adventures of Tom, Jerry, and Logic in their Pursuits through Life in and out of London," endeavoured to profit by the storm which had been raised by the good people of 1821, by tagging a clumsy moral to the sequel.

By this time, however, the excitement which had attended the original work had evaporated; by this time, too, the public had learnt to discriminate between the pencils of the brothers Cruikshank; and the "Finish," as compared with the original "Life," fell comparatively flat. It made however some sort of sensation in its day, but has become not only a scarce book, but one that is little sought after. The genius and reputation of George and the pen of Thackeray have kept alive the popularity of the "Life,"[59] while the "Finish"—left to the unaided but clever hand of Robert—has like himself been almost forgotten.

And yet it scarcely merits this fate. It contains thirty-six etchings by Robert Cruikshank, some of them of singular merit. Among them may be mentioned, The Duchess of Dogood; Splendid Jim; Logic Visiting his Old Acquaintance on Board the Fleet; Corinthian Kate in the Last Stage of Consumption, Disease, and Inebriety; and if not the production of a genius, the hand of an artist of singular merit, ability, and power is manifest in the etchings entitled, The Hounds at a Standstill; Logic's Upper Storey; and The End of Corinthian Kate.


Although modestly claiming for himself the merits of this book, Pierce Egan stands in relation to it in the position of a showman, and nothing more. He is not even entitled to the credit of being the originator,—for the originator and suggestor was Robert Cruikshank, who informs us of the fact (after his own characteristic fashion) by way of footnote to his frontispiece to the "Finish."[60] But Egan is undoubtedly a clever showman; if he displays rather more vulgarity than we altogether like, we must not forget the audience to whom he addresses himself, and for whom indeed his show is specially intended. We cannot admit that the popularity of this book was entirely due to the merit of the artists whose canvas he elucidates and (after his own fashion) explains. In common fairness some credit should be conceeded to Egan himself. Of literary talents he had not a particle; and if he lacked taste and refinement, it may at least be urged in his behalf that the age was not one of refinement, and that sixty years ago we had scarcely emancipated ourselves from the barbarism and vulgarity some remnants of which had descended to us from the time of George the Second. The bent of his taste and the scope of his abilities may be guessed from the fact that his "account of the trial of John Thurtell, the murderer," passed into at least thirteen editions. A man of this stamp could scarcely be expected to recognise the true value of the work with which he had the honour to be associated; he never looked beyond his patrons of the day, and as a natural consequence posterity has troubled itself little about him. You will search the biographical dictionaries in vain for any account of him;[61] and this oblivion he scarcely deserves, for not only was he one of the most popular men of sixty years ago, but he would scarcely have attained that position without a fair share of merit. He was not deficient in energy, and his talent is shown by the fact that he understood and (in a measure) led the taste of his day, taking advantage of his knowledge to raise himself to a position unattainable had such taste been of a more elevated and refined character. His descriptive powers (such as they were) were sufficient to procure him the post of recorder of the "Doings of the Ring" on the staff of the Weekly Dispatch, which post he occupied at the time he officiated as literary showman to "Tom and Jerry." He had however tried many trades,—had been in turn a compositor, bookseller, sporting writer, newspaper reporter, and even secretary to an Irish theatrical manager. The success of "Life in London," which he arrogated to himself, raised up a crop of enemies as well as friends, and he soon afterwards received his conge from the proprietors of the Dispatch. Pierce Egan, however, was not a man to be daunted by any such discouragement; he was found equal to the occasion, meeting his employers' coup d'etat by starting a sporting paper of his own, to which he gave the name of his successful book,—Pierce Egan's Life in London, and Sporting Guide. This counter movement proved the germ of a great enterprise. Probably his venture was no very great success; it ran only for three years from its commencement on the 1st of February, 1824. On the 28th of October, 1827, Egan's Life in London was sold by auction to a Mr. Bell, and thenceforth assumed its well known and now time honoured title of Bell's Life in London.


Another friend of the artist was Charles Molloy Westmacott, as he called himself, but who is supposed to have been—filius nullius or filius populi—the child of Mrs. Molloy, a pretty widow who kept a tavern at Kensington. Westmacott was one of a class of writers who not only existed but thrived in the early part of our century by the levying of literary black-mail. The modus operandi (as given by Mr. William Bates, from whom we derive our information respecting this man) appears to have been as follows: "Sometimes a vague rumour or hint of scandal, accompanied perchance by a suggestive newspaper paragraph, was conveyed to one or more of the parties implicated, with a threat of further inquiry into its truth, and a full exposure of the circumstances which excited the sender's virtuous indignation. This, if the selected victim was a man of nervous, timid temperament, often produced the desired effect; and although possibly entirely innocent of the allegation, he preferred to purchase silence, and escape the suspicion which publicity does not fail to attach to a name. If, on the other hand, no notice was taken of the communication, the screw received some further turns. A narrative was drawn up, and printed off, in the form of a newspaper paragraph, and was transmitted to the parties concerned, with a letter, intimating that it had been 'received from a correspondent,' and that the publisher thought fit, prior to publication, to ascertain whether those whose names were mentioned desired to correct, modify, or cancel any part of the statement. There is no doubt that very large sums have been extorted by these scoundrelly means, and a vast amount of anxiety and misery occasioned."[62] This was "the sort of man" that Charles Molloy Westmacott appears to have been; and I learn on the same authority that by these means he was enabled in one instance alone to net not much less than a sum of L5,000. "Pulls" of this kind enabled this fellow to live at his ease in a suburban retreat situated somewhere between Barnes and Richmond, which he fitted up (for he considered himself, as some others of his more modern class appear to do, a "man of letters") with books and pictures.


In 1825 this man brought out, under his pseudonym of "Bernard Blackmantle," a veritable chronique scandaleuse of the time, entitled, "The English Spy," the title page of which describes it as "an original work, characteristic, satirical, and humorous, containing scenes and sketches in every rank of society; being portraits of the Illustrious Eminent, Eccentric and Notorious, drawn from the Life by Bernard Blackmantle." This extraordinary work presents us with pictures of "life" at Eton, at Oxford, and in fashionable society in London, Brighton, Cheltenham, Bath, and elsewhere; and the seventy-two admirable copperplate aqua-tinted etchings, with one exception (which is by the veteran Rowlandson), are the work of Isaac Robert Cruikshank. This is a far rarer and more valuable book than the "Life in London." In place of "Corinthian" hook-nosed Tom, rosy-cheeked Jerry, and the vulgar gobemouche Logic, we find figuring amongst the interesting groups, scenes, and characters all the notabilities of the day: celebrities such as George the Fourth and his favourite sultana the Marchioness of Conyngham, the Princess Augusta, Charles Kemble, Matthews, Fawcett, Farren, Grimaldi, Macready, Young, T. P. Cooke, Elliston, Dowton, Harley, Munden, Liston, Wallack, Madame Vestris, Townsend (the Bow Street "runner"), "Pea Green" Hayne, Lord William Lennox, Colonel Berkeley, Hughes Ball, and others. The etchings are singularly clear and distinct, and the colouring bright and pleasing. Among the illustrations which specially deserve notice are: The Oppidans' Museum; The Eton Montem (an admirable design); The First Bow to Alma Mater; College Comforts (a freshman taking possession of his rooms); Kensington Gardens Sunday Evenings, Singularities of 1824 (woodcut); The Opera Green-room, or Noble Amateurs viewing Foreign Curiosities; Oxford Transports, or Albanians doing Penance for Past Offences; The King at Home, or Mathews at Carlton House; A Visit to Billingsgate; Characters on the Steyne, Brighton; The Cogged Dice, Interior of a Modern Hell; City Ball at the Mansion House; The Wake; The Cyprians' Ball at the Argyle Rooms; The Post Office Bristol, Arrival of the London Mail; The Fancy Ball at the Upper Rooms, Bath; and Milsom Street and Bond Street, containing portraits of Bath fashionables.

The so-called Oppidans'[63] Museum is composed of the signs stolen by Eton scapegraces from the local tradesmen; a mock court is in progress, at which the injured parties attend and either claim or receive compensation for their stolen property. The tradesmen in the plate before us look anything but injured persons, and as a matter of fact the award is sufficiently ample to make amends for all damage. The two persons officiating as assessors and apportioning compensation to the various claimants, are Westmacott and "Robert Transit" (the artist himself). The illustration is full of life and character. Among the groups may be noticed a young fellow holding a bull-terrier suspended by its teeth from a handkerchief; a bet depends on the dog's patience and strength of jaw, and an interested companion watches the result, chronometer in hand. The King at Home, represents a scene which is said to have actually taken place when Mathews was giving his entertainment at Carlton House. The performer was imitating Kemble, when the king started up, and to the surprise of every one, particularly of Mathews, interrupted the performance by a personal and very clever imitation of the actor, who, by the way, had taught him elocution. This, indeed, was one of George's strong points, who, if not a good king, was at least an admirable mimic. Says old Dr. Burney (writing to his daughter on the 12th of July, 1805), "He is a most excellent mimic of well-known characters; had we been in the dark, any one would have sworn that Dr. Parr and Kemble were in the room."[64] In this plate we find likenesses not only of the king and of Mathews, but also of the Princess Augusta and the too celebrated Marchioness of Conyngham.

Thomas Rowlandson's single pictorial contribution to the "English Spy," R—— A——ys of Genius Reflecting on the True Line of Beauty at the Life Academy, is described by Mr. Grego under date of 1825. This is not the only time in which the artist was associated in work with Rowlandson. There is a rare work (one of an annual series)—"The Spirit of the Public Journals," for the year 1824, with explanatory notes by C. M. Westmacott, a collection of whimsical extracts from the press, which appeared in print in the previous season, which has illustrations on wood by four distinguished coadjutors: Thomas Rowlandson, George Cruikshank, Isaac Robert Cruikshank, and Theodore Lane.


The Foote v. Hayne affair mentioned in our last chapter afforded grist for the kind of mill driven by literary blacklegs of the class of "Bernard Blackmantle." The black-mail system was tried at first, and when that failed he produced the now rare FitzAlleyne of Berkeley: a Romance of the Present Times, a pair of libellous volumes, the dramatis personae of which comprise the persons whose names were mentioned in connection with the case. "Maria Pous" was of course Maria Foote; Samuel Pous, her father; Lord A——y, Alvanley; Major H——r, Major George Hanger, afterwards Lord Coleraine; Optimus, Mr. Tom Best (who shot Lord Camelford in a duel); the Pea-green Count and FitzAlleyne of Berkeley speak for themselves; while "Mary Carbon" is the butcher's daughter of Gloucester, mother of the Colonel, and afterwards Countess of Berkeley. Such a character as Molloy, otherwise Westmacott, was bound to get sometimes into trouble (in these days he would probably receive his reward for "endeavouring to extort money by threats"); and if he did not get exactly what he deserved, he did get, on the tenth of October, 1830, a tremendous thrashing from Charles Kemble. References to the memorandum books of this Ishmaelite of the press, in which he entered (for future use) some of the scandalous chronicles of his time, and which were offered for sale at his death in 1868, will be found in Mr. Bates's interesting book, from which we have already quoted.


Returning to his friend and coadjutor, Robert Cruikshank, the best of the artist's coloured illustrations to the "English Spy" are contained in the first volume; in the second he falls into those habits of carelessness which, with all his ability and artistic talent, were a besetting weakness. Robert lacked the genius, the fine fancy, the careful, delicate handling of George. Up to the publication of the "Life," the brothers as we have seen had worked together frequently, but after this period they separated. George had already achieved one of his earliest triumphs in book illustration—"The Points of Humour," which provoked the universal admiration of the critics, and proclaimed him one of the most original geniuses of the time. The "Life," however, had made both brothers famous, and the general public had scarcely yet learnt to distinguish between the pencils of George and Robert. This confusion was taken advantage of by unscrupulous publishers (a practice at which Robert himself seems to have connived) to trade upon the popularity of the Cruikshank name. We frequently find, for instance, in literary advertisements of the time, that a forthcoming book is illustrated by "Cruikshank," and the work we have just named is a case in point. No sooner had the "Points of Humour" appeared and made their mark, than they were followed by an announcement by Sherwood, Jones & Co., of the "Points of Misery," the letterpress by Charles Molloy Westmacott, and the designs by "Cruikshank," that is to say—Robert. Although this publication is marred by the slovenliness of execution which characterised the artist in his careless moods, a few of the designs are excellent, and the tailpieces—A Six Inside, at page 36; Cleaned Out, at page 88; and the Pawn Shop, at page 87—suffice to show of how much better work Robert Cruikshank was capable. George, as was usual with him on these occasions, was horribly annoyed, and loudly and (as it seems to us) unnecessarily proclaimed to the world that he had no connection with the work. Probably this manifesto did no good to a book little calculated either by its literary or pictorial merits to command success; and as the copy before us remained uncut from the date of the publication until the present, the inference is that the speculation of Messrs. Sherwood, Jones & Co., proved scarcely a remunerative one.

Among the forgotten books of half a century ago, we meet with one whose title reminds us of the "Life in London." It is called, "Doings in London; or, Day and Night Scenes of the Frauds, Frolics, Manners, and Depravities of the Metropolis." It came out in threepenny numbers, in 1828, and its professed object (in the queer language of George Smeeton, its compiler and publisher) was to "show vice and deception in all their real deformity, and not by painting in glowing colours the fascinating allurements, the mischievous frolics and vicious habits of the profligate, the heedless, and the debauchee, tempt youth to commit those irregularities which often lead to dangerous consequences, not only to themselves but also to the public." This shot of course was aimed at Pierce Egan, who, engaged at that time in bringing out the "Finish," not unnaturally considered these "Doings" an attempt to derive profit by an indirect infringement of his own title. The title in fact was a misleading one, and the book a specimen of a class of useless literature of the time, by which paste-and-scissors information compiled from books, newspapers, and statistics by some one at best imperfectly acquainted with his subject, was attempted to be conveyed by means of questions and answers, supplemented by dreary and unnecessary remarks of a moralizing tendency. The persons in whose company Smeeton would send us round, in order that we may form a just conception of the "vice and deception in all their real deformity," of which he speaks, are a couple of idiots, one Peregrine Wilson, and an attendant mentor, whom we drop at the earliest convenient opportunity. Information combined with morality is all very well. The "History of Sandford and Merton" may have been, as Lord Houghton assures us it was, "the delight of the youth of the first generation of the present century." As one of the youth of the generation referred to, we refuse to admit it, and we are perfectly certain that the youth of the present generation would have nothing whatever to do with it. We resign ourselves preferentially to the guidance of Isaac Robert and George Cruikshank, sensible that they at least, while conversant with the scenes they so graphically describe, will not bore us with unnecessary moral reflections. We prefer, if the truth must be told, to "sport a toe among the Corinthians at Almack's" with hooked-nosed Tom and rosy-cheeked Jerry; to visit with these merry and by no means strait-laced persons, Mr. O'Shaunessy's rooms in the Haymarket; the back parlour of the respected Thomas Cribb, ex-champion of England; to take wine with them "in the wood" at the London Docks; to enjoy with them, if they will, "the humours of a masquerade supper at the opera house." The work which Smeeton designed with such indifferent success was subsequently carried out in a far more efficient manner by Mr. James Grant, in his "Sketches in London,"[65] and at a later date by Mr. Mayhew, in his well-known "London Labour and the London Poor."

The "Doings in London" owe whatever value they possess to the thirty-nine curious designs on wood of Isaac Robert Cruikshank, engraved by W. C. Bonner, which, on the whole fair examples of his workmanship in this style, strongly remind us of the smaller woodcuts in Hone's "Every-Day Book."

The best specimens, however, of Robert's designs on wood are those which will be found in two small volumes, known indifferently as "Facetiae" and "Cruikshank's Comic Album," which contain a series of jeux d'esprits, published between the years 1830 and 1832, and comprising Old Bootey's Ghost and The Man of Intellect, by W. F. Moncrieff; The High-mettled Racer and Monsieur Nongtongpaw, by Charles Dibdin; Margate and Brighton; The Devil's Visit; Steamers and Stages; Monsieur Touson; Monsieur Mallet, by H. W. Montague; Mathew's Comic Annual (a miserable melange by our friend Pierce Egan); the famous Devil's Walk, by Coleridge and Southey, etc., etc. These little volumes, which are now rare, contain nearly one hundred excellent examples of Robert Cruikshank's workmanship, the woodcuts being executed after the artist's designs by W. C. Bonner and other wood engravers of eminence. We can stay only to describe one, which illustrates one of the many experiences of John Bull in his memorable visit to France. Struck with the appearance of a French lady, "young and gay," the stanza tells us—

"Struck by her charms he ask'd her name Of the first man he saw; From whom, with shrugs, no answer came But, 'Je vous n'entends pas.'"

Three other books (two of them exceedingly rare) must suffice to complete our survey of Robert's merits as a designer and book illustrator. These are "Colburn's Kalendar of Amusements" (1840), "Job Crithannah's Original Fables" (1834), and Eugene Sue's "Orphan." There is an Irishman sitting on a barrel in one of the woodcuts to the "Kalendar," who quite equals any of the Hibernians of George. The eighty-four designs to the "Fables" are admirable specimens of the artist's best manner, and George himself rarely executed better illustrations than those of the Farmer and the Pointer, at page 110, The Cow and the Farmer, at page 163, and The Old Woman and her Cat, at page 219. This rare and choice book abounds with admirable tailpieces; one of which exhibits a sufferer down in the agonies of gout, the treatment of which subject may even be compared with the more elaborate and admirable design by the brother described by Thackeray. Sue's "Orphan" has numerous carefully executed etchings by the artist, after the style and manner of his brother; in the very signature, "Robert Cruikshank," we trace a distinct copy of George's peculiar trademark or sign-manual. Mr. Walter Hamilton, in his essay on the brother, presents us with a dozen copies of Robert's designs, eight of which, although unacknowledged, are taken from Crithannah's "Fables," and will bear as much comparison with the original and beautiful woodcuts as the work of a common sign-painter with a finished painting by Landseer. A detailed but probably imperfect list of the artist's book work will be found in the appendix.

The name of Robert Cruikshank has slipped out of the place it once occupied in public estimation; and his good work and his poor work being equally scarce, his name and his claims to rank high among the number of English caricaturists and comic artists have been forgotten even by the survivors of the generation to which he himself belonged. In bringing to the remembrance of those who do know, and to the knowledge of those who do not know, some of the work which entitled him in our judgment to occupy a leading place amongst the number of those of whom we write, we have endeavoured to brush away the dust of oblivion which for so many years has obscured the name and reputation of an artist, who, in spite of much slovenliness and carelessness of execution, was both an able caricaturist and a skilful draughtsman. George writes of his dead brother in terms of affection, and describes him as "a very clever miniature and portrait painter, and also a designer and etcher;" his friend and coadjutor, the late George Daniel, gives him credit for genius, of which however (in the sense in which we use and understand the word) he did not possess a particle. He tells us that "he was apt to conceive and prompt to execute; he had a quick eye and a ready hand; with all his extravagant drollery, his drawing is anatomically correct; his details are minute, expressive, and of careful finish, and his colouring is bright and delicate." In the early part of his career, as we have seen, the two brothers had been so closely associated in life and in art, that the history of Robert is, to some extent, the history of George; but when they separated, when each was left to his own individual resources, George then struck into a path which neither Robert nor any of his contemporaries might hope to follow. By the time Robert had realized this fact, HB had appeared, and the art of caricaturing, as theretofore practised, received a blow from which it will never rally. Besides being an able water colour artist, he had at one time achieved some reputation as a portrait painter; but the latter pursuit he had long practically abandoned, while success in the former required a closer application and the exercise of a greater amount of patience than a man of his age and temperament could afford to bestow. He was, in fact, too old to commence life afresh; and so it came inevitably to pass that, as his brother did in after life (but from causes, as we shall see, widely different), Robert gradually dropped behind and was forgotten. He had not the genius or pride in his art of his brother, and looked rather to that art as a means of present livelihood than of acquiring a permanent and enduring reputation. If George—with all his pride in his art, with all his genius, with all his rare gifts of imagination and fancy—was destined to be left behind in the race of life, what could poor Robert hope for? It is sad to think that in later life, poor easy-going, thriftless, careless, Bohemian Robert sank into neglect and consequent poverty. He died (of bronchitis) on the 13th of March, 1856, in his sixty-sixth year.


[57] In this I cannot agree. George designed about a third of the plates, and those who know his workmanship thoroughly will not fail to identify it.

[58] A fact which testifies to the curiosity and not the immorality of our people.

[59] I have known as much as L10 asked for a copy; but a first edition (a rarity) may be purchased sometimes of a respectable bookseller for L8.

[60] "Fair Play! Robt. Cruikshank, invt. et fect., original suggestor and artist of the 2 vols. Adieu!"

[61] A list of his works will be found in Dr. Brewer's "Handbook."

[62] "The Maclise Portrait Gallery," by William Bates (ed. 1883), p. 236.

[63] The name given to the students of Eton School who board in the town.

[64] Diary of Madam d'Arblay.

[65] W. S. Orr & Co., 1838.




Just sixty years ago, a writer in Blackwood spoke of the subject of the present chapter (then a young man who had already acquired an artistic reputation) in the following terms:—

"It is high time that the public should think more than they have hitherto done of George Cruikshank; and it is also high time that George Cruikshank should begin to think more than he seems to have done hitherto of himself. Generally speaking, people consider him as a clever, sharp caricaturist, and nothing more; a free-handed, comical young fellow, who will do anything he is paid for, and who is quite contented to dine off the proceeds of a 'George IV.' to-day, and those of a 'Hone,' or a 'Cobbett' to-morrow. He himself, indeed, appears to be the most careless creature alive, as touching his reputation. He seems to have no plan—almost no ambition—and, I apprehend, not much industry. He does just what is suggested or thrown in his way, pockets the cash, orders his beef-steak and bowl, and chaunts, like one of his own heroes,—

'Life is all a variorium, We regard not how it goes.'

Now, for a year or two to begin with, this is just what it should be. Cruikshank was resolved to see Life,[66] and his sketches show that he has seen it, in some of its walks, to purpose. But life is short, and art is long; and our gay friend must pull up.

"Perhaps he is not aware of the fact himself—but a fact it undoubtedly is—that he possesses genius—genius in its truest sense—strong, original, English genius. Look round the world of art, and ask, How many are there of whom anything like this can be said? Why, there are not half a dozen names that could bear being mentioned at all; and certainly there is not one, the pretensions of which will endure sifting, more securely and more triumphantly than that of George Cruikshank. In the first place, he is—what no living caricaturist but himself has the least pretensions to be, and what, indeed, scarcely one of their predecessors was—he is a thoroughbred artist.[67] He draws with the ease and freedom and fearlessness of a master; he understands the figure completely; and appears, so far as one can guess from the trifling sort of things he has done, to have a capital notion of the principles of grouping. Now these things are valuable in themselves, but they are doubly, trebly valuable as possessed by a person of real comic humour; and a total despiser of that Venerable Humbug which almost all the artists of our day seem, in one shape or other, to revere as the prime god of their idolatry. Nobody, that has the least of an eye for art, can doubt that Cruikshank, if he chose, might design as many annunciations, beatifications, apotheoses, metamorphoses, and so forth, as would cover York cathedral from end to end. It is still more impossible to doubt that he might be a famous portrait painter. Now, these are fine lines both of them, and yet it is precisely the chief merit of Cruikshank that he cuts them both; that he will have nothing to do with them; that he has chosen a walk of his own, and that he has made his own walk popular. Here lies genius; but let him do himself justice; let him persevere and rise in his own path, and then, ladies and gentlemen, then the day will come when his name will be a name indeed, not a name puffed and paraded in the newspapers, but a living, a substantial, perhaps even an illustrious, English name. Let him, in one word, proceed, and, as he proceeds, let him think of Hogarth."[68]

Now, although amused (and surely he cannot fail to be amused) at the curious incapacity of an art critic so strangely ignorant of his subject as to conceive George Cruikshank an artist capable of designing annunciations, beatifications, apotheoses, and subjects so completely out of the range of his sympathies and abilities, the reader will, at the same time, be struck with the prescience of the intelligent writer who discerned in him the possession of true genius, and predicted for him, even at this early period of his career, the reputation—"living, substantial," and "illustrious"—which he afterwards so justly achieved for himself.

In everything save the power to realize an annunciation, a beatification, or an apotheosis, George Cruikshank was, at the time this article was penned, exactly what Mr. Lockhart describes him. The most able and accomplished of the caricaturists of his time, he was nevertheless willing to etch the works of an amateur or of an artist inferior to himself, to whose work he has frequently imparted a vitality of which it would have been destitute but for the interposition of his hand. He was ready, moreover, to execute woodcuts for a song-book or the political skits of any scribbler of his time, whether on the ministerial or the popular side mattered little to him. It was therefore not unnatural that doing "just what was suggested or thrown in his way," Lockhart should come to the erroneous conclusion that the artist had "no plan," "no ambition," and "not much industry." The assertion that he had "no ambition" has been amply disproved by his subsequent life, whilst so far from having "no plan," the sequel shows that all this time, unsuspected by the critic, he had been gradually developing the style of illustration by which he made his mark and reputation,—a style first displayed in the celebrated "Points of Humour," the publication of which served as the occasion for Lockhart's criticism.

On this account, if for no other reason, the caricatures of George Cruikshank possess so remarkable an interest, that it is singular that this field of artistic labour has been left almost unexplored by the essayists, many of whom, with a somewhat imperfect knowledge of their subject, have essayed to give us information on the subject of this artist and his works. It is just this early period of his life, in which he first followed and then gradually emancipated himself from the artistic control and influence of Gillray, which seems to us to afford the most interesting study of the man's career. Nevertheless, nearly all the articles we have read on George Cruikshank would give us the idea that, with the exception of certain designs for woodcuts for Hone—such as the celebrated Non Mi Ricordo and others—certain rough coloured engravings for "The Meteor," "The Scourge," and other periodicals of a kindred stamp, the artist executed but few caricatures properly so called. This at least is the impression which these articles have left on our own minds; and we can only account for the little notice taken of him as a caricaturist by the fact that, unlike the etchings which he produced when in the prime of his career, his caricatures are not only exceedingly scarce, but being in many cases unsigned, are capable only of being recognised by those intimately acquainted with his early handiwork.

The caricatures of George Cruikshank may be divided into three classes: first, those which are wholly designed and etched by himself; secondly, those which he designed after the sketches or suggestions of his friends; and thirdly, those merely etched from the designs of other artists. We find the first, although frequently unsigned, more usually signed (on the left hand), "Geo. Cruik^k. fect." or "invt. & fect."; the second—"invt. G. Cruik^k. fect.;" while the third are indicated as merely etched by him. Of the second class it may be remarked that with the exception of the mere sketch or suggestion, the drawing and the workmanship are oftentimes unmistakably George's own. In the description of his caricatures which follow, we shall indicate the designs which belong to this class with an asterisk.

Publications such as "The Scourge," although containing many caricature designs by George Cruikshank, are scarcely among those to which the present chapter was intended to be devoted. There are, however, two satirical compositions of his in this scurrilous publication,[69] which appear to us so exceptionally good, that we feel justified in drawing special attention to them. As the publication itself affords little or no clue to the subject of the illustrations, it seems necessary in order that the first may be understood, to explain the circumstances which appear to us to have led up to it.


For several years prior to 1811, the established clergy had manifested considerable uneasiness on account of the rapid spread of Methodism. The readiness with which licenses for preaching could be obtained according to the usual interpretation of the Toleration Act, had tended to the multiplication of a class of preachers whose manners and language peculiarly fitted them for acquiring influence over the inferior ranks of the people; and by this means a great diminution had taken place in the congregations of parish churches. It is affirmed—with what truth we know not—that Lord Sidmouth in the measure (presently to be noticed) was encouraged to proceed in his design by letters from persons of high position in the Church.


On the 9th of May, 1811, Lord Sidmouth moved in the House of Lords for leave to bring in a bill for amending and explaining the Acts of William and Mary and 17th George III., so far as applied to dissenting ministers. According to the statement of his lordship, at most of the quarter sessions, when the oaths were taken and the declarations made requisite for enabling a person to officiate in a chapel or meeting-house, any person, however ignorant or profligate, was able to obtain a certificate which authorized him to preach. His lordship proposed that, in order to entitle any person to a qualification as a preacher, he should have the recommendation of at least six respectable householders of the congregation to which he belonged. Lord Holland, in opposing the bill, observed that he held it to be the inalienable right of every man who thought himself able to instruct others to do so, provided his doctrines were not incompatible with the peace of society.

When the nature and provisions of the proposed measure were made known to the public, an alarm was excited among all those whom it was likely to affect. The Nonconformists generally regarded it as intended, not so much to add to the respectability of the dissenting ministers, as to contract the limits of toleration, and subject the licensing of preachers to the control of the magistracy. When therefore, on the 21st of May, the bill was to be read a second time, such a deluge of petitions was poured in against it, that the mover was left totally unsupported. The Archbishop of Canterbury said with truth, that the Dissenters were the best judges of their own concerns; and as it appeared from the great number of petitions against it, that they were hostile to the bill, he thought it unwise to press the measure against their manifest wishes. Under these circumstances the bill was, we need not say, thrown out.

This would appear to be the subject which produced George Cruikshank's graphic satire of the Interior View of the House of God, in the first volume of "The Scourge." The pulpit is occupied by two fanatics, one of whom rants, while the other snuffs the candles; the devil, in the gallery above, ridicules the proceedings by rasping, a la fiddle, the bars of a gridiron with a poker; among the numerous congregation present we notice some attentive and interested listeners, whilst others evidently attend from mere motives of curiosity. Above the composition appears the quotation, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." The satire, The Examination of a Young Surgeon, which appears in the same volume, is aimed at the medical profession. One of the examiners is deaf, another has the gout, a third is asleep, while two others (unmistakable Scotchmen) discuss the merits of their respective snuff-mulls. The deaf man calls upon the frightened candidate to "describe the organs of hearing." The table is garnished with "The Cow Pox Chronicle," and a skull and bones, while the walls are decorated with pictures depicting a fight between death and a pugilist, the Hottentot Venus, a group of various nations worshipping the golden calf, and the lady without arms or legs. The hand of the clock points to the hour of eleven. Judging by the pile of money-bags lying at the foot of the president's chair, and the two members of the court who are busily engaged in counting coin, George would seem to insinuate that the fellows of the college of his time were a decidedly mercenary set.


Of character akin to "The Scourge" (the ten volumes of which were published between 1811 and 1815 inclusive); is "The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor," the thirteen volumes of which made their appearance between the years 1808 and 1813. Both publications, which now command prices very far beyond what they are intrinsically worth, contain a number of satires, of more or less merit (generally less), by various satirists, including George Cruikshank; so far as "The Satirist" is concerned, the designs of the latter are confined to the thirteenth and last volume, and his caricature contributions are of a vastly superior order of merit to any of those by which they are preceded. Besides those in "The Scourge" and "The Satirist," may be mentioned George Cruikshank's comic designs in "Fashion," printed for J. J. Stockdale, of Pall Mall, in 1818; and his very admirable series of untinted etchings in "The Loyalist Magazine; or, Anti-Radical," a publication exclusively devoted to the ministerial side of the Carolinian scandal, and published by James Wright, of Fleet Street, in 1820.

One of the earliest caricatures I have met with by George is entitled, Apollyon [i.e., Napoleon], the Devil's Generalissimo, Addressing his Legions; it is signed (contrary to his usual custom), "Cruikshank del.," and was executed (if I am right in assigning it to him) when he was sixteen years of age.


The attention of the public in 1813 was, as we have seen, attracted by the Regent's treatment of his miserable wife; and in April the sympathy of the Livery and Corporation of London, and other public bodies, found expression in an address which was presented to Her Royal Highness. On the 28th of March of that year, the remains of Charles the First had been discovered in the vault of Henry the Eighth, at Windsor, a circumstance which suggested to George Cruikshank his admirable satire entitled, Meditations amongst the Tombs. It shows us His Royal Highness gazing at the recovered bodies, and regretting that while Henry had managed to dispose of many wives, he found it impossible to get rid of one. A figure behind him points to the headless corpse, and significantly remarks, "How rum King Charley looks without his head!" The Battle of Vitoria (fought this year) forms the subject of a pair of roughly executed caricatures, entitled respectively, The Battle of Vitoria, and A Scene after the Battle, or More Trophies for Whitehall. Other satires of the year, are Double Bass, and A Venomous Viper Poisoning the R—l Mind, the latter as coarsely and indelicately handled a subject as any caricaturist of the old school might possibly desire.


Little Boney gone to Pot (Thomas Tegg, May 12th, 1814), is one of the artist's contributions to the series of caricatures which followed the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. Here the satirist has seated the emperor (a lean, ragged, forlorn, miserable, diseased object) on a huge article of bedroom furniture, labelled, "Imperial Throne." He is in a forlorn condition, suffering from itch, with large excrescences growing on his toes. He is all alone in his island prison (Elba), and tempted by a fiend, who tenders him a pistol—"If you have one spark of courage left," it says, "take this." "Perhaps I may," replies Napoleon, "if you'll take the flint out." By his side we find a pot of brimstone, numerous medicine bottles, and "a treatise on the itch, by Dr. Scratch."[70] One of the imperial boots, mounted on a tiny carriage, forms a dummy cannon. His back leans against a tree, to which is nailed the "Imperial Crow," while from the branches depends a ragged pair of breeches and stockings. It was a sorry libel on the unfortunate emperor, whose courage was undoubted, and who, at this time, instead of being the scarecrow the artist has represented him, had grown extremely corpulent. Snuffing out Boney follows up the same subject, and represents a cossack snuffing out Napoleon, who figures as a candle; another caricature on the great subject of the year bears the title of Broken Gingerbread (Napoleon selling images).


On the 8th of June, 1814, the Emperor of Russia, with his sister the Duchess Oldenburg, the King of Prussia, and his two sons, with Prince Metternich, Marshal Blucher, General Barclay de Tolly, the Hetman Platoff, and other persons of distinction, arrived in London. The strangers were splendidly entertained by the merchants and bankers of London at Merchant Taylors' Hall, and by the Corporation of London at Guildhall. On the 20th there was a grand review of regulars and metropolitan volunteers in Hyde Park; the ceremony of announcing to the inhabitants of the metropolis the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace with France took place with all its ancient and accustomed solemnities. On the 25th of July a grand naval review was held at Portsmouth, and on the 27th the illustrious visitors embarked at Dover for the Continent. The handsome Russian emperor and his handsome sister acquired great popularity by the condescension and affability they displayed during their short visit. This is commemorated by George Cruikshank in a satire published by Fores on the 11th of July, entitled, Russian Condescension, or the Blessings of Peace, in which a coarse woman is represented as kissing the emperor, who is habited in English military uniform. "There, Sal," says she to her companion, "I can boast of what none of the ——s at Billingsgate can, having kissed the king's emperor of all the Russian bears, and he is the sweetest, modestest, mildest gentleman I ever kissed in all my life." On the other side a huge country gawky shakes hands with the duchess, whose vast bonnet is a study. "Dang it," he says, "when I goes back and tells the folks in our village of this, law! how they will envy I!" In the distance we see another female in pursuit of the frightened Hetman Platoff.

The reader will remember, that from the state ceremonies and festivities which took place on this memorable occasion the miserable Caroline had been excluded, nor did she of course receive recognition or visits from any of her husband's illustrious visitors. The state of social isolation to which she was thus consigned is referred to by George Cruikshank in a very roughly executed caricature entitled, The British Spread Eagle, "Presented to the northern monarchs as a model for their national banner in consequence of the general peace." The Regent, holding in his hand a bottle of port wine, turns away from his neglected wife: "I'll go," he says, "to my bottle, my marchioness [of Conyngham], my countess" [of Jersey], who may be seen close at hand in an adjoining thicket; "and I," answers Caroline, "to my child, my only comfort." The "only comfort" is seen coming to her mother's assistance in the distance, uttering the trite quotation, "The child that feels not for a mother's woes, can ne'er be called a Briton."

The Impostor, or Obstetric Dispute, a still more roughly executed satire (published by Tegg in September, 1814), refers to the wretched impostor Southcott. Doctors called in to report on her condition "differed" according to their proverbial custom. Three of these learned pundits may be seen in consultation in the right-hand corner. A blatant and irascible cobbler, standing on a stool, loudly proclaims the woman to be "a cheat!" "a faggot!" "a bag of deceit!" "a blasphemous old hag!" The indignant Joanna, far advanced in her dropsical condition, rushes at him, brandishing a broom in one hand and her book of prophecies in the other, to the delight of certain members of the "great unwashed." The buildings at the back appropriately include "New Bethlehem," and the house which the reader may remember was engaged for the purposes of her miraculous accouchement. A rougher and coarser piece of workmanship, if possible, will be found in Gambols on the River Thames, February, 1814 (published also by Tegg), which commemorates the memorable frost of that year.


On the 17th of February, 1815, Mr. Frederick Robinson, vice-president of the board of trade, moved for the House of Commons to resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, for the purpose of considering the state of the corn laws. This having been done, he proceeded to lay before the House certain resolutions, three of which related to the free importation of grain to be warehoused and afterwards exported, or to be taken for home consumption when importation for that purpose was allowable. The fourth and most important stated the average price of British corn at which free importation was to be allowed, and below which it was to be prohibited, and this for wheat was fixed at eighty shillings per quarter. An exception was made in favour of grain produced in the British colonies, which might be imported when British grown wheat was at sixty-seven shillings. All the resolutions were read and agreed to, with the exception of the fourth, and this in the end also passed in the face of every amendment.

On the 1st of March, Mr. Robinson brought in his bill "to amend the laws now in force for regulating the importation of corn." By this time very numerous petitions against the bill were coming in from the commercial and manufacturing districts; riotous proceedings also took place on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of March, in the course of which the mob cut to pieces many valuable pictures belonging to Mr. Robinson, destroyed and pitched his furniture into the street, and did a variety of mischief to the property of other well-known supporters of the measure. The riots (which were of a most formidable character) were only quelled by the number and determined attitude of the military and constables. In spite, however, of the unmistakable unpopularity of the measure, and of the strenuous opposition to it both in and out of Parliament, the bill passed the House on the 10th of March, and the Upper House on the 20th.

The consequences of this measure were not such as were expected either by its promoters or opposers. Former importations, or more probably the effect of two abundant harvests, combined with the greatly extended cultivation of grain, produced a gradual and steady reduction in prices; so that instead of approaching the limits at which alone importation was allowable by the Act, it sunk to a level below that of several years past. The farmers, who were labouring under exorbitant rents in addition to other increased expenses, were general sufferers, and the landlords found it necessary in many instances to make great abatements in their dues. In the result many leases were voided and farms left without tenants.

To this most unpopular measure a satire, published by Fores on the 3rd of March, 1815, has reference. It is entitled, The Blessings of Peace, or the Curse of the Corn Bill, a very rough affair, etched by George (as it appears to me) from the design of an amateur whose hand may be recognised in more than one of his caricatures. A foreign vessel is approaching our shores laden with best wheat at 50s. a quarter. A figure with a star on his breast, emblematical of course of the aristocratic influence which was supposed to have dictated the unpopular corn law, forbids the sailors to land it: "We won't have it," he says, "at any price. We are determined to keep up our own to 80s., and if the poor can't buy at that price, why, they must starve. We love money too well to lower our rents again, tho' the income tax is taken off." His sentiments are re-echoed by companions belonging to the same class as himself. A farmer and his starving family, however, come forward. "No, no, masters," he remonstrates; "I'll not starve, but quit my native country, where the poor are crushed by those they labour to support, and retire to one more hospitable, and where threats of the rich do not interpose to defeat the providence of God!" Behind the starving family is a warehouse absolutely bursting with sacks of grain at 80s. "By gar!" says the foreign captain, "if they won't have [the wheat] at all, we must throw it overboard," which they accordingly are depicted as doing. The subject is followed up by a still more slovenly affair by the artist himself, bearing the title of The Scale of Justice Reversed, published by Fores on the 29th of March. An eighteenpenny loaf in one scale is overmatched by the accumulated weight of taxes in the other. The overbalanced scale in its descent knocks down and crushes John Bull under its weight. "The bread," he cries, "is out of my reach, and those cursed taxes will break my back. That large one ['duty on manufactories,' which the chancellor is just putting into the scale] will do for me." Beyond, a usurer and four large landowners are seen rejoicing at the flight of the "Property Tax," an alleviation which is calculated to do no good to any one but themselves.


John Bull's trials, however, were in reality just commencing. Only seven months before he had held a grand "jubilee" in the parks, to celebrate the return of peace, treating his little difficulty with the Americans as a bagatelle not worth serious consideration. Four months before that celebration, "his majesty the Emperor Napoleon" had formally "renounced for himself, his successors, etc., all right of sovereignty and dominion, as well to the French empire and the kingdom of Italy, as over every other country." In return for this concession, as if in absolute mockery, "the isle of Elba, adopted by his majesty the Emperor ... as the place of his residence," was formed during his life into a separate principality, to "be possessed by him in full sovereignty and property," besides a certain annual revenue mentioned in the articles of treaty of the 18th of April, 1814. Here the Regent and his very good friends the allied sovereigns had been content to leave him, dreaming apparently, that the man whose military genius had held Europe at defiance, was disposed of "for ever and a day;" disregarding the feeble capacity of the Bourbon who succeeded him; the magic influence wielded by the man who thought the world too small for his ambition over a soldiery he had created and trained into perfection, and who regarded him in the light of a demi-god.

On the 26th of February, 1815, Bonaparte embarked at Porto Ferrago on board a brig, followed by four small vessels conveying about 1,000 men—French, Poles, Corsicans, Neapolitans, and natives of Elba. On the 1st of March the expedition anchored off the town of Cannes, in Provence, where these heterogeneous forces were landed. The small and motley force of filibusters was forthwith marched on Grenoble, which was reached on the 8th. The seventh regiment of the line, under Colonel Labedoyere, had meanwhile joined the adventurer; the rest of the garrison opened their gates, delivered their arsenal and magazine, and thus placed him at the head of a body of regular troops with a train of artillery. Only five short months afterwards, while the unfortunate emperor was on his way to St. Helena, poor Labedoyere was shot on the plain of Grenelle, for the "treason" of re-swearing fealty to the original master he had loved so well.

On the 9th of March, Bonaparte appeared before Lyons, which he entered without resistance. Once in possession of this important city, and hailed Emperor by his beloved soldiery, Bonaparte assumed the "sovereignty and dominion" which he had "renounced" for ever. "Frenchmen!" he said, after his sententious but stirring manner, "there is no nation, however small it may be, which has not had the right, and which may not withdraw itself from the disgrace of obeying a prince imposed on it by an enemy momentarily victorious. When Charles VII. re-entered Paris, and overthrew the ephemeral throne of Henry V., he acknowledged that he held his throne from the valour of his heroes, and not from a Prince Regent of England."

Although the troops assembled around him were comparatively a handful, Bonaparte had unquestionably obtained sufficient assurance of the general disposition of the army in his favour. Preparations indeed had been made for collecting a large body of troops at Melun for the immediate protection of Paris, while another was posted at Fontainebleau, so as to place the adventurer as it were between two fires. The greatest hopes were derived from the professed loyalty to the Bourbon cause of Marshal Ney, who had spontaneously presented himself at the Tuileries and proffered his services to the king. With the marshal, 12,000 or 15,000 men were posted at Lons-le-Saulnier, whence it was understood that he would fall on the rear of Bonaparte. Instead of doing so, he joined him at Auxerre with his whole division, which had already hoisted (under his orders) the tri-coloured flag. This defection practically decided the contest; and Bonaparte entered Paris on the evening of the 20th as a conqueror, received everywhere by the military in triumph.

Meanwhile, on the 13th of March, the powers who had signed the Treaty of Paris assembled in congress at Vienna, "being informed of the escape of Napoleon Bonaparte, and of his entrance into France with an armed force," issued a formal declaration, in which they stated that, "by thus breaking the convention which established him on the island of Elba, Bonaparte had destroyed the only legal title on which his existence depended; ... deprived himself of the protection of the law; and manifested to the universe that there could be neither peace nor truce with him. The powers consequently declared that he had placed himself without the pale of civil and social relations, and as an enemy and disturber of the tranquility of the world, rendered himself liable to public vengeance;" and, by a treaty concluded at Vienna on the 25th of March, Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia bound themselves to maintain the Treaty of Paris of 30th May, 1814, and for that purpose each was to keep constantly in the field a force of 150,000 men, and not lay down their arms until Bonaparte should have been rendered absolutely unable to create disturbance, and "renew his attempts for possessing himself of the supreme power in France."


The excitement which this portentous event occasioned amongst the nations of Europe is admirably realized by a caricature of George Cruikshank's, published by Fores on the 6th of April, and entitled, The Congress Dissolved before the Cake was Cut up. Alexander, engaged in cutting up the cake (i.e. Europe), and apportioning to each nationality a share of the whole, drops the knife as Napoleon rushes in among them, with the tremendous cocked hat, huge sword, and boots assigned to him on the authority of James Gillray. Crushing under his feet the "Decrees of the Congress," "An Account of the Deliverance of Europe," "A Plan for the Security of Europe," and other documents of a similar character, he shouts to the affrighted company, "Avast! ye bunglers; the cake you have been these six months disputing about the cutting up, I will do in as many hours." Holland in his fright has dropped off his stool to the ground. "O Donner and Blixen!" he exclaims, "my Hollands is all gone!" "I thought England had promised to guard him," says Saxony, alluding to the kind of naval supervision of Elba by English armed cruisers, which appears to have been exercised, so far as we can see, without any direct claim on our part to control the movements of Bonaparte. "Hold him! seize him!" cries Austria. "Seize him! kill him!" re-echoes Prussia.[71] "Who'll begin?—There's the rub!" is the sensible observation of Sweden. "Oh dear! oh dear!" groans his holiness the Pope, crowned with a composite hat, the crown of which is composed of his mitre; "what will become of me?" The only one who says nothing, but seems prepared to act with determination and promptitude, is the representative of England, who is shown in the act of drawing his sword.

Napoleon (we need not say) did not exactly act as the caricaturist describes: he endeavoured to re-establish relations with the foreign powers. On the 14th of April, however, Coulaincourt, the minister of foreign affairs, published his report to the emperor, giving an account of the result of the applications which had been made to foreign courts. From this it appeared that while no communication was permitted with the actual government of France, all the allied powers were diligently making preparation for war. "In all parts of Europe at once," said the minister, "they are arming, or marching, or ready to march." The powers, of course, were acting strictly within the terms of their expressed declaration to make "neither peace nor truce with Bonaparte." The emperor's practical reply to this declaration was made in the Champ de Mars on the 1st of June. Descending from his throne, he distributed the imperial eagles to the troops of the line and the national guards as they marched past, and swore to defend them at the hazard of their lives, and to suffer no foreigners to dictate laws to their country. All this time reinforcements were being despatched from England without intermission, and the Duke of Wellington had arrived to take command of the troops, native and foreign, in Belgium. There was nothing left for Napoleon except to fight. In the latter end of May, the headquarters of the French army of the north was established at Avesnes, in French Flanders; while, in the apprehension of an invasion by the allied armies on that part, Laon and the Castle of Guise were put in a defensive condition. On the 12th of June Bonaparte left Paris, accompanied by Marshal Bertrand and General Drouet, and proceeded to Laon.


At this point we meet with a piece of George Cruikshank's handiwork which is curious as indicative of the spirit which pervaded England at this momentous period. I am not at present in a position to refer to a newspaper of the period; but it would appear from the sketch referred to that, on or about the very day that Napoleon left Paris to join the splendid army which six days afterwards was so disastrously routed at Waterloo, a city fete was held at the Mansion House, at which that eccentric and sturdy nationalist, Sir William Curtis, whose face and figure were a fortune to the caricaturists of the period, covered the floor of the Mansion House with the tri-coloured eagles captured from the French in Peninsular battle-fields, while the banners of England domineered from the walls above. The exceedingly rare sketch which illustrates this incident is labelled appropriately by the artist, Opening of Sir William Curtis's Campaign against the French Colours.

Six days afterwards, the star of Napoleon Bonaparte had set for ever in the lurid and ensanguined battle clouds of Waterloo. Scarcely one month later on—that is to say, on the 15th of July, 1815—he had surrendered to Captain Maitland, of his majesty's ship Bellerophon, under circumstances which, while they reflect no discredit on the honour of that gallant officer, seem to us, so far as England was herself concerned, scarcely to have justified her subsequent treatment of the great but unfortunate emperor. With this, however, we have nothing to do. The Bellerophon on the evening of the 23rd, brought the distinguished exile within sight of the coast of England, a circumstance to which a subsequent caricature (etched by the artist) has reference. On the 6th of September was published by Fores, Boney's Threatened Invasion brought to bear, or Taking a View of the English Coast from ye Poop of the Bellerophon. The little emperor, confined to the mast by a chain fastened to his leg, leaps on the breech of one of the Bellerophon's guns, spy-glass in hand. "By gar, mon Empereur," says Count Bertrand, "dey have erect von prospect for you." The "prospect" is far from encouraging—a fort with the English flag flying from the central tower, and a gibbet erected in front of it. No wonder that the emperor expresses himself dissatisfied with a "prospect" of so lugubrious a character. An English sailor seated on a neighbouring gun, delivers the sentiments of the day after the plain-spoken fashion of his countrymen. This design, which is by no means in the artist's usual style, was etched by him from the design of some one whose name or initials are not recorded.

The actual circumstance to which the foregoing sketch refers is related to us by the commander of the Bellerophon:—

"At daybreak on the 24th of July, we were close off Dartmouth. Count Bertrand went into the cabin and informed Bonaparte of it, who came upon deck about half-past four, and remained on the poop until the ship anchored in Torbay. He talked with admiration of the coast, saying, 'You have in that respect a great advantage over France, which is surrounded by rocks and dangers.' On opening Torbay, he was much struck with the beauty of the scenery, and exclaimed, 'What a beautiful country! It very, very much resembles the bay of Porto Ferrago, in Elba.'"[72]

The same year, and on the same subject, the artist gives us Boney's Meditations on the Island of St. Helena, or the Devil addressing the Sun, in which the idea is manifestly borrowed from a design by James Gillray; The Corsican's Last Trip under the Guidance of his Good Angel [the devil]; The Genius of France Expounding her Laws to the Sublime People; and a very admirable and original design, The Pedigree of Corporal Violet; all of which are etched from the designs of other artists.

Hardly was Napoleon despatched to the island prison which was so shortly to prove his grave, and replaced by the unwieldly Louis, than the latter came in for his full share of satire. In another of George Cruikshank's caricatures of the same year, he shows us The Royal Laundress [Louis the Eighteenth] Washing Boney's Court Dresses, Napoleon watching the process the while from St. Helena. "Ha, ha!" he laughs, "such an old woman as you might rub a long while before they'll be all white, for they are tri-coloured in grain." Another shows us fat Louis climbing the mat de cocagne (soaped pole) and clutching the crown of France; he clambers up on the shoulders of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, his immediate supporter being England. Napoleon watches his progress from across the sea; "I climbed up," he says, "twice, without any help." Other subjects of the year are: Friends in Need, and John's Dream, or the Prince and Old England for Ever!


The repugnance of the Regent to the economical measures which were forced upon the ministry in 1816 is well-known. The people complained with every just reason of the pressure of taxes, which were levied, as they said, upon the industrious, to be squandered in extravagant salaries, sinecures, and unmerited pensions. They complained of the large standing army, which the Regent insisted to be necessary for the maintenance of "our position and high character among the European powers." The prince's aversion to the popular cry for retrenchment and reform is shown by one of George's caricatures entitled, Sick of the Property Tax, or Ministerial Influenza, published by Fores on the 8th of March, 1816, where we see the ministers vomiting into a huge receptacle labelled "Budget," the matter voided consisting of "Standing armies," "Property tax," "Increase of salaries," and so on. The gouty, self-indulgent prince hobbles up to his ministers on a pair of crutches marked respectively, "More economy" and "Increase of income." Under his arms he carries bundles of accounts, most of which relate to his own private expenditure, and are labelled, "Expenses of [Brighton] Pavilion," of "Furniture," "Drinking expenses." "Aye, this comes," he exclaims, "of your cursed pill economy, which you forced me to take a month back; no one knows what I have suffered from this economical spasm. I am afraid we shall all be laid up together." On the table behind him lie the medicines which have been prescribed for him, certain pills labelled "Petitions against the property tax," and a huge bolus ticketed "economy," "to be taken immediately." On the same subject a month later on is a sketch by an amateur, etched by the artist, bearing the title of Economical Humbug of 1816, or Saving at the Spiggot and Letting Out at the Bunghole. From a series of small vats, "Assessed taxes," "Property tax," "Customs," "Excise," and other streams of "supply," are pouring into a huge vat labelled "The Treasury of J. Bull's Vital Spirits." Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is carefully drawing off what he requires into a small bucket for the "Public Service." "You see," he says to Mr. Bull, who looks admiringly on, "I am not a quibbling pettifogger, I am a man of my word; for you see I have thrown away the great war spiggot, and have substituted a small peace one in its stead, which will cause an unknown saving to you." This is all very well; but the gouty Regent has also tapped the vat on the other side, and draws off the supplies in a copious stream into a receptacle labelled, "Deficiencies of the Civil List." His friends and boon companions are bringing up a fresh supply of empty vessels to be filled in their turn; one carries a barrel marked, "For household troops and standing army"; another is labelled, "Sinecures, places, and pensions"; a third, "For cottages and pavilions"; and a fourth, "L60,000 for fun." "Come, my friends," says the prince, "make haste and fill your buckets, whilst Van is keeping noisy Johnny quiet with fine speeches and promises of economy, which I am determined not to practise as long as I can get anything to expend; and while he is saving at the spiggot, we will have it out of the bunghole."[73]

Preparing for the Match, or the 2nd of May, 1816, has reference to the marriage of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, who, as we have already seen, was on that day united to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. It had been preceded by a well-designed but most indelicate satire, labelled Royal Nuptials, published by J. Johnstone on the 1st of April, in which the prince is seen landing on our shores in a state of destitution, with a pitiable lack of certain necessary articles of clothing, which are being handed to him by John Bull in the guise of a countryman. The dramatis personae are seven in number: Prince Leopold, John Bull, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the gouty Regent, the Princess Charlotte, old Queen Charlotte, with her snuff-box, and, behind her, an old woman intended, I believe, for the poor old king himself. The same year we find two other indelicate subjects: A Bazaar, a skit upon the immorality and costume of the period, comprising thirty figures; and another, in allusion to the marriage of the Princess Mary with her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, on the 22nd of July, 1816. To those who have asserted that George Cruikshank "never pandered to sensuality ... or raised a laugh at the expense of decency," that "satire in his hands never degenerated into savagery or scurrility," I would commend the serious consideration of the three satires I have last named.


At the time Egypt was in the power of the French, during the early part of the century, Lord Elgin had quitted England upon a mission to the Ottoman Porte. A great change has taken place in the attitude and bearing of the Turks towards other European nations during the last half century; but even at this time the contempt and dislike which had characterized them in their behaviour towards every denomination of Christians still prevailed in full force. The success, however, of the British arms in Egypt, and the expected restitution of that province to the Porte, seem to have wrought a wonderful and instantaneous change in the disposition of that power and its people towards ourselves;[74] and Lord Elgin, availing himself of these favourable circumstances, obtained in the summer of 1801, access to the Acropolis of Athens for general purposes, with a concession to "make excavations and to take away any stones that might appear interesting to himself." The result (shortly stated) was the excavation of the once celebrated "Elgin marbles," about which, if we are to credit the report from which we glean this information, his lordship would seem to have expended (including the interest of capital) some L74,000. The committee recommend the House, under these circumstances, coupled with the valuations which they had obtained from competent authorities, that L35,000 was "a reasonable and sufficient price to be paid for the collection," and their purchase appears to have been completed on the basis of these figures, a fact which forms the subject of the artist's undated and admirable satire of John Bull Buying Stones at the Time his Numerous Family Want Bread.

Unsigned, and under date of 25th of November, 1816, I find a caricature published by Fores, which seems to me due to the hand of George Cruikshank. It is entitled, The Nightmayor, "painted by Fuzeley," and represents a debased woman in the stertorous sleep of drunkenness, whose muddled dream-thoughts revert to the experiences with which her evil habits have made her so frequently familiar. The gin drinker has been brought before the Lord Mayor any number of times for being "drunk and disorderly," and accordingly her nightmare assumes the form of the city official, who sits upon the body clothed in his robes and invested with the insignia of his office. Appended to the satire are the following lines:—

"The night mayor flitting through the evening fogs, Traverses alleys, streets, courts, lanes, and bogs, Seeking some love-bewilder'd maid by gin oppress'd, Alights—and sits upon her downy breast."

The only other caricature of George I have to notice under date of 1816 is entitled, State Physicians Bleeding John Bull to Death. (*)


In our third chapter we referred to the distress which prevailed amongst the industrial classes during the two years which followed the fall of Bonaparte.[75] We meet with an exceedingly rare pictorial satire by George Cruikshank, which relates to this state of things; it bears the title of, John Bull Brought up for a Discharge, but Remanded on Account of Extravagance and False Schedule, and was published by Fores on the 29th of March, 1817. John Bull, a bankrupt, is being publicly examined as to the causes of his failure: "Being desired by the court to give some explanation [on the subject of the prodigious difference between his debts and his assets], he said that he had been persuaded originally to join with some of the parishioners in indicting his neighbour, Mr. Frog, for keeping a disorderly house; that they had engaged to bear their part of the expenses, but had all sneaked off one by one, and left him to pay the whole, and carry on the proceedings. It had at last, after being moved from one court to another, become a suit in Chancery; and he had been advised by the gentleman whom he had always consulted on these matters, and who was now dead, to go on and persevere, for that he would be sure to get a final decree in his favour, and all the costs. He had at last, in fact, got a decree in his favour, about two years since, before Lord Chancellor Wellington, and for the costs; but not a farthing had ever been paid, nor was it likely to be; on the contrary, Mr. Frog had surrendered himself, and gone to prison, where he was now living at this moment, at his [Mr. Bull's] expense. Besides, the house in question was now opened again under a new license, granted by the magistrates of the district ... or rather, a renewal of the old one, in favour of the brother of the person who had kept it formerly, ... and the new landlord had taken down the late sign of the Bee Hive, and put up the old one of the Fleur-de-lis; but it was nearly as disorderly as ever, and the magistrates were obliged to keep up a great number of special constables to preserve the peace of the neighbourhood."[76]

John Bull, in his best blue coat and white waistcoat, and suffering under an attack of gout is going through the ordeal of his public examination before the judge. In front of this functionary is the bankrupt's schedule, on which we read the following items:—

"Amount of Income L24,000,000 Expenditure 80,000,000 Dr. Nick Frog 10,000,000 Paul Bruin 1,000,000 Frank Force-child 8,000,000 Will Eagle Eye 6,000,000 Ferd. Faithless 30,000,000."

In the body of the court, and separated from the commissioner by a wooden enclosure, the upper edge of which is lined with bayonets pointing inwards, are a number of the bankrupt's wretched creditors, whom Death, clothed in a red coat and armed with a mace, vainly strives to keep quiet. "Ck. fect." in such faint letters that they might easily escape detection, is appended to this remarkable composition.

In our third chapter we also referred to the serious disturbances which followed and were the consequences of the public discontents of 1817, and the fact that the names of four informers, Castle, Oliver, Edwards, and Franklin were identified with those of the chief fomenters of sedition in the metropolis and the northern counties.[77] In further illustration of the satires in which these fellows put in an appearance, we have one by George Cruikshank (published by Fores on the 1st of July), and labelled, Conspirators, or Delegates in Council. We may here mention that on the 9th of June, one Watson, a surgeon, was tried for high treason at Westminster Hall, and acquitted on the 16th, whereupon the Attorney General abandoned the prosecution against Thistlewood, Preston, and Hooper, who were also indicted under a like charge. All the accused were in indigent or humble circumstances, and the chief witness against them appears to have been Castle. Among the five persons sitting round the table, we recognise Castle (whose villainous face is turned towards us) and Oliver. The others we cannot identify. The aristocratic looking gentleman receiving them so blandly is my Lord Castlereagh. "Don't you think, my lord," says the person next him, "Don't you think that our friends Castle and Oliver should be sent to Lisbon or somewhere, as consul-generals or envoys?" "Can't you," says his lordship to the beetle-browed ruffians by way of rejoinder, "Can't you negotiate for some boroughs?" John Bull, looking through the window at these negotiations, with much indignation, and recognising in these fellows the rascals by whom he has been "ensnared into [committing] criminal acts," hints in very plain terms that the conduct pursued by such men was the high road to political favour in 1817. Among the papers on the table we notice a "Plan for the attack on the Regent's carriage;"[78] a bundle of "treasonable papers to be slipped into the pockets of some duped artisans;" another, indicating the "means to be taken to implicate Sir Francis Burdett, Lord Cochrane," and other popular agitators of that day; "A list of victims in Ireland," and so on. On the floor at his lordship's feet lie some of the tri-coloured flags unfurled at the Spafields meeting; the obvious inference intended to be conveyed being of course that the Government were really at the bottom of the popular disturbances.

R-y-l Condescension, or a Foreign Minister Astonished, published by Fores on the 15th of September, 1817, is one of George Cruikshank's most finished but at the same time indelicate compositions. It refers to the rumours affecting the Princess Caroline's reputation which preceded the "bill of pains and penalties," to which we have already alluded. It appears to us to have originated out of the following circumstance. It was asserted that at a masked ball which the princess had given shortly after she left England to the then King of Naples, Joachim Murat, she appeared in three different disguises; that in one of these, "The Genius of History," she had appeared in so unclothed a state as to call for particular observation; her third disguise was a Turkish costume. It was further asserted that in her changes of dress she had been assisted, not by her female attendants, but by the person with whom her name was so familiarly associated. In the sketch before us, Her Royal Highness's corpulent and redundant figure is clothed in a tight-fitting Turkish dress and trousers, her head being covered by a ponderous turban. The five figures composing her "suite" are the Courier Bartolomeo Bergami, his brothers Louis and Vollotti Bergami, his sister, and William Austin, the youth she had adopted,[79] and who, it was proved, slept in her bed-chamber. The whole are decorated with the crosses and ribbons of the absurd order which she was said to have instituted. The courtly, well dressed foreign gentleman to whom she is introducing these vulgar persons appears to be intended for Metternich, who, while thanking Her Royal Highness for her "condescension," looks the very picture of unfeigned but well-bred astonishment.


In the evening of the 18th of November, 1817, a mournful procession, at which all the great officers of state attended, quitted Claremont House en route for Windsor. At the impressive ceremony which followed, Garter King at Arms proclaimed its melancholy purport in the following words: "Thus it has pleased Almighty God to take out of this transitory life, unto His Divine mercy, the late most illustrious Princess Charlotte Augusta, daughter of His Royal Highness, George, Prince of Wales, Regent of the United Kingdom." It was even so. The pride and hope of the nation, the heiress of the crown, was on the 6th of November delivered of a still-born child, and within a very few hours afterwards had succumbed to the unlooked-for and fatal exhaustion which followed. The grief which this occasioned was so universal that every one seemed to realize the fact that he or she had sustained an individual loss; scarcely perhaps in English history had the death of a member of a royal family been more sincerely and truly regretted. The mournful event is referred to by the artist in a more than usually touching sketch, entitled, England's Hope Departing. Among the medical attendants of Her Royal Highness who followed her to the grave, was the accoucheur, Sir Richard Croft, Bart. This distinguished gentleman was so deeply affected with the unlooked-for result, that his mind refused to recover its tone, and within a month afterwards he committed self-destruction.

Other pictorial satires of George Cruikshank, bearing the date of 1817, are: Fashionables of 1817, two figures—a male and female—outrageously caricatured, a rough affair, altogether differing from his usual style; the well-known double entendre, A View of the Regent's Bomb, which, with our knowledge of his sensitiveness on the subject of his personal appearance, must have given the exalted personage thus outrageously satirized the greatest possible mortification; The Spa Fields Orator Hunting for Popularity to do Good, (*) a punning satire on "Orator" Hunt; A Patriot Luminary Extinguishing Noxious Gas (etched from the design of another artist); and two admirable designs bearing the titles of Vis-a-Vis and Les Graces. The same year we meet with one of the earliest of his alliterative satires, afterwards so frequently to be seen among the famous illustrations to the "Comic Almanack": La Belle Assemblee, or Sketches of Characteristic Dancing, miscellaneous groups, comprising in all thirty figures (exclusive of the orchestra), engaged in a country dance, a Scotch reel, an Irish jig, a minuet, the German waltz, a French quadrille, the Spanish bolero, and a ballet "Italienne." The walls are hung with pictures of dancing dogs, a dancing bear, a dancing horse, rope dancing, the dance of St. Vitus, and "Dancing Mad." Besides this, we find the same year two large sheets showing the Striking Effects produced by Lines and Dots, for the Assistance of every Draughtsman, suggested by, but a very vast improvement on, G. M. Woodward's Multum in Parvo, or Liliputian Sketches, showing what may be done by Lines and Dots.


A report of the House of Commons, showing how four million pounds weight of sloe, liquorice, and ash-tree leaves were annually mixed with Chinese teas in England, was supplemented by a trial in the Court of Exchequer, in which a grocer named Palmer was fined in L840 penalties, for the fabrication of spurious tea. It appeared that there was a regular manufactory of imitation tea in Goldstone Street, which was composed of thorn leaves, which, after passing through a peculiar process, were coloured with logwood; the same leaves, after being pressed and dried, were laid upon sheets of copper, coloured with verdigris and Dutch pink, and sold as green tea. These revelations led, in 1818, to the artist's admirable caricature of The T Trade in Hot-water, or a Pretty Kettle of Fish: dedicated to J. Canister and T. Spoon, Esquires. Besides these, we have the same year: An Interesting Scene on Board an East Indian, a very coarse but admirable performance; Introduction to the Gout (a fiend dropping a hot coal on the toe of a bon vivant); A Fine Lady, or the Incomparable, in which it appears to us that Robert had a hand; Les Savoyards and Le Palais Royal de Paris; Comparative Anatomy, or the Dandy Trio; and The Art of Walking the Streets of London, eight subjects, etched by the artist after the design of George Moutard Woodward.

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