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Title: English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century

Author: Graham Everitt

Release date: February 6, 2010 [eBook #31195]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Marius Masi, Chris Curnow and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage.






“At last we have a treatise upon our caricaturists and comic draughtsmen worthy of the great subject.... An entertaining history of caricature, and consequently of the events, political and social, of the century; in fact, a thoroughly readable and instructive book.... And what a number of political occurrences, scandals public and private, movements political and secular, are passed in review! All these events Mr. Everitt describes at length with great clearness and vivacity, giving us a view of them, so to speak, from the inside.”—Pall Mall Gazette.

“It is a handsome and important volume of 400 pages; the letterpress being a brightly written commentary, abounding with illustrative gossip, on the caricature of the century and the merits of its graphic humourists.... It includes a great deal of the more stirring social and political history of the time. The illustrations so plentifully strewn through Mr. Everitt’s volume give it a peculiar interest.”—St. James’s Gazette.

“The work, which contains a large amount of information and some valuable lists of publications, is illustrated with about seventy wood engravings.”—Literary World.

“A real contribution to the history of the social life of the century. The book is very fully and well illustrated, forming in fact quite a gallery of nineteenth century caricature.”—Truth.

“The plates with which it is illustrated are remarkably well produced, and are useful in themselves, and are neatly and clearly printed, so that they give a capital idea of the originals from which they are prepared.”—Saturday Review.

“Gives an elaborate estimate of the merits of the later caricaturists and a complete account of their lives.”—Graphic.


[Published 21st October, 1812, by S. W. Fores, 50, Piccadilly.





English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists


How they Illustrated and Interpreted their Times.

A Contribution to the History of Caricature from the Time of the First Napoleon Down to the Death of John Leech, in 1864.









Butler & Tanner,
The Selwood Printing Works,
Frome, and London.



The only works which, so far as I know, profess to deal with English caricaturists and comic artists of the nineteenth century are two in number. The first is a work by the late Robert William Buss, embodying the substance of certain lectures delivered by the accomplished author many years ago. Mr. Buss’s book, which was published for private circulation only, deals more especially with the work of James Gillray, his predecessors and contemporaries, treating only briefly and incidentally of a few of his successors of our own day. The second is a work by Mr. James Parton, an American author, whose book (published by Harper Brothers, of New York) treats of “Caricature, and other Comic Art in all Times and many Lands.” It is obviously no part of my duty (even if I felt disposed to do so) to criticise the work of a brother scribe, and that scribe an American gentleman. Covering an area so boundless in extent, it is scarcely surprising that Mr. Parton should devote only thirty of his pages to the consideration of English caricaturists and graphic humourists of the nineteenth century.

Under these circumstances, it would seem to me that, in vi placing the present work before the public, an apology will scarcely be considered necessary.

Depending oftentimes for effect upon overdrawing, nearly always upon a graphic power entirely out of the range of ordinary art, the work of the caricaturist is not to be measured by the ordinary standard of artistic excellence, but rather by the light which it throws upon popular opinion or popular prejudice, in relation to the events, the remembrance of which it perpetuates and chronicles. While, however, a latitude is allowed to the caricaturist which would be inconsistent with the principles by which the practice of art is ordinarily governed, it may at the same time be safely laid down that it is essential to the success of the comic designer as well as the caricaturist, that both should be artists of ability, though not necessarily men of absolute genius.

It may be contended that Gillray, Rowlandson, Bunbury, and others, although commencing work before, are really quite as much nineteenth century graphic satirists as their successors. This I admit; but inasmuch as their work has been already described by other writers, and the present book concerns itself especially with those whose labours commenced after 1800, I have endeavoured to connect them with those of their predecessors and contemporaries, without unnecessarily entering into detail with which the reader is supposed to be already more or less familiar.

I am in hopes that the character in which I am enabled to present George Cruikshank as the leading caricaturist of the century; the account I have given of his hitherto almost vii unknown work of this character; together with the view I have taken of the causes which led to his sudden and unexampled declension in the very midst of an artistic success almost unprecedented, may prove both new and interesting to some of my readers.

I have to acknowledge the assistance I have derived from the 1864 and 1867 MS. diaries of the late Shirley Brooks, kindly placed at my service by Cecil Brooks, Esq., his son; my thanks are likewise due to Mr. William Tegg for some valuable information kindly rendered.



Having been called on to write a Preface to a popular edition of this book, I seize the opportunity which is now afforded me of correcting an error which occurred in the original edition. By some unaccountable accident the printer omitted my sub-title; and it was not unnatural that some of my reviewers should inquire why, in a work dealing with English Caricaturists of the Nineteenth Century, no mention should be made of the graphic humourists who succeeded John Leech. This question is answered by the restoration of the original title, from which it will be seen that the work is simply “a contribution to the history of caricature from the time of the first Napoleon down to the death of John Leech, in 1864.” To take in the later humourists, would be to carry the work beyond the limits which I had originally assigned to it.

One word more, and I have done. My intention in writing this book was to show how the caricaturist “illustrated” his time,—in other words, how he “interpreted” the social and political events of his day, according to his own bias, or the views he was retained to serve. While exhibiting him in the light of an historian—which he most undoubtedly is—I had no idea (as some of my too favourable critics seem to have imagined) of writing a history of caricature itself. For this task, indeed, I am not qualified, nor does it in the slightest degree enlist my sympathy.

G. Everitt.

11th August, 1893.




Dr. Johnson’s definition of the word Caricatura.—Francis Grose’s definition.—Modern signification of the word.—Change in the Spirit of English Caricature during the last Fifty Years.—Its Causes.—Gillray.—Rowlandson.—Bunbury.—Influence of Gillray and Rowlandson on their immediate Successors.—Gradual Disappearance of the Coarseness of the Old Caricaturists.—Change wrought by John Doyle.—We have now no Caricaturist.—Effect of Wood Engraving on Caricature.—Hogarth, although a Satirist, not a Caricaturist.—Gustave Doré misdescribed a Caricaturist.—Absurdity of comparing him with Cruikshank.—“Etching Moralized.”

pp. 1-11.


Connection of Gillray and Rowlandson with Nineteenth Century Caricaturists.—Napoleon Bonaparte.—The Causes of English Exasperation against him explained.—Sketch of his Policy towards England.—The “Berlin Decree.”—English Caricatures brought to the notice of Bonaparte.—“A Political Fair.”—The “Gallick Storehouse for English Shipping.”—“Spanish Flies, or Boney taking an Immoderate Dose.”—“Boney and his New Wife, or a Quarrel about Nothing.”—Birth of the young King of Rome.—“British Cookery, or Out of the Frying-pan into the Fire.”—“General Frost Shaving Boney.”—“Polish Diet with French Dessert.”—“The Corsican Blood-hound beset by the Bears of Russia.” “Nap nearly Nab’d, or a Retreating Jump just in time.”—“Boney Returning from Russia covered with Glory.”—“Nap’s Glorious Return.”—Rowlandson’s Anti-Bonaparte Caricatures.—French Contemporary Satires.—Gillray’s Anti-Bonaparte Caricatures.—His Libels on Josephine.—Madame Tallien.—Robert Dighton.—Consequences of a Pinch of Snuff.—Master Betty—Impeachment of Lord Melville.—Introduction of Gas.—Mary Anne Clarke.—Imbecility and Death of James Gillray

pp. 12-33.


Re-opening of Drury Lane.—Dr. Busby’s “Monologue.”—“A Buz in a Box, or the Poet in a Pet.”—“Doctors Differ, or Dame Nature against the College.”—Joanna x Southcott.—Flight of the Princess Charlotte.—“Plebeian Spirit, or Coachee and the Heiress Presumptive.”—“Miss endeavouring to Excite a Glow with her Dutch Plaything.”—American War of 1812-1815.—Hostile Temper of the Americans.—Disastrous Results of their Invasion of Canada.—English Retaliatory Measures.—Burning of Washington.—Expedition against Alexandria.—“The Fall of Washington, or Maddy in Full Flight.”—British Defeated at Baltimore and New Orleans.—“Romeo Coates.”—Marriage of the Princess Charlotte.—“Leap Year, or John Bull’s Establishment.”—Troubles of 1817.—Narrow Escape of the Prince Regent.—“More Plots!!! More Plots!!!”—Edmund Kean and Lucius Junius Booth.—“The Rival Richards.”—Congress of the Allied Sovereigns at Aix-la-Chapelle.—“A Russian Dandy at Home: a Scene at Aix-la-Chapelle.”—“A Peep at the Pump Room, or the Zomerzetshire Folks in a Maze.”—Death of Queen Charlotte.—“The Hambourg Waltz.”—Invention of the Kaleidoscope.—“Caleidoscopes, or Paying for Peeping.”—The Velocipede or “Hobby.”—“The Spirit Moving the Quakers upon Worldly Vanities.”—“John Bull in Clover,” and “John Bull Done Over.”—Birth of the Princess Victoria.—“A Scene in the New Farce, called The Rivals, or a Visit to the Heir Presumptive.”

pp. 34-61.


Caroline of Brunswick.—Levity of her Character.—Result of the Commission to Inquire into her Conduct in 1806.—Her Letter to the Regent.—Result of the Commission of 1813.—Caroline rebels.—Wrath of Lord Ellenborough.-“A Key to the Investigation, or Iago distanced by odds.”—Refusal of the Regent to meet her in 1814.—Her Protest.—Applies for Permission to Travel Abroad.—Rumours prejudicial to her Moral Conduct.—“Paving the way for a Royal Divorce.”—The Milan Commission.—Ministers averse to the Prosecution of the Queen.—Their False Step.—Arrival of Caroline in London.—Opening of the “Green Bag.”—Arrival of the Witnesses.—Strange Appearance of Caroline at the Trial.—Satire upon Her and her Supporters.—“City Scavengers Cleansing the London Streets of Impurities.”—Practical Failure of the Prosecution.—“The Queen Caroline running down the Royal George.”—“The Steward’s Court of the Manor of Torre Devon.”—Popularity of the King.—“Grand Entrance to Bamboozlem.”—Public Events of 1822-1825.—Greek War of Independence.—Battle of Navarino.—“Russian Bear’s Grease, or a Peep into Futurity.”—“The Descent of the Great Bear, or the Mussulmans in a Quandary.”—“The Nest in Danger.”—“The Porte presenting a Bill of Indemnification.”—“Burking old Mrs. Constitution, aged 141.”—Caricature Declines after 1830, and why.—William Heath and other Caricaturists of the Period.—Theodore Lane.

pp. 62-88.


Caricatures of Robert Cruikshank.—Forgotten, and why.—Artistic Training—“The Mother’s Girl Plucking a Crow, or German Flesh and English Spirit.”—“The Horse Marine and his Trumpeter in a Squall.”—Queer Fashions of the xi early part of the Century.—Thackeray’s Difficulty.—Caricatures on the “Dandies” of 1818.—Robert and his Fellow-Caricaturists ridicule the sham “Corinthians” and “Corinthian Kates” of their day.—Hollow Pretensions of the “Dandies.”—“The Dandy Dressing at Home” and “The Dandy Dressed.”—“A Dandyess.”—Robert’s Satires on the “Dandies” of 1819.—“The Mysterious Fair One, or the Royal Introduction to the Circassian Beauty.”—Other Caricatures of his of 1819.—His Satires on the Trial of Queen Caroline.—His Caricatures of 1821.—Duel between the Dukes of Bedford and Buckingham.—Other Satires by him in 1822.—Interference of Louis XVIII. in Spanish Affairs.—Robert’s Satires on Louis and his Son.—“The Golden Ball.”—Other Caricatures by Robert in 1823.—The Tenth Hussars.—Maria Foote and “Pea-green Hayne.”—Other satires by Robert in 1824.—Colonel Fitz-Bastard and Mr. Judge.—Cox v. Kean.—Sir Walter Scott.—“The Living Skeleton.”—Popple and Stockdale.—Other Subjects of 1825.—“Cruikshankiana.”

pp. 89-108.


Book Illustrations of Isaac Robert Cruikshank.—The “Life in London.”—Injustice done to Robert with reference to this Book.—The “Life” Dramatized.—Excitement it Occasioned.—The Portly Stranger in the Duke’s Box.—Queer Visitors at Rehearsal.—Horror of the Serious People.—The Mistake which they made.—“The Finish.”—Pierce Egan’s Position with reference to the “Life.”—Origin of “Bell’s Life in London.”—Charles Molloy Westmacott.—“The English Spy.”—“The Oppidans’ Museum.”—The “King at Home.”—Rowlandson’s contribution to “The English Spy.”—Westmacott and the Literature of Foote and Hayne.—Robert’s Carelessness.—“Points of Misery.”—“Doings in London.”—“Cruikshank’s Comic Album.”—“Monsieur Nong-tong-paw.”—Three Books Illustrated by Robert.—Death.

pp. 109-124.


Caricatures of George Cruikshank.—“No Plan, no Ambition.”—The Assertion Disproved.—Why George’s Caricatures possess so remarkable an Interest.—“The Scourge.”—Lord Sidmouth’s Bill to amend the Toleration Act.—Opposition to the Measure by the Nonconformists.—George’s Satire upon them.—Satire upon the Medical Profession.—“The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor.”—“Fashion.”—“The Loyalists’ Magazine.”—An Early Satire.—“Meditations amongst the Tombs.”—Other Satires of 1813.—“Little Boney gone to Pot.”—Alexander of Russia and the Duchess of Oldenburg.—The Princess Caroline.—Joanna Southcott.—The Obnoxious Corn Laws of 1815.—Satires thereon.—Escape of Napoleon.—Outlawed by the Powers.—Excitement caused by this Event.—George’s Satires thereon.—Napoleon endeavours to Establish Friendly Relations.—Silent Hostility of Europe.—He Sets out for the Army.—George’s Satire thereon.—Surrender of Bonaparte.—The Bellerophon off the English Coast.—Other Satires of 1815.—The Regent’s Repugnance to Retrenchment and Reform.—Marriage of the Princess Charlotte.—Satire on the Purchase of the xii “Elgin Marbles.”—Other Satires of 1816.—John Bull’s Bankruptcy Proceedings.—Remanded for Extravagance.—His “Schedule.”—Seditious Troubles of 1817.—A Satire on the Princess Caroline.—Death of the Princess Charlotte.—Other Satires of 1817—of 1818.—The “Bank Restriction Note.”—Satires of 1819.—Queen Caroline and other Caricatures of 1820 and 1821.—Death and Funeral of the Queen.—The Populace force the Procession to go through the City.—The Military fire on the People.—Alderman Sir William Curtis in Highland Costume.—Indignation of the King.—Satires on both.—Statue of Achilles.—Other Caricatures of 1822.—Satires of 1823 and 1824.—Joint Stock Company Mania of 1825.—Undated Satires.—Amazing value of George Cruikshank’s Caricatures.

pp. 125-166.


George Cruikshank as a Book Illustrator.—Defects and Excellencies.—Women, Horses, Trees.—“Greenwich Hospital.”—Sikes and the Dog.—Jonathan Wild.—Simon Renard and Winwike.—“Born a Genius and Born a Dwarf.”—Its History.—Randalph and Hilda at Ranelagh.—Sale of the Shadow.—Sailors Carousing.—Paying off a Jew.—Simpkin Dancing.—The Last Cab Driver.—Dominie Sampson.—Dumbiedikes.—Fall of the Leaf.—Taurus.—Libra.—Revolution at Madame Tussaud’s.—Theatrical Fun Dinner.—“Gone!”—Duke of Marlborough’s Boot.—The Two Elves.—Witches’ Frolic.—Ghosts.—Jack o’ Lantern.—Devils.—The Gin Shop.—Redgauntlet.—Fagin in the Condemned Cell.—Murder of Sir Rowland Trenchard.—Xit Wedded to the Scavenger’s Daughter.—Mauger Sharpening his Axe.—Massacre at Tullabogue, etc.—His Genius.

pp. 167-188.


The Sleep of Thirty Years.—Causes of George Cruikshank’s Decadence Insufficiently Understood.—Professor Bates’ Theory.—Charles Dickens’s Nervousness (?).—Why Cruikshank was Unfitted to Illustrate his Novels.—The Rejected Illustration to Oliver Twist.—Quarrel with Bentley.—Guy Fawkes Illustrations.—“Ainsworth’s Magazine.”—Progress of the Cruikshank versus Bentley Campaign.—Cruikshank’s Declaration of War.—His Tactics.—“Our Library Table.”—Quarrel with Harrison Ainsworth.—Cruikshank’s Claim to be Originator of Two of his Stories Considered.—A word for Harrison Ainsworth.—Popularity and Success of his Novels.—Charles Lever’s “Arthur O’Leary.”—Cruikshank’s final Leap in the Dark.—Its Fatal Consequences.—Crusade against Drink.—“Worship of Bacchus.”—His Work Falls away.—Thirty Years of Artistic Sterility.—Fairy Stories turned into Temperance Tracts.—Forgotten!

pp. 189-207.


Birth of Robert Seymour.—Starts as a Painter in Oils.—Death of George IV.—His Contemptible Character.—Sale of his Wardrobe.—Order for General Mourning.—“The Adelaide Mill.”—Revolution of 1830.—Dismissal of the xiii German Band.—St. John Long the Quack.—Administering an Oath.—The “Humorous Sketches.”—“Book of Christmas.”—“New Readings of Old Authors.”—“Figaro in London.”—À Beckett’s Editorial Amenities.—Feud between him and Seymour.—Seymour Caricatures À Beckett.—“Figaro” passes into the hands of Mayhew.—Re-engagement of Seymour.—Origin of the “Pickwick Papers.”—The Rejected Etching.—Suicide of Seymour.—His Claim to be the “Inventor” of “Pickwick” considered.

pp. 208-234.


The Agitation for Reform in 1830-32.—The Marquis of Blandford’s Scheme of Reform.—Strange State of the English Representative System of those Days.—O’Connell’s Scheme.—Lord John Russell’s “Resolutions” Rejected.—Dearth of Political Caricaturists at this Time.—HB.—Secret of the Success of his “Political Sketches.”—His Style a Complete Innovation.—“I’ll be your Second.”—Unpopularity of the Duke of Cumberland.—“My Dog and my Gun.”—Lord John Russell Introduces a Reform Bill.—Second Reading Carried by a Majority of One.—General Election.—Lord John Russell’s Second Reform Bill Passes the House of Commons.—Deputation to the Lords.—“Bringing up our Bill.”—The Lords Throw it Out.—Lord John Russell again brings in a Bill.—Ministers again in a Minority in the Lords.—Earl Grey tenders certain Alternatives.—Excitement caused by the Opposition of the Lords.—Perplexity of the King.—How he Overcame the Opposition of the Peers.—William IV. as Johnny Gilpin.—The King as Mazeppa and Sinbad the Sailor.—Outrage on the Duke of Wellington.—“Taking an Airing in Hyde Park.”—“Auld Lang Syne.”—“A Hint to Duellists.”—“A Great Subject Dedicated to the Royal College of Surgeons.”—Sir Francis Burdett.—“Following the Leader.”—“The Dog and the Shadow.”—“A Race for the Westminster Stakes.”—“A Fine Old English Gentleman.”—“Jim Crow Dance and Chorus.”

pp. 235-253.


Political Sketches of HB. (continued).—Lord John Russell.—“Jonah.”—Reduction of the Stamp on Newspapers.—How it was evaded.—Arguments of the Opponents of the Measure.—Hard and Soft Soap versus Newspapers.—Strange Arguments of the Newspaper Proprietors of the Day.—“The Rival Newsmongers.”—Brougham Watches for the Door of Preferment being Opened.—“The Gheber Worshipping the Rising Sun.”—Made Lord Chancellor.—“A Select Specimen of the Black Style.”—A Scene in the House of Lords.—“The Duel that Did Not Take Place.”—Dissolution of Parliament in 1834.—Brougham’s Royal “Progress” through Scotland.—Annoyance of William IV., who Determines to Get Rid of Him.—“The Fall of Icarus.”—“The Vaux and the Grapes.”—The Irish Coercion Bill of 1833.—Irish Disaffection which led Up to It.—List of Irish Crimes for One Year.—Scenes between English and Irish Members.—“Prisoners of War.”—Good Effects of the Coercion Bill.—Irish Agitators of 1833 and 1883 Compared.—O’ Connell and xiv the Irish Peasant.—Unscrupulous Political Conduct of O’Connell.—“The Comet of 1835.”—“Doctor Syntax [i.e. Peel] on his Faithful Steed in Search of the Picturesque.”—Amazing Number of HB’s Political Sketches.—His failings.—His Imitators and their Fate.

pp. 254-276.


John Leech.—Birth.—At Charterhouse.—The “Coach Tree.”—Early Efforts in Drawing brought to the notice of Flaxman.—Apprenticed to Whittle, an Eccentric Medical Man.—Transfer of Leech’s Indentures.—Early Work.—Applies to Illustrate “Pickwick.”—Style not Matured till 1840.—An Attack on Dickens.—Attack on “Phiz.”—Attack on D’Israeli.—“Bentley’s Miscellany.”—Joins Punch.—Marriage.—The “Right-hand Man in Punch’s Cabinet.”—“Illuminated Magazine.”—Portraits of Leech in Punch.—Douglas Jerrold and Albert Smith.—Douglas Jerrold and À Beckett.—Leech at a Fancy Ball.—Albert Smith and the Wide-awake Innkeepers at Chamounix.—George Cruikshank Borrowing from Leech.—Influence of Cruikshank on Leech.—The Two Compared.—Abhorrence of Frenchmen.—Mistake in “The Battle of Life.”

pp. 277-293.


John Leech’s Punch Cartoons.—The “Albert” Hat.—O’Connell.—Sir James Graham.—“Peel’s Dirty Little Boy.”—“How do you Like the New Whig?”—“The Premier’s Fix.”—“The Railway Juggernaut.”—Between Free Trade and Protection Sir Robert Peel falls through.—“Dombey and Son.”—Lord Brougham “in order.”—Smithfield.—Louis Philippe.—The Year of Unrest, 1848.—French Expedition to Rome.—“A Bright Idea.”—General Haynau and Barclay & Perkins’ Draymen.—“Joe” Hume.—The “Papal Aggression” Cartoons.—“The Boy who Chalked up ‘No Popery’ and then Ran Away.”—Great Exhibition of 1851.—The Coup d’état.—The Peace Society.—“The Old ‘Un and the Young ’Un.”—War with Russia.—Evils of the Purchase System.—Generals Janvier and Fevrier.—“The Return from Vienna.”—Incapacity of English Generals.—“Urgent Private Affairs.”—“Staying Proceedings.”—The Royal Levées.—The French Colonels.—“Religion à la mode.”—Fête at Cremorne.—Plots against the French Emperor, and their Consequences.—“Invasion of French Light Wines.”

pp. 294-314.


Exhibition of Leech’s “Sketches in Oil” at the Egyptian Hall in 1862.—What Thackeray said of them.—Gradual Decrease in the Numbers of his Cartoons for Punch.—Overwork.—Goes to the Continent with Mark Lemon in 1862.—“A day at Biarritz.”—Returns with no Benefit.—Leech and Thackeray at Evans’s in December, 1863.—Thackeray and Leech at Charterhouse on “Founder’s Day.”—Thackeray at the Wednesday Punch Dinner, 15th of December, 1863.—Death of Thackeray.—Death of Mr. R. W. Surtees.—The Punch Council Dinners.—John Leech a faithful Attendant.—“Moses Starting for the Fair.”—John Leech’s Illness described.—No Falling off in the Quality of his Designs.—“St. Genulphus.”—Starts xv off for Homburg with Mr. Alfred Elmore.—Death of Thomas Frederick Robson.—His Wonderful Powers Wasted.—Leech goes to Whitby.—Shirley Brooks joins him.—“The Weinbrunnen Schwalbach.”—Reminiscences of the Whitby Visit.—Opening of Fechter’s Season at the Lyceum.—John Leech at a Party at Mr. W. P. Frith’s, 13th of October—At the Weekly Punch Dinner, 26th of October.—Serious Change for the Worse.—His Death.—Shock caused by his Death in London and the Provinces.—His Funeral.—Shirley Brooks’ Memorial in Punch.

pp. 315-335.


Hablot Knight Browne (“Phiz”).—Invincible Tendency to Exaggeration.—Charles Lever’s Opinion.—Weakness and Attenuation of his Figures.—Compared with John Leech.—Tendency to Reproduce.—All his Heroes closely Resemble One Another.—Charles Lever’s Complaint on this Score.—Great Ability of the Artist.—“Ralph Nickleby’s Visit to his Poor Relations.”—Newman Noggs.—Squeers.—Mrs. Nickleby’s Lunatic Admirer.—“Pecksniff’s Reception of the New Pupil.”—“Pleasant Little Family Party at Mr. Pecksniff’s.”—“Warm Reception of Mr. Pecksniff by his Venerable Friend.”—Quilp and Samson Brass.—Quilp and the Dog.—Mrs. Jarley’s Waxwork Brigand.—Capture of Bunsby by Mrs. Macstinger.—“Sunday under Three Heads.”—The Jack Sheppard Mania of 1840.—“The Way to the Gallows made Easy and Pleasant.”—“Phiz” not a Born Comic Artist.—Excellence in Depicting Graver Subjects.—“The Dombey Family.”—“Mrs. Dombey at Home.”—“Abstraction and Recognition.”—“The Dark Road.”—“Carker in his Hour of Triumph.”—“Bleak House.”—Why Browne suited Charles Dickens’s Requirements.—Coolness between Artist and Author.—One of Browne’s Finest Illustrations.—Decline of Book Etching.—Browne without an Idea of his Own.—Powerful Assistance rendered to Novelists by Book Illustrators of his day.—Sketches and Studies.—Death of the Artist.

pp. 336-354.


Kenny Meadows.—“Portraits of the English.”—A Thoroughly Useful Man.—Some Works Illustrated by Meadows.—His Merits Unequal.—His Contempt for Nature.—An Early Illustrator of Punch.—His Illustrated Shakespeare.—Some Excellent Work of Meadows.—His Death.—Robert William Buss.—Recommended to Illustrate “Pickwick” on Seymour’s Death.—Etchings Suppressed.—The “Buss Plates” not his at all.—His Paintings.—Lectures on Caricature and Graphic Satire.—Comic Publications which preceded or ran side by side with Punch.—Alfred William Forrester (Alfred Crowquill).—“A General Utility Man.”—Crowquill a Caricaturist.—His Talent and Cleverness.—Some of His Paintings.—Charles H. Bennett.—“Shadows.”—“Shadow and Substance.”—“Origin of Species.”—Taken on the Punch Staff.—Early Death.—Theatrical Performances for the Benefit of his Family.—Kate Terry.—Thackeray as a Comic Artist.—Satire on Charles Lever.—Unfitted to Illustrate his own Novels, and why.—His Genius Displayed in Literature not in Art.—Illustrations to “Vanity Fair” Considered.—Anthony Trollope on this Subject.

pp. 355-380.



First Work of Richard Doyle.—Receives his Art Training from his Father.—Joins Punch.—The Peace-at-any-Price Party.—The Troubles of 1848.—The Sea-Serpent of Revolution Upsetting the Monarchical Cock-boats.—Lord Brougham.—Richard Doyle’s Dream of the Future of Ireland.—The Window Tax.—“Manners and Customs of Ye Englishe.”—“The Month” upon Exeter Hall.—Establishment of the Papal Hierarchy in England.—The Causes of Doyle’s Retirement from Punch Explained.—Unselfishness of His Conduct.—Ultimate Consequences on his Prospects.—Number of his Punch Illustrations.—Caricatures of Richard Doyle.—“Brown, Jones, and Robinson.”—Works Illustrated by Doyle.—Mr. Hamerton’s Criticism on his Illustrations to “The Newcomes.”—His Death.—John Tenniel.—Joins Punch at the Commencement of Troublous Times.—Death of the Duke of Wellington.—Battle of Oltenitza.—Lord Aberdeen as the “Courier of St. Petersburg.”—Lord Aberdeen tries to Hold in the British Lion.—England the Unready.—“Peace” Seated on the Garrison Gun.—Punch’s Low Estimate of the Third Napoleon.—An “International Poultry Show.”—“The Eagle in Love.”—“Playing with Edged Tools.”—“An Unpleasant Neighbour.”—Louis Closes his Firework Shop “to please Johnny.”—Miss Britannia Refuses to Dance again with Louis.—Mr. Tenniel one of the most Versatile of Modern Designers.—Examples of his Graphic Satire.—Notice of his Cartoons Closes with 1864, in Accordance with the Plan of the Work.—His Comic Powers.

pp. 381-400.



A Buzz in a Box Frontispiece
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
Grand Entrance to Bamboozlem 81
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
Leap Year; or, John Bull’s Peace Establishment 50
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
A Peep in the Pump Room 57
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
“Creeping Like a Snail” 371
From Original Woodblock in possession of the Publishers.
Old Enough to Know Better 372
From Original Woodblock in possession of the Publishers.
The Departure 336
Dick Swiveller and the Lodger 340
The Rioters 346
Sam Weller and his Father 352
Woodcut Reproductions of the Original Sketches.
Interior of a Barber’s Shop 5
Salutation Tavern 11
Strephon and Chloe 11
By Permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
Frozen Out Gardeners 368
“Swearing the Horns” at Highgate 369
Both by permission of Messrs. W. & R. Chambers. xviii
Absent-mindedness 175
Bat Boroo 175
The Braintrees 171
The Deaf Postilion 171
The Dentist 175
The Elves and the Cobbler 180
Above six by permission of Messrs. Geo. Bell & Sons.
The Gin Shop 184
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
The Old Commodore 182
By permission of Messrs. Geo. Routledge & Son.
Russian Condescension 133
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
A Scene in Kensington Gardens 152
From Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
“A Tall Figure her Sight Engrossed” 182
By permission of Messrs. Geo. Routledge & Son.
The Tête-a-Tête 175
The Waits of Bremen 180
The Witch’s Switch 175
Above three by permission of Messrs. Geo. Bell & Sons.
John Bull Flourishing 99
Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
Cuts From “The Universal Songster” 110
By permission of Messrs. Geo. Routledge & Son.
The Abbot of Marmoustiers 8
The Landlord of the Three Barbels 9
Monseigneur Hugon 9
Serjeant-of-the-Justice Taupin 8
Above four by permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
A Connoisseur 24
The Gout 5
A Lesson in Apple Dumplings 24
Napoleonic Caricatures 18, 20
The National Assembly 26
A Peep at Christie’s 14
Royal Affability 24
Above seven by permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
Shakespeare Sacrificed 12
Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
Twopenny Whist 16
By permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
Marriage à la Mode 7
Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Sketch. xix
The Gallery 85
The Non-Paying Audience 85
Woodcut Reproductions of the Original Sketches.
The Election 286
“I hope, Mr. Smug, you don’t Beat your Boys!” 292
The Mayor and Corporation of Swinestead 278
“All the Talents” 3
“Anything will do for an Officer” 2
The Cobbler’s Cure for a Scolding Wife 29
Desire 11
Spitfires 28
Trumpet and Bassoon 2
Above six by permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
A Mountebank Painter 7
By permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
The Adelaide Mill 213
Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Caricature.
The Dying Clown 233
Woodcut Reproduction of the Original Sketch.
Angelica Arrives just in Time 379
By permission of Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.
Brown, Jones, and Robinson 392
By permission of Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew & Co.
Gruffanuff 378
By permission of Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.
Marginal Sketches (2) 375
By permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.
Monks of the Order of Flagellants 378
Prince Bulbo 378
Both by permission of Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.
Desire 11
“General Complaint” 11
Both by permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus.


The Farthing Rushlight.


The author desires to express his sense of obligation to the several publishers who have courteously granted him permission to reproduce drawings, the copyrights of which are vested in themselves; and at the same time to state his regret that other publishers, similarly situated with respect to other works, have not seen their way to render it possible for him to supply specimens of the style of certain artists, two of whom in particular, John Leech and H. K. Browne, must needs be conspicuous by their comparative absence.

Such Caricatures and Book Illustrations as have seemed specially desirable—of which the copyrights have lapsed and no editions are at the present day in print—have been engraved for this work by Mr. William Cheshire.





If you turn to the word “caricatura” in your Italian dictionary, it is Definition of Caricature just possible that you will be gratified by learning that it means “caricature”; but if you refer to the same word in old Dr. Johnson, he will tell you, with the plain, practical common-sense which distinguished him, that it signifies “an exaggerated resemblance in drawings,” and this expresses exactly what it does mean. Any distinguishing feature or peculiarity, whether in face, figure, or dress, is exaggerated, and yet the likeness is preserved. A straight nose is presented unnaturally straight, a short nose unnaturally depressed; a prominent forehead is drawn unusually bulbous; a protuberant jaw unnaturally underhung; a fat man is depicted preternaturally fat, and a thin one correspondingly lean. This at least was the idea of caricature during the last century. Old Francis Grose, who, in 1791, wrote certain “Rules for Drawing Caricaturas,” gives us the following explanation of their origin:—“The sculptors of ancient Greece,” he tells us, “seem to have diligently observed the form and proportions constituting the European ideas of beauty, and upon them to have formed their statues. These measures are to be met with in many drawing books; a slight deviation from them by the predominancy of any feature constitutes what is called character, and serves to discriminate the owner thereof and to fix the idea of identity. This deviation or peculiarity aggravated, forms caricatura.”


As a matter of fact, the strict definition of the word given by Francis Grose and Dr. Johnson is no longer applicable; the word caricature includes, and has for a very long time been understood to include, within its meaning any pictorial or graphic satire, political or otherwise, and whether the drawing be exaggerated or not: it is in this sense that Mr. Wright makes use of it in his “Caricature History of the Georges,” and it is in this sense that we shall use it for the purposes of this present book.




[January 1st, 1796.


“What shall we do with him?”

“Do with him? Why, make an officer of him!”

[Face p. 2.

T. Rowlandson.]

[April 13th, 1807.


The “Broad-Bottom Administration,” known as “All the Talents,” showing the several qualifications of the Ministry.

[Face p. 3.

Since the commencement of the present century, and more Change in the Spirit of English Caricature. especially during the last fifty years, a change has come over the spirit of English caricature. The fact is due to a variety of causes, amongst which must be reckoned the revolution in dress and manners; the extinction of the three-bottle men and topers; the change of thought, manners, and habits consequent on the introduction of steam, railways, and the electric telegraph. The casual observer meeting, as he sometimes will, with a portfolio of etchings representing the men with red and bloated features, elephantine limbs, and huge paunches, who figure in the caricatures of the last and the early part of the present century, may well be excused if he doubt whether such figures of fun ever had an actual existence. Our answer is that they not only existed, but were very far from uncommon. Our great-grandfathers of 1800 were jolly good fellows; washing down their beef-steaks with copious draughts of “York or Burton ale,” or the porter for which Trenton, of Whitechapel, appears to have been famed,1 fortifying themselves afterwards with deeper draughts of generous wines—rich port, Madeira, claret, dashed with hermitage—they set up before they were old men 3 paunches and diseases which rendered them a sight for gods and men. Reader, be assured that the fat men who figure in the graphic satires of the early part of the century were certainly not caricatured.

In connection with the subject of graphic satire, the names of the The three great Caricaturists of the Last Century. three great caricaturists of the last century—Gillray, Rowlandson, and Bunbury—are indispensable. The last, a gentleman of family, fortune, and position, and equerry to the Duke of York, was, in truth, rather an amateur than an artist. Rowlandson was an able draughtsman, and something more; but his style and his tastes are essentially coarse and sensual, and his women are the overblown beauties of the Drury Lane and Covent Garden of his day. George Moutard Woodward, whose productions he sometimes honoured by etching, and whose distinguishing characteristics are carelessness and often bad drawing, follows him at a respectful distance. The genius of James Gillray has won him the title of the “Prince of Caricaturists,” a title he well earned and thoroughly deserved. The only one of the nineteenth century caricaturists who touches him occasionally in caricature, but distances him in everything else, is our George Cruikshank.

Commencing work when George the Third was still a young man, Gillray and Rowlandson necessarily infused into it some of the coarseness and vulgarity of their century. With Gillray, indeed, this coarseness and vulgarity may be said to be rather the exception than the rule, whereas the exact contrary holds good of his able and too often careless contemporary. As might have been expected, every one who excites their ridicule or contempt is treated and (in their letterpress descriptions) spoken of in the broadest manner. Bonaparte is mentioned by both artists (in allusion to his supposed sanguinary propensities) as “Boney, the carcase butcher;” Josephine is represented by Gillray as a coarse fat woman, with the sensual habits of a Drury Lane strumpet; Talleyrand, by right of his club foot and limping gait, is invariably dubbed “Hopping Talley.” The influence of both artists is felt by those who immediately succeeded them. The coarseness, for instance, of Robert Cruikshank, when he displays any at all, which is seldom, is directly traceable to the influence 4 of Rowlandson, whom (until he followed the example of his greater brother) he at first copied.

Gillray wrought much the same influence upon George Cruikshank. Influence of Gillray on Cruikshank. I have seen it gravely asserted by some of those who have written upon him,2 that this great artist never executed a drawing which could call a blush into the cheek of modesty. But those who have written upon George Cruikshank—and their name is legion—instead of beginning at the beginning, and thus tracing the gradual and almost insensible formation of his style, appear to me to have plunged as it were into medias res, and commenced at the point when he dropped caricature and became an illustrator of books. Book illustration was scarcely an art until George Cruikshank made it so; and the most interesting period of his artistic career appears to us to be the one in which he pursued the path indicated by James Gillray, until his career of caricaturist merged into his later employment of a designer and etcher of book illustration, by which no doubt he achieved his reputation. In answer to those who tell us that he never produced a drawing which could call a blush into the cheek of modesty, and never raised a laugh at the expense of decency, we will only say that we can produce at least a score of instances to the contrary. To go no further than “The Scourge,” we will refer them to three: his Dinner of the Four-in-Hand Club at Salthill, in vol. i.; his Return to Office (1st July, 1811), in vol. ii.; and his Coronation of the Empress of the Nares (1st September, 1812), in vol. iv.

As the century passed out of its infancy and attained the maturer Revolution effected by H. B. age of thirty years, a gradual and almost imperceptible change came 5 over the spirit of English graphic satire. The coarseness and suggestiveness of the old caricaturists gradually disappeared, until at length, in 1830, an artist arose who was destined to work a complete revolution in the style and manner of English caricature. This artist was John Doyle,—the celebrated H. B. He it was that discovered that pictures might be made mildly diverting without actual coarseness or exaggeration; and when this fact was accepted, the art of caricaturing underwent a complete transition, and assumed a new form. The “Sketches” of H. B. owe their chief attraction to the excellence of their designer as a portrait painter; his successors, with less power in this direction but with better general artistic abilities, rapidly improved upon his idea, and thus was founded the modern school of graphic satirists represented by Richard Doyle, John Leech, and John Tenniel. So completely was the style of comic art changed under the auspices of these clever men, that the very name of “caricature” disappeared, and the modern word “cartoon” assumed its place. With the exception indeed of Carlo Pellegrini (the “Ape” of Vanity Fair), and his successors, we have now no caricaturist in the old and true acceptation of the term, and original and clever as their productions are, their compositions are timid compared with those of Bunbury, Gillray, Rowlandson, and their successors, being limited to a weekly “exaggerated” portrait, instead of composed of many figures.

James Gillray.

[May 14th, 1799.


W. H. Bunbury, etched by Gillray.]

[1811, pubd. May 15th, 1818.


[Face p. 5

But caricature was destined to receive its final blow at the hands of that useful craftsman the wood-engraver. The application of wood-engraving to all kinds of illustration, whether graphic or comic, and the mode in which time, labour, and expense are economised, by the large wood blocks being cut up into squares, and each square entrusted to the hands of a separate workman, has virtually superseded the old and far more effective process of etching. Economy is now the order of the day in matters of graphic satire as in everything else; people are no longer found willing to pay a shilling for a caricature when they may obtain one for a penny. Hence it has come to pass, that whilst comic artists abound, the prevailing spirit of economy has reduced their 6 productions to a dead level, and the work of an artist of inferior power and invention, may successfully compete for public favour with the work of a man of talent and genius like John Tenniel, a result surely to be deplored, seeing there never was a time which offered better opportunities for the pencil of a great and original caricaturist than the present.3

It is a common practice, and I may add mistake, with writers Mistake of those who compare modern Caricaturists with Hogarth. on comic artists or caricaturists of our day, to compare them with Hogarth. Both Hogarth and the men of our day are graphic satirists, but there is so broad a distinction between the satire of each, and the circumstances of the times in which they respectively laboured, that comparison is impossible. Those who know anything of this great and original genius, must know that he entertained the greatest horror of being mistaken for a caricaturist pure and simple; and although he executed caricatures for special purposes, they may literally be counted on the fingers. “His pictures,” says Hazlitt, “are not imitations of still life, or mere transcripts of incidental scenes and customs; but powerful moral satires, exposing vice and folly in their most ludicrous points of view, and with a profound insight into the weak sides of character and manners, in all their tendencies, combinations, and contrasts. There is not a single picture of his containing a representation of mere pictorial or domestic scenery.” His object is not so much “to hold the mirror up to nature,” as “to show vice her own feature, scorn her own image.” “Folly is there seen at the height—the moon is at the full—it is the very error of the time. There is a perpetual error of eccentricities, a tilt and tournament of absurdities, pampered with all sorts of affectation, airy, extravagant, and ostentatious! Yet he is as little a caricaturist as he is a painter of still life. Criticism has not done him justice, though public opinion has.”4 “A set of severer satires,” says Charles Lamb, “(for they are not so much comedies, which they have been 7 likened to, as they are strong and masculine satires), less mingled with anything of mere fun, were never written upon paper or graven upon copper. They resemble Juvenal, or the satiric touches in Timon of Athens.”

W. Hogarth.]

[“Mariage à la Mode.

Paul Sandby.]

[Anti-Hogarthian Caricature.

“A Mountebank Painter demonstrating to his admirers and subscribers that crookedness is ye most beautifull.”

[Face p. 7.

Hogarth was a stern moralist and satirist, but his satires have Character of Hogarth’s Satires. nothing in common with the satires of the nineteenth century; such men as the infamous Charteris and the quack Misaubin figure in his compositions, and their portraits are true to the life. Although his satire is relieved with flashes of humour, the reality and gravity of the satire remain undisturbed. The March to Finchley is one of the severest satires on the times; it shows us the utter depravity of the morals and manners of the day, the want of discipline of the king’s officers and soldiers, which led to the routs of Preston and Falkirk, the headlong flight of Hawley and his licentious and cowardly dragoons. Some modern writers know so little of him that they have not only described his portrait of Wilkes as a caricature, but have cited the inscription on his veritable contemporary caricature of Churchill in proof of the assertion. Now what says this inscription? “The Bruiser (Churchill, once the Reverend), in the character of a Russian Hercules, regaling himself after having killed the monster Caricatura, that so severely galled his virtuous friend, the heaven-born Wilkes.” Hogarth’s use of the word caricatura conveys a meaning which is not patent at first sight; Wilkes’s leer was the leer of a satyr, “his face,” says Macaulay, “was so hideous that the caricaturists were forced in their own despite to flatter him.”5 The real sting lies in the accuracy of Hogarth’s portrait (a fact which Wilkes himself admitted), and it is in this sarcastic sense that Hogarth makes use of the word “caricatura.”

Turning from Hogarth to a modern artist, in spite of his faults of Gustave Doré. most marvellous genius and inventive faculty, I frequently find critics of approved knowledge and sagacity describing the late Gustave Doré as a caricaturist. It may seem strange at first sight to introduce the name of Doré into a work dealing exclusively with 8 English caricature art, and I do so, not by reason of the fact that his works are as familiar to us in England as in France, not because he has pictorially interpreted some of the finest thoughts in English literature, but because I find his name so constantly mentioned in comparison with English caricaturists and comic artists, and more especially with our George Cruikshank. Now Gustave Doré is, if possible, still less a caricaturist than our English Hogarth. I have seen the ghastly illustrations to the licentious “Contes Drolatiques” of Balzac cited in proof of his claims to be considered a caricaturist. I will not deny that Doré did try his hand once upon a time at caricature, and if we are to judge him by these attempts, we should pronounce him the worst French caricaturist the world ever saw, which would be saying a great deal; for a worse school than that of the modern French caricaturists (and I do not except even Gavarni, Cham, or Daumier), does not anywhere exist. That this man of marvellous genius had humour I do not for one moment deny; but it was the grim humour of an inquisitor or torturer of the middle ages—of one that revels in a perfect nightmare of terror.6 Genius is said to be nearly allied to madness; and if one studies some of his weird creations—such, for instance, as The Judgment Day in the legend of “The Wandering Jew”—the thought involuntarily suggests itself that a brain teeming with such marvellous and often morbid conceptions, might have been pushed off its balance at any moment. Gustave Doré delights in lofty, mediæval-gabled buildings, with bartizans and antique galleries; in steep streets, dominated by gloomy turrets; in narrow entries, terminating in dark vistas; in gloomy forests, crowded with rocky pinnacles; in masses of struggling, mutilated men and horses; in monstrous forms of creeping, crawling, slimy, ghastly horror. By the side of the conceptions of Gustave Doré—teste for instance the weird pictures of “The Wandering Jew” already mentioned—George Cruikshank sinks at times into 9 insignificance; and yet side by side with George Cruikshank, as a purely comic artist or caricaturist, Doré is beneath mediocrity.

Gustave Doré.]

[From “Contes Drolatiques.”


Gustave Doré.]

[From “Contes Drolatiques.”


[Back to p. 8.

Gustave Doré.]

[From “Contes Drolatiques.”


Gustave Doré.]

[From “Contes Drolatiques.”


[Back to p. 9.

Artists and art critics not unnaturally regard caricature with some Mr. Hamerton’s observations on Caricature. disfavour. “Art,” says Hamerton, “with a great social or political purpose, is seldom pure fine art; artistic aims are usually lost sight of in the anxiety to hit the social or political mark, and though the caricaturist may have great natural facility for art, it has not a fair chance of cultivation.” Writing of Cruikshank’s “etchings” (and I presume he refers to those which are marked with comic or satirical characteristics), he says: “They are full of keen satire and happy invention, and their moral purpose is always good; but all these qualities are compatible with a carelessness of art which is not to be tolerated in any one but a professional caricaturist.”7 Now all this is true, and moreover it is fairly and generously stated; on the other hand, Mr. Hamerton will probably admit that no artist is likely to succeed in graphic satire, unless he be a man of marked artistic power and invention.

While treating incidentally of the etchings of artists who have distinguished themselves as graphic satirists or designers, with etching itself as an art this work has no concern. For those who would be initiated into the mysteries of etching and dry point, negative and positive processes, soft grounds, mordants, or the like, the late Thomas Hood has left behind him a whimsical sketch of the process, which, imperfect as it is, will not only suffice for our purpose, but has the merit probably of being but little known:—

“Prepared by a hand that is skilful and nice,

The fine point glides along like a skate on the ice,

At the will of the gentle designer,

Who, impelling the needle, just presses so much,

That each line of her labour the copper may touch,

As if done by a penny-a-liner.


Certain objects however may come in your sketch,

Which, designed by a hand unaccustomed to etch,

With a luckless result may be branded;


Wherefore add this particular rule to your code,

Let all vehicles take the wrong side of the road,

And man, woman, and child be left-handed.

Yet regard not the awkward appearance with doubt,

But remember how often mere blessings fall out,

That at first seemed no better than curses:

So, till things take a turn, live in hope, and depend

That whatever is wrong will come right in the end,

And console you for all your reverses.


But the acid has duly been lower’d and bites

Only just where the visible metal invites,

Like a nature inclined to meet troubles;

And behold as each slender and glittering line

Effervesces, you trace the completed design

In an elegant bead-work of bubbles.


But before with the varnishing brush you proceed,

Let the plate with cold water be thoroughly freed

From the other less innocent liquor;

After which, on whatever you want to protect,

Put a coat that will act to that very effect,

Like the black one which hangs on the vicar.

Then the varnish well dried—urge the biting again,

But how long, at its meal, the eau forte may remain,

Time and practice alone can determine:

But of course not so long that the mountain, and mill,

The rude bridge, and the figures—whatever you will—

Are as black as the spots on your ermine.

It is true, none the less, that a dark looking scrap,

With a sort of Blackheath and Black Forest, mayhap,

Is considered as rather Rembrandty;

And that very black cattle and very black sheep,

A black dog, and a shepherd as black as a sweep,

Are the pets of some great dilettante.


But before your own picture arrives at that pitch,

While the lights are still light, and the shadows, though rich.

More transparent than ebony shutters,

Never minding what Black-Arted critics may say,

Stop the biting, and pour the green blind away,

As you please, into bottles or gutters.


Then removing the ground and the wax at a heat,

Cleanse the surface with oil, spermaceti or sweet—

For your hand a performance scarce proper—

So some careful professional person secure,

For the laundress will not be a safe amateur,

To assist you in cleaning the copper.


Thus your etching complete, it remains but to hint

That with certain assistance from paper and print,

Which the proper mechanic will settle,

You may charm all your friends—without any sad tale

Of such perils and ills as beset Lady Sale—

With a fine India Proof of your metal.”8

Woodward, engr. by

[“Desire,” Jan. 20th, 1800.


W. H. Bunbury.]

[“Strephon and Chloe,” July 1st, 1804.


W. H. Bunbury.]

[“The Salutation Tavern,” July 21st, 1801.


G. M. Woodward.]

[“General Complaint,”
May 5th, 1796.

“Don’t tell me of generals raised from mere boys,

Though, believe me, I mean not their laurel to taint;

But the general, I’m sure, that will make the most noise,

If the war still goes on, will be General Complaint.”

[Face p. 11.


“Nor London singly can his porter boast,

Alike ’tis famed on every foreign coast;

For this the Frenchman leaves his Bordeaux wine,

And pours libations at our Thames’s shrine;

Afric retails it ‘mongst her swarthy sons,

And haughty Spain procures it for her Dons.

Wherever Britain’s powerful flag has flown,

there London’s celebrated porter’s known.”

The Art of Living in London (6th edition 1805).

2 One quotation shall suffice. Mr. William Bates tells us in his admirable “Maclise Portrait Gallery”:—“He never transgressed the narrow line that separates wit from buffoonery, pandered to sensuality, glorified vice or raised a laugh at the expense of decency. Satire never in his hands degenerated into savagery or scurrility. A moral purpose ever underlaid his humour; he sought to instruct or improve when he amused.” Mr. Bates will, we hope, pardon us if we say that this is not quite the fact. George Cruikshank in truth was no better or worse than his satirical brothers, and his tone necessarily improved from the moment he took to illustrating books.

3 Since the above was written, strange to say, caricature appears to be showing symptoms of revival.

4 “The Fine Arts,” by William Hazlett, p. 29.

5 “Critical and Historical Essays,” vol. iii., p. 574.

6 We can scarcely call the wonderful series of historical cartoons which he executed at sixteen caricatures, even in the modern sense of the word. Whatever humour they possess is neutralized by the grim irony which, even at this early period, characterized his work.

7 “Etching and Etchers,” by Philip Gilbert Hamerton, third edition, p. 246.

8 Thomas Hood’s “Etching Moralized,” in New Monthly Magazine, 1843, vol. lxvii. p. 4, and seq.




Although Gillray began his work in 1769,—thirty years before Proposed method Of Arrangement. our century commenced, and Rowlandson five years later on, in 1774, their labours were continued some years after 1799, and are so interwoven, so to speak, with the work of their immediate successors, that it is almost impossible in a work dealing with nineteenth century caricaturists to omit all mention of them. In collecting too materials for the present treatise, we necessarily met with many anonymous satires, without signature, initials, or distinguishing style, which may be, and some of which are probably due to artists whose pencils were at work before the century began. Even if equal in all cases to the task of assigning these satires to the particular hands which designed and executed them, we submit that little real service would be rendered to the cause of graphic satire. It appears to us therefore that the most convenient method will be to indicate in this and the following chapters some of the leading topics of caricature during the first thirty years of the century, and to cite in illustration of our subject such of the work of anonymous or other artists, for which no better place can be assigned in other divisions of the work.

James Gillray.

[June 20th, 1789.


Alderman Boydell, as High Priest within the magic circle, preparing an oblation to Shakspeare; the demon of Avarice, seated upon the List of Subscribers, hugging his money-bags; Puck on his shoulders blowing bubbles of “immortality” to the promoter of the “Gallery” about to be published. Shakespeare himself, obscured by the Aldermanic fumes. Figures of Shakspearean characters above.

[Face p. 12.

The attention of the public during the first fifteen years of the century was mainly directed to the progress and fortunes of the great national enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte. The hatred with which he was regarded in this country can scarcely be appreciated in these days; and in order that the cause of this bitter antipathy may be 13 understood, it will be necessary for us to consider Bonaparte’s general policy in relation to ourselves.

The close of the century had been signalized in France by the 18th Brumaire. memorable revolution of “the eighteenth Brumaire.” The Directory had ceased to exist, and a provisional consular commission, consisting of “Citizens” Sieyes, Ducos, and Bonaparte, was appointed. On the 13th of December, the legislative committees presented the new constitution to the nation, the votes against it being 1,562 as against 3,012,659 in its favour. Bonaparte was nominated first consul for ten, and Cambacères and Lebrun (nominal) second and third consuls for five years.

Although Bonaparte, as soon as he was appointed First Consul, made direct overtures to the king of England with a view to peace, he had himself to thank if his overtures met with no corresponding return. To accomplish the revolution of the “eighteenth Brumaire,” he had found it necessary to quit Egypt. The English knew the French occupation of Egypt was intended as a direct menace to British interests in India. Lord Granville, therefore, in his official reply, without assuming to prescribe a form of government to France, plainly but somewhat illogically intimated that the “restoration of the ancient line of princes, under whom France had enjoyed so many centuries of prosperity, would afford the best possible guarantee for the maintenance of peace between the two countries.” This New Year’s greeting on the part of Lord Granville put an end, as might have been expected, to all further communications.

The French, however, had no business in Egypt, and England was resolved at any cost to drive them out of that country. With this object in view, the armament under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie effected its disembarkation at Aboukir on the 8th of March, 1801. A severe though indecisive action followed five days afterwards. On the 20th was fought the decisive battle of Alexandria. General Hutchinson, on the death of the English commander, followed up the victory with so much vigour and celerity, that early in the autumn the French army capitulated, on 14 The French driven out of Egypt. condition of being conveyed to France with all its arms, artillery, and baggage. The capitulation was signed just in time to save French honour; for immediately after the conclusion of the treaty, a second British force, under the command of Sir David Baird, arrived from India by way of the Red Sea. Bonaparte’s favourite project of making Egypt an entrepôt for the conquest of Hindostan was thus most effectually checkmated.9

On the 1st of October, 1801, preliminaries of peace between France and Great Britain were signed in Downing Street; on the 10th, General Lauriston, aide-de-camp to the First Consul, having arrived with the ratification of these preliminaries, the populace took the horses from his carriage and drew it to Downing Street. That night and the following there was a general illumination in London.

The “preliminaries” referred to were those of the very unsatisfactory “Peace of Amiens,” as it was called. Its terms, by no means flattering to this country, were shortly these: France was to retain all her conquests; while, on the other hand, the acquisitions made by England during the war were to be given up. Malta and its dependencies were to be restored (under certain restrictions) nominally to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; the French were to evacuate Naples and the Roman States; and the British Porto Ferrago, and all the ports possessed by them in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic.

James Gillray.

[Sept., 1796.


A study of Lord Derby and Miss Farren (the actress), a few months before their marriage, enjoying the Fine Arts, he studying “The Death of Reynard,” she “Zenocrates and Phryne.”

[Face p. 14.

All this time a violent paper war had been maintained between the English press and the Moniteur, the official organ of the Consular Government. In the month of August, 1802, Bonaparte prohibited the circulation of the English newspapers, and immediately after the issue of the order, the coffee houses and reading rooms were visited by his police, who carried away every English journal upon which they could lay their hands. By way of answer 15 Bonaparte establishes an English Newspaper in Paris. to English abuse (to which Napoleon was singularly sensitive), the First Consul now established an English newspaper in Paris, which was thenceforth unceasingly occupied in vilifying the Government and people of England. This paper was called The Argus, and an Englishman, one Goldsmith,—whilom proprietor of the Albion newspaper in London,—was actually found mean enough to undertake the peculiarly dirty office of its editor.

The denouement was not long delayed. On the 13th of March, 1803, occurred the extraordinary and well-known scene between the First Consul and the English ambassador, Lord Whitworth. Bonaparte, in the presence of a numerous and astonished Court, vehemently accused England of breach of faith in not carrying out the provisions of the treaty, by still remaining in possession of Malta. The episode appears to have been of an extraordinary character, and the violence and ferocity of Bonaparte’s language and behaviour, maintained till the very close of the interview, must have contrasted strangely with the coolness of the English ambassador.

The restoration of Malta to the Knights of St. John was of course a mere nominal restitution, for, except in name, the Knights of St. John had ceased to exist. The First Consul really wanted the island for himself; and while he accused us of breach of faith, was himself acting all the while contrary to the spirit of the treaty of Amiens. While requiring that we should drive the royalist emigrants from our shores, he demanded that the English press should be deprived of its liberty of speaking in such frank terms of himself and his policy. His unfriendly conduct did not end here. At this very time he was actively employed in fomenting rebellion in Ireland, and in planting (under the nominal character of consuls) spies along our coast, whose treacherous objects were accidentally discovered by the seizure of the secret instructions issued to one of these fellows at Dublin. “You are required,” said this precious document, “to furnish a plan of the ports of your district, with a specification of the soundings for mooring vessels. If no plan of the ports can be procured, you are to point out with what wind 16 vessels can come in and go out, and what is the greatest draught of water with which vessels can enter the river deeply laden.”

Still there was no actual breach of the nominal peace between the two countries until the 12th of May, on which day Lord Whitworth left Paris. He landed at Dover on the 20th, meeting there General Audreossi, Napoleon’s minister to the English Court, on the point of embarking for France.

For two days before, that is to say on the 18th of May, 1803, England declares War. England had issued her declaration of war against France. In this document, our government alleged that the surrender of Malta to the knights of St. John of Jerusalem had been rendered impossible by the action of France and Spain, who had destroyed the independence of the Order itself. Reference was made to Bonaparte’s attempts to interfere with the liberty of the English press, and the indignities he had offered to our ambassador; but the real ground of quarrel was to be found in an official gasconade of Bonaparte’s, in which he declared that “Britain could not contend single handed against France,” a vainglorious boast, which (in those days at least) touched a chord which thrilled the patriotic feelings of every Englishman that loved his country.

Napoleon’s next step—a simply detestable action—was quite in accordance with the faithless policy which he pursued towards this country. The treaty of Amiens had induced crowds of English to cross the Channel, and on the specious pretext that two French ships had been captured prior to the actual declaration of war, he issued a decree on the 22nd of May, 1803, for the arrest and imprisonment of all Englishmen in France, over eighteen and under sixty years of age, all subjects of the king of England between those ages being considered, for the purpose of this outrageous order, as forming part of the English militia. This measure was carried out with the utmost rigour, and the eleven thousand English who thus became prisoners of war were deprived of their liberty fifteen years, and regained it only in 1814.

James Gillray.

[January 11th, 1796.


Mistress Humphrey and Betty, of St. James’ Street, their neighbour Mortimer (a well-known picture dealer) and a German guest.

[A satire, by contrast, on the high stakes of “White’s” and “Boodle’s.”]

[Face p. 16.

The feeling of the nation at this time may be judged by the debates in the Houses of Parliament. In the Commons, Mr. Grey 17 English Enthusiasm. moved an amendment, which, while it assured His Majesty of support in the war, expressed disapprobation of the conduct of Ministers. This amendment was rejected by 398 to 67. The unanimity in the Lords was still greater. The official statement that England was unable to contend single-handed with France produced a violent outburst of indignation, and the amendment moved by Lord King, to omit words which charged France with the actual guilt and responsibility of breaking the treaty, was negatived by 142 to 10. This was on the 23rd of May. On the 20th of June a great meeting was held at Lloyds, for the purpose of promoting a subscription for carrying on the war. Six days later on, five thousand merchants, bankers, and other persons of position met at the Royal Exchange, and unanimously agreed to a declaration which expressed their determination to “stand or fall with their king and country.” This resolution or declaration was seconded by the Secretary to the East India Company, and the meeting did not separate until “God save the King” and “Rule Britannia” had been sung, and nine cheers had been given for England and King George. On the 26th of August, His Majesty reviewed the London volunteers in Hyde Park, in the presence of the French princes, General Dumouriez, and two hundred thousand spectators; this military spectacle being followed on the 28th by a review, in the same place, of the Westminster, Lambeth, and Southwark corps. The number of volunteers actually enrolled in the metropolis and outparishes at this time was forty-six thousand.

The following year saw the final end of the great French Revolution; the names of the puppet “second” and “third” consuls had been long omitted from the public acts of the French Government. The motives of this omission were soon abundantly apparent; and in the month of May, 1804, Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of the French.

Some writers have doubted whether Napoleon entertained any serious intention of invading this country; but to doubt such intention would be really to doubt whether Nelson fell at Trafalgar, for that crushing defeat was simply the sequel and outcome of the 18 collapse of the emperor’s plans. The details of the invasion scheme were fully explained to General Sir Neil Campbell by Napoleon himself at Elba, in 1814, and afterwards confirmed by him in precisely similar terms to O’Meara at St. Helena. Those plans were defeated by the suspicions and vigilance of Lord Nelson; by his habit of acting promptly upon his suspicions; by the alacrity with which the Admiralty of the day obeyed his warnings; by the prescience of Lord Collingwood; and by the consequent intercepting of the combined French and Spanish fleets off Ferrol by Sir Robert Calder, in July, 1806. The moment this happened, Napoleon saw that his game—so far at least as England was concerned—was at an end; and fertile in resources, he immediately carried out the second part of his programme. Then followed, as we know, the campaign of Austerlitz, the treaty of Presburg, the war with Prussia, and finally the battle of Jena, in October, 1806.

Ever bent on humiliating and crippling the resources of Berlin Decree. England, Napoleon on the 1st of November, 1806, issued his memorable “Berlin Decree,” containing eleven clauses, of which this country formed the exclusive topic. By it, all trade and correspondence with the British Isles was prohibited; all letters and packets at the post office, addressed to England, or to an Englishman, or “written in English,” were to be seized; every subject of England found in any of the countries occupied by French troops or those of their allies, was to be made prisoner of war; all warehouses, merchandise, and property belonging to a subject of England were declared lawful prize; all trading in English merchandise forbidden; every article belonging to England, or coming from her colonies, or of her manufacture, was declared good prize; and English vessels were excluded from every European port.10 This outrageous “decree” Bonaparte imposed upon every country that fell under the iron sway of his military despotism.


“Ha, my little Boney! what dost think of Johnny Bull now? Plunder Old England, hay? Make French slaves of us all, hay? Ravish all our wives and daughters, hay? O, Lord help that silly head! To think that Johnny Bull would ever suffer those lanthorn jaws to become King of Old England’s Roast Beef and Plum Pudding!”


Bonaparte—“I’m a-coming! I’m a-coming!”

John Bull—“You’re a-coming!

If you mean to invade us, why make such a route?
I say, Little Boney,—why don’t you come out?
Yes, d—— you, why don’t you come out?”


[Face p. 18.

The policy, therefore, of the emperor towards England, which was contrary to all the usages of civilized warfare, will explain 19 Base Policy of Bonaparte. the bitter animosity with which he was regarded in this country. The English were molested everywhere; they were made prisoners at Verdun and in Holland; their property was confiscated in Portugal; Russia was cajoled, Prussia forced into a league against them, and Sweden menaced, because she persisted in maintaining her alliance with this country. The “Berlin Decree” was an infamous document, worthy rather the policy of a bandit chief than of a fair and honourable antagonist. It proclaimed war not against individuals, but against private property, and specially appealed to the cupidity of those to whom it was addressed. This base policy towards English subjects recoiled inevitably against its perpetrator; and its effects were soon felt in the fields of the Peninsula, the banishment to Elba, and above all, in the final consignment to the rock of St. Helena. We, on our part, ignored Bonaparte’s right to the title of emperor. With us, he was invariably “General Bonaparte,” and nothing more; and in the graphic lampoons of Gillray, Rowlandson, and Cruikshank, he was exhibited under the most ludicrous circumstances in connection with the divorce, the defeats of Russia and the Peninsula, and even the paternity of his son the young king of Rome. These caricatures were brought to his notice by his spies and emissaries in England; they rendered him furious; and one of them—Gillray’s admirable and, as it subsequently proved, prophetic satire of The Handwriting on the Wall—is said to have given him not only offence, but even serious uneasiness.

The tone of the English caricaturists may be gathered from one of the best of Woodward’s satires, published in 1807. It is entitled A Political Fair, in which the various shows are labelled Russian, Danish, Swedish, Westphalian, Austrian, Dutch, Spanish, and even American. The best show in the fair is kept of course by John Bull & Co., whilst Bonaparte is the proprietor of a humble stall, whereat gingerbread kings and queens are sold wholesale and retail by his Imperial Majesty.11 The same artist, in another but distinctly 20 inferior satire (published in November, 1807), gives us The Gallick Storehouse for English Shipping: on one side we see Napoleon accumulating vast stores of Spanish, Danish, Dutch, and Swedish vessels, intended to annihilate the naval power of England—the shipbuilder, however, shrugs his shoulders and suggests it is but time thrown away, for as fast as the ships are built, John Bull “claps them into his storehouse over the way.” The satire was suggested of course by the victory of Trafalgar in October, 1805; by Sir J. Duckworth’s capture of French shipping in January, 1806; and by the surrender of the Danish fleet after the bombardment of Copenhagen, in September, 1807.12

In a caricature published by Walker in 1808, we see Joseph Bonaparte (one of these Imperial ginger-bread monarchs) driven from Madrid by Spanish flies; the satire is entitled Spanish Flies, or Boney taking an Immoderate Dose, and has reference to the results of the Battle of Baylen, in Andalusia, one of the very few victories Battle of Baylen. ever obtained by the Spaniards against the French, where a division of 14,000 men surrendered to Castanos. This was on the 20th of July, and nine days afterwards Joseph retreated to Burgos with the crown jewels. The wretched Spaniards, however, were incapable of improving their victory; and General Castanos instead of following up the retreating enemy, went to Seville to fulfil a vow he had made of dedicating his unexpected victory to St. Ferdinand, on whose tomb he deposited the crown of laurel presented to him by his grateful countrymen. Of the Bonaparte caricatures of this year, no less than nineteen are due to the pencil of Thomas Rowlandson, and will be found fully described in Mr. Joseph Grego’s exhaustive work13 upon that artist and his works.





[Face p. 20.

The year 1809 witnessed the divorce from Josephine, and the marriage of the emperor to Marie Louise. The purposes for which 21 this matrimonial alliance was effected were made no secret of by the emperor, and were indicated of course in the plainest possible terms by the English contemporary caricaturists, who were certainly not troubled with any unnecessary scruples of prudery or delicacy. One of these satires, published by Tegg, on the 16th of August, 1810, is entitled Boney and his New Wife, or a Quarrel about Nothing, and indicates in the plainest possible terms that the purposes for which the divorce had been effected were as distant as ever. The result of this union, however, was the birth of the young king of Rome on the 20th of March, 1810, an event which set the pencils of our pictorial satirists once more in motion, and the young heir and his father were complimented by Rowlandson in a rough caricature, published by Tegg on the 9th of April, 1811, as Boney the Second, the little Babboon [sic] created to devour French Monkies.

In March, 1811, was fought the battle of Barossa; while the Battle of Barossa. same month Massena, finding it difficult to maintain his army in a devastated country, instead of fulfilling his vain-glorious boast of driving “the English into their native element,” began his own retreat from Santarem, abandoning part of his baggage and heavy artillery. Marching in a solid mass, his rear protected by one or two divisions, he retired towards the Mondego, preserving his army from any great serious disaster, though watchfully and vigorously pursued by Lord Wellington. The skilful generalship of the French marshal elicited of course no encomiums from the English caricaturists. On the contrary, we see (in “The Scourge” of 1st May, 1811) Wellington in the act of basting a French goose before a huge fire, a British bayonet forming the spit. While basting the goose with one hand, the English general holds over the fire in the other a frying-pan filled with French generals, some of whom—to escape the overpowering heat—are leaping into the fire; another British officer (probably intended for General Graham) blows the flames with a pair of bellows labelled “British bravery.” Napoleon appears in a stew-pan over an adjoining boiler, while we find Marshal Massena himself in a pickle-jar below. This satire is entitled, British Cookery, or Out of the Frying-pan into the Fire.


The star of Napoleon was beginning to wane in 1812. The snow Napoleon’s Star begins to wane. made its first appearance in Russia on the 13th of October of that year, and the French emperor already commenced his preparations for retreat. This is referred to in a very clever caricature published by Tegg on the 1st of December, 1812, wherein we find General Frost shaving Boney with a razor marked “Russian steel.” Napoleon stands up to his knees in snow, and out of the nostrils of the snow fiend [General Frost] issue blasts labelled “North,” “East,” “Snow,” and “Sleet.” Seven days later on, we meet with a roughly-executed cartoon, Polish Diet with French Dessert, wherein we see Napoleon basted by General Benningsen, the spit being turned by a Russian bear. This caricature, no doubt, has reference to the disastrous defeat by Benningsen of the French advanced guard, thirty thousand strong, under Murat, on the 18th of October, 1812, when fifteen hundred prisoners, thirty-eight cannon, and the whole of the baggage of the corps, besides other trophies, fell into the victors’ hands.

The retreat from Moscow is referred to in a satire published by Thomas Tegg on the 7th of March, 1813, labelled, The Corsican Bloodhound beset by the Bears of Russia; wherein Napoleon is represented as a mongrel bloodhound with a tin kettle tied to his tail, closely pursued by Russian bears. Various papers are flying out of the kettle, labelled “Oppression,” “Famine,” “Frost,” “Destruction,” “Death,” “Horror,” “Mortality,” “Annihilation.” “Push on, my lads,” says one of the pursuers. “No grumbling; keep scent of him; no sucking of paws this winter, here is food for the bears in all the Russias.” The emperor, in truth, had the narrowest escape from being made a prisoner by the Cossacks, a fact alluded to in another caricature published by Tegg in June, 1813, entitled, Nap nearly Nab’d, or a Retreating Jump just in time. Here, the emperor and one of his marshals are depicted leaping out of window, at the very moment when a Cossack with his lance appears outside the palings. “Vite,” says the marshal, in the peculiar patois adopted by the English caricaturists of the early part of the century, “Courez, mon Empereur, ce Diable de Cossack, dey spoil our dinner!!!”


Napoleon collected his marshals around him at Smorgoni, on the The Bulletin. 5th of December, 1812, and dictated a bulletin which developed the horrors of the retreat, and explained to them his reasons for returning to Paris. “I quit you,” he said, “but go to seek three hundred thousand men.” He then proceeded to lay the blame on the King of Westphalia, and his trusted and tried friend the Duc d’Abrantes; alleged that English torches had turned Moscow into a heap of ashes; and added (with greater truthfulness) that the cold had done the rest of the mischief. He entrusted the command to Murat, and bidding them farewell set out, accompanied only by Generals Coulaincourt, Duroc, and Mouton, the Mameluke Rustan, a captain of the Polish lancers, and an escort of Neapolitan horsemen. This event is referred to in a caricature, published by S. W. Fores on the 1st of January, 1813, entitled, Boney returning from Russia covered with Glory, leaving his army in comfortable winter quarters. Napoleon and Coulaincourt are seated in a sleigh driven by another general in jack boots, with a tremendous cocked hat on his head, a huge sword by his side, and a formidable whip in his hand. Coulaincourt inquires, “Will your Majesty write the bulletin?” “No,” replies Napoleon; “you write it. Tell them we left the army all well, quite gay; in excellent quarters; plenty of provisions; that we travelled in great style; received everywhere with congratulations; and that I had almost completed the repose of Europe” (a favourite expression of his). By way of contrast to these grandiloquent phrases, the eye is attracted to the surroundings. The ground is thickly coated with snow; in the foreground, two famished wretches cut and devour raw flesh from a dead horse. On all sides lie dead and dying men and animals, while in the distance we behold the flying and demoralized troops chased by a cloud of Cossacks. The English caricaturists follow the emperor into the sanctity of his private life; they depict in their own homely but forcible fashion the astonishment of the empress at his unexpected return, and the disgust of young “Boney the Second,” who not only expresses surprise that his imperial sire had forgotten his promise to “bring him some Russians to cut up,” but suggests that they seem 24 to have “cut him up” instead. These incidents are described in a satire entitled, Nap’s Glorious Return; or, the Conclusion of the Russian campaign, published by Tegg, in June, 1813.

The crushing defeat of Vitoria, the crowning disaster of Leipzig—sustained the same year, the subsequent abdication of Bonaparte, the return from Elba, the brief incident of the “hundred days,” the catastrophe of Waterloo, and the subsequent consignment of the great emperor to St. Helena, form of course the subjects of a host of graphic satires. Foremost amongst them (for Gillray’s intellect was gone), must be mentioned the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson and of George Cruikshank. The first being fully described in Mr. Grego’s work, we are not called on to mention them here, while the last will be fully set out when we come to treat of the caricature work of George Cruikshank.

The French royalist satirists of course expressed their views on French Royalist Satires. the situation. A French royalist caricature, published after Waterloo, represents Napoleon as a dancing bear forced to caper by England, his keeper, who makes an unsparing use of the lash, whilst Russia and Prussia play pipe and drum by way of music. A good answer, however, to this is found in a French caricature (published in the Napoleon interest), like most of the French satires of that period without date, entitled, L’après dinée des Anglais, par un Français prisonnier-de-guerre, which satirizes the after-dinner drinking propensities of the English of the period. The caricature, although neither flattering nor altogether decent, is probably not an exaggerated picture of English after-dinner conviviality while the century was young.


[“Royal Affability,” Feb. 10th.

“Well, friend, where a’ you going, hay? What’s your name, hay? Where do you live, hay?—hay?”


[Connoisseur examining a Cooper
June 18th, 1792.



[“A Lesson in Apple Dumplings.”

“Hay? hay? apple dumplings?—how get the apples in?—how? Are they made without seams?”

[Face p. 24.

By far the most biting, the most sarcastic, the most effective, and the most popular of the anti-Bonaparte caricatures are those by James Gillray, which commence before the close of the last century, and end in 1811, the year when the lurid genius of this greatest and most original of satirists was quenched in the darkness of mental imbecility. James Gillray, however, like his able friend and contemporary, Thomas Rowlandson, does not fall within our definition of a “nineteenth century” satirist; and I am precluded from describing 25 them. I have before me the admirable anti-Bonaparte satires of both artists; and inseparably linked as they are with the men who began work after 1800, the almost irresistible tendency is to describe some of them in elucidation of the events to which I have occasion to refer. To do so, however, although fascinating and easy, would be not only to wander from my purpose, but to invade the province of the late Thomas Wright and of Mr. Grego, which I am not called upon to do; to refer to them, however, for the purpose of this chapter, I have found not only necessary, but unavoidable.

Caricature, like literary satire (as we all know from the days of Injustice of the Caricaturists. the “Dunciad” downwards), has little concern with justice; but we who look back after the lapse of the greater part of the century, and have moreover studied the history and the surroundings of Napoleon Bonaparte, may afford at least to do him justice. Gillray is a fair exponent of the intense hatred with which Bonaparte was regarded in this country, when not only the little “Corsican,” but those about him, were held up to a ridicule which, oftentimes vulgar, partook not unfrequently of absolute brutality. Who would imagine, for instance, that the fat blousy female quaffing deep draughts of Maraschino from a goblet, in his famous satire of the Handwriting on the Wall, was intended for the refined and delicate Josephine? Occasionally, however, James Gillray descended to a lower depth, as in his Ci Devant Occupations (of 20th February, 1805), in which we see this delicate woman, with the frail but lovely Spaniard, Theresa de Cabarrus (Madame Tallien), figuring in a manner to which the most infamous women of Drury Lane would have hesitated to descend. Josephine de la Pagerie, as we all know, was anything but blameless; which indeed of les Déesses de la Revolution could pass unscathed through the fiery furnace of the Terror?14 But this miscalled 26 satire of James Gillray, which he dubs “a fact,” is nothing They mistake the character of Bonaparte. less than a poisonous libel. As for le petit Caporal himself, everyone now knows, that while he viewed the carnage of the battlefield with the indifference of a conqueror, he shrank in horror from the murderers of the Swiss; from Danton and his satellites, the Septembrist massacrists; from the mock trials and cold-blooded atrocities of the Terrorists. Standing apart from these last by right of his unexampled genius, with Danton, Marat, Robespíerre, Couthon, Carrier, Napoleon Bonaparte has nothing whatever in common. Looking back upon the ruins of his empire, the mistakes he had made, the faults he had committed, Napoleon, with reference at least to his own personal elevation, might say with truth: “Nothing has been more simple than my elevation. It was not the result of intrigue or crime. It was owing to the peculiar circumstance of the times, and because I fought successfully against the enemies of my country. What is most extraordinary is, that I rose from being a private person to the astonishing height of power I possessed, without having committed a single crime to obtain it. If I were on my death-bed I could make the same declaration.”15

To these facts, of course, James Gillray (if indeed he knew them) closed his eyes. In his sketch of the 12th of May, 1800, he shows us the young lieutenant at the head of tattered legions directing the destruction of the royal palaces. Blinded by the prejudice of his times, he seems apparently ignorant of the fact that Napoleon although a spectator of the attack on the Tuileries, had no power; that if he had, he would (as he himself expressed it at the time) have swept the sanguinary canaille into the gutters with his grape shot. Again, in his satires, he connects him repeatedly with the guillotine, to all appearance unconscious of the fact that between Napoleon and the guillotine no possible sympathy existed.

James Gillray.]

[June 28th, 1791.


1. Barber—“De King is escape! de King is escape!”

2. Cook.—“Aha! be gar, de King is retaken!! Aha! Monsieur Lewis is retaken, aha!!”

[The French Revolution.]

[Face p. 26.


A good idea of the appearance and costume of “the general” 27 Robert Dighton’s Sketches. and notables of the early part of the century, is given by the sketches of the last century artist, Robert Dighton. His etchings are not caricatures, as may be supposed, but likenesses of the oi polloi—the university dons—the prize-fighters—the butchers—the singers—actors—actresses—the men about town (“Corinthians,” as they were termed in the slang of the Regency)—the “upper ten”; and what amazingly queer folks were these last! The Duke of Grafton, with his tremendous beak, wig, and cocked hat, his mahogany tops and spurs, his long coat with the flapped pockets and his star; the Marquis of Buckingham, with his red fat face and double chin, which told tales of nightly good cheer, his cocked hat, military coatee, and terrific paunch, which resisted all attempts to confine it within reasonable military compass; John Bellingham—the murderer of Spencer Perceval,—with his retreating forehead, long pointed nose, drab cloth coat and exuberant shirt frill; “What? What? What?”—Great George himself, as he appeared in 1810, in full military panoply—huge ill-fitting boots, huge blue military coat, collar, lappets, and star, a white-powdered bob surmounting a clean-shaved unintellectual face, the distinguishing characteristics of which were a pair of protruding eyes surmounted by ponderous eyebrows.

A well-drawn caricature published by S. W. Fores on the 11th of May, 1801, gives us an admirable idea of the male and female costume of the period. It contains sixteen figures, and is entitled Tea just Over, or the Game of Consequences begun. “Consequences” would appear to have been a fashionable game at this time; but the “consequences” here alluded to are the immediate results of a pinch of snuff. The “consequences” of one gentleman sneezing are the following: he jerks the arm of the lady next him, the result being that she pours her cup of scalding hot tea over the knees of her neighbour, a testy old gentleman, who in his fright and pain raises his arms, jerking off with his cane the wig of a person standing at the back of his chair, who in the attempt to save his wig upsets his own cup and saucer upon the pate of his antagonist Another guest, with his mouth full of tea, witnessing 28 this absurd contretemps is unable to restrain his laughter, the result of which is that he blows a stream of tea into the left ear of the man who has lost his wig, at the same time setting his own pigtail alight in the adjoining candle. All these disasters, passing in rapid succession from left to right, are the direct “consequences” of one unfortunate pinch of snuff.

The year 1804 witnessed the advent of a performer whose theatrical reputation, notwithstanding the wonderful sensation it created for a couple of seasons, was not destined to survive his childhood. The brief furore he excited, enabled his friends to lay by for him a considerable fortune, which enabled him to regard the memory of his immature triumphs and subsequent failures with resignation. Master Betty, “the Young Roscius,” was not quite thirteen years Master Betty. of age when he made his first appearance at Covent Garden on the 1st of December, 1804, as Achmet in Barbarossa. He played alternately at the two great houses; twenty-eight nights at Drury Lane brought £17,210 into the treasury, whilst the receipts at Covent Garden during the same period are supposed to have been equally large. A rough caricature of 1804, bearing the signature “I. B.,” depicts the child standing with one foot on Drury Lane and the other on Covent Garden, with a toy whip in one hand and a rattle in the other, while two full-grown actors of real merit bemoan the decadence of public taste on the pavement below. Some years later on the pair might have said with Byron,—

“Though now, thank Heaven! the Rosciomania’s o’er,

And full-grown actors are endured once more.”16

The leading home political incident of 1806 was the impeachment and acquittal of Lord Melville, an event which is dealt with by Gillray, and also by Rowlandson in his graphic satire of The Acquittal, or Upsetting the Porter Pot, both artists alluding to Whitbread, the brewer, the head of the advanced Liberals, and one of the principal movers of Lord Melville’s impeachment.

T. Rowlandson.]

[October 25th, 1810.


[Back to p. 28.

T. Rowlandson.]



[Back to p. 29.


Gas, which now promises to be superseded in its turn by Introduction of Gas. electricity, was introduced into Boulton & Watts’ foundry, at Birmingham, as early as the year 1798, and the Lyceum Theatre was lit with gas (by way of experiment) in 1803; it met however with much opposition from persons interested in the conservation of the oil trade, and made no real progress in London until 1807, when it was introduced into Golden Lane on the 16th of August. Pall Mall, however, was not lighted with gas until 1809, and it was really not finally and generally introduced into London until the year 1820. We meet with an excellent satire published by S. W. Fores, in 1807, wherein a harlequin is depicted sitting on a rope suspended between a couple of lamp posts. The lamps and the hat of the figure are garnished with lighted burners; the neighbours in the windows of the adjoining houses, the people on the pavement below, the fowls, the dogs, the cats on the roofs, are suffocated with the noxious vapour. The figure holds in his hand a paper, whereon we read, “This is the speculation to make money, £10,000 per cent. profit all in Air-light air. ’Tis there, ’tis here, and ’tis gone for ever.” This caricature bears the title of The Good Effects of Carbonic Gas. A caricature of Woodward, engraved by Rowlandson, and published by Ackermann on the 23rd of December, 1809, gives us A Peep at the Gas Lights in Pall Mall, the interest of which chiefly centres in the eccentric form of the early street lamps. Among the groups looking on are a wondering “country cousin” and a “serious” companion. “Ay, friend,” says the latter, anxious of course, in season and out of season, to turn the occasion to profitable account, “verily it is all vanity! What is this to the inward light?” Some more disreputable members of the community are expressing their fears that the new light will interfere with their own peculiar modes of livelihood.

A clever and somewhat remarkable woman succeeded in achieving an unenviable notoriety in 1809. The daughter of a printer residing in Bowl and Pin Alley, near White’s Alley, Chancery Lane, the remarkably intelligent girl had early attracted the notice of friends, one of whom placed her at a boarding school, where she 30 picked up an education (such as it was) sufficient to sharpen her natural abilities. Her commencement in life was scarcely a hopeful one. Mary Anne Thompson eloped at seventeen years of age with one Joseph Clarke, the son of a builder on Snow Hill, and after living with him three years married him. The marriage was not a happy one. The pair after some years separated, and Mary Anne was thenceforth driven to trust for her support to her own resources and attractions.

These proved fully equal to the occasion. Somewhat small in Mary Anne Clarke. stature, nature had nevertheless endowed her with a remarkably well turned figure, well shaped arms, comely features, a singularly clear complexion, and blue eyes full of light and vivacity. Dressing with considerable taste and elegance—utterly shameless—without principle or character, with nothing to lose—everything to gain, the woman was eminently fitted to succeed in the peculiar path in life she had elected to follow. Throwing her line with all the dexterity of an accomplished angler, she succeeded almost at her first cast in hooking a very large fish indeed—his Royal Highness Frederick Duke of York, Commander-in-chief, Prince-bishop of Osnaburgh, who had attained at this time the respectable age of forty-six years.

Mary Anne proved, as might have been expected, an expensive plaything. In the short space of two years, the duke seems to have handed his mistress upwards of £5,000, besides expending on her in payments to tradesmen for wine, furniture, and other “paraphernalia,” at least £16,000 or £17,000 more. In time, as is not unusual in matters of this kind, the duke seems to have grown tired of his enslaver, and endeavoured to pension her off with an annuity of £400 a year; but with the niggardliness which was so distinguishing a characteristic of his family, payment was not only withheld, but when the woman applied for payment, the duke was mean and foolish enough to threaten her with prison and the pillory. Mrs. Clarke, a woman of genius and resource, instead of being frightened, straightway betook herself to Messrs. Wilberforce and Whitbread, the supporters of the impeachment of Lord Melville, and confessed to them certain irregularities of which she had been guilty.


Into the unsavoury revelations of Mary Anne Clarke, her traffic in the sale of military commissions, and still worse, in a system of ecclesiastical patronage in which she alleged his Royal Highness connived, we need not enter. They are set out as far as is necessary in Mr. Grego’s book, and also in Mr. Wright’s treatise on James Gillray and his works. Suffice it to say, that all these miserable exposures would have been saved, had the duke, instead of seeking to save his pocket, paid the annuity to which the woman was entitled. If by resigning, he thought to silence his unscrupulous persecutor, he was quickly and unpleasantly undeceived. The clever, unscrupulous woman had reserved her trump-card to the last. All this time she had been engaged in preparing her “Memoirs,” comprising not only the history of her transactions with his Royal Highness, but a series of his letters, containing, it is said, anecdotes of illustrious personages of the most curious and recherché description. The immediate publication of these “Memoirs” having been announced to his Royal Highness, the duke was driven in spite of himself to effect an arrangement. For a payment of £7,000 down, an annuity of £400 for her own life, and one of £200 for each of her daughters, the printed “Memoirs” (eighteen thousand copies) were destroyed, the publication suppressed, and above all the terrible private correspondence duly surrendered.

The mover of the committee of inquiry was one Wardle, colonel of a militia regiment, who for a very brief space of time was permitted to figure as a patriot; that he was a mere instrument in the hands of other persons seems now abundantly clear. No sooner had Mary Anne Clarke landed his Royal Highness, than she fixed her hook in the jaws of the luckless colonel, who, tool as he was, proved to be by no means a sharp one. It is obvious a woman of Mrs. Clarke’s character would be the last person to open her lips, unless it was made clear to her that it would be worth her while to do so. Her go-between in the transaction was a certain “Major” Dodd. Wardle gave Mrs. Clarke £100 for present necessities, and by way of earnest of more liberal promises which seem afterwards to have been repudiated by his employers. Through Major Dodd, 32 the clever, unprincipled woman secured a house in Westbourne Place, which she furnished in a style of comfortable elegance, and succeeded by her blandishments in swindling Wardle into becoming security for her furniture. The inevitable result of course followed. On the 3rd July, 1809, Wright, the upholsterer, brought his action against Wardle and recovered £1,400 damages,17 besides costs, “for furniture sold to the defendant to the use of Mary Anne Clarke.” The colonel, like the commander-in-chief, thus found himself not only out-manœuvred by his clever and unscrupulous ex-ally, but reaped the obloquy attendant on exposure and ridicule, instead of the glorification which had at first greeted his patriotic exertions.

Mary Anne Clarke and the Duke of York, afforded (as might have been expected) plenty of employment to the caricaturists. The theme, however, is treated too grossly for description, a subject to be regretted, as most of the satires, containing as they do admirable portraits of the principal personages, are exceedingly clever. The subject suited an artist who delighted in delineating the immodest and full-blown beauties of Drury Lane; and accordingly, more than forty caricatures on the subject of “The Delicate Investigation,” as it was called, are due to the pencil of Thomas Rowlandson.

In order to show the character of this infamous woman, we must The end of Mary Anne Clarke. follow her progress a little farther than either Mr. Grego or Mr. Wright appear to have done. In February, 1814, she once more made a public appearance: this time in the Court of Queen’s Bench. She seems to have got the Right Hon. William Fitzgerald, Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, by some means or other into her clutches, in connection with the proceedings of 1809. By this time, however, she had descended so low, that exposure was threatened unless a sum of money was deposited under a stone. In her threats, she announced her intention of “submitting to the public in a very short time two or three volumes, which might be followed by others as opportunity should suit or circumstances 33 require.” This threat, instead of extorting money, consigned Mary Anne to the custody of the marshal of the King’s Bench Prison for the space of nine calendar months, at the end of which period she was ordered to find securities to keep the peace for a space of three years. It might have gone harder with the brazen woman if the proceedings had taken any other form than that of an indictment for libel, and if she had not admitted her fault, and in some measure thrown herself upon the mercy of the court. The pages of history do not appear to be sullied with the intrusion of Mary Anne Clarke’s name after this period.

The year 1811 is marked by an event which claims special record in a work treating of English caricatures and caricaturists of the century. In that year, James Gillray executed the last of his famous etchings; and although mere existence was prolonged for nearly four years afterwards, till the 1st of June, 1815, he sank in 1811 into that hopeless and dreary state of mingled imbecility and delirium from which the intellect of this truly great and original genius was destined never to recover.

9 “If it had not been for you English, I should have been Emperor of the East; but wherever there is water enough to float a ship, we are sure to find you in our way.”—Napoleon to Captain Maitland. See Maitland’s “Narrative of the Surrender of Bonaparte,” p. 99.

10 London Chronicle, December 6th, 1806.

11 See also Gillray’s previous satire of the 23rd of January, 1806 (which probably suggested this), Tiddy Doll, the Great French Gingerbread Baker, drawing out a new batch of kings.

12 See also Gillray’s cartoon of 1st October, 1807, British Tars towing the Danish Fleet into Harbour.

13 See vol. ii., p. 92, et seq.

14 In a loose age, Madame Tallien, notwithstanding such virtues as she possessed, was a loose character. Between 1798 and 1802 she had three children, who were registered in her family name of Cabarrus. On the 8th of April, 1802, at her own request a divorce was pronounced from Tallien, and with two husbands still alive she married (14th July, 1805,) Count Joseph de Caraman, soon after heir of the Prince de Chimay. She died in the odour of sanctity, on the 15th of January, 1835.

15 O’Meara, vol. i, p. 250.

16 “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.”

17 According to Mr. Grego, £2,000.




Drury Lane Theatre, which was burnt down in 1811, was rebuilt 1812. the following year, and the committee, anxious to celebrate the opening by an address of merit corresponding to the occasion, Rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre. advertised in the papers for such a composition. Theatrical addresses, however, as we all know by reference to a recent occasion,18 are not always up to the mark; and whether the result of their appeal was unsatisfactory, or whether—as appears not unlikely—they were appalled by the number of competitors, which is said to have been upwards of one hundred, not one was accepted, the advertisers preferring to seek the assistance of Lord Byron, who wrote the actual address which was spoken at the opening on the 10th of October, 1812. Among the competitors was a Dr. Busby, living in Queen Anne Street, who apparently unable to realize the fact that competent men could have the effrontery to reject his “monologue,” refused to accept the verdict of the committee. A few evenings afterwards, the audience and the company were electrified by an unexpected sensation. Busby and his son sat in one of the stage boxes; and the latter, to the amazement of the audience, stepped at the end of the play from his box upon the stage, and began to recite his father’s nonsense, as follows:—

“When energizing objects men pursue,

What are the prodigies they cannot do?”

The question remained unanswered; for Raymond, the stage 35 Dr. Busby’s “Monologue.” manager, walked at this moment upon the stage accompanied by a constable, and gave the amateur performer into custody. It is said that his father, not content with this failure, actually made an attempt to recite the “monologue” from his box, until hissed and howled down by the half laughing, half indignant audience. The circumstance is commemorated by an admirable pictorial satire entitled, A Buz in a Box, or the Poet in a Pet, published by S. W. Fores on the 21st of October, in which we see the doctor gesticulating from his box, and imploring the audience to listen to his “monologue.” Young Busby, seated on his father’s Pegasus (an ass), quotes one of the verses of the absurd composition, while the animal (after the manner of its kind) answers the hisses of the audience by elevating its heels and uttering a characteristic “hee haw.” By the side of Busby junior stands the manager (Raymond), apologetically addressing the audience. Certain pamphlets lie scattered in front of the stage, on which are inscribed (among others) the following doggerel:—

“A Lord and a Doctor once started for Fame,

Which for the best poet should pass;

The Lord was cried up on account of his name,

The Doctor cried down for an ass.”

“Doctor Buz, he assures us, on Drury’s new stage

No horses or elephants there should engage;

But pray, Doctor Buz, how comes it to pass,

That you your own self should produce there an ass?”

Dr. Busby was a person desirous of achieving literary notoriety at any amount of personal inconvenience. He translated Lucretius, and is said to have given public recitations, accompanied with bread and butter and tea; but in spite of these attractions, the public did not come and the book would not sell, facts which a wicked wag of the period ridiculed, by inserting the following announcement in the column of births of one of the newspapers: “Yesterday, at his house in Queen Anne Street, Dr. Busby of a stillborn Lucretius.”

The medical profession is ridiculed in a satire published in 36 1813. 1813: Doctors Differ, or Dame Nature against the College.19 Four physicians have quarrelled in consultation over the nature of their patient’s malady, and the proper mode of administering to his relief. Unable to convince one another, they wax so warm in argument that they speedily proceed from words to blows. “I say,” shouts one (beneath the feet of the other three), “I say it is an exfoliation of the glands which has fallen on the membranous coils of the intestines, and must be thrown off by an emetic.” “I say,” says another, raising at the same time his cane to protect his head, “I say it is a pleurisie in the thigh, and must be sweated away.” “You are a blockhead!” cries a third, furiously striking at him with his professional cane. “I say it is a nervous affection of the cutis, and the patient must immediately lose eighteen ounces of blood, and then take a powerful drastic.” “What are you quarrelling about?” asks a fourth, arresting the downfall of his professional brother’s cane. “You are all wrong! I say it is an inflammation in the os sacrum, and therefore fourteen blisters must be immediately applied to the part affected and the adjacents.” The table is down, and the prescriptions of the learned doctors covered with the ink which flows from the ruined inkstand. The amused patient (whom nature has meanwhile relieved of the cause and effect) watches the combat from the adjoining bedroom, and makes preparations to retreat and save both his “pocket and his life.”

The year 1814 was marked by the bursting of one of the most 1814. extraordinary religious bubbles with which England has ever been scandalized. The person identified with and responsible for the craze to which we allude, was Joanna Southcott, the daughter of Joanna Southcott. a farmer residing at the village of Gettisham, in Devonshire, where she herself was born in the month of April, 1750. At the time, therefore, the imposture was made patent to such of her deluded followers as retained any remnants of the small stock of common 37 sense with which nature had originally endowed them, Joanna was sixty-four years of age.

The village girl appears to have been a constant reader of the Scriptures, which she studied with so much enthusiasm, that a strong religious bias was established, which took almost entire possession of her mind. Still, no marked peculiarity was manifested until after she had attained forty years of age, at which time we find her employed as a workwoman at an upholsterer’s shop at Exeter. The proprietor being a Methodist, the shop was visited by ministers of that persuasion, and Joanna, with her “serious turn of mind,” was not only permitted to join in their discussions, but was regarded by these harmless folk somewhat in the light of a prodigy. To a mind predisposed to religious mania (for it would be unjust to stigmatize Joanna altogether as a wilful impostor) the result was peculiarly unfortunate; she was visited with dreams, which she quickly accepted as spiritual manifestations, instead of being, as they really were, indications of a disordered digestion.

Two years afterwards Joanna retired from secular business, and set up as a prophetess at Exeter. She declared herself to be the woman spoken of as “the bride,” “the Lamb’s wife,” the “woman clothed with the sun.” The county lunatic asylum might have done good at this point; but its wholesome discipline, unfortunately, was not resorted to. She published in 1801 her first inspired book, “The Strange Effects of Faith,” which absolutely brought five “wise men of Gotham” to inquire into her pretensions from different parts of England. Three of these learned pundits were Methodist parsons, and these three parsons declared themselves satisfied that the mission of Joanna was a divine one. It is needless to add that in England, no matter how absurd the nature of a so-called divine mission, it is safe and certain to attract believers; and by the year 1803 the doctrines of Joanna Southcott were eagerly swallowed by numerous simpletons in various parts of the country.

Thus fortified, Joanna issued a manifesto, in which she stated 38 her calling and pretensions: we set it out in all the original baldness of its composition:—

“I, Joanna Southcott, am clearly convinced that my calling is of God, and my writings are indited by His Spirit, as it is impossible for any spirit but an all-wise God, that is wondrous in working, wondrous in wisdom, wondrous in power, wondrous in truth, could have brought round such mysteries, so full of truth, as is in my writings; so I am clear in whom I have believed, that all my writings came from the spirit of the most high God.”

Joanna was clear in whom she believed, and her followers were equally “clear” in their belief in Joanna. This incoherent nonsense was signed in the presence of fifty-eight simpletons, all of whom expressed their confidence in the inspired mission of their precious prophetess.

Her disciples rapidly increased, and she visited in her apostolic character, Bristol, Leeds, Stockport, and other large centres, obtaining numerous converts everywhere. Among them was the celebrated engraver, William Sharp; and to the last this man, who out of his calling was the veriest simpleton living, and who had swallowed successively the doctrines of Richard Brothers, Wright, Bryan, and Joanna, believed in the divine mission of this unincarcerated lunatic.

Although Joanna did not (like Joseph Smith) discover a book, she discovered a seal, which one of her disciples is said to have picked up in a dust-heap at Clerkenwell. With this miraculously acquired talisman the spirit ordered her to “seal up the people,” and as “the people” were limited to one hundred and forty-four thousand, and each of the elect had to pay a sum varying at different times from a guinea to twelve shillings, or even lower, for the privilege of being “sealed up,” the scheme promised at first to turn out a comfortably profitable one. Into the details of the “sealing” it is unnecessary for us to enter. Suffice it to say that the numbers of the “sealed,” up to 1808, when for some unexplained reason the process appears to have been discontinued, exceeded six thousand simpletons; the numbers of 39 her deluded followers in the metropolis and its vicinity alone, are supposed at one time to have amounted to a hundred thousand.

Joanna was a coarse, common-place, and somewhat corpulent woman; she dressed in a plain, quaker-like garb, in a gown of Calimancoe, with a shawl and bonnet of drab colour. The three leading preachers in her chapel in Southwark (her great stronghold), were a Mr. Carpenter, who, after learning his business, set up as a prophet on his own account; a Mr. Foley, and a lath-render named Tozer. She had chapels also in Spitalfields, Greenwich, Twickenham, and Gravesend.

The scribblings in prose and verse of this illiterate creature, instead of being committed to the waste paper basket, were solemnly preserved and received as prophecies. Attacked at last with dropsy, her delusions assumed the following objectionable form: she prophesied, and Sharp and his fellow-disciples—some of whom were men of fair education—actually believed, that Christ was to be born again under the name of “Shiloh,” and that she, Joanna, at the age of sixty-five, was to be the mother. The revelation which proclaimed the miraculous accouchement was worded as follows: “This year [1814], in the sixty-fifth year of thy age, thou shalt have a son by the power of the Most High; which if they (the Hebrews) receive as their prophet, priest, and king, then I will restore them to their own land, and cast out the heathen for their sakes, as I cast out them when they cast out Me, by rejecting Me as their Saviour, Prince, and King, for which I said I was born, but not at that time to establish My kingdom.”

One might have imagined that this gibberish would open the eyes of some at least of her votaries: their insane enthusiasm, on the contrary, increased. Joanna was absolutely inundated with the “freewill” offerings of the faithful—a costly cradle, white robes, pinafores, shoes of satin and worsted, flannel shirts, napkins, blankets, silver spoons, pap-boats, mugs, silver tea-pots, sugar-basins, tongs, and corals,—absolutely without number. The absurdity of the simpletons who sent these offerings was severely 40 criticised, both in England and on the Continent; and by way apparently of answering her traducers, Joanna inserted an apostolical advertisement in the Morning Chronicle of Thursday, 22nd September, 1814, and in the Courier of Friday, 23rd, in which she stated that, in consequence of the false and malicious reports in circulation respecting herself, she was desirous of treating for “a spacious and ready-furnished house to be hired for three months, in which her accouchement may take place in the presence of such competent witnesses as shall be appointed by proper authority to prove her character to the world.” The appointed day—the 29th of October—however passed by, and the prophecy remained of course unfulfilled, although, in the manufacturing towns of the north, crowds of the faithful assembled to wait the arrival of the coaches, in expectation of tidings of the great manifestation. The satire entitled, Delivering a Prophetess (in vol. 8 of “The Scourge”), has reference to the actual event which occurred on the 27th of December, 1814, when death relieved Joanna of her delusions and her dropsy; the wretched creature declaring on her deathbed that, “if she had been deceived, she had at all events been the sport of some spirit, good or evil.” Joanna forms the subject of one of Rowlandson’s caricatures of 1814, Joanna Southcott, the Prophetess, Excommunicating the Bishops, published by Tegg on the 20th of September, 1814. We shall also have to refer to her again when we treat of the caricatures of George Cruikshank.

This year (1814) the Princess Charlotte, heiress presumptive Flight of the Princess Charlotte. actually ran away in a hackney coach, to avoid being affianced to the Prince of Orange, to whom Her Royal Highness evinced an invincible repugnance. The event is referred to in a caricature entitled, Plebeian Spirit, or Coachee and the Heiress Presumptive (published by Fores on the 25th of July), which shows us the princess emerging from Warwick House, followed by Britannia (who raises her hands in a suppliant attitude), and the dejected British lion. “Coachman, will you protect me?” she appeals to the driver. “Yes, yes, your Highness,” replies the fellow, “to the last drop of my blood!” A servant in the royal livery holds up his hands 41 in amazement and horror, while another spurs off in hot haste to apprise the Regent of the flight of his daughter. But a satire of far superior merit, entitled, Miss endeavouring to excite a glow with her Dutch Plaything,20 was issued by the same publisher a few days previously, in which the rejected prince figures as a Dutch top, which the princess has kept spinning for some time. “There,” she says to her father at last, “I have kept it up for a long while; you may send it away now, I am tired of it; mother [i.e. the Princess Caroline] has got some better plaything for me.” “What! are you tired already?” exclaims the Regent. “Take another spell at it, or give me the whip.” “No, no,” replies Her Royal Highness; “you may take the top, but I’ll keep the whip.” Behind her is a picture representing an orange falling with Cupid headlong into space. The Regent was so incensed at his daughter’s refractoriness, that he went at once to Warwick House and dismissed all her attendants, and never forgave the Duke of Sussex for his supposed share in breaking off the connection. It was immediately after this event that her mother, the Princess Caroline, contrary to the advice of her friends and well-wishers, applied for permission to make that tour on the Continent which, owing to her own obstinate folly and contempt for the duties of her high station, was destined—as we shall afterwards find—to end in such disastrous consequences to herself.

In the course of the year 1812, England had become involved—scarcely 1812 1815. through any fault of her own—in a war with the United States of America. The causes of difference were mainly due to the obnoxious Orders in Council, which had been forced upon us in consequence of the Berlin and Milan Decrees of Napoleon. As an evidence, however, of our own friendly intentions, it may be mentioned that the Regent had issued a declaration on the 23rd of April, that if at any time the obnoxious decrees should by an authentic act be absolutely repealed, thenceforth the Orders in Council of 7th January, 1807, and 26th April, 1809, should be revoked; 42 America and England. and the American representative, having, on the 20th of May, transmitted to the English Court a copy of a French decree of the 20th of April, by which the decrees of Milan and Berlin were declared to be no longer in force, so far as American vessels were concerned, the Regent declared that, although he could not accept the terms of the decree as satisfying the conditions of his own declaration of the 23rd of April, yet, with the view of re-establishing friendly relations, he revoked the Orders in Council of 7th January, 1807, and April 26th, 1809, so far as regarded American vessels and American cargoes. Of this repeal, be it observed, the United States Government took no notice, it might be in consequence of the very reasonable proviso annexed to the Regent’s concession, that unless the Government of the United States revoked their exclusion of British armed vessels from their harbours, while those of France were admitted, and their interdiction of British commerce, while that of France was allowed, the order was to be of no effect.

A very old English proverb tells us that “a stick is never wanting to beat a dog;” and where one nation wishes to fasten a quarrel on another, and the opportunity be favourable, there will be no difficulty in finding an excuse. There were other causes of discontent; in particular our claim to search not only for English goods, but for British seamen serving on board neutral vessels; and as the sovereignty of the seas depended on upholding these assumptions, our Government was as strenuous in enforcing them as the French emperor was bent on the maintenance of his continental system.

The Americans, however, were anxious for a war with this country, and in particular, the opportunity seemed eminently favourable for attempting the conquest of Canada. A motion in the House of Representatives, for the indefinite postponement of a bill for raising 25,000 additional troops, was rejected by a majority of 98 to 29. An outrageous bill, specially intended as an insult to England, was introduced into the same House about the end of April, “for the protection, recovery, and indemnification of American seamen,” the first clause of which declared that every person who, under pretence of a commission from a foreign power, should impress upon 43 Hostile Spirit of the Americans. the high seas a native seaman of the United States, should be adjudged a pirate and a felon, and should upon conviction suffer death. Another of its articles gave to every such seaman impressed under the British flag, the right of attaching in the hands of any British subject, or in the hands of any debtor of any British subject, a sum equal to thirty dollars per month for the whole time of his detention. This monstrous bill was actually allowed to pass a third reading. The temper of the Americans may be judged by the result of the voting on Mr. Randolph’s motion in the same House, on the 29th of May. That gentleman submitted “that, under the present circumstances, it was inexpedient to resort to a war with Great Britain.” The question being then put, that the House do proceed to the consideration of the said resolution, it was negatived by 62 votes against 37. Under the overpowering influence of these feelings, war was declared against England on the 18th of June, 1812; our own declaration was not issued until the 13th of October following.

“Our American cousins,” did not wait for this joinder of issue; they had invaded Canada early in July. On the 11th of that month, the American General Hull, with a body of 2,500 men—regulars and militia—crossed the river above Detroit with most disastrous consequences to himself. He was speedily forced to retreat, and on the 16th of August to surrender the important fort of Detroit itself, with his 2,500 men and thirty-three pieces of artillery. Although this disaster seriously disconcerted the American plans of invasion, the design was by no means abandoned. A considerable force was assembled in the neighbourhood of Niagara, and on the 13th of October, the American General Wadsworth, with some 1,400 men, made an attack on the British position of Queenstown, on the Niagara river. Wadsworth, with 900 men and many officers, was speedily compelled to surrender to British forces not exceeding the number of his own following.

On the other hand, the losses of the Americans on land were to some extent balanced by their naval successes. On the 19th of August, the English frigate Guerriere, Captain Dacres, was forced 44 American Naval Successes. after a gallant but (as we shall see) unequal fight, to strike her colours to the American frigate Constitution, Captain Hull. Under similar conditions, the English frigate Macedonia, Captain Carden, was forced on the 25th of October, after an hour’s hard fighting, in which the English lost 104 men killed and wounded, to yield to the American frigate United States, Commodore Decatur. These successes were due to the following causes: the rate of the American frigates corresponded to the largest British; but in size, weight of metal, and number of men, were almost equal to line-of-battle ships; the American navy too, at this time, was manned by sailors many of whom were unfortunately British tars, while many more had been trained in British service.

Although we do not profess to give a history of the Anglo-American war of 1812-14, some slight sketch of its more remarkable incidents seems necessary for the purpose of enabling the reader to understand what has to follow. Having named some of the American naval successes, we can scarcely pass over the well-known fight of the 1st of June, 1813. Captain Broke, of the British frigate Shannon, 330 men, burning with indignation at the naval defeats of his countrymen, having diligently perfected his crew in discipline, offered battle to the United States frigate Chesapeake, for which he had long been watching. The Chesapeake was a fine ship, carrying forty-nine guns (18- and 32-pounders) and a complement of 440 men. The American captain, nothing loth, bore down on his antagonist off Boston light-house. The ships were soon in close contact; but the gallant English captain, discerning his opportunity, gave orders for boarding, himself setting the example; and after a sanguinary fight of only fifteen minutes, hauled down his adversary’s flag and carried off the Chesapeake in triumph. The invasion of Canada was still persevered in by the Americans, with varying successes and defeats; but the results of the campaign of 1813 were in the end disastrous to them; and by the 12th of December, both provinces of Canada were freed from the invaders, who retired to winter quarters within their own territory. Another determined attempt to penetrate into Canada was made by them 45 The English Assume the Offensive. in July, 1814, the British troops in the first instance being obliged to fall back: this was on the 5th. Their triumph, however, was of brief duration. Veteran troops, who had served under Wellington in Spain, had meanwhile arrived at Quebec; General Drummond arrested the further retreat of Riall’s division, and a decisive battle ensued, which terminated in the defeat of the Americans, who were obliged to retire with precipitation beyond the Chippewa. On the following day they abandoned their camp, threw the greater part of their baggage and provisions into the rapids, and after destroying the bridge over the Chippewa, continued their retreat in great disorder to Fort Erie. Out of a force of 5,000 men, they had lost in killed, wounded, and prisoners at least 1,500. This defeat, and the timely arrival of veteran troops from Europe, appear to have decided the British commanders to change the defensive warfare they had hitherto adopted, and the small operations they had conducted on the coast of the southern States, for offensive movements of greater vigour.

A large naval force was despatched under the command of Vice-Admiral Cockrane, having on board a powerful land force commanded by General Ross. The latter landed on the 20th of August at Benedict; marched to Nottingham on the 21st, and to Upper Marlborough on the 22nd, Admiral Cockrane in the meanwhile, with the barges, armed launches, and other boats of the fleet, having the marines on board, proceeding up the Patuxent on the flank of the army. The American Commodore blew up his vessels, seventeen in number, with the exception of one which fell into the hands of the British. The troops reached Bladensburg (about five miles from Washington) on the 24th.

About 9,400 Americans (400 of whom were cavalry) drawn up to oppose them, were speedily routed, with the loss of ten pieces of artillery and the capture of their commanding officer, General Barney. It appears to have been General Ross’s first intention to return to his ships after laying the capital under contribution; but the Americans having fired upon the bearer of the flag of truce who was sent forward with the conditions, all thoughts of an arrangement were 46 Burning of Washington. dissipated. The soldiers pressed into the city, and after burning a frigate and sloop of war, the President’s residence, the capitol—including the Senate House and House of Representatives, dockyard, arsenal, war office, treasury, and the great bridge over the Potomac, re-embarked on the 30th of August.

A part of the operations against Washington consisted in despatching a force against Fort Washington, situate on the Potomac below that city. Captain Gordon, the commander of this expedition, proceeded with the Sea Horse and several other vessels up the river on the 17th of August, but was unable to reach the fort till the 27th. The place being rendered untenable by the explosion of a powder magazine, the garrison spiked their guns and evacuated it next day. The populous and commercial town of Alexandria, situated higher on the river, thus lost its sole protection; and Captain Gordon, having no obstacle to oppose his progress, buoyed the channel, and placed his ships in such a position as to enforce compliance with his terms. The town (with the exception of public works) was not to be destroyed nor the inhabitants molested on compliance with the following articles:—All naval and ordnance stores, public and private, were to be given up, together with all the shipping, the furniture of which was to be sent on board by their owners; the sunk vessels to be delivered in their original condition; the merchandise of every description to be immediately delivered up, including all removed from the town since the 19th; and the British squadron to be supplied with refreshments at the market price. This capitulation was signed on the 29th; the whole of the captured vessels—twenty-one in number—were fitted, loaded, and delivered, by the 31st; and Captain Gordon had got back with all his ships and prizes, and anchored in safety in the Chesapeake by the 9th of September.

These events are referred to in a pictorial satire (published by Fores on the 4th of October, 1814), entitled, The Fall of Washington, or Maddy [i.e., President Madison] in full flight:—

“Death of thy soul those linen cheeks of thine

Are counsellors to fear.”


James Madison and one of his ministers, habited as Quakers Flight of President Madison. (a then popular mode of ridiculing the Americans), are seen in full flight, carrying under their arms bundles of compromising papers. By the “Bill of fare of the Cabinet Supper at President Madison’s, August 24th, 1814,” which has fallen at his feet, the flight would really seem to have been of the most hasty character. “I say, Jack,” says an English tar, pointing at the same time to the flying President, “what, is that the man of war that was to annihilate us, as Master Boney used to say?” “Aye, messmate,” answers his companion; “he is a famous fighter over a bottle of Shampain; why, he’d have played —— with us if we had let him sit down to supper.” Five Americans (all Quakers) meanwhile make their own observations on the situation: “Jonathan,” says one, “where thinkest thou our President will run to now?” “Why, verily,” answers Jonathan, “to Elba, to his bosom friend.” “The great Washington,” remarks a third, “fought for liberty; but we are fighting for shadows, which, if obtained, could do us no earthly good, but this is the blessed effects of it.” “I suppose,” observes a fourth, “this is what Maddis calls benefitting his country.” “Why,” answers his friend, “it will throw such a light on affairs, that we shall find it necessary to change both men and measures.” The popular notion of the day that there had been some understanding between “Boney” and the Yankees, was scarcely unnatural under the circumstances we have narrated. The President himself is made to say to his companion, “Who would have thought of this man, to oblige us to run from the best cabinet supper I ever ordered? I hope you have taken care of Boney’s promissory notes; the people won’t stand anything after this.” “D—n his notes,” answers the other; “what are they good for now? We should get nothing but iron; he hasn’t any of his stock of brass left, or some of that would have helped us through this business.”

The caricaturist simply reflected the opinion of his countrymen in insinuating that the Yankees had some understanding or sympathy with Bonaparte; but in this they were mistaken. With Napoleon and his system the Americans had no sympathy or feelings in 48 common. Probably all that the satirist intended to convey was the fact that they had brought the retaliatory measure (severe as it was) upon themselves, and in this undoubtedly he was right. The Americans would never have dreamed of invading Canada had they not supposed that we were so hampered with our struggle with Bonaparte in 1812. It was perhaps well for America that we were not actuated by the same embittered feelings as themselves; that our generals were incompetent, and their plans both badly conceived and most inefficiently carried out.

Notwithstanding these successes, the caricaturists proved a trifle The Caricaturists too Jubilant. too jubilant. On the 11th of September, a British naval force—consisting of a frigate, a brig, two sloops of war, and some gunboats—attacked the American flotilla before Platsburg, on Lake Champlain, and after a severe conflict were all captured, with the exception of the gun-boats, Captain Downie, the English commander, being killed at the very beginning of the engagement. Sir G. Prevost, in consequence of this disaster, began his retreat, leaving his sick and wounded to the mercy of the enemy. The Americans having now collected from all quarters, the British retired to their lines, and relinquished all idea of penetrating into the State of New York. On the 12th, however, an attempt was made to enter Baltimore, and although in the engagement which followed the American troops were broken and dispersed in the course of fifteen minutes, the victory was dearly purchased by the death of General Ross, while the defensive arrangements of the harbour were so perfect and so formidable, that the attempt was obliged to be given up.

Although peace was concluded in the following December, the intelligence unfortunately did not reach the belligerents in time to prevent further mistakes and bloodshed. A series of operations of the British army in the neighbourhood of New Orleans occupied the last week of December and a part of January. An army had been collected for an attack on that town under the command of General Kean, which, with the assistance of Admiral Cochrane, was disembarked without resistance on the 23rd December. On the 25th, General Sir Edward Pakenham arrived and assumed the chief 49 command. On the 27th, the enemy’s picquets were driven in within six miles of the town, where their main body was found most strongly posted, and supported by a ship of war moored in such a position as to enfilade the assailants. The result was that the assault of the British was delivered under so withering a fire from every part of the enemy’s line, that General Pakenham was killed, Generals Keane and Gibbs wounded, while over 2,000 men and officers were killed, wounded, or made prisoners. Colonel Thornton, indeed, had crossed the river during the previous night and captured a flanking battery of the Americans on the other side; but the report made by him to General Lambert was of so discouraging a character that he decided not to persevere with the attempt, and in the end the whole army re-embarked, leaving a few of the most dangerously wounded behind them, but carrying off all their artillery, ammunition, and stores. The concluding operation of the war was the capture of Fort Mobile, which surrendered to the British on the 11th of February.

A remarkable figure puts in an appearance in the caricatures of 1815.
Romeo Coates.
the early part of the century. This was the renowned “Romeo” Coates, a vain, weak-minded gentleman, who had an absolute passion for figuring on the boards as Romeo, Lothario, Belcour, and other romantic characters, for which his personal appearance and lack of brains altogether unfitted him. His “readings,” like himself, being of the most original character, his vagaries afforded endless amusement to the coarse public of his day. The gods befooled him “to the top of his bent;” his overweening vanity failing to show the poor creature that he was exciting ridicule instead of applause. The fun (?) culminated in the tragic scene, Romeo, to their delight, responding to the encores of his audience, by repeating the dying scene so long as it suited the managers to prolong the sorry exhibition. Macready, whose dramatic genius and refined sensibilities revolted at a spectacle so degrading, describes him as he appeared at Bath, in 1815: “I was at the theatre,” says the tragedian, “on the morning of his rehearsal, and introduced to him. At night the house was too crowded to afford me a place in front, and seeing me 50 behind the scenes, he asked me, knowing I acted Belcour, to prompt him if he should be ‘out,’ which he very much feared. The audience were in convulsions at his absurdities, and in the scene with Miss Rusport, being really ‘out,’ I gave him a line which Belcour has to speak, ‘I never looked so like a fool in all my life,’ which, as he delivered it, was greeted with a roar of laughter. He was ‘out’ again, and I gave him again the same line, which, again being repeated, was acquiesced in with a louder roar. Being ‘out’ again, I administered him the third time the same truth for him to utter, but he seemed alive to its application, rejoining in some dudgeon, ’I have said that twice already.’ His exhibition was a complete burlesque of the comedy and a reflection on the character of a management that could profit by such discreditable expedients.” Poor “Romeo” Coates lived to get over his theatrical weakness, and died (in 1848), in his seventy-sixth year, from the results of a street accident.

[Published March, 1816, by S. W. Fores, 50, Piccadilly.


“When two ride upon a horse, one must ride behind.”

[Face p. 50.

The Princess Charlotte of Wales, having successfully thrown over 1816.
Marriage of the Princess Charlotte.
her royal Dutch suitor, was married at Carlton House to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, afterwards King of the Belgians, on the 2nd of May, 1816. Prior to the marriage, Parliament had voted a provision for an establishment for the pair of £60,000, while in the event of the princess’s death, £50,000 was settled on the prince during his life. Leap Year, or John Bull’s Establishment (S. W. Fores, March, 1816) shows us John Bull with a bit in his mouth, driven by Her Royal Highness, who lashes him unmercifully with a tremendous horse-whip. Miserable John is saddled with a pair of panniers, one of which carries the prince and his money bags, the other being filled with heavy packages labelled with different impositions or items of expenditure of which John is the victim. “Plans for thatched cottages,” “Plan for pulling down and rebuilding,” “Assessed taxes,” “Increase of salaries,” “Army for peace establishment,” and so on. Says Leopold to the princess, “You drive so fast, I shall be off!!!” “Never fear,” she replies; “I’ll teach you an English waltz.” The gouty Regent hobbles after them on his crutches, the supports of which are formed of dragons from his 51 famous Brighton Pavilion. “Push on!” he shouts to his daughter and future son-in-law, “Push on! Preach economy! and when you have got your money, follow my example.” “Oh! my back,” groans poor John, crawling with the greatest difficulty under the weight of his heavy burdens. “I never can bear it! This will finish me.”

The two years which succeeded the fall of Bonaparte were remarkable for the distress which prevailed amongst the industrial classes in England. The glory we had reaped in our long struggle with France was forgotten in the consideration of the almost insupportable burdens which it necessarily entailed. The sufferings Popular Discontent. of the masses prompted them to seek relief by bringing their grievances before Parliament; but the reception their petitions met with, served only to show the little sympathy which existed between the national representatives, as then elected, and the people of England. Petitions were next presented to the Regent himself, while the popular discontent found expression in large meetings convened in London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, and other industrial centres. These meetings, it was observed, were convened, attended, and addressed almost exclusively by the working classes, the middle and upper ranks taking no share in the proceedings. The speakers pointed out in impressive and forcible language the various evils which they said had brought about their altered condition; the waste of public money in perpetual wars, in unearned pensions, sinecures, and other unjust expenditure. The high price of provisions provoked riots at Brandon, Norwich, Newcastle, Ely, Glasgow, Preston, Leicester, Merthyr, Tredegar, and other places; a large number of the populace assembled in Spafields in December to receive the Regent’s answer to their petition. While waiting the arrival of “orator” Hunt, one of the most popular of the agitators of the day, a band of desperadoes appeared on the scene with a tri-coloured flag, and headed by a man named Watson, who, after delivering a violent harangue from a waggon, led them into the city. The rioters pillaged several gunsmiths’ shops, but the prompt action of Lord Mayor Wood, the strong party of constables at his back, who seized several of the rioters, and the appearance 52 on the scene of the military, soon induced the rioters to disperse. In January, 1817, John Cashman, one of the Spafields rioters, was tried for burglariously entering the shop of Mr. Beckworth, a gunsmith, and hanged opposite the scene of his depredations.

The Regent opened Parliament on the 28th of January, 1817. 1817.
Regent opens Parliament.
In his address, he said that “the distress consequent upon the termination of a war of such universal extent and duration, had been felt with greater or less severity throughout all the nations of Europe, and had been considerably aggravated by the unfavourable state of the season.” Alluding to the proceedings of the popular agitators, he added: “In considering our internal situation, you will, I doubt not, feel a just indignation at the attempts which have been made to take advantage of the distresses of the country, for the purpose of exciting a spirit of sedition and violence.... I am determined to omit no precautions for preserving the public peace, and for counteracting the designs of the disaffected.” Whether this statement was the cause or not, the Regent had a narrow escape on his return from the House; for, while passing at the back of the gardens of Carlton House, the glass of his window was broken, either by a stone or (as was supposed) by two balls from an air-gun, which appeared to have been aimed at His Royal Highness.

On the 6th of February, Lord Cockrane presented to the House of Commons the petition of the Spafields meeting, signed by 24,000 persons. It prayed for annual parliaments, universal suffrage, and reduction in the public expenditure. He presented at the same time a petition from Manchester, signed by 30,000 persons, praying for reform in Parliament and economy in the public expenditure. Sir Francis Burdett also presented a Leeds petition for the same objects, containing 7,000 signatures. These were of course only legitimate modes of expressing the wants of the people; but, unhappily, quite independent of the action of the popular leaders, the country in some parts was so disturbed, so closely on the brink of insurrection, that ministers found themselves obliged twice during the course of the year to resort to the almost unprecedented measure 53 of suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, on the first occasion at the end of February, and on the second in June.

At a meeting held at Manchester in March, for the purpose of petitioning the Regent against the suspension of the Act, it was proposed and agreed that another meeting should be held on the following Monday (the 10th of March), with the professed intention that ten out of every twenty persons who attended it should proceed to London with a petition to His Royal Highness. The meeting took place accordingly; many thousands actually attended in full marching order (i.e. provided with a bundle and a blanket); and a considerable body appear to have made some advance on their way before their further progress was arrested. Expeditions of a similar character were simultaneously planned, attempted, and frustrated in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, there were trials for high treason at Westminster Government Spies. Hall; trials of rioters at York and Derby; and at the latter town, on the 7th of November, three miserable men were hung. Among the witnesses at these trials appear to have been two men named Castle and Oliver: and it came out that these fellows, with two other Government spies, named Edwards and Franklin, had been among the chief fomenters by speeches and writings of the seditions in the Metropolis and northern counties. The disclosures made by these scoundrels produced of course a great sensation and numerous satires. One of these, entitled, More Plots!!! More Plots!!! published by Fores in August, 1817, is “dedicated to the inventors, Lord S [idmouth] and Lord C [astlereagh].” It is divided into four compartments. In the first we see four foxes (typifying no doubt the four informers) watching the movements of a flock of geese. “’Tis plain,” says one of the former, “there is a plot on foot; let’s seize them, Brother Oliver.” “I have no doubt of it: I can smell it plainly,” answers his companion. In the second, a couple of fierce nondescript beasts are regarding a number of innocent lambs: “These bloodthirsty wretches,” remarks one of the two, “mean to destroy man, woman, and child, I know it to a certainty; for they carry sedition, privy conspiracy, 54 and rebellion in their looks.” “And I’ll swear it, Brother Castle,” says his companion; “let’s dash at them.” In the third, a cat watches the movements of some unsuspecting mice: “There’s a pretty collection of rogues gathered together,” observes Grimalkin; “if there is not a plot among them, burn my tail and whiskers.” In the last, we behold a Kite just about to pounce on some chicken: “The world’s over-run with iniquity,” says the bird of prey; “and these troublesome miscreants will not let honest hawks sleep in security.” We shall return to the subject of these Government spies and the troubles of 1817 in the graphic satires of George Cruikshank.

In 1817, the rivalry between the two national theatres ran so Edmund Kean and Booth. high, that the Covent Garden management employed agents to scour the provinces in search of a rival to Edmund Kean at Drury Lane. After a time one was found in the person of Lucius Junius Booth, who in stature, rôle of characters, and (as it was imagined) style of acting, closely resembled, if he did not equal, the great original. He made his début at Covent Garden, in the character of Richard the Third. Whether it was a success or not seems doubtful; for the manager being out of town, those deputed to act as deputies did not care to undertake the responsibility of engaging the new star. In this dilemma, overtures were made to him by the rival house, which he accepted, and made his appearance as “Iago” to Kean’s “Othello” to a densely-packed audience at Drury Lane. So great was the likeness between the two actors, that strangers were puzzled to know which was Kean and which was Booth, until the tragedy reached the third act, when the genius of Kean made itself felt, and no doubt remained in the minds of the audience which was master of his art.

Booth, in fact, discovered that he had made a mistake, and the day after his trial at old Drury, signed articles to return to Covent Garden for three years. Here he proved a great attraction; he must have been in truth an actor of no ordinary merit; his rendering of the character of Lear, in particular, met with universal approbation, and in this tragedy he was supported by actors of the ability of Charles Kemble and William Macready, both of whom he threw 55 into the shade. At the end, however, of his engagement, feeling that he was incapable of meeting Kean on anything like equal terms, he set sail for America.

The appearance of Edmund Kean and Lucius Junius Booth at Drury Lane is referred to in a satire entitled, The Rival Richards, published by S. W. Fores in 1817. The sketch (evidently the work of an amateur) shows us Folly seated on an ass, holding in one hand a pair of scales, in one of which stands Booth, and in the other Edmund Kean. To the mind of the satirist there appears to be no difference in the abilities of the two performers, as the scales exactly balance. On the right, the portico of Covent Garden is overshadowed by the inelegant but massive proportions of Drury Lane; the intervening space being occupied by various figures and details, among which is a “patent clapping machine.” An advertisement board carried by one of the figures clearly shows that the satire—an elaborate idea badly worked out—has reference to the period when both actors were engaged at “old Drury.”

Undoubtedly the most important event of the year 1818 was the 1818.
Evacuation of France.
congress of the allied sovereigns at Aix-la-Chapelle, and the evacuation of France which followed. By the second treaty of Paris, the stay of the occupying armies had been fixed at a period of five years; but by an official note, dated the 4th of November, 1818, the ministers of Austria, Great Britain, Russia, and Prussia, referring to the engagements entered into by the French Government with the subscribing powers to that treaty, stated that such Government had fulfilled all the clauses of the treaty, and proposed, “with respect to those clauses, the fulfilment of which was reserved for more remote periods, arrangements which were satisfactory” to the contracting parties. Under these circumstances the sovereigns resolved that the military occupation of France should forthwith be discontinued.

On the 7th of November, the Duke of Wellington, commander-in-chief of the army of occupation, issued an order of the day, taking leave of the troops under his command, which concluded in the following terms:—


“It is with regret that the general has seen the moment arrive when the dissolution of this army was to put an end to his public connections and his private relations with the commanders and other officers of the corps of the army. The field marshal deeply feels how agreeable these relations have been to him. He begs the generals commanding in chief to receive and make known to the troops under their orders, the assurance that he shall never cease to take the most lively interest in everything that may concern them; and that the remembrance of the three years during which he has had the honour to be at their head, will be always dear to him.”

Wellington appears to have received particular marks of distinction from the Emperor Alexander; but what may have been the particular tittle tattle which led up to the caricature we shall next describe, we are now unable to fathom. That it grew out of the event which we have attempted to describe will be sufficiently obvious. It is entitled, A Russian Dandy at Home; a scene at Aix-la-Chapelle, and was published by Fores in December, 1818. In it, the satirist shows us the Duke arrayed in the regimentals of a Russian general, part of which comprise a pair of jack-boots considerably too large for him, a fact which amuses the Emperor and certain English and Cossack officers at his back. The following doggerel appended to the satire affords an explanation of its meaning:—

“It is said that the head of the forces allied,

Not having a coat to his back,

A generous monarch the needful supplied;

And when thus equipped, they sat down side by side,

To drink their champagne and their sack.

Now, doubtless this hero of wonderful note,

Had the monarch allowed him to choose,

Would have bartered the honour to sit in his coat,

For the pleasure to stand in his shoes.”

Published February, 1818, by S. W. Fores, 50, Piccadilly]


[Face p. 57.

A well-drawn caricature, published by Fores in February, 1818, Queen Charlotte. and entitled, A Peep at the Pump Room, or the Zomersetshire Folks in a Maze, shows us a singularly ugly old woman habited in a wonderful bonnet, and clothes of antiquated make and fashion, 57 drinking the Bath waters in the midst of a circle of deeply interested and curious gazers. This poor old woman, who looks very like an old nurse, is no less a person than Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of George the Third, who, in failing health and rapidly drawing towards the close of her earthly pilgrimage, had been recommended by her physicians to try the effect of the Bath waters. The excitement which this event occasioned in the then gay, but now decayed western city, is thus referred to by Mrs. Piozzi in two of her contemporary letters to Sir James Fellowes: “The queen has driven us all distracted; such a bustle Bath never witnessed before. She drinks at the Pump Room, purposes going to say her prayers at the Abbey Church, and a box is making up for her at the theatre.” And again: “Of the clusters in the Pump Room who swarm round Queen Charlotte, as if she were actually the queen bee, courtiers must give you an account.” At the back of Her Majesty’s chair stands the portly figure of the Duke of Clarence, who recommends the old lady to qualify the water (which is evidently very distasteful to her) with a little brandy. “George and I,” he adds, “always recommend brandy.” A fat, well favoured woman in a flower-pot bonnet, with a gin bottle in her hand, on the other hand recommends the old queen to qualify the Bath water with a dash of “Old Tom,” advice which is seconded by the old woman next her. Behind this last stands the physician, watch in hand, watching, and moreover predicting in very plain terms, the expected action of the medicated water. The folks behind make their observations on the old lady’s appearance. “Well, I declare,” says one, “I see nothing extraordinary to look at.” “Why, she doant look a bit better than oul granny,” remarks a country joskin. “Who said she did, eh, dame?” replies her companion. Poor old Queen Charlotte was never a beauty, and those who remember her exaggerated likenesses in the satires of Gillray, will not fail to recognise her in the present satire. One of her well-known habits is referred to by the snuff-box which lies at her feet.

The poor old lady was beyond the help of the Bath waters or of any earthly assistance. We find Mrs. Piozzi writing a few months 58 later on: “Nothing kills the queen, however. It is really a great misfortune to be kept panting for breath so, and screaming with pain by medical skill: were she a subject, I suppose they would have released her long ago; but diseases and distresses of the human frame must lead to death at length,” which was the case with the poor old queen, who died nine months after the date of the satire (in November, 1818).

The announcement of the marriages of four of her children this year, viz.: of the Princess Elizabeth to Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse Homburg; of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, to Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg (and mother of Queen Victoria), on the 29th of May; of Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, to Augusta, daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse, on the 1st of May; and of William Henry, Duke of Clarence (afterwards William the Fourth), to Adelaide, daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, on the 11th of July, gave rise to a coarse though admirably executed caricature entitled, The Homburg Waltz, with Characteristic Sketches of Family Dancing, in which all these royal personages, with the Regent at their head, are seen prominently figuring amongst the dancers.

A forgotten but ingenious instrument, the kaleidoscope, was Invention of the Kaleidoscope. invented by Sir David Brewster in 1818. The leading principles of the toy appear to have been accidentally discovered in the course of a series of experiments on the polarization of light by successive reflections between plates of glass. The invention of this now despised toy made a tremendous sensation at the time, and the inventor was induced to take out a patent for its protection; but he had, it appears, divulged the secret of its construction before he had secured the invention to himself, and the consequence was that, although “it made a hundred shopmen rich,” it brought the inventor himself but little substantial benefit. This is explained by the fact that it was so simple in construction, that even when made without scientific accuracy, it served to delight as well as to amuse. So largely was it pirated, that it was calculated that no fewer than two hundred thousand were sold in three months in London and Paris 59 alone. Judging by a caricature of Williams’s, published by Fores in June, 1818, and its doggerel explanation, the toys would appear even at this time to have been made and sold by every street boy. The satire is called, Caleidoscopes, or Paying for Peeping. In it, we see the pertinacious vendors pushing the sale of their wares upon the passengers in the streets—many of them women. A bishop resolves to buy one because the coloured glass reminds him of a painted window in his cathedral, another person has paid dearly for “peeping,” and discovers that while gratifying his curiosity, his “pocket-book has slipped off with two hundred pounds in it.” Williams was a satirist of the old school, and the allusions made by some of the vendors render this otherwise interesting satire wantonly coarse and indelicate. Attached to this rare and curious production is the following doggerel:—

“’Tis the favourite plaything of school-boy and sage,

Of the baby in arms and the baby of age;

Of the grandam whose sight is at best problematical,

And of the soph who explains it by rule mathematical.

Such indeed is the rage for them, chapel or church in,

You see them about you, and each little urchin

Finding a sixpence, with transport beside his hope,

Runs to the tin-man and makes a caleidoscope!”

Another invention made its appearance in 1819: this was the 1819.
The Hobby.
velocipede, or as it was then called “the hobby,” the grandfather of the bicycle and tricycle of our day. A tall gawky perched on the summit of a lofty bicycle, with an enormous wheel gyrating between a couple of spindle shanks capped with enormous crab-shells, is a sufficiently familiar and ridiculous object in our times; but the appearance presented by the people of 1819, who adopted the spider looking thing called a “hobby,” was so intensely comical that it gave rise to a perfect flood of caricatures. The best of these we have personally met with is one entitled, The Spirit Moving the Quakers upon Worldly Vanities, a skit upon the Society of Friends (published by J. T. Sidebotham). The scene is laid in front of a “Society of Friends Meeting House,” and numerous “Friends” of 60 both sexes are busily engaged in exercising their hobbies. In the foreground, a broad-brimmed young “Friend” gives ardent and amorous chase to a lovely Quakeress, who, apparently disinclined to encourage his advances, urges her steed to its utmost speed, and makes frantic endeavours to get out of his way.

The internal condition of the country this year (1819) gave cause Depression in Trade. for much anxiety. Pecuniary distress, owing to the depression in trade, was almost universal. This state of things, as might have been expected, was taken advantage of by the popular agitators for their own purposes; and the people, under their encouragement, as in the two previous years, continued to give audible expression to their dissatisfaction at meetings, and through the medium of publications more or less of a seditious character. The miserable outlook gave rise (among others) to a pair of caricatures, published by Fores on the 9th of January, John Bull in Clover, and (by way of contrast), John Bull Done Over. In the first, fat John is enjoying himself with his pipe and his glass; the sleek condition of his dog shows that it shares in the comforts of its master’s prosperity. John, in fact, has what our Transatlantic cousins call “a good time;” scattered over the floor lie invoices of goods despatched by him to customers in Spain, in Russia, in America. Beneath a portrait of “Good Queen Bess,” John has pinned several of his favourite ballads: “The Land we live in,” “Oh, the Roast Beef of Old England!” “May we all live the days of our life.” In John Bull Done Over, a very different picture is presented to our notice. The whole of John’s fat is gone; he sits, a lean, starving, tattered, shoeless object in a bottomless chair, the embodiment of human misery. In place of his invoices lie the Gazette, which announces his bankruptcy, and a number of tradesmen’s bills; on the back of his chair is coiled a rope, and on the table before him a razor lies on a treatise on suicide,—John in fact is debating by what mode he shall put an end to his existence. An onion and some water in a broken jug are the only articles of sustenance he has to depend on. The tax gatherer, who has made a number of fruitless calls, looks through the broken panes to ascertain if John is really “at home.” On the wall, in place of the 61 picture of “Good Queen Bess,” hangs a portrait of John Bellingham, the assassin of Spencer Perceval; and in lieu of his once joyous ballads, such doleful ditties as “Oh, dear, what can the matter be!” “There’s nae luck about the house,” and so on. The poor dog, grown like his master a lean and pitiable object, vainly appeals to him for food.

“England’s hope”21—the darling of the nation—the amiable and interesting Princess Charlotte, whose loss is still lamented after the lapse of more than half a century, died in childbirth on the 6th of November, 1817; but on the 24th of May, 1819, was born, at Kensington Palace, another amiable and august princess, whose life has been most happily spared to us—her present Majesty Queen Victoria. To show that the influence of the last century caricaturists had not yet left us, this auspicious event immediately gave rise to a coarse caricature,22 published by Fores, and labelled, A Scene in the New Farce called the Rivals, or a Visit to the Heir Presumptive, in which the scurrilous satirist depicts the supposed mortification and jealousy of other members of the royal family. Her Majesty’s father, the Duke of Kent, died nine months afterwards, on the 23rd of January, 1820.

18 The new Alhambra.

19 A caricature entitled Doctors Differ, according to Mr. Grego (published in 1785) is due to Rowlandson. It is possible, therefore, that the present one, although not in Rowlandson’s style, may be a reproduction.

20 This admirable satire appears to me very like the handiwork of George Cruikshank; but not being able positively to identify it, I have given it its place in this chapter.

21 See the caricatures of George Cruikshank, 1817.

22 Apparently by Williams.




As in 1809 a revengeful and unscrupulous woman had succeeded in Caroline of Brunswick. exposing the reputation of a member of the Royal family to public opprobrium, so, in like manner, in 1820, a woman, and no less a person in this instance than a titular queen of England, was the means of dragging the crown itself through the mire of a disreputable scandal. That Caroline of Brunswick was an uncongenial and unfitting consort; that she was an utterly unfit and improper person to occupy the exalted position of Queen of England, there can be no manner of doubt. But to the question whether it was wise, politic, or dignified to subject her conduct (however morally criminal) to the reproach of a public investigation, there can be but one answer.

The marriage of Caroline, daughter of Charles, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, with George, Prince of Wales, was solemnized on the 8th of April, 1795. Exactly one year afterwards, and three months after the birth of their child, the Princess Charlotte, the pair separated. The separation was effected at the instance of the prince, and the reasons for his wishing to live apart from her are assigned in a letter which he sent her Royal Highness through Lord Cholmondeley: “Our inclinations,” he told her, “are not in our own power; nor should either be answerable to the other because nature has not made us suitable to each other. Tranquil and comfortable society is, however, in our power; let our intercourse therefore be restricted to that.”

Sixty years have elapsed since this miserable woman died, and we who are no longer biassed by the political leanings which more or 63 less influenced those who regarded her with favour or prejudice, are enabled to consider the circumstances from a fair and dispassionate point of view. In order that the reader may form his own conclusions of her character and disposition, we prefer to quote authorities whose political sympathies were distinctly favourable to her cause. Writing of his grandmother, Lady de Clifford (governess of the Princess Charlotte), Lord Albermarle tells us: “She [Lady de Clifford] used often to recount to me the events of her court life. The behaviour of the Princess of Wales (this was before she left England) naturally came under review. I fear that the judgment she formed of the conduct of this much sinned against and sinning lady coincides but too closely with the verdict that public opinion has since passed upon her. To Lady de Clifford she was the source of constant anxiety and annoyance. Often, when in obedience to the king’s [George III.] commands, my grandmother took her young charge to the Charlton Villa, the Princess of Wales would behave with a levity of manner and language that the presence of her child and her child’s governess were insufficient to restrain. On more than one occasion, Lady de Clifford was obliged to threaten her with making such a representation to the king as would tend to deprive her altogether of the Princess Charlotte’s society. These remonstrances were always taken in good part, and produced promises of amendment.”23 The Hon. Amelia Murray tells us in her “Recollections from 1803 to 1837”: “There was about this period an extravagant furore in the cause of the Princess of Wales. She was considered an ill-treated woman, and that was enough to arouse popular feeling. My brother was among the young men who helped to give her an ovation at the opera. A few days afterwards he went to breakfast at a place near Woolwich. There he saw the princess, in a gorgeous dress, which was looped up to show her petticoat covered with stars, with silver wings on her shoulders, sitting under a tree, with a pot of porter on her knee; and as a finale to the gaiety, she had the doors opened of every room in the house, and selecting 64 a partner, she galloped through them, desiring all the guests to follow her example! It may be guessed whether the gentlemen were anxious to clap her at the opera again.” Now this was the personage whom certain classes of the community persisted in regarding, sixty years ago, as a royal martyr. Small as is the respect or esteem which we owe to the memory of George the Fourth, we may almost sympathise with him when he calls such a consort “uncongenial.”

A person so little fitted for the high position which she occupied was certain to give trouble; and as far back as 1806, her indiscreet conduct had induced the king [George III.] to grant a commission to Lords Spencer, Grenville, Erskine, and Ellenborough, to examine into the truth of certain allegations which had been made against her; and, although their report expressed the most unqualified opinion that the graver charges were utterly destitute of foundation, such report, nevertheless, concluded with some strictures made by the commissioners “on the levity of manners displayed by the princess on certain occasions.”24 In consequence of this official report, the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, was subjected to regulation and restraint; they were allowed at first a single weekly interview, which, for some doubtless sufficient reason, was afterwards reduced to a fortnightly meeting.25

While pitying the mother, we seem scarcely justified in assuming, with our present knowledge of her obstinate nature and disposition, that these restrictions were imposed without some just and sufficient reason. It would seem to have come to the knowledge of the Princess Caroline in 1813, that the interdiction was intended “to be still more rigidly enforced,”26 for on the 14th of January of that year we find that she wrote a letter to the Prince Regent, in which she complained that the separation of mother and daughter was equally injurious to her own character and to the education of her child. 65 Adverting to the restricted intercourse between them, she observed that in the eyes of the world, “this separation of a daughter from her mother would only admit ... of a construction fatal to the mother’s reputation. Your Royal Highness,” she continued, “will pardon me for adding that there is no less inconsistency than injustice in this treatment. He who dares advise your Highness to overlook the evidence of my innocence, and disregard the sentence of complete acquittal which it [i.e. the inquiry of 1806] produced—or is wicked and false enough still to whisper suspicions in your ear, betrays his duty to you, sir, to your daughter, and to your people, if he counsels you to permit a day to pass without a further investigation of my conduct.... Let me implore you to reflect on the situation in which I am placed, without the shadow of a charge against me, without even an accuser after an inquiry that led to my ample vindication, yet treated as if I were still more culpable than the perjuries of my suborned traducers represented me, and held up to the world as a mother who may not enjoy the society of her only child.”

No possible objection can be taken to this letter; indeed, by whomsoever it was penned, taken altogether it was an admirable composition. If, however, we are to credit the statement of Mr. Whitbread, made in the House on the 5th of March, 1813, it was thrice returned to the writer unopened. But the princess, as we shall find, was not a person to be intimidated by any amount of rebuffs. “At length that letter [we quote Mr. Whitbread] was read to him [the Prince Regent], and the cold answer returned was, that ministers had received no commands on the subject.”27 The letter found its way into the public prints, and then, and not till then, if we are to believe Mr. Whitbread, his Royal Highness directed that the whole of the documents, together with her Royal Highness’s communications to himself, should be referred to certain members of the Privy Council, who were to report to him their opinion, “whether under all the circumstances ... it was fit and proper that the 66 intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter ... should continue to be, subject to regulations and restrictions.”28

In their report, which was presented on the 19th of February, the commissioners stated that “they had taken into their most serious consideration, together with the other papers referred to by His Royal Highness, all the documents relative to the inquiry instituted in 1806 ... into the truth of certain representations respecting ... the Princess of Wales; and, that after full examination of all the documents before them, they were of opinion, that under all the circumstances of the case, it was highly fit and proper, with a view to the welfare of ... the Princess Charlotte ... and the most important interests of the State, that the intercourse between ... the Princess of Wales and the ... Princess Charlotte should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint.”

It was only natural, of course, that Caroline should rebel; and she accordingly wrote on the 1st of March a letter to the Speaker, protesting against the mode in which this second inquiry had been conducted. Motions on her behalf were afterwards brought forward successively in the House by Mr. Cockrane Johnson and Mr. Whitbread, both of which, however, fell to the ground. The remarks made by Mr. Whitbread provoked a speech in the House of Lords from Lord Ellenborough (who had been a member of both commissions), which is singularly illustrative of the habits and manners of the time. After an introduction of great solemnity, his lordship said, “that, in the case alluded to, the persons intrusted with the commission [of 1806] were charged with having fabricated an unauthorised document, purporting to relate what was not given in evidence, and to suppress what was given. This accusation,” said his lordship, “is as false as h—— in every particular.” He then proceeded to give an account of the mode in which everything had been taken down from the mouth of the witness, and afterwards read over to and subscribed by her.29 He concluded 67 his peculiarly energetic speech by again denying, in the most positive terms, the truth of the imputation which had been cast upon the commissioners.

The inquiry of 1813 set the pencils of the caricaturists in motion, and among the satires it occasioned, I find a series of eight pictures on one sheet, representing the witnesses, the commissioners, Mr. Whitbread, and other persons connected with that and the previous investigation of 1806. It is called A Key to the Investigation, or Iago Distanced by Odds; and the most amusing of the series is the seventh, which represents the furious Lord Ellenborough, attired in his official robes of Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. The following doggerel clearly identifies it with the speech from which we have already quoted:—

“This is the Chief J—— who, as the Lords tell,

Swore that the reflections were false!—black as h——!

And though such bad words no man can use fewer,

In his rage it was fear’d he would pistol the Brewer30

For moving the senate, who all cried, oh fie!

That the Lady and B——31 had told a d——d lie,

And were unworthy credit the oaths they did try;

And lamented the witness, whose answer when penn’d,

Without questions which drew them, appear’d to portend

More reproach than she meant against her good friend.

While the hireling servants examined by law,

Who thought by a stretch to gain some éclat,

While before the commissioners named by the King,

To investigate matters and witnesses bring,” etc., etc.

The eighth of the series is “the spring that set all in motion,” the satirist’s meaning being indicated by a throne, on which lies a cocked hat adorned with the Prince of Wales’ feathers, and beneath it, as is usual in a large proportion of the satires which allude to the prince-regent, a number of empty bottles.

The Regent seems never to have lost an opportunity of insulting his uncongenial and unfortunate wife. In anticipation of the expected visit of the allied sovereigns in June, 1814, the prince 68 conveyed an intimation to his royal mother that, as he considered his presence could not be dispensed with at her ensuing drawing-rooms, he desired it to be distinctly understood, “for reasons of which he alone could be the judge, to be his fixed and unalterable determination not to meet the Princess of Wales upon any occasion, either in public or private.”32 Queen Charlotte was bound of course to give an official intimation to that effect to the Princess Caroline, which, on the 24th and 26th of May, 1814, brought from her letters to the queen and the Regent. In the first of these communications she intimated her intention of “making public the cause of her absence from Court at a time when the duties of her station would otherwise peculiarly demand her attendance”; while her letter to her husband contained the following intimation: “Your Royal Highness may possibly refuse to read this letter; but the world must know that I have written it, and they will see my real motives for foregoing in this instance the rights of my rank. Occasions, however, may arise (one, I trust, is far distant) when I must appear in public, and your Royal Highness must be present also. Can your Royal Highness have contemplated the full extent of your declaration? Has your Royal Highness forgotten the approaching marriage of our daughter [to the Prince of Orange] and the possibility of our coronation?” These words show that from the first Caroline had decided, coûte que coûte, when the time came to assert her position, in spite of the opposition of her husband and any obstacles which might be raised by his friends and advisers.

We have entered rather fully into this matter, because it seemed to us necessary, in order that the reader might understand the temper of Caroline, and the motives which influenced her in the extraordinary course of conduct which she afterwards thought fit to pursue. She was treated, we have seen, with the most cruel and studied insult; excluded from ceremonials at which her rank and position entitled her to be present. “Sir,” said the unfortunate woman in the letter to her husband to which we have alluded, “the 69 time you have selected for this proceeding is calculated to make it peculiarly galling. Many illustrious strangers are already arrived in England; among others, as I am informed, the illustrious heir of the house of Orange, who has announced himself to me as my future son-in-law. From their society I am unjustly excluded. Others are expected, of rank equal to your own, to rejoice with your Royal Highness in the peace of Europe. My daughter will for the first time appear in the splendour and publicity becoming the approaching nuptials of the presumptive heiress of this empire. This season your Royal Highness has chosen for treating me with great and unprovoked indignity; and of all his Majesty’s subjects, I alone am prevented by your Royal Highness from appearing in my place, to partake of the general joy, and am deprived of the indulgence of those feelings of pride and affection permitted to every mother but me.” Poor mother! who may help pitying her! Her most prejudiced enemy will admit that this was an eloquent and noble protest. Had she only maintained this language and attitude, we should justly assign to her a place amongst the royal martyrs of history. Naturally this barbarous, impolitic treatment soured her, as it would sour even the sweetest disposition. In an evil hour for her, and we may add for this country, she solicited and obtained permission to travel abroad.

No sooner was she freed from the restraints which had surrounded her at home, than her conduct not only makes us doubt whether she had any hand in the composition of this maternal appeal, but appears to justify the conclusions at which the commissioners of 1806 and 1813 seem to have arrived. Her temper was obstinate and wilful. She knew that she was watched; and from a spirit apparently of wanton mischief, designed with the view doubtless of annoying her enemies, she indulged in a series of the most extraordinary and undignified vagaries. She took into her service and received into her closest confidence and favour persons of the lowest position. It was impossible for rumours of her extraordinary eccentricities not to reach, not only the ears of those who detested her, but in an imperfect and incorrect degree those of the general 70 public. That this was the case is shown by a caricature entitled, Paving the way for a Royal Divorce, published by Johnston on the 1st of October, 1816, in which we see the corpulent Regent at table with Lord Liverpool, “Old Bags”33 (Chancellor Eldon), Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough, Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and another, probably intended for Viscount Sidmouth. His Royal Highness is made by the caricaturist to say that he and his sympathizers think “we shall now succeed, having secured some evidence from the coast of Barbary.... I have got everything as clear as the sun at noon-day.... Now for a divorce as soon as possible.” Lord Chancellor Eldon says, “I’ll stick to your Highness through thick and thin, or never call me ‘Old Bags’ again as long as I live.” Lord Liverpool supports him by the assurance, “I’m an unmatched negotiator, and I’ll enter into a treaty with the House of Commons to secure your suit.” The temper of the Commons is shown by the doubts expressed by the individual we take to be intended for Viscount Sidmouth. “I have my doubts,” says this person, at the same time laying his hands on the port wine decanter, “I have my doubts and qualms of conscience, your Highness; what say you, Van?” “Oh, my lord,” replies Vansittart, who is seated on the “Budget,” “I have some strange touches of feeling on the subject.” Up rises the hot-tempered Lord Chief Justice, upsetting a decanter of port wine, and at the same time the chair on which he has been sitting, “Don’t put me in a passion with your ’qualms’ and your ‘touches’; they are all false, false as h——! I’ll blow you all to the d——l if you don’t stick to your master manfully!!” By the side of the prince we see, as usual, a pailful of wine bottles, and at his feet, in allusion to his notorious infidelities, an open volume entitled, “The Secret Memoirs of a Prince, by Humphrey Hedghog, Esq., 1815.” By the side of the Lord Chief Justice lie three portly volumes labelled, “The Law of Divorce.” It will be evident from the foregoing, that from an early 71 period, the satirists on the popular side gave credit to the prince and his advisers for being members of a secret conspiracy for compassing the ruin of the erring and unfortunate woman.

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

It is quite clear that the ministers of 1820 were strongly averse 1820. to the introduction of the “Bill of Pains and Penalties,” which is now known to us as the “Trial of Queen Caroline.” The whole odium indeed of the proceedings rested upon them at the time; but we have no reason to doubt the statement of Mr. Charles Greville, under date of 20th February, 1820, that they had offered to resign, “because the king would not hear reason.” It seems at any rate tolerably certain that, although they brought forward the “Bill of Pains and Penalties” under pressure of the Crown, they did not do so until they had well-nigh exhausted every effort short of actual resignation (this dignified position they did not take) to avoid it. Mr. Wade tells us that “their first indiscretion consisted in commencing hostilities against the queen by the omission of her name in the liturgy, thereby provoking her claim to legal 72 rights;”34 but this omission, which appears to us justifiable under the circumstances, Mr. Greville shows us was due to the action of the king himself.35 In the month of June, 1819, a communication appears to have been received from Mr. Brougham, the professional adviser of the princess, and understood to be charged with the confidential management of her affairs. The proposal contained in this communication was in substance, that her then income of £35,000 a year should be secured to her for life, instead of terminating with the demise of the crown: and that she should undertake upon that arrangement being made to reside permanently abroad, and not to assume at any time the rank or title of Queen of England. This proposal, however, being stated to be made without any authority from the princess, or knowledge of it on her part, the Government at that time replied that there would be no indisposition at the proper time to entertain the principle on which the proposal was grounded, if it met with the approbation of her Royal Highness on the king’s accession. The ministers, reverting to Mr. Brougham’s proposal, offered to raise the already handsome allowance to £50,000 a year, subject to the conditions before mentioned. Caroline, however, peremptorily declined the proposal, alleging that it had been made without her knowledge or sanction. Unfortunately, too, this offer when made to Caroline herself, was coupled with the intimation that if the queen should “be so ill-advised as to come over to this country, there must be an end to all negotiations and compromise.”36 Considering the temper and disposition of the woman, the fact that she had demanded the insertion of her name in the liturgy, the haughty assertion of her claim “to be received and acknowledged as the Queen of England,” and the communication made at the same time of her desire that a royal yacht should be in readiness to receive her at Calais,37 it appears to us a greater mistake on the part of the ministry could scarcely have been made. It aroused her woman’s nature, and flaming with the anger and 73 resentment which she had nourished for so long a course of years, she boldly took up the gauntlet her enemies had flung at her feet, and crossed the Channel almost as soon as the astonished Government messenger himself.

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

Both parties now stood irrevocably committed to the fatal The Bill of Pains and Penalties. measure. A secret committee of the House of Lords proceeded to open the celebrated green bag, which contained the reports of the Milan Commission; and on the 4th of July they made their report, recommending a solemn inquiry into the conduct of the queen. Next day the Earl of Liverpool presented a “bill of pains and penalties” entitled, “An Act to deprive Her Majesty Queen Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the title, prerogative, rights, privileges, and 74 exemptions of Queen Consort of this realm, and to dissolve the marriage between His Majesty and the said Caroline Amelia Elizabeth” on the ground of the grossly immoral conduct therein alleged against her.

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


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

Among the general public, and even in the House of Commons itself, the falsehood of all that had been alleged on oath against the queen was assumed as an undeniable axiom; the witnesses were loaded with the most opprobrious epithets, while those who had been concerned in collecting or sifting evidence were represented as conspirators or suborners. We shall see, when we come to speak of the caricatures of Robert Cruikshank, the light in which these unhappy witnesses were regarded by the graphic satirists on the popular side.41 Nevertheless, if their testimony is carefully read over by any unprejudiced person having any knowledge of the law of evidence, in spite of the badgering of Mr. Brougham, the admirable 76 speech of that gentleman, and the testimony of the witnesses on the other side, I think he cannot fail to come to any other conclusion than that expressed by the then Lord Ellenborough, that Her Royal Highness was “the last woman a man of honour would wish his wife to resemble, or the father of a family would recommend as an example to his daughters. No man,” said his lordship, “could put his hand on his heart and say that the queen was not wholly unfit to hold the situation which she holds.”42 He will see too, by reference to the report of the proceedings in the “Annual Register,” that of the peers who decided to vote against the second reading of the bill on the ground of inexpediency, a large majority gave it as their deliberate opinion that the case had been proved against the queen.43 In a very clever pictorial satire, published by S. Humphrey in 1821, the queen, Bergami, and a third figure (possibly intended for Alderman Wood) are represented as standing on a pedestal forming the apex of a slender stem labelled “Mobility,” which rests on a base marked “Adultery.” The whole structure depends for support on a broom (in allusion of course to Mr. Brougham) and two frail pieces of wood, labelled respectively, “Sham addresses,” and “Sham processions,” which in turn rest on a slender railing, while a ladder on either side, marked “Brass” and “Wood,” lend a further slight support to the very insecure fabric. The superincumbent weight of the queen and Bergami breaks the frail stem in pieces, and the three figures tumble to the ground together. The back of the design is occupied with scenes and incidents detailed in the evidence. A very clever caricature, without date (published by T. Sidebotham), I am inclined to assign to this period; and if so, it is one of the most plain spoken and telling satires ever published. It is entitled, City Scavengers Cleansing the London Streets of Impurities; a placard which has fallen in the street sufficiently explains its meaning: “By particular desire of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, D— of K—t in the chair, 77 ordered that the city officers do keep the streets clear of common prostitutes.—Signed, Wood, Mayor.”44

A more foolish and undignified proceeding, however, than this “Bill of Pains and Penalties” can scarcely be conceived. Its fate might almost have been predicted from the first. The second reading was carried on the 6th of November, by a majority of twenty-eight, but the third (for the reasons already given) by a majority of nine only; whereupon, the Earl of Liverpool said that, “had the third reading been carried by as considerable a number of peers as the second had been, he and his colleagues would have felt it their duty to persevere with the bill and to send it down to the other branch of the legislature. In the present state of the country, however, ... they had come to the determination not to proceed further with it.”45 The victory will be acknowledged by us now-a-days as damaging as a defeat; but the result, curious to relate, was hailed by the queen and her party as if her innocence had been triumphantly vindicated. In signing a document prepared by her counsel on the 8th of November, she wrote, “Carolina Regina,” adding the words, “there, Regina still, in spite of them.” The abandonment of the bill was followed by three nights of illumination; but it was observed that they were of a very partial character, wholly unlike those which had greeted the great victories by sea and land, in which the public sympathy was spontaneous and universal. The mob in some cases testified its disapproval when these signs of satisfaction were wanting; and one gentleman in Bond Street, on being repeatedly requested to “light up,” placed a single rushlight in his two-pair-of-stairs window. Some of the transparencies were, as might have been expected, of a singular character. A trunk maker in the same street displayed the following 78 new reading from Genesis: “And God said, It is not good the King should reign alone.” A publican at the corner of Half Moon Street exhibited a flag whereon, in reference to the unpopular witness Teodoro Majoochi, was depicted a gallows with the following inscription:—

Q. What’s that for?

A. Non Mi Ricordo.”

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

“Some friends of the devil

With mischief and evil

Filled a green bag of no worth;

But in spite of the host,

It gave up the ghost

And died 53 days after birth.”

The caricaturists of course were not idle, and the trial of Queen Caroline provoked a perfect legion of pictorial satires. The queen’s victory is celebrated in one of the contemporary caricatures (published by John Marshall, junior) under the title of The Queen Caroline Running down the Royal George; while on the ministerial side it is recorded (among others) by a far more elaborate and valuable performance (published by G. Humphrey), called, The Steward’s Court of the Manor of Torre Devon, which contains an immense number of figures, and wherein the queen is seated on a black ram46 in the midst of one of the popular processions, the members of which carry poles bearing pictorial records of the various events brought out in evidence against her.


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

The truth was, that the numerous and truly honest people who sympathized with Queen Caroline, did so from little admiration for herself, but because she had been the victim of twenty-five years’ persecution; because, however great her follies, they had been 80 grievously provoked; and above all, because they felt that the man who was her most powerful and relentless persecutor, was the very last who was justified in casting a stone against her. The ministerialists and their supporters, however, attributed the sympathy which was shown by her professed admirers exclusively to a political origin, and thus stigmatized the motives of their opponents (with more justice than poetry) in one of the jingling rhymes of the day:—

“What’s the Queen to Reformists? as Queen was to France,

Round her head and her consort’s they’d equally dance.

They care not for Caroline, nor king, nor for queen,

A pretext they want their intentions to screen,

’The Queen!’ is the Radicals’ rallying cry;

A queen bears the standard the king to defy.”

How entirely unfitted this mistaken woman was to figure in the august position of a queen of England may be judged from her subsequent conduct. Instead of contenting herself with her victory, such as it was, she had the ill taste, in spite of the remonstrances of her friends and advisers, to communicate to the Lord Mayor, through the medium of her “vice chamberlain,” her intention to proceed to St. Paul’s in a public manner on Wednesday, the 29th of November, there and then to offer up her thanksgivings for the result: and this resolution she actually carried out. The details of her procession, which really reminds us of the entry of a company of equestrians into some provincial town, need not be entered into here; suffice it to say that it comprised trumpeters without number, stewards’ carriages, gentlemen on horseback, the corpulent queen herself, with her attendant, Lady Ann Hamilton, and the indispensable Alderman Wood, the whole closing with “the various trades with flags and banners.” It would appear to us that one of the rarest of the caricatures on the ministerial side has reference to this triumphal entry. It is labelled, Grand Entrance to Bamboozlem, and was published by Humphrey shortly afterwards. The queen is represented at the head of a procession, all the members of which (herself included) are mounted on 81 braying “jackasses.” A figure, intended no doubt for Alderman Wood, habited in a fool’s cap and jester’s dress, holds her by the hand; the lady who follows him, playing on the fiddle and wearing a Scotch bonnet, is meant for Lady Ann Hamilton (she is named “Lady Ann Bagpipe” in the sketch); Bergami (immediately behind) carries a banner inscribed “Innocence”; and next him, his fat sister, whom the queen had dignified with the title of a countess; Venus and Bacchus appear amongst the crowd, and are labelled “Protégés and bosom friends of Her M——y.” She is welcomed by an enthusiastic body of butchers with marrow-bones and cleavers; while among the crowd waiting to receive her we notice Orator Hunt and the other popular leaders of the day.

[Face p. 81.

And here we drop for the present the subject of Queen Caroline, a subject we have approached with caution, although conscious that it can be by no means omitted from a work treating of graphic satires of the nineteenth century. That she should now accept the £50,000 per annum which she had previously refused, will probably not surprise the reader. The end of a career so strangely undignified will be seen when we come to treat of the caricatures of George Cruikshank.

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

The pictorial satirists were kept fully employed by the political Greek War of Independence. events of 1827 and 1828. The former year beheld the sanguinary Greek war of independence. Things turned out badly for the over-matched Greeks, until at last Great Britain, France, and Russia interposed with Turkey on their behalf. The proposals offered were such as the Turks refused to entertain. The Porte, in refusing them, maintained that, though mediation might be allowable in 82 matters of difference between independent states, it was utterly inadmissible as between a power and its revolted subjects. The allied powers then proposed an armistice, demanding a reply within fifteen days, plainly intimating that in the event of refusal or silence (which would be construed into a refusal), they should resort to measures for enforcing a suspension of hostilities.

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

Russia declared war against Turkey the following year, and we meet with many miscellaneous caricatures having reference to the conflict which followed. In one, published by Maclean (without date) entitled, Russian Bears’ Grease, or a Peep into Futurity, we see the Russian bear running off with Greece in spite of England, France, and Austria. Another (also without date), is labelled The Descent of the Great Bear, or the Mussulmans in a Quandary. In a third (also without date), called The Nest in Danger, we see Turkey sitting on a nest marked “Greece” disturbed by Russia, whilst the British lion stands looking on at no great distance, discontentedly gnawing a bone labelled “Navarino.” By the time peace was concluded between the belligerents in 1829, England would seem to have realized the fact that she had been made the tool of Russia, and this is the obvious idea intended to be conveyed 83 by the satirist in another caricature (also without date, but bearing obvious reference to the same subject). The Porte is represented in the act of presenting a bill of indemnification to George the Fourth.

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

In this and the two preceding chapters we have attempted to give an account of some of the leading events of the first thirty years of the century, illustrating them by reference to a few of the miscellaneous caricatures of the period. We have adopted this method of arrangement because, if our theory be correct, it was during this period that the art of caricature continued to flourish, and it is from this period that we date its speedy decline and downfall. We think that the prime cause of this decline may be traced to the fact that George Cruikshank, the best of nineteenth century satirists, had by this time resigned the art to follow his new employment of an illustrator of books; we think, too, that caricature received an additional impetus in its downward progress by the secession from the ranks of its professors of the veteran Thomas Rowlandson, who, although he did not die 84 until 1827, had virtually given up caricature in favour of book illustration49 many years before. Further illustration of some of the events already related, and of others to which we have no occasion at present to refer, will be found in the chapters devoted to the work of Isaac Robert Cruikshank and his brother George.

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

Theodore Lane.]

[From “Life of an Actor,” 1824.


Theodore Lane.]

[From “Life of an Actor,” 1824.


[Face p. 85.


On the walls of some old-fashioned dining-rooms, and the parlours Theodore Lane. of provincial inns, may still be seen an engraving, called The Enthusiast, which some of my readers may remember to have seen in the print shops of some twenty or five-and-twenty years ago. It represents an old disciple of Izaac Walton, whom the gout has incapacitated from following his favourite pursuit, so devoted to the sport, that we see him fishing for minnows in a water-tub, instead 85 of the rippling stream out of which he has been accustomed to whip his favourite speckle-backed beauties. The painting from which this engraving was taken was the work of Theodore Lane, who, although his work is limited to the short space of five or six years, seems to call for special mention by virtue of his tragic ending, the short span allotted to his life and labours, and the superiority of his talent and genius to those of many of his contemporaries. Lane was literally a comic artist of the nineteenth century, having been born at Isleworth in 1800. He was apprenticed to a colourer of prints at Battle Bridge, named Barrow; and, shortly after completing his time, produced (in 1822) six designs illustrative of “The Life of an Actor,” and with these in a small portfolio under his arm, went out into the world to seek his fortune as other comic artists have done before him and since. Pierce Egan, at this time, was the most popular man in town; his name (on very insufficient literary merits) was identified with the success of the most famous book of the century—we allude to the “Life in London.” To his residence in Spann’s Buildings, St. Pancras, Lane betook himself; showed him his sketches, and said if Egan would only undertake the letterpress, he should find no difficulty in getting Ackermann, Sherwood, or any of the art publishers of the day, to undertake its publication. But Egan’s hands were full, and he declined the offer. Two years later on, author and artist again met, and the result was that “The Life of an Actor, Peregrine Proteus,” made its appearance, “illustrated by twenty-seven coloured scenes and nine woodcuts, representing the vicissitudes of the stage.” The publisher was Arnold, of Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, who paid the young artist one hundred and fifty pounds fifteen shillings for his share of the work. “The Life of an Actor” was published at a guinea, and dedicated to Edmund Kean; and a contemporary critic describes it as “one of the best exemplifications of Mr. Egan’s peculiar talent. It is impossible for us,” he continues, “to do justice to the spirit of the designs, many of which would [of course] not discredit the pencil of Hogarth.” Lane’s association with one of the most noted sporting characters of the day opened the way to him for further 86 engagements, and for another work, entitled, “A Complete Panorama of the Sporting World,” he executed thirteen original etchings, and an equal number of designs on wood.

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

Like his contemporaries the Cruikshanks, with whom he was familiar, Theodore Lane mixed freely with the young bloods of his day, termed in the slang of his time “Corinthians,” and the results are shown in his designs. He might often be seen at the “Craven’s Head,” in Drury Lane, kept by a host known to his patrons by the familiar title of “Billy Oxberry”; at the Saturday night harmonic meetings held at the “Kean’s Head,” in Russell Court, Drury Lane; 87 at “The Wrekin,” in Broad Court, Long Acre, at that time frequented by gentlemen of the Press; at “The Harp,” in Russell Street, Drury Lane, a well known house of call for actors, and appropriately immortalised in one of his illustrations to “The Life of an Actor”; at the “Cider Cellar”; at the “Fives Court”; at the numerous “Masquerades” of the day; at any place of resort, in fact, which offered studies of life and character or subjects of social satire. He figures in his own sketch of The Masquerade at the Argyll Rooms, where we recognise him (in one of the right hand boxes) in a white sheet, a tall paper cap on his head, and a staff in his hand. His impersonations were sometimes singularly original. At one of these “masquerades,” for instance, he represented a “frozen-out gardener” soliciting charity, and holding in his hand a cabbage covered with icicles; at another, he appeared as a hospital “out-patient,” wearing a hideous mask (designed by himself) representing some dreadful disease, from which the bystanders recoiled in horror and amazement. With all this drollery Lane kept himself well out of mischief, and was moreover, in days when young and old were more or less inclined to be topers, a strictly temperate man.

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

The fate of this clever young artist and satirist was both singular and tragical. It appears that on the 21st of February, 1828, 88 Theodore Lane, who then resided in Judd Street, Brunswick Square, called upon his brother-in-law, Mr. Wakefield, a surgeon of Battle Bridge, intending to proceed in the latter’s gig to Hampstead, to join a party of friends who had gone there to spend the day. Mr. Wakefield having to visit a patient in Manchester Street, Gray’s Inn Lane, drove there with his brother-in-law, and this was the last time he was seen alive. Close to the place was a horse bazaar, which the artist appears to have entered by way of passing the time. The horse and trap were there, but no trace of poor Lane; and on search being made, his body was found lying lifeless at the foot of the auctioneer’s stand. He appears to have wandered into the betting-room, and by some unexplained means or other fallen backwards through an insufficiently protected skylight. The clever head was battered so completely out of recognition that he was only identified by his card-case. That Lane was a man of unusual promise is shown by the fact that amongst the subscribers for the benefit of the widow and children of the deceased, we find the names of Sir Thomas Lawrence, president of the Royal Academy; F. Chantrey, R.A.; George Westmacott; Cooper, the celebrated animal painter; and Leahy, the painter of the celebrated picture of “Mary Stuart’s Farewell to France.” The remains of this ill-fated, talented young fellow lie in the burial ground of old St. Pancras.

23 “Fifty Years of my Life,” by George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, vol. i. p. 270.

24 “Annual Register,” 1813.

25 Ibid. (Chronicle), 342.

26 See the letter of the Princess of Wales, “Annual Register,” 1813 (Chronicle), 342.

27 See speech of Mr. Whitbread, “Annual Register,” 1813 (20).

28 “Annual Register,” 1813 (Chronicle), 345.

29 “Annual Register,” 1813, p. 24.

30 Whitbread.

31 Sir John and Lady Douglas.

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

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

34 Wade’s, “British History,” p. 765.

35 See “Greville Memoirs,” vol. i. p. 24 (February 24th).

36 “Annual Register,” 1820, p. 135.

37 Ibid., pp. 131, 132.

38 “Greville Memoirs,” vol. i. p. 28.

39 “Fifty Years of my Life,” by George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, vol. ii. p. 123.

40 “Annual Register,” 1820, p. 986.

41 See caricatures of Robert Cruikshank, 1820.

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

43 See “Annual Register,” 1820, p. 1139 et seq.

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

45 “Annual Register,” 1820 [190].

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

47 “Greville Memoirs,” vol. i. p. 27.

48 Ibid., p. 43.

49 Unlike George Cruikshank, Rowlandson seldom dropped caricature in his book illustration. When he does so, as in his designs to “Naples and the Compagna Felice,” he shows (as in his water colour drawings) his wonderful graphic powers. His illustrated books are rare, and command good prices. William Coombe’s English “Dance of Death” and “Dance of Life” (I refer of course to first editions) can only now be purchased at £14.




It was the misfortune of the brothers Cruikshank that they outlived The Brothers Cruikshank. their popularity: in the case of the younger brother, this result (as we shall presently see) must be attributed in a certain measure to his own fault; but as regards Robert, his efforts as a caricaturist were destined to be eclipsed by the greater novelty and attractions of HB, whilst a tendency to carelessness, and the absence of actual genius, prevented him from attaining lasting celebrity in the line of book illustration which George made so peculiarly his own. The final result, however, was the same in both cases; and the brothers might have said with truth, that, in suffering both to die poor and neglected, the British public treated both with the strictest impartiality. Here, however, the impartiality ended; for whilst over two hundred articles have been penned in praise of the brilliant man of genius, poor Robert Transit50 (a name strictly appropriate to his memory) reposes in his nameless grave still unregarded and still forgotten. Few writers indeed have wasted pen and ink about Robert Cruikshank or his work: Robert William Buss, in his book on “English Graphic Satire” (a work published for private circulation only), devotes exactly a line and a half to his memory; his friend, George Daniel, gives him a few kindly words in memoriam; Professor Bates’s essay on his brother George contains several pages of valuable information in relation to some of his book illustrations; whilst Mr. Hamilton presents us with a dozen specimens of work of this kind which are nothing less than libels on his 90 graphic powers. To the general public of to-day the name of Robert Cruikshank is so little known, that comparatively few are cognizant of the fact that he was one of the most popular and successful graphic satirists of his time. It is the misfortune of the caricaturist that his wares attain only a transitory popularity, whilst it is their peculiarity that after he is dead their value is increased fourfold. It is by no means uncommon for five and even seven shillings to be demanded and obtained for one of the impressions of Robert’s plates, which in his lifetime could have been purchased at the cost of a shilling. It is the design of this chapter to rescue the memory of a clever artist from undeserved oblivion, and restore him to that place in comic art which he once occupied, and which it seems to us he deserved to fill not only on account of his own merits, but by reason of being associated in illustrations of a different character with such men as his brother George, Robert Seymour, Thomas Rowlandson, John Leech, and other artists of genius and reputation.

Isaac Robert, or rather Robert Cruikshank (as he usually styled himself), was born in 1790. He had as a boy acquired the groundwork of his technical education as an artist and etcher under the direction of old Isaac his father; but we personally have met with little of his work prior to 1816, which is accounted for by the fact that he followed for a short time a sea life in the service of the East India Company, and after having thrown this up in favour of a calling more congenial to his tastes, he devoted himself for some years almost exclusively to miniature and portrait painting, by which he earned not only a fair livelihood, but a certain amount of fashionable patronage. Gradually, however (George tells us), he abandoned this occupation, and took almost exclusively to designing and etching. He occasionally alternated his work with water-colour drawing, in which he is said to have greatly excelled. His works in this line are extremely rare, for Robert had neither the means nor the patience to wait for the tardy patronage to be commanded by a higher walk in art; there was a demand for caricatures and comic etching in his day, which afforded a present means of livelihood, and Robert’s water colours were executed more by way of relaxation than in the 91 way of actual artistic pursuit. Among his early caricatures we may mention a rough and coarsely coloured affair engraved by him after the design of an amateur, published by Fores on the 28th of April, 1816, entitled, The Mother’s Girl Plucking a Crow, or German Flesh and English Spirit. The Princess Charlotte, as we have seen, had an undoubted will of her own, and could, as we have also seen, assert it when occasion demanded. Here she is presented to us at the moment when a hideous German duenna, catching her in the act of writing to her mother abroad, orders her at once to desist. The princess, however, in plain terms, enforced with a clenched fist, gives her clearly to understand that she fully intends to have her own way. Another caricature, published by T. Sidebotham, in 1817, bearing the title of The Horse Marine and his Trumpeter in a Squall, is dedicated to the United Service Club.

Subjects for the pencil of a clever graphic satirist were not Strange French Fashions. wanting sixty years ago. France in those days set the fashion both in male and female attire, and the strangest eccentricities had marked the emancipation of that country from the thraldom of the Terror. There were the incroyables, a set of young dandies who affected royalist sympathies, and paraded the streets of Paris when young Napoleon was yet a general in the service of the Directory. They wore short-waisted coats with tails of preposterous length, cocked hats of ponderous dimensions, green cravats, powdered hair plaited and turned up with a comb, while on each side of the face hung down two long curls called dogs’ ears (oreilles de chien). These charming fellows carried twisted sticks of enormous size, as weapons of offence and defence, and spoke in a peculiarly affected manner.51 Some fourteen or fifteen years later on, when we had driven Joseph Bonaparte and his brother’s legions out of Spain, the fashions had 92 not improved. The biographer of Victor Hugo gives us the picture of one Gilé, a Parisian dandy of that period, whose coat of olive brown was cut in the shape of a fish’s tail, and dotted all over with metal buttons even to the shoulders. Young men who went to moderate lengths in fashion were content to wear the waists of their coats in the middle of their backs, but the waist of this Gilé intruded on the nape of his neck. His hat was stuck on the right side of his head, bringing into prominent notice on the left a thick tuft of hair frizzed out with curling irons. His trousers were ornamented with stripes which looked like bars of gold lace; they were pinched in at the knees and wide at the bottom, giving his feet the appearance of elephant’s hoofs. Our own costume had been strange enough, in all conscience; but when Napoleon’s continental system had been broken up after Leipzig, and a free market had been once more opened out between this country and foreign nations, fashions more strange and eccentric, if possible, found their way into England. Thackeray, when writing his “Vanity Fair,” the scenes of which are laid prior and subsequent to the battle of Waterloo, was fain to confess that he had intended to depict his characters in their proper costumes; “but when he remembered the appearance of people in those days, he had not the heart to disfigure his heroes and heroines by costumes so hideous,” and thenceforth he habited these men and women of 1815 in the costume of the men and women of 1848. George Cruikshank’s “Monstrosities” are familiar to all acquainted with his works; and his brother Robert and his contemporaries were equally fond of ridiculing the preposterous fashions of their time. We find in the year 1818 a pictorial satire by Robert, which shows us a pair of Dandies at Tea, habited in the short-waisted, long-tailed coats, tight breeches, terrific stocks, shirt collars, and top boots of the period. “My dear fellow, Mr. Sim,” one of them, asks, “is your tea agreeable?” to which the other answers, “Charming, my dear Lollena; where do you buy it?” They are seated in an attic, which, like that of the cobbler, serves “for parlour and bedroom and all,” and the washing of the tenant hangs suspended on a line above the heads of the interesting pair. We find another the same year, 93 entitled, Dandies having a Treat, wherein we are shown a couple of eccentricities in a confectioner’s shop; one of them, who eyes himself with much complacency in the glass, has his back to us, and is habited, à la Gilé, in a very tight coat, whose tail commences just below its collar and narrows to a very fine point when it reaches its extremity; short wide trousers terminate at the knees, at which points they are met by a pair of Wellington boots. He entreats his equally strangely dressed companion to pay no attention to the uncomplimentary remarks of certain rude people who stand at the door and seem strongly inclined to subject them to the discipline of the pump. The pretty girl in attendance expresses to herself a hope that “the creatures will leave the shop,” as she fears the exasperated people will do some mischief. Another caricature of the same year shows us A Dandy Shoemaker in a Fright, or the Effects of Tight-lacing. In stooping to measure a lady’s foot, the fellow’s stays have given way, and he evidently fears he shall tumble to pieces. In another subject, Robert shows us a couple of dandies diving into a countryman’s pockets, in the neighbourhood of St. James’s Palace; others are entitled respectively, A Dandy put to his Last Chemisette, or Preparing for a Bond Street Lounge; A Dandy Cock in Stays; and The Hen-pecked Dandy. Besides those already mentioned, I find four or five other coarse caricatures of Robert’s, published by Fores in 1818.

Robert Cruikshank was “a man about town” in those days, and the “dandies” whom he and his fellow caricaturists satirized and ridiculed were the sham “Corinthians” of his time. Apart from the idea of caricature they must have been queer fellows—these men with the large eye-glasses, squat broad-brimmed hats, huge cravats and collars, cauliflower frills, tight coats, short bell-shaped trousers, and well-spurred Wellington boots! In one of the satires of the time (which I take to be Robert’s) we see five of them preparing for conquest in a hairdresser’s shop; and the “make up” comprises, in addition to the tremendous neckties, cauliflower frills, and top-boots of the period, false calves and stays, a pair of which the Frenchman hairdresser is lacing for one of his customers. Another of the party, 94 who has completed the upper part of his toilet, is so hampered with the voluminous folds and stiffening of his cravat that he cannot wriggle into his unmentionables. The caricaturists take us into the garrets of these fellows, abodes of squalor and wretchedness, and show us that beneath their exterior magnificence there is nothing, or next to nothing. In a pair of rough anonymous satires—The Dandy Dressing at Home and The Dandy Dressed Abroad—the former shows us how the completed figure is built up. The absence of a shirt is concealed by an amply frilled “dickey,” the dirty feet protrude from the well-nigh footless stockings, the bare arms are clothed at the extremities only by the cuffs, while a pair of huge seals dangling from a ribbon guard form pendants to a latch-key instead of a gold watch. The fellow’s washing bill, which lies on the dressing-table before him, comprises four items—all of them collars. On the ground, side by side with the Wellington boots, which he himself has just been cleaning, lie the open pages of “The Beau’s Stratagem.” In a sketch by the always coarse satirist Williams, two of these fellows have been decoyed into an infamous house and drugged, and the indignation of the bully and his female assistants is intense when they find that their watches are not even pinchbeck, but only pincushions.

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

Robert Cruikshank continues his attacks upon the fops in 1819. 1819. In that year we meet with A Dandy Sick; Dandies on their Hobbies, and Female Lancers, or a Scene in St. James’s Street, chiefly remarkable on account of the costume of the two men who figure therein. 95 Besides these we meet with a sort of pictorial allegory, entitled, The Mysterious Fair One, or the Royal Introduction to the Circassian Beauty, in which a foreign fair one is supposed to be introduced to the Regent’s harem. The veil being removed discovers to him the well-known features of his neglected wife, from whom he recoils in abhorrence. The bulky figure of the Regent who, under the influence of copious port wine libations and general good living, had grown preposterously fat, is admirably preserved by both the Cruikshanks. The head and wig, tapering to an apex, remind one somewhat of the French poire caricatures which disturbed the serenity of Louis Philippe, and preceded the revolutionary period of 1848.

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

Among the caricatures on the popular side in connection with the The Queen’s Trial. queen’s trial in 1820, we find one by Robert, entitled, The Secret Insult, or Bribery and Corruption Rejected, which has reference to the overtures which, as we have seen in the previous chapter, were made to her by the ministers in the hope of avoiding, if possible, a public exposure; and here Lord Liverpool is represented in the act of 96 offering to Her Majesty a purse. “Abandon,” he says, “your claim to the throne, change your name and the livery, and retire to some distant part of the earth, where you may never be seen or heard of any more; and if £50,000 per annum will not satisfy you—what will?” To which the queen (who assumes an appearance of virtuous indignation) replies, “Nothing but a crown.” Brougham turns his back, saying, “I turn my back on such dirty work as this,” the fact being, as we have seen, that he had really entered into negotiations with the ministers on the queen’s behalf, which she afterwards angrily repudiated. The devil pats him on the back. “Well done, Broom,” he says; “you have done your business well.” By the side of the queen stands a figure, possibly meant for Alderman Wood, carrying “a shield for the innocent,” and “a sword for the guilty”; behind her in the distance is a ship, bearing the title of “The Wooden Walls of Old England.”

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


The following year gives us All My Eye (a skit upon Hone’s 1821. “Eulogium on the Radical Press”), representing a large eye, within the pupil of which we see a printing press, whereon rests a portrait of Queen Caroline; and also an admirable work, divided into two compartments, bearing respectively the titles of The Morning after Marriage, and Coke upon Albemarle—not Coke upon Littleton.

A somewhat ludicrous affair of honour took place in 1822. In 1822.
Duel between the Dukes of Buckingham and Bedford.
consequence of some words used by the Duke of Bedford in reference to the Duke of Buckingham at the Bedfordshire county meeting, a hostile meeting took place in Kensington Gardens between the two noblemen on the 2nd of May. The seconds were Lord Lynedock and Sir Watkin Williams Wynn. Both parties fired together at a distance of twelve paces, but without effect; when the Duke of Buckingham, observing that the Duke of Bedford fired into the air, advanced to his grace, and remarking that for that reason the affair could go no farther, said: “My Lord Duke, you are the last man I wish to quarrel with; but you must be aware that a public man’s life is not worth preserving unless with honour.” The Duke of Bedford replied, that “upon his honour he meant no personal offence to the Duke of Buckingham, nor to impute to him any bad or corrupt motive whatever”; and here this somewhat absurd event terminated. Robert commemorates it in a caricature, entitled, A Shot from Buckingham to Bedford, which cannot be said to be complimentary to either of the principals, one of the walls bearing the inscription in very large letters of “Rubbish may be shot here.” Another admirable caricature of the year is entitled, The Treadmill, or Stage-struck Heroes, Blacklegs, and Cadgers stepping it to the tune of Mill, Mill O! a sort of general satire; card-sharpers, decayed “Corinthians,” and other vagabonds, are undergoing a course of hard labour upon the wheel, which was then a comparatively new invention,52 their movements being accelerated by a gaoler armed with a heavy whip, who bears some resemblance to, and is 98 probably intended for, the artist himself. A third excellent pictorial satire of the same year bears the title of Pope Mistaken.

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

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

R. Cruikshank fecit.]

[A. G.—Published May, 1823.


[Face p. 99.


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

One of Robert’s satires of this year, entitled The Golden Football, Hughes Ball. has obvious reference to Hughes Ball, known at Eton by his surname of Hughes only, but who took the further name of Ball on coming into a fortune of forty thousand a year left him by his uncle, Admiral Sir Alexander Ball, and thenceforth received his appropriate nickname of the “Golden Ball.” He was considered a great catch by all the mothers in London; but, notwithstanding his money, was unfortunate in love, being jilted by Lady Jane Paget, rejected by Miss Floyd (afterwards the wife of Sir Robert Peel), and then by Lady Caroline Churchill. The young ladies hearing of his numerous disappointments, were disinclined to encourage a man so proverbially unfortunate. By way, perhaps, of revenge, Hughes Ball this year ran 100 off with and married Mademoiselle Mercandotti, première danseuse at His Majesty’s Theatre, a beautiful girl of sixteen, reported in the scandal of the day to be a natural daughter of the Earl of Fife. The incident of Lady Jane Paget we have mentioned is thus referred to by Charles Molloy Westmacott, the Ishmael of the press of his day, in the English Spy, a work which, as we shall presently see, was also illustrated by the artist:—

“Now, by my faith, it gives me pain

To see thee, cruel Lady J——,

Regret the Golden Ball.

’Tis useless now: ‘The Fox and Grapes’

Remember, and avoid the apes

Which wait an old maids’ fall.”

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

Among Robert’s pictorial satires of 1824, I find one entitled 1824.
The Tenth Hussars.
Arrogance or Nonchalance of the Tenth Reported,—the “tenth” here referred to being the Tenth Hussars. This distinguished regiment set the pencils of the Brothers Cruikshank and their fellow caricaturists in motion at this period, and I find an amazing number of caricatures of the date of 1824, of which they form the subject. The officers would seem to have acquired considerable unpopularity by the exclusive airs they gave themselves in society, refusing to dance, declining introductions at public and private balls, and otherwise assuming an arrogant and exclusive tone which made them supremely ridiculous. So far did they carry these absurdities, that they even declined to associate with an officer of their own regiment unless he previously submitted to them the particulars of his birth, parentage, and education, and general claim to be admitted to the privilege of their august society. A certain Mr. Battier, who seems to have been ignorant of the peculiar arrangement they had established in opposition to the rules and policy of the service, had 101 obtained from the Duke of York a cornetcy in the regiment, but not having submitted himself to the examination referred to, or possibly not answering to the exclusive requirements of the regiment, was forthwith sent to Coventry by his courteous brother officers. The result, of course, was that the unlucky gentleman, finding no one to speak to him, was forced to retire on half pay, which he was unfortunate enough afterwards to forfeit by not unnaturally sending a challenge to the colonel of the regiment.53

Maria Foote at this time was one of the most popular actresses Miss Foote. in London. Some years before she had come on a starring tour to Cheltenham, a town much affected by the notorious Colonel Berkeley, who being passionately devoted to the stage, and possessed moreover of some histrionic ability, gallantly offered to perform for her benefit. The colonel was notorious for his gallantries; under a promise of marriage—which could not then, he said, be carried into effect, inasmuch as he was then petitioning the Crown to grant him the dormant peerage, which a marriage with an actress could not fail to prejudice—he succeeded in accomplishing her seduction, and she continued to live under his “protection” till, on the birth of her second child, she arrived at the true conviction that he never had any intention of fulfilling his promise. There was at this time a silly fellow about town, Mr. Joseph Hayne, of Burderop Park, Wiltshire, familiarly known (in reference to the colour of his coat) as “Pea Green Hayne,” who fell in love with and proposed to the fascinating actress. There was no attempt at concealment on her part: it was stated at the trial which followed that she herself wished to communicate to him the circumstance of her connexion with Colonel Berkeley, when this gallant gentleman saved her the trouble of doing so, and one night when they were in the pit of the opera together, took the characteristic course of making Hayne acquainted with the liaison, and the fact that it still existed. Hayne immediately broke off the engagement; but soon afterwards not only renewed it, but fixed the day of marriage. Again he broke it 102 off, again yielded to the fascinations of his enslaver, and this time not only was the wedding-day fixed and the license obtained, but “Pea Green Hayne” took a solemn vow that nothing should separate him from the object of his affections. Believing that all was safe, Miss Foote now threw up her engagement and disposed of her theatrical wardrobe, but the weak-minded, vacillating creature, who could not summon up resolution either to have or to leave her, let matters go on to the very day, and again failed to put in an appearance. Some preliminary letters having passed between the parties, Maria then issued a writ, and recovered £3,000 damages in the action which followed. The plaintiff, who seven years afterwards became Countess of Harrington, died in 1867.

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

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

The conduct of Colonel Berkeley in reference to the case Foote 1825. v. Hayne, called forth, as might have been expected, some severe strictures from the press, and in particular Mr. Judge, editor of the Cheltenham Journal, which place the colonel honoured with his patronage and society, had occasionally indulged in animadversions 103 on his conduct. In one of the numbers of his paper an article appeared, in which some satirical observations were made with reference to the annual “Berkeley Hunt” ball. On the afternoon of that day Colonel Berkeley accompanied, by two of his friends, called at Mr. Judge’s residence, and being invited to walk in, the colonel asked Mr. Judge if he would name the author of the papers which had appeared in the Journal. Mr. Judge said he did not know whom he had the honour of addressing, and on learning who he was, proposed that he should call at the office of the paper, “where he would give him every satisfaction.” Colonel Berkeley replied, “No, sir! Now, sir! Now, sir!” and without further notice commenced a cowardly attack on the unarmed man by beating him over the head and face with the butt-end of a heavy hunting whip. To make the dastardly affair more dastardly if possible, one of the two fellows with him stood at the door, and the other near the fire place, so as to prevent Judge from seizing any weapon or calling any one to his assistance. For this ruffianly assault, which placed poor Judge for some time in considerable danger of his life, he subsequently recovered substantial damages against his cowardly antagonist. The Colonel got a far worse dressing from Robert Cruikshank who, in a severe contemporary skit, named (in allusion to the colonel’s notorious illegitimacy) Colonel Fitz Bastard, depicted him and his friends in the act of assaulting the editor of the Cheltenham Journal.

The artist’s tastes and sympathies threw him much in the society Edmund Kean. of actors. The following year his thoroughly Bohemian friend, Edmund Kean, was mulcted in £800 damages, in consequence of a disgraceful liaison with the wife of Alderman Cox; and while audiences thronged the one theatre to testify their sympathy for a favourite and popular actress, they crowded the other to howl and hiss at the thoroughly disreputable and disgraced tragedian. The episode is referred to by the artist in three of his contemporary caricatures, labelled respectively, Wolves Triumphant, or a Fig for Public Opinion; A Scene from the Pantomime of Cock-a-Doodle-Doo, lately performed at Drury Lane with unbounded applause; and 104 the Hostile Press, or Shakespeare in Danger, all of which contain perhaps the best theatrical portraits of the popular tragedian which are extant.

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

A very curious personage makes his appearance in Robert’s The Living Skeleton. sketches of this year, who would seem at first sight to be the most outrageously caricatured of any of his subjects, and yet this in truth is not the case. This person was the celebrated Claude Ambroise Seurat, “the living skeleton,” who was exhibited at the Chinese saloon in Pall Mall, and whose portrait from three different points of view was taken by Robert Cruikshank, and afterwards appeared in the first volume of Hone’s “Every-day Book,” where a full account of this very singular personage will be found. The repulsive object, who (with the exception of his face) presented all the appearance of an attenuated skeleton, was exhibited in a state of complete nudity with the exception of a fringe of silk about his middle, from which (out of two holes cut for the purpose) protruded his dreadful hip bones. Seurat, as might have been expected, forms the subject of numerous contemporary caricatures; and in one of these, by way of comical contrast, the worthy but corpulent alderman, Sir William Curtis, distinguished by a similar scantiness of attire, figures with the living skeleton in a lively pas de deux. William Heath, in another of contemporary date, represents the fat alderman standing on a map of England, and Seurat on a map of France. Says Sir William: “I 105 say, friend, did you ever eat turtle soup?” to which Claude Ambroise replies, “No, sare; but I did eat de soupe maigre.” In another (also I think by the same artist), labelled, Foreign Rivals for British Patronage, the living skeleton and a favourite male Italian singer of the time are represented in the act of preparing for mortal combat.54

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


No. 111, Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré,

à Paris.

Sir,—People are buying themselves so fast out of my book, ...55 that I have no time to attend to them; should be sorry not to give each a chance, if they chuse to be out. You are quizzed most unmercifully. Two noble dukes have lately taken my word, and I have never named them. I am sure —— would say you might trust me never to publish, or cause to be published, aught about you, if you like to forward £200 directly to me, else it will be too late, as the last volume, in which you shine, will be the property of the editor, and in his hands. Lord —— says he will answer for aught I agree to; so will my husband. Do just as you like—consult only yourself. I get as much by a small book as you will give me for taking you out, or more. I attack no poor men, because they cannot help themselves.

“Adieu. Mind, I have no time to write again, as what with 106 writing books, and then altering them for those who buy out, I am done up—frappé en mort.

“Don’t trust to bag56 with your answer.”


That this extraordinary communication was no idle threat was proved by the fact that a respectable statuary, carrying on business in Piccadilly, who had refused to pay black-mail, brought an action for libel in the King’s Bench on the 1st of July against a man named Stockdale, publisher of the infamous production referred to, and recovered £300 damages. The same year Popple, the printer, brought his action against this fellow; but Mr. Justice Best directed him to be nonsuited, on the ground that he was not entitled to remuneration for printing a work of such a character.

The Catholic Relief Bill, which was thrown out this year, is the subject of several of Robert’s satires, bearing the titles of John Bull versus Pope Bull; Defenders of the Faith; The Hare Presumptuous, or a Catholic Game Trap; A Political Shaver, or the Crown in Danger. The Catholic Association, or Paddy Coming it too Strong, has reference to Mr. Goulburn’s motion to suppress the Catholic Association of Ireland, which was carried by 278 to 123, and the third reading by a majority of 130. The language used by Mr. O’Connell on the occasion was so strong that an indictment was subsequently preferred against him, which, however, was thrown out by the grand jury. Matheworama for 1825 depicts that celebrated impersonator in thirteen of his characters. Duelling deserves particular mention by reason of the admirably designed landscape and figures. It represents one of the principals (who looks very far from comfortable) waiting, with his second and a doctor, the advent of the other parties. The Bubble Burst, or the Ghost of an old Act of Parliament, has reference to the speculation mania of 1825. Others of his satires for the year are labelled respectively, Frank and Free, or Clerical Characters in 1825; A Beau Clerk for a Banking Concern; The Flat Catcher and the Rat Catcher; and A Pair of Spectacles, or the London Stage in 1824-5, which, although unsigned 107 and bearing no initials, I have no hesitation in assigning to Robert Cruikshank.

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

With the year 1825, our record of Isaac Robert Cruikshank’s Scarcity of Robert’s Satires. 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 108 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 110 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 Popularity of “Life in London.” 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 £25,000, 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.

Robert Cruikshank.]

[From “The Universal Songster.”

“By this take a warning, for noon, night, or morning,

The devil’s in search of attorneys.”

Robert Cruikshank.]

[From “The Universal Songster.”

“With her flames and darts, and apple tarts, her ices, trifles, cherry-brandy,

O, she knew not which to choose, for she thought them both the Dandy.”

[Face p. 110.

One night a stranger entered the private box of the Duke of York at the Adelphi, and seated himself immediately behind his Royal 111 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’ 112 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 113 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. 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 114 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 conceded 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 115 arrogated to himself, raised up a crop of enemies as well as friends, and he soon afterwards received his congé 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’état 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 Charles Molloy Westmacott. 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 116 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 £5,000. “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 “The English Spy.” 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, 117 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 118 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 “FitzAlleyne of Berkeley.” 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 personæ 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 119 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 “Points of Humour.” 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 120 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 121 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 “Facetiæ” and “Cruikshank’s Comic Album,” which contain a 122 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 mélange 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” 123 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 124 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 £10 asked for a copy; but a first edition (a rarity) may be purchased sometimes of a respectable bookseller for £8.

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 Sixty Years ago. 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 126 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 128 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. Cruikk. fect.” or “invt. & fect.”; the second—“invt. G. Cruikk. 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. 129 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 1811. 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 Lord Sidmouth’s Motion. 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 130 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, à 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 131 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 “The Satirist.” 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), 132 “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, 1813.
Discovery of the remains of Charles I.
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 1814. 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, 133 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).

George Cruikshank.]

[Published July 11th, 1814, by S. W. Fores, Piccadilly.


[Face page 133.

On the 8th of June, 1814, the Emperor of Russia, with his sister Visit of the Allied Sovereigns. 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 134 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 135 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 1815.
The Corn Laws.
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, 137 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. Napoleon returns from Elba. 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 138 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 Labedoyère, 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 Labedoyère 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 139 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 Reappearance of Bonaparte. 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 140 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 141 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 fête 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 Tri-coloured “Eagles.” 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 142 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 143 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 mât 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 1816.
Aversion of the Regent to retrenchment.
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, 144 “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, “£60,000 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 personæ 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 The Elgin Marbles. 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 146 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 £74,000. The committee recommend the House, under these circumstances, coupled with the valuations which they had obtained from competent authorities, that £35,000 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 1817. 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, 148 ... 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 £24,000,000
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 149 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 150 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, Death of Princess Charlotte. 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 151 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-à-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 Assemblée, 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, 152 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 1818.
Adulteration of Tea.
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 £840 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.

Designed, Etched and Published by George Cruikshank.]

[November 1st, 1829.


[Face p. 152.

On the 4th of December, 1818, the number of convicts lying under sentence of death in his Majesty’s gaol of Newgate, amounted to no less than sixty, of whom ten were females; probably not three of these unfortunate beings would have been hung now-a-days. Under the Draconian laws, however, then in force, people were hung in scores for passing forged one-pound Bank of England notes; and this barbarous state of things, disgraceful to a Christian country, led to the famous and telling satire of the Bank Restriction Note, one of the very few which seem to have escaped oblivion, and which, having been repeated and reproduced in all the latest essays which have been written on him, calls for no extra description from ourselves. 153 It is said to have had the effect desired, and that “no man or woman was ever hanged after this for passing forged one-pound Bank of England notes.”

In 1819 we have one of George Cruikshank’s severe and telling 1819. attacks upon the Prince Regent, in Sales by Auction, or Provident Children disposing of their Deceased Mother’s Effects for the Benefit of the Creditors (*), in which he shows us the prince knocking down (in his character of auctioneer) his dead mother’s old hats, gowns, and clothing, and begging the bystanders to bid liberally. At the foot of the rostrum lie sundry snuff-boxes and pots, labelled “Queen’s Mixture” and “Prince’s Mixture” (in allusion to the old queen’s habits), “Strasburg” (in reference to her German tastes and nationality), together with her old china tea-set.

This year is remarkable for producing perhaps the most ambitious and admirable allegory which the artist ever designed; it bears the title of Old Thirty-nine Shaking Hands with his Good Brother the Pope of Italy, or Covering Up versus Sealing the Bible. Old Thirty-nine (an English bishop) stands on a pile of volumes labelled, “Never-out-ism,” “Ante-biblism,” “Never-the-same-ism,” etc., whilst the pope, standing on the opposite side on a mass of books bearing similar suggestive titles, shakes hands with his “good brother.” By the pope’s side we find the devil busily engaged in sealing up the Bible. Behind him stands the Temple of Mammon, surrounded by a crowd of reverend worshippers. Two fiends standing by the side of “Old Thirty-nine” make preparations for a bonfire, to which sundry bundles labelled, “Articles of Faith,” “Athanasian Creed,” “Catechism,” “Liturgies,” “Nicene Creed,” and so on, will contribute materials. Out of a building in the rear, inscribed, “National School for Thirty-niners only,” issues a procession of ecclesiastics and beadles carrying banners. In the foreground stands the figure of “Divine Truth,” surrounded by little children, and perusing the pages of the “Holy Bible,” held for that purpose by an angel. A roughly executed affair in two compartments, Preachee and Floggee Too, satirizes certain clerical magistrates who, while preaching mercy and forgiveness in the pulpit, distinguish themselves by the severity of 154 their sentences for minor offences on the magisterial bench. The titles of other subjects of the year are: The Hobby Horse Dealer; Johnny Bull and his Forged Notes, or Rags and Ruin in the Paper Currency; Smoke Jack, the Alarmist, Extinguishing the Second Great Fire of London; Love, Law, and Physic (*); The Sailor’s Progress (six subjects); Dandies in France, or Le Restorateur (*); A Match for the King’s Plate; The Belle Alliance, or the Female Reformers of Blackburn (*); Voila t’on mort; and Royal Red Bengal Tiger (etched from the designs of other artists); Irish Decency (two caricatures); Giant Grumbo and the Black Dwarf, or Lord G—— and the Printers Devil; and Our Tough old Ship Steered Safely into Harbour maugre Sharks of the Day (*).

An unsigned caricature, published by Fores on the 15th of May, 1819, appears to me to be due to the hand of George Cruikshank. It bears the title of The Dandy Tailor Planning a New Hungry Dress, and would appear to have reference to some contemplated introduction of foreign mercenaries into the English service. The tailor, while stitching a military jacket, sings a song of which the following is a verse,—

“A tailor there was, and he lived in a stall,

Which served him for palace, for kitchen, and hall.

No coin in his pocket, no nous in his pate,

No ambition has he, nor no wish to be great.

Derry down, down, down, derry down!”

A foreigner enters in military costume, introducing two foreign mercenaries. “Dese men,” he says, “will teach you de proper vay to make de Hungarian soldats. I did bring dem expres’. Observe des grands mustaches. No more English soldats.” A military figure in jack boots, standing by the side of the tailor, holds the “goose” in readiness for his master’s use. The Prince Regent, especially as George the Fourth, was fond of inventing new military costumes, and Mr. Greville describes him in 1829 (the year before his death) as “employed in devising a new dress for the guards;” but by the mitre at his back, and the reference to his impecunious position, I should take this “tailor” to be intended for the Duke of York.


Ah! sure such a pair was never seen, so justly formed to meet by nature!1820. (*) represents a couple of pears, in which we recognise likenesses of George the Fourth and Queen Caroline, the features of the king being expressive of strong disgust. After Lord Liverpool had decided not to send the “Bill of Pains and Penalties” to the Commons, for the reason stated in a previous chapter, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of the City of London distinguished themselves by presenting, on the 10th of December, an address to their “most gracious sovereign,” complaining of things in general, and of public expenditure in particular, the real cause of complaint, however, being “the alleged criminality” which, as the petitioners stated, had been “falsely ascribed” to the queen. This address, which was conceived in the worst possible taste, concluded with the following outrageous prayer: “We therefore humbly pray your Majesty to dismiss from your presence and councils for ever those ministers whose pernicious measures have so long endangered the throne, undermined the constitution, and blighted the prosperity of the nation.” Now, only fancy any Corporation of London in our time signalizing itself by presenting a petition to “Her Most Gracious Majesty,” complaining of the measures of Lord Beaconsfield or Mr. Gladstone, and praying her to dismiss them from her councils! The king returned the following answer: “It has been with the most painful feelings that I have heard the sentiments contained in the address and petition now presented to me by the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of the City of London. Whatever may be the motives of those by whom it is brought forward, its evident tendency is to inflame the passions and mislead the judgment of the unwary and less enlightened part of my subjects, and thus to aggravate all the difficulties with which we have to contend.” This episode suggested to George one of the most admirable of his caricatures: A Scene in the New Farce as performed at the Royalty Theatre. The corpulent monarch, in the character and costume of Henry the Eighth, is receiving a number of deputations from all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, bearing petitions praying him to dismiss his 156 ministry, the members of which stand on each side of the throne, one of the number being habited as a jester. This exceedingly rare plate carries on it the following explanation: “King Henry VIII. being petitioned to dismiss his ministers and council by the citizens of London and many boroughs, to relieve his oppressed subjects, made the citizens this sagacious reply: ‘We, with all our cabinet, think it strange that ye who be but brutes and inexpert folk, should tell us who be and who be not fit for our council.’”

Another of George Cruikshank’s rare and valuable contributions 1821. to the Queen Caroline series of pictorial satires is labelled The Royal Rushlight, which many people (among them the Chancellor and corpulent George) are vainly endeavouring to blow out. By way (it may be) of contrast, this excellent satire has appended to it the following miserable doggerel,—

“Cook, coachee, men and maids, very nearly all in buff,

Came and swore in their lives they never met with such a light;

And each of the family by turns had a puff

At the little farthing rushlight.

But none of the family could blow out the rushlight.”

With the year 1821 came the closing scene in the drama of Death of Queen Caroline. Caroline’s unhappy but singularly undignified career. On the occasion of the king’s coronation she had applied to Lord Liverpool, desiring to be informed what arrangements had been made for her convenience, and who were appointed her attendants at the approaching ceremony. An answer was returned that, “it was a right of the Crown to give or withhold the order for her Majesty’s coronation, and that his Majesty would be advised not to give any directions for her participation in the arrangements;” but with the obstinacy of purpose which was so fatal a blemish in her character, and which seems to have been the primary cause of all her misfortunes, she insisted on her right, and declared moreover her firm intention of attending the ceremony. A respectful but peremptory reply was returned, reasserting the legal prerogative of the Crown, and announcing that the former intimation must be understood as amounting to a prohibition of her attendance. She 157 was however so ill-advised as to present herself early on the morning of the day (the 19th of July) at the doors of the Abbey of Westminster. The door-keepers refused to allow her to enter as queen; and she was forced to submit to the mortification of having to retire without having succeeded (as it was her evident intention to have done) in marring the arrangements for the splendid ceremony. By this time the enthusiasm in her favour had greatly evaporated, and she was received even coldly by her friends the assembled mob. The mortification proved fatal to her; very shortly afterwards she was taken ill, and died in less than three weeks after the unnecessary mortification to which she had thus insisted on exposing herself.

It is probable that if the wishes of her executors had been allowed to be carried out, the unfortunate woman would have been carried to her grave in peace. She had directed that her remains should, three days after her death, be carried to Brunswick for interment; and had Lord Liverpool been wise, he would have left the executors to carry out the arrangements after their own fashion. Unfortunately, the Government decided to take the arrangements into their own hands, and to lay down the route (the shortest) by which the mournful procession should proceed to Harwich. No fault can be found with the arrangements themselves, which were intended to pay the greatest respect to the memory of the deceased; but the cautions they took brought about the very result they were anxious to avoid, and at once revived all the slumbering sympathies of the mob in favour of the unhappy queen. A squabble took place at the outset, Dr. Lushington, as one of the executors, protesting against the removal of the corpse; but, escorted by squadrons of Horse-guards Blue, the procession left Brandenburg House at eight o’clock in the morning of the 15th of August, in a drizzling rain. The cavalcade reached Kensington in solemn order; but on arriving at the Gravel Pits, and attempting to turn off to the left, its progress was instantly blocked by wagons and carts placed across the road, while a body of men formed across the streets twenty deep and evinced every disposition to dispute the passage. A severe conflict took place between them and the constables, several on both sides being hurt. 158 For an hour and a half the procession waited for orders, and at length it moved towards London. On reaching Kensington Gore a squadron of the Life Guards, with a magistrate at their head, tried in vain to open the park gates, the crowd vociferating in the meantime, “To the city! the city!” On reaching Hyde Park Corner, the gate there was found barricaded with carts, and the procession then moved on to Park Lane, which being also blocked up, it turned back hastily and entered Hyde Park, through which it proceeded at a trot, the soldiers having cleared away the obstacles at the gate. On reaching Cumberland Gate, it was found closed by the populace, and in the conflict which ensued the park wall was thrown down by the pressure of the crowd, who hurled the stones at the soldiers, in return for the use the latter had made of their sabres in clearing the passage. Many of the military and their horses were hurt; and some of the soldiers, irritated by their rough usage, resorted to their pistols and carbines, and two persons (Richard Honey, a carpenter, and George Francis, a bricklayer) were unfortunately killed, and others wounded. The Edgeware Road was blockaded, but quickly cleared, and the procession moved on till it arrived at the turnpike gate near the top of Tottenham Court Road. There the mob made so determined a stand that further opposition was deemed unadvisable, and the popular will being at length acceded to, the cavalcade forthwith took its way into the city. Every street through which a turn could have been made in order to enter the New Road or the City Road was found barricaded. As the funeral passed through the city, the Oxford Blues doing duty there, who had not participated in the outrage, were cordially greeted by the populace on either side of the street. The inquests on the bodies of the dead men lasted for a considerable period. In the case of Francis, a verdict of “wilful murder against a life guardsman unknown” was returned; whilst in that of Honey, the verdict was manslaughter against the officers and men of the first regiment of Life Guards on duty at the time. This event is recorded by George in a caricature entitled, The Manslaughter Men, or a Horse Laugh at the Law of the Land,—two ghostly gory figures rising from their graves, which 159 are respectively inscribed, “Verdict, wilful murder,” and “Verdict, manslaughter”; a group of life guardsmen grin and point at the body, and one of them jeeringly remarks, “Shake not thy bloody locks at me; ye cannot say who did it.” Another satire on the same subject bears the title of The Horse Chancellor obtaining a Verdict, or Killing no Murder.

Other subjects of this year are the following: And when Ahitophel saw that his Counsel was not followed, he Saddled his Ass, and arose and went and Hanged himself; O! O! there’s a Minister of the Gospel; The Royal Extinguisher, or the King of Brobdingnag and the Liliputians (etched after the design of Isaac Robert). Six subjects, La Diligence and La Doriane, Venus de Medici and Mer de Glace, Visit to Vesuvius and Forum Boarium, and Nosing the Nob at Ramsgate, a coarsely executed satire aimed at his Majesty and his eccentric subject, Alderman Sir William Curtis.

Sir William Curtis, alderman, trader, and formerly member for the 1822.
Sir William Curtis.
city, is one of the most prominent figures in the satires of his time. Making every allowance for caricature drawing, the likeness must have been on the whole a faithful though an exaggerated one; for in all the numerous comical sketches in which he makes an appearance, we never fail to recognise his ruby nose and ponderous figure. We have already seen him figuring by way of ludicrous contrast with Claude Ambroise Seurat, the “living skeleton,” and we shall now find him associated by the caricaturists with no less a person than the king himself. When his majesty, in 1822, paid his visit to Scotland, and by way of compliment to the country and her traditions assumed the “garb of old Gael,” Alderman Sir William Curtis, who followed his sovereign at a respectful distance, out of compliment to the country, her traditions, “his most gracious majesty,” and himself, put his own corpulent form into fancy costume, and likewise donned the Highland garb. The absurdly ludicrous result is told us by Lockhart. “The king at his first levee diverted many, and delighted Scott by appearing in the full Highland garb—the same brilliant Stewart tartans, so-called, in which certainly no Stewart, except Prince Charles, had ever before presented 160 himself in the saloons of Holyrood. His majesty’s Celtic toilette had been carefully watched and assisted by the gallant Laird of Garth, who was not a little proud of the result of his dexterous manipulations of the rough plaid, and pronounced the king ‘a vara pretty man.’ And he did look a most stately and imposing person in that beautiful dress; but his satisfaction therein was cruelly disturbed when he discovered, towering and blazing among and above the genuine Glengarries and Macleods and MacGregors, a figure even more portly than his own, equipped from a sudden impulse of loyal ardour in an equally complete set of the self-same conspicuous Stewart tartans:—

’He caught Sir William Curtis in a kilt—

While throng’d the chiefs of every Highland clan

To hail their brother, Vich Ian Alderman.’80

In truth this portentous apparition cast an air of ridicule and caricature over the whole of Sir Walter’s celtified pageantry. A sharp little bailie from Aberdeen, who had previously made acquaintance with the worthy Guildhall baronet, and tasted the turtle soup of his voluptuous yacht, tortured him as he sailed down the long gallery of Holyrood, by suggesting that after all his costume was not quite perfect. Sir William, who had been rigged out, as the auctioneer’s advertisements say, ‘regardless of expense,’ exclaimed that he must be mistaken, begged he would explain his criticism, and, as he spoke, threw a glance of admiration on his skene dhu (black knife), which, like a true ‘warrior and hunter of deer,’ he wore stuck into one of his garters. ‘Oo ay! Oo ay!’ quoth the Aberdonian; ‘the knife’s a’ right, mon—but faar’s your speen?’ (where’s your spoon?) Such was Scott’s story; but whether he ‘gave it a cocked hat and walking cane,’ in the hope of restoring the king’s good humour, so grievously shaken by this heroical doppel ganger, it is not very necessary to inquire.”81

Which indeed of the absurd pair looked the most ridiculous it 161 would be hard to say: a great-grandson of George the Second in the Highland garb of “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was perhaps as absurd an anachronism as a fat cockney alderman in the same fancy costume. Our friends the caricaturists were fully alive to these puerilities. An anonymous caricature of the day celebrates the ludicrous event in a satire entitled, Equipt for a Northern Visit, which represents the fat king and the fat alderman in kilts, the point of the pictorial epigram lying in the fact that the corpulent king recommends his corpulent subject to lay aside the costume as unbecoming to a man of his proportions. George has several pictorial satires on the same fertile theme; one of these, Bonnie Willie, depicts the huge man in Highland garb. A rare and most amusing caricature shows us the supposed unfortunate Results of this Northern Excursion. The fat king and his fat subject have caught the northern complaint vulgarly termed the “Scottish fiddle,” and are vigorously going through the traditionary process of rubbing themselves against the post, blessing the while his grace the Duke of Argyle. An English acquaintance, not unnaturally afraid of infection, refuses the alderman’s proffered hand.

A caricature of altogether another kind commemorates a raid made by the Bow Street officers on the numerous gaming establishments of 1822. It is called, Cribbage, Shuffling, Whist, and a Round Game, is divided into six compartments, and is most humorously and admirably treated. The principal performers are the knaves of cards. One of the compartments shows us the knaves on the treadmill, which is marked “Fortune’s Wheel;” while in another a knave is undergoing the discipline of the “cat,” and calling out at every stroke “E. O.! E. O.! E. O.!”82

Sir Richard Westmacott’s statue of Achilles was executed in 1822. Statue of Achilles. The nude, undraped colossal figure, which was subscribed for by the ladies of England in honour of the Duke of Wellington and his soldiers, was the occasion of numerous contemporary satires—most of them (in those plain-spoken days) of the broadest possible 162 character. One of the most indelicate (*) (drawn by the artist from the sketch or suggestion of another) gives a burlesque front and back view of the figure, which is surrounded by a number of people (principally ladies), among whom we recognise a caricature likeness of the “Dook.” The inscription runs as follows: “To Arthur à Bradley, and his jolly companions every one, this brazen image of Patrick O’Killus, Esq., is inscribed by their countrywomen.”83 Besides the foregoing, we meet this year with A Lollipop-Ally Campagne and Brandy Ball (*); Premium, Par, and Discount; Showing-off—Bang up—Prime (*); and A Sailor’s description of a Chase and Capture (*).

A large proportion of his satires for 1823 are aimed at Louis the 1823. Eighteenth’s Spanish expedition, the object of which we have already related. One of these shows us France the great Nation driven by the North into the South; in another, Ferdinand the Seventh and the Duc d’Angoulème figure respectively as a Spanish Mule and a French Jackass; A French Hilt on a Spanish Rapier, is likewise dedicated to the Duc d’Angoulème; another shows us Old Bumblehead the 18th trying on Napoleon’s Boots; a fifth is entitled, A Hint to the Blind and Foolish, or the Bourbon Dynasty in Danger; while a sixth shows us Louis the Fat troubled with Nightmare and Dreams of Terror. In all these caricatures, the figure of Napoleon, already sleeping his last sleep at St. Helena—the place of his exile and of his grave—is represented by way of contrast to the unwieldly and incompetent Bourbon. Another caricature, the point of which I fail to see, bears the title of The Tables Turn’d, or the Devil Outwitted and Cruelly Punished,—a Scene on the Portsmouth Treadmill; this last, though said to be “designed by an amateur,” and “etched by G. Ck.,” is unquestionably all his own.

Drilling One-tenth of the Military in the Manual Exercise, and 1824. Saint Shela (two subjects), have reference to the Tenth Hussars and 163 Battier scandal, mentioned in a previous chapter;84 other subjects of 1824 are: Parisian Luxury (a man being shaved in a bath); Preparing for a Duel; and The Ostend Packet in a Squall; all etched by George from the designs of other artists. The mania for joint-stock companies in 1825, was scarcely equalled by the speculation mania which inaugurated the passing in our own time of the “Limited Liability Act.” In 1824 and the beginning of 1825, two hundred and seventy-six companies had been projected, of which the aggregate capital (on paper only) represented £174,114,050. Thirty-three of these were established for the construction of canals and docks, forty-eight of railroads, forty-two for the supply of gas, six of milk, and eight of water, four for the working of coal, and thirty-four of metal mines; twenty new insurance companies were started, twenty-three banks, twelve navigation and packet companies, three fisheries, two for boring tunnels under the Thames, three for the embellishment and improvement of the metropolis, two for sea-water baths, and the rest for miscellaneous purposes; it is a somewhat significant fact that two only had for their object the establishment of newspapers. Notwithstanding the manifest absurdity of many of these projects, the shares of several—especially of the mining adventurers in South America—rose to enormous premiums. Among the last may be mentioned those of the Real del Monte, the price of which, between the 10th of December and the 11th of January, rose from £550 to £1350, and the United Mexican during the same period from £35 to £1550. On these last shares only £10 had been paid, and on the former only £70. Speaking of this mania, the Rev. T. F. Dibdin (in his “Reminiscences”) says, “If it did not partake of the name, it had certainly all the wild characteristics of the South Sea Bubble. To-day you had only to put your name down to a share or shares in the Rio de la Plata or other South American mines, and to-morrow a supplicant purchaser would give you fifty per cent. for every share taken. The old were bewitched ... the young were in ecstasies. Everybody made a rush for the city. A new world of wealth had been discovered. It was only to 164 ask and have.” George Cruikshank refers to this state of things in a caricature called, A Scene in the Farce of Lofty Projects, as Performed with great success for the benefit and amusement of John Bull. Besides these, he gives us The Four Mr. Prices (High Price, Low Price, Full Price, and Half Price).

I can assign no date to Waiting on the Ladies; The Death of the Property Tax, or Thirty-seven Mortal Wounds for Ministers and the Inquisitorial Commissioners; or to The Court at Brighton, à la Chinese, one of the most admirable of the whole series. In this last, the fat prince habited as a mandarin, is seated on a sofa between the Princess Charlotte and an enormously fat woman, probably intended for the Marchioness of Conyngham. He is handing to a Chinese official a paper inscribed “Instructions for Lord Amhurst, to get fresh patterns of Chinese deformities to finish the decorations of Pavilion G. P. R.” A specimen of regency taste and sympathies stands on a pedestal in the form of the Hottentot Venus, while a statuette of the fat prince himself, habited in a red coat, white waistcoat, yellow inexpressibles, and silk stockings, is labelled the “British Adonis.” The princess recommends her papa to order the officer to bring her over “a Chinaman, instead of getting her a husband among our German cousins.” A variety of miscellaneous articles are strewn about the floor, among them a box containing the Regent’s wigs and whiskers, a treatise on “The Art of making Punch,” the indispensable hamper of champagne, and a pair of curling irons; while no one will fail to recognise the interior of the Brighton Pavilion as the scene where this admirable satire is laid. Another undated satire remains to be noticed: it represents a young man in a boat with three young women, one of them of considerable personal attractions, that is to say from a Cruikshankian point of view, and evidently a likeness. On the shore stands another young woman and her child, whom the young spark has evidently left behind him. In the stern of the boat is a hamper of wine and a goblet fashioned out of a skull; a noseless man rows the boat, while three sailors in an adjoining vessel make ribald observations in reference to the young man’s female companions. By the star on 165 his coat, the turned-down collar, profile, and the arrangement of the hair, we take it that the person thus satirized is Lord Byron. Any doubts we may have on the subject seem removed by the words of the song he is supposed to be singing while waving his hat to the disconsolate woman on the shore:—

“All my faults perchance thou knowest,

All my madness none can know.”

And the concluding stanza:—

“Fare thee well! thus disunited,

Torn from every nearer tie,

Seared in heart, and lone, and blighted,

More than this I scarce can die”!!

The foregoing contains a list and description of some of George Cruikshank’s graphic satires, many of which we have reason to believe will be entirely new to the great majority of our readers. They support the description given of him by Lockhart at the opening of our chapter: “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 content to dine off the proceeds of a ‘George IV.’ to-day, and those of a ‘Hone,’ or a ‘Cobbett,’ to-morrow.” It must be remembered that these represent but a branch of his work; and that while content to design a satire as elaborate and as admirable as any which owe their origin to the hand of Gillray, or to dash off a rough and carelessly executed caricature, he was equally ready to etch the work of an inferior artist, or even of an amateur; to execute a drawing on wood for a ballad, or for one of the numerous political hits of the day, whether on the loyal or the popular side mattered but little to him; to do anything, in fact (to use the words of Lockhart), that “was suggested or thrown in his way.” It is barely possible that the very imperfect series we have given may astonish those who have hitherto regarded George Cruikshank only as an illustrator of books, and supposed that, with the exception of the woodcuts for Hone’s various jeux d’esprits, and the rough work which appears in “The Satirist,” “The 166 Scourge,” and publications of a similar character, he executed but few pictorial satires. A perfect set of impressions from his caricatures probably does not exist; if it did it would command a high price indeed. We have seen a set of about seventy plates advertised by one enterprising bookseller at the price of seventy pounds. The specimens we have cited (exclusive of two from “The Scourge”) 128 in number, were published between the years 1808 and 1825, by G. and H. Humphrey, S. Fairburn, Thomas Tegg, Ackermann, M. Jones, J. Fairburn, J. Dolby, W. Hone, S. W. Fores, A. Bengo, J. Sidebotham, S. Knight, and J. Johnstone. If to the foregoing we add the plates in “Cruikshankiana”—twenty-six in number, thirty in “The Scourge,” six in “Fashion,” nine in “The Satirist,” and eight in the “Loyalists’ Magazine,” we get seventy-nine more, making a sum total of over two hundred in all. How many more have escaped notice—how many have disappeared for ever from public notice without a chance of recovery or revival—it would be, perhaps, impossible to say; for even George himself was sometimes at fault, when the long-forgotten work of his early years was presented to him for recognition or acknowledgment.

66 Alluding to the “Life in London.”

67 This certainly was not true; both Gillray and Rowlandson were draughtsmen and artists of exceptionable ability.

68 The article from which this is quoted is variously assigned to Professor Wilson and Lockhart; it matters little which. Meanwhile, we must have a name, let it be Lockhart’s.

69 The editor of “The Scourge” was one Jack Mitford. He received a classical education, was originally in the navy, and fought under Hood and Nelson. Besides “The Scourge,” he edited “The Bon Ton” magazine, and “Quizzical Gazette,” and was author of a sea song once popular, “The King is a true British Sailor.” He was an irreclaimable drunkard, thought only of the necessities of the hour, and slept in the fields when his finances would not admit of payment of a twopenny lodging in St. Giles’s. His largest work was “Johnny Newcome in the Navy,” for which the publisher gave him the generous remuneration of a shilling a day till he finished it. He died in St. Giles’s workhouse in 1831.

70 The reader may remember that Napoleon once contracted a skin disease from taking up a weapon which had been wielded by a dead artilleryman, which gave him trouble at various periods of his life. It may be that this suggested the subject.

71 See the “Declaration of the Powers,” from which we have already quoted.

72 “Narrative of Captain Maitland,” p. 109.

73 The Regent’s selfish nature and expensive habits may be judged by the following extract from the Greville Memoirs. Under date of 1830, Mr. Greville writes: “Sefton gave me an account of the dinner in St. George’s Hall on the King’s [William IV.] birthday, which was magnificent, excellent, and well served. Bridge came down with the plate, and was hid during the dinner behind the great wine-cooler, which weighs 7,000 ounces, and he told Sefton afterwards that the plate in the room was worth £200,000. There is another service of plate which was not used at all. The king has made it all over to the crown. All this plate was ordered by the late king, and never used; his delight was ordering what the public had to pay for.”—Greville Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 42.

74 See Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Earl of Elgin’s Collection ... of Marbles (“Annual Reg.,” 1816, p. 447).

75 See Chapter III. (1817).

76 The idea of the letterpress description (a very long one), from which the above is an extract, is borrowed of course from Dr. Arbuthnot.

77 See Chapter III. (1817).

78 See Chapter III. (1817).

79 She was fond of adopting children, and it was proved that she had adopted a daughter of the man Bergami.

80 Byron’s “Age of Bronze.”

81 Lockhart’s “Life of Scott,” vol. v. p. 203.

82 “E. O.” was another name for roulette, and forms the subject of one of Rowlandson’s early and best caricatures.

83 The following are the words of the original inscription: “To Arthur, Duke of Wellington, and his brave companions in arms, this statue of Achilles, cast from cannon taken in the battles of Salamanca, Vitoria, Toulouse, and Waterloo, is inscribed by their countrywomen.”

84 See Chapter IV.




Those who have studied the work of George Cruikshank from its Alterations in Cruikshank’s Style. commencement to its close (and those only can be said to have done so who are familiar with the satires described in the previous chapter), cannot fail to be struck with the alterations which took place in his style at different periods of the career we have already been considering. George Cruikshank’s peculiar style and manner, which enable us to recognise his work at a glance, was the outcome of a very slow and gradual process of development. In the first instance he closely copied Gillray, but soon acquired a manner of his own, blending the two styles after a fashion which is both interesting and amusing to follow. Soon, however, the style of the master was discontinued, and gradually the artist began to discover that the bent of his genius lay in altogether another direction. Unlike Thomas Rowlandson, the moment Cruikshank became an illustrator of books, he realized the fact that the style adapted to graphic satire was unsuitable for the purposes of this branch of art, and thenceforth he adopted a style differing from anything which had gone before. The revolution thus accomplished (a singular proof of the genius of the man) was effected without effort, and is strikingly manifest in an early book illustration representing the execution of Madame Tiquet and her accomplice, in 1699. The design to which we refer, which we believe is rare and little known, was engraved by H. R. Cook, from a design by the artist for the frontispiece to a collection of narratives by Cecil, “printed for Hone,” in 1819, and stands by virtue of its force and character apart from most of the book illustrations of the period. From the 168 moment that the new style was adopted, the artist’s services were brought into requisition for the purposes of book illustration; and from the time work of this kind began to come in, he relaxed and afterwards discontinued the practice of caricature. It is as an etcher and designer of book illustrations we shall henceforth have to consider him, and in this character one of his famous illustrations to “Greenwich Hospital” will be found superior to the whole series of Rowlandson’s careless overdrawn designs to the three “Tours” of Syntax put together.

This alteration in the man’s style after he took to book illustration is known only to those familiar with his early caricatures. If you take, for instance, the etching of St. Swithin’s Chapel, of the “Sketch Book,” or The Gin Shop in the “Scraps and Sketches”85 (we are speaking of course of the early coloured impressions), and show them together with any two of the caricatures we have named to a person who had never before seen either, we will venture to say that he would pronounce them without hesitation to be executed by entirely different hands.

After Lockhart’s statement that George Cruikshank was capable George’s ideas of Female Beauty. of designing an Annunciation, a Beatification, or an Apotheosis, we must accept his assertion that he “understood the [human] figure completely” with a certain amount of reservation. Perhaps he did; and if he did, he certainly played some extraordinary tricks with the “figure” aforesaid. The truth is, that we forget the artist’s weaknesses, many and glaring as they are, in the lustre of his unexampled genius. The Times, in an otherwise laudatory article which it published after his death, remarked that “there was not a single beautiful face or figure probably in the whole range of Cruikshank’s work.” Now, although this is not entirely true, there is at least so much of truth in it that we may admit that the cases in which he has produced a pretty face or figure are very few and far between, and even those cases seem rather to have been the result of accident than of design. 169 There is no getting over the fact that George’s ideas of female beauty were, to say the least of them, peculiar: his women are fearfully and wonderfully made; they are horse-faced; their eyebrows are black and strongly marked; their hair is plastered to the sides of their faces, and meet bobs of hair at the back of their heads; their waists are as thin as their necks; and they all bear a strong family likeness to one another. The Times assertion is happily, however, so broad that it is easy to traverse and contradict it. George’s handsome women are so few, that it is difficult at the moment to say where any of them may be found. I know at least of one amazingly handsome one—the London Barrow Woman in Hone’s “Every-Day Book.” Some pretty servant girls will be found in the etching of The Sergeant Introducing his Dutch Wife to his Friends in “St. James’s, or the Court of Queen Anne,” and I will undertake to point out at least half a dozen pretty faces in the course of illustrations to “The Miser’s Daughter”; but after all, these are only exceptions to the general rule; and it may be safely conceded that as a delineator of female beauty, George could not hold a candle to John Leech, to John Tenniel, or even to his own brother, Isaac Robert.

As for the celebrated Cruikshankian steed, I give him up The Cruikshankian Steed. at once as an utterly irreclaimable and unmanageable brute. Thackeray, writing in 1840, said, that “though our artist does not draw horses very scientifically, to use the phrase of the atelier; he feels them very keenly, and his queer animals, after one is used to them, answer quite as well as better.” Even on this subject, however, the ablest critics have contradicted each other. George Augustus Sala tells us that the artist “could draw the ordinary nag of real life well enough,” and cites by way of example the very horses of the celebrated Deaf Postilion, in “Three Courses and a Dessert,” which Thackeray had previously held up to well-merited execration. He goes on to tell us that when George “essayed to portray a charger or a hunter, or a lady’s hack, or even a pair of carriage horses, the result was the most grotesque of failures. The noble animal has, I apprehend, forty-four ‘points,’ technically 170 speaking, and from the muzzle to the spavin-place, from the crest to the withers, from the root of the dock to the fetlock, George was wrong in them all. His fiery steed bore an equal resemblance to a Suffolk punch with the head of a griffin and the legs of an antelope, and that traditionary cockhorse on which the lady was supposed to ride to Banbury Cross with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes.”86 His peculiarities notwithstanding, George himself was in no wise conscious of them, and never hesitated to introduce “the fiery untamed” into any scene—battle or otherwise—in which the services of the eccentric animal might be turned to account. We find him assisting Washington in his triumphal journey to the capitol; astonishing the French squares in the character of a Mameluke charger at the Battle of the Pyramids; and leaping into the lake along with “Herne the Hunter,” that peculiar creation of the late Mr. Harrison Ainsworth, on which supernatural occasion he comes out, as might have been expected, with peculiar force and vigour.

Thackeray, moreover, says of his trees, that they were decidedly original, “being decidedly of his own make and composition, not imitated from any master;” another and a minor difficulty with the artist was a boot, which he invariably drew half a foot too long. George lived in the days of straps, and being strictly conservative in principle, when he met with a pair of trousers, his idea of the “fitness of things” was not satisfied until he pinned them to the wearer’s feet with a pair of these most uncomfortable appendages.

Against these shortcomings, which are a sufficient answer to those who would give him credit for possessing the faculty of designing “Annunciations, Beatifications, Apotheoses,” and the like, we must set his excellencies, the power and brilliancy of his imaginative faculties, his extraordinary talents of conception and realization, the delicacy of his manipulation and execution: in a word, the strong original “genius” with which Lockhart credited him from the moment he had seen his “Points of Humour.” Examples of this 171 “genius” might be cited by the thousand. Look only at the famous “Sketch Book;” its recent republication has placed it within the reach of every one of our readers. Look at the Sprig of Shelalegh, the rollicking, whiskey drinking, fighting, devil-may-care expression he has thrown into that piece of wood; turn to the sheet wherein he has recorded his Recollections of the Court of Common Pleas, and study the group of lawyers’ and witnesses’ faces therein contained. There is “genius” for you, if you will. If you are overworked, turn to them; they will do you good, for they will not only make you merry, but force upon you the conviction that the conception which created them was essentially original. It is this delightful originality of George Cruikshank which constitutes his genius.

George Cruikshank.]

[“Three Courses and a Dessert.


George Cruikshank.]

[“Three Courses and a Dessert.


“I doan’t want to hurt thee, zo I leaves thee wi’ un, but, mind—he’ll hold thy droat a little tighter than I did, if thee wags a hair.”

[Face p. 171.

“No plan!” “no ambition!” “not much industry!” so at least said Lockhart. We may doubt whether even at the time it was spoken this charge had any foundation of truth to rest upon; an answer to it at least will be found in the fact that, before the mysterious spell had fallen upon him we shall presently have to describe, this sterling and indefatigable genius had already produced thousands upon thousands of miraculous little drawings. From the mass of these wonderful creations we propose now to select a few examples, choosing them in the first instance from a graver type than some we shall presently have to consider.

“Greenwich Hospital” gives us one of the very best drawings which Cruikshank ever designed. The scene of the Point of Honour is laid on board the Triumph, at Spithead, at the time of the famous mutiny. A detachment of marines with shouldered arms are drawn up on the quarter deck, their drummer is beating to quarters, while all hands are assembled to witness a degrading and demoralizing spectacle,—a sailor, with his shoulders bare and his hands tied to the triangles, about to receive punishment for disobedience to orders. Conspicuous amongst the figures are two little middies, habited in the strange naval uniform of sixty years ago. The illustration to The Braintrees, at page 90 of the “Three Courses and a Dessert” is a marvellous specimen, not only of the graphic power of the 172 artist, but a triumph of the wood-engraver’s craft. In The Gin Shop (“Sketches by Boz”), the artist selected a subject which invariably enlisted his sympathy and called into action the full power of his graphic satire. Mark the flaming gas, the huge spirit vats, the gaudily painted pillars and mouldings; above all, the strange people: the young man with his hat on one side who chaffs the young ladies behind the bar, the gin-drinking female by his side, the gin-loving cripple, the small boy who brings the family bottle to be filled with gin, whose head barely reaches the counter, the gin-drinking charwoman to the left, and the quarrelsome gin-drinking Irish customers at the back. Everything in this picture reeks of gin; the only persons not imbibing it are the proprietor and his dowdy barmaids, whom I have no manner of doubt the artist intended to look captivating.

“What a fine touching picture of melancholy desolation,” remarks Thackeray, “is that of ‘Sikes and the dog.’ The poor cur is not too well drawn, the landscape is stiff and formal; but in this case the faults, if faults they be, of execution rather add to than diminish the effect of the picture: it has a strange, wild, dreary, broken-hearted look; we fancy we see the landscape as it must have appeared to Sikes, when ghastly and with bloodshot eyes he looked at it.” The etching of Jonathan Wild Discovering Darrell in the Loft [“Jack Sheppard”] reminds one, in its treatment, of Rembrandt, for the work of Cruikshank, be it observed, distinctly shows in its results that he studied both Hogarth and Rembrandt. The effect the artist has produced is wonderful; the ray of light thrown through the gloom upon the figure of Darrell as he stands against the wall, sword in hand, is capitally managed, “while the intricacies of the tile-work, and the mysterious twinkling of light among the beams are excellently felt and rendered.”87 Simon Renard and Winwike on the Roof of the White Tower [“Tower of London”] is another admirable drawing. The scene is laid on the platform of one of the antique guns which frown from the embrasures of the river face of the fortress. The head of Renard is not well drawn. The 173 character of the ambassador gives one the idea of a Spanish Iago, a clever, calculating knave, whom we should credit with the possession of a broad and lofty forehead, indicative of deep and concentrated thought; in the etching, however, before us, he has none at all, a deficiency compensated by puffy cheeks and a preposterous beak. These imperfections, which in another artist would mar the drawing, serve only to throw its excellencies into prominent notice. The lights and shadows are most effectively rendered, and the setting sun throws a broad light upon the features of the warder, who has laid aside his arquebus while conversing with the wily Spaniard. Of the many who have noticed the well-known etching of Born a Genius and Born a Dwarf [“Comic Almanack, 1847”], not one (so far at least as we know) has ever mentioned its origin. The subject was prompted by one of the last entries in the diary of poor Benjamin Robert Haydon, who died by his own hand on the 22nd of June, 1846, his corpse being found at the foot of his colossal picture of Alfred the Great and the First British Jury. The entry runs as follows:—“Tom Thumb had 12,000 people last week, B. R. Haydon 133-1/2 (the 1/2 a little girl). Exquisite taste of the English people!” In the etching which shows us Randulph and Hilda Dancing in the Rotunda at Ranelagh [“Miser’s Daughter”], he brings us face to face with our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers; wherever he got his authority from, the huge circular hall with galleries and arches running round it, illuminated by a thousand lamps, and the curious orchestra with the old-fashioned sounding-board above, are no freak of the artist’s imagination. The etching possesses a wondrous charm of reality. We find ourselves assisting, as it were, at one of the masquerades described in “Sir Charles Grandison”; many of the company are in fancy dresses, and we find it difficult to realize, in these broad-cloth days, that the gentlemen in the velvet coats, with gold-bound embroidered waistcoats, silk stockings, silver gilt rapiers, and laced hats, dancing minuets with Chinamen, harlequins, scaramouches, templars, and other fancifully-dressed persons, are simply wearing the every-day costume of men of fashion of the day.


Perhaps more than any other comic artist of past or present time, Mannerism. George is distinguished by his mannerisms. His horses, his women, the costumes of his male and female characters, the cut of their garments and of their boots, the arrangement of their hair, will proclaim his individuality anywhere; and yet, if you look at any of the designs which he executed in his best and brightest days, before he took up with the mania which contributed, as we shall presently see, so largely to the ruin of his artistic genius, fame, and fortunes, we cannot fail to be impressed with the quaintness of his imagination. In this quaintness and originality lie the charm and freshness which is the peculiar characteristic of his designs. Unlike those of other artists, you may turn over volume after volume of his sketches, and be conscious of no sense of weariness. Much of this no doubt is due to their constant variety. Unlike the generality of modern illustrators, he is not limited to the costumes and incidents of the every-day commonplace life of the nineteenth century; he does not confine himself to humour; his fancy takes a wider range, and revels in subjects of wonder, diablery, and romance. Gnomes and fairies, devils and goblins, knights, giants, jesters, and morris dancers are continually passing before us; there is an endless succession of novelties, treated with a quaintness of fancy which distinguishes it above all others; there is a ceaseless variety in his dramatis personæ, while the characters are as various as the subjects. In these characteristics seem to lie the secret of the pleasure which his illustrations, whether they be drawn on wood or etched on the copper, never fail to inspire.

The sale and purchase of Peter Schlemihl’s Shadow has been noticed by Thackeray. We see the Old Gentleman neatly packing up his purchase after the manner of an “old clo’” dealer; he has just “lifted the shadow of one leg; he is going to fold it back neatly, as one does the tails of a coat, and will stow it, without any creases or crumples, along with the other black garments that lie in that immense pocket of his.”88 Another illustration in the same book 175 shows us Peter, after he has repented of his bargain (as vendors invariably do who indulge in mercantile transactions of this character) in ardent pursuit of his shadow, which the tantilizing purchaser has let out for the occasion. Can anything more ludicrous be imagined than this scampering piece of intangibility? The etching of Sailors Carousing [“Greenwich Hospital”], executed in 1826, before the artist had altogether discontinued the style and manner of Gillray, would have delighted the heart of that accomplished caricaturist. An old one-eyed salt presides over a vast bowl of punch, the contents of which he is engaged in distributing to the company. One enthusiastic tar foots it with such vigour that he cannons against a potman, upsetting him and the measure of scalding liquor he carries over another angry, blaspheming sailor man; another sea worthy, snoring drunk, has converted his quart pot into an impromptu pillow, his own recumbent form serving the purposes of a footstool to a companion. The females are a combination of the styles of Gillray and Cruikshank, and, with one exception, are old, ugly, and preposterously fat. A comical illustration in the same book is called, Paying off a Jew Pedlar. The unhappy man (who had cheated the sailors), innocent of danger, is seated on a grating with his combs, spy-glasses, necklaces, ribbons, and all the rest of his “Brummagem” trumpery, spread out before him. The men, who have slily hitched a rope to the grating, suddenly give it a hoist, and away slides Moses, with all his wares and trumpery, into the hold together! How poor Seymour would have revelled in that admirable tailpiece in “Three Courses and a Dessert,” where an unhappy wight, pursued by a bull, manages to scramble atop of a gate-post (the only part free from spikes), to find his escape cut off on one side by a couple of bull-dogs, and on the other by a chevaux-de-frise terminating in a horse pond! We meet with a solemn piece of fun in Simpkin Dancing to the Musicians, one of the illustrations to the celebrated “New Bath Guide” of Christopher Anstey—

“And I thought it was right, as the music was come,

To foot it a little in Tabitha’s room.”







[Face p. 175.


The Last Cab Driver [“Sketches by Boz”] deserves a passing notice, because it has preserved from oblivion a class of vehicles which has long since disappeared from the London streets. It looked for all the world like the section of a coffin set on end, the seat (which was intended to accommodate only one person besides the driver) occupying the centre. The cabman being a very mauvais sujet, we find the surroundings (after the artist’s practice) in strict keeping with his character. The building past which he drives is marked “Old Bailey”; whilst a snuff manufacturer in the street at the back advertises himself as the vendor of “Real Irish Blackguard.”

The dry, quaint humour of the author of “Waverley” exactly Waverley Novels. suited the quaint imaginings of our artist. Both Scott and Cruikshank delighted in the supernatural and the marvellous, and this is why some of the most characteristic of the artist’s designs are to be found in his illustrations to the “Waverley Novels.” In one of these he shows us the illustrious Dominie at the moment, when reaching over to gather a water-lily, he falls souse into the Slough of Lochend, in which he forthwith became bogged up to the middle, his plight drawing from him of course his favourite ejaculation of amazement. By the assistance of some women the luckless Dominie was extracted from his position, justifying the remark of one of his assistants, that “the laird might as weel trust the care of his bairn to a potato-bogle.” Which was the most helpless of the two men—the Laird of Dumbiedikes, or the illustrious Dominie—it would be difficult to say; both these most original characters took a powerful hold on the artist’s imagination, and as a natural consequence the ideas of Scott were completely realized. A very comical design is that in which he shows us the worthy but witless laird with his laced cocked hat and empty tobacco pipe,89 and his hand extended “like the claw of a heraldic griffin,” when he managed to utter something beyond his usual morning greeting, and frightened 177 Jeannie into the belief that he had so far “screwed his courage to the sticking place” as to venture on a matrimonial proposal, to which unwonted effort of imagination his intelligence, however, proved altogether unequal.

In the “Comic Almanack” will be found many examples of Alliterative Designs. George’s tendency to graphic alliteration. The Fall of the Leaf affords a capital specimen of the kind of design to which we allude. The leaf of the dinner-table has been so insecurely fastened that it falls, burying with it the mistress of the house, the fish, the champagne, a sherry decanter, a vase of flowers,—everything, in fact, to which it formed a treacherous and unreliable support; Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall” lies in a corner of the room, and the walls are hung with appropriate subjects, such as the Fall of Foyers, the Falls of Niagara, Falls of the Clyde, and so on. An illustration of a similar kind will be found in Taurus—a Literary Bull. The animal has rushed into a printing office and scattered the compositors right and left; some seek shelter beneath their frames, one clambers wildly up the shelves of a paper case, while others scuttle over the frames, and one man, too wholly dismayed and bewildered to run, brandishes a stool in helpless imbecility. The bull is perhaps the most astonished of the dramatis personæ, and evidently wonders into what manner of place fate has brought him. The walls are pasted with appropriate advertisements: “Some Account of the Pope’s Bull,” “A Cock and Bull Story,” “Theatre Royal, Haymarket—John Bull” “To be Sold by Auction, the Bull Inn,” “Abstract of the Act against Bull-baiting,” and so on. In Libra Striking the Balance (same year), a dishonest tradesman has been detected in using false weights and measures. The beadle holds up a pair of scales, one of which weighs very much heavier than the other. The wretched culprit, conscious, all too late, that honesty would have proved “the best policy” for himself, leans against his shelves the picture of sullen and detected guilt. The window of the shop bears on it the painted legend of “The cheapest shop in London.” Leaning against the counter we find a programme of the “City Theatre,” announcing the performance of “Measure for Measure”: to conclude 178 with “Honest Thieves”; an officer outside (surrounded by a deeply interested crowd) is engaged in breaking up a second pair of dishonest scales. Chronology, difference in politics, character, tastes, and disposition, are most amusingly set at defiance in the etching entitled The Revolution at Madame Tussaud’s [1847]: Mary Queen of Scots “treads a measure” with William Penn the Quaker; Fox and Pitt make long noses at each other from opposite sides of the room; O’Connell shakes hands with Freschi, to whom our old friend the elderly country gentleman offers a friendly pinch of snuff; William Shakespeare flirts with an almond-eyed Chinese woman; Henry the Eighth smokes a long churchwarden with Judge Jefferys; Lord Byron (with greater propriety) exchanges friendly greetings with Jean Jacques Rousseau; whilst the great Napoleon unbends, as chroniclers assert that he was wont to do, and waltzes round the room with Madame Tussaud, and Britannia (to the uproarious delight of Sir William Wallace) rasps her trident across her shield, by way of accompaniment to the fiddle of the Saturnine Paganini.

The fun of these side splitting designs is only equalled by their variety. The “Almanack” of 1838 introduces us to the inevitable row which forms the wind-up of a Hibernian festa; chairs, sticks, shovels,—anything that comes to hand is used without fear or favour; men, women, children struggle together in inextricable confusion amidst the débris of wrecked furniture, broken glass, and battered pewter; high above the din drone the nasal tones of the piper; while amidst the infernal clatter “the praist” vainly endeavours to re-establish order and make himself heard. Theatrical Fun Dinner (1841) represents the close of the banquet. Hamlet is already too far gone to know what he is doing; Othello belabours Iago with a bottle; Shylock and Antonio fraternize; whilst a reconciliation is established between Macbeth and Macduff, who chink glasses by way of cementing their friendship; Sir John Falstaff lights his pipe at Bardolph’s nose; whilst Romeo hands up a glass of something short and strong to his Juliet in the balcony. 1842 gives us the celebrated etching of “Gone!” an auctioneer “knocking down” a bust of Socrates; at the word 179gone” the flooring gives way, and auctioneer, buyers, and Socrates, with all their surroundings, descend with a simultaneous crash into the cellars below. Drowning men catch at straws, and the spectacled visage of the auctioneer, as he clings wildly to his rostrum, is a perfect study of terrified imbecility.

In looking at these quaint designs, the mind of any one possessed of any imagination at all cannot fail to be impressed with a sense of the original train of thought which must have characterized the man who could conceive and realize them. How appropriately and admirably, even in trivial matters, the details of the design are worked out! If the reader will refer to the etching in “St. James’,” where the sergeant places the boot of his master, the Duke of Marlborough, on a map of Flanders, he will at once see what we mean. The action is accidental; and yet where could the boot have been placed with greater propriety? for surely if any country was under the heel of the great English captain, it was Flanders. Nothing to equal these designs are ever seen in these days, perhaps nothing like them will ever be seen again. There are many excellent comic designs produced by our artists of to-day; but with the exception, perhaps, of Mr. Caldicott and Colonel Seccombe, they lack character. You pass them by, and straightway forget them. Not so with these admirable little designs; you turn to them again and again, and each time with a refreshing sense of pleasure. Herein seems to lie the power of true genius—that its productions give not only a sense of freshness and delight, but that the sensation so conveyed will not die. There are people, I believe, on whom they produce no such impression; such people, as regards comic art, are for all practical purposes “dry bones,” and to dry bones such as these the pencil of “honest George” will appeal in vain.

Some writers on the subject of Cruikshank and his work would have us believe that he developed his highest powers of imagination and fancy, and achieved his highest reputation, when depicting subjects of a fairy or supernatural order. Whether these scribes be right or whether they be wrong, there is no doubt that he discovered for himself an enchanted land of mountain and streamlet, of meadow 180 and waterfall, of gnomes and fairies, of demons, witches, and of giants. The process by which he attained his excellence as an illustrator of fairy lore and legend has been related by himself in his own simple, unpolished words in the (so-called) “Fairy Library.” Unquestionably the opportunity which these subjects afforded of exercising untrammelled his marvellous gifts of imagination and fancy, and of realizing objects which owe their being to the creative faculties of his mind, were eagerly embraced by the artist; but, although the results were singularly weird and often very beautiful, I find myself obliged to differ from those who would have us believe that in realizing subjects of this kind he attained his highest excellence. The charm of George Cruikshank’s talent lies in the fact that notwithstanding his defects in drawing, everything he took in hand is impressed with the stamp of a strong and original genius; it is like nothing we have seen before; every one of his designs is marked with distinctive features of beauty, quaintness, or originality peculiar to himself.




Face p. 180.

The “German Popular Stories” probably contain the most striking specimens of Cruikshank’s power as a designer of fairy subjects. In reference to these illustrations, our great critic, Mr. Ruskin, says: “They are of quite sterling and admirable art, in a class precisely parallel in elevation to the character of the tales which they illustrate; and the original etchings, as I have before said in the Appendix to my ‘Elements of Drawing,’ were unrivalled in masterfulness of touch since Rembrandt, in some qualities of delineation unrivalled even by him.” “The Two Elves,” says Hamerton, “especially the nearer one, who is putting on his breeches, are drawn with a point at once so precise and vivacious, so full of keen fun and inimitably happy invention, that I have not found their equal in comic etching anywhere ... the picturesque details of the room are etched with the same felicitous intelligence; but the marvel of the work is in the expression of the strange little faces, and the energy of the comical wee limbs.”90 In The Witches’ 181 Frolic [“Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft”], we find a happy blending of the terrible and the grotesque. Look at the old hags floating out to sea in their tubs; and the strange, uncanny thing with dreadful eyes bobbing up and down midway between the foremost old woman and the distant vessel. The thing may be a ship, it may be a fish, or it may be a fiend,—in the dim half light we cannot tell what,—but it is horribly suggestive of nightmare, and makes one laugh as well as shudder. Some ghostly goblins, the creations of George’s weird fancy, will be found in “The Omnibus”; we see them following a ghostly ship manned by ghostly mariners, and we find in the same book ghostly Dutchmen playing a game of diabolical leap-frog with Australian kangaroos. In one illustration he introduces us to a cheerful assembly of ancestral ghosts: there is the ghostly saucer-eyed head of the family, with a ghostly hound peeping beneath his chair, a ghostly grandmother, half a dozen ghostly spinster aunts, a ghostly butler, a ghostly cook, a ghostly small boy, two ghostly candles; and lastly, a ghostly cat. Small wonder that under the influence of such ghostly surroundings the hair of the affrighted ghost-seer stands erect in the extremity of his terror.

This same book contains, too, the celebrated etching of Jack o’Lantern, probably the best illustration of the supernatural which we owe to the pencil and weird imagination of the artist. “Talk of Fuseli and his wind-bag, there is real vivid imagination enough in this to make a whole academy of Fuselis. It is just an Egyptian darkness, with breaking through it, above a bog-hole, some black bulrushes, and above them a bending, leathery goblin exulting over some drowned traveller, the meteor lamp he carries casting a downward flicker on the dark water. Such darkness, such wicked speed, such bad, Puck-like malice, such devilry, Hoffman and Poe together could not have better devised. Many a May exhibition has not half the genius in all its pictures that focuses in that gem of jet.” The description is admirable; but Walter Thornbury has altogether misconceived the artist’s idea. Jack o’Lantern is simply misguiding a belated traveller into a bog, and the elfin grin which pervades his countenance testifies to the delight he takes in his 182 mischievous employment. The words of the song in Dryden’s King Arthur convey the best possible description of this wondrous conception:—

“Hither this way, this way bend,

Trust not that malicious fiend;

Those are false, deluding lights,

Wafted far and near by sprights;

Trust ’em not, for they’ll deceive ye,

And in bog and marshes leave ye,

If you step no danger thinking,

Down you fall, a furlong sinking;

’Tis a fiend who has annoyed ye,

Name but Heav’n, and he’ll avoid ye.”

By way of contrast to all these, I would turn to the celebrated and much-too-often-described Triumph of Cupid, of the “Table Book”; but as the praises of this remarkable composition may already be counted by the ream, I have no intention whatever of contributing a further addition.

George Cruikshank.]

[From “The Universal Songster.”


George Cruikshank.]

[From “The Universal Songster.”

“A tall figure her sight engross’d,
And it cried, ‘I beez Giles Scroggin’s Ghost.’”

[Face p. 182.

A notice, however, of George Cruikshank’s supernatural work would be incomplete without some reference to his devils. From time immemorial our idea of His Satanic Majesty has been associated with the distinguishing appendages of horns, hoofs, and a cow’s tail. “A conceit there is,” says old Sir Thomas Browne, “that the devil commonly appeareth with a cloven hoof, wherein, although it seems excessively ridiculous, there may be somewhat of truth, and the ground thereof at first might be his frequent appearing in the shape of a goat, which answers the description.” George Cruikshank too well apprehended the cunning nature of His Satanic Majesty to suppose him idiotic enough to introduce his hoofs, his horns, or his tail into the company of all sorts and conditions of men. It will be remembered that Fitz Dottrel takes leave to doubt the identity of the devil who waits upon him in the character of a body servant. “You cannot,” he says, “cozen me. Your shoe’s not cloven, sir; you are whole hoofed.” But “Pug” simply and unaffectedly assures him, “Sir, that’s a popular error,—deceives many.”91 183 Like “Pug,” George Cruikshank’s devils accommodate themselves, their appearance, and their costume to the prejudices of the persons they design to serve. With saints and perverse sinners it is obvious that any attempt at disguise would be futile; but with so respectable a person as a Dutch burgher, or so suspicious an individual as an English lawyer, the case is altogether different. We have specimens of the respectable devil in the “long-legged bondholder” who appears to his unfortunate Dutch debtor; the portly, well-dressed little man in the “Gentleman in black”; and the seedy looking old clothes dealer of “Peter Schlemihl.” Quite a different devil to any of these is the devil that interviews St. Nicholas, the devil whom St. Medard circumvented, or the simple-minded and unfortunate devil that fell into the clutches of St. Dunstan. This last is probably the most comical diabolique that Cruikshank ever designed. In an evil hour this miserable fiend had irritated the saint by mimicking his musical powers; and growing bolder with impunity, even ventured to challenge his skill as a mechanic, by doubting his ability to fit a shoe to his own diabolical hoof. The saint promptly whipped up the leg, and it was not until this simple devil found himself in the clutches of the saint, that he fully comprehended the prodigious powers of the holy personage he had ventured to chaff. In spite of his howls and frantic efforts to escape, the iron shoe is remorselessly fitted, and nail after nail driven into the quick. Imagine the sufferings of that poor devil; observe his comically distorted countenance as he bellows with agony and impotent rage; how his tail curls round his leg in the extremity of his anguish! The worst perhaps has to follow, for in spite of the agony of his crippled hoof, a deed will have to be “signed, sealed, and delivered,” by which his claim to a legion of sinful souls has to be for ever released and extinguished. It is worthy of remark that George Cruikshank’s devils—simple-minded, weak creatures, more mischievous than really wicked, in all their contests with the saints (Saint Anthony excepted) invariably come off second best.

In estimating his merits, the genius of George Cruikshank may not inaptly be compared to a diamond. One facet often emits more 184 brilliant coruscations than any other; and if we may be permitted to compare his powers of realizing the grave, the comical, the supernatural, and the terrible to the facets of a diamond, we think the one which would be found to emit the most brilliant flashes of light would be the last. Thackeray, one of the most friendly and most competent of his critics, would seem to have considered that much of his power was shown in depicting subjects of this kind. “What a fine eye,” he tells us, in his famous article which has supplied the backbone—the muscles—the very integuments of so many others,—“what a fine eye the artist has, what a skilful hand, and what a sympathy for the wild and dreadful!”

Designed, Etched and Published by George Cruikshank.]

[November 1st, 1829.


“—now, Oh dear, how shocking the thought is,
They makes the gin from aquafortis:

They do it on purpose folks’ lives to shorten,
And tickets it up at two-pence a quartern.”—New Ballad.

[Face p. 184.

From an early period of his career as an etcher and designer, George had waged a deadly war with gin,—that potent, insidious, and evil spirit of London; the most priceless services he rendered to the cause of temperance being unquestionably given long before he had any notion of joining the ranks of the total abstainers. Like the Triumph of Cupid, the well-known Gin Juggernaut of the “Sketch Book” requires nothing more than a passing allusion. An example less known but quite as admirable will be found in the “Scraps and Sketches.” It is called The Gin Shop,92 and shows us the interior of a London gin palace. In place of the usual barrels, around the walls are ranged coffins, labelled respectively: “Deady’s Cordial;” “Blue Ruin;” “Gin and Bitters;” the largest (a huge one) being marked “Old Tom.” Death, habited as a watchman, has baited a huge gin trap, wherein stand five persons (two of them children, besides a baby in arms), all imbibing the deadly liquid. The wretched woman with the infant has actually placed her foot on the spring, and so great is the artist’s power of realization, that we momentarily expect to see the horrible thing close with a snap! A skeleton, whose fleshless skull is masked with a pleasant female countenance, officiates as barmaid, and behind her yawns a pit, on the further side of which a circle of evil spirits curvet around a huge still. Just such a weird scene as would strike a sympathetic chord in the artist’s 185 fancy was found for him in Scott’s novel of “Red Gauntlet.” The episode selected for illustration is the frightful adventure of Hutcheon and Dougal MacCallum. “When midnight came, and the house was quiet as the grave, the silver whistle sounded as sharp and shrill as if Sir Robert was blowing it, and up got the two old serving-men and tottered into the room where the dead man lay. Hutcheon saw enough at the first glance; for there were torches in the room, which showed him the foul fiend in his ain shape, sitting on the laird’s coffin! Ower he couped, as if he had been dead. He could not tell how long he lay in a trance at the door; but when he gathered himself, he cried on his neighbour, and getting nae answer, raised the house, when Dougal was found lying dead within twa steps of the bed where his master’s coffin was placed. As for the whistle, it was lost ance and aye, but mony a time it was heard at the top of the house on the bartizan and among the auld chimneys and turrets, where the howlets have their nests.” The coffin of the dead laird lies in state on a table covered with black cloth, richly ornamented with his armorial bearings; at the foot of the bier stands his black plumed helmet; while atop of the coffin crouches the grinning ape with the laird’s whistle in his paw; on the ground, as they have been tossed about by the mischievous beast, lie his rapier, gauntlet, and other military trappings. The furniture, the fittings, the sombre hangings, the gloomy ancestral portraits, all are in keeping with the weird scene and its surroundings. The Death of Sikes, and Fagin in the Condemned Cell (especially the latter) have been described any number of times, and the circumstances, moreover, under which the latter design was conceived, told invariably wrong. In the Murder of Sir Rowland Trenchard [“Jack Sheppard”], we have a Rembrandtish etching, quite equalling in power and intensity that of Fagin in the Condemned Cell. The gloomy depths of the well hole are illumined only by the pine torch of the frightened Jew, as Wild hammers with his bludgeon on the fingers of the doomed wretch who, maimed and faint from loss of blood, clings with desperate tenacity to the bannister, from which his relaxing grip will presently plunge him into the black abyss below.


The “Tower of London” introduces us to two scenes of a dismal and terrible character in the etching entitled Xit Wedded to the Scavenger’s Daughter, the artist carries us to a gloomy torture chamber, dimly lighted by a solitary lantern. On the framework of the rack sits the dwarf Xit, his limbs compressed in the grip of the frightful instrument called the “Scavenger’s daughter,” while Simon Renard, scarcely able to repress a smile, interrogates the comical little figure at his leisure. Behind him stands Sorrocold, the surgeon; and in the farther corner Mauger (the headsman), Nightgall, and an assistant torturer, recline against the wall. The feeble rays of the lantern throw an obscure light upon the gloomy walls decorated with the stock in trade of the torturers, thumb-screws, gauntlets, collars, pinchers, saws, chains, and other horrible and suggestive implements. Affixed to the ceiling is a steel pulley, the rope which traverses it terminating with an iron hook and two leathern shoulder straps. Facing the gloomy door stands a brazier filled with blazing coals, in which a huge pair of pinchers are suggestively heating. Reared against the side of a deep dark recess is a ponderous wheel—broad as that of a wagon, and twice the circumference; and next it the iron bar with which the bones of those condemned to die by this most horrible torture were broken while alive. The etching of Mauger Sharpening his Axe is nearly as celebrated as that of Fagin in the Condemned Cell. “A wonderful weird dusk, with no light but that which glimmers on the bald scalp of the hideous headsman, who, feeling the edge of his axe with his thumb, grins with a devilish foretaste of his pleasure on the morrow. I need scarcely say that all the poetry, dramatic force, mystery, and terror of the design is attributable to Cruikshank, and not to Ainsworth.”93 Scenes still more realistically terrible even than these, such as the Massacre at Tullabogue, The Rebel Camp on Vinegar Hill, and the Executions at Wexford Bridge, will be found in Maxwell’s “History of the Irish Rebellion.”

Mr. Lockhart, we may remember, advised the artist in the early 187 part of his career to “think of Hogarth,” and throughout the whole of George Cruikshank’s designs of the graver caste the influence of the study of Rembrandt and of Hogarth will be apparent to those acquainted with the characteristics of these great artists. In the case of Rembrandt it is manifest in the deep shadows, penetrated by broad but skilfully treated rays of light, throwing the salient parts of the design into prominent but pleasing relief; in the case of Hogarth it is shown in minute attention to details of a character singularly appropriate to the designs. Delineators of subjects of greater pretension are frequently content to throw all their sympathies, their energies, into the elaboration of their leading figure or figures: the attitude, the face, the features, the hands, the costume, leave nothing to be desired, while the rest of the composition is slurred or neglected. This is not the case with Cruikshank, every part of his work bears witness to his careful attention to detail; no part of it is elaborated at the expense of the rest; from the tenants of the room down to the smallest and most insignificant ornament on the chimney-piece, everything appears as distinct as it would appear in actual every-day life.

But this study of Rembrandt and of Hogarth, this minute attention to detail, this careful and conscientious elaboration, would have done little for George Cruikshank if he had not possessed in an eminent degree that faculty of creation, otherwise of originality, which men call genius. Various descriptions of this gift have been attempted by eminent men, but the most felicitous seems to us to be that given by Robert William Elliston: “A true actor,” says this distinguished comedian, “must possess the power of creation, which is genius, as well as the faculty of imitation, which is only talent.” Substitute the word “artist” for the word “actor,” and the remark will apply with equal felicity to the subject of our present chapter. It was this same gift of genius which, whilst it enabled the artist to lend a sentient expression to such unpromising subjects as a barrel, a wig-block, a jug of beer, a pair of bellows, or an oyster, imparted to his drawings a piquancy which has elevated these apparently insignificant designs into perfectly sterling works of art. The reader 188 who is fortunate enough to number amongst his books the first half-dozen volumes of “Bentley’s Miscellany” and “Ainsworth’s Magazine,” “The Omnibus,” “The Table Book,” “The Comic Almanack,” possesses a series of designs, drawn and etched by the hand of the master himself, the value of which is yearly increasing, not only because they are becoming scarcer and scarcer every day, but because nothing like them—under the conditions in which book illustration is now produced—will ever be seen again.

85 The “Sketch Book” and “Scraps and Sketches” have recently been republished; but the impressions from the sadly worn plates give but little idea of the exquisite originals.

86 Sala, in Gentleman’s Magazine, May, 1878.

87 Thackeray, Westminster Review.

88 Thackeray, in the Westminster Review, June, 1840.

89 This idea of the empty pipe is splendid, there never is any tobacco in it; a better notion of absolute forgetfulness—of inability to exercise the most trifling effort of memory—could not be conveyed.

90 “Etching and Etchers.”

91 Ben Jonson’s “The Devil is an Ass.”

92 This was written, of course, before the recent republication, which lacks the colour and crispness of the early issue.

93 “British Artists from Hogarth to Turner.”




The artistic career of George Cruikshank presents probably one of the most singular problems to be met with in the history of satirical art. It may be divided into three portions, two of which we have already considered: the first represents that section wherein we have seen him described by Lockhart as “one of the most careless creatures alive,” having “no plan, almost no ambition,” doing “just what was suggested or thrown in his way,” “quite contented to dine off the proceeds of a ‘George the Fourth’ to day, and those of a ’Hone’ or a ‘Cobbett’ to morrow!” the second may be said to be embraced between the years 1822 and 1848, during which period we find this man without plan, ambition, or industry (to complete the charge of Lockhart), busily engaged in building up the reputation which the critic had so confidently and so truly predicted of him; the third and last section, the strangest surely of all, shows us this man of genius—in the full enjoyment of an assured and well-merited reputation, in the midst of his artistic vigour, at the height of a success altogether unexampled—deliberately throwing away his opportunities, and consigning himself to a slumber of thirty years, which might almost justify us in terming him the “Rip Van Winkle” of British art. The causes of this strange decadence, this singular mental inactivity, which seem to us to have been hitherto very little or at best very imperfectly understood, we now propose to consider.

Professor Bates, one of the ablest of the essayists who have written Professor Bates’ Theory. on George Cruikshank since the time when Thackeray penned his 190 famous article, would have us believe that the causes which led up to his retirement from active life whilst yet in the enjoyment of his vigorous intellect, are due partly to the change which has befallen “the literature of fiction during the last thirty years,” but principally to the fact of his embracing the temperance movement with more zeal than discretion. As a matter of fact, however, long before this step had been taken, there had been causes equally potent at work which seem to have escaped Mr. Bates’ attention, and these causes, which appear to us the leading factors in the unfortunate final result, lay, as we shall endeavour to explain, in an entirely different direction.

People who knew and judged of George Cruikshank (as the majority of his contemporaries necessarily did) by his work alone, formed altogether an erroneous judgment of the character and disposition of the man. Because his later designs showed or seemed to show a love of little children, a liking for home and homely subjects, a delight in fairy lore and legend, it seems therefore to have been assumed that the artist was almost child-like in simplicity, innocence, and guilelessness of heart. Some even of those who have written upon him, acting apparently upon this impression, have given us to understand that “he never raised a laugh at the expense of decency”; that “satire never, in his hands, descended into scurrility”; that “a moral purpose ever underlaid his humour”; that “he sought to instruct and improve whenever he amused.” The absurdity of this statement we have already exposed. In reference to a supposed singleness of heart and honesty of purpose, some writers have termed him “honest George.” All this was very well. We all know, of course, that he “never pandered to sensuality” or “glorified vice”; but in spite of these facts, “honest George” himself, so far at least as we personally know, never assumed or set up, or even aimed at assuming, that he was one whit better than his neighbours.

In order that the reader may grasp the causes of his sudden decadence, it is important that he should understand the position and the peculiarities of the artist. As an illustrator of books he was 191 dependent on a clientèle composed exclusively of authors and publishers. “Honest George,” however, laboured under a disadvantage common perhaps more or less to all men possessed of true genius. Hasty and hot-tempered, particularly in matters connected with his artistic labours, he was more than usually prone and ready to take offence. Almost invariably at war with some one or another of his employers, the story of George Cruikshank’s skirmishes and quarrels with the authors and publishers with whom he was thrown in contact forms a most curious and interesting chapter in the history of artistic and literary squabbles.

At the time when Charles Dickens began to write, George Cruikshank had already achieved his reputation; and so well assured was this reputation, that the young novelist in his preface to his “Sketches by Boz,” speaks of the nervousness he should have experienced in venturing alone before the public, and of his delight in securing the co-operation of an artist so distinguished as George Cruikshank. In 1838, however, the author like the artist had made his mark: “Pickwick” and “Nicholas Nickleby,” and “Oliver Twist” had been written; and every vestige of the nervousness of which he speaks in the preface to his “Sketches” had disappeared for ever.

Mr. Sala has somewhere happily remarked that Charles Dickens wanted rather a scene painter for his novels than a mere illustrator of books, and the very last person to answer his requirements was George Cruikshank; for, while ready and willing to execute designs illustrative of Mr. Dickens’s writings, he made it an implied condition of his retainer, that he should be free to design them in his own way and after his own fashion. It was an essential condition of George Cruikshank’s success as a draughtsman, not only that he should feel a sympathy for any subject he was called upon to design, but also that his genius should be left unfettered and untrammelled in his method of treatment. Hence it was that he found it impossible to co-operate with so exacting an employer of artistic labour as Charles Dickens. The latter argued, with some show of reason, that knowing what he intended to describe, he was the fittest and most competent person to explain how his meaning should be 192 pictorially carried out. This sort of arrangement, however, did not suit the independent and somewhat impracticable spirit of the artist, and the result was almost a foregone conclusion. These two men of genius inevitably clashed; and the connection between Charles Dickens and Cruikshank was abruptly severed.

A singular memorial of the quarrel between Dickens and Cruikshank will be found in the last illustration to the author’s novel of “Oliver Twist,” one of the worst that the artist ever executed. Although Mr. Forster does not say so—and possibly would not admit it,—Charles Dickens is directly responsible for this result, as the reader will agree when he learns the whole of the facts, which are only partly given in Forster’s “Life,” and in every other work which professes to tell the story.

The reader will not require to be told that “Oliver Twist” made its appearance in the pages of “Bentley’s Miscellany.” The story of course had been written in anticipation of the magazine; and according to Mr. Forster, Cruikshank’s designs for the portion which forms the third volume “having to be executed ‘in a lump,’ were necessarily done somewhat hastily.” How far this statement is correct, the reader will be enabled to judge when we tell him that these so-called “hastily” prepared illustrations include the famous designs of Sikes and his Dog and Fagin in the Condemned Cell. “None of these illustrations,” Mr. Forster goes on to tell us, “Dickens had seen until he saw them in the book on the eve of its publication [we assume in the three-volume form], when he so strongly objected to one of them that it had to be cancelled.” “My dear Cruikshank,” he at once wrote off to the artist, “I returned suddenly to town yesterday afternoon [October, 1838] to look at the latter pages of ‘Oliver Twist’ before it was delivered to the booksellers, when I saw the majority of the plates for the first time. With reference to the last one, Rose Maylie and Oliver, without entering into the question of great haste or any other cause which may have led to its being what it is, I am quite sure there can be little difference of opinion between us with respect to the result. May I ask you whether you will object to designing this plate afresh, and doing so at once, in 193 order that as few impressions as possible of the present one may go forth. I feel confident you know me too well to feel hurt by this inquiry, and with equal confidence in you, I have lost no time in preferring it.” At this point Mr. Forster leaves the story.

Probably very few of our readers have seen this despised and The Quarrel with Dickens. rejected plate of Rose Maylie and Oliver, for it is not the one which bears that title among the ordinary illustrations to the novel of “Oliver Twist.” It is very rare, and we wish we could reproduce it here. If not one of the very best of the series, it is entirely in keeping with the rest; and so far from displaying “great haste,” is in every respect a carefully finished book etching. Four figures are represented in it as sitting round the fire, among them the well known form of Oliver, with his turn-down collar and elaborately brushed hair. On the mantle-shelf, with other ornaments, are two hyacinths in glasses, thus fixing January as the date of the scene depicted. It would have been better for the book if Charles Dickens had left it alone. The artist did as he was requested, with anger at his heart; and as a consequence, Rose Maylie will go down to posterity as the ugliest of George Cruikshank’s very ugly women, in an outrageous bonnet, with her hand resting on the shoulder of a youth wearing the singular coatee or boy’s jacket of forty years ago. Differing altogether from the admirable designs which preceded it, there is an incongruity about the etching which cannot fail to impress the observer. The unfortunate letter and still more unfortunate result occasioned a coolness between the men which was never wholly removed. From that time forth George Cruikshank executed no more designs for Charles Dickens, and the illustrations to the long series of novels which afterwards followed from the pen of the talented but distinctly autocratic author were entrusted to other hands. However much this result must be deplored so far as the artist himself is concerned, the coolness between Charles Dickens and George Cruikshank is scarcely to be viewed in the light of a misfortune for English illustrative art. Only consider for one moment what might have followed had the artist executed the designs to the rest of Dickens’s novels! Dick Swiveller would have suited him, 194 and so would Quilp, or Sampson Brass, the Yorkshire schoolmaster, Newman Noggs, Lord Frederick Verisopht, Captain Bunsby, or even Mr. Pecksniff himself; but only fancy, on the other hand, the horrors which would have been made of Dolly Varden, of Edith Dombey, of “Little Em’ly,” of dear, gentle, loving little Nell! Happily for the fame of George Cruikshank, his imagination was not called into requisition for any one of these creations, and like the “annunciations,” the “beatifications,” and the “apotheoses” of Lockhart, they remain (we are thankful to say it) still unrealized!

The quarrel with Dickens was followed by a very bitter and very The Feud with Bentley. singular feud between the artist and Bentley. Into the causes of that quarrel we need not enter; suffice it to say that to the misunderstanding we owe some of the very worst etchings which Cruikshank ever designed, the series of illustrations to Harrison Ainsworth’s novel of “Guy Fawkes.” The worst of all is the Vision of Guy Fawkes at Saint Winifred’s Well, and a very singular “vision” it is. The saint has all the appearance, with all the grace, expression, and symmetry of a Dutch doll arrayed in a pocket handkerchief; the sky is “machine ruled;” the pillars and tracery of the ruined chapel are architectural impossibilities; while at the very first snort, the slumbering figure of Guy Fawkes must roll inevitably into the well towards the brink of which he lies in dangerous propinquity. These illustrations provoked the ire of the publisher and the remonstrances of the author, both of which were disregarded with strict impartiality. In 1842, Harrison Ainsworth retired from the conduct of the “Miscellany,” and set up a rival magazine of somewhat similar plan and conception, which he christened after his own surname. This opposition venture appears to have been the result of a misunderstanding between the editor and publisher, the most serious outcome of which was, that when Ainsworth left he carried with him George Cruikshank.

The secession of George caused Mr. Bentley the greatest possible inconvenience. The straits to which he was reduced may be imagined by the fact that A. Hervieu (an artist of considerable ability), and the clever, well-known amateur, Alfred Crowquill (Alfred 195 Henry Forrester), had to be pressed into the service, and contributed leading etchings. Meanwhile, the cover of the “Miscellany” showed that George Cruikshank was nominally retained on the pictorial staff; and before the quality of his illustrations became so villainously bad that the object he had in view—that of forcing Bentley to cancel his engagement—had been attained, a draughtsman of unusual graphic power and versatility had come to the assistance of the magazine. This was a young man who had already executed many comic designs of a somewhat novel and original character, and was already forcing his way to the front: his name—familiar afterwards “in our mouths as household words“—was John Leech.

The “Guy Fawkes” illustrations were the outcome of the first campaign between Bentley and Cruikshank; and as the history of the quarrel between the publisher and his unmanageable artist is a somewhat amusing one, we may be pardoned for describing it at length. The engagement from which he sought to free himself, and which he stigmatized as “a one-sided one,” obliged Cruikshank to supply Mr. Bentley with at least one etching every month; and as Bentley continued to advertise him as the illustrator of the “Miscellany,” George commenced the second campaign by issuing in the opening pages of the opposition venture the following characteristic manifesto:—“Mr. Bentley, the publisher,” says the indignant George, “evidently wishes to create the supposition that I illustrate his ‘Miscellany.’ On the contrary, I wish the public to understand that I do no such thing. It is true that, according to a one-sided agreement (of which more may be heard hereafter), I supply a single etching per month. But I supply only that single etching. And even that can hardly be called my design, since the subject of it is regularly furnished to me by Mr. Bentley, and I have never even read a page of any of the stories thus ‘illustrated.’

“Yet Mr. Bentley not only advertises me as the illustrator of his ’Miscellany,’ but he has lately shaped his advertisement thus, in the papers as well as on the wrapper of his magazine: ‘Illustrated by Geo. Cruikshank, etc.’ Are his other artists worthy only of being merged in an etc.? This is, indeed, paying them but a poor 196 compliment; and one which I should hardly think they would submit to. In certain other announcements I observe mentioned, in addition to my own name, a ‘Cruikshank the Younger.’ Who is he? The only Cruikshank the Younger I ever heard of as a designer, is myself. Would it not be supposed that there must be a third Cruikshank, etching, drawing, and ‘illustrating,’ as his two predecessors have done? Yet there is no such person! There is indeed a nephew of mine, who, as a wood-engraver, and a wood-engraver only, has been employed by Mr. Bentley to engrave ’Crowquill’s designs;’ just as in my ‘Omnibus’ he engraved my own drawings upon wood, and still does engrave them in ’Ainsworth’s Magazine.’ Now, can any one imagine it possible for any respectable publisher, especially ‘Her Majesty’s Publisher in Ordinary,’ to be guilty of so miserable a trick, so wretched an expedient, as that of putting off the engraver of a few of the drawings as the designer himself—as one of the ‘illustrators’ of the ‘Miscellany’? Let Mr. Bentley but produce a single design for the ’Miscellany,’ by ‘Cruikshank the Younger’ (by him so-called), and I will retract this indignant disclaimer and apologise. If Mr. Bentley cannot do this, he stands self-convicted of an attempt to impose upon the public by a mystification, for purposes as apparent as the trick itself.”

What this strange declaration of war proposed to effect is not altogether manifest; if its author imagined it would produce the result of releasing him from his engagement, he was signally mistaken, for Mr. Bentley, as might have been expected, held him all the tighter to the letter of his bond. What the artist thought and what he did are told us in the plainest language by the etchings which followed this singular manifesto. They tell us as plainly as could be expressed in words, that George reasoned after the following fashion:—“It is clear that under the terms of my engagement I am bound to supply ‘Bentley’s Miscellany’ with one etching a month; but our agreement says nothing as to the quality of the etchings, nor am I bound to see that they shall be strictly relevant to the subjects which I am called upon to illustrate.” 197 From that time, so long as he continued to design for the “Miscellany,” George tried to do his worst, and it must be admitted that he succeeded to admiration. Anything more outrageous than these wretched drawings—taking into account the talent, power, and skill of the artist, and the quality of the work which he was at this very time executing for Harrison Ainsworth—can scarcely be conceived. They are so ashamed of themselves, that his signature—usually so distinct, so characteristic, and so clear on other occasions—is illegible, in many cases wholly wanting. At length, in vol. xiii. (1843) appeared a story called “The Exile of Louisiana,” “with an illustration by George Cruikshank” (for Bentley, probably by way of retaliation, was determined the public should know that these performances were due to the hand which had produced the famous etchings to “Oliver Twist,” “Jack Sheppard,” and the contemporaneous story of the “Miser’s Daughter”). We should like to have seen the face of the author when this extraordinary conception dawned upon him. The tale (a serious and pathetic one) was burlesqued with one of the most grotesque caricatures the mind of comic artist ever conceived. It represents Marshal Saxe recognising the widow of a late Czaaravitch in the gardens of the Tuileries. The marshal, a most extraordinary personage, would make in actual life the fortune of any enterprising showman. He possesses a nose of Slawkenbergian proportions; his pig-tail reaches below his waist; and his sword, sticking out at right angles, gives him the appearance of a fly with a pin through its middle. Near him stands a courtier, with ankles of such fearful and wonderful construction that his legs will snap the moment he attempts to use them. As for the distinguished relict of the Czaaravitch, she is one of the most wonderful of the many wonderful people who figure in the sketch. Her figure is an anatomical impossibility; while her mouth reaches from ear to ear (the letterpress, by the way, informs us that her deceased husband had married her for her beauty!). The statue of Mercury, posed like a scaramouch at a masquerade, is matched by that of Neptune, who whirls his trident round his head in a state of the wildest hilarity, cutting at the same time a caper over the body of 198 an attendant dolphin, who is so overcome with the whimsicality of the proceeding that he is making the most violent efforts to restrain his laughter. This last shot probably hit the mark, for only three etchings appear in vol. xiv., and not one afterwards. George was victorious; but there are victories and victories, and a triumph won at the cost of an artistic reputation is as disastrous as a defeat.

Harrison Ainsworth’s long connection with the artist had taught The Misunderstanding with Ainsworth. him that he was one who would be neither driven nor led, and he was wise enough to accommodate himself to circumstances. The admirable woodcut design at the head of that division of the magazine which was known as “Our Library Table,” shows us the artist and the handsome editor in consultation, and the attitude of the two men is indicative of the fact that Ainsworth is attentively listening to the advice or suggestions of his coadjutor, a fact to which Cruikshank himself has been particular to draw our attention. To the free and unfettered conditions under which Cruikshank co-operated with Ainsworth we owe a series of the most justly celebrated and valuable of his designs. In matters, however, connected with art, Cruikshank was, as we have seen, a difficult man to get on with, and it was fairly safe to predict that a quarrel between the author and artist was a mere question of time. The artist remained on the staff of “Ainsworth’s Magazine” for three years, enriching its pages with some of the choicest efforts of his pencil. At the end of that period came the unfortunate but almost unavoidable misunderstanding; and George Cruikshank, as he had done with Bentley, withdrew from the concern. Unlike Bentley, however, Ainsworth appears not only to have foreseen, but to have made preparations for the inevitable; and accordingly, when George Cruikshank retired, his place was immediately taken by an artist of talent, destined to win for himself a considerable position among the ranks of designers and etchers: this was Hablot Knight Browne, then and now known to us under his monosyllabic nom-de-guerre of Phiz.

It seems to us fitting in this place to say a few words on the subject of George’s pretension to be the originator of two of 199 Ainsworth’s stories, because the truth of his assertion has been questioned by a late commentator.94 George’s statements simply amount to this: that so far as the illustrations to the “Miser’s Daughter” and “The Tower of London” are concerned, the author wrote up to his designs. We have considered Ainsworth’s answers to this statement, and find that although he fences with, he does not deny it. It was one essential condition of Cruikshank’s success that his fancy should be free and untrammelled, and the truth of his statement appears to us to be proved by the illustrations to these works, which are certainly the finest which he ever designed; that he was therefore (as he stated) the originator of these tales in the sense in which he used the word, we can entertain no manner of doubt.

Most of the Cruikshank commentators, whilst writing on the subject of the Harrison Ainsworth etchings, have thought fit to decry the author’s share of the performance; but the fact that the pictures are so much better than the letterpress should not prevent us from dealing fairly with the veteran author, who, like the distinguished artist with whom he so long co-operated, has now gone to his rest. Even Mr. Ainsworth’s detractors will, we think, admit that without him we should have lost the admirable illustrations to “Windsor Castle,” “Jack Sheppard,” and “St. James’s”; it may even be doubted whether without him we should have had the still better series of etchings which adorn the “Tower of London” and the “Miser’s Daughter.” If this be the fact, it seems to us we owe a lasting debt of gratitude to this venerable writer, who experienced the vicissitudes which inevitably befall mere talent when allied with genius. He was a writer of the George Payne Ransford James school, dispensing, however, with the inevitable setting sun and two travellers, and received a price for his productions which many a better author might well envy. For his novel of “Old St. Paul’s” (1841) he was paid by the proprietors of the Sunday Times one thousand pounds; “The Miser’s Daughter” attained an extraordinary success; and the same remark applies to “Windsor Castle.” For 200 “The Lancashire Witches” he received from the proprietors of the Sunday Times one thousand pounds. Several of the works named had not the benefit of Cruikshank’s illustrations; but in 1850-1, cheap editions of all such of Mr. Ainsworth’s romances and tales as had appeared up to that period, were published by Messrs. Chapman and Hall without any illustrations at all. “Windsor Castle” was the first of the series, and upwards of thirty thousand copies were disposed of in a short time; while all the other works enjoyed a very large sale, and popular favour was so far from being exhausted, that another edition of his novels was called for in 1864-1868. He was a veritable literary rolling stone. In 1845 he disposed of his magazine to the publishers, and purchased the “New Monthly,” previously edited by Theodore Hook and (after his death) by Thomas Hood; in 1854 he bought the far-famed “Miscellany” itself, becoming its proprietor and editor; in that year he seems also to have re-purchased “Ainsworth’s Magazine,” which as a separate and rival publication thenceforth ceased to exist.

The only work which Cruikshank illustrated for Charles Lever was “Arthur O’Leary,” and the reason of this has been explained by himself in a letter which he wrote to Mr. Fitzpatrick, the author of Charles Lever’s life: “I had the honour and the pleasure,” he says, “of being personally acquainted with the late Charles Lever, and I regret that I was only able to illustrate one of his works, ‘Arthur O’Leary,’ my engagements on ‘Jack Sheppard,’ etc., at that time prevented me from illustrating his other works, which he wished me to have done, but I do not remember ever having any written correspondence with him, as the MS. or printed matter was placed in my hands for illustration; and then I had entirely to deal with the publisher. Mr. Charles Lever was an author whom I held in high estimation.” Lever himself was highly gratified with these illustrations.

By 1845, that is to say, at least two years before he had taken The Final Leap in the Dark. his final leap in the dark, Cruikshank had contrived to pick quarrels with the very class of men whom it was his special interest to conciliate, and had been driven to set up an opposition 201 serial of his own—the celebrated “Table Book“—which, notwithstanding the superlative excellence of his own illustrations and the talent of his literary contributors, comprising such names as John Oxenford, Horace Mayhew, Shirley Brooks, Mark Lemon, W. M. Thackeray, and others, could not manage to prolong its existence beyond its first volume. In matters connected with his own interests he was not only impracticable, but seems to have been remarkably destitute of tact and even of discernment. It cannot be doubted that the estrangement from Bentley was unwise and impolitic, for as one of the greatest publishers of fiction of the day, his influence was both far-reaching and comprehensive. In quarrelling with Dickens, Ainsworth, and Bentley, three of the great artistic employers of labour of his time, and in face of the growing popularity of John Leech and Hablot Knight Browne, he was literally quarrelling with his bread and butter, and few men, even of genius, may afford to do that. He was essentially impulsive, and frequently acted under the influence of first impressions. Although fond of his pipe and his glass, as his famous Reverie,—The Triumph of Cupid, in the “Table Book,” will show, he had always evinced a horror of drink, and had, as we have seen, done his best at various times to expose its insidious and baneful influences. At last, in 1847, came a sudden and extraordinary impulse of enthusiasm, under the influence of which he not only produced his Bottle, but laid aside for ever his pipe and his bowl. To do any real good, he said he must practise what he preached: he joined the “teetotallers,” and not being one of those who did things by halves, entered heart and soul into the crusade against drink by becoming a temperance advocate. This last was the one step needed to fill up the measure of the artist’s folly, and to secure for him the reputation of being an incurably eccentric, self-willed man.

Those who would charge the author with blaming George Cruikshank for joining the ranks of the teetotallers will do him grave injustice. Although very much of the opinion of Robert Burton, author of the “Anatomy of Melancholy,” that, “No verses 202 can please men or live long that are written by water-drinkers,” and disposed to undervalue the tact and discretion of some of the advocates of total abstinence, for its abstract principles he can say and think nothing but what is good. But he is writing, be it remembered, of a great artist—one whose mission was that of an artist, not that of a temperance orator,—of one who had served the righteous and good cause of temperance best when he remembered that genius had made him an artist and not a temperance orator,—of one who had rendered that cause yeoman’s service long before he joined the total abstainers, in designing The Gin Juggernaut, The Gin Trap, and work of a kindred nature. The cause, too, so far as mere verbal advocacy was concerned, was better served by men of vastly inferior mark and ability. Before this fatal plunge was taken his genius had roamed in an absolutely uncontrolled range of freedom. He had travelled into the land of chivalry and romance, into the realms of fairy fancy, magic, and diablery; he had brought back with him pictures of the wondrous people, lands, and scenes which his fancy had visited. All this was at an end; this wonderful genius was now forced into a narrow groove, where it could no longer have the freedom of action which was essential to its very existence. From the moment that George Cruikshank turned temperance orator, the world of English art lost one of its brightest ornaments, and he himself both fame and fortune; for, as Mr. Bates observes, “some of his earliest friends were alienated, and remunerative work that might have been his was diverted, from sheer prejudice, into other hands.” His style, too, as Mr. Bates further remarks, “suffered by the contraction of his ideas and sympathies, and his art became associated with that vulgarity and want of æstheticism which perhaps necessarily characterizes the movement.” The Bottle and The Drunkard’s Children, although successful in a pecuniary point of view—compared with what had gone before,—can scarcely be called art at all; in these too he unconsciously put himself in competition with Hogarth, and as a matter of necessity failed.


He had been a king among designers and etchers; he had been and was still an admirable water-colour artist, but knew comparatively little of the manipulation or management of oils. A new crusade had however to be preached, to be preached by means of an oil painting; and for this purpose George was to be inspired off hand (so to speak) with a new art, and to paint a picture in oils. We know the result—the lamentable result—in that most preposterous Worship of Bacchus. His motive was good, his ideas were vast, but the genius which in his unregenerate days had enabled him to design The Gin Trap and the The Gin Juggernaut, was no longer there. Unhappy Rip! There is more poetry—more fancy—more romance—more art—fire—genius in one of the little “bits,” nine inches by six, executed in the days of his pipe and his glass, than in any one part or portion of this most gigantic failure.

The mere fact of his joining the ranks of the total abstainers would have done him perhaps little professional mischief, had he been content simply to join them, and aid their cause, as he had once so graphically done by depicting the evils of gin drinking and intemperance; but it was one of the failings as well as one of the virtues of this impulsive, earnest man’s character, that whatever his hand found to do, “he did it with his might.” Desiring to aid them to the best of his power, he mistook the means by which that aid might best be applied, and forgot that his talents lay not in the tongue but in his hand and his head. We look upon George Cruikshank after 1849, no longer as an artist, but as a very indifferent temperance lecturer. The reign of Fancy was over. Thenceforth no “Reveries,” no “Jack o’ Lanterns,” no “Gin Juggernauts,” would come from that indefatigable hand, that fertile brain, that wondrous and facile pencil. George Cruikshank took his Worship of Bacchus, and went out into the world (heaven save the mark!) as a temperance lecturer. His literary abilities were, however, small; he lacked even that “gentle dulness”95 which characterizes the leading advocates of the movement, 204 and kindles a certain amount of sympathetic enthusiasm in kindred breasts. The dull people who went to hear him, knew little about and cared less for art and genius than they did for the abstract doctrines of total abstinence. The result, so far as he personally was concerned, was curious, lamentable, and almost instantaneous. The work which had hitherto crowded upon him fell away like water from a leaking vessel; nay, on the authority of Mr. William Bates, when work was offered him he refused to take it. “When pressed by the late Mark Lemon to draw on his own terms for Punch,” this man who had designed some of the broadest, coarsest, most personal of the satires of the nineteenth century, had grown so extremely particular that “he definitely refused to have anything to do with it on account of what he termed its personalities.”96 What could be done for such a man as this? Authors and publishers wholly ceased to employ him; and he was left without work in the very pride of his artistic career. He turned to oil painting; was taken by the hand by the influential few who appreciated, pitied, and loved him; but from the moment that he became a temperance advocate, to the literary world and to the general public this most singular and original genius was to all practical intents and purposes—dead.

These observations, I repeat, are made in no spirit of hostility to the sincere and earnest men who would seek to reduce the crime and misery which owe their origin to the immoderate use of ardent spirits. So far from this being the case, I hold their cause to be so righteous, so sensible, that it seems to me as effectually advocated by a plain, simple, earnest man as by a great artist and man of genius. I say advisedly, that the cause of temperance had been better served had Cruikshank stuck to his pencil and his etching needle, instead of seeking the position of a temperance advocate, and stumping the provinces with his absurd panorama of The Worship of Bacchus.

Thirty years of quite sterling and admirable work were now to be followed by thirty years of artistic sterility, for from this Rip 205 Van Winkle slumber of thirty years’ duration his reputation never once awoke. Out of the dreary desert of mental and artistic inactivity came forth at long distant intervals specimens of his handiwork, which served, it is true, to remind us of what he once was capable, but failed to restore him to the place he had for ever lost in public estimation; such were the illustrations to Angus Bethune Reach’s “Clement Lorymer,” to Robert Brough’s “Life of Sir John Falstaff,” to Smedley’s “Frank Fairleigh,” to George Raymond’s “Life and Enterprises of Elliston,” to his own so-called “Fairy Library.” Good and excellent as this work was, it utterly failed to lend even a passing vitality to his departed reputation, a fact sufficiently and vexatiously proved when he essayed once more to start a magazine of his own, which met with such little encouragement that only two parts were issued.

Nevertheless, the designs of the “Life of Falstaff” and his own “Fairy Library” showed that, when the subject took hold of his fancy, the hand of Cruikshank had not altogether lost the cunning which characterized it in days of yore. To illustrate the so-called fairy stories, he had to read them,—no longer, alas! with his former love of fairy lore and legend,—no longer with the mind of a man free, vigorous, elastic, but with a mind warped and prejudiced with the study of a theme which was intellectually depressing and uninspiring. No one knows the origin of these fairy stories, they come to us from our Danish and Saxon ancestors, but are interwoven with the literature of every civilized nation under the sun, and are altogether beyond the sphere of modern criticism. Their primitive style is singularly adapted to enlist the sympathies of the little folk to whom they specially address themselves: their highest aim and object is not to instruct, but to amuse. All this the artist, in the ardour of his new crusade, lost sight of, and so dead had he become to the fairy fancies and reveries of his youth, that he placed sacrilegious hands on these time-honoured and favourite legends of our childhood, and converted them (with most indifferent literary ability) into something little better than temperance tracts!


But happily not without protest. Charles Dickens, the champion of the injured fairies, set his lance in rest, and speedily rolled hapless Van Winkle in the dust. Into the details of this very absurd and very unequal contest there is no necessity for us to enter. George was at home with his pencil, his etching needle, or his tubes of water colour; but put a pen in his hand, and he forthwith would cut the funniest of capers. He argued (with every appearance of comical gravity and earnestness), that because Shakespeare might alter an Italian story, or Sir Walter Scott use history for the purposes of the drama, poetry, or romance, therefore, “any one might take the liberty of altering a common fairy story to suit his purpose and convey his opinions.” Aye, and so he might, honest Rip; but he would set about his task in a very different fashion to Shakespeare or Sir Walter Scott, and I fear too that the literary results and value would be vastly different. It never seemed to occur to the mind of the honest but simple casuist that in putting “any one” on a par with William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, he was writing simple nonsense.

It is clear, therefore, that the change which had come over the literature of fiction during the past quarter of a century, and which Professor Bates would assign as one of the principal causes of the sterility which befell the genius of Cruikshank, had really very little to do with it. This calamity—for a national calamity it undoubtedly was—did not fall upon him, be it remembered, when he was old, but in the very acme and pride of artistic success. His fall was distinctly due to causes which were within his own control, and might have been avoided by the exercise of qualities which (it seems to me) he did not possess,—forethought, tact, and judgment. During the rest of his long life, the place which George Cruikshank deliberately ceded to others he never once regained; when he dropped behind, he became as completely forgotten as if he had ceased any longer to exist; men whose childhood he had delighted with his quaint imaginings, his own friends and contemporaries, died off; and so it came to pass, that before he knew it, for time moves quickly after youth is over, the old man was left standing alone 207 amongst the ranks of a generation that did not know him. So little was he known or regarded, that when his works were first exhibited, no one took the trouble to see them; and when a small circle of admirers, with the great English critic, John Ruskin, at their head, started a subscription for the forgotten artist, “the attempt was a failure—hundreds being received when thousands were expected.” It will be remembered that in his best days the artist had executed a memorable etching, Born a Genius and Born a Dwarf: I wonder whether, in the bitterness of his spirit and the righteousness of his anger, George Cruikshank ever thought of that etching?

94 Mr. Blanchard Jerrold.

95 “And gentle dulness ever loves a joke.”—Dunciad.

96 “The Maclise Portrait Gallery,” 1883, p. 195.




Decidedly next in order of merit to George Cruikshank, amongst his own contemporaries, if we except only Theodore Lane, comes Robert Seymour. With a style and manner peculiar to himself, and a power of invention and realization which amounted almost to genius, Seymour was superior in every respect to Robert Cruikshank, with whom we find him not unfrequently associated in comic design. This style and manner were clearly founded on those of George Cruikshank; and when he selected (as he not unfrequently did) subjects which had been treated by the latter, the work of this most able draughtsman will bear even favourable comparison with that of the great original whom he chose as his master. That he drew his inspiration from and sought even to emulate Cruikshank, is shown by the fact that to some of his earlier caricatures he affixed the name of “Shortshanks,” a practice which he discontinued on receiving a remonstrance from the irritable George.

Robert Seymour was born in 1798. Henry Seymour, his father, a gentleman of good family in Somersetshire, meeting with misfortune, removed to London, and apprenticed him to Mr. Vaughan, a pattern designer of Duke Street, Smithfield. This Vaughan seems to deserve a passing notice here by reason of the fact that his father is said to have received proposals for partnership from the father of the late Sir Robert Peel, which were rejected, on the ground that the fortunes of the Peel family were not then considered particularly flourishing. How far this statement may be correct we know not. Assuming it to be true, the fortunes of the Peel 209 family afterwards took a turn which probably frequently gave Vaughan père (if he lived to ruminate thereon) some serious cause for reflection as well as of repentance.

Like Hogarth, with whom this artist, like all other comic designers, has been frequently and improperly compared, young Robert Seymour declined to waste his abilities as a mere mechanical draughtsman, and used his technical education as a means of cultivating the artistic gifts with which nature and inclination had endowed him. He seems at first to have selected a walk in art which required for its ultimate success a larger amount of application and patience than he could well spare for the purpose. Shortly after the expiration of his indentures, he started as a painter in oils, and executed several pictures, one of which (a Biblical subject) included, it is said, no less than one hundred figures, whilst a no less ambitious subject than Tasso’s “Jerusalem Delivered” was deemed of sufficient merit to be exhibited on the walls of the Royal Academy. Other pictorial subjects were taken from “Don Quixote,” “Waverley,” “The Tempest,” etc., besides which he executed numerous portraits and miniatures. These efforts, however, do not appear to have been sufficiently remunerative to encourage him to continue them, and after a time he resigned them to follow a branch of art more congenial, perhaps, to his abilities, and thenceforth very rapidly acquired fame as a social satirist and caricaturist.

The coloured caricatures of Robert Seymour, besides being comparatively scarce and little known, seem hardly to call for any particular description; the titles of some of them will be found mentioned in our Appendix. One which has survived, and with which the public are probably most familiar, is one of the worst of the series. It is entitled, Going it by Steam, is signed “Short Shanks,” and was published by King. Among rarer and better ones may be named two very excellent specimens, without date, published by Creed, of Chancery Lane, labelled respectively, A Musical Genius (a butcher boy playing on the Pandean pipes and accompanying himself with marrow bone and cleaver), and A Man of Taste and Feeling (a tramp caught in a trap while helping himself 210 in a butler’s pantry). Among the best of his coloured political caricatures, we may mention, Greece and her Rough Lovers (i.e. Russia and Turkey), published by Maclean, in 1828. Lithography afforded greater facilities of execution than the old process, and much of Seymour’s work in political as well as social satire was executed by himself on stone.

The year 1830 brought the life and reign of George the Fourth to Death of George IV. a close. He had been breaking up for a long time past. The first entry of any moment occurs in Mr. Greville’s diary, of 25th August, 1828: “The king has not been well; he goes fishing and dining at Virginia Water, stays out late, and catches cold.” A year later, the diarist relates that the king had nearly lost his eyesight, and would be “couched” as soon as his eyes were in a proper state for the operation. On the 7th of December he attended a chapter of the Bath, “looked well,” but was so blind that “he could not see to read the list, and begged [Mr. Greville] to read it for him.” The Sangrado treatment was then in full force; and we find that in January, 1830, the king, being very ill, “lost forty ounces of blood.” He grew at last so much worse that the preparations for the festivities with which the royal birthday was to have been celebrated were obliged to be postponed sine die. A victim to dropsy, the operation of puncturing the legs was resorted to, with the result of giving him temporary relief. The patient, however, became liable to violent fits of coughing, in one of which he ruptured a blood vessel, and expired early on the morning of Saturday the 26th of June, 1830.

A more contemptible, selfish, unfeeling being as a man than this king could scarcely have been found, “a mixture of narrow-mindedness, selfishness, truckling, blustering, and duplicity, with no object but self, his own ease, and the gratification of his own fancies and prejudices.”97 “A more despicable scene,” continues Mr. Greville, “cannot be exhibited than that which the interior of our Court presents—every base, low, and unmanly propensity, with selfishness, avarice, and a life of petty intrigue and mystery.”98 George the 211 Fourth as king and regent was recklessly extravagant, but his expenditure was always upon self or the gratification of self. A hundred examples of his selfish nature might be given, but cui bono? Everything he could get hold of, which could minister to his own personal gratification, he grasped with avidity. In this spirit he appropriated the jewels and spent on himself the whole of the money belonging to his late father’s estate, amounting to £120,000. His ministers did not dare to oppose his greed, or tell him that this money belonged to the Crown, and not to himself as an individual. He acted precisely in the same manner with regard to his mother’s jewels, of which she possessed a large quantity. Those she received from George III. she left by will to the king; the rest she gave to her daughters; in spite of which bequest, her selfish son appropriated the whole to himself as his own personal private property.

An admirable likeness of this most selfish of royal or private personages Portrait of the King. has been drawn by a master hand. “To make a portrait of him,” says Thackeray, “at first seemed a matter of small difficulty. There is his coat, his star, his wig, his countenance simpering under it: with a slate and a piece of chalk, I could at this very desk perform a recognisable likeness of him. And yet after reading of him in scores of volumes, hunting him through old magazines and newspapers, having him here at a ball, there at a public dinner, there at races, and so forth, you find you have nothing—nothing but a coat and wig, and a mask smiling below it—nothing but a great simulacrum. His sire and grandsires were men. One knew what they were like: what they would do in given circumstances: that on occasion they fought and demeaned themselves like tough, good soldiers. They had friends whom they liked according to their natures; enemies whom they hated firmly; passions and actions and individualities of their own. The sailor king who came after George was a man; the Duke of York was a man, big, burly, loud, jolly, cursing, courageous. But this George, what was he? I look through all his life, and recognise but a bow and a grin. I try and take him to pieces, and find silk stockings, padding, stays, a coat with frogs and a fur collar, a star and blue ribbon, a pocket-handkerchief prodigiously 212 scented, one of Truefitt’s best nutty brown wigs reeking with oil, a set of teeth, and a huge black stock, under-waistcoats, more under-waistcoats, and then nothing.” “Under-waistcoats, more under-waistcoats—and then nothing!” Yes, there was something besides the silk stockings—the padding—the stays—the coat with frogs and a fur collar, the star and the blue ribbon, although there might be nothing underneath which resembled a heart or which was capable of being inspired by a feeling which had not its origin in self. The wardrobe of this royal professor of deportment, who ten years before had been described to his own great personal annoyance as—

“The dandy of sixty, who bows with a grace,

And has taste in wigs, collars, cuirasses, and lace,”

was sold on the 2nd of August, 1830, and is said to have been sufficiently numerous to fill Monmouth Street, and sufficiently various and splendid for the wardrobe of Drury Lane Theatre. The meanness of his disposition was exhibited even in the matter of his clothes, scarcely any of which he gave away except his linen, which was distributed every year. Here were all the coats which this monarch had had for fifty years before, three hundred whips, canes without number, every sort of uniform, the costumes of all the order of Europe, splendid fur pelisses, hunting coats and breeches; among other etcetera, a dozen pair of corduroy breeches made to hunt in when Don Miguel was in London. His profusion in these articles was explained by the fact that he never paid for them; but his memory in relation to them was nevertheless so accurate that he recollected every article of dress, no matter how old, and his pages were liable to be called on at any moment to produce some particular coat or other article of apparel of years gone by.

The demise of this treasurer of royal antique raiment was followed by an order for general mourning, to which a caricature drawing by Seymour has reference, the satirical meaning of which will be apparent after the explanation previously given. A colossal military figure armed with a baton, on which is inscribed the word “fashion,” encounters at dusk, in Hyde Park, a solitary pedestrian 213 habited in a suit of grey clothing. “How dare you appear,” says the apparition, “without a black coat?” to which the frightened pedestrian replies, “The tailor would not trust me, sir.” In August, 1830, he gives likenesses of the new king and queen, William the Fourth and Adelaide, surrounded by a halo of glory. The new king, in reference to his profession, and by way of obvious contrast to his predecessor, is subsequently depicted as an anchor labelled, “England’s best bower not a maker of bows.” From other contemporary pictorial skits by Seymour we learn that various changes were made in the royal establishment, and the new queen seems to have addressed herself specially to a reform in the dresses of the court domestics. On the 1st of October, 1830, Seymour represents her grinding an enormous machine, called the “Adelaide Mill,” into which the women servants, dressed in the outrageous head-gear and leg-of-mutton sleeves of the period, are perforce ascending, and issuing from the other side attired in plain and more suitable apparel. “No silk gowns,” says Her Majesty as she turns the handle. “No French curls; and I’ll have you all wear aprons.” The new queen seems also to have shown a disposition to encourage native manufactures and produce at the expense of French and continental importations. These changes were not particularly pleasing to the Conservative lady patronesses of Almack’s, who were celebrated at this time for their capricious exclusiveness. One of Robert Seymour’s satires, bearing date the 1st of November, 1830, shows us a conference of these haughty dames, who seriously discuss the propriety of admitting some lady (probably the queen) who proposed appearing at one of the balls “in some vulgar stuff made by the canaille at a place called Kittlefields” [Spitalfields].

Robert Seymour.]

[October 1st, 1830.


[Face p. 213.

Whilst England was thus peacefully passing through the excitement French Revolution of 1830. of a succession to a vacant throne, France was convulsed with one of her ever-recurring revolutions. Charles the Tenth, driven from his throne, had been replaced by one who in his turn, some three and twenty years afterwards, was doomed to give place to the Bonaparte whose sun we ourselves have seen set in the defeat and disaster of Sedan. We find portraits in September, 1830, of Louis 214 Philippe, king of the French, of the queen, General Lafayette, the ex-king Charles the Tenth, and the Duc d’Angoulème. Besides these, we meet with several clever illustrations by the artist, on stone, of the stirring events of the time, which are interesting and valuable specimens of his versatile powers.

Some of our readers may remember a passage in Peter Pindar, where the merciless satirist ridicules George the Third’s German band, telling us (in allusion to his Majesty’s well-known penurious habits) that, although they displaced native talent and expected “to feast upon the Coldstream regiments fat,” their experience was altogether of another character:—

“But ah, their knives no veal nor mutton carved!

To feasts they went indeed, but went and starved!”

The services of these foreign musical mercenaries had been retained by George the Fourth, but one of the very earliest acts of his successor was to dismiss them in favour of the guards’ bands, “who,” however, if we are to believe Mr. Greville, had no great reason to be thankful, but were on the contrary “ready to die of it,” as they had to play every night without pay, and were moreover “prevented” from earning money elsewhere. This act of the new king is referred to in a sketch by Seymour, which shows us his Majesty in the act of “discharging the German band,” who may be seen marching off headed by their ancient and crestfallen drum-major.

The month of October, 1830, witnessed the trial of the notorious St. John Long. impostor, John St. John Long (whose real name was O’Driscoll) for the manslaughter of Miss Cushin. The success of this ignorant and notorious quack, who managed for a series of years to extract a magnificent income of some £10,000 or £12,000 per annum by trading on the credulity of his fellow-creatures, forms a curious commentary on the weakness of contemporary “society.” It is said that he commenced life as a house-painter, and afterwards acquired some slight knowledge of art in the humble capacity of colour grinder to Sir Thomas Lawrence, and while colouring (on his own 215 account) some anatomical drawings for a medical London school, picked up a slight and imperfect knowledge of anatomy. This stimulated him to further superficial research; and after a few months’ probation, his confidence enabled him to pretend that he possessed a cure for every disease under the sun—more especially consumption.99

The origin and pretensions of this learned practitioner are thus referred to in one of the rhymes of the day:—

“You may talk of your Celsus, Machaons, and Galens,

Physicians who cured all incurable ailings,

But ne’er yet was doctor applauded in song

Like that erudite Phœnix, the great Doctor Long.

Such astonishing cures he performs, I assure ye,

Some think him a god—all a lusus naturæ:

The whole animal system, no matter how wrong,

Is set right in a moment by great Doctor Long.

Through all regions his vast reputation has flown,

Through the torrid, the frigid, and temperate zone;

The wretch, just expiring, springs healthy and strong

From his bed at one touch of the great Doctor Long.

His skill to experience, what potentates ran—

The Pope, the Grand Llama, the King of Japan!

The great Chinese autocrat, mighty Fon Whong,

Was cured of the ‘doldrums’ by famed Doctor Long!

In each serious case he considers as well as

Doctor Horace, ‘naturam cum furcâ expellas’;

’Dame Nature’ (i.e.) ‘you must poke with a prong.’

Pretty poking she gets from the great Doctor Long.

He cures folks à merveille, the French people cry;

The Greeks all pronounce him θειζταγον

Dutch and Germans adore him; the Irish among,

’To be sure he’s the dandy!’ Go bragh, Doctor Long!


King Chabert has proved, since restored from his panic,

There’s small harm in quaffing pure hydrocyanic;

But he never found out it was good for the throng,

When scrubbed on their stomachs by great Doctor Long.

A machine he’s invented, stupendous as new,

To sweep one’s inside as you’d sweep out a flue;

No climbing boy, urged by the sound of the thong,

Can brush out your vitals like great Doctor Long.100


Garter King has assigned, like a sad ‘fleering Jack,’

A duck for a crest, with the motto, ‘Quack, Quack

To the proud name of St. John (it should be St. Johng,

Which would rhyme with the surname of great Doctor Long).

Great house-painting, sign-painting, face-painting sage!

Thou Raffaelle of physic!—thou pride of our age!

Alas! when thou diest, and the bell goes ding-dong,

Sure Hygeia herself will expire with her Long!

Then fill every glass, drink in grand coalition,

Long life, long await this long-headed physician;

Long, long may Fame sound, with her trumpet and song,

Through each nation the name of the great Doctor Long!”101

“Dr. Long’s” remedy (“the prong” referred to in the foregoing ballad) was of the simplest possible character, and—his dupes in nine cases out of ten being women—his success complete. He invented a wonderful liniment or lotion, by means of which he professed to diagnose and eradicate the virus of consumption. With many patients an inflammation followed its application, which (according to the quack) discovered the presence of disease, and which, after 217 a plentiful crop of guineas had been extracted, nature was allowed to heal: the patient was then pronounced out of danger. With some persons the liniment was perfectly innocuous, and when this was the case the patient was informed that no disease need be feared. The secret of course lay in the fact that the quack used two liniments, apparently identical, one of which only contained the irritating medium. Many actually consumptive persons of course consulted him; but when this was the case he refused his assistance, on the ground that it had been invoked too late.

He carried the imposition, as might have been anticipated, once too far, and, in the case of the beautiful and unfortunate Miss Cushin (a lady of highly nervous temperament), maintained the inflammation for so long a time that nature for once refused to assist him, and when Sir Benjamin Brodie was summoned, mortification had already set in. The trial resulted in a verdict of guilty, but the judge (Baron Parke), who summed up scandalously in his favour, instead of sending the fellow to hard labour, imposed a fine of £250, which was immediately paid.

Seymour alludes to this event in a pictorial satire, in which he shows us St. John Long, with a vulture’s head and beak, kneeling on the floor of a dungeon with a bottle by his side labelled “lotion,” and (beneath) the words,—“Lost, £12,000 per annum, medical practice. Whoever will restore the same to Mr. St. J. L—g, shall receive the benefit of his advice.”

Miss Cushin’s death was quickly followed by another fatal case, that of Mrs. Colin Campbell Lloyd, who also died from the effects of the corrosive lotion, and St. John Long the following year was again put on his trial for manslaughter; in this case the fellow was acquitted. Seymour’s prediction was not destined to be verified. The soi-disant St. John Long, alias O’Driscoll, in spite of these “mistakes,” which in our day would receive a harsher term, retained his large “practice” to the last, and died—still a young man—of the very disease to which he professed to be superior, thus conclusively proving better than anything else could have done the utter impotency of his preparation.


Anstey (son of the once celebrated author of the “New Bath Guide”) amusingly describes the administration of an oath to a witness in a court of law:—

“Here, Simon, you shall (silence there!)

The truth and all the truth declare,

And nothing but the truth be willing

To speak, so help you G—d (a shilling).”102

The artist possibly had this quotation in his mind when he designed the following:—The deponent is a country bumpkin, to whom an official tenders the Testament, at the same time extending his disengaged palm. “Pleas zur,” says Hodge, “wot be I to zay?” (To him the officer), “Say, This is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God one and sixpence.”

The open and notorious bribery, corruption, and intimidation which prevailed in those days at parliamentary elections; Sir Robert Peel’s “New Police Act” (which was received with extraordinary suspicion and dislike); the Reform Bill; the universal distress and consequent bread riots of 1830-31, form the subjects of other pictorial satires by Robert Seymour, which seem, however, to call for little notice.

The artist’s talent and services were constantly in demand as a designer on wood; but finding that the productions of his pencil suffered at the hands of the wood-engravers to whom they were entrusted, and the very inferior paper upon which the impressions were taken, he, in or about the year 1827, began to learn the art of etching on copper. We believe his earliest attempts in this direction will be found in a work now exceedingly rare, bearing the title of “Assisting, Resisting, and Desisting.” A volume called “Vagaries, in Quest of the Wild and Wonderful,” which appeared in 1827, was embellished with six clever plates after the manner of George Cruikshank, and ran through no less than three editions.

The “Humorous Sketches,” several times republished, perhaps the only work by which Seymour is now known to the general 219 public, appeared between the years 1834 and 1836. They were first published at threepence each by Richard Carlisle, of Fleet Street, who is said to have paid the artist fifteen shillings for each drawing on the stone. Carlisle falling into difficulties shortly before Seymour’s death, sold the copyright and lithographic stones to Henry Wallis, who in turn parted with the latter to Mr. Tregear, of Cheapside, but retaining his property in the copyright, transferred the drawings to steel, and published them in 1838, with letterpress by Alfred Crowquill. Mr. Henry G. Bohn issued an edition in 1842, and another some twenty-three years later, with plates so sadly worn and blurred by over use that the best part of this last edition (issued by the Routledges in 1878) is the binding.

The “Humorous Sketches” (we refer, of course, only to the early impressions), although affording fair examples of the artist’s comic style and manner, are in truth of very unequal merit. They comprise some eighty subjects, which, owing to the frequent republications, are so well known that it would be superfluous to attempt a detailed description of them here. The best is unquestionably the one numbered XXV., “This is a werry lonely spot, Sir; I wonder you arn’t afeard of being rob’d.” The inevitable sequel is amusingly related by Crowquill:—

“Poor Timmins trembled as he gazed

Upon the stranger’s face;

For cut-purse! robber! all too plain,

His eye could therein trace.

’Them’s werry handsome boots o’ yourn,’

The ruffian smiling cried;

’Jist draw your trotters out, my pal,

And we’ll swop tiles beside.

That coat, too, is a pretty fit,—

Don’t tremble so—for I

Vont rob you of a single fish,

I’ve other fish to fry.’”

The “Sketches,” with other detached works by the artist, reappeared in an edition published by the late John Camden Hotten, entitled “Sketches by Seymour,” comprising in all 186 subjects, for 220 the most part sadly worn impressions. Although there is nothing whatever “Hogarthian” about the originals, as the amiable publisher would have us (as usual) believe, we may admit that the faces in No. 24, At a Concert, are a perfect study, and that this sketch, with Nos. 45 and 46 (Snuffing and Smoking), afford excellent examples of the artist’s ability as a draughtsman.

But the work which contains probably some of the best specimens “The Book of Christmas.” of the artist’s style is one now exceedingly scarce. Christmas books, like Christmas cards, are practically unsaleable after the great Christian festival has come and gone; and this was the experience of Mr. T. K. Hervey’s “Book of Christmas,” which, owing to the author’s dilatoriness, came out “a day after the fair,” and despite its attractions proved unmarketable. This circumstance, we need not say, by no means detracts from its value, and as a matter of fact, the collector will now deem himself fortunate if he succeeds in securing a copy at a price exceeding by one half the original cost. Those who have formed their ideas of Seymour’s powers from the oft republished and irretrievably damaged impressions of the “Humorous Sketches,” will be astonished at the unaccustomed style, vigour, and beauty of these illustrations. A few of the earlier etchings are somewhat faint and indistinct, as if the artist, even at that time, was scarcely accustomed to work on copper. They, however, improve as he proceeds with his work; the larger number are really beautiful, and are characterised by a vigour of conception and execution, of which no possible idea can be formed by those who have seen only the “Humorous Sketches.” Noteworthy among the illustrations may be mentioned the finely executed head of Old Christmas, facing page 23; the Baronial Hall (a picture highly realistic of the Christmas comfort and good cheer which is little better than a myth to many of us); The Mummers; Christmas Pantomime; Market, Christmas Eve; Boxing Day; and Twelfth Night in the London Streets. The cheery seasonable book shows us the Norfolk Coach with its spanking team rattling into London on a foggy Christmas Eve, heaped with fat turkeys, poultry, Christmas hampers and parcels. William Congreve tells us—


“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,

To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”

The irritable personage awoke from his slumbers by the music of the waits, certainly does not belong to any of the order of animate or inanimate subjects so softened, soothed, or bent, as aforesaid, for he opens his window and prepares to discharge the contents of his jug on the heads of the devoted minstrels. If the ancient ophicleide player, with the brandy bottle protruding from his great coat pocket, might but know of the impending cataract which more immediately threatens himself, he would convey himself from the dangerous neighbourhood with all the alacrity of which his spindle shanks are capable. A younger neighbour on the opposite side of the street awaits the catastrophe with amused interest, whilst a drunken “unfortunate” executes—under the elevating influences of music and drink—a pas seul on the pavement below. In the etching of Story Telling, the deep shadows of an old baronial hall are illuminated solely by the moonbeams and the flickering flame of the firelight; a door opens into a gallery beyond, and one of the listeners, fascinated by the ghost story to which she is listening, glances fearfully over her shoulder as if apprehensive that something uncanny will presently issue out of the black recesses. The ghostly surroundings have their influences on the very cat, who looks uneasily about her as if afraid of her shadow. Besides the thirty-six etchings on copper, the book contains several charming woodcuts, impressed on paper of a very different quality to that on which the artist was accustomed to behold impressions from his wood blocks.

Of a class entirely different to the foregoing may be mentioned the still rarer series of comicalities executed by the artist under the title of “New Readings of old Authors,” of which we may notice the following: Moved in Good Time (Taming of the Shrew, Act 2, Sc. 1), a tax-gatherer and other creditors bemoaning themselves outside the premises of a levanted debtor; I am to get a man, whate’er he be (Act 3, Sc. 2), disciples of Burke and Hare providing themselves with a living subject; I do remember when the fight was done, when I was dry (King Henry IV., Part 1, Act 1, Sc. 3), a 222 victorious prize-fighter recruiting his exhausted frame by imbibing many quarts of strong ale; He was much Feared by his Physicians (Act 4, Sc. 1), an irascible gouty patient flinging medicine bottles and nostrums at one of his doctors, and stamping a prostrate one under foot; You are too great to be by me gainsaid (King Henry IV., Part 2, Act 1, Sc. 1), a huge woman administering chastisement to a small and probably (in more senses than one) frail husband; My Lord, I over rode him on the way (Act 1, Sc. 1), a miserable huntsman who has ridden over and killed one of the master’s fox-hounds; He came, saw, and overcame (Act 4, Sc. 2), a wretched Frenchman, who, overbalancing himself, falls over the rails of a bear-pit amongst the hungry animals below; Never was such a sudden scholar made, (King Henry V., Act 1, Sc. 1), in allusion to the installation of the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of Oxford University; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a fat sleeper suffering under the agonies of nightmare, under the influence of whose delusion he fancies himself roasting before a vast fire, with a huge hook stuck through his stomach; and, I beg the ancient privilege of Athens: as she is mine, I may dispose of her (Act 1, Sc. 1), an Englishman attempting to dispose of his ugly, wooden-legged old harridan of a wife by auction. The lithographic stones on which the drawings to these “New Readings” were made, and which comprised no less than three hundred drawings, were effaced before the artist’s death, and impressions from them are now, of course, more than difficult to procure. The Shakespeare series were collected and republished in four volumes, in 1841-2, by Tilt & Bogue, of Fleet Street, and even these last are very seldom met with.

On the 10th of December, 1831, there started into life a periodical of decidedly pronounced political bias and opinions, entitled “Figaro in London.” Politics ran high in those days; it was the time of the great agitation for “reform,” which in those days, as we shall presently see, was both loudly called for and imperatively necessary. A mob of boys and degraded women had taken complete possession of Bristol,—had driven its deformed little mayor over a stone wall in ignominious flight,—had burnt down the gaol and the mansion-house, 223 and laid Queen Square in ashes, whilst the military and its very strangely incompetent officer looked on while the city was burning.103 Every one in those days was either a rabid Tory or an ultra Radical. It was just the period for an enthusiastic youth to plunge into the excitement of political life; but the crude, unformed opinions of a young man scarcely of age are of little value, and the political creed of the proprietor and originator of this literary (?) venture does not appear to have been clearly defined even to himself. In his valedictory addresses written three years afterwards, when things were not altogether so rosy with him as when he started his periodical, he confesses that he belongs to no party, for “we have had,” he says, “such a thorough sickener of the Whigs, that we do expect something better from the new government, although it be a Tory one.”

The price of “Figaro in London,” one of the immediate predecessors of the comic publications of our day, was a penny, quite an experiment in times when the price of paper was dear, and periodical literature was heavily handicapped with an absurdly heavy duty. “Figaro” consisted of four weekly pages of letterpress illustrated by Robert Seymour. The projector, proprietor, and editor, was Mr. Gilbert à Beckett, whose name—with those of men of vastly superior literary attainments—was associated in after years with the early fortunes of Punch. The literary part of the performance was indeed sorry stuff,—the main stay and prop of the paper from its very commencement was Seymour, whose drawings however suffered severely at the hands of the engraver and paper maker. An eccentricity of the publication perhaps deserves notice. It professed to look with sovereign contempt upon advertisements, as occupying a quantity of unnecessary space—considering, however, that exception was made in favour of one particularly persevering hatter of the period, we are driven to the conclusion that the projector’s contempt for a source of revenue which modern newspaper proprietors can by no means afford to despise, was nearly akin to that expressed by the fox after 224 he had come to the melancholy conclusion that the grapes he longed for were absolutely beyond his reach.

The new periodical assumed from the outset a position which cannot fail to amuse the journalist and reader of the present day. It professed to look down upon all other publications (with certain exceptions of magnitude, whom the editor deemed it prudent to conciliate) with supercilious contempt. The absurdity of these pretensions will strike any one who turns over its forgotten pages, and compares his pretensions with Mr. à Beckett’s own share of the performance. The mode in which this young gentleman’s editorial duties were conducted, gathered from extracts taken at random from the “Notices to Correspondents,” were, to say the least, peculiar: “A. B., who has written to us, is a fool of the very lowest order. His communication is rejected.” Poor Mr. Cox of Bath is told he “is a rogue and a fool for sending us a letter without paying the postage. If he wants his title page, let him order it of his bookseller, when it will be got as a matter of course from our publisher,” and so on. The aristocracy are regarded with a disfavour which must have given them serious disquietude. The “coming out” of the daughter of the late Lord Byron, or a soirée at the Duchess of Northumberland’s town house, serve as occasions for indulging in splenetic abuse of what Mr. à Beckett was pleased to term “the beastly aristocracy.” Authors, even of position, were not spared by this young Ishmael of the press, the respected Mrs. Trollope, for instance, being unceremoniously referred to as “Mother Trollope.” The only excuse of course for this sort of thing is to be found in the fact that comic journalism being then in its infancy, personal abuse was mistaken for satire; while, so far as the bad taste of the editor is concerned, allowance must be made for an inexperienced young man who imagined that the editorship of a paper, wholly destitute of merit except that which Seymour brought to its aid, conferred upon himself a position which rendered him superior to the rules of literary courtesy.

With all these pretensions, however, à Beckett was conscious of the powerful assistance he was receiving from the artist; and we find 225 him, after his own peculiar fashion and more than questionable taste, constantly alluding to the fact; describing him at various times as “that highly gifted and popular artist, Mr. Seymour;” “our illustrious artist Seymour;” and so on. In the preface to his second volume, he indulges in the following flight of fancy, which will suffice to give us an idea of the literary merits of the editor himself: “In this our annual address,” he says, “we cannot omit a puff for the rampant Seymour, in whom the public continue to see-more and more every time he puts his pencil to the block for the illustration of our periodical.” This was the sort of stuff which passed for wit in 1832.104 As for Seymour himself, he was annoyed at these fulsome and foolish compliments, and in a letter which he wrote to À Beckett after the quarrel to be presently related, told him in the plainest terms that, “the engraving, bad printing, and extravagant puffing of his designs were calculated to do him more harm than good as an artist.”

But artist and editor jogged on together in perfect good will until the 16th of August, 1834, when, for the first and only time, “Figaro in London” made its appearance without any illustrations at all. The two succeeding weekly issues contained each a single woodcut after Seymour’s drawing, but from that time until the end of the year, when À Beckett himself retired from the proprietorship and disposed of his interest in the concern, the paper was illustrated by Isaac Robert Cruikshank; this change was due to the following circumstance.

A special feature of “Figaro in London” was its theatrical leader. À Beckett had always taken an interest in dramatic matters, and was himself author of some thirty plays, the very titles of which are now forgotten. Not content with being proprietor and editor of a newspaper, he was concerned at this time in another venture, being proprietor and manager of a theatre in Tottenham Court Road, known 226 at different times under the various designations of the Tottenham Street or West London Theatre, the Queen’s, and latterly as the Prince of Wales’ Theatre. The result was almost a foregone conclusion. A newspaper is a sufficiently hazardous speculation, but a theatre in the hands of an inexperienced manager is one of the most risky of all possible experiments; and the result in this case was so unfortunate, that À Beckett in the end had to seek the uncomfortable protection of the insolvent court. He was considerably indebted to Seymour for the illustrations to “Figaro,” half of the debt thus incurred being money actually paid away by the artist to the engraver who executed the cuts from his drawings on the wood. Finding that À Beckett was in no position to discharge this debt or to remunerate him for his future services, Seymour did—what every man of business must have done who, like the artist, was dependent on his pencil for bread, refused any longer to continue his assistance. Apart from the bad paper and bad impressions of which he complained, and above all the bad taste displayed in fulsome adulation of his own merits, supremely distasteful to a man of real ability, Seymour appears hitherto to have entertained no bad feeling towards À Beckett personally.

The result however was a feud. À Beckett was not unnaturally angry, and an angry man in his passion is apt to lose both his head and his memory. Forgetting the manner in which he had shortly before acknowledged the services and talent of the artist, he now attacked him and his abilities with a malice which would be unintelligible if we had not seen something of his nature and disposition. In his favourite “Notices to Correspondents” in the number of 13th September, 1834, he professes to account for the employment of Isaac Robert Cruikshank after the following disingenuous fashion: “Mr. Seymour, our ex-artist, is much to be pitied for his extreme anguish at our having come to terms with the celebrated Robert Cruikshank in the supplying the designs of the caricatures in ‘Figaro.’ Seymour has been venting his rage in a manner as pointless as it is splenetic, and we are sorry for him. He ought, however, to feel, that notwithstanding our friendly wish to bring him 227 forward, which we have done in an eminent degree, we must engage first-rate ability when public patronage is bestowed so liberally, as it now is upon this periodical. He ought therefore not to be nettled at our having obtained a superior artist.” The public, however, were not to be gulled; they perfectly well knew that Isaac Robert Cruikshank was an inferior artist in every respect to Seymour, and had not forgotten the tribute which the foolish editor had previously paid to the talents and ability of the latter. Conduct like this could only recoil on the head of the person who was injudicious and spiteful enough to be guilty of it. The “Notices to Correspondents” in subsequent numbers continued to be filled with references and allusions to Seymour, dictated by a malice which was alike silly and childish. They are not worthy of repetition here, and we must refer the reader for them to the numbers of “Figaro in London” of 20th September and 15th November, 1834, or (if he have not access to its pages) to the short biographical notice prefixed to the latest edition of the “Sketches” by Mr. Henry G. Bohn. We have no doubt whatever that the interval between these dates was employed in fruitless endeavours on the part of À Beckett to arrange terms with the artist, who, however, steadily refused to give the failing publication the indispensable benefit of his assistance. Left as it were to its own resources, the circulation, in spite of the graphic help accorded by Robert Cruikshank, steadily declined, and À Beckett finally retired from the editorship and proprietorship on the 27th of December, 1834. Seymour wielded a far more effectual weapon of offence than any which À Beckett possessed, and dealt him blows which at this time and in his then circumstances must have been keenly felt. One of Seymour’s satires is aimed specially at the “Notices to Correspondents” already mentioned, and shows us a heavy, vulgar fellow seated at his desk, habited in a barber’s striped dressing-gown à la Figaro. His features are distorted with passion, for he has received a letter the contents of which are anything but flattering, addressed “To the Editor of the nastiest thing in London.” This sketch bears the following descriptive title: “An editor in a small way, after pretending a great deal about his correspondents, 228 is here supposed to have received a letter.” A second skit shows us a critic examining a picture representing “the death of À Beckett, Archbishop of Cant.” A figure in armour, with its vizor down (obviously intended for the artist) is depicted in the act of cutting at the “archbishop” with a sword, the blade of which is inscribed “debts due.” His first blow has severed the mitre labelled “assumption,” and the pastoral staff, inscribed “impudence,” with which the victim vainly endeavours to defend himself. “Don’t,” says À Beckett, as he falls prostrate amid a heap of “spoilt paper,” among which we recognise, “Figaro,” “The Thief,” “The Wag,” and other periodicals with which his name was associated. “Don’t cut at me ‘our own inimitable, our illustrious, our talented;’ pray don’t give me any more cuts; think how many I have had and not paid you for already:” a hand indicates the way “to the Insolvent Court.”

“Figaro,” after the retirement of À Beckett, passed into the editorial hands of Mr. H. Mayhew, and conscious of the injury which the defection of Seymour had done to the undertaking, he lost no time in opening negotiations with a view to his return. In this he experienced little difficulty, for Seymour was glad to avail himself of the opportunity of giving to the public the most convincing proof which could have been adduced of the falsity of the libels which had been published by the retiring and discomfited editor. The fourth volume commenced 3rd of January, and from that time until his death (in 1836) he continued to illustrate the paper. Mayhew announces his return after the following curious fashion: “The generous Seymour, with a patriotic ardour unequalled since the days of Curtius, has abandoned all selfish considerations, and yielded to our request for his country’s sake. Again he wields the satiric pencil, and corruption trembles to its very base. His first peace-offering to ‘Figaro in London,’ is the rich etching [woodcut] our readers now gaze upon with laughing eyes.” Constant references of a laudatory kind are made to him in succeeding numbers.

The woodcuts after Seymour’s designs, which appear in “Figaro 229 in London,” are too small and unimportant to justify the title which the editor gives them of “caricatures;” and relating to political matters which at that time were far more efficiently chronicled by the pencil of H. B., they have lost any interest which they once might have commanded. The most interesting illustrations which Seymour contributed to “Figaro,” are the brief series of theatrical portraits, which are not only clever but evidently excellent likenesses.

It was not only in the case of “Figaro in London” that the slanders of À Beckett recoiled upon his own head. That gentleman in 1832 had started a sort of rival to Hood’s “Comic Annual,” under the title of the “Comic Magazine.” It was cheaper in price than the former publication, and contained an amazing number of amusing cuts of the punning order, after Seymour’s designs. After the quarrel with À Beckett, the artist withdrew his assistance from its pages, and the illustrations show a fearful falling off after 1833. Many of the wretched designs which follow bear the signature of “Dank,” and so destitute are they of merit that the “embellishments” (as they are termed) for 1834, are altogether below criticism.

At the opening of the present chapter we said that Robert Seymour was almost a genius. Genius, however, he never absolutely touched; he was destitute of the inventive faculties which distinguished John Leech, and lacked the vivid imagination which enabled George Cruikshank to realize any idea which occurred to him, whether comical, grave, realistic, or terrible. His talents as an artist, though undoubtedly great, ran in a narrow groove, and their bent is shown by the well-known “Humorous Sketches,” and the less known but far more admirable designs which he executed for the “Comic Magazine.” He always had a fancy for depicting and satirizing cockneys and cockney subjects, and had conceived the by no means new or ambitious idea of producing a series of such pictures with an appropriate letterpress to be furnished by a literary coadjutor, whose work, however, was to be subservient to his own. The idea was not perhaps a very definite one, but the pictorial part of the work was commenced, and four plates actually etched at the time the artist was retained to execute the illustrations to the “Book 230 of Christmas.” Out of this undeveloped idea, and out of the four apparently unimportant drawings to which we have alluded, was destined to evolve the strange and melancholy story which will be associated for all time with the mirth-inspiring novel of the “Pickwick Papers.”

The difficulty at the outset was to find an author to carry out the Origin of “Pickwick.” artist’s idea, indefinite as it was. In this direction there was in 1836, a very embarras de richesses, for, if comic artists were few, there was on the other hand no lack of humourists of the highest order of merit. Theodore Hook, Clark (the author of “Three Courses and a Dessert”)—probably many others were suggested by the publishers who were taken into consultation by Seymour; but all were rejected. He himself seems to have inclined towards Mayhew, with whom it will be recollected he was associated at this time on “Figaro in London.” The man of all others most fitted to carry out the artist’s own idea seems to us to have been John Poole, one of the most original of English humourists, whose productions, now forgotten, are worth searching for in the pages of the “New Monthly” and other periodical publications of a past day. It is a singular fact, too, that on the first appearance of the “Pickwick Papers,” the authorship was by many ascribed to this very man. In the end, Mr. Chapman, of the firm of Chapman & Hall, introduced the artist to one of the most unlikely men for his own purpose that could possibly have been selected,—the man, as we have already seen, of all others the least fitted and the least disposed to act the part of William Coombe to Seymour’s character of Thomas Rowlandson.

At this time Charles Dickens was reporter on the staff of a newspaper; he had written a book which, although successful, had created no very intense excitement; he was moreover a young man, and consequently plastic, and fifteen pounds a month would be a small fortune to him; so at least argued the artist and his friends. How little they understood the resolute, self-reliant character of this unknown writer! The result was altogether different from anything they expected. Author and artist differed at the outset as to the form the narrative should take; but the man with the strongest 231 power of mind and will took his stand from the first, and Charles Dickens made it a condition of his retainer that the illustrations should grow out of the text, instead of the latter being suggested (as Seymour desired) by the illustrations, and the artist had reluctantly to give way. No one can doubt that the author was right. By way however of a concession, and of meeting Seymour’s original idea as far as practicable, he introduced the absurd character of Winkle, the cockney sportsman. The mode of publication followed was the artist’s own suggestion, who, desiring the widest possible circulation, insisted on the work being published in monthly numbers at a shilling. Thus it was that “Pickwick” came to be written.

We are not called on in this place to discuss the merits of “Pickwick”; to compare Charles Dickens with the writers who had immediately preceded him; to enlarge upon the comic vein which he discovered and made so peculiarly his own; to show the influence which his humour exercised upon the literature of the next quarter of a century; to contrast such humour with his wonderful power of pathos; to marshal the shades of true-hearted, noble Nell, unhappy Smike, little Paul Dombey, world abandoned Joe, and compare them with the Wellers—father and son, Mr. Jingle, Tracy Tupman, Bob Sawyer, and the spectacled but essentially owlish founder of the “Pickwick Club.” All this we fancy has been done in another place; our task is altogether of a simpler character. We have to trace the connection which subsisted between the artist and author; to show how this book—the creation of a writer in the spring-time of his genius—the essence of fun, the unfailing source of merriment to countless readers past, present, and to come, came to be associated with the memory of a terrible and still incomprehensible tragedy.

We have seen that, contrary to his own wishes, Seymour had yielded to Charles Dickens’ suggestion, or rather condition, that the illustrations should grow out of the text; but he does not seem to have abandoned (so far as we can judge) all idea of having a hand in the management of the story, and he never for one instant contemplated interference on the part of the author with any one of his own designs. If we are to believe his friends (and their testimony 232 seems to us distinctly valuable in this place), he was extremely angry at the introduction into the plot of the “Stroller’s Tale,” and we may therefore fancy the spirit in which he would receive Charles Dickens’ intimation, conveyed to him in the same manner that he afterwards communicated to Cruikshank his disapproval of the last etching in “Oliver Twist,” that he objected to that etching “as not quite his [Dickens’] idea;” that he wished “to have it as complete as possible, and would feel personally obliged if he would make another drawing.” The letter (on the whole a kindly one) has been set out elsewhere,105 and there is no occasion to repeat it here. What other causes of irritation existed will never be known. All that is still known is, that he executed a fresh design and handed it over to Dickens at the time appointed; that he went home and destroyed nearly all the correspondence relating to the subject of “Pickwick”; that he executed a drawing for a wood-engraver named John Jackson,106 and delivered it himself on the evening of the 20th of April, 1836; that he then returned to his house in King Street, Islington, and committed self-destruction. He left behind him an unfinished drawing for “Figaro in London,” which afterwards appeared (in the state in which it was found) in the pages of that periodical.

Various reasons have been assigned for this rash act, all more or less contradictory. According to some he was a man of equable temperament; while others, who knew him personally, have told us that he was nervous and subject to terrible fits of depression. Some would trace the act to his quarrel with À Beckett; but this is simply absurd, seeing that it had occurred some two years before. We need not, as it seems to us, travel out of our course to seek the real cause, which was probably due to over-work. His energies had been tasked to the utmost to keep pace with the supply which his 233 ever-increasing popularity brought him. The state of his mind appears to us clearly indicated by his design of The Dying Clown, one of the last drawings which he etched for the “Pickwick Papers,” and for which we must refer the reader to the original edition only; anything more truly melancholy we can scarcely imagine. Entirely appropriate to the story, it seems to tell its own tale of the morbid state of mind of the man who designed it; it is a pictorial commentary on the sad story we have attempted to tell.

Robert Seymour.

[“Pickwick Papers.


[Face p. 233.

A too zealous application to work has destroyed many men both of talent and genius; it produces different effects in different individuals, according to their respective temperaments: while it drove Robert Seymour to frenzy, it killed John Leech—a man of far finer imaginative faculties—with the terrible pangs of angina pectoris. Differently endowed as they were, both belonged to the order of men so touchingly described by Manfred:—

“There is an order

Of mortals on the earth, who do become

Old in their youth, and die ere middle age

Without the violence of warlike death;

Some perishing of pleasure, some of study,

Some worn with toil, some of mere weariness,

Some of disease, and some insanity,

And some of wither’d or of broken hearts;

For this last is a malady which slays

More than are numbered in the lists of fate.”107

The coadjutorship of distinguished artists and authors has led to more than one strange controversy. Those who have read Forster’s “Life of Dickens” will remember the curious claim which George Cruikshank preferred after Dickens’ death to be the suggester of the story of “Oliver Twist,” and the unceremonious mode in which Mr. Forster disposed of that pretension. We have referred elsewhere to the edifying controversy between George Cruikshank and Harrison Ainsworth, in relation to the origin of the latter’s 234 novels of the “Miser’s Daughter” and “The Tower of London.” The republication of Seymour’s “Humorous Sketches” in 1866, led to a very curious claim on the part of his friends, in which they sought to establish the fact that he was the originator and inventor of the incidents of “Pickwick.” This claim happily was made while Dickens was yet alive, and was very promptly and satisfactorily disposed of by himself in a letter which he wrote to the Athenæum on the 20th of March, 1866. Author and artist have long since gone to their rest; and the plan which the author of this work proposed when he sat down to write the story of Robert Seymour, was to place that artist in the position which he believes him to occupy in the ranks of British graphic humourists, and not to rake up or revive the memory of a somewhat painful controversy. Of the claim itself we would simply remark, that not only was it made in all sincerity by those who loved and cherished the memory of Robert Seymour, but that to a certain extent the claim has a foundation of fact to rest upon; for who will deny that had not Seymour communicated his idea to Chapman, and Chapman introduced the artist to Dickens, the “Pickwick Papers” themselves would have remained unwritten. In this sense, but in this sense only, therefore, Robert Seymour was the undoubted originator of “Pickwick.” He was an artist of great power, talent, and ability; and it seems to us that those only detract from his fame who, in a kind but mistaken spirit of zeal, would claim for him any other position than that which he so justly and honestly earned for himself, as one of the most talented of English graphic satirists.

97 “Greville Memoirs.” vol. i. p. 180.

98 Ibid., p. 207.

99 His theory, as stated in a book which he published, was this: that as all men are born in moral sin, so they have about them a physical depravity in the form of an acrid humour, which, flying about the system, at length finds vent in diseases which afflict or terminate existence. He professed by the means afterwards explained to bring this acrid humour to the surface, and having thus expelled the cause of disease, to put an end to every bodily ailment.

100 In allusion to a complex piece of machinery he said (in his book) he had invented, which when complete would cost him two thousand guineas. This machine, said Long, alias O’Driscoll, “will search all the body, and cut away all the diseased parts, leaving the patient perfectly sound and well.”

101 We found a curtailed copy of these amusing verses in one of the jeux d’esprit of the time, called “Valpurgis; or, the Devil’s Festival” (William Kidd, 6, Old Bond Street, 1831), illustrated by Seymour. With the exception of one immaterial verse, we now give the complete poem; in the ring of the verses the reader will have no difficulty in recognising the hand of the Rev. Richard Harris Barham, subsequently author of the “Ingoldsby Legends.”

102 Anstey’s “Pleader’s Guide,” Bk. 2nd (1810).

103 Colonel Brereton. His conduct afterwards formed the subject of a court-martial, but the unhappy man forestalled the “finding” by committing suicide.

104 Mr. à Beckett’s strong point was puns; in later days he found a vehicle for these in the well-known “Comic Histories” of England and Rome, illustrated by John Leech. It was his peculiar good fortune always to be associated with artists of the highest ability.

105 See Forster’s “Life of Dickens.”

106 In one account of Seymour’s death the name of the engraver is given as Starling. This is a mistake. The engraving (probably one of the best the unfortunate artist ever executed) represents a sailor captain of Charles the First’s time, showing a casket of pearls to a lady of remarkable beauty.

107 Act 3, Scene 1.




The years 1830-32 were full of political trouble; men’s minds were unsettled; progress was the order of the day, and a reform in the election of the members who represented or who were supposed to represent the political opinions of the English constituencies was not only loudly called for, but had (as we have seen) for a very long time past been imperatively demanded. The question was shelved from time to time, but sooner or later it must be settled, and as Liberals and Conservatives alike will be amused and astounded at the state of English parliamentary representation half a century ago, we propose just to glance at matters as they existed in 1830.

The Marquis of Blandford was a somewhat notable character in those days. He had been a violent opponent of the Catholic Relief Bill; but from the moment that measure was carried had become as fiery and reckless a reformer.108 On the 18th of February, 1830, he proposed that a committee should be chosen by ballot to take a review of all boroughs and cities in the kingdom, and report to the Secretary of State for the Home Department those among them which had fallen into decay, or had in any manner forfeited their right to representation on the principles of the English constitution as anciently recognised by national and parliamentary usage. The Home Secretary was to be bound immediately 236 to act on this report, and to relieve all such places from the burthen of sending members to parliament in future, and the vacancies were to be supplied by towns which had hitherto been unrepresented. All parliamentary representatives were to be elected by persons “paying scot and lot.” He further proposed to extend the right of voting to all copyholders and leaseholders, and to place the representation of Scotland on an equal footing with that of England. The members were to be chosen from the inhabitants of the places for which they were returned, and were to be paid for their services according as they were borough or county members. The former were to receive two guineas a day each, and county members four guineas; why the latter were to be estimated at double the value of the former does not seem clear. Mr. Brougham, although ready to vote for this somewhat extraordinary measure, “because much of what it proposed to do was good,” recommended that a merely general resolution that reform was necessary should be substituted in its place. Lord Althorp moved an amendment accordingly on the terms suggested; but both the amendment and the original motion were negatived.

On the third reading of what was then known as the “East Retford” bill, the first attempt was made in parliament by O’Connell to introduce a new principle into the representative system of the country, viz., that the votes of the electors should be taken by ballot. Only twenty-one members voted for O’Connell’s motion, among whom the names now most familiar to us are those of Lord Althorp, Sir Francis Burdett, and Mr. Hume.

The most ultra-Conservative, however, of our day, who thinks that the representation of the people has already been carried far enough, will scarcely credit the fact, that in those days constituencies such as Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham were absolutely unrepresented. Yet such was the case. The motion for transferring the franchise of East Retford to Birmingham having been lost, Lord John Russell, on the 23rd of February, brought the matter of the great unrepresented constituencies before 237 parliament by moving for leave to bring in a bill “to enable Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham to return members to the House of Commons.” It seems scarcely credible to us now-a-days, that this reasonable motion was negatived by 188 to 140.

On the 28th of May, O’Connell brought in a wilder scheme. He moved for leave to bring in a bill to establish triennial parliaments, universal suffrage, and vote by ballot; the simple foundation of his system being that every man who pays a tax or is liable to serve in the militia is entitled to have a voice in the representation of the country. Only thirteen members were found to join him in a house of 332. Lord John Russell, who took advantage of this motion to introduce certain resolutions of his own, embracing a wider scheme of reform than that included in his former programme, could not consent to any part of O’Connell’s scheme. Dismissing the subject of triennial parliaments as a subject of comparative unimportance, and passing on to the other propositions, universal suffrage and vote by ballot, he contended that both were incompatible with the principles of the English Constitution. Mr. Brougham, while he thought that the duration of parliaments might be shortened with considerable advantage, provided that other measures for removing improper influence were adopted, declared himself both against universal suffrage and against vote by ballot; and he entered into a full statement of the grounds on which he held that the secresy of voting supposed to be attained by the ballot would produce most mischievous consequences without securing the object which it professed to have in view. The resolutions moved by Lord John Russell (after O’Connell’s motion had been negatived) were as follows: (1) “That it was expedient the number of representatives in the House should be increased;” (2) “That it was expedient to give members to the large and manufacturing towns, and additional members to counties of great wealth and population.” Under the second of the resolutions, it was proposed to divide large and populous counties, such as Yorkshire for instance, into two divisions, and to give to each of them two members. Among the towns 238 proposed to be benefited were such important centres as Macclesfield, Stockport, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Brighton, Whitehaven, Wolverhampton, Sunderland, Manchester, Bury, Bolton, Dudley, Leeds, Halifax, Sheffield, North and South Shields; while it was stated that the same principle would apply to extend the representation to cities of such importance as Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Belfast. All the resolutions, however (comprising a third which we have considered it unnecessary to refer to), were negatived by the amazing majority of 213 to 117. The fact that this was a much larger majority than that which had thrown out the previous and more limited proposal for extending the franchise to three only of the manufacturing towns, will suffice to show the spirit in which the unreformed parliament of 1830 was accustomed to receive any suggestion of improvement and reform, reasonable or otherwise.

It may perhaps seem strange that at this stirring period there was an absolute dearth of political caricaturists, but the fact we have already attempted to account for. George Cruikshank, the finest caricaturist of his day, as well as his brother Robert, neither of whom can be described as purely political satirists, had now practically retired from the practice of the art, and were employed on work of a totally different character. Political caricature languished; indeed, if we perhaps except William Heath, oftentimes better known by his artistic pseudonym of “Paul Pry,” there was not a political caricaturist of any note in 1829-30.

At this juncture there arose a graphic satirist—if indeed we are justified in so terming him—of genuine originality. Before 1829, he had been known only as a miniature painter of some celebrity; but he possessed a taste for satiric art, and had essayed several subjects of political character which he treated in a style and manner differing altogether from the mode in which satirical pictures had hitherto been treated. These he showed to Maclean, one of the great caricature publishers of the day, who had sufficient discernment and prescience to recognise in them the work of a man of unquestionable original ability. He prevailed on 239 the artist to publish these specimens, and their success was so genuine and unmistakable that both publisher and artist decided to continue them. Thus commenced a series of political pictures which ultimately numbered almost a thousand, and ran an uninterrupted course of prosperity for a period of upwards of two and twenty years.

The enormous success and reputation which the “sketches,” as they were called, achieved, was due not only to the cleverness and originality of the artist himself, but also in a great measure to the mystery which attended their publication and appearance. Both parties concerned in their production preserved an inviolable secrecy on the subject of the identity of the artist and the place whence the “sketches” originated. Mr. Buss tells us,109 “the drawings were called for in a mysterious hackney coach, mysteriously deposited in a mysterious lithographic printing office, and as mysteriously printed and mysteriously stored until the right day of publication.” The HB mystery was most religiously preserved for a great number of years, both by the artist and the publisher. The initials afforded no clue to those not immediately concerned in preserving the secret; and yet in this very original monogram lay the key to the whole of the mystery. The origin of this signature was simply the junction of two I’s and two D’s (one above the other), thus converting the double initials into HB. The single initials were those of John Doyle, father of the late Richard Doyle, who afterwards made his own mark as a comic artist in the pages of Punch and elsewhere.

The “sketches” of HB were a complete innovation upon pictorial satire. The idea of satirizing political subjects and public men without the exaggeration or vulgarity which the caricaturists had more or less inherited from Gillray, was entirely new to the public, and took with them immensely; and herein lies their peculiarity, that whilst the subjects are treated with a distinctly sarcastic humour, there is an absence of anything approaching to exaggeration, 240 and the likenesses of the persons represented are most faithfully preserved. Whilst claiming for himself the character of a pictorial satirist, the artist is all throughout anxious to impress upon you the fact that he repudiates the notion of being considered a caricaturist in the Johnsonian meaning of the word. This idea seems also to have struck Thackeray, who, writing at the time when the sketches were appearing, says of him, “You never hear any laughing at ’H.B.’; his pictures are a great deal too genteel for that,—polite points of wit, which strike one as exceedingly clever and pretty, and cause one to smile in a quiet, gentlemanlike kind of way.”110 Throughout the series of sketches we know but of one instance where the artist suffers any comparison to be established between himself and the political caricaturists who had preceded him, and that is the one entitled Bombardment Extraordinary (having reference to the indictment for libel against the Morning Journal, which was shortly followed by the collapse of that paper), which is treated to the full as coarsely as Gillray himself might desire. The fact of this being among the earliest sketches would seem to show that the artist had not then quite made up his mind whether to follow in the footsteps of his great predecessor or not. We think the result must have convinced him that, whilst having distinct merits of his own as a satirist, and indeed as an artist, he was very far behind Gillray; and the rest of the sketches seem to show that their designer had made up his mind that no middle course was possible;—in other words, that he must be HB or nothing.

The faithfulness of the likenesses of the persons who appear in these “sketches” is simply marvellous. Not only has the artist preserved the features of the subjects of his satires, but he has caught their attitude—their manner, almost their tricks and habits,—and the drawings being, as we have said, wholly free from exaggeration, the very men stand before you, often, it is true, in absurd and ridiculous positions. The persons who figure in these lithographs comprise among names of note many whose reputations 241 were too ephemeral to preserve them from oblivion. On the other hand, amongst the various groups we recognise Prince Talleyrand, the Dukes of Cumberland, Gloucester, Wellington, and Sussex, George the Fourth, William the Fourth, Louis Philippe, her present Majesty, Lord Brougham, Colonel Sibthorpe, Count Pozzo di Borgo, Daniel O’Connell, Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Hume, Lord Melbourne, Lord Palmerston, Sir Francis Burdett, Mr. Roebuck, Sir James Graham. Persons with no political reputation or connection are occasionally introduced to serve the purposes of the artist: doing duty for him in this manner we find the Rev. Edward Irving; Townsend the “runner,” of Bow Street notoriety; George Robins, the auctioneer; Liston, the comedian; and others.

Ever on the alert for comic subjects, John Doyle was remarkably prompt and ready to catch an idea. Frequently these ideas were suggested to him by a phrase—a sentence—a few words in a speech; occasionally he takes a hint from his Lempriére; whilst not unfrequently his happiest conceptions are derived from a character or scene in one of the popular operas or farces of the time. Thus, in one of the debates on the Reform Bill in the House of Lords, some very high words passed between Lords Grey and Kenyon, the latter applying the words “abandoned” and “atrocious” to the conduct of the former, who on his part declared in reply that he threw back the expressions with scorn and indignation. In the midst of the confusion the Duke of Cumberland rose, and implored their lordships to tranquillize themselves and proceed with the debate in a temperate and orderly manner, advice which, after taking time to cool, they thought it prudent to follow. The farce of “I’ll Be Your Second” was then running at the Olympic, Mr. Liston taking the part of “Placid,” who, having a pecuniary interest in one of the characters who has a weakness for duelling, is kept in a state of nervous anxiety, and constantly interposes with the question, “Can’t this affair be arranged?” In one of his “sketches,” HB gives us A Scene from the Farce of “I’ll Be Your Second,” in which the Duke of Cumberland is represented as Placid, endeavouring to arrange matters amicably between my Lords Kenyon and Grey.


The duke himself was one of the most unpopular personages of Duke of Cumberland. his time, and evinced on his part a contempt for public opinion which did nothing to lessen the prejudice with which he was generally regarded. We dislike a man none the less for knowing that he is conscious of and indifferent to our good or bad opinion; and so it was with the Duke of Cumberland. He followed his pleasure (field sports amongst the rest) with a serene and happy indifference to all that the world might think or say about him. This characteristic of his Royal Highness is satirized in another of the “sketches,” where he is supposed to sing “My Dog and My Gun,” as “Hawthorn,” in the then popular opera of “Love in a Village.” His Royal Highness made himself a remarkable character in those smooth-faced days by wearing a profusion of whisker and moustache perfectly white. A rumour somehow got abroad and was circulated in the tittle-tattle newspapers of the time, that at the instance of some fair lady he had shaved off these martial appendages. The cavalry for some unexplained reason were the only branch of the service who were then permitted to wear moustaches, and in one of his sketches, the artist places the smooth-shaved duke in the midst of his brother officers, who regard him with the greatest horror and amazement.

The Ministry which succeeded that of the Duke of Wellington had entered office under express declaration that they would forthwith apply themselves to the reform of the representation of the people; and accordingly, on the 1st of March, 1831, a bill for that purpose was actually introduced by Lord John Russell; but the strength and violence of the opposition which could still be mustered against it may be judged by the fact, that the second reading was carried by the hopeless majority of one in the fullest house that had ever been assembled. A dissolution took place shortly afterwards, and the avowed intention of such dissolution had been to obtain from the people at the general election (which followed) a House of Commons pledged to support the Reform Bill; indeed, the only test by which candidates were tried, was their expressed pledge to support this particular measure. On the 24th 243 of June, 1831, Lord John Russell again moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the representation of England, and the difference in the result obtained by the election is conclusively shown by the fact, that the votes for the second reading were 367 against 231. On the 13th of July it passed into Committee, and on the 7th of September, the bill as amended in Committee was reported to the House; the majority in favour of the motion for passing it was found to be 109, the ayes being 345, and the noes 236.

The Reform Bill next day was carried up to the Lords by Lord The Reform Bill thrown out by the Lords. John Russell, attended by about a hundred of its staunchest supporters in the lower House. These gentlemen appear to have adopted the unusual mode of exciting the attention of the peers and giving to the function they were performing a striking and theatrical character, by accompanying the delivery of the bill to the Lord Chancellor with their own characteristic “Hear, hear.” A cry of “order” recalled them to a sense of the presence in which they stood. In Doyle’s contemporary sketch of Bringing up our Bill, this incident is referred to. Lord Chancellor Brougham stands at the bar of the House to receive it from the hands of the member who leads the deputation (Lord John Russell); behind him we see Lord Althorp, the Marquis of Chandos, and the Right Hon. John Wilson Croker, who exchange signs with their fingers, showing that the proceeding does not altogether meet with their approval. In the background may be seen Sir Charles Wetherell, hated of the reformers of Bristol, looking as opposed to the measure as ever; the bill, as we know, was thrown out by the Lords in October, by a majority of 41. The same month, its enthusiastic advocate, the Rev. Sydney Smith, at a reform meeting at Taunton, compared the attempt of the House of Lords to stop the progress of reform to a certain fictitious Dame Partington of Sidmouth, who had essayed during the progress of the great storm to arrest the progress of the Atlantic with her broom. “The Atlantic was roused,” said the wit; “Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up; but I need not tell you that the contest was unequal. The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.” Immediately after this speech appeared the sketch of Dame Partington and the 244 Ocean of Reform, in which the character of the apocryphal and obstinate dame is sustained by that vigorous opponent of the Reform Bill, his grace the Duke of Wellington.

As the Lords had thrown out the Reform Bill, it was necessary to A Dead Lock. begin de novo. Accordingly, on the 12th of December, Lord John Russell again moved for leave to bring in a new Reform Bill, which passed the third reading by a majority of 116 on the 23rd of March, 1832, and its second reading in the House of Peers, by a majority of nine, on the 14th of April. Then the fighting and opposition became once more as strenuous and as sustained as ever. On a subsequent division the ministry were left in a minority of thirty-five, whereupon Earl Grey proceeded to the king, and tendered to his Majesty the alternative either of arming the ministers with the powers they deemed necessary to carry through their bill (which really meant a power to create whatever new peers they might deem requisite for the purpose), or of accepting their own immediate resignation. In the course of the following day the king informed his lordship that he had determined to accept his resignation rather than have recourse to the only alternative which had been proposed to him; and accordingly, on the 9th, Earl Grey announced in the House of Lords, and Lord Althorp in the Commons, that the ministry was at an end, and simply held office till their successors should be appointed. The Duke of Wellington attempted to form an administration, and failed—and his failure left matters, the ministers, and the perplexed monarch, of course exactly “as they were.”

The excitement occasioned by the Lords was tremendous. At London, Birmingham, Manchester, and other large centres, simultaneous meetings were held to petition the Commons to stop the supplies. In the metropolis placards were everywhere posted, recommending the union of all friends of the cause; the enforcement of the public rights at all hazards; and a universal resistance to the payment of taxes, rates, tithes, and assessments; the country in fact was on the brink of revolution. At the meetings of the political societies, even in the leading journals, projects were openly discussed and recommended for organizing and arming the people; the 245 population of the large towns was ready to be launched on the metropolis. “What was to be done—peers or no peers? A cabinet sat nearly all day, and Lord Grey went once or twice to the king. He, poor man, was at his wits’ end, and tried an experiment (not a very constitutional one) of his own by writing to a number of peers, entreating them to withdraw their opposition to the bill.”111 The letter to which Mr. Charles Greville refers is evidently the following circular:—

St. James’s Palace, May 17th, 1832.

My dear Lord,—I am honoured with his Majesty’s command to acquaint your lordship, that all difficulties to the arrangements in progress will be obviated by a declaration in the House to-night from a sufficient number of peers, that in consequence of the present state of affairs, they have come to the resolution of dropping their further opposition to the Reform Bill, so that it may pass without delay, and as nearly as possible in its present shape.

“I have the honour to be yours sincerely,

Herbert Taylor.”

Such a request, coming from such a quarter, was not only weighty in itself, but necessarily implied after all that had taken place, that his Majesty suggested this course as the only means of avoiding the creation of a large number of additional peers. The majority of the House were thus placed in the unenviable position of being compelled to choose whether they would see a hundred members added to the number of their opponents to carry a measure which was hateful to them, or to abandon for a time their rights, privileges, and duties as legislators. They chose the latter alternative, and during the remainder of the discussion on the bill, not more than between thirty and forty attended at any one time. By this means, and this only, the bill was eventually carried.

On these grounds John Doyle appears to have founded his theory that William the Fourth was a sincere convert to Reform.112 In one 246 of the “sketches” he shows us his Majesty in the character of Johnny Gilpin carried along at headlong speed by his unmanageable grey steed “Reform.” He flies past the famous hostelry at Edmonton, where his wife and her friends (represented by the Duke of Wellington and a party of Tories) are anxiously awaiting his arrival. The turnpike-keeper (John Bull) throws open the gate to let him pass, too delighted with the fun to think of any personal expense to himself, and conscious that if the gate is shut the inexpert horseman must come to unutterable grief. The bottles dangling at Gilpin’s waist are filled with “Birmingham froth” and “Rotunda pop,” in allusion to the stump oratory of the Birmingham Political Union and the Rotunda in Blackfriars Road. Hume and O’Connell, the ardent supporters of the bill, cheering with might and main, closely follow John on horseback; while Sir Francis Burdett and Sir T. C. Hobhouse, equally ardent advocates of Reform, join the cry on foot. The frightened geese with coroneted heads represent, of course, the peers, who had offered such determined opposition to the measure, while the old apple woman rolling in the mud is no other than poor Lord Eldon. The bird of ill-omen foretelling disaster is Mr. Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty. Later on the same year (1832), we find his Majesty represented as Mazeppa bound to the grey steed Reform, several of the Conservative members of either houses of Parliament doing duty as the wolves and “fearful wild fowl” that accompany the rider in his perilous course. In another satire, the king, supposed to have discovered his mistake, figures as Sinbad the Sailor, vainly endeavouring to shake himself free of the old man of the sea (Earl Grey), who however is too firmly seated on his shoulders to be dislodged.

The Duke of Wellington’s political convictions having prompted Unpopularity of the Duke of Wellington. him to be among one of the leading opponents to the Reform Bill, he narrowly escaped serious injury at the hands of the London rabble. On the 18th of June, 1832, having occasion to pay a visit to the Mint, a crowd of several hundred roughs collected on Tower Hill to await his return; and on making his appearance at the gate he was hissed and hooted by the crowd, who followed him along the 247 Minories yelling, hooting, and using abusive language, their numbers and threatening demeanour momentarily increasing. About half-way up the Minories he was met by Mr. Ballantine, the Thames police magistrate, who asked him if he could render him any assistance; but the cool, courageous soldier simply replied that he did not mind what was going on. When his grace had got to about the middle of Fenchurch Street, one of the cowardly ruffians rushed out of the crowd, and seizing the bridle with one hand attempted to dismount the duke with the other, in which he would have succeeded but for the courageous conduct of the groom and a body of city police, who opportunely made their appearance at the time. The mob had now grown as numerous as it was cowardly; but by the exertions of the police, his grace was escorted through it and along Cheapside without sustaining personal injury. In Holborn, however, the rabble, growing bolder, began to throw stones and filth, and the duke, followed by the canaille, rode to the chambers of Sir Charles Wetherell, in Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, where he remained, till a body of police arrived from Bow Street, by whom he was escorted in safety to Apsley House. To make the outrage more disgraceful, if possible, it happened on the anniversary of the crowning victory of Waterloo; the mob, forgetting in their unreasoning wrath the priceless services the great soldier had rendered to the nation, whilst the cowardly rascals who composed it were the very persons who could by no possibility be benefited by the provisions of the bill in which they professed to take so great an interest. On the night of the illumination which followed the passing of the Act, they broke the windows of his grace and other opponents of the measure; and in one of the contemporary HB sketches, Taking an Airing in Hyde Park, the duke is seen looking out of one of his broken window-panes. Before the end of the year he was visited by serious illness, and the angry feelings his opposition to the measure had provoked, and which had been gradually subsiding, were suddenly followed by a complete reaction in his favour. HB commemorates this in his sketch of Auld Lang Syne, which shows the happy reconciliation between John Bull and the hero of Waterloo.


Consistently and conscientiously as the great duke had opposed Duel between the Duke of Wellington and Lord Winchelsea. what he considered the revolutionary tendency of the Reform Bill, it must not be forgotten that it is to him that the Catholics owe the benefits of the Act of 1829, which relieved them of the disabilities under which they had so long suffered; and it must not be forgotten too, that in this measure he had not only to contend with his own repugnance to Catholic emancipation, but also with that of his chief colleagues,—of the great majority of the House of Lords, and of the king himself. With the latter indeed his task had been a very difficult one; and it was only a few days before the meeting of Parliament in the early part of 1829, that the consent of George the Fourth had been obtained. Among the most strenuous of the duke’s opponents to the Catholic Relief Bill was the Earl of Winchelsea, who, in the unreasoning bitterness of his anger, shut his eyes to the injustice under which the Catholics had so long suffered, and most unwarrantably charged his grace with an intention “to introduce Popery into every department of the State.” These words led to a hostile meeting in Battersea Fields on the 21st of March, 1829. Lord Winchelsea, after receiving the duke’s fire, discharged his pistol in the air, and there the affair ended, his second delivering a written acknowledgment expressing his lordship’s regret for having imputed disgraceful motives to the conduct of the duke, in his pro-Catholic exertions. Twelve months afterwards, on the 2nd of April, 1830, Richard William Lambrecht was indicted at Kingston assizes for the murder of Oliver Clayton, whom he had shot in a duel in Battersea Fields on the preceding 8th of January. Lambrecht had a narrow escape, for the judge in his summing up told the jury that if they were of opinion that the accused met Clayton “on the ground with the intention, if the difference could not be settled, of putting his life against Clayton’s, and Mr. Clayton’s against his,” the prisoner was guilty of wilful murder; and the jury, finding on application to the learned judge that there were no circumstances in the case to reduce the crime to manslaughter, by way apparently of getting out of the difficulty, returned a verdict of not guilty. This incident suggested the sketch entitled A Hint to 249 Duellists, in which the unsparing satirist places the duke in Lambrecht’s unenviable position before Mr. Justice Bailey, from whose lips are proceeding a portion of the charge which he actually delivered to the jury at the trial at Kingston assizes. Even the duke, impassive as he appeared, must have felt the justice of this unsparing but admirable sarcasm.

Another member of the royal family who frequently figures in the “sketches” is the Duke of Sussex. He was a man of large frame, and as remarkable for the blackness of his whiskers as the Duke of Cumberland was conspicuous for the bleached appearance of these hirsute adornments. At a meeting of the council of the London University, he is reported to have said that for the promotion of anatomical science he should have no personal objection to dedicate his own body after death to the College of Surgeons for the purposes of dissection. This hint was enough of course for HB, and his royal highness accordingly figures in a contemporary satire as A great SubjectDedicated to the Royal College of Surgeons.”

Another prominent personage of HB’s time, and a singular instance Sir Francis Burdett. of the change which frequently takes place in the political convictions of public men, was Sir Francis Burdett. Commencing his career as an ardent radical and reformer intolerant of abuses, he finished it and astonished his former supporters by being returned for Westminster in the Conservative interest. The political conduct of this once celebrated man is of so unusual a character that a short recapitulation of his career seems necessary, in order that the reader may understand the satires we are about to describe. Notwithstanding his expressed views in support of absolute purity of election, his own election for Middlesex in 1802-4, is said—what with the expenses and subsequent litigation—to have cost him upwards of one hundred thousand pounds. On the 5th of May, 1807, he was challenged by and fought a duel with Mr. James Paull, on Wimbledon Common, the cause of quarrel being Sir Francis’s refusal to act as chairman at a gathering of Paull’s supporters at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Westminster, in April. The duel terminated in both the principals being seriously wounded. The same year he 250 was returned to Parliament to serve as member for Westminster, which constituency he continued to represent for nearly thirty years. Perhaps the greatest event of his life was his committal to the Tower under the Speaker’s warrant for a libellous letter published in Cobbett’s Political Register, of 24th March, 1810, in which he questioned the power of the House to imprison delinquents. He at first resisted the execution of the warrant, and being a favourite with the mob, a street contest ensued between the military and the people, in which some lives were lost. In 1818, we find him moving for annual parliaments and universal suffrage, when the House divided with the result of 100 to 2, the minority being composed of the mover and seconder—that is to say, himself and Lord Cochrane. In 1820, he was found guilty at Leicester of a libel on Government in a letter to his constituents reflecting on the Manchester outrage of the preceding year; a new trial was moved for by himself, but this was refused, and he was sentenced the following February to three months’ imprisonment, and to pay a fine of £2,000. In March, 1825, his resolutions for the relief of the Irish Catholics were carried by a majority of 247 to 234; but in later life his restless spirit gradually calmed down, and after the appointment of the Melbourne Ministry in 1835, he surprised and disgusted his party by going into opposition, principally (as he alleged) on account of the court which they paid to O’Connell and his followers in their agitation against the Irish Established Church. For some time previous to the sketch we are about to describe he had absented himself from the House, and otherwise shown his distaste for the persons and principles of the leading men of the party to which he had formerly belonged. The busy-bodies who professed to be the exponents of public opinion in Westminster, pressed him for an explicit statement of his views, and eventually called upon him to resign, and he took them directly at their word. The person brought forward to oppose him was John Temple Leader, then member for Bridgwater, a name which suggested to the artist the pictorial pun of Following the Leader, the “followers” being Lord Melbourne, Lord John Russell, Lord Palmerston, Mr. O’Connell, Sir J. Hobhouse, Mr. Hume, and 251 Sir William Molesworth. Notwithstanding the exertions of the ministers and their friends to secure the election of Mr. Leader, that gentleman was not only beaten by a very considerable majority, but lost as a natural consequence his seat for Bridgwater, a fact which suggested to the artist another able sketch, The Dog and the Shadow. The election itself forms the subject of A Race for the Westminster Stakes, in which the aged thoroughbred (Sir Francis), ridden by Lord Castlereagh, beats the young horse Leader, jockey Mr. Roebuck. Among the backers of the losing horse, Daniel O’Connell and Joseph Hume may be easily detected by the lugubrious expression of their faces. The sketch of A Fine Old English Gentleman was suggested by a remark made by the Times during the progress of the contest, in which it described Sir Francis as “a fine specimen of the old English gentleman.” In the left-hand corner of this sketch the artist has placed a picture of the Tower of London, by way of reminder of the days when the baronet was regarded not so much in the light of “a fine old English Gentleman” as a radical of the most advanced type, and as a martyr in the cause of public liberty.

A change of opinion however is obviously a necessary incident Changes in Political Opinion. of political life, and we have ourselves witnessed some remarkable instances of such versatility in our own days. In some cases these changes are only temporary or partial, in others they are radical and complete; sometimes they are dictated by conviction, at others by necessity; occasionally they seem to be the result of absolute caprice; while in not a few instances, I fear, we should not be very far wrong in assigning them to feelings of disappointment or personal or political pique. This tergiversation in public men forms the subject of one of HB’s happiest inspirations. In 1837 there appeared at the Adelphi Theatre an American comedian named Rice, the forerunner of the Christies and other “original” minstrels of our day, who sang in his character of a nigger a comic (?) song, which, being wholly destitute of melody, and even more idiotic than compositions of that kind usually are, forthwith became exceedingly popular, being groaned by every organ, and whistled by all the street urchins of the 252 day. This peculiar production, which was known as “Jim Crow,” was accompanied by a characteristic double shuffle, while every verse concluded with this intellectual chorus:—

“Turn about, and wheel about,

And do just so;

And every time I turn about,

I jump Jim Crow.”

In Jim Crow Dance and Chorus (the title of the sketch referred to), we find the leading men of all parties assembled at a ball, engaged in the new saltatory performance initiated by Mr. Rice. In the left-hand corner we notice Lord Abinger, formerly Sir James Scarlett, a Whig, who growing tired of waiting for the advent of his own party to power, changed his political opinions—that is to say “jumped Jim Crow,”—and was made Attorney General by the Duke of Wellington. Next him is Lord Stanley, who commenced life as a Whig and was a member of Lord Grey’s Reform administration, but unprepared to go the lengths which his party seemed disposed to take, he too “jumped Jim Crow,” deserted them, and joined the ranks of the Opposition. Lord Stanley’s vis-à-vis is Sir James Graham; in his early days he had distinguished himself by the strength of his radical opinions, but as a member of Lord Grey’s cabinet, he suppressed these sentiments, and “jumped Jim Crow” by confining himself more strictly within Whig limits. Conspicuous amongst the performers is Lord Melbourne! When in office under Mr. Canning he had made several anti-Reform speeches, but afterwards became a member of the Government of Lord Grey by which Reform was carried;—as Prime Minister he went far nearer to the principles of absolute democracy than either Lord Grey or Lord Althorp. Lord Melbourne’s face, however, shows unmistakable repugnance at finding that his numerous “wheels about” have brought him face to face with O’Connell, and he turns in disgust from the famous agitator, who, with his thumb to his nose and his left arm stuck in his side, shows that he has no intention of permitting him to enjoy a pas all to himself. O’Connell of course shows himself complete master of the figure which he had danced so frequently; 253 one of the most shifty, unstable men of his day, he can scarcely be called a politician, for like all agitators, the person he really sought to serve was himself alone. He chopped and changed just as it suited his purpose, and is properly introduced by the artist amongst the most adroit and vigorous of the political double shufflers.

The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel find themselves vis-à-vis, in allusion to their conduct with reference to Catholic Emancipation. Both had originally been consistent opposers of the measure, which was at last carried by the influence of the very men who before had been its most persistent adversaries.

But, if any one had “turned about and wheeled about,” it was Sir Francis Burdett, and accordingly the artist introduces him as indulging in a very flourishing pas seul; he wears a self-satisfied smirk, and carries his thumbs in his waistcoat, in allusion to his own contention that he had been always consistent. Yet this self-satisfied aristocratic-looking personage not many years before had distinguished himself as the most prominent of radical malcontents, and had been drawn by his enthusiastic dupes through the city of Westminster in a triumphal car, decorated with the symbols of liberty, and preceded by a banner bearing the inscription, “Westminster’s Pride and England’s Glory.”

The queer figure in the cocked hat is Sir de Lacy Evans, who figures as one of the dancers in allusion to his practice as compared with his professions. In 1833 he obtained a seat for Westminster, triumphing over his opponent Sir J. C. Hobhouse, who for fifteen years had represented that constituency, both candidates professing to be zealous advocates for the abolition of flogging in the army. Sir de Lacy nevertheless, when commanding the British Legion at St. Sebastian, “jumped Jim Crow” by flogging his soldiers without mercy. Lord John Russell once sneered at every project of Reform, but his Lordship, as we have seen, “jumped Jim Crow” by repeatedly introducing the Reform Bill into the House of Commons, which was mainly passed by his persistent exertions; very properly, therefore, Lord John figures in HB’s clever sketch among the most prominent of “Jim Crow” double shufflers.

108 These political changes, as we shall presently see, are by no means uncommon. William Cobbett, for instance, in 1801 supported the principles of Pitt, but in 1805, from a “Church and King” man, he became and continued an ardent liberal.

109 “English Graphic Satire,” by R. W. Buss.

110 Westminster Review, June, 1840.

111 Greville’s “Memoirs,” ii. p. 303.

112 This was the idea of all Tories of the day. The terrible effects of the Reform Bill were amusingly predicted by John Wilson Croker to the king himself; they have not of course been fulfilled. See “Journal of Julian Charles Young” (Memoir of Charles Mayne Young, vol. i. p. 231).




Sydney Smith said of little Lord John Russell, that he was “ready Lord John Russell. to undertake anything and everything—to build St. Paul’s,—cut for the stone,—or command the Channel fleet,” and this satire of the wit was true. He tried politics and he tried literature, and few people will say that he was entirely successful at either. As a politician, for instance, his general capacity for getting himself and his party into a mess, earned from the most intellectually powerful of his political opponents the enduring title of “Lord Meddle and Muddle.” He has not been dead very long, yet what reputation has he left behind him as a dramatist—novelist—historian—biographer—editor—pamphleteer, all of which rôles he essayed at some time or other of his long and eventful career? His Nun of Arronca (1822) fetches it is true an exceedingly high price, because having been rigidly suppressed by its author it is now exceedingly rare. The best that can be said of Lord John—and that is saying a great deal—is, that he was a consistent Liberal according to his lights, and that to him belongs the honour and glory of bringing about the great measure of Reform, which, as we have seen, was, mainly through his instrumentality, accomplished in 1832.

Lord John, as might have been expected, frequently appears in the “political sketches” of HB. He cuts an amusing figure in one where Jonah (Lord Minto) is about to be thrown overboard by Lords Lansdowne, Palmerston, and Duncannon, by order of the captain (Lord Melbourne), to appease the storm raised by Lords Brougham and Lyndhurst in reference to a rumour that Lord 255 Minto (First Lord of the Admiralty), had instructed British cruisers to stop all Sardinian vessels carrying warlike stores for Don Carlos. Lord John, while clinging to the mast behind, and viewing with terror the impending fate of his colleague, evidently solaces himself with the conviction that his own weight is too insignificant to have any material effect upon the safety of the ship. Minto owed his safety to the Duke of Wellington, who therefore figures in the sketch as the whale; for, although convinced that his lordship had been imprudent, he successfully resisted Brougham’s motion for a copy of the instructions, and thereby succeeded in lodging poor Jonah on dry land.

One of the “sketches” in which Lord John Russell figures Stamp Duty on Newspapers. reminds us of a remarkable discussion which possesses considerable interest for every reader of the cheap newspapers of to-day. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (the Right Hon. Thomas Spring Rice) in opening his budget on the 6th of May, 1836, showed a disposable surplus of £662,000 only, which he proposed (in the usual way) to apply towards the reduction of taxation. He proposed, in the first place, to consolidate the paper duties and to reduce their amount in a manner which he proceeded to explain; and after accounting for £200,000, the balance of the surplus he intended to apply to the reduction of the stamp on newspapers. The duty minus the discount was fourpence, which he proposed to reduce to a penny, and to give of course no discount. The reader must not suppose from the foregoing, however, that all the proprietors of newspapers of that day paid the duty; on the contrary, the large majority evaded it in every possible way. The measure in fact was intended as much as a protection to the revenue as anything else, for the sale of unstamped newspapers throughout the country had become so extensive that no series of prosecutions was found effectual to put them down. Every sheet, it is true, professed to bear on it the printer’s name; but the name so appended was in six cases out of eight a false one. Exchequer processes were issued; all the power of the law was set in motion; in the course of three weeks three hundred persons had been imprisoned for selling unstamped 256 papers in the streets, but without in the slightest degree repressing the illegal sale. The Chancellor argued that the loss which the revenue would sustain in the first instance would be more than compensated by the enormous increase of duty to be obtained from the enlarged circulation; from the additional duty arising from the greater consumption of paper; and from the very large increase which might be expected from the produce of the duty on advertisements.

The opponents of the measure were of three classes: first, those who looked upon the proposal as radical and subversive; secondly, those who because a reduction is suggested in one quarter invariably consider it the correct thing to propose it in another; and lastly, the owners of the established newspapers of the day. The arguments of the first class assumed the following form: “In proportion as any political party approaches more or less towards pure democracy and the right divine of mere numbers, its interests will require that the means should be increased of disseminating among the lower classes, and as nearly gratuitously as possible, the exciting and poisonous food which is at last to end in the revolutionary fever.”113 The second class, strange to say, rested their hopes in this instance on the singularly slippery basis of soap. Sir C. Keightley moved (on the 20th of June) that instead of diminishing the stamp duty on newspapers, the duty on hard and soft soap should be reduced. The reduction of such duty would, he argued, by aiding cleanliness, promote the health and comfort of the people, while the lowering of newspaper stamps would do nothing of the kind, but would tend rather to introduce a cheap and profligate press, “one of the greatest curses which could be inflicted on humanity.” He contended, moreover, that it was absurd to argue that the poor were debarred from reading the public prints, when in a coffee shop, for three-halfpence, they could obtain a cup of coffee and a sight of every newspaper published in London. Mr. Barclay, one of the members for Surrey, thought it impossible for any reasonable being to hesitate between the relative virtues of newspapers and soap; and 257 as for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he could not believe for one moment that if left to his own unaided judgment he would hesitate to give his preference to the latter. The Chancellor nevertheless avowed in the plainest terms his preference for newspapers, and his conviction of the advisability of an immediate reduction in the stamp duty; the result, after the lapse of less than forty years, has conclusively proved the wisdom of the measure which he succeeded in carrying.

Newspaper proprietorship was then a monopoly; and the argument Curious Arguments of the Newspaper Proprietors. by which the rich proprietor, the representative of the third class of opponents, sought to maintain his monopoly cannot fail to amuse the newspaper reader of to-day. The monopoliser who, to maintain the character of his paper and to supply the public with the best and earliest information, incurred the expense of procuring parliamentary reports, obtaining foreign intelligence, anticipating the arrival of the post by expresses, and by having correspondents in every quarter of the world where matters of interest were going forward, said, that should the measure pass, he must thenceforth either be content to lower the tone of the public press by not giving the same amount of accurate intelligence, or must carry on the contest with those who went to no expense at all. “The result would be not only the ruin of the property of the newspaper proprietors and the destruction of their property, but it would be something much more fatal to the general interests of the country, for the editors of the present respectable papers would not be able to compete with these predatory publications, and would be compelled to forego that extent of information which was then so accurately given. We should have the newspaper press”—mark this, ye omnivorous readers of to-day, who commence with The Times, adjourn to the Telegraph, peruse the pages of the Morning Post, wander through the columns of the Daily News, and finish off with the express edition of the Globe or Evening Standard, reserving your Saturday Review, your Truth, and your Vanity Fair for Sunday solatium—“we should have the newspaper press simply reduced to this state: that no longer would there be a regular and correct supply of information 258 to the public respecting the debates of Parliament or other important matters, but there would be only such an amount and such a description of information as could be furnished upon the inaccurate data of a man who would not go to any expense in the use of the means at present employed.” These were the views of the newspaper proprietors of 1836, as expounded by that respectable but distinctly Tory authority, “The Annual Register.”114

The measure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of which we have attempted the foregoing explanation, appears to have suggested to John Doyle his sketch of The Rival Newsmongers, in which the leading men of all parties are represented in the act of endeavouring to force the sale of their own journals. The scene is supposed to be enacted in front of the Elephant and Castle, where we find the “Union Coach” waiting to take up passengers,—the three who occupy the roof being a Scotchman, indicated by his bonnet and plaid, Paddy by his shocking bad hat, while in the portly, jolly-looking party next him we have no difficulty whatever in recognising honest John Bull. The three are listening to the appeals of O’Connell, close to whom is Mr. Roebuck, and behind him again Mr. Hume. Sir Roger Gresley addresses himself to the insides, and the person holding up his paper to the special notice of John Bull is the Marquis of Londonderry. The driver of the coach is Lord Melbourne, and the ostler little Lord John Russell.

The public man who perhaps of all others earned and deserved Lord Brougham. his place in the pictorial satires of the nineteenth century was emphatically Brougham. The verdict of posterity on this restless but unquestionably brilliant man of genius must of necessity be a somewhat disappointing one; he aimed at being nothing less than an Admirable Crichton, and such a character in the nineteenth century, when every public man must be more or less talented, more or less brilliant, would be an impossibility even to a genius. 259 A rival lawyer and political opponent, Sir Charles Wetherell is reported to have said of him that he knew a little of everything but law; and although this statement was spiteful and untrue, there is no doubt of the truth of Mr. Greville’s remarks, that his duty as Chancellor was confined to appeals which must come before him, lunacy and other matters over which he had sole jurisdiction, and that “nobody ever thought of bringing an original cause into his court.”115 We think we may even go farther than this, and say that no lawyer of the present day would dream of relying on Lord Brougham’s decisions. O’Connell said of him, “I pay very little attention to anything Lord Brougham says. He makes a greater number of foolish speeches than any other man of the present generation. There may be more nonsense in some one speech of another person, but in the number, the multitude of foolish speeches, Lord Brougham has it hollow. I would start him ten to one—ay, fifty to one—in talking nonsense against any prattler now living.”

Some amusing examples of his restless anxiety to figure on all occasions in the character of an Admirable Crichton are given by Mr. Charles Greville, whose “Memoirs” stand in much the same relation to the graphic satires of the nineteenth century as the “Odes” of Dr. Walcot do towards the caricatures of James Gillray. “Dined,” says Mr. Greville (under date of 7th June, 1831), “with Sefton yesterday, who gave me an account of a dinner at Fowell Buxton’s on Saturday to see the brewery, at which Brougham was the magnus Apollo. Sefton is excellent as a commentator on Brougham; he says that he watches him incessantly, never listens to anybody else when he is there, and rows him unmercifully afterwards for all the humbug, nonsense, and palaver he hears him talk to people.... They dined in the brewhouse and visited the whole establishment. Lord Grey was there in star, garter, and ribbons. There were people ready to show and explain everything. But not a bit. Brougham took the explanation of everything into his own hands; the mode of brewing, the machinery, down to the 260 feeding of the cart-horses. After dinner the account books were brought, and the young Buxtons were beckoned up to the top of the table by their father to hear the words of wisdom which flowed from the lips of my Lord Chancellor. He affected to study the ledger, and made various pertinent remarks on the manner of book-keeping. There was a man whom Brougham called ‘Cornelius’ (Sefton did not know who he was), with whom he seemed very familiar. While Brougham was talking he dropped his voice, on which ‘Cornelius’ said, ‘Earl Grey is listening,’ that he might speak louder and nothing be lost. He was talking of Paley, and said that ‘although he did not always understand his own meaning, he always made it intelligible to others,’ on which ‘Cornelius’ said, ‘My good friend, if he made it so clear to others, he must have some comprehension of it himself;’ on which Sefton attacked him afterwards, and swore that ‘he was a mere child in the hands of “Cornelius;” that he never saw anybody so put down.’ These people are all subscribers to the London University,116 and Sefton swears he overheard Brougham tell them that ‘Sir Isaac Newton was nothing compared to some of the present professors,’ or something to that effect. I put down all this nonsense because it amused me in the recital, and is excessively characteristic of the man, one of the most remarkable that ever existed. Lady Sefton told me that he went with them to the British Museum, where all the officers of the Museum were in attendance to receive them. He would not let anybody explain anything, but did all the honours himself. At last they came to the collection of minerals, when she thought he must be brought to a standstill. Their conductor began to describe them, when Brougham took the words out of his mouth, and dashed off with as much ease and familiarity as if he had been a Buckland or a Cuvier. Such is the man, a grand mixture of moral, political, and intellectual incongruities.”117

If the part which Brougham’s position as attorney-general to Queen Caroline obliged him to take at the memorable period of the “Bill 261 of Pains and Penalties” had not closed the door of professional advancement against him, he had most effectually locked it against himself so long as her husband lived by the intemperate and ill-judged language in which he alluded to that event in the speech which he delivered at Edinburgh on the 5th of April, 1825.118 But Brougham was constantly on the watch for its being opened, and on the very day when George the Fourth died, that is to say on the 20th of June, 1830, he spoke in the House of Commons in eulogistic terms of the new sovereign, praising him for allowing the Speaker to take the oaths at an unusually early hour in order to suit the convenience of members, a graceful act, which Mr. Brougham declared he hailed as a happy omen of the commencement of an auspicious reign. The astute K. C.’s object did not escape the penetrating eye of HB, who forthwith represented him as The Gheber Worshipping the Rising Sun, in whose smiling face we recognise the unmistakable lineaments of William the Fourth. The sun proved not unmindful of the attention; for, on the formation of Earl Grey’s ministry in 1830, Mr. Brougham was made Lord Chancellor, with the title of Baron Brougham and Vaux. The appointment took the nation by surprise; for although a consistent upholder of Whig principles, he had always maintained a peculiar and independent position with his party, and was expected to prove rather an embarrassment than otherwise. These expectations were fully realized, and there can be no doubt that the sentiments which Lord Brougham’s bearing as Chancellor excited among his colleagues and contemporaries, excluded him for the remainder of his life from all official life and employment.

With all his wonderful powers, however, Lord Brougham could make, as O’Connell asserted of him, as inconsiderate a speech as any man. One of these speeches, which was delivered on the 14th of August, 1833, in a debate on the bill for the abolition of slavery in the West Indies, suggested to HB a happy subject. His lordship is reported to have said that, “the object of the clause [then under discussion] was to make the black, from the moment that he arrived 262 on the shores of this country, a free man in all respects: to make him eligible to sit in Parliament, either in the House of Lords, if it should be his Majesty’s pleasure to give him a title to a seat, or in the other House if he should be elected.” HB, with his usual facility for seizing an idea, took his lordship at his word, and forthwith elevated the emancipated “nigger” to the woolsack, clothing him in the wig and gown of Lord Chancellor Brougham, and giving him the features of the noble and learned lord himself: this sketch bears the title of A Select Specimen of the Black Style.

The House of Lords was a lively place whilst my Lord Chancellor Brougham was in office, and in the “scenes” in which he figured, and which drew down upon him the hatred and resentment of his contemporaries, he not unfrequently displayed a want of judgment which was nothing less than lamentable. We might give many instances of these regrettable scenes, but one shall suffice. On the 29th of September, 1831, the Lord Chancellor made the following answer to a question put by the Marquis of Londonderry:—“My lords,” he said, “I beg to state to you once for all, that I will not sit here to be bothered with questions which emanate from the ridiculous ideas of certain absurd individuals who cannot or will not see anything, however clear, and seem lamentably incapacitated by nature from comprehending what is going on. Moreover, I beg to state to the noble marquis, that for the future I will answer no question of his,—will give him no information whatever.” The amazed patrician said in reply, “As to the language which the noble and learned lord has ventured to apply to me here, I will only say that I shall wish those words to be repeated in another place.” The Lord Chancellor rejoined that he had said nothing which he was not prepared to repeat elsewhere; and here the matter appears to have ended, for strange to say it was the Marquis of Londonderry and not the irascible Brougham who subsequently apologised, a circumstance which occasioned the artist’s satirical and telling sketch of The Duel that did Not Take Place. These scenes do not appear to have been the result of any mere ebullition of temper; on the contrary, Brougham would seem to have delighted in these 263 undignified exhibitions. “The Chancellor, who loves to unbosom himself to Sefton, because he knows the latter thinks him the finest fellow breathing, tells him that it is nuts to him to be attacked by noble lords in the Upper House, and that they had better leave him alone if they care for their own hides. Since he loves these assaults, last night,” continues Mr. Greville, “he got his bellyful, for he was baited by a dozen at least, and he did not come out of the mêlée so chuckling and happy as usual.”119

Parliament was dissolved on the 15th of August, 1834, and by that time his party, the king, and everybody else, had grown pretty well tired of Lord Chancellor Brougham. His head would seem to have been almost turned by his success; for he employed the recess which followed the prorogation in making a sort of royal progress through Scotland, parading the Great Seal on his way, to the great disgust of the king, who seriously thought he had taken leave of his senses, and protested against it being carried across the border. In the course of this strange progress he reached Inverness in the beginning of September, 1834, and was presented by the magistrates with the freedom of their city. In returning thanks for this honour, Lord Brougham said he was conscious “that it was not owing to any personal merits that he had received this mark of distinction at their hands. First of all he owed it to the circumstance that he had the honour of serving a monarch who lived in the hearts of his subjects. He had enjoyed the honour of serving that prince for nearly four years, and during that time he had experienced from his Majesty only one series of gracious condescension, confidence, and favour. To find that he lived in the hearts of his loyal subjects in the ancient and important capital of the Highlands, as it had afforded him (Lord Brougham) only pure and unmixed satisfaction, would, he was confident, be so received by his Majesty, when he (Lord Brougham) told him, as he would by that night’s post (cheers), of the gratifying circumstances.”120 So far, however, from being gratified, the bluff sailor king was tremendously annoyed. These fulsome 264 adulations, and the ridiculous manner in which his eccentric and embarrassing Chancellor tortured any personal attention to himself (Brougham) into a personal compliment to his royal master, thoroughly disgusted him. For some weeks previously The Times had attacked the eccentric Chancellor with a constancy and vigour of satire quite unexampled; the tide of ridicule was swelled by contributions from the London and provincial press; Brougham made some foolish speeches at Aberdeen and Dundee, which excited the laughter of his enemies and the alarm of his friends. “Those who are charitably disposed,” remarks the unfriendly Greville, “express their humane conviction that he is mad, and it probably is not very remote from the truth.”

Intellectually strong as he was, a Chancellor so eccentric as this was an incubus to be got rid of at the first convenient opportunity. In May, 1834, Mr. Stanley, Sir James Graham, the Earl of Ripon, and the Duke of Richmond, seceded from the ministry; but the Whig party, in spite of these resignations and the subsequent one of Lord Grey in July, continued in office under Lord Althorp till the following November, when the latter being called (by the death of his father) to the Upper House as Earl Spencer, the king seized the opportunity which he had so long desired of placing a less embarrassing and self-willed Chancellor on the woolsack. This circumstance prompted the clever sketch of the Fall of Icarus. Icarus in this instance is of course Brougham, who, flying in defiance of the injunctions of Dædalus too near the sun—that is to say, William the Fourth—the wax of his mechanical wings melted and he fell into the sea. That there may be no mistake as to the artist’s meaning, the wings aforesaid are labelled with the titles of various publications which were loudest in sounding the praises of the King and of the “noble and learned lord,” and to which he himself, with the questionable taste which distinguished him, was reputed (with justice) to be a contributor.

Whether my Lord Chancellor Brougham caught the infection from his client, Queen Caroline, we know not; but his conduct, whether in or out of office, appears to have been of the most 265 undignified character. Ignoring the fact that his party were no longer in power, there is no doubt whatever that he wrote a letter to his successor, Lord Lyndhurst, actually suggesting his own nomination to Lyndhurst’s vacant office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer, thereby (as he pointed out) saving to the public his own pension of ex-Chancellor. What his real motive may have been is of little consequence; it was certainly a most undignified proceeding, made the more undignified, if possible, because the proposal was not accepted. It suggested to the artist one of his pictorial puns, The Vaux and the Grapes, and to the Rev. Richard Harris Barham the following amusing verses, which we have extracted from a contemporary poetical skit:—

“Then in Great Stanhope Street

The confusion was great

In a certain superb habi-tation,

Where seated at tea,

O’er a dish of Bohea,

Brougham was quaffing his ‘usual potation’

(For you know his indignant ne-gation,

When accused once of jollifi-cation),

Down went saucer and cup,

Which Le Marchant picked up,

Not to hear his lord mutter ‘d—n-ation.’

But this greatest of men

Soon caught hold of a pen,

And, after slight delibe-ration,

No longer he tosses

His flexile proboscis

About in so much exci-tation;121

But scribbling with great ani-mation,

He sends off a communi-cation:—

‘Dearest Lyndhurst,’ says he,

‘Can’t you find room for me

When constructing your adminis-tration?


Though the Times says I’m mad,

And each rascally Rad

Abuses my tergiversation;

Though those humbugs, the Whigs,

Swear that my “thimble-rigs”

Were the cause of all their vacill-ation;

The whole story’s a base fabri-cation

To damage my great reputa-tion;

So now to be brief,

Only make me Lord Chief,

And I’ll serve without remuner-ation!’

When he found ’twas ‘no go,’

And that Lyndhurst and Co.

Were deaf to all solici-tation,

As ’twas useless with Lyndy

To kick up a shindy,

He resolved upon peregrin-ation.

Not waiting for much prepa-ration,

He bolted with precipi-tation;

A sad loss, I ween,

To Charles Knight’s magazine,

And to Stinkomalee edu-cation.”

Lord Brougham, indeed, by his despotic, intractable conduct, had thoroughly shut himself out from all chance of office. Sir Robert Peel’s Conservative ministry lasted till April, 1835, when a second Whig government came into power, under the premiership of Lord Melbourne, and from the re-constructed cabinet, Brougham—much to his own surprise, but to the surprise of no one else—was excluded.122

Irish disaffection was, unfortunately, as stale a subject in 1833 Irish Disaffection. as in 1883. For what particular sins of her own England has been cursed with a neighbour so bloodthirsty, so unreasonable, and so troublesome as Ireland, it would be difficult to say. Although we 267 had no Irish Americans—no cowardly “dynamitards”—in those days, Ireland was nevertheless in a state of chronic disaffection, and an “Irish Coercion Bill” was found just as necessary to restrain the excitement of Irish political malcontents in 1833 as in 1883. Irish history, in this respect at least, has a method of repeating itself which is singularly embarrassing, and the student of the history of Irish disaffection cannot fail to be interested in the statement with which Lord Grey introduced his measure fifty years ago. We learn from this statement that a state of things existed little short of actual rebellion. Bodies of men were collected and arrayed by signals, evidently directed by a system of organization in which many were combined, and such system was conducted in a manner which had hitherto set at defiance all the exertions of law and order. The disturbers of the peace prescribed the terms on which land was to be let, and any one who presumed to disobey their orders was subject to have his property destroyed or be put to death. The reign of terror was complete. The organization which supplied the place of the Land League of to-day dictated what persons should employ and be employed; and while they forbad labourers from working for obnoxious masters on the one hand, they prevented a master on the other from employing as labourers any but those who were obedient to their orders. They enforced their decrees by acts of cruelty and outrage; by spoliation, murder, attacks on houses in the dead of night; by dragging the inmates from their beds and so maltreating them that death often ensued, or by inflicting cruelties which were sometimes worse than death. The persons belonging to this organization assembled by signals, made concerted movements, watched the movements of the troops, and by information received so avoided them that the military were rendered practically useless.

The ordinary tribunals were powerless to arrest this iniquitous organization of murder and terror, which the Irish disaffectants and their advisers even in that day appear to have brought to a system of execrable perfection. Witnesses and jurors were terrified into silence. In one case the master of a female servant was 268 commanded to dismiss her because her mother had given evidence against a person brought to trial for a capital crime, and similar cases were of almost daily occurrence. Five armed men went to the house of Patrick Lalor, a man of nearly seventy years of age, and shot him through the body. His crime had been disobedience to a mandate to give up some ground which he held contrary to the will of the Terrorists. The same system prevented a son of Lalor, and an eye-witness of his murder, from giving evidence against his murderers. On the trial of these miscreants at Kilkenny assizes, the jury not being able to agree was dismissed. It had been arranged in the jury-room that nothing should transpire as to the opinions of individual jurymen, and yet, in half an hour, the names of those in favour of an acquittal or of a conviction were printed—the former in black, and the latter, or as they were designated the “jurors who were for blood,” in red ink. The result was that those whose names were printed in red were obliged to leave the country. At the Clonmel assizes the previous October (1832), when a person was to be tried for resisting the payment of tithe, only 76 jurors out of 265 who had been summoned made their appearance. A gentleman had been murdered in sight of his own gate in consequence of some dispute in connection with tithes. The answer of his son-in-law, summoned by the coroner to give evidence against the supposed murderer, was this: “That he would submit to any penalty the crown or the law would impose upon him, but he would not appear at the trial, because he knew that if he stood forward as a witness his life would inevitably be forfeited.” The Irish Government received a notice from Kilkenny “that many gentlemen who had always” most conscientiously discharged their duties, “would not attend at the next assizes. They cared not what penalty was imposed upon them. They refused to attend, because they knew that death” awaited them if they dared to do their duty. “It is the boast of the prisoners,” continued this document, “that they cannot under existing circumstances be found guilty.” Under such a disgraceful state of things, outrage had become of course triumphant. The sickening catalogue 269 of Irish cruelty and crime during the previous year comprised 172 homicides, 465 robberies, 568 burglaries, 455 acts of houghing of cattle, 2,095 illegal notices, 425 illegal meetings, 796 malicious injuries to property, 753 attacks on houses, 280 arsons, 3,156 serious assaults, making an aggregate of crimes of every description during the year, connected with the disturbed state of the country, exceeding 9,000 in number, and the number was evidently still on the increase.

The third reading of the Coercion Bill was carried in the Effect of the Irish Coercion Bill of 1833. Commons on the 29th of March, by 345 to 86, and the Act was to continue in force till the 1st of August, 1834. It led of course to many scenes in the House between English and Irish members, although the Irish members of that day, to do them simple justice, had not graduated in the aggravated system of obstruction they have since developed, and thereby earned for themselves the character of political nuisances. One of these scenes led to the sketch entitled Prisoners of War, which has reference to a serio-comic interlude, in which the principal performers were Lord Althorp and Mr. Shiel, member for Tipperary. On the 5th of February, 1834, Lord Althorp charged (without naming them) certain Irish members who had particularly distinguished themselves by violent opposition to the Bill in the House, with using very different language in reference to it in private conversation. Up then rose one Irish member after another, inquiring if he was the person alluded to. To Mr. O’Connell and Mr. Finn the answer was in the negative, while Mr. Shiel was given directly to understand that he was one of the members intended, his lordship declining at the same time to name his authority, but avowing his belief in the truth of the story, and his willingness to take upon himself the full responsibility. The result of course was a “scene.” Mr. Shiel, after the manner of fire-eating Irishmen of that day, having hinted his intention to demand satisfaction elsewhere, Sir Francis Burdett arose and said that, unless the “honourable members pledged themselves to preserve the peace, he should instantly move that they be committed to the custody of the Serjeant-at-arms.” As neither 270 of the parties would give such assurance, the motion was put from the chair and carried. The Prisoners of War portrayed in the sketch are of course Mr. Shiel and Lord Althorp. After a brief absence from the House, each having given the required assurance was discharged from custody, and there the matter ended. The benefits of the Act were almost immediately made apparent. The association, which called itself, by the way, “The Irish Volunteers” (the Land League of 1833), was promptly suppressed by the Lord Lieutenant; and the list of offences during the month of March which preceded and the month of May which followed the passing of the Act most conclusively proved its efficiency, for, while in the former month the records of crime in eleven counties reached a sum total of 472, they had declined in the latter month to 162.123

Irish agitators of the nineteenth century are all more or less O’Connell. “tarred with the same brush,” but the conditions under which an Irish agitator of 1883-4 must be content to figure in that character are, it must be remembered, widely different from those which influenced the agitators of 1833. The Irish “Home Rulers” have sown the wind and have reaped the whirlwind which carries them along in its progress, and we doubt whether if they wished to stop the hideous Frankenstein they have created, it would allow them to do so. The Home Rulers, however, are not in any way to be pitied. Not content with Land League terrorism, they sought to force their measures upon John Bull himself by an unheard-of system of parliamentary obstruction, which has inevitably recoiled upon themselves. O’Connell was far too sharp-sighted—far too intelligent and clever a man to make so grave a mistake as this. By the sheer force of his genius he exercised for many years of his life a most powerful influence on English politics. He figures in one of John Doyle’s sketches in the character ascribed to him probably by most of his contemporaries. In the sketch referred to, the Governor of Barataria is represented by the typical Irish peasant; O’Connell appears in the character of the Doctor; and Lord John Russell as 271 the attendant and amused servitor. Pat’s eagerness to enjoy the good things he has been led to expect, and his mortification at their being removed out of reach and out of sight are ridiculously rendered.

We must not be misunderstood; although O’Connell had far greater personal influence over the Irish than his successors, he was for all that in political matters eminently unscrupulous.124 At the general election of 1835, the avowed principles on which he stood forth as a candidate were: repeal of the union,—universal suffrage, vote by ballot,—triennial parliaments,—and the abolition of tithes. “I am,” he said, “decidedly for the vote by ballot. Whoever votes by ballot votes as he pleases, and no one need know how he votes.” Yet, in spite of these avowed principles, he controlled the election of Irish candidates after the following fashion:—The Knight of Kerry started as a candidate for his native county, but dared to avow his intention to take an independent course. He had spent all his life in resisting Orangemen, and yet O’Connell said, “Every one who dares to vote for the Orange knight of Kerry shall have a death’s head and cross-bones painted on his door.” The voters at the Irish elections were collected in the chapels by the priests, and led forth to the poll under threats of being refused all the rites and visited with all the punishments of their Church. Under these influences, the Knight of Kerry, supported by nearly all the property, intelligence, and respectability of the county, was defeated. Of a candidate for New Ross who had refused to enlist under his banner, O’Connell said, “Whoever shall support him his shop shall be deserted, no man shall pass his threshold; put up his name as a traitor to Ireland; let no man speak to him; let the children laugh him to scorn.” His example was followed of course by his lieutenants. It says something for Irish independence that these unscrupulous “dodges” were not always successful; and 272 O’Connell himself, and his colleague, Mr. Ruthven, secured their own seats by comparatively small majorities. At the previous election O’Connell had obtained a majority of 1,549, and Mr. Ruthven of 1,490 above the highest Conservative candidate: at the election in 1835, O’Connell’s majority had fallen to 217, and Mr. Ruthven’s to 169. The “Irish agitator” was manifestly no favourite with HB, who depicted him as the comet of 1835. Comets being supposed by the vulgar to portend disaster, it is represented as leaving Ireland in a flame, and passing over St. George’s Channel to exercise a malign influence on peaceful England. The head of course is that of O’Connell, while the tail is studded with the countenances of the Irish members who made up his “following.” In a previous sketch he had figured as the Wolf to Lord John Russell’s “Little Red Riding Hood,” in allusion to a statement made by the opposition journals that the Government had made a league with the restless agitator with the view of securing his support in the House of Commons. We have heard something very like this lately, in relation to what is now known as the “Kilmainham Treaty.”

The rapidity with which John Doyle caught an inspiration from Sir Robert Peel. a few chance words in a speech, may be aptly illustrated by the manner in which he served Sir Robert Peel. On the occasion of his being installed Lord Rector of Glasgow University, in November, 1836, the distinguished statesman made a speech to his patrons, in which he meant to tell them that, admiring Scotland and Scottish scenery, he thought the best mode of seeing both was on horseback instead of travelling in a public or private conveyance. He expressed the idea, however, in the following round-about fashion:—“I wished,” he said, “to see something of Scotland which I could not have seen from the windows of a luxurious carriage; I wished to see other habits and manners of life than those which the magnificent hospitable castles of the nobility presented. Yes,” he continued, “in Glasgow I hired an humble but faithful steed; I travelled partly on horseback and partly on foot through almost every county that lies southern of Inverness; I have read the map 273 of Scotland upon the great scale of nature, from the summits of Ben Nevis and Ben Lomond; I have visited that island whence savage and roaming bands derived the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion. Yes, amid the ruins of Iona I have abjured the rigid philosophy which would conduct us indifferent and unmoved over any ground that has been dignified by wisdom, by bravery, and by virtue. I have stood on the shores of Staffa,—I have seen the temple not built with hands,—I have seen the mighty swell of the ocean,—the waves of the great Atlantic beating in its inmost recesses, and swelling notes of praise nobler than ever pealed from human organs.” Well, other tourists besides the statesman have stood on the summit of Ben Nevis and Ben Lomond,—have visited Staffa and Iona,—and yet, the rigid philosophy which Sir Robert credited himself for abjuring, has unconsciously conducted them comparatively “indifferent and unmoved” over much ground that may have been “dignified by wisdom, by bravery,” and even “by virtue.” The stilted remarks of Sir Robert will serve to remind some of us of the very original sentiments we find recorded in “visitors’ books” of sundry home and continentals hotels much affected by members of the gushing order of travellers. Some such idea seems to have struck the artist; for in his next satire Sir Robert very deservedly figured as Dr. Syntax setting out on his Humble but Faithful Steed in Search of the Picturesque.

As a rule the titles of these sketches, which reach the amazing number of nine hundred and seventeen, afford no clue whatever to their subject matter. Here are the titles of a few, taken at random from the general bulk:—An Affair of Honour; A Group of Sporting Characters at Epsom; A Nice Distinction, or a Hume-iliating Rejoinder to a Warlike Ap-Peel; A Political Ruse; Swearing the Horatii; Retaliation; Goody Two Shoes turned Barber; State Cricket Match; Taking an Airing in Hyde Park;—and so on. A description, however short, of the events to which these “Political Sketches” refer, would occupy probably a couple of volumes; and, following the course which we have hitherto adopted, we have preferred to make selection of a few which seemed to us—either from the persons 274 satirized or the scenes in which they figure—likely to interest the general reader. Thackeray said of them at the time they were appearing, “You never hear any laughing at HB, his pictures are a great deal too genteel for that,—polite points of wit which strike one as exceedingly clever and pretty, and cause one to smile in a quiet, gentlemanlike kind of way.” Forty-two years have elapsed since this was written;—the sketches fail now almost to provoke the “gentlemanlike kind” of smile mentioned by the humourist, for the events and the persons which caused it and to which they relate have alike passed away out of sight and out of memory.

The number which they attained is due no doubt in a large Faults of the “Sketches.” measure to the facility with which they were produced. They were all drawn on stone, and exhibit the faults so often to be found in the productions of artists who confine themselves to this material, which, owing to the comparative facility of the process, has a tendency to induce a slovenliness in execution unusual with artists accustomed to the careful discipline under which a successful etching on steel or copper can alone be produced. A writer in Blackwood125 says with much truth that HB “would have been a greater artist had he worked on the same material and with the same tools as Gillray and Cruikshank, but we should probably not have possessed so complete a gallery of portraits, comprising all the men of note who took part in political affairs from before the passing of the Catholic Relief Bill until after the repeal of the Corn Laws, a period more eventful than any of a similar length since the Revolution of 1688.” John Doyle, too, had no great powers of sarcasm, and he was timid in design, contenting himself with as few figures as were possible for the purposes of his drawings. Robert William Buss, himself a comic artist of ability, in his brief notice of him charges him with a certain feebleness in the attitude of the persons who figure in his sketches, and gives us to understand that to balance a figure properly requires a knowledge and practice in 275 drawing to which HB was a stranger; and further, that by reason of the absence of such knowledge and practice, he falls far behind Hogarth, Gillray, Bunbury, Rowlandson, or the Cruikshanks. With these artists indeed, as we have endeavoured to show, John Doyle has nothing in common, and he evidently designed that no comparison should ever be instituted between any one of them and himself. His chief merits are to be found in the facility with which he grasped an idea; the harmlessness and playfulness of his satire, which wrought a complete revolution in the style and manner of caricaturists; and above all in the excellence of his likenesses. The best and most graceful of the series was produced just after the wedding of her Majesty, and is a transcript (as it were) of Stothard’s beautiful design of The Procession of the Flitch of Bacon, the leading personages being the young Queen and the late Prince Consort, whose portraits are admirably executed. Towards the close of the series they show signs of failing power, not unnatural in an artist who during a course of twenty years had produced upwards of a thousand drawings. I have seen it somewhere stated that this deterioration dates from the period when the identity of HB was discovered; but inasmuch as this secret had been practically revealed long before the decadence commences, there is no just ground for any such assumption.

The reputation of the “Political Sketches” was, however, ephemeral, and considering their popularity and the eagerness with which they were bought up at the time, it is surprising how completely they have passed into oblivion. The name of HB, or of John Doyle, is now not only “caviare to the general,” but it is amazing how little until lately he was known even to men not altogether ignorant on the subject of satirical art. A gentleman to whom I am indebted for some valuable information, tells me that some three or four years since “a large number of original sketches (not the engravings) were catalogued and announced for sale at Christies’. I went,” he says, “possibly to buy several, but (and it is curious as showing the decadent interest in the pictures) no sale took place, because I was told there was no one to buy. I think,” my informant adds, “that 276 I was the only person, or nearly the only person, in the room.” Distinguished people, however, had been to look at the drawings, and among them the late Lord Beaconsfield.

The success of the artist produced, of course, a number of imitators. Their productions were of various degrees of merit; but like most imitations they generally accentuated the faults without reproducing the excellencies of the model. Some of them are entitled “Political Hits,” “Royal Ramblings,” “The Belgian Trip,” “Parisian Trip,” and so on; some are signed “Philo H. B.,” “H. H.,” “B. H.,” while others have neither initials or signature. They comprise some eighty or a hundred plates at least, many of which were probably suppressed, whilst others no doubt served the useful purposes of the greengrocer, the bookbinder, or the trunk-maker; and if, as we are told—

“Imperial Cæsar, dead and turned to clay,

Might stop a hole to keep the wind away;”

there can be nothing after all very dishonourable or very surprising in their ultimate destination.

The artist died in 1868.

113 Annual Register, 1836, p. 237.

114 1836, p. 244. Mr. Baldwin (one of the proprietors of the Standard newspaper) stated that “if the bill passed in its present shape, it would deteriorate his property fifty per cent., and would operate in the same way with all property of that description.”—Ibid., p. 247.

115 Greville’s “Memoirs,” pp. 3, 71.

116 In which Lord Brougham took a special interest.

117 Greville’s “Memoirs,” ii., p. 148.

118 For the silly and spiteful observations made in this speech, see “Annual Register,” 1825, p. 43.

119 Greville’s “Memoirs,” iii. p. 85.

120 Inverness Courier, Sept. 3rd (quoted in “Annual Register,” 1854, p. 129).

121 From a nervous habit he had contracted of twitching his nose Lord Brougham was known to his contemporaries by the nickname of “Jemmy Twitcher.”

122 On this occasion the Great Seal was reserved and for the time put in commission, the commissioners being Sir Charles Pepys (Master of the Rolls), Vice Chancellor Shadwell, and Mr. Justice Bosanquet. Eventually it was presented to Sir Charles Pepys (Lord Cottenham), and the slight produced such a stunning effect on Brougham that he retired from active public life for a time, and sought solace in the pursuit and study of literature and philosophy.

123 For this interesting table, see “Annual Register,” 1833, p. 83.

124 “One whose name is unconnected with any honourable action, whose whole life has been one scene of skulking from dangers into which he had drawn others, and who is occupied from one end of the year to the other in devising plans of drawing enormous fortunes from squalid beggary.”—Dr. Maginn.

125 Vol. xciv., August, 1863.




John Leech, “born in Bennett Street, Stamford Street, 29th August, 1817, and baptized (son of John Leech, vintner) 15th November, at Christ Church, Blackfriars Road.” Such is the entry I find in the manuscript diary of his friend the late Shirley Brooks, now before me, written a few days after the death of the gifted and lamented artist. The “John Leech, vintner,” his father, here referred to, was at one time proprietor of the London Coffee House on Ludgate Hill. A late commentator says he “was an Irishman, a man of fine culture, a profound Shakespearian scholar, and [presumably by way of apology—as if any such were needed] a thorough gentleman.” Be this as it may, he was not successful as a landlord, and as a matter of fact depended in a great measure for his support upon the talents of his remarkably gifted son.

Leech was only seven years old when his father sent him to the Early Days. Charterhouse. His arm had been broken by a fall from a pony, and the effects of this accident debarred him from taking an active part in the athletic sports of cricket, hockey, or football; but his nature inclined him nevertheless to manly exercises, and despite his excellence with the pencil, which was manifested at a remarkably early age, he is said to have preferred the lessons of Angelo the fencing, to those of Burgess the drawing, master. He was not distinguished at school as a classical scholar, and Latin verses in particular proved so serious a stumbling-block that he always got a schoolfellow to do them for him. His famous friend and fellow-pupil, Thackeray, carried an indelible personal reminiscence of the 278 Charterhouse about him in the shape of a broken nose, a mark of distinction which was earned in a pugilistic encounter with another schoolfellow.

A reminiscence of John Leech’s schoolboy days will be found in one of his illustrations to “Once a Week,”126 which represents a schoolboy perched in the topmost branches of a tree overlooking the walls of the Carthusian playground. As the mail coaches bound to the north passed the Charterhouse walls in the old coaching days, the boys not seeing any just reason why they should be debarred from the exhilarating spectacle, notched the trees and drove in spikes at ticklish points, which enabled them to mount to the upper branches, whence they could watch the coaches at their leisure. The illustration referred to is labelled, A Coach Tree, but without this explanation the reader would scarcely suspect (the letterpress being of course silent on the subject) that the schoolboy represented in the illustration is the artist himself. Leech always retained a pleasant recollection of his old Carthusian school-days, and frequently attended the festivities of the Charterhouse.

His early aptitude for the pencil was developed when he was only three years of age. One of his early efforts attracted the attention of Flaxman the sculptor, who advised that he should “not be cramped with lessons in drawing; let his genius,” he said, “follow its own bent, and he will astonish the world.” This advice was so far followed, that we believe we are justified in saying that beyond the ordinary perfunctory drawing lessons obtained at school, he received no other artistic education during the rest of his life. His father, the “profound Shakesperian scholar” and “perfect gentleman,” so little encouraged the bent of the boy’s genius, that if he had had his way he would have driven this square peg into a very round hole. At sixteen years of age he took his son from the Charterhouse, and shortly afterwards apprenticed him to an eccentric person at Hoxton, nominally carrying on the profession of a surgeon, and rejoicing in the name of Whittle.

John Leech.

[“Illuminated Magazine.


[Face p. 278.


This Whittle proved a perfect study to the young artist, and it is possible that his connection with this eccentric personage had some influence in deciding him not to follow a profession for which he had but little sympathy. Whittle was a man of large frame and muscular development, so far at least as the upper part of his body was concerned, but the development extended no farther, his legs being formed on much more slender proportions. His tastes were decidedly athletic; he had rings let into the wall for the purpose of practising gymnastics, and delighted in posing before his amused pupils in the character of “The Dying Gladiator,” “Hercules,” and other antique statues. The few patients he possessed had small chance of professional attendance when Mr. Whittle was in training for a walking or running match, or any other amateur athletic engagement. “When,” says Shirley Brooks, “lady patients, taking a walk, are suddenly surrounded by a hurrying and shouting crowd, in the middle of which, as they escape, they behold their medical adviser, in quaint attire, rushing to pick up stones with his mouth, an early termination of the relations between the healer and his patients is not impossible.”127 A person of this kind was obviously out of his element in a learned profession, and this Whittle eventually recognised, and descended to his level by marrying one of his patients, a widow who kept a neighbouring public. He found himself more “at home” behind the bar in his shirt sleeves, and with ready facility adapted himself to circumstances by drawing beer for his former pupils and patients. Various stories have been told of this eccentric personage, who is said (with what truth we know not) to have commenced life as a Quaker, and ended it eventually as a missionary.

Whittle the eccentric was afterwards immortalized by Leech as “Rawkins.” “Rawkins” in Albert Smith’s “Adventures of Mr. Ledbury,” which made their appearance in “Bentley’s Miscellany.” We cannot advise those who would enjoy a hearty laugh to do better than refer to Leech’s comical etchings of The Return of Hercules from a Fancy 280 Ball (on a wet night, without his latchkey), and the Last Appearance of Mr. Rawkins in Public, in which the rencontre of Mr. Whittle and some of his female patients already referred to is superbly realized.

When Mr. Whittle and his practice had finally parted company in the manner we have described, John Leech’s indentures were transferred to Dr. John Cockle, afterwards physician to the Royal Free hospital. During part of his spasmodic medical course, he went through the mystic performance at one time known as “walking the hospitals,” and at St. Bartholomew’s varied his attendance at the anatomical lectures of Mr. Stanley—where he met other square pegs intended for round holes, Albert Smith and Percival Leigh—with sketches of his fellow-pupils and their medical lecturers. Many of these, the earliest of his sketches, were in the possession of his friend, the late Mark Lemon. Before his time was out, Leech luckily resolved to throw his medical studies to the winds, and to live wholly by the practice of his art.

His first work, published when he was eighteen years of age, was entitled “Etchings and Sketchings by A. Pen, Esq.,” and consisted of four quarto sheets, containing slightly caricature sketches of oddities of London life, such as cabmen, policemen, street musicians, and the like. He next tried his hand at lithography, and produced some political satires not without ability; but these at best were merely the tentative efforts of an artist who had not yet discovered the bent of his genius, in consequence of being compelled to accommodate himself to the standard of his early patrons—the printsellers. Having drawn his design, Leech has been known in those early times to spend a weary day in search of a buyer, by carrying the heavy stone about with him from publisher to publisher. The style of these tentative efforts may be judged by the work which first brought him into notice, a poor caricature of Mulready’s envelope in commemoration of the establishment of Sir Rowland Hill’s cheap postage system, a reproduction of which will be found in a late “Biographical Sketch” by Mr. Kitton.128 281 Although the pecuniary reward of this early effort was small, people began to ask by whom it was executed; thus it was that his subsequently well-known mark, the leech-bottle, first came into public notice.

Specimens of these tentative efforts are of course scarce, but occasionally the reader may fall in with odd numbers of the “Comicalities,” issued some half century ago by the proprietors of “Bell’s Life,” in which may be found specimens of his early work among impressions from the designs on wood of Kenny Meadows, “Phiz,” and even Robert Seymour.129 Among these early efforts may also be named “The Boys’ Own Series”; “Studies from Nature”; “Amateur Originals”; the “Ups and Downs of Life, or the Vicissitudes of a Swell”; and other etcetera.

When poor Seymour shot himself in 1836, the artist who was at first selected to fill his place as illustrator of “Pickwick” was Robert William Buss, who, failing however to supply the requirements of Charles Dickens, was (as we shall afterwards see) quickly discarded. Others, however, had applied to supply the place of the deceased artist, and among them were Hablot Knight Browne (“Phiz”), W. M. Thackeray, and John Leech; although the latter failed to secure the appointment, he appears to us of all others the one best fitted to pictorially interpret the author’s creations. Thackeray was so little conscious of the bent of his own genius that he seems at this time to have had some thoughts of following the profession of an artist, but happily failed so completely that he was induced to follow up his alternative art of authorship, by which he achieved his fame and reputation. Notwithstanding his failure, his implicit faith in his own artistic powers remained unshaken to the end, in which belief he has been followed by one or two writers who might have known better.

It is not until 1840 that we find Leech had matured the style and manner which afterwards made him famous; and accordingly, 282 in this year we find designs which are thoroughly worthy of his reputation. Among these may be named “The Children of the Mobility,” seven lithographs (reproduced in 1875) dealing with the humorous and pathetic episodes of the London street arabs; “The Comic Latin Grammar”; “The Comic English Grammar”; and a now exceedingly rare jeu d’esprit, bearing the full title of “The Fiddle-Faddle Fashion Book and Beau Monde a la Française, enriched with numerous highly coloured figures of lady-like gentlemen,”130 a most amusing skit upon the absurd fashion books of the period, containing four coloured plates of gentlemen (more than fifty figures) in male and female costume, posed in the ridiculous and well-known simpering style of those periodicals. All these works were produced in conjunction with Percival Leigh, one of the artist’s fellow-students at St. Bartholomew’s, and led directly to his engagement on the pages of Punch, which was started the following year.

Among the rarer works published in 1840, to which John Leech contributed the benefit of his assistance, may be mentioned a publication, entitled “The London Magazine, Charivari, and Courier des Dames” (Simpkin, Marshall & Co.), in which we find some portraits and other work altogether out of the range of his usual style of illustration. The tone of this publication was personal in the extreme. Charles Dickens had produced (among other publications) his “Pickwick Papers,” “Oliver Twist,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” and at this time was engaged on the most touching and pathetic of his stories, “The Old Curiosity Shop,” which was, however, so little appreciated by the editor of this scurrilous publication, that we find him perpetrating the following sorry libel on the writer and three of his contemporaries: “To cheesemongers and others! Ready for delivery, at a halfpenny per pound, forty tons of foundered literature; viz., Mrs. Trollope’s ‘Unsatis-factory Boy,’131 ‘Master Humphrey’s Clock’ (refer to the second meaning in ‘Johnson’s 283 Dictionary’: ‘an unsightly crawling thing’!), Captain Marryat’s ’Alas, Poor Jack’! and Turpis Ainsworth’s ‘Guy Fox’:—

‘An animal cunning, unsavoury, small,

That will dirty your hands if you touch it at all.’”

So little merit had this critical periodical itself, that some rare etchings by Hablot Knight Browne and Leech to a novel entitled “The Diurnal Revolutions of David Diddledoff,” which appeared in its pages, failed to keep the dreary serial alive, and a quarrel ensuing between the proprietors and himself, Browne was dismissed and Leech supplied his place. Leech’s caricature of Mulready’s postage envelope, already mentioned, appears to have led to others, and among them one by “Phiz,” a circumstance which is referred to in the following attack: “Phiz has found a lower deep in the lowest depths of meanness. When Leech’s admirable caricature of Mulready’s postage envelope was pirated by every tenth-rate sketcher, Phiz steps in to complete the work of injustice, and advertises his caricature of the same subject at sixpence, thus both borrowing the design and underselling the artist upon whose brains he is preying as the fly upon the elk’s. Well might Leech exclaim, ‘Et tu, Brute!’ (and you, you brute!) Leech is a genuine artist, while Phiz is only a bad engraver.” By way of answer to this vulgar abuse, Phiz almost immediately afterwards produced his admirable illustration of Quilp and the Dog, in No. 18 of “Master Humphrey’s Clock.”

In the pages of this defunct periodical we find a long and virulent article on Benjamin D’Israeli, the late Lord Beaconsfield, from which we have disinterred the following remarkable prophecy. After referring to his celebrated parliamentary fiasco, and his own prophetic words on that memorable occasion: “You won’t hear me now; but the time will come when you shall hear me!” the writer goes on to say: “That time has never since arrived. In vain did Benjamin parody Sheridan’s celebrated saying (’It’s in me, and by G—— it shall be out of me!’). He renewed his efforts repeatedly.... But though, in consequence of his (sic) moderating his tone into a semblance of humility, he is sometimes just listened to, he has never 284 made the slightest impression in the house, and we may fairly predict he never will.” The article is illustrated by a remarkable semi-caricature likeness of the late Lord Beaconsfield, then in his thirty-second year, which, although unsigned and altogether different from his well-known style, we can assign to no other hand than that of John Leech. We found our opinion on the fact that the previous portrait is by him; that none but his etchings appear in the latter portion of the book; and because the bird represented following the footsteps and mimicking the walk of the young statesman, is own brother to the celebrated Jackdaw of Rheims immortalized by Thomas Ingoldsby. So remarkable is the likeness, that the shadow of D’Israeli’s follower and that of Saint “Jem Crow” of the Legends are identical.

In 1840 some of John Leech’s sketches were brought to the notice Artistic Position secured. of the Rev Thomas Harris Barham, which led to his engagement on the pages of “Bentley’s Miscellany,” from which moment his artistic position was secured. His first illustration was The Black Mousquetaire. Barham in describing the scene, regretted, oddly enough, that he had neither the pencil of Fuseli or Sir Joshua Reynolds at command, or had himself taken lessons in drawing:—

“Had I done so, instead

Of the lines you have read,

I’d have given you a sketch should have filled you with dread!

François Xavier Auguste squatting up in his bed,

His hands widely spread,

His complexion like lead,

Ev’ry hair that he had standing up on his head,

As when, Agnes des Moulins first catching his view,

Now right and now left, rapid glances he threw,

Then shriek’d with a wild and unearthly halloo,

Mon Dieu! v’là deux!!

By the Pope there are two!!!”

Leech continued on the pictorial staff of “Bentley’s Miscellany” ten years; his etchings therein commence with vol. viii. (1840) and (practically) end with vol. xxv. (1849).132 Altogether he contributed to this sterling periodical some one hundred and forty etchings, 285 illustrating (amongst numerous scattered papers) “The Ingoldsby Legends” (with Cruikshank); Henry Cockton’s “Stanley Thorn”; Charles Whitehead’s “Richard Savage”; Albert Smith’s “Adventures of Mr. Ledbury,” “Fortunes of the Scattergood Family,” and “The Marchioness of Brinvilliers”; W. H. Maxwell’s “Brian O’Linn,” etc., etc.

From the time that he joined the Punch staff, in 1841, the life of John Leech was one of well-earned prosperity and happiness. His income at first gradually and then rapidly increased, and he moved from the attic which he occupied in the vicinity of Tottenham Court Road, into a house of his own at Notting Hill. Shortly after this he married. Miss Ann Eaton was one of those English beauties that Leech delighted to draw; and it is related of him that he first met her walking in London, and, following her home, noted the house in which she lived, ascertained her name, procured an introduction, and straightway married her. The issue of this marriage was two children—a boy and a girl. The former—John George Warrington Leech, the miniature counterpart of his father in appearance and dress, and inheriting in a marvellous degree his talent for drawing—was unfortunately drowned at South Adelaide in 1876.

Leech’s hand appears for the first time in the fourth number of Punch (7th August, 1841),133 to which he contributed the well-known full-page illustration of Foreign Affairs. His first cartoon, A Morning Call, will be found at page 119 of vol. ii., and the reader will find it worth his while to refer to it for the purpose of comparing it with the later and better work with which he afterwards enriched the pages of this famous serial, which mainly through his instrumentality was steered into the current of prosperity which carried it—after a time of considerable doubt and perplexity—134 steadily onwards. One of Punch’s most celebrated contributors has borne testimony to the value of his services. “Mr. Punch,” says Thackeray in reviewing his friend’s contributions in 1854, “has very good 286 reason to smile at the work and be satisfied with the artist. Mr. Leech, his chief contributor, and some kindred humourists with pencil and pen, have served Mr. Punch admirably.... There is no blinking the fact that in Mr. Punch’s cabinet John Leech is the right-hand man.”135 That this was true is proved by the fact that during his connection with Punch, extending over a period of three and twenty years, he executed no less than three thousand pictures, of which at least six hundred are cartoons.136 No wonder that when he lay dead, Shirley Brooks—another valued contributor, and afterwards editor of Punch—mournfully acknowledged that the good ship had lost its “mainsail.”137

Most admirable examples of his designs on wood will be found The “Illuminated Magazine.” in the first three volumes of “The Illuminated Magazine,” a delightful serial which appeared in 1843-4, which also contains a series of etchings on copper of unusual size and brilliancy. Associated with him on the pages of this periodical, which is now seldom met with, were his friends Thomas Hood and Mark Lemon, Douglas Jerrold and Laman Blanchard, Albert Smith and Angus Bethune Reach, Samuel Lover and Kenny Meadows. The world was young with authors and artists alike in those days; the youngest of the band were William Hepworth Dixon, then aged twenty-two; John Leech, twenty-six; and Wilkie Collins, literally not “out of his teens,” one of whose earliest literary productions we find here under the title of “The Last Stage Coachman,” illustrated by Hine. In these volumes appeared Douglas Jerrold’s delightful allegory of the “Chronicles of Clovernook,” to which the veteran Kenny Meadows contributed some of the most quaint and original of his sketches.

John Leech.

[“Illuminated Magazine.


[Face p. 286.

John Leech’s portrait appears in three of the Punch sketches—two only of which are due to his own hand; the first in January, 287 1846, in one wherein a servant maid is depicted as saying, “If you please, sir, here’s the printer’s boy called again;” again, in January, 1847, where we find him playing the clarionet as one of the orchestra at Mr. Punch’s Fancy Ball. Other performers are—Mayhew, cornet; Percival Leigh, double bass; Gilbert à Beckett, violin; Richard Doyle, clarionet; Thackeray, piccolo; Tom Taylor, piano; while Mark Lemon, the conductor, appeals to Jerrold to somewhat moderate his assaults on the drum. Another hand portrays him seven years later, as armed with a porte crayon he rides his hobbyhorse at an easel which does duty for a hurdle, Jerrold is playing skittles, Thackeray holds the bat at a game of cricket, and Mark Lemon is engaged at rackets.

Amongst the early literary contributors to Punch were Mark Douglas Jerrold. Lemon, Horace Mayhew, Gilbert à Beckett, Stirling Coyne, W. H. Wills, H. P. Grattan, Douglas Jerrold, Percival Leigh, and Dr. Maginn. Albert Smith joined the staff through the introduction of his friend Leech; Thackeray was a later acquisition, in 1844. It was scarcely to be expected that the brilliant and the lesser wits who shed their lustre on the early volumes of Punch, and were brought together at the weekly council dinners, would invariably agree;—Jerrold and Thackeray, for instance, entertained a sort of constitutional antipathy to one another, and the latter, it must not be forgotten, was (in the words of Anthony Trollope) “still struggling to make good his footing in literature” at the time he joined the ranks of the Punch parliament. Jerrold could not veil his contempt for Albert Smith, angrily asking Leech at one of the Punch gatherings, with reference to the former’s free and easy method of addressing his friend, “Leech, how long is it necessary for a man to know you before he can call you ’Jack’?” When À Beckett announced his “Comic History of England,” in 1846, the strong mind of Jerrold recoiled in horror from what he deemed a sacrilege. Writing to Charles Dickens in reference to the announcement, he said, “After all, life has something serious in it. It cannot be all a Comic History of Humanity. Some men would, I believe, write the Comic Sermon 288 on the Mount. Think of a Comic History of England! The drollery of Alfred! the fun of Sir Thomas More in the Tower! the farce of his daughter begging the dead head, and clasping it in her coffin, on her bosom! Surely the world will be sick of this blasphemy!” “The Comic History of England” appeared, notwithstanding, and was followed afterwards by the “Comic History of Rome;” and however we may sympathize with the honest indignation of Jerrold, and condemn the questionable taste of À Beckett, we have at least to thank the latter for some of the drollest and most original designs which ever emanated from the pencil of John Leech.

The eccentric and original costumes in which he draped the classical characters of Rome appear to have been a favourite idea with the artist. Shirley Brooks relates that he first made his acquaintance at a fancy ball given at the house of their mutual friend, the late John Parry. “Leech’s costume,” says the late editor of Punch, “I well remember. It was something like Charles Mathews, as chorus to Medea. The black trousers and patent leather boots of decorous life were below; but above was the classic tunic. Then in addition he wore a fine new hat, round which, instead of around his head, was the laurel wreath; and the Greek ideal was brought into further discomfiture by a pair of spectacles and an exceedingly neat umbrella.” This comical idea will be found ridiculously amplified in his amazing designs to “The Comic History of Rome.”

Medical student, novelist, dramatist, humourist, and showman—for Albert Smith. some of us still remember his diorama of “The Overland Route”—the most fortunate venture of Albert Richard Smith (to give him his full name) was his ascent of Mont Blanc, which formed the theme of a well-remembered lecture, in which his perils amid rocky pinnacle, snow-field, and glacier lost nothing by the graphic mode in which they were related. This “ascent,” by the way, proved a source of profit to others besides himself; and we should be curious to know the number of Chamounix guides and hotel-keepers who were enabled through his indirect means to 289 retire into private life. The memory of Albert Smith is deservedly cherished by the inhabitants of the distant Savoyard valley, for he made the ascent of the “Monarch of Mountains” popular among his countrymen, and thereby sowed the seed of a succession of golden harvests, of which the primitive but thoroughly wide-awake peasantry were by no means slow to profit. Dissimilar in many respects, Albert Smith and John Leech had this bond of sympathy between them, that both were old friends, and both had nominally studied for the medical profession; and whilst Leech attained at St. Bartholomew’s that practical knowledge of anatomical drawing which did him such good service in his artistic career, Albert Smith at Middlesex Hospital and the Hotel Dieu appears to have picked up that intimate acquaintance with London and Parisian student life which he displays in the “Adventures of Mr. Ledbury.”

The “New Monthly” for 1844 contains two etchings by Leech to “The Lord of Thoulouse” and “The Wedding Day,” which seem to call for notice, because they are not to be found in the collected edition of the “Ingoldsby Legends.” In the collected edition he shows us little Jack Ingoldsby before he entered the fatal cellar, while in the “New Monthly” we see him lying dead at the feet of the weird buccaneer, who points with grim irony at the little corpse by way of caveat to those who would broach his wine. From the “New Monthly” etching George Cruikshank borrowed the idea for his illustration of the same subject in the 1864 edition. There is a difference, of course, but the fact will become ridiculously patent to any one who has an opportunity of comparing the two designs. This, by the way, is not the only instance in the ’64 edition in which Cruikshank borrowed his idea from John Leech,138 which at one time he would have scorned to do, a fact which affords the strongest possible evidence of the decadence of George’s once unrivalled powers of invention, imagination, and fancy.


Leech it will be remembered obtained a footing on the staff of “Bentley’s Miscellany” at the time when George Cruikshank was leaving it. Cruikshank, however, was an admirer of the genius of Leech, and when they laid him in his untimely grave in Kensal Green Cemetery, on the 4th November, 1864, the veteran artist was among the crowd of distinguished men who looked sorrowfully on. The influence which George Cruikshank exercised upon the genius of Leech will be apparent to any one who has given attention to the early etchings of the latter. This influence will be particularly discernible in the illustrations to “Richard Savage” and “The Marchioness of Brinvilliers.” Both were men of genius, but Leech’s fancy was of a tamer kind, and little inclined him in the direction of the supernatural or the terrible. Leech, for instance, never produced anything which equalled Fagin in the Condemned Cell; The Murder of Sir Rowland Trenchard; Xit Wedded to the Scavenger’s Daughter; Jack o’ Lantern; or the reverie of the Triumph of Cupid. We shall find but few diabolicals in his gallery of pictorial subjects, notwithstanding which there is not a fiend in the whole of Cruikshank’s demon ranks who equals Leech’s devil in Thomas Ingoldsby’s legend of “The House-warming.”

It may seem invidious to institute a comparison between the two men. Some, indeed, may hold that a comparison is impossible; but we will quickly show that such a comparison is not only possible but unavoidable. George Cruikshank, for instance, might or might not have illustrated the “Comic Histories” of England and of Rome better than John Leech; we may fancy, however, his hand on the Surtees’ novels, the odd men, the strange coats, the eccentric women, the podgy “cockhorses,” the wonderful dogs that would have put in an appearance in the various sporting scenes and incidents which form the subject of these “horsey” romances; we should like, for instance, to see what he would have made of the pretty serving woman who figures in the frontispiece of “Ask Mamma;” how he would have treated the fair “de Glancey”; how he would have grouped and dressed his figures at The Handley Cross Ball; how he would have treated poor old Jorrocks when he fell into the 291 shower bath. But, admirable as are Leech’s book illustrations and etchings, it is in the minor designs which he executed for Punch during the short quarter of a century allotted to him that we must seek for Leech’s genius: it is these little drawings which place him in the front rank of nineteenth century graphic satirists. They are characterized by genuine humour and satire, unalloyed with a single trace of ill-humour, exaggeration, or vulgarity. It was in this direction that the artistic instincts of poor Robert Seymour inclined him; but his imagination and invincible tendency to exaggerate, inherited from the caricaturists who preceded him, failed to bear him beyond the limited sphere of cockney sports and cockney sportsmen in which his soul delighted. Here, we have the swells and vulgarians, the flunkies and servants, the old men and maidens, the soldiers, the parsons, the pretty women of English everyday life, placed in situations more or less embarrassing, but presenting nevertheless perfect types of the respective classes thus harmlessly and admirably satirized. In this lies their chief value, and as years roll on and the Punch volumes become scarce, this value will necessarily increase.

A shy and unobtrusive member of the society in which he moved, Abhorrence for Frenchmen. and which delighted in the enjoyment of his friendship, John Leech was the keenest of observers, noting and satirizing as no one before his time had attempted, or indeed had been able to do, the cant and hypocrisy, the pride and selfishness, the upstart and arrogant exclusiveness, the insular prejudices and weaknesses, which form a part of our national character; but doing this, he loved his countrymen and countrywomen for their finer qualities, and hated the bungling foreigners who presume to caricature them without the barest knowledge of their subject. This is the secret of the hearty abhorrence which Leech always testified for Frenchmen. The ignorance of his countrymen on the subject of English women has been amusingly ridiculed by one of the most distinguished of their own writers—Eugene Sue, in his novel of “Mathilde”:—“That an Englishwoman! Nonsense; there is nothing more easy to recognise than an Englishwoman; you have only to look at her dress; it is simple enough, in all conscience! A straw bonnet all the year through; a 292 pink spencer; a Scotch plaid petticoat, and bright green or lemon-coloured boots; you may see the costume any day in Les Anglaises pour rire, at the Variétés. We all know it is a Vaudeville, and it would not be publicly acted unless it were authentic. I repeat it once more, ever since this world has been a world, Englishwomen—real genuine Englishwomen—have never been differently dressed.” M. Taine, who devoted himself to the study of our language and literature, and spent much time amongst us, has (if I remember rightly) admitted the errors which prevail amongst his countrymen and women with reference to ourselves; but such observers as M. Taine and M. Sue are unfortunately rare in France, and many have essayed to depict us, with as much knowledge of their subject as our Sir John Maundeville possessed when he sat down to write his absurd but quaint and amusing “Book of Voiage and Travaile.” John Leech resented this deplorable ignorance on the part of our neighbours; and the Punch volumes are filled with biting sarcasms on French habits, manners, and sentiments, which were keenly felt, because, unlike the English who figure at the Variétés or in French caricatures, in the dirty men who regard with astonishment the English washstand at the exhibition, the cabs full of hirsute monstrosities, the “Flowers of the French army,” the grimy Revolutionists of Leicester Square—the hundred and one Frenchmen who figure in the satires of John Leech, the Parisian recognises compatriots whose ridiculous lineaments have been too faithfully reproduced to render identification a matter of doubt or difficulty.

Leech executed very few illustrations for Dickens; and the amusing blunder which he perpetrated in “The Battle of Life,” in allowing the lady to elope with the wrong man, and the “horror and agony” of the author in consequence thereof, have been set forth in Forster’s “Life.” The mistake was discovered too late for correction, and remains a curious proof of the carelessness with which distinguished artists will sometimes read the manuscript of an author however illustrious.

John Leech.

[“Illuminated Magazine.


[Face p. 292.

The Surtees’ novels afford singular evidence of the keenness of John Leech’s critical observation. An ardent lover of sport himself, 293 and a frequent attendant at the “Pytchley,” when he went a day’s hunting it was his custom to single out some fellow disciple of Nimrod that happened to take his fancy, keeping behind him all day, noting his attitudes in the saddle, and marking every item of his turn-out, to the last button and button-hole of his hunting coat. It was in this way that he obtained the correctness of detail which renders his famous sporting etchings so wonderfully true to nature. Strange to say, notwithstanding his knowledge of every detail of the huntsman’s dress, even to the number of buttons on his coat, he himself, with reference to his own outfit, invariably presented in the hunting field a somewhat incongruous appearance. Either he would wear the wrong kind of boots, or would dispense with some detail which on the part of an enthusiast would be considered an unpardonable omission. Leech, however, was not what is called a “rough rider,” his constitutional nervousness prevented him indeed from making a prominent figure in the hunting field, and his friends attributed this want of attention to detail in dress to his sensitiveness to criticism, and his unwillingness to place himself in any position which would be likely to incur it.

126 Vol. iii., 1860.

127 Shirley Brooks in the Illustrated London News, 19th Nov., 1864.

128 George Redway, 12, York Street, Covent Garden.

129 They include also some (pirated) impressions from the designs of George Cruikshank, which set that irritable genius, as might have been expected, in a fume.

130 Chapman & Hall, 186, Strand, 1st November, 1840.

131 “Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy.”

132 He subsequently returned to it for a short time only.

133 The serial commenced 17th July, 1841.

134 That this was the case, see Mr. Joseph Hatter’s “With a Show in the North;” see also a remarkable letter of Mr. William Tegg in the Athenæum of 16th October, 1875.

135 Thackeray in the Quarterly.

136 I calculate that the minor drawings number about 2,500; if to these we add 638 cartoons, we get a sum total of over 3,100 illustrations for Punch alone. If we say nearly 1,000 for Mr. Surtees’ sporting novels, without taking into account Leech’s other work, we may form some notion of his untiring industry.

137 MS. Diary of Shirley Brooks (October 31st, 1864).

138 Compare, for instance, Leech’s Black Mousquetaire in the original edition with Cruikshank’s reproduction of the same subject in the ‘64 edition.




We have seen that at the time John Leech commenced work as a comic artist, the art of caricature was practically dead; it was not therefore at all surprising, under the circumstances, that he should reverse, as it were, the order of things: commence as an illustrator of books, and finish his career as a graphic humourist. Although his first contribution to Punch commences in the fourth number, his cartoons so called (from which, in accordance with the plan of this work we now proceed to select a few examples) seem to us to call for little mention before the year 1843.

His Royal Highness Prince Albert, who held high rank in the Prince Albert. British army by virtue of his exalted position, was most unjustly suspected in those early Punch days of a desire to interfere unduly with its administration. He took, however, much interest in the dress and comfort of the British soldier; and those who remember what military costume was in 1843, will admit that there was room for improvement. Changes were made indeed, but these changes can hardly be said to have been made in the direction of either comfort, convenience, or good taste. The “Albert hat” (as it was called), one of the ugliest, most ungainly, and preposterous of military shakoes that was ever invented, made its appearance about this time, and the idea was credited (rightly or wrongly) to the amiable prince. Constant reference to this preposterous invention is made in the pages of Punch, and the prince’s questionable taste in the matter of military costume is specially satirized in Leech’s amusing cartoon entitled Prince Albert’s Studio.


Mr. O’Connell, at a great Repeal meeting held in September, 1843, had expressed a hope that he should be able to give his dupes “as a new year’s gift a parliament on College Green.” No one knew better than himself the absurdity of such a promise. Had he named the first of April for the presentation instead of the first of January, it would have been more appropriate, and at least equally veracious. A great Repeal meeting was intended to be held in October at Clontarf, three miles from Dublin, at which certain supporters of the movement were to have attended on horseback and paraded in the character of the “Repeal Cavalry.” This meeting the Irish executive prohibited by proclamation, and on the 14th, O’Connell and other prominent leaders were arrested, and held to bail on a charge of conspiracy. On the 24th of May, 1844, the Irish judges sentenced him to twelve months’ imprisonment, and a fine of £2,000. The cartoon of The Probable Effects of Good Living and no Exercise refers to this result; but Punch on this occasion was wrong. O’Connell proved “too many” for the Irish lawyers. He appealed by writ of error to the Lords, and on the 4th of September the judgment was reversed.139 Sir James Graham, the Home Secretary, and the government to which he belonged, had encountered much odium in consequence of the opening of certain letters which had passed through the post office. The result was the appointment of a Committee of Secrecy by both Houses to inquire into the official practice, and it would appear from their report that every administration had been in the habit of exercising this espionage under the authority of a warrant of the Secretary of State. The sins of the past as well as of the present were visited on the head of Sir James, who sought to throw the responsibility on higher powers; and in reference to this, Sir James Graham and Sir Robert Peel figure respectively as Sairey Gamp and Betsey Prig, after Phiz’s well-known drawing. Sir James indeed seemed to have 296 had rather a facility for getting himself into trouble. There was much excitement in and out of the House with reference to the additional grant to Maynooth College. In the course of the debates, Sir James Graham retracted an expression which he said had fallen from him in the heat of debate, viz. that concession in favour of Ireland had reached its utmost limit, and hoped that his actions had proved better than his words. Among the subsequent cartoons by Leech, he figures as Peel’s Dirty Little Boy. “Drat the boy,” says Dame Peel (as she chastises him), “he’s always in a mess.” Towards the close of the debate two remarkable speeches were delivered by Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel, both of whom concurred in the necessity of a conciliatory policy towards Ireland. This rapprochement between the two leaders of the opposite camps, and the leanings of Sir Robert in the direction of a Liberal policy, are referred to in Leech’s cartoons of How do you Like the New Whig? and the Premier’s Fix (Peel between Free Trade and Protection), the last borrowed from one of Cruikshank’s drawings. The Railway Juggernaut of 1845 (also suggested by Cruikshank’s well-known etching), refers to the then mania for dabbling in railway shares.

Between the two stools of Free Trade and Protection, Sir Robert, as might have been anticipated, ultimately fell through; an event which is chronicled in vol. x., the idea in this instance being taken from the celebrated drawing in the late Mr. Clarke’s “Three Courses and a Dessert,” the cartoon of Peel driving the vehicle of Protection, which has broken down, bearing the title of The Deaf Postilion. A change of ministry took place in 1846, little Lord John replacing Sir Robert Peel as “First Lord of the Treasury.” He cuts an amazingly queer figure (in vol. xi.) in the ex-premier’s huge hat, vast coat, and voluminous waistcoat and inexpressibles. Little Lord John was an enduring subject of Punch’s satire during that statesman’s somewhat unsatisfactory political career, and Leech was never weary of comparing him with his far more brilliant and able contemporary. Here we have the pair figuring as Dombey and Son (Dombey being Sir Robert, and the son Lord John), 297 “Mr. Dombey was in a difficulty. He would like to have given him (the boy) some explanation involving the terms circulating medium, currency, depreciation of currency, paper, bullion, rates of exchange, value of precious metals in the market, and so forth.” The Portrait of a Noble Lord in Order refers to one of those exhibitions of want of tact, taste, and temper in which Lord Brougham would seem to have delighted.140 “Who calls me to order?” cries the “noble and learned” lord, “Who calls me to order? Pooh! Pooh! Fiddle-de-dee! I never was in better order in my life. Noble lords don’t know what they are about;” a conspicuous and aggressive appurtenance of the “noble and learned,” by the way, is his preposterous umbrella. One of the most barbarous and disgraceful of London neighbourhoods in 1847, and for many years afterwards, was Smithfield; the present generation can form no idea of the state of things thirty years ago, which is referred to in the cartoon of Punch and the Smithfield Savages, the artist borrowing his idea from West’s well-known picture of “Penn’s Treaty with the Indians.” The odious matrimonial swindle perpetrated by Louis Philippe with the idea of ultimately seating a member of his family on the Spanish throne, which has cast an indelible stain on his memory, had now been found out, and attracted universal indignation. We find him, in reference to this shameless piece of business, figuring as the Fagin of France after Condemnation, the idea being suggested of course by Cruikshank’s famous etching in “Oliver Twist.” Retribution overtook the mercenary monarch in the year of disquietude and national unrest—1848; foreign kings and potentates were sent flying in all directions, and Louis Philippe, who, like the rest of his family had learnt nothing by misfortune, was among the first to go. Put Out, one of the best of the artist’s political cartoons, represents an armed ouvrier clapping the cap of liberté by way of extinguisher on the French candle (King Louis). Uneasy were the heads which wore crowns in that year; and to the throned and unthroned sovereigns, the former of whom watched these untoward events with nervous 298 interest, John Leech presented a seasonable gift in the form of A Constitutional Plum Pudding, served up by Mr. Punch on Magna Charta, and curiously compounded of “Liberty of the Press,” “Common Sense,” “Order,” “Trial by Jury,” “Religion,” and “True Liberty of the Subject.”

Among the sovereigns who had a peculiarly insecure seat at this period was Mastai Ferretti, better known as Pope Pius IX. His temporal power was weak, whilst his spiritual dominion, as might have been expected, had never been much stronger. To bolster up the former, and at the same time find employment for his troops, Louis, Prince President of the French Republic, sent an army to Rome, thus affording matter for the speculation of his countrymen, who were puzzled to know what possible concern a French Republic could have with the affairs of the Papacy. Allusion to this is made in Leech’s cartoon of The French Cock and the Roman Eagle, in which the bird of higher caste, chained and fettered, is unable to offer anything like fair resistance to his unwilling antagonist. In a Bright Idea, we have the apostle of peace (whose uncompromising arguments in its favour have driven us before now in the direction of war) figuring as a recruiting sergeant, and endeavouring to enlist the “Iron Dook.”

In no country perhaps are women more cruelly used than among General Haynau. the poorer classes of England, while in no country under the sun is greater sympathy expressed for the weaker sex; a paradox which was strikingly exemplified in 1850. The Austrian General Haynau in that year paid a visit to this country. Some time before he had earned unenviable notoriety by his treatment of the wives and daughters of Hungarian insurgents who fell into his hands, and it was reported, probably with much exaggeration, that regardless of sex and condition he had subjected these hapless fugitives to the indignity of corporal punishment. The rising had been however some time repressed, and there was every reason to believe that in this country at least the rumour had been forgotten. Among the sights the General had been recommended to visit in London was the celebrated brewery of Messrs. Barclay & Perkins, and no 299 sooner was his presence discovered, than he was simultaneously attacked by the draymen, and narrowly escaped with his life. He got small sympathy from Punch, who, in vol. xix., presented Leech’s Sketch of a Most Remarkable Flea found in General Haynau’s Ear. “Who’s Dat Knocking at de Door?” is a question put by Johnny Russell to old Joe (Hume), who once in every session in those days stood knocking at the door with his banjo labelled, “Extension of the Suffrage.”

Macaulay, writing in 1840,141 referred to the progress of what he The “Papal Aggression.” happily termed “The Catholic Revival of the Nineteenth Century.” This revival was never more clearly exemplified than at the very time the temporal power was most seriously endangered. Such of the temporal power, indeed, as was left to it has gone, probably for ever; while the spiritual power of the Papacy, at least in Protestant England, as must be patent to any one who has given the subject the smallest attention, has unostentatiously but enormously increased, especially within the last twenty years. The year 1850 was remarkable for what was then known among us as the “Papal Aggression,” and Punch and his “right-hand man” were exceedingly angry. Among the cartoons which they fulminated on the occasion were the following: The Guy Fawkes of 1850 [i.e. the Pope] Preparing to Blow up all England; The Thin End of the Wedge [the Pope trying with his jemmy, labelled “Roman Archbishopric of Westminster,” to force the doors of the English Church]. It is both a singular and significant circumstance, that at this time the Ritualists, or rather Puseyites, were helping on the work of Rome by promoting, if not schism, at least dissension in the Church of England by advocating the strictest attention to the letter instead of the spirit of the rubric and liturgy. We find, in special reference to the assistance thus, in some cases we believe unconsciously, rendered to the Romish Church, The Puseyite Moth flying into the Roman Catholic candle; and Fashion in 1850, or a Page for the Puseyites, in which we see the Bishops of Lincoln, Oxford, and Exeter dropping the hot poker of Puseyism, and the Pope, as 300 monkey, making a catspaw of poor Pus(s)ey [the Doctor lately deceased]; again, in vol. xx., Punch (a boy) inquires of an episcopal showman, who holds the model of a church on his stand, “Please, Mr. Bishop, which is Popery and which is Puseyism?” To which the episcopal showman replies, “Whichever you like, my little dear”; another cartoon represents a Puseyite parson who has received “warning” from his cook. Inquiring the reason of her dissatisfaction, he receives the following reply: “Well, sir, the fact is I aint equal to them Fast days; for what with a hegg here, and a hegg there, and little bits of fish for breakfastes, and little bits of fish for dinners, and the sweet omelicks, and the fried and stewed hoysters, and the Bashawed lobsterses, and one think and the hother, there’s so much cooking that I aint even time to make up a cap!” Another influential person besides Mr. Punch was terribly indignant at this aggressive movement on the part of the Papacy, and loudly avowed his determination to go any length to put a stop to it. This was my Lord John Russell, who, after vapouring like “ancient Pistol,” quietly sneaked off after his usual fashion, and did nothing. He got, however, a well-merited dressing from Leech, who showed him up in his true character in a contemporary number as The Boy who Chalked up “No Popery,” and then Ran Away. It was these Papal satires (as we shall afterwards see) which led to the secession from Punch, and the consequent loss to satiric art, of one of its most genial and capable professors, the late Richard Doyle;142 a loss followed (if we may so term it) by a compensating gain. Richard Doyle’s place was almost immediately taken by an artist of great and exceptional power, for more than twelve years the friend and coadjutor of John Leech—Mr. Tenniel, who makes his first appearance in Punch’s twentieth volume.

The long peace which followed the national and European struggle with Napoleon had produced a curious effect upon ourselves. While Russia took advantage of the lull to recruit her 301 colossal forces, and Prussia to perfect the military system which took us so much by surprise half a century afterwards, we, on the other hand, wearied with our long and arduous struggle, had fallen asleep, and dreamed pleasantly that the “Millennium” was at hand. With this idea apparently in our minds, we inscribed on the walls of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Scriptural text which tells us that “swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, neither shall they learn war any more.” A significant commentary on the text was found in the fact that many of the exhibits at the “World’s Fair” consisted of cannon, rifles, and other lethal instruments of improved method and construction, intended for the wholesale destruction of the human race. We read the Scriptural text, and viewed these exhibits as relics of a barbarism which had existed six and thirty years before, oblivious of the circumstance that an incompetent general had “wiped out” a British army in Afghanistan, and that we had crushed the empire of Runjeet Singh on the banks of the Sutlej not so many years before. The closing of the Exhibition is commemorated by a cartoon, in which Leech shows us the famous Amazon putting on her bonnet and shawl, chatting the while with Hiram Power’s Greek Slave, who, habited in “bloomer” costume, prepares likewise to take her departure. Allusion to the bribery and corruption prevalent at a notorious borough of that day is made in a sketch which depicts the Horror of that Respectable Saint, St. Alban’s, at Hearing the Confession of a St. Alban’s Elector.

Remarkable results were destined to follow the year of unrest—1848. The Coup D’état. Louis Philippe had been replaced in France by Louis Napoleon, who seems to have been elevated to the Presidency of the Republic because he was considered to be so absolutely harmless, the principle followed being analogous to that observed at the election of a Pope, which has resulted more than once in an unpleasant surprise for the cardinal electors. Those who had formed a low estimate of his abilities, found that Louis was no longer the “half-saved” youth of Boulogne and Strasburg; that he had learnt some stern lessons in the hard school of adversity; that he had developed, 302 moreover, a firm and decided will of his own. We thought it a hazardous experiment on the part of French Republicans, for Louis held a craze on the subject of his uncle’s “ideas,” and the craze had sufficient “method” to induce us to believe that he was the last man who would have been selected to fill the presidential chair. As a refugee in England, we had given him small credit for sagacity; and as an emperor and a man, history has already said of him that he was cunning, unreliable, and thoroughly unscrupulous. Although a comparison between the two men is impossible, there was at least this similarity between the two Napoleons, that both were indebted for their elevation to the imperial purple to a revolution; here, however, all resemblance ceased. The first Napoleon relied upon himself alone, while Louis was advised by counsellors and adventurers wiser and more unscrupulous than himself, and who were prepared to back his fortunes with a view of advancing their own. At the close of 1851, Europe was electrified by the unexpected and dastardly blow delivered by these men, and by means of a “great crime,” the history of which has been so graphically related by Victor Hugo, Louis Napoleon, Prince President of the Republic, found himself master of the destinies of France. The event is referred to by John Leech in the cartoon of France is Tranquil!!! which she cannot well fail to be, seeing that we find her bound hand and foot; a chain-shot fastened to her foot, and a sentry menacing her with his bayonet. The next volume shows us the Prince President in the act of being measured by his military tailor, while he offers money to his cast-off mistress Liberté, her mother (France) looking indignantly on. Immediately behind, a priest (in allusion to the support which the Papal party were receiving from this “eldest son of the Church”) helps himself from a plate of money which stands by the President’s side; the floor is littered with miscellaneous articles,—bayonets, knapsacks, imperial and other crowns, crosses of the legion of honour, the code Napoleon,—and, in reference to Louis’s craze on the subject of his uncle and his “ideas,” one of Napoleon’s old boots. On a stool stands a bust of the first Napoleon, and on a chair to the right a roll of “Imperial purple.”


By the year 1853, the only persons who steadily shut their eyes to the signs of the times, and continued steadfastly to believe in the immediate advent of the “Millennium,” were the peace-at-any-price party (represented by Messrs Bright and Cobden), the members of the Peace Society, and the very strange people who obstinately opposed any attempt on the part of England to provide for her national safety by putting her defences in order. To the Peace Society, Leech especially addressed his cartoon of No Danger, which represents a donkey braying in front of a loaded cannon; while to the mischievous lunatics who opposed any scheme of national defence, he dedicated an appropriate gift in the shape of A Strait Waistcoat Worked by the Women of England.143 By this time John Bull had awoke from his dreams, and tacitly admitting that the time for conversion of his swords into ploughshares and his spears into pruning hooks had scarcely arrived, adopted the far more sensible method of sending his troops to the camp at Chobham by way of getting them acclimatized to the trials and vicissitudes of wind and weather. This step leads of course to a number of little pleasantries. In one cartoon we see an officer of household cavalry parting his hair in front of his cuirass, whilst a soldier servant brings him his shaving water in a bucket; another, entitled A Cold in the Head, represents an officer in this melancholy condition, who requests his servant to bring him his bucket of gruel as “sool as he has tallowed his loze.” John, in fact, had been aroused from his slumbers by the Emperor Nicholas, who, thinking it a good time to appropriate Turkey, was suspected of having offered a slice to Austria. The rumour is referred to in the cartoon of The Old ‘Un and the Young ’Un, in which we see the Russian and Austrian Emperors at table with a bottle of port between them, “Now then, Austria,” says Nicholas, “just help me to finish the Port(e).” In another cartoon, John Bull nails the Russian eagle to his barn door, remarking to his French friend the while, that he 304 “wouldn’t worry the Turkeys any more.” Lord Aberdeen, who, notwithstanding the signs of the times, refused like Nicholas to believe in a war with England, is represented placidly smoking the Pipe of Peace over a barrel of gunpowder.

Thanks to Messrs Bright and Cobden, who obstinately persisted in opposing the popular feeling which had set in steadily in the direction of war,—thanks to the exertions of the Peace Society, who were not restrained from sending certain zealous members of their body to the Emperor Nicholas, who not unnaturally supposed that these broad-brimmed gentlemen represented the sentiments of the great English people,—but thanks above all to the French Emperor and his astute advisers, who were enabled to take advantage of the state of English feeling to hoodwink the “great nation” by the prospect of an alliance with a great and respectable power, the year 1854 found us in actual conflict with Russia, starting off after our usual fashion with a handful of men to attack the strongest fortress in Europe, provided with an unlimited supply of men and metal and inexhaustible stores of warlike materiel of all kinds. In vol. xxvi. we see Her Majesty Throwing the Old Shoe after her Guards, who, for the first time since 1815, are seen setting out on foreign service. Another cartoon, which has reference to our Bombardment of Odessa, is divided into two parts, in one of which we see Lord Aberdeen (whose dream of peace had been so rudely dissipated), and in the other Nicholas of Russia, both reading the newspaper. Says Aberdeen, “Bombardment of Odessa! Dear me, this will be very disagreeable to my imperial friend!” Says the Emperor, “Bombardment of Odessa! Confound it! this will be very annoying to dear old Aberdeen!” In November, 1854, occurred our disastrous victory of Inkermann, in which scarcely four thousand English troops found themselves opposed by forty thousand Russians and drove them into flight. No thanks, however, to our allies, who—with the exception of sixty brave Zouaves and their lieutenant, who played truant from their regiment to give us timely assistance—either looked on or absolutely ran away.144 Spectators of this battle were 305 two of the Imperial family, a circumstance alluded to in vol. xxvii. by Leech’s cartoon of The Russian Bear’s Licked Cubs, Nicholas and Michael.

Picton remarked of our officers, when en route to Waterloo, that The Purchase System. with fifty thousand of his own men, and French officers at their head, he would march from one end of Europe to the other. But both the quality of French officers and soldiers had deteriorated at the time of the Crimean War, and was destined still further to deteriorate until the utter unsoundness of their military discipline was laid bare years afterwards by Prussia. The French had no generals, while we had one general and an excellent body of soldiers. Unquestionably the Russian war did us the service of thoroughly exposing the rottenness of our military system so far as concerned the officering of the army. The principle followed was precisely that complained of by Sir Thomas Picton forty years before; there was no actual test of fitness until it came to be subjected to the practical test of emergency; money invariably had the advantage of merit, not only in the appropriation of first commissions, but in the purchase of subsequent regimental grades, which were given in exchange for pecuniary value, and not as a reward for military efficiency. The material thus obtained was splendid as regards manliness and bravery, but something more than these were wanted in the absence of a leader like the great Duke; and although the type selected is an extreme one, the result may be indicated by my Lord Cardigan, who, though equal to any amount of endurance and heroism, proved himself incapable of the exercise of the smallest particle of common sense. The scandal of the then existing system of purchase was aptly exposed by the artist in vol. xxviii., where we find a rich titled old lady in a shop served by military counter-jumpers, one of whom, wrapping up a lieutenant-colonelcy for her boy, inquires, in the well-known jargon of the trade, “What is the next article?” in answer to which she expresses a wish to have “a nice majority for his little brother”; a wounded officer with his arm in a sling timidly inquires the price of a captain’s commission, and turns wearily away on finding the preposterous price (£3,694) 306 is wholly beyond his means. Fortunately for us (for events proved that in trusting to French assistance we were leaning on a broken reed indeed!) the Russian rank and file, besides being badly led, were as inferior to our own in endurance and pluck as they were superior to us in the mere matter of numbers. Justly wondering why forty thousand men, supported by twenty thousand reserves, had failed to hold their own against a mere handful of British infantry, Nicholas nevertheless treated the result apparently in a philosophical spirit, and calmly asked his people to wait for “Generals Janvier and Fevrier.” But the brave man’s heart was broken, and when February came it found the Imperial prophet a corpse.145 The death of this great and disappointed man is forcibly commemorated by Leech’s memorable cartoon of General Fevrier Turned Traitor. Lord John Russell, true to his character of “Lord Meddle and Muddle,” had done nothing for us at the Congress, and in The Return from Vienna, Her Majesty catches the frightened little statesman by the collar and angrily asks him, “Now, sir, what a time you have been! What’s the answer?” To her Lord John—“Please ’M—there is—is—is—is—isn’t any answer.”

An English general in those days was so scarce a commodity that in Lord Raglan we seemed absolutely to have exhausted the supply: one old incapable was replaced by another, until the dearth of English military ability became at length nothing less than an absolute scandal. In What we must Come to, reference is made to this lamentable state of things, wherein an old woman in bonnet and shawl, with a capacious umbrella, applies for a post to Lord Panmure (the Minister of War), “Oh, if you please, sir, did you want a sperity old woman to see after things in the Crimea? No objection to being made a Field Marshal, and glory not so much an object as a good salary”; in another (A Grand Military Spectacle) we find the heroes of the campaign engaged in inspecting the Field Marshals, a pair of decrepid, purblind, old men seated in arm chairs; in the third we recognise the amiable Prince Consort, 307 who was most unjustly suspected in those days of a desire to interfere in the administration of our military matters—it would be moonshine to term it military system, as we had none. The New Game of Follow my Leader is a palpable hit at a practice common enough too in those days. Applications were frequently made by officers for leave to return home on the plea of “urgent private affairs,” and you were astonished to see gentlemen walking about whose duty it was to be with their regiments in the Crimea. In the cartoon referred to, a long line of soldiers is drawn up in front of the general’s tent; a little drummer boy steps out of the ranks, and making the usual salute inquires, “Please, general, may me and these other chaps have leave to go home on urgent private affairs?”

A more unsatisfactory state of things for the belligerents all round than this miserable Crimean conflict can scarcely well be imagined. Lord Raglan, who had learned war by practical experience under the eye of the great Duke himself, speedily realized the fact that he had been made the victim of French military jealousy and imbecility, the leaders having been selected not on account of their military efficiency, but solely for attachment to the cause of the Emperor. The battle of the Alma had been won without the assistance of the French, who for all practical purposes might just as well have been away.146 Marshal St. Arnaud, who, to do him simple justice, was at this time dying literally by inches, had refused to follow up the defeated Russians,147 whose retreat a competent French general must have converted into an absolute rout; whilst, had he followed the advice and wishes of Lord Raglan, we should probably have entered Sebastopol in a fortnight, instead of having to wait three years for an event which was afterwards accomplished 308 at a ruinous waste of time, men, materiel, and money.148 We had defeated the Russians at Inkerman without French assistance,149 whilst the timidity and professional jealousy on that occasion of Marshal Canrobert had again failed to turn our success into a crushing disaster for the enemy.150 If England was dissatisfied, Russia was still more discontented, and her strength moreover at this time well-nigh exhausted. Efforts in the direction of peace were being made by Austria, which are referred to in the cartoon, Staying Proceedings (vol. xxx.), wherein plaintiff John Bull instructs his solicitor Clarendon (who is setting off for Paris bag in hand), “Tell Russia,” says angry John, “tell Russia if he doesn’t settle at once I shall go on with the action;” but so unprofitable to us in the end was the arrangement effected by the solicitor, that the action was settled after all on the terms of each party having to pay their own costs. This preposterous result is referred to in the admirable sketch entitled Swindling the Clarendon, wherein landlord Bull angrily expostulates with his two waiters (Louis Napoleon and Palmerston), “What!” says John, “quite the gentleman! Why he has left nothing but a portmantel of bricks and stones, and gone off without paying the bill.”151

Just complaints were made in the papers of 1857 of the arrangements, or rather want of arrangements, at the Royal levées. The space was circumscribed and the crush frightful, and ladies returned from the ceremony with torn dresses and dishevelled hair, just as if they had been engaged in some feminine battle-royal. To accustom them to this uncomfortable but apparently inevitable ordeal, John Leech, in one of the very best of his sketches (vol. xxxii.), suggested 309 a Training School for Ladies about to Appear at Court, where we see charming women in court dresses leaping over forms, crowding beneath barriers, and going through a vigorous course of saltatory exercises, to prepare them for what they might expect at the ceremony; the floor is strewn with broken fans, gloves, feathers, watches, and jewellery; while one fat old lady, who, in attempting to scramble beneath the barrier has become a permanent fixture, presents a truly comical appearance.

The war was at an end; the “Eastern Question,” as it was called The English Dissatisfied. in the political jargon of that day, had been settled for the next twenty years, and John Bull had now leisure to sit down to count the cost, and consider the value of the French alliance, and the quality of the assistance he had derived from French generalship and the French army. The result of John’s calculation was eminently unsatisfactory to himself, for he felt that while he had done all the hard work and nearly all the fighting, the French, as might have been expected, had arrogated to themselves all the praise. John in his secret heart was angry; he felt he had been drawn into a contest from which he personally derived little advantage, and from which he emerged nominally triumphant at a ruinous waste of men and money; the Frenchman, on his part, was doubtful of the reality of the gloire he claimed for himself, and distinctly conscious, moreover, that the English soldiers looked coldly on the French army and its achievements.152 The result was a feeling of secret dissatisfaction on both sides, which found, however, no actual expression until an unexpected circumstance afforded opportunity for its manifestation. The war had been succeeded by a period of inaction, a state of things always dreaded by Louis, who was now harassed by plots and conspiracies, and a certain foreigner connected, or supposed to be connected, with one of these had sought and found an asylum on our shores. Certain valorous French colonels, desirous of displaying 310 their loyalty at a cheap cost, presented an address to his Majesty, which contained the following intemperate passage:—“Let the miserable assassins—the subaltern agents of such crimes—receive the chastisement due to their abominable attempts; but also, let the infamous haunt where machinations so infernal are planned be destroyed for ever.... Give us the order, sire, and we shall pursue them even to their places of security.” French military composition, even in the time of the first Napoleon, was never of the highest order of merit, and the third Napoleon, whose policy it was to distract the attention of his people from reflecting on the questionable means by which he had attained his position, never lost an opportunity of earning popularity with any class of his subjects, particularly with the army. He suffered this quintessence of bombastic absurdity to appear in the pages of the official Moniteur, whence it was duly copied by the English newspapers, and afforded us the most intense amusement. Punch answered this valorous appeal with Leech’s celebrated cartoon (in vol. xxxiv.) of Cock-a-doodle-do! wherein the French cock, habited in the uniform of a French colonel, crows most lustily on his own dunghill. This remarkable caricature possesses a singular historical interest, as it exactly expresses the feeling which pervaded England for some time after the close of the Crimean war. The hostile spirit towards Frenchmen which formed a part of John Leech’s nature, once aroused was not easily allayed, and in the same volume he gives us specimens of Some Foreign Produce that Mr. Bull can very well Spare, in which he angrily includes French conspirators, vile French women, organ grinders (the artist’s peculiar abomination), and other foreign refuse of an objectionable character. Further on, he follows up the subject in A Discussion Forum (!) as Imagined by our Volatile Friends, which represents a party of English conspirators from a French point of view. They wear the peaked hats, long cravats, long hair, boots, and inexpressibles peculiar to the Reign of Terror, and carry knives, revolvers, axes, and other weapons of destruction; a speaker occupies the rostrum, and below him sits the registrar with a bowl of blood, in which sanguinary fluid the proceedings are supposed to 311 be recorded. The opposite picture, A Discussion Forum (!) as it is in Reality, shows us a number of foolish, ignorant, harmless youths, smoking pipes, drinking brandy and water, and discussing politics (so far as they are capable of understanding them) in a tavern club-room. Returning once more to his attacks on what he justly deemed the Romanizing tendency of the practices of certain members of the English Church, he gives us the cartoon of Religion à la Mode, in which a handsome woman is about to “confess” to a truculent and knavish looking ritualist. In the distance appears John Bull with his horsewhip, “No, no, Mr. Jack Priest,” says he; “after all I have gone through, I am not such a fool as to stand any of this disgusting nonsense.” Some sensation was created this year by a private fête which was given by a member of the aristocracy at Cremorne Gardens. It occasioned considerable talk at the time, and as Ritualism was then in the ascendant amongst certain female leaders of fashion, Leech gives us (in vol. xxxv.) a powerful picture, entitled Aristocratic Amusements, in which John Thomas asks his mistress (a magnificent specimen of the artist’s handsome women) as he puts up the steps of her carriage, whither she would wish to be driven,—“Confession or Cremorne, my lady?”

Misfortune, the proverb tells us, makes us acquainted with strange associates. The Emperor Louis, during his early exile, had picked up certain undesirable acquaintances, who were in the habit in after life of forcing themselves on his notice after a peculiarly disagreeable and dangerous fashion. His unfaithfulness to the principles of the brotherhood of which he and they had been members, had seriously exercised the minds of certain of these quondam acquaintances, who had given forcible expression to their feelings by attempting his assassination. The pear-shaped hand grenades of Orsini and his fellow-conspirator were the fruit of Louis’s early connection with the secret societies of the Carbonari. They indicate the forces which controlled the policy of the Third Napoleon, and obliged him constantly to pick quarrels with his neighbours for the double purpose of employing his army and of keeping the attention of his restless subjects and quondam acquaintances distracted from 312 himself. As the advisers upon whom he depended were removed by death, the absence of military capacity which his habitual reticence had concealed was manifested by his extraordinary ignorance of the weakness of the force which he had at his disposal, and the utter rottenness of its organization. Meanwhile Italian assassins warned Louis’s advisers of the desperate insecurity of the tenure by which they held their own position, and of the necessity of distracting the attention of the restless spirits who made it their business to inquire into their master’s title. Within a year, therefore, of the execution of Orsini and his friend, a quarrel was fastened on the Austrian ambassador, which reminded us of the first Emperor’s insult to our own Lord Whitworth, and the Imperial word went forth that Italy was to be freed “from the Alps to the Adriatic.”153 Although Louis was unable to accomplish this programme, he was enabled by great good fortune, the aid of Sardinia, the execrably bad generalship of the Austrians, and the military prestige which still attached to the French name, to pave the way for this result; and Austria was not only humbled, but had moreover to surrender Venetia to Sardinia. No sooner was the war over, than Louis was suspected of casting longing eyes at the territories of his brave little ally,154 and in A Scene from the New Pantomime, he figures as clown, holding a revolver in his hand, with a goose marked “Italy” in his capacious pocket, assuring 313 Britannia (a stout elderly woman who looks suspiciously on) that his intentions were of the most honourable description.

In the sketch entitled The Next Invasion, Landing of the French (Light Wines), and Discomfiture of Old General Beer (vol. xxxviii.), we have a pictorial prophecy which has not borne fulfilment. Although the so-called vin ordinaire made some progress among us for a time, it was soon discovered that a low class of wine, which the French themselves would not drink, was being manufactured for the English market, and that good sound claret remained (as might have been anticipated) as dear, if not dearer, than ever. The climate and constitution of John Bull do not enable him to appreciate the merits of “red ink” as a table beverage, and in the end old General Barleycorn rallied and drove the invaders out of the popularity they had for a time achieved.


And here we break off—for reasons which will be apparent in our next chapter—the further consideration of the graphic satires of the late John Leech. Before passing on to other matters, we are bound to say that we regard them rather for what they might have been than for what we actually find them. Had they been executed with the same materials and under the same conditions as the graphic satires of Gillray or Cruikshank, or still better, in the manner in which the sporting pictures to the late Mr. Surtees’ novels were produced, we have no hesitation in saying that they would have distanced anything in the nature of caricature which had gone before. Unfortunately, the productions of the modern caricaturist (if, indeed, we may term him one) have no reasonable chance, it being apparently taken for granted that a modern public will not invest in caricatures of an expensive character.155 Moreover, he has no longer any hand in the completion of his picture, the wood-block being cut up into segments, each entrusted to a different hand, and executed with materials with which the older caricaturists had nothing to do, and under conditions of pressure 314 and haste to which they were happily strangers. Hence it is, that while the admirable satires of John Leech enhance the value of the Punch volumes themselves, taken singly, not only will they not command a fiftieth part of the price asked and given for the coloured but inferior productions of an earlier school, but they are to all intents and purposes valueless. Leech himself has often been known to say to friends who admired his composition on the wood block:—“Wait till Saturday, and see how the engraver will have spoiled it.” We will subject the justice of these observations to a practical test. Let the reader compare an ordinary Punch cartoon with one of the tinted lithographs issued from the Punch office during the artist’s lifetime under the title of The Rising Generation, and he cannot fail to be struck with the enormous advantages possessed by the latter. These last have their price, and command, by reason of their scarcity, a comparatively high one.

139 The prosecution, however, answered its purpose. The funds of the Repeal Association were nearly exhausted by the contest, the influence of the “Liberator,” as he was called, was destroyed, and he himself was more guarded and circumspect in his language. He died three years afterwards.

140 See the “Political Sketches of HB.”

141 Edinburgh Review, October, 1840.

142 See Chapter xviii.

143 The national defences, such as they are, being an accomplished fact, these strange people are now making themselves active in the promotion of the last suicidal mania—the Channel Tunnel!

144 Vide Kinglake’s “Invasion of the Crimea.”

145 There are of course curious stories about as to the cause of the Emperor’s death: for one of these see “Journal of the Rev. J. C. Young,” vol. ii. p. 331.

146 Figures will conclusively prove who bore the burden and heat of the day. The English loss was: killed, 25 officers, 19 sergeants, 318 rank and file; 81 officers, 102 sergeants, and 1,438 rank and file wounded. The French loss was simply 60 killed and 500 wounded. The Russian loss in killed and wounded was 5,709.

147 Kinglake’s “Invasion of the Crimea,” 6th edition, 1877, vol. iii. p. 305.

148 Kinglake’s “Invasion of the Crimea,” 6th edition, 1877, vol. iii. p. 349.

149 At 8.30 a.m. the Russians had 17,000 infantry and 100 guns opposed to 3,600 English with 36 guns and 1,600 French infantry and 12 guns [Ibid. vol. vi. p. 321]. Three hours later on, Canrobert had under his orders 9,000 fresh men, who remained inactive: “So far as concerned any active exertion of infantry power, our people were now left to fight on without any aid from the French”—Ibid. pp. 416, 417.

150 Ibid. vol. vi. pp. 439, 440.

151 A more telling commentary on our useless waste of blood and treasure could scarcely be found. Truly they manage these things better in Germany.

152 See the remarkable expressions of dissatisfaction wrung from the placid Lord Raglan on various occasions, and the very free manner in which the English officers expressed themselves when the 7th French leger regiment ran away from the Russians at Inkerman for the second time.—Kinglake’sInvasion of the Crimea,” 6th edition, 1877, vol. vi. pp. 327-8, 344-5.

153 Louis was fond of these theatrical announcements, which answered the purpose he designed, of attracting the sympathy of the impressionable French people. The following is a short summary of the mode in which Italy was really freed “from the Alps to the Adriatic”:—Lombardy was surrendered to Sardinia 11th July, 1859; the treaty ceding Savoy and Nice to France was signed 24th March, and approved by the Sardinian Parliament 29th May, 1860. The French troops retired from Italy the same month. Garibaldi landed at Marsala 11th May, 1860, and entered Naples on the 18th of August. The kingdom of Italy was recognised by Great Britain 31st March, 1861. In 1864 Florence was declared the capital of Italy. The French troops left Rome in November, 1865. Venetia was ceded to France by Austria 3rd July, 1866. They retired from the Quadrilateral in October, 1866; Venice was annexed to Italy the same month; the Italian troops entered Rome in September, 1870, when Napoleon III. was no longer able to interpose, and it was incorporated in the Italian kingdom in October.

154 See previous note.

155 Since the above was written, a weekly paper has been established, which promises to promote the revival of caricature art.



JOHN LEECH (Continued).

Giovanni. What do the dead do, uncle?—do they eat,

Hear music, go a hunting, and be merry,

As we that live?

Francesco de Medicis. No, Cuz; they sleep.

Giov. ... When do they wake?

Frances. When God shall please.

Webster’s White Devil; or, Vittoria Corombona (1612), Act 3.

Many of our readers will remember the exhibition at the Egyptian Hall, in 1862, of John Leech’s “Sketches in Oil,” the subjects being enlarged reproductions from selected examples of his minor drawings for Punch. To his friend Mark Lemon is due the credit of this idea, which was carried out after the following manner:—The impression of a block in Punch being first taken on a sheet of india-rubber, was enlarged by a lithographic process; the copy thus obtained was transferred to stone, and impressions obtained on a large sheet of canvas. The result was an outline groundwork, consisting of his own lines enlarged some eight times the dimensions of the original drawing, which the artist then proceeded to fill up in colour. His knowledge of the manipulation of oil colours was, however, slight, and his first crude attempts were made under the guidance of his friend Mr. Millais. The first results can scarcely be said to be satisfactory; a kind of transparent colour was used, which allowed the coarse lines of the enlargement to be distinctly visible, and the finished production presented very much the appearance of an indifferent lithograph slightly tinted. In a short time, however, he conquered the difficulty; and, instead of allowing the thick, fatty 316 lines of printer’s ink to remain on the canvas, he removed them—particularly as regards the outlines of the face and figure—by means of turpentine. These outlines he re-drew with his own hand in a fine and delicate manner, and added a daintiness of finish, particularly in flesh colour, which greatly enhanced the value and beauty of the work. He nevertheless experienced some difficulty in reproducing in these enlargements the delicacy of touch and exactness which characterized the original drawings, and would labour all day at a detail—such as a hand in a certain position—before attaining a result which entirely satisfied himself. The catalogue of this exhibition may be cited in evidence of Leech’s characteristic modesty. “These sketches,” it said, “have no claim to be regarded or tested as finished pictures. It is impossible for any one to know the fact better than I do. They have no pretensions to a higher name than that I have given them—’Sketches in Oil.’”

Popular and eminently successful as this exhibition proved to be, it was undeniably rendered more popular and successful by his staunch friend Thackeray’s article in the Times of 21st June, 1862:—“He is a natural truth-teller,” said the humourist, “as Hogarth was before him, and indulges in as many flights of fancy. He speaks his mind out quite honestly, like a thorough Briton.... He holds Frenchmen in light esteem. A bloated ‘Mossoo’ walking in Leicester Square, with a huge cigar and a little hat, with ‘billard’ and ‘estaminet’ written on his flaccid face, is a favourite study with him; the unshaven jowl, the waist tied with a string, the boots which pad the Quadrant pavement, this dingy and disreputable being exercises a fascination over Mr. Punch’s favourite artist. We trace, too, in his work a prejudice against the Hebrew nation, against the natives of an island much celebrated for its verdure and its wrongs; these are lamentable prejudices indeed, but what man is without his own?” Thackeray’s kindly article delighted Leech; he said “it was like putting £1,000 in his pocket.” The exhibition, indeed, was so splendid a success that it is said to have brought in nearly £5,000.


Those who, like ourselves, have found it necessary to examine the Punch volumes from their commencement in 1841, down to the 31st of December, 1864, cannot fail to be struck by the steady decrease in the number of cartoons which the artist annually designed and executed for the periodical. In 1857 the number contributed was 33; in 1858, 30; in 1859, 21; in 1860, 15, in 1861 the number had fallen as low as 10; while in 1862 it did not exceed 4.156 This decrease (which is confined, be it observed, to the cartoons which he contributed to Punch) was due to failing health consequent on the strain of incessant production. Of the coming evil he himself was distinctly cognizant. It is said of him that Lord Ossington, then Speaker, once met him on the rail, and expressed to him his hope that he enjoyed in his work some of the gratification which it afforded to others. His answer was a melancholy one:—“I seem to myself to be a man who has undertaken to walk a thousand miles in a thousand hours.” It was certainly not such a reply as one would exactly look for, looking only at the joyous character of the pictures he executed for Punch. He complained in 1862—the year at which we have arrived—of habitual weariness and sleeplessness, and was advised to try rest and change of air. He acted upon the suggestion, and, accompanied by his old friend Mark Lemon, proceeded in that year on a short tour to Paris, and from thence to Biarritz. Leech’s pencil was not idle on this holiday, as two of his pictures will testify. The first, A Day at Biarritz, appears in the Almanack of 1863, and among the figures he has introduced into this delightful sketch is that of the grave and saturnine Louis, snapping his fingers in the highest abandon and 318 skipping off with his friend Punch to enjoy his ocean bath. “The other,” says Mr. Shirley Brooks, “is a very remarkable drawing. It represents a bull-fight as seen by a decent Christian gentleman, and for the first time since the ‘brutal fray’ was invented the cold-blooded barbarity and stupidity of the show is depicted without any of the flash and flattery with which it has pleased artists to treat the atrocious scene. That grim indictment of a nation professing to be civilized will be a record for many a day after the offence shall have ceased.”157

Leech returned from this brief visit with no appreciable benefit. Charles Mackay tells us that he met him and his constant friend, Thackeray, at Evans’ supper-rooms in December, 1863. “They both complained of illness, but neither of them looked ill enough to justify the belief that anything ailed them beyond a temporary indisposition, such as all of us are subject to. Leech was particularly despondent, and complained much of the annoyances to which he was subjected by the organ-grinders of London, and by the dreadful railway whistles at the stations whenever he left town. His nerves were evidently in a high state of tension, and I recommended him, not only as a source of health and amusement, but of profit, to take a voyage across the Atlantic, and pass six months in America, where he would escape the organ-grinders, street-music, and the railway-whistles, and bring back a portfolio filled with sketches of American and Yankee character. ‘I am afraid,’ he replied, ‘that B. & E. [Bradbury & Evans] would not like it. Besides, I should not like to be absent from Punch for so long a time.’ ‘Nonsense,’ said Thackeray, ‘B. and E. would highly approve, provided you sent them sketches. I think it a good idea, and you might put five thousand pounds in your pocket by the trip. The Americans have never been truly portrayed, as you would portray them. The niggers alone would be a little fortune to you.’ Leech shook his head dubiously, and I thought mournfully, and no more was said upon the subject.”158


Nevertheless, the end of one at least of these steady friends and men of genius was drawing near with sure and rapid strides. Both were present at the anniversary of the death of the founder of the Charterhouse, “good old Thomas Sutton,” on the 12th of that same month of December, 1863. At the celebration of Divine service at four o’clock, Thackeray occupied his accustomed back seat in the quaint old chapel; from thence he went to the oration in the Governor’s room; and as he walked up to the orator with his contribution, the great humourist, Mr. Theodore Taylor, tells us, was received “with such hearty applause as only Carthusians can give to one who has immortalized their school.”159 At the banquet which followed he sat by the side of John Leech, who was one of the stewards, and proposed the time-honoured toast, Floreat Æternum Carthusiana Domus, in a speech which was received with three times three and one cheer more. John Leech replied to the toast of the stewards. The day is memorable as the last “Founder’s Day,” which either of these men—so eminently distinguished in art and letters—was ever permitted to attend.

Three days afterwards Thackeray was present at the usual weekly Punch dinner on the 15th of December, for, although he had long ceased to be a regular contributor to the periodical, he not only continued to aid the staff with his suggestion and advice, but was a constant member of the council.160 But ever since the time he was writing “Pendennis,” a dozen years before, he had been visited periodically by attacks of sickness, attended with violent retching. One of these occurred on the morning of Wednesday, the 23rd of this same month of December, and he was in great suffering all day. About midnight of that day, his mother, Mrs. Carmichael Smith,161 who slept in the room above his own, had heard him get up and walk about; but as this was his habit when visited by these fell visitations, she was not alarmed. The man, 320 however, was in his mortal agony; and when his valet, Charles Sargent, entered his master’s chamber on the morning of Christmas Eve, and tried to arouse him, he found that he answered not, neither regarded, having passed into the slumber from which the spirit of man refuses to be awakened.

Dying Jerrold had time vouchsafed to him to whisper, “Tell the dear boys,” meaning his associates in Punch, “that if I have ever wounded any of them, I’ve always loved them,” and so he went his way. To Thackeray no such grace was given; the hands peacefully spread over the coverlet, which stirred not when Sargent bent anxiously over his master, proclaimed that true hearted noble Thackeray had gone the long journey, leaving no word of message for those who had loved him. “We talked of him,” said Mr. Edmund Yates, “of how, more than any other author, he had written about what is said of men immediately after their death—of how he had written of the death-chamber, ‘They shall come in here for the last time to you, my friend in motley.’ We read that marvellous sermon which the week-day preacher delivered to entranced thousands over old John Sedley’s dead body, and ‘sadly fell our Christmas Eve.’” That same Christmas Eve, the melancholy tidings were conveyed to Mark Lemon by his sorrowing friend, John Leech. The artist was terribly affected, and told Millais of his presentiment that he also should die suddenly and soon.

In March, 1864, we notice the death of another author, whose almost unrecorded name is, nevertheless, intimately associated with that of the artist. This was Mr. R. W. Surtees, author of the sporting novels which the genius of Leech has made for ever famous. Mr. Surtees for some years practised as a London solicitor; but the death of an elder brother improved his position, and enabled him to quit a profession which he disliked, in favour of the more congenial employment of literature. Those of his works best known (he published several others) are, of course, “Handley Cross,” “Sponge’s Sporting Tour,” “Plain or Ringlets,” “Ask Mamma,” and “Mr. Facey Romford’s Hounds.” Notwithstanding a decidedly horsey and somewhat vulgar tone,—a tone which by the way certainly did not characterize 321 Mr. Surtees himself,—they possess a certain original humour, which will render their perusal productive of amusement. He died suddenly on the 16th of March, 1864, in his sixty-second year.

It has been the habit of the contributors to Punch, almost from the commencement of the periodical, to dine together every Wednesday. In the winter months the dinner was usually held in the front room of the first floor of the business premises of the proprietors, Messrs. Bradbury & Evans, in Bouverie Street, Whitefriars. Sometimes these dinners were held at the Bedford Hotel, Covent Garden. During the summer months it was customary to hold ten or twelve dinners at Greenwich, Richmond, Blackwall, and other places in the neighbourhood of London. On these occasions the programme (if we may so term it) of the forthcoming number was arranged and settled, papers were brought out, and the latest intelligence discussed, so as to bring the “cartoon” down to the latest, or rather one of the latest subjects of current interest. At the weekly council dinner John Leech was a faithful attendant. These meetings, indeed, “he thoroughly enjoyed, and his suggestions, not merely as to pictorial matters, but generally, were among the most valuable that were offered, as may be inferred from his large knowledge of the world, his keen sense of the ludicrous, and his hatred of injustice and cruelty.”162 One of the most regular attendants of the Punch dinners—I think that in 1864, at least, he scarcely missed one—was the most indefatigable of the literary staff, Mr. Shirley Brooks. One was held at The Bedford on the 13th of April, 1864, just about the time when Lord John Russell was setting out as our representative at the Conference, and the outcome of this particular Punch dinner, at which were present Messrs. Mark Lemon, Shirley Brooks, Tom Taylor, John Leech, and Percival Leigh, was Leech’s admirable cartoon of Moses Starting for the Fair. “Let us hope,” adds the pictorial satirist, in special reference to his lordship’s unfortunate capacity for getting himself into a mess, that “he won’t bring back a gross of green spectacles.” It was one of the last of Leech’s political 322 shafts, and the subject was suggested (we have his own authority for stating it) by his friend and literary colleague, Mr. Shirley Brooks.163

“Clearly ill,” is Mr. Brook’s record of the state of John Leech’s health on this same 13th of April, 1864. He no longer found pleasure in hunting, of which he had been exceedingly fond, and had even discontinued, at the order of his medical attendant, riding on horseback. He was affected with nervous irritability, the effect of incessant application. The ordinary noise of the streets—musicians, organ-grinders, street vendors, and the like—worried him beyond endurance. Long before the period at which we have arrived these annoyances had driven him from his residence in Brunswick Square to seek shelter from his enemies at No. 3, The Terrace, Kensington. His nervous irritability is manifested in the designs which he continued to draw for Punch. In one of his illustrations to vol. xlv. (1863), depicting certain familiar sea-side nuisances, he asks, “Why a couple of conceited fanatics should be allowed to disturb the repose of a Sunday afternoon by the sea-side?” and “Why the authorities at Brighton, so sensible and considerate in keeping the place free from the detestable organ grinders, should permit the terrible nuisance indicated [in the illustration] to exist?” “Fresh prawns, whiting, oysters, or watercresses,” remonstrated the persecuted artist, “are capital things in their way, and we should think that the jaded man of occupation, or the invalid, would very much rather send to a respectable shop for such delicacies, than have them ‘bellowed’ into his ears morning, noon, and night.” His illustrations of this character are so numerous that the ordinary observer would probably suppose that they were part only of a series; to the observer, however, who knew Leech, they clearly indicate the nervous irritability under which he suffered, and which was probably caused, and certainly intensified, by the nuisances of which he complained.

The state of Leech’s health in May, 1864, seems to me best explained in the letter which Mark Lemon at this time wrote to Mr. 323 Bass, in relation to his proposed bill for the regulation of street music. After showing how he himself was obliged to quit London to escape the nuisance of street music, the then editor of Punch continues: “A dear friend of mine, and one to whom the public has been indebted for more than twenty years for weekly supplies of innocent amusement, and whose name will find a place in the future history of art, has not been so fortunate. He lived in Brunswick Square, and remained there until the nervous system was so seriously affected by the continual disturbance to which he was subjected while at work, that he was compelled to abandon a most desirable home, and seek a retreat at Kensington. After expending considerable sums to make his residence convenient for his art-work,—placing double windows to the front of his house, etc.,—he is again driven from his home by the continual visitation of street bands and organ-grinders. The effect upon his health—produced, upon my honour, by the causes I have named—is so serious that he is forbidden to take horse exercise, or indulge in fast walking, as a palpitation of the heart has been produced—a form of angina pectoris, I believe—and his friends are most anxiously concerned for his safety. He is ordered to Homburg, and I know that the expatriation will entail a loss of nearly £50 a week upon him just at present.

“I am sure I need not withhold from you the name of this poor gentleman. It is Mr. John Leech.

“If those gentlemen who laugh at complaints such as this letter contains were to know what are the natural penalties of constant brain-work, they would not encourage or defend such unnecessary inflictions as street music entails upon some of the benefactors of their age. Such men are the last to interfere with the enjoyments of their poorer fellow-labourers; but they claim to be allowed to pursue their callings in peace, and to have the comfort of their homes secured to them. All they wish is to have the same immunity from the annoyances of street music as the rest of the community have from dustmen’s bells, post-horns, and other unnecessary disturbances.”


The terrible nature of poor Leech’s sufferings will be shown by another anecdote of Dr. Mackay’s. Just about this time he met Mr. F. M. Evans, one of the proprietors of Punch, and asked him how Leech was. “Very ill,” was the reply; “the sufferings he endures from noise are painful to think of. I took him down into the country a little while ago to stay a week, or as much longer as he pleased, promising him that he should hear no organ-grinders there, nor railway whistles, nor firing of guns. The next morning on getting up to breakfast, I found that he had packed up his portmanteau and was ready to depart. ‘I cannot stay any longer here,’ he said, ‘the noise drives me frantic!’ ‘What noise?’ ‘The gardener whetting his scythe. It goes through my ears like a corkscrew.’ And nothing that I could say could prevail upon him to prolong his visit.”

But there was no falling off in the quality of the work which Leech executed for Punch or other employers at this time; on the contrary, his drawings seemed to me marked by more than their usual excellence. Witness more especially the few etchings he lived to finish for “Mr. Facey Romford’s Hounds,” and the coloured etching to “Punch’s Pocket Book” of the year. One of the illustrations which he designed for the 1864 edition of the “Ingoldsby Legends,” and which shows us one of his stalwart servant girls drawing up the trunkless head of “St. Genulphus” from the bottom of the well, appears to me to call for special notice. I would ask the reader to observe the details of that perfectly marvellous drawing, executed with all the effect and at a fifth of the labour which George Cruikshank in his best days would have bestowed upon it. I would entreat him to mark that wicked, graceless, bald-pated old head, with its port wine nose resting on the rim of the bucket, and its wicked old eye suggestively winking unutterable things at the perplexed and astounded maiden. I would ask him to look at that drawing; to take into account the health of the genial, failing artist who designed it; and to tell me, whether in all the range of English comic art he remembers to have met with anything more intensely comical?


We find John Leech and his able coadjutor, Mr. John Tenniel, present at the Punch dinner of Wednesday, the 15th of June; but shortly afterwards he started on the journey ordered by his medical advisers, and set off for Homburg in the company of his friend, Mr. Alfred Elmore, sojourning afterwards for a time at Schwalbach. He was absent altogether about six weeks. A record in the diary to which I am indebted for so much information in relation to him tells me, under date of 10th August, “Leech has returned from Germany, but I am sorry to say I don’t think he is stronger.” The sole result, in fact, obtained was that his mind was amused by his visit to new scenery, while his sketch-book was filled with valuable memorials of the sojourn for future use. He was present at the Punch dinner on Wednesday, the 17th of August, and suggested to his colleagues by way of cartoon the subject of The American Juggernaut.

Just at the time when Leech came back from Germany, unbenefited The Death of Robson. by the change which it was hoped would recruit his exhausted strength, a great artist in another and a different walk in art, one who had not used his genius (we will not say his opportunities, for we doubt whether they were really given him) to the best advantage, took his departure from the scene of many triumphs and greater disappointments: this was Thomas Frederick Robson, the actor. He had been so long absent from the boards, that the event failed to create the sensation which might have been expected from the sudden fall of a theatrical star of such unquestionable magnitude. Full justice has been done to his remarkable genius elsewhere; and all united in regret that a man who was so great an artist, and might have been a greater, had been prematurely lost to the theatrical world. Those who remember Robson and his marvellous powers,—the lightning-like flashes of energy he was wont to throw into his parts,—his startling transition from passion to passion,—will agree with us that, if circumstances had led him to study the higher drama, his name would probably have occupied a place side by side with the more prominent names of George Frederick Cooke, Edmund Kean, and our own Irving. The remarkable power wasted on 326 burlesque, or thrown away in the delineation of low life character, must assuredly have made itself felt in tragedy; and the genius manifested in the mock Shylock of Robson, would have enabled him to offer a splendid presentment of the real Hebrew, and as perfect a realization of the character of Richard the Third as has ever perhaps been seen. His comedy—when opportunity was given him of displaying it—was full of true humour. He had in fact, in a remarkable degree, all the qualities of a splendid actor; but it was his peculiar misfortune that he had never a proper opportunity given him of displaying them. The fact that he was enormously popular was nothing, for many men are popular with not a tithe of the gifts or power which distinguished Robson. The favour of the “general,” except in a sordid sense, is not worth much in these days. A proof of this is to be found in the fact that the name of Robson—after the lapse of twenty years—is scarcely known to the ordinary playgoer; but his genius, while he lived, was recognised by those whose applause is not easily earned, and was therefore worth the earning.

Within a week or ten days after his return from the Continent, Leech went with his family to Whitby, in the hope that the fresh Yorkshire sea air would invigorate and brace up his shattered system. Some friends were staying there at the time, and among them a young artist then comparatively new to Punch, but who has been for years past one of its leading pictorial supporters164—Mr. Du Maurier. During his sojourn here, I find him writing to his friends the Brookses, that if they would join him, it would induce him to prolong his stay. They went accordingly, and remained at Whitby until the artist returned to town on the 3rd of October. “Leech, when we could induce him to leave the painting in oil, to which he devoted too many hours, enjoyed the drives into the wild 327 moors, and up and down the terrible but picturesque roads; and he was still more delighted with the rich woods, deep glades, and glorious views about Mulgrave Castle. I hoped,” continues Shirley Brooks, in the touching memorial which he contributed to the Illustrated London News only a few weeks afterwards, “I hoped that good was being done; but it was very hard to stir him from his pictures, of which he declared that he must finish a great number by Christmas. It was not for want of earnest and affectionate remonstrance of those close by his side, nor lack of such remonstrance being seconded by myself and others, that he persevered in overlabour at these paintings, which he had undertaken with his usual generosity, in order to enable himself to provide a very large sum of money for the benefit of his relatives, not of his own household. It need hardly be said that he was never pressed for work by his old friend the editor of Punch.” For a long time past his contribution to that periodical had not exceeded one half-page engraving each week; but at Whitby he elaborated a large sketch, originally taken at Schwalbach, which is worthy of mention as being the last of his cartoons. It will be found in vol. xlvii. (1864), and is labelled The Weinbrunnen Schwalbach, and among the company drinking the waters he has introduced the late Emperor Louis, the late King of Italy, the late Pope, and other notable political personages. The light esteem in which he held everything French is notable in this drawing. Conspicuous in the foreground are several dogs belonging to the English turnspit breed, one of which views a yapping French poodle with the most unmitigated disdain. The landscape and surroundings in this composition deserve particular attention, as they are charming examples of Leech’s oft-admitted talent as a landscape artist.

In the diary I find several reminiscences of the Whitby visit, and of the walks and drives and dinners with the Leeches. Shirley Brooks and his wife drove with them to Mulgrave Castle and its “glorious woods,” on the 29th of September; the former afterwards went to a concert at St. Hilda’s Hall, in reference to which I find the following entry:—“Grisi, Mario, Sainton and his wife. I wrote 328 to the latter, and went round to see them between the parts. Introduced to Grisi, who was in a vile temper, something about rooms.” Shirley Brooks sent also the following characteristic account of the entertainment to the Musical World:—

“My dear Sir,—

“Owls, like other quadrupeds, must have holidays, and I have flown hither. But the wind has changed, and the owl, for all his feathers, is a-cold, as the poet observes. I shall return to the Metropolis—templa quam dilecta—as Plautus might have said in his Owlowlaria, if he had liked. I never thought much of these Latin dramatists, and indeed I never would read any of their works. For that matter, the works of few dramatists are worth reading. And while on the subject, I may add, that few writings of any kind are worth reading. Herein I am at one with Thomas Carlyle, and show my admiration of what he says by absolutely declining to read his ’Frederick the Great.’

“Possibly I might not have expended the postage stamp affixed to this letter had I intended only to offer you the above interesting information. I could have given you this at the Keppell’s Arms during one of those many refections which I hope to partake with you at that hostelry. But I wish to record something that may have an immediate interest. There is a hall here called St. Hilda’s Hall, and it is used for public purposes. It is furnished with a large scene-like painting of Whitby, is very hot, and is near the harbour, which at low tide emitteth odours which are odious; and I think that it is always low tide.

“There was a concert in this hall in the afternoon, and also in the evening, of the Feast of S. Michael and All Angels. Two of the latter came here to sing. You know them in London as Madame Grisi and Madame Sainton-Dolby. With them came Signor Mario and M. Sainton, and also Herr M. Lutz and Mr. Patey. They all sang or played. Verily, my friend and pitcher (for thou pitchest stones deftly, as it were), it was a refreshment, yea, and a consolation, to hear their voices and their instruments. I will not give you a 329 catalogue of their musical deeds, for I had a bill, but it was borrowed from me by a large Yorkshireman, and he was so very large that I did not like to demand it again. Nevertheless, La Diva sang “The Last Rose of Summer,” a la Flotow, and made me think of many things—are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of Benjamin, whose name is Lumley? Likewise she sang something out of Faust, with il Signor, and other matters, whereof no matter—is it not enough to have seen and heard her? But commend me, (not that I need your commendation) to Madame Sainton-Dolby, inasmuch as that lady sang Handel’s ‘Lascia ch’o pianga,’ and sang it nobly, and sang Smart’s ‘Lady of the Lea,’ and sang Claribel’s ‘Maggie’s Secret,’ and sang it divinely. You know what M. Sainton can do with his violin, but you do not know what he cannot do with it, nor do I. Il Signor Mario put forth his powers chivalrously, and broke many hearts among the fair York roses. La Diva was dressed in white. Madame Sainton-Dolby was dressed in pink. I was dressed in a black coat, waistcoat, and trowsers, white cravat, lavender gloves, and patent leather boots, and the little boys of Whitby, unaccustomed to such splendour, cheered me as I came out, privately and alone, to dip my beak in the gascon wine, that is, in some excellent beer, in which I now drink your health.

“If you have another reporter, your own special, in the town (I saw two or three persons who looked disreputable and enthusiastic enough to be musical critics—or even dustmen), and he has kept sober and sent you a report, you need not print this. I do not care a horse’s mamma whether you print it or not. But I had a delightful evening, and I do not care who knows it; in fact, I wish everybody to know it, and that is why I write to your widely circulated (and widely yawned-over) journal. You have not been over civil to me of late, which is very ungrateful. You may say, with an attempt at wit, that the owl was a baker’s child, and therefore crusty. I believe that you could win the prize for the worst conundrum in any circus in Yorkshire.

Receive the assurance of my profound respect.

“Ever yours,


“Zamiel’s Owl.”


While at Whitby, a deputation from the Institute of that town waited on John Leech, to ask him to attend at a meeting and speak in promotion of the interests of their association. On that day he happened to be too ill to bear an interview with more than one of the gentlemen who composed the deputation, and was obliged in consequence to refuse the request. But the refusal gave the kindly, failing man serious disquietude, and fearing it might be thought ungracious, he forthwith sent for all his sketches of character from London and presented them to the Institute.

Fechter was the leading dramatic star of that time, and his opening night differed from the commencement of other theatrical seasons in the fact that it invariably attracted together some of the best known men in literature and art. At the opening of the Lyceum on Saturday, the 22nd of October, were present Messrs. Charles Dickens, Shirley Brooks, Hollingshead, Oxenford, Horace Mayhew, Edmund Yates, W. P. Frith, R.A., Creswick, R.A., Marcus Stone, Mr. Burnand (the present editor of Punch), and Serjeant Ballantine. “The new piece,” said Mr. Yates, “was splendidly mounted, and never, even in Paris, have I seen Mr. Fechter play so perfectly.”165 The said piece was called “The King’s Butterfly,” and Mr. Brooks says of it that, barring the “splendid scenery,” it was “rubbish” pure and simple.

The Leeches left Whitby on the 3rd of October, breaking their journey at York. The artist seemed somewhat better, and ten days after their return we find them at a party at the house of Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A., among the company being Messrs. Elmore, Creswick, Yates, George Cruikshank, Solomon Hart, and others. Between the date of this party, on Thursday the 13th, and that of the usual Punch dinner, on Wednesday the 26th of October, at which the artist was present, a visible change had, however, taken place in the appearance of John Leech. Shirley Brooks afterwards had occasion to notice that at this Punch dinner he “complained of illness and pain, and I saw that it was difficult to 331 make him completely grasp the meaning of things that were said to him without two or three repetitions. He left early with Tom Taylor.”166 On the 28th of October, the artist himself was conscious that something was wrong. He visited Dr. Quain, who assured him that his only chance lay in complete and entire rest; and, on returning home, he wrote a note in pencil addressed to his old friend, Mr. Frederick Evans, in which he mentioned his interview with the medical man, and added that he hoped to complete a cut for which a messenger was to be sent, but that he was not sure of being able to finish it. A messenger was sent in obedience to his desire, but he returned empty-handed. We return at this point to the diary of Mr. Shirley Brooks. “I called,” he says (29th of October), “at 27, Bouverie Street, and heard from Evans that he was very ill. We went off to the Terrace, Kensington. He was in bed, but no one seemed frightened, and there was a child’s party—a small one. Mrs. Leech was in tears, but certainly had no reason to apprehend the worst. He would have seen us. We remained three-quarters of an hour or so, but an opiate had been given, so it was of course felt that he ought not to be disturbed. Arranged to meet Evans at three next day;” but the fatal messenger, who will call for each and every of us, had already delivered his summons, and never more (in life) were either of the friends fated to see John Leech again. “At seven o’clock that night,” continues the narrator (in another place167), “it pleased God to release him from sufferings so severe as even to make the brave, patient, enduring man say that they were almost more than he could bear.”

Mr. Evans called on Brooks the following day (Sunday, 30th October). “After hearing all he could say, I went with him to telegraph to Mark Lemon, and also to Leech’s. Millais and Leigh at the door—heard much from them. Mrs. Chester came up—Charles Eaton, Mrs. Leech’s brother and best friend, had come. We went in and saw him ... and the poor mother, and two of the sisters, and afterwards to the chamber of death. He looked 332 noble in his calm; the hair and whiskers put back, gave up his fine forehead and handsome features—and the eternal stillness gave his face an elevated expression. I looked a very long time on my old friend’s face. We have known one another many years, and he has been engaged with me in business as well as in pleasure. He was very kind—very good—and is in heaven, whatever that means.”

London was, perhaps, more shocked at the sudden and unexpected death of John Leech than even when Thackeray was smitten. The shock radiated all over the country; for there was not a household in the land in which his name was not familiar as a household word. His personal friends were deeply affected—none more so than his attached friend, Charles Dickens. Writing at the time to Forster, in reference to his coming book, “Our Mutual Friend,” he said, “I have not done my number. This death of poor Leech (I suppose) has put me out woefully. Yesterday, and the day before, I could do nothing; seemed, for the time being, to have quite lost the power; and am only by slow degrees getting back into the track to day.” Mr. John Tenniel heard of the loss of his valued confrère that same Sunday, 30th October, and “was stunned at the news, totally unexpected by him.”168 A special meeting of the Punch staff was called by Mark Lemon on the following day; himself, Messrs. Percival Leigh, Shirley Brooks, F. C. Burnand, Tom Taylor, Charles Keene, H. Silver, John Tenniel,—all were present with the exception of Horace Mayhew. With the particulars of that meeting we of course have nothing to do; its melancholy character the reader may well imagine.

On Friday, the 4th of November, 1864, they laid John Leech to rest in Kensal Green Cemetery, “in the next grave but one to W[illiam] M[akepeace] T[hackeray]. When Annie Thackeray heard of the death, she [had] said to Mrs. Millais, ‘How glad my father will be to meet him!’ ‘And he will,’” adds the friend whose note we have transcribed.169 We take the account of his burial from Mr. Edmund Yates’s impressive and touching account in the Morning 333 Star newspaper. “The scene round the grave was a most impressive one. There, ranged round the coffin, stood the remnant of that famous body of wits who had caused the name of Punch to be famous at the ends of the earth; there, in the coffin, lay all that was earthly of him who, more than any of them, had helped to spread its renown, and to win for himself a name familiar as a household word in all our English homes. By its side stood Mark Lemon, who, for two and twenty years has presided over the weekly dinner where the good things are suggested, and the weekly sheet whereon they are inscribed; who has seen comrades fall out of the ranks in the march of life, and perish by the wayside. And such comrades! Gone the brilliant, meteoric A’Beckett; fiery, impulsive, scathing Jerrold; playfully cynical Thackeray; and now—John Leech! There stood Shirley Brooks, who since Jerrold’s death has been Punch’s literary mainstay; Tom Taylor, working now in other channels, but still attached to the staff; Horace Mayhew and Percival Leigh, old colleagues of the dead man; F. C. Burnand and H. Silver, the youngest of the corps; and John Tenniel, who had taken Mr. Doyle’s place on his secession, and worked in thorough amity with Leech. Over the coffin bowed the handsome head of Millais in overwhelming grief. All round one caught glimpses of well-known people. There, in the front rank of the crowd, was the frank, earnest face of Charles Dickens; by him Alexander Munro, the sculptor; there a group of artists—Messrs. Creswick, O’Neil, and Elmore;170 Messrs. Mowbray, Morris, Dallas, and W. H. Russell, of the Times. At the back of the grave, by the canopy, Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A.; near him a group of journalists—Messrs. Friswell, Halliday, Gruneison; Mr. Swain, the engraver, who had had for years the engraving of Mr. Leech’s drawings; Richard Doyle; Mr. Orridge, the barrister; the Rev. C. Currey, preacher of the Charter House; Lieutenant-Colonel Wilkinson, who had had John Leech for his school-fellow and fag at Charter House; while amateur art was worthily represented by Messrs. Arthur Lewis, M. F. Halliday, and 334 Jopling. And there, in the bright autumn sunshine, they laid him to his rest. Sir T. N. Talfourd relates that at the burial of Charles Lamb, ‘the true-hearted son of Admiral Burney refused to be comforted.’ It is our task to record that round the grave of John Leech there was not a dry eye, and that some of his old companions were very painfully affected. The most beautiful part of the service was read by Mr. Hole,171 in an earnest manner, broken occasionally by convulsions of grief which he had some difficulty in repressing, while here and there among the crowd loud sobs told of hearty though humble mourners.”

On the 12th of November, 1864, there appeared in the pages of the periodical he had so well served, whose pages he has permanently enriched with some of the choicest specimens of graphic satire, and with whose fortunes he had been associated from the commencement, the following touching notice from the pen of his friend, the late Shirley Brooks:—


Obiit October xxix, mdccclxiv,

Ætat 46.

“The simplest words are best where all words are vain. Ten days ago a great artist, in the noon of life, and with his glorious mental faculties in full power, but with the shade of physical infirmity darkening upon him, took his accustomed place among friends who have this day held his pall. Some of them had been fellow-workers with him for a quarter of a century, others for fewer years; but to know him well was to love him dearly, and all in whose name these lines are written mourn as for a brother. His monument is in the volumes of which this is one sad leaf, and in a hundred works which at this hour few will remember more easily than those who have just left his grave. While society, whose every phase he has 335 illustrated with a truth, a grace, and a tenderness heretofore unknown to satiric art, gladly and proudly takes charge of his fame, they, whose pride in the genius of a great associate was equalled by their affection for an attached friend, would leave on record that they have known no kindlier, more refined, or more generous nature than that of him who has been thus early called to his rest.

November the Fourth.”

156 I estimate the number of his cartoons as nearly as possible as follows:—

1842 3 1850 37 1858 30
1843 11 1851 42 1859 21
1844 42 1852 35 1860 15
1845 43 1853 32 1861 10
1846 35 1854 34 1862 4
1847 35 1855 41 1863 3
1848 38 1856 33 1864 4
1849 37 1857 33    

157 Shirley Brooks in Illustrated London News of 19th November, 1864.

158 Charles Mackay’s “Forty Years’ Recollections.”

159 “Thackeray the Humourist and the Man of Letters,” p. 12.

160 MS. Diary of the late Shirley Brooks, 1st January, 1864.

161 Died on the 18th of December, 1864, exactly within a year from the date of her son’s death.

162 Shirley Brooks in Illustrated London News of 19th November, 1864.

163 “I suggested the cut, Moses being dressed for the Fair, Johnny Russell for the Conference.” MS. Diary of the late Shirley Brooks.

164 The first time I find mention of his name is on the 22nd of March, 1864, when the late Shirley Brooks met him at a party at Mr. Ernest Hart’s, 69, Wimpole Street. Some years afterwards, he adds in a note, “Met him next at Whitby.” I first meet with his name at a Punch council, 7th November, 1864: “Dumaurier first time.”

165 Mr. Yates in Morning Star.

166 MS. Diary of Shirley Brooks: 29th October, 1864.

167 Illustrated London News, 19th November, 1864.

168 MS. Diary of Mr. Shirley Brooks.

169 Ibid.

170 H. K. Browne (“Phiz”), T. Landseer, George Cruikshank, Marcus Stone, Sir John Gilbert, and Mr. Philips, R.A., were also present.

171 The Rev. J. Reynolds Hole, author of “A Little Tour in Ireland,” to which his friend, John Leech (who accompanied him), contributed some of the most charming of his illustrations.




In a work dealing with comic artists and caricaturists, one is somewhat puzzled to decide what place to assign to the distinguished draughtsman who died a year and a half ago. Ultimus Romanorum, the last of the great trio of designers, Cruikshank, Leech, and Browne, his career offers to us a singular paradox; for although not born a comic artist (as we shall endeavour presently to show), he executed a vast number of comic illustrations; and while, so far as we know, never guilty of a caricature in his life, the larger portion of his drawings are caricatures pure and simple.

We might cite a hundred examples of this tendency to exaggeration, but one shall suffice. In the etching wherein Miss Nickleby is introduced to her uncle’s objectionable friends, Miss Nickleby as well as the “friends” are remarkable for the largeness of their heads and the flimsiness of their bodies; while the men, if not exactly like those described by Pliny, or quoted from him (without acknowledgment) by our Sir John Mandeville, are at any rate too grotesque for human beings. If humanity offers to our study in daily life a variety in form, face, and feature, comprising eccentricities as well as excellencies, such specimens, nevertheless, as poor Smike or Mr. Mantalini were never designed in its atelier.


[“Master Humphrey’s Clock,” 1840-1.


[Face p. 336.

The artist’s invincible tendency to exaggeration, that is caricature (in the Johnsonian definition of the word), was observed by his friend and ally, the late Charles James Lever, who remarked with reference to his illustrations of the novel of “Jack Hinton,” “Browne’s sketches are as usual caricatures; they make my scenes too riotous 337 and disorderly. The character of my books for uproarious people and incident I owe mainly to Master Phiz.”172 When Samuel Lover was sent over to Brussels by McGlashan, the publisher, to take a likeness of the novelist, he was accompanied by Browne, the object of whose visit was to confer with the author on the subject of these very illustrations. Lever was so anxious to restrain him from caricaturing his countrymen, that he even begged Browne to accompany him to Dublin for the purpose of seeing the natives, instead of the wretched specimens of Milesian humanity to be met with in London.

Another fault of this artist, which will be apparent to any one Lack of Vitality. acquainted with his work, is the weakness of his outline, and the singular absence of solidity, stability, and even of vitality in his figures. There is no lack of powerful situations in Frank Smedley’s novel of “Lewis Arundel,” but Browne’s illustrations are characterised by an utter absence of vitality, while shadow usurps the place of substantial bone and muscle. There are the usual thread-paper men in tail hats, with trousers so tightly strapped to their feet that they must go through the tedium of existence in intolerable discomfort. In one picture he shows us a fragile, attenuated man holding another fragile, attenuated man over the well of a staircase by the waistband of his trousers, a feat which, difficult of performance to a Hercules, would be absolutely beyond the power of a person so fragile, so absolutely destitute of bone and muscle, as the hero of this particular episode.

The weakness of which we now speak becomes strikingly apparent when he enables us to compare him with either of the distinguished trio to which he himself belonged. Such an opportunity offers itself in Mr. R. W. Surtees’ novel of “Mr. Facey Romford’s Hounds.” Compare John Leech’s illustration, Fresh as a Four-Year Old (the last he executed for the novelist before his firm, free hand was paralysed by death), with Hablot Knight Browne’s first etching in the same book. A better subject, surely, could scarcely 338 have been selected: the hounds have just been let out of the kennel, and in actual life would, of course, be scampering over the place in all the exuberant consciousness of canine freedom; the scene, in fact, would be redolent of life and excitement, which is wholly wanting to Browne’s illustration. “Phiz,” from boyhood, had been accustomed to horses, and frequently hunted with the Surrey hounds, and to this circumstance is due the facility with which he usually delineated horses in the hunting field. In the delineation of hunting scenes, however, he falls far behind John Leech, and this inferiority is strikingly manifested in the illustration to which we are now referring. If you compare the fragile men, horses, and hounds, with those in Leech’s last etching, you cannot fail to be struck with the vigour and life-like reality of the latter drawing. Browne’s women as a rule are delicate, fragile, consumptive-looking creatures. The one in the etching referred to is both physically weak and a bad horsewoman to boot—sitting her horse with all the ungracefulness of a sack of flour.

Another weakness of Hablot Knight Browne is a tendency to reproduce. If you look at any of his “interiors,” it will be apparent to you that the men and women—the furniture and fittings—the room itself, you have seen any number of times before. Charles Chesterfield becomes Nicholas Nickleby, and Nicholas Nickleby Harry Lorrequer; and with the slightest possible rearrangement, the scenes in which these gentlemen figure from time to time are so much alike, that we are reminded for all the world of the set scenes and artificial backgrounds of a photographer’s, “studio.” Take “Nicholas Nickleby,” by way of example: the room in which old Ralph Nickleby first finds his poor relations, does duty (with the slightest possible rearrangement) for the Yorkshire schoolmaster’s room at the Saracen’s Head; while a room in Kenwig’s house becomes successively an apartment in Mr. Mantalini’s residence, a green-room, Mr. Ralph Nickleby’s office, Mr. Charles Cheeryble’s room, a hairdresser’s shop, and so on. The illustrations to a novel may not inaptly be compared to the scenery and characters of a drama, and a theatre furnished with such a dearth of scenery and 339 “properties,” would be a poor affair indeed. This tendency to reproduction becomes strikingly apparent wherever a romantic hero puts in an appearance. Thus, Mrs. Trollope’s Charles Chesterfield in a frock coat, becomes in a tailcoat Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby; in another frock coat, Martin Chuzzlewit; while a military surtout converts him, with equal facility, into Charles Lever’s Jack Hinton or Harry Lorrequer, according to the exigencies of the costume. The strange part of it is that this peculiarity is shown almost exclusively in the delineation of heroes of fiction. The imagination of the artist is evidently impressed by marked and clearly defined characters such as Squeers, Pecksniff, Gamp, Dombey, Macstinger, Quilp, or Carker, and their identity as a rule is admirably preserved. If pressed for an explanation, it is possible that Browne might have pleaded that heroes of romance present for the most part, with a few notable exceptions, a strong family likeness, being little better than dummies, introduced by their authors for the purpose of setting off personages possessed of greater force of character and decision of purpose. Be this as it may, the singular failing we refer to is certainly no mere fancy of our own. Charles Lever himself complained that in the supper scene of his second number, Lorrequer bore so striking a resemblance to his contemporary, Nicholas Nickleby; while his biographer, Mr. Fitzpatrick, observes that the identity of Harry Lorrequer is never maintained throughout the novel, that mercurial hero being alternately represented old, young, good-looking, and ugly. So much indeed was Lever impressed with the fact, that he actually besought the artist to represent O’Malley the same person throughout the book. A knowledge of Irish physiognomy was essential to any illustrator of Lever’s novels, and Hablot Knight Browne was so innocent of this knowledge that the author begged him to go down to the House of Commons and study the faces of the Irish members there, as the only accessible method of obtaining the necessary insight in England.

Hypercriticism, happily, would be out of place in a work dealing with caricaturists and graphic humourists of the nineteenth century. Faults such as those the author has ventured to indicate appear to 340 him faults indeed of a grave character; but, while conscious of defects which cannot fail to be patent to the most ordinary observer, he is conscious at the same time of the great abilities of the artist, who like those of whom he has already treated, has passed over to the ranks of “the great majority.” If the scenery and properties are sometimes poor,—if there is no genius, and oftentimes a lack of decision and reality, there is on the other hand no lack of talent; and there are many designs of Hablot Knight Browne which place him in the very first rank of English book illustrators. His etching of The Goblin and the Sexton (the eccentric yew-tree notwithstanding), Mr. Pickwick in the Pound, and the very admirable little etchings which we find in that rare Paper of Tobacco by “Joseph Fume,” may be favourably compared with some of the best comic illustrations of George Cruikshank himself.


[“Master Humphrey’s Clock,” 1840-1.


[Face p. 340.

Can any picture tell its story better than that first illustration to “Nicholas Nickelby.” “Nicholas Nickleby,” where old Ralph pays his “visit to his poor relations”? Mark the supercilious air with which the vulgar moneylender hands his hat to Nicholas, and the unveiled contempt with which he receives the attentions of poor Mrs. Nickleby and her daughter. A no less admirable illustration is the one wherein we see the Yorkshire schoolmaster nibbing his pen, whilst Snawley consigns his wretched step-sons to the tender mercies of the principal of Do-the-boys Hall. Observe the extraordinary anatomical proportions, hat and toggery, of Mr. Newman Noggs, as he stretches up to the top of the coach to hand a letter to Nicholas. Regard the nightcap and head-gear of the detestable Mrs. Squeers, as she administers matutinal brimstone and treacle to the starving pupils of Do-the-boys Hall. Mark the astonishment of Squeers and his victim, as the savage goes down under the thundering blows of Nickleby’s cane. Look at the old imbecile declaring his passion for the foolish Mrs. Nickleby. Behold his knee-breeches and shorts protruding from the chimney, when his benighted intellect prompted him, at the imminent hazard of strangulation, to pay a visit to the object of his affections via that unusually circuitous route. Look at the fatal brawl between Sir Mulberry Hawk and his hopeful pupil; and rejoice at the final retributive 341 justice which overtakes Mrs. Squeers, when she falls into the hands of her late victims, and is drenched in her turn with the loathsome brew she had so long administered to themselves.

Specially noteworthy is the bright little picture on the title-page, “Martin Chuzzlewit.” where the coach, with its spanking four-in-hand, gallops on its distant journey after depositing Martin Chuzzlewit at his destination. The guard, as he mounts up behind, watches with curious interest Pecksniff’s unctuous reception of the new pupil. Nothing can well be cleverer than his realization of the Pleasant Little Family Party at Mr. Pecksniff’s, where that hypocritical personage, surrounded by foes, assumes a look of persecuted benevolence, and gravely requests his daughter, when he takes his chamber candlestick that night, to remind him to be more particular in praying for Mr. Anthony Chuzzlewit, “who had done him an injustice.” The Warm Reception of Mr. Pecksniff by his Venerable Friend gives us the liveliest satisfaction. If old Chuzzlewit’s face is one of the “caricatures” referred to, it must be remembered that it is distorted with passion, and the fact is forgotten in the satisfaction with which we hail the detection and punishment of the whining rascal, the sting of which is envenomed by the astounding revelation that all the while he has been weaving his web of falsehood around his intended victim, he himself has been the dupe of the man he had schemed so long to hoodwink and deceive.

Regard again Quilp, the dwarf, and his elfin errand boy (in the “The Old Curiosity Shop.” “Old Curiosity Shop”), enjoying the agonies of Sampson Brass as he essays to smoke a long churchwarden. Behold Quilp upon his back taunting the large fierce dog with hideous grimaces, triumphant in the consciousness that the shortness of his chain will not permit him to advance another inch. Look at Mrs. Jarley’s wax-work brigand, “with the blackest possible head and the clearest possible complexion,” going his rounds in the company of little Nell, his eyes fixed on the miniature of his lady-love, and his hand pressed to his stomach instead of his heart. Behold the dwarf once more, as he entertains Sampson and his sister Sally in the ruined outhouse overlooking the river; the rain pours down on the head of the hapless 342 attorney, who, with coat buttoned up to the chin, and evidently suffering from severe influenza, looks the picture of shivering discomfort. Although in no better plight herself, Sally rejoices in the sufferings of her brother, and as she sips her tea, her repulsive features are distorted with a hideous grin of satisfaction. Quilp, seated on his barrel beneath the only remnants of a roof, occupies a comparatively dry corner, and looks the very picture of rollicking fun and enjoyment.

But incomparably one of the best of Browne’s comic illustrations is the one in “Dombey,” wherein Captain Cuttle encounters Mrs. Macstinger in charge of Bunsby, bent on rivetting matrimonial chains upon that confused and ancient mariner. Bunsby is one of the “Bunsby.” happiest of Dickens’s creations; stupid as an owl, he has nevertheless an oracular mode of delivering himself, and the simple-minded Cuttle places as much reliance upon this wooden-headed sailor as the ancients did on the mysterious utterance of the Delphic Apollo. That the powerful will of Macstinger should hold himself in subjugation so long as he was under the dominion of her eye was a matter of course; but that this man of wisdom should be so easily boarded and captured by the enemy, is so absolutely beyond his simple comprehension that he scratches his head in sheer amazement. As for poor Bunsby, the cup of his humiliation is full. So far as his wooden features are capable of expression, they indicate two distinct trains of thought: a conviction that his own pretensions have been detected and exposed, and a desire to run,—an inclination repressed by the powerful clutch of his strong-minded bride, who retains his wrist in a grasp of iron. Compare the look of bewilderment on Cuttle’s face with the look of mingled contempt and triumph on the features of Macstinger; and then look at poor Bunsby!

“Phiz” began etching when he was seventeen, and was in full work when he was twenty-one. It was his three drawings on the wood for Dickens’s rare tract, “Sunday Under Three Heads,”173 which introduced him first to public notice. This was intended as a 343 protest against the cant and narrow-mindedness of the bigots whose ignorance of the sacred writings is so dense that they confound the Jewish Sabbath (i.e. the Saturday) with the English Sunday; misunderstand (which in their ignorance of Hebrew may be excusable) the directions to his own people of the Jewish law-giver,—and ignore (which is absolutely inexcusable) the dictates of common sense, and the plain directions of our Saviour and of the Gentile Apostle. The strong common sense of Charles Dickens, and of many good Christian men after him, have striven in vain to expose an error due to the narrow-mindedness of our Puritan forefathers, to whom are due also the impurities of Dryden and of the dramatic writers of the Restoration. Cant, however, has prevailed; and the English Sunday—to the delight of these fanatics, and the absolute terror of their children—remains the most unrefreshing and most doleful of the seven days of the week.

Theatrical London in 1840 was visited by an excitement second The “Jack Sheppard” Mania. only to the “Tom and Jerry” mania of 1821. The mania of 1840, if occupying a narrower area, was more morbid in its character, and certainly not less mischievous in its results. Harrison Ainsworth had brought out his peculiar romance of “Jack Sheppard,” which, resting on its own merits, might have achieved perhaps a mild popularity and done but little harm. Thanks, however, to the genius and fancy of George Cruikshank, the public became for a time Sheppard mad; the heroes presented to admiring and applauding audiences at the theatres were murderers, housebreakers, highway robbers, thieves, and their female companions. The morbid taste of the populace had in fact been thoroughly roused, a condition of things which was satirized by the artist’s little-known etching of The Way to the Gallows made Easy and Pleasant, which appeared in “The New Monthly Magazine” of 1840.174 The inventive powers of the artist were almost nil, and the rare and able etching referred to was suggested to him by John Poole, the author of “Paul Pry,” to whom we are indebted for the descriptive letterpress: “At the foot 344 of a gently sloping path strewed with flowers, stands a gibbet decorated, not with a halter, but wreaths of roses. Around it are many tombs of elegant construction, supposed to enclose the ashes of the illustrious departed. Upon one is inscribed, ‘Here repose the mortal remains of the ever-famed Jerry Abershaw’; upon another, ’Sacred to the memory of Poor Johnny Greenacre.’ A third is remarkable for its touching simplicity—’Alas! Poor Thurtell!’ Another, somewhat more elaborate, gives us ‘Burke and Hare! As they were loving friends in life, so in death are they undivided! Erected by their affectionate disciples, Bishop and May.’ Besides these there are many others all bearing names of mark and fame. The whole is surrounded by a pretty arabesque composed of crowbars and other implements of burglary, pistols, knives, death’s heads and cross-bones, halters, handcuffs, and fetters, ingeniously disposed and prettily intertwined with wreaths of roses.”

We said at the opening of this chapter that “Phiz” was not born a comic artist. He possessed a certain amount of humour, which was evoked in the first instance by the example of Cruikshank, and his abilities and desire to emulate the greater artist have enabled him unquestionably to realize many humorous designs. It is impossible, however, to examine the numerous etchings of this draughtsman, without coming to the conclusion that he is always seen at his best when not called on to exercise his purely comic powers. Take by way of example, The Venice Glass, in Ainsworth’s romance of “Crichton”; you will need no reference to the letterpress to understand it, for the artist tells his story far better than the novelist. Observe Crichton as he raises the goblet, and the poisoned wine bubbles and boils, and finally shivers the chalice into a thousand fragments; regard the agitation of Marguerite de Valois; the keen attention of Henri and his attendants. Where shall we find a finer illustration than the one in this book in which Esclairmonde is presented to Henri? The meeting of Mr. Tigg and Martin Chuzzlewit at the pawnbroker’s shop is full of pathos. Look at the poor, wasted but still handsome mother waiting her turn whilst the gin-drinking laundress pawns her flat-irons to gratify her passion for the 345 deadly drink; note the insouciance of the thoughtless musician as he twangs the guitar which he is about to pledge, though probably dependent on it for bread. Notice the pictures above,—the Bacchante pressing grapes into a wine cup,—the bailiff distraining for rent. Hablot Knight Browne has no powers which would enable us to compare him with Hogarth, and yet the grim reality of this picture Hogarth himself might almost admire.

Regard again that wondrous tailpiece at page 96 of “The Old Curiosity Shop,” where Quilp, the odious dwarf, sits up all night smoking and drinking, his countenance every now and then “expanding with a grin of delight” as his patient, long-suffering wife makes some involuntary movement of restlessness or fatigue. Look at poor, wasted, shoeless Nell, as she reclines on the settee of the public-house, surrounded by sympathisers,—the kind-hearted motherly landlady administering mental and bodily solace to the motherless child,—the poor, foolish, gambling grandfather gazing into her face with wistful anxiety. Lastly, look at the ghastly corpse of old Quilp as he lies dead amid the mud and slime of the river, which, after playing with the ugly, malicious, ill-shapen thing until it was bereft of life, flung it contemptuously high and dry upon the swamps at low tide.

“Dombey and Son” called for comparatively little exercise of “Dombey and Son.” Browne’s comic power, and consequently we shall find in this book examples of some of his finest book etchings. The pompous London merchant, the frigid influence he exercises on those about him, the distrustful look of the nurse as she brings baby Paul into his presence, the shrinking form of little Florence as the frightened child cowers with folded hands behind her repellent father’s chair, are finely depicted in the etching of The Dombey Family. In Mrs. Dombey at Home, the proud, haughty beauty chafing under the consciousness that she has been sacrificed to the wealth of the heartless merchant, takes no pains to veil the contempt she feels for the admiring men who surround her. These men (by the way) are scarcely men at all, they are all grossly exaggerated; but “Phiz,” like many artists of greater pretensions, has sacrificed everything to his 346 central figure, and the presence and bearing of the disdainful beauty makes the coup d’œil delightful. Abstraction and Recognition is a wonderful etching; both man and horse are admirably drawn, whilst the figures scowling out of the dark entry on the passing and unconscious horseman require no reference to the letterpress. In his etching of The Dark Road, Mr. Browne developed a style of etching of which he afterwards frequently availed himself, and by which (as in “Bleak House” and “Roland Cashel”) he sometimes succeeded in producing remarkable effects. It shows us a postilion driving a team of horses over a dark and dreary road bordered on either hand by dismal moorland; the streaks of the approaching dawn illuminate the edges of the landscape; the single occupant of the berlin, unable to control his agitation, stands upright, and gazes anxiously around him. So realistic is the drawing, that as we look at the flying team we may almost hear the jingle of the splinter-bars and harness as the horses rattle along the dismal road. Cruikshank, to save his life, could draw neither a horse, a tree, or a pretty woman; when he did so it was rather by accident than by design. “Phiz” (with all his faults) could draw all three, and impart to them a grace, a beauty, and a poetry peculiar to himself. Look at that etching of Carker in his Hour of Triumph, where Edith, after using the villain as a tool to revenge herself upon her husband, turns upon her miserable dupe with all the force of her superior intellect, and laughs in the face of the man she has so egregiously befooled. This really is an admirable drawing; the anger and humiliation on the face of the dumbfounded villain, who feels himself absolutely powerless in the hands of the scornful, resolute woman, are powerfully depicted. A more perfect realization of Edith Dombey it seems to us could scarcely be imagined. Leech, perhaps, might have reached the idea. He would certainly have put more breadth and solidity into the figure of Carker; but the woman he could scarcely have improved upon—I doubt if he could have matched her. As for Cruikshank, he would have given her an impossible waist, a puffy face surmounted with bandeaux of raven hair scrupulously plastered to each side of her lofty forehead; whilst Carker would have been 347 presented to us in an uncomfortable coat, hair parted and dressed after the Cruikshankian fashion, and a pair of boots at least half a yard in length.


[“Master Humphrey’s Clock,” 1840-1.


[Face p. 346.

“Bleak House” (1852-3) has been described as the most successful “Bleak House” and “Roland Cashel.” of “Phiz’s” illustrated work; but although it contains some of the best etchings he ever designed for Charles Dickens, the rest are in truth of unequal merit. Among the best may be mentioned Consecrated Ground; The Old Man of the name of Tulkinghorn; Morning; Tom All Alone’s; and the sunset scene in the Long Drawing-room at Chesney Wold. In the dreary twilight of the Ghost’s Walk and of the room in which the murder was consummated we have a pair of drawings unsurpassed by any of the illustrations he executed for Charles Lever’s “Roland Cashel,” which last contains unquestionably the finest of his designs.

Of all his illustrators, Hablot Knight Browne was the one who best suited the requirements of Charles Dickens. A man of talent without a single idea of his own, he was found more malleable and manageable than Cruikshank, who, as we have seen, would have had a hand (if he could) not only in the illustrations, but also in the management of the story. The conditions under which “Phiz” illustrated “Pickwick” were wholly different from those which poor Seymour had endeavoured to impose upon his author. “It is due to the gentleman,” says Dickens, in his preface to the “Pickwick Papers,” “It is due to the gentleman whose designs accompany the letterpress, to state that the interval has been so short between the production of each number in manuscript and its appearance in print, that the greater portion of the illustrations have been executed by the artist from the author’s verbal description of what he intended to write.” Cruikshank would certainly not have done this, and we doubt whether John Leech would have consented to work under such conditions. But as regards Browne, the case was entirely different. He had no genius or ideas of his own, and could only work from the suggestions of others. The interest and anxiety which Dickens felt in the character of the illustrations to his novels, is shown by reference to the illustrations to “Dombey.” “The points 348 for illustration, and the enormous care required, make me,” he says, “excessively anxious! The man for Dombey, if Browne could see him, the class of man to a T, is Sir A—— E——, of D——s. Great pains will be necessary with Miss Tox. The Toodle family should not be too much caricatured, because of Polly.” As the story unwinds itself, he proceeds, “Browne is certainly interesting himself and taking pains;” and again, in another letter, “Browne seems to be getting on well.” Still “Browne,” with all his pliability, found it a hard matter to please him. He made a particular point of Paul, Mrs. Pipchin, and the cat by the fire; and the result to himself was so eminently unsatisfactory that it produced a characteristic protest. “I am really distressed by the illustration of Mrs. Pipchin and Paul. It is so frightfully and wildly wide of the mark. Good heaven! in the commonest and most literal construction of the text, it is all wrong! She is described as an old lady, and Paul’s ‘miniature arm-chair’ is mentioned more than once. He ought to be sitting in a little arm-chair down in a corner of the fireplace, staring up at her. I can’t say what pain and vexation it is to be so utterly misrepresented. I would cheerfully have given a hundred pounds to have left this illustration out of the book. He never could have got that idea of Mrs. Pipchin if he had attended to the text. Indeed, I think he does better without the text; for then the notion is made easy to him, a short description, and he can’t help taking it in.” This last sentence exactly describes the man: a personal description with him did more than any amount of letterpress, however lucid.

One may readily understand this almost nervous anxiety of Charles Dickens with reference to the character of his illustrations. He worked, be it remembered, under conditions entirely different to the novelist of a later date. The etched illustrations of his day formed a most important—in some cases (the works of inferior men, such as Albert Smith, for instance) by far the most important—portion of the work itself. Under the charm of the illustrations and the mode of issue, the tale was protracted to a length which would be impossible in a novel of Charles Reade or Wilkie Collins, which depends for its success upon the skill of the novelist alone. The 349 novel issued in monthly numbers depended on two sources of attraction—the skill of the novelist and the skill of his artistic coadjutor. Dickens’ requirements, however, were of so exacting a nature that they proved in the end too exacting even for the patience of the accommodating artist, and the reader will not be surprised to learn that a coolness was ultimately established between artist and author, the outcome of which was the employment of Marcus Stone and Luke Fildes on the later novels of “Our Mutual Friend” and “Edwin Drood.”

Those who would find fault with Charles Dickens for the mode in which he controlled his artists quite fail to understand the man himself. Although he had no knowledge of the pencil, although he himself had no knowledge of drawing, he was nevertheless a thorough artist in heart and mind. There is scarcely a character in his books which does not show the care and thought which he bestowed upon its elaboration. Ralph Nickleby, Squeers, Smike, little Nell, Quilp, Barnaby Rudge, Steerforth, Paul Dombey, Lady Dedlock, Joe, each and all show how carefully they were elaborated; how distinctly they presented themselves to the retina of the mind of their distinguished creator. When this is borne in mind, it will be at once understood why the Mrs. Pipchin of Hablot Browne was not the Mrs. Pipchin with whose outward appearance and mental peculiarities the author himself was so intimately acquainted.

Notwithstanding the exhibition, after his death, of water-colours “Auriol.” and other works, which took the public by surprise, Hablot Knight Browne will continue to be known to most of us as an illustrator of books, and nothing more. “Oh! I’m aweary, I’m aweary,” he said himself in a letter to one of his sons, “of this illustration business.” Some of these illustrations, however, are wonderfully graceful, and one in particular seems to call for special notice. It will be found in the “New Monthly Magazine” for 1845, and is undoubtedly one of the best examples of the artist’s work which may be found anywhere. It represents a prisoner in a dungeon lying at the foot of a pillar, which, except in a ghastly carved work running round it of skulls and cross bones, reminds us somewhat of Bonneval’s pillar at 350 Chillon. The lights and shadows are wonderfully rendered, and the work is characterized by a softness, a beauty, and a finish only to be observed in work which took the artist’s fancy. This etching is entitled, Rougemont’s Device to Perplex Auriol; and Ainsworth’s story which it illustrates—a peculiarly unsatisfactory one—commenced, I think, in “Ainsworth’s Magazine,” passed into the “New Monthly,” when its author purchased that periodical in 1845, and (whether the novelist got himself into an intellectual fix or otherwise I know not) finished, I believe, eventually nowhere.

Browne indeed finds a place here more by virtue of his book illustrations than by reason of any just pretensions to be considered a graphic humourist. His comic powers appear to us more the result of education and emulation than natural gifts, and the consequence is, that in attempting to be funny, his work too often degenerates into absolute exaggeration. His excellencies must be sought for in his serious illustrations, which fall more within the province of the art critic than the scope and purpose of a work which treats of graphic satirists and comic artists of the nineteenth century. Some of his finest illustrations of a serious character will be found in the pages of the “Illuminated Magazine”; in Charles Lever’s admirable story of “St. Patrick’s Eve”; in the “Fortunes of Colonel Forlogh O’Brien”; in Augustus Mayhew’s “Paved with Gold”; in Ainsworth’s “Mervyn Clithero”; and “Revelations of London”; and above all, in Charles Lever’s novel of “Roland Cashel.”

Hablot Knight Browne lived to see the decline and fall of that peculiar and powerful art of book illustration which was introduced by Cruikshank; was fostered and encouraged by Charles Dickens, Charles James Lever, their imitators and contemporaries; and died, so to speak, with these distinguished men. His work in later years, as might naturally have been expected, shows a woeful decline of power; and when the suggestors from whom he derived inspiration were no longer at his back, the poverty of invention which characterized the man when left to his own devices becomes painfully apparent.


“Phiz” drew in later years for Judy and other comic papers, and it is simple justice to say that his designs are characterized by an utter absence of comic power. The true comic inspiration possessed in so wonderful a degree by Cruikshank, by John Leech, and even by Robert Seymour, he never indeed possessed. Some fifteen years before his death he suffered from incipient paralysis, and furthermore injured his thumb, which obliged him to hold his pencil between his middle and fore-fingers. Gradually this great and graceful artist dropped so far behind in the race of life that he yielded latterly to proposals to illustrate boys’ literature of a very inferior class.

In addition to an absence of comic inspiration, the creative faculty of Cruikshank and Leech was wanting to Hablot Knight Browne. In order to carry out an idea, it was necessary that it should be put into his head; for leave him to himself, and he could do absolutely nothing.175 George Cruikshank and John Leech after receiving instructions would proceed to realize them in their own way and after their own fashion; but this was not the case with Hablot Knight Browne. While he could realize the idea of another with peculiar success when the subject took his fancy, he could neither enlarge nor improve upon it, and in this lies the difference between genius and mere ability. Lacking an inherent sense of humour, he copied Cruikshank, and hence his exaggerations and failures as a comic designer; but he was ultimus Romanorum,—the last representative of the famous men whose art was fostered and encouraged by Charles Dickens, by Charles Lever, by Harrison Ainsworth, and by Richard Bentley. The services which these eminent men rendered to the novelists who like them are dead and gone can scarcely be appreciated; for we presume few will deny that their labours lent a charm, a beauty, and an interest to their works, which largely tended to promote their sale. The fortunes of “Jack Sheppard,” of “The Miser’s Daughter,” of “The Tower of London,”—the success 352 obtained by nearly all the stories of Ainsworth which obtained any success at all, was mainly due to the pencil of Cruikshank. The reputation of “Oliver Twist”—a morbid novel—was made in a great measure by him; but for John Leech, neither “Mr. Ledbury,” “The Scattergood Family,” “The Marchioness of Brinvilliers,” or “Richard Savage,” would have survived to our day. To him the novels of Mr. R. W. Surtees owe their entire popularity; while his genius has conferred vitality on the rubbish of À Beckett. It is curious, however, how little these facts were recognised at the time, and what little credit was given in contemporary reviews and by contemporary critics to the artists who rendered to successful novelists the priceless aid and assistance of their pencils.

How far the needle of “Phiz” contributed to the ultimate success of the great raconteur, Charles James Lever, we are in no position to state; that it proved a very large factor in that result there can be no manner of doubt. That success was not achieved immediately. Lever commenced life as a struggling country doctor, and “Harry Lorrequer,” first brought out in the “Dublin University Magazine,” before it appeared in illustrated shilling numbers, was almost wholly ignored by the London press, the criticisms and favourable remarks coming almost wholly from provincial journals. There was one exception by the way, a military paper, the critic of which went into such ecstacies over this sparkling military medley, that he asserted he would rather be author of “Lorrequer” than of all the “Pickwicks” or “Nicklebys” in the world. This notice (unknown to Lever) was published with the advertisements of the book, and (strange to say) gave so much annoyance to Dickens that he sent an angry reply to a civil letter which came to him shortly afterwards from the Irish novelist, and their friendly intercourse was for some years suspended in consequence.


[“Master Humphrey’s Clock,” 1840-1.


[Face p. 352.

The decline of Hablot Browne’s popularity was painfully apparent to himself. Although our chapter was written long before the appearance of Mr. Kitton’s pamphlet, we may be permitted to re-open it to extract from the latter the following melancholy observations which we find in a letter to his son, Dr. Browne: “I am at present on a 353 sporting paper, supported by some high and mighty nobs; but I fear, like everything I have to do with, now a-days, it will collapse, for some of the proprietors of the paper are also shareholders, etc., etc., in the Graphotype Company, so they want to work the two together. I hate the process; it takes quite four times as long as wood, and I cannot draw and express myself with a nasty, finicking brush, and the result when printed seems to alternate between something all as black as my hat, or as hazy and faint as a worn-out plate. If on wood, I should like it well enough; as it is it spoils four days a week, leaving little time for anything else. Oh! I’m aweary, I’m aweary! of this illustration business.”176 This seems to us inexpressibly sad. We hear nothing of it in earlier days, when he was drawing the excellent designs for “Roland Cashel,” for “Dombey,” or for “Bleak House.”

Of the works and sketches in water colour and oils exhibited in Liverpool after the artist’s death, personally we have seen nothing. They took the public by surprise, for few at least of the outer world suspected that this shy, retiring illustrator of books was a persevering and accomplished water-colour artist. We ourselves were aware of the fact, and had seen some thirty original and highly characteristic sketches, some of them studies of characters in novels of Charles Dickens and Lever; all executed prior to 1846, some in Indian ink, some in crayon, a few in pencil. Among them was a small but highly finished water-colour drawing, representing a group of seven knights in full martial panoply, and a striking effect is produced by the glint of the sun on the burnished armour of the central figure. The author of a recent sketch would cite these water colours as a complete answer to those who like ourselves maintain, in no mere spirit of detraction, that the artist possessed not one particle of genius. Surely he cannot be in earnest. If so, we have only to say, that if painting subjects in oils or water colour from the thousand and one hints to be gathered from history, fiction, or every-day life, be a test of genius, the walls of every summer and winter exhibition—to say 354 nothing of the Royal Academy—would be furnished annually with examples from end to end.

Leech died in the meridian of his fame at the early age of forty-six. Hablot Browne when he died had not only survived his talents, but his peculiarly shy and retiring nature had caused him at the age of sixty-seven to be absolutely forgotten. The famous men of letters whose works he had illustrated were dead and gone; the world of literature and of art took such small note of him that his funeral was the funeral of a private individual, and not of one who, if he did not partake in, had contributed in no considerable degree to the success of Charles Dickens and of Charles James Lever. When his passing-bell rang out upon the summer air, journalists remembered that a great artist was gone to his rest, and Punch inserted in his number of the 22nd of July, 1882, to the memory of the last of the book etchers of the nineteenth century the following graceful tribute:—

“The lamp is out that lighted up the text

Of Dickens, Lever—heroes of the pen.

Pickwick and Lorrequer we love, but next

We place the man who made us see such men.

What should we know of Martin Chuzzlewit,

Stern Mr. Dombey, or Uriah Heap?

Tom Burke of Ours?—Around our hearts they sit,

Outliving their creators—all asleep.

No sweeter gift ere fell to man than his

Who gave us troops of friends—delightful Phiz.

“He is not dead! There, in the picture-book,

He lives with men and women that he drew;

We take him with us to the cozy nook,

Where old companions we can love anew.

Dear boyhood’s friend! We rode with him to hounds;

Lived with dear Peggotty in after years;

Missed in old Ireland, where fun knew no bounds.

At Dora’s death we felt poor David’s tears.

There is no death for such a man,—he is

The spirit of an unclosed book! immortal Phiz!”

172 Fitzpatrick’s “Life of Charles Lever.”

173 Now lately republished.

174 And republished in “Poole’s Miscellany.”

175 As I notice a similar remark in one of the obituary notices of the artist’s death, I think it necessary to observe that this chapter was written while “Phiz” was yet living.

176 Mr. Kitton’s “Memoir,” p. 19.




In old and second-hand bookshops, and in booksellers’ catalogues, may often be found a book which is gradually becoming a literary rarity. It dates from 1840, and is a curiosity in its way, not only on account of the “portraits” which adorn its pages, but as a specimen of the literary padding on which men of letters (some of them distinguished) were content to employ their talents fifty years ago. It was published by Robert Tyas, of 50, Cheapside; professed to give “Portraits of the English” of the period, but served as a means of introducing certain characteristic pictorial sketches, more or less true to nature, by Kenny Meadows, an artist whose name and reputation, although he has been dead scarcely ten years, are already forgotten. Connected with these portraits are “original essays by distinguished writers,” including, amid names of lesser note, literary stars such as Douglas Jerrold, Leman Rede, Percival Leigh, Laman Blanchard, Leigh Hunt, William Howitt, and Samuel Lover. These essays, or rather letterpress descriptions, were written to the pictures, which were not drawn (as is generally supposed) in illustration of the text. The portraits are taken from almost every grade in life: from the dressmaker to the draper’s assistant, and from the housekeeper to the hangman; the last, by the way, being perhaps the most characteristic 356 sketch of the series. The best of these forty-three “pictures” is the one which faces the title-page, a gathering of the company which individually take part in this “gallery of illustration.” The designs are characteristic of the artist’s style, but possess little power of attraction, being destitute of any claim to originality either of conception or treatment. The artist’s share of the work is by far the best part of the somewhat lugubrious entertainment, which the performances of his literary associates scarcely serve to enliven. The book, however, was a success in its day, for, if we mistake not, it was followed by a second series, is even now sought after by the “collector” (not bibliomaniac), and possesses some historical value by reason of the fact that national types, such as The Diner-out, The Stockbroker, The Lion of the Party, The Fashionable Physician (that is to say, of 1840), The Linen Draper’s Assistant, The Barmaid, The Family Governess, The Postman, The Theatrical Manager, The Farmer’s Daughter, and The Young Lord, no longer live and move and act their part amongst us. A change comes over the people in the course of forty years, and some years hence our grandchildren may well smile at the extraordinary monstrosities (female) who figure in the graphic satires of 1883-4.

Kenny Meadows was the son of a retired naval officer, and was born at Cardigan on the first of November, 1790. You will look in vain for any notice of him, or of his services in the cause of illustrative art, in any of the biographical dictionaries of his own or a subsequent period; and this appears to us an unaccountable omission, for he achieved in his time considerable celebrity as an artistic illustrator of books. His work will be found bound up with that of most of his artistic confrères in nearly all the illustrated periodicals of his day; he was one of the first to introduce wood-engraving among English publishers as a means of cheap and popular illustration; he was employed by the late Mr. Ingram, in the designs for the early Christmas numbers of the Illustrated London News; he will be found amongst the number of the artists who illustrated the early volumes of Punch; he was in universal request as a designer of drawings to fairy and fanciful stories; 357 among his intimate friends were men of mark; such as Leigh Hunt, Douglas Jerrold, Charles Dickens, W. M. Thackeray, Clarkson Stanfield, David Roberts, and the Landseers; he did as much for illustrative art as, perhaps, any artist of his time; and yet, amongst men whose abilities scarcely exceeded his own in the same particular walk in art, no place is to be found in any biographical dictionary, so far at least as we know, for any mention of poor, kindly, genial, Kenny Meadows.

Besides the popular illustrated periodicals of his day, in most of which his familiar initials may be recognised, Kenny Meadows was in almost universal request both amongst authors and publishers of the time. We find him in 1832 illustrating, with Isaac Robert Cruikshank, a periodical bearing the somewhat unpromising title of “The Devil in London.” To an 1833 edition of “Gil Blas,” illustrated by George Cruikshank, he contributed a frontispiece; and we find his hand in the following: the late J. B. Buckstone’s dramas of “The Wreck Ashore,” “Victorine,” “May Queen,” “Henriette,” “Rural Felicity,” “Pet of the Petticoats,” “Married Life,” “The Rake and his Pupil,” “The Christening,” “Isabella,” “Second Thoughts,” and “The Scholar” (1835, 1836); Whitehead’s “Autobiography of Jack Ketch” (1835); “Heads of the People, or Portraits of the English” (1841); Mr. S. C. Hall’s “Book of British Ballads” (1842-44); an 1842 edition of Moore’s “Lalla Rookh”; Leigh Hunt’s “Palfrey, a Love Story of Old Times” (1842); “The Illuminated Magazine” (1843); Shakespeare (1843); “Whist, its History and Practice”; “Backgammon, its History and Practice,” by the same author; “The Illustrated London Almanacks” (from 1845 upwards); Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer’s “Leila,” and “Calderon” (1847); W. N. Bailey’s “Illustrated Musical Annual,” “The Family Joe Miller, a Drawing-room Jest Book” (1848); “Puck,” (a comic serial, 1848); Laman Blanchard’s “Sketches from Life” (1849); Samuel Lover’s “Metrical Tales and Poems;” “The Magic of Kindness,” by the brothers Mayhew; Mrs. S. C. Hall’s “Midsummer Eve;” “Punch,” up to and including the seventh volume; and (some time afterwards) its able opponent “The Man in the 358 Moon” (now exceedingly scarce).177 In these and very many other works we find him associated not only with George Cruikshank, John Leech, Hablot Knight Browne, and Richard Doyle, but with artists occupying the position of Sir John Gilbert, Frank Stone, Maclise, Clarkson Stanfield, Creswick, E. M. Ward, Elmore, Frost, Sir J. Noel Paton, Frederick Goodall, Thomas Landseer, F. W. Popham, Fairholt, Harrison Weir, Redgrave, Corbould, and Stephanoff. He was a thoroughly useful man; and a thousand examples of quaint imaginings—oftentimes of graceful workmanship—might be culled from the various works and serials in which his hand may be readily recognised.

But the merits of Kenny Meadows as an illustrator of books are very unequal. His friend, Mr. Hodder, who gives us in his pleasant “Memories” an occasional note of some of the artists with whom he was thrown in contact, says of him: “The quiet, unostentatious way in which he worked at his art, too often under the most adverse and discouraging circumstances, and the pride which he displayed when he felt he had made a ‘happy hit,’ was somewhat like the enthusiasm of a youth who had first attained the honour of a prize. As a draughtsman he never cared to be guided by those practical laws which regulate the academic exercise of the pictorial art; for he contended that too strict an adherence to nature only trammelled him, and he preferred relying upon the thought conveyed in his illustrations, rather than upon the mechanical correctness of his outline or perspective.” George Cruikshank showed, as we know, a tolerable contempt for nature when he undertook the delineation of a horse, a woman, or a tree; but it was one of the conditions of his genius that it should be left free and untrammelled to follow the dictates of its own inspiration, and the quaint effect which somehow or other he managed to impart to a design which, in its details might offend the educated taste of the art critic, made us forget the contempt too often displayed for those “practical laws” to which 359 Mr. Hodder refers. To constitute a good comic artist, not only is it necessary that he should be a good draughtsman, but certain special gifts are indispensable,—a keen sense of the ridiculous, an inherent appreciation of humour, a quick and ready invention, qualities which no amount of artificial training will bestow. They were possessed in an eminent degree by Gillray, by Cruikshank, by John Leech, but were wholly wanting to Kenny Meadows. He could draw on occasion a queer face—for that matter his faces, intentionally or otherwise, were generally queer—and an eccentric figure, and so can many persons who have a natural taste for drawing, and have learnt to handle the pencil; but the caricaturist, like the poet, nasciiur non fit, and a hundred or even a thousand queer faces or eccentric figures, without the gift of invention or originality, will not of themselves constitute the designer a comic artist. The truth is that with Kenny Meadows mannerism takes the place of genius. You will recognise his hand anywhere without the familiar “K.M.” appended to it, for all his faces are chubby (not to say puffy), and their arms and legs look for all the world as if the hand that designed them had been guided by a ruler. The delusion which led him to imagine that his “genius” would enable him to soar superior to nature is no doubt responsible in some degree for this latter eccentricity, for the artist who would be bold enough to despise the laws “which regulate the exercise of the pictorial art,” would be prepared to view Hogarth’s line of beauty with like indifference and contempt.

Kenny Meadows was one of the early illustrators of Punch, and contributed moreover to the first volume some of the best of the cartoons. Good specimens of his work will be found in Young Loves to Sell, and The Speculative Mama (sic), second vol.; in the third volume he illustrated “Punch’s Letters to His Son,” and the first of the almanacks contains six of his designs. In the fourth volume we find six of his cartoons, among them The Milk of Poor Law Kindness, and The First Tooth (the Queen and infant Prince of Wales); the doctor’s legs and shoes are thoroughly characteristic of his style, and look for all the world as if they had been drawn by a ruler. The cartoon, Punch Turned Out of France in this volume is, 360 if we mistake not, the work of Kenny Meadows. The Christian Bayadere Worshipping the Idol Siva, has reference to the tolerance which “John Company” wisely conceded to Hindoo religious ceremony, so long as its traditions were found consistent with the ordinary dictates of humanity. “The Story of a Feather” in this volume has five illustrations, two of which are very clever. Among the other cartoons we find The Modern Macheath (the Captain being Sir Robert Peel). The fifth volume contains eight of his illustrations, six being cartoons; among them, The Irish Frankenstein (badly imagined and atrociously drawn), The Water Drop and the Gin Drop are characterized by much poverty of invention, but the former is the best of the two. The Battle of the Alphabet (cartoon) is a better specimen of his work, although the legs and arms look as usual, as if drawn with a ruler. The sixth volume contains three of his cartoons, while the almanack of the year (1844) has several of his illustrations. To the seventh volume he contributed no less than thirty-one illustrations, some very good, one of the best being that of the two legal dogs quarrelling over a bone of litigation. Punch at the outset of his career had considerable difficulty in the selection of a graphic satirist, and one of his “right hand men” in those early days was a Mr. Henning, by whose side Kenny Meadows figures as an absolute genius. After his seventh volume, however, he met with artists better fitted to interpret his political and social views, and no trace of Meadows’ useful hand appears in succeeding volumes.

In stating that the merits of Kenny Meadows as an illustrator of books are unequal, and in denying to him the possession of genius, we must not be held to imply that he was deficient of talent. An excellent example of the inequality of which we speak will be found in his Shakespeare (Robert Tyas, 1843), a work selected by us for the reason that it was considered by himself and his two favourable friends as his masterpiece. Although we cannot stay to notice all the strange conceptions with which he has enriched this book, we may be permitted to wonder whence he derived his preposterous ideas of Caliban, of Malvolio, of Shylock, of Juliet’s nurse, of 361 Launce’s unhappy dog, of the Egpytian Sphynx in “Antony and Cleopatra.” The model of Shylock was evidently some “old clo’” dealer in Petticoat Lane. The figure of Armado (“Love’s Labour’s Lost”) is so wonderfully put together that his anatomy must sooner or later fall to pieces; the ghost of Hamlet’s father is the ghost of some colossal statue, certainly not the shade of one who had worn the guise of ordinary humanity. The head of the gentle Juliet might derive benefit from the application of a bottle of invigorating hair wash. The figure of the monk in “Romeo and Juliet” literally cut out of wood, carries as much expression in its face as a lay figure; while the walls of Northampton Castle (in “King John”) are so much out of the perpendicular, that the courtiers seem less concerned at finding the dead body of Arthur, than in seeking a place of shelter from the impending downfall. Henry the Eighth, although acknowledged to be a corpulent, was not, so far as we know, a deformed man; the preposterous “beak” of Richard the Third occupies one half of his otherwise remarkably short face, and its owner (in the well-known tent scene) suffers from an attack of tetanus instead of an accession of mental terror. These eccentric realizations, in which he has succeeded in setting all the rules of drawing at defiance, are rendered the more remarkable by reason of the circumstance that the work now under consideration is interspersed with numerous charming drawings, the effect of which is wholly marred by these erratic performances. Meadows was an admirable water-colour artist, and a scarce edition of this work contains some engravings of Shakespearian heroines after his designs. The Germans fancy they understand Shakespeare better than ourselves (an amiable and complimentary weakness), and the work was favourably received in Germany, the artist’s conception of Falstaff, in particular, being so highly appreciated that a bronze statuette was modelled after it, which enjoyed a large sale.

His ideas of female beauty were almost as eccentric as those of Cruikshank. A couple of beauties of the Meadows type will be found at page 3 of Henry Cockton’s “Sisters” (Nodes, 1844), where one lady is represented to us with a neck like that of a 362 giraffe, whilst her sister beauty is sensibly inconvenienced by a lock of hair which has strayed into her eye,—a favourite device, by the way, of the artist. This book, now scarce (in the illustration of which he was assisted by Alfred Crowquill), is adorned with a portrait on steel, after a painting by Childe, in which the author is presented to us in a white waistcoat and dress coat, with a pen in his hand, leading us to the inference that his clumsily constructed novels (one of which—“Valentine Vox,” thanks perhaps to the illustrator, Onwhyn—still holds its ground) were written in evening costume.

But notwithstanding these failures, Kenny Meadows has happily left behind him work of a very much better kind. His Christmas pictures in particular are impressed with the kindly, genial humour which characterized the man; the “Illuminated Magazine,” a scarce and valuable work, contains sixty-three very fine specimens of his pencillings, including the illustrations to his friend Douglas Jerrold’s “Chronicles of Clovernook,” admirable in every respect, probably the finest designs he ever executed. The wood engravings in this charming serial have probably never been surpassed; we seldom see woodcuts in these days which equal the splendid workmanship of E. Landells.178 After the third volume, the “Illuminated Magazine” passed into other hands, and although Kenny Meadows continued its mainstay for a time, the rest of the excellent artists left, and the literary matter visibly declined.

To the famous “Gallery of Comicalities” Kenny Meadows contributed Sketches from Lavater and Phisogs of the Traders of London. During the last decade of his life his services in the cause of illustrative art were rewarded and recognised by a pension from the Civil List of £80 per annum. Like George 363 Cruikshank he remained hale and vigorous to the last, proud of his age, and fond of asserting there was “life in the old dog yet.” That this was no idle boast may be inferred from the fact that within a few months of his death he was engaged in painting a subject from his favourite Shakespeare. At the time of his death (in August, 1874) he had almost completed his eighty-fifth year.


In hunting up materials for the present work, we have come at various times upon editions (specimens, perhaps, might be the better word) of the “Pickwick Papers,” which will possess an interest in the eyes of the collector. The first issue, in the original green sporting covers designed by Seymour, is of course exceedingly scarce; we have never indeed seen a perfect copy, which would probably be worth some ten pounds, while the same edition bound may be purchased at prices varying from twenty-four shillings to three guineas, according to the condition of the volume. An Australian edition was published at Launceston, Van Dieman’s Land, in 1838, with plates after “Phiz” by “Tiz,” facsimiles on stone of the earliest issue of the parts in England. At a West of England bookseller’s we met with a first edition bound up with etchings by Onwhyn,179 “Peter Palette,” and others. Then there are the twenty-four etchings from remarkably clever original drawings by Mr. F. W. Pailthorpe in illustration of scenes in “Pickwick,” of which the proofs before letters were published at three guineas; and lastly, there is the rare first edition, containing all the plates by Seymour and “Phiz,” supplemented by the two “suppressed” etchings, which are credited (wrongly) to the hand of Buss.

Among the etchers of book illustration after 1836, we may name 364 Robert William Buss, whose etchings will be found in Mrs. Trollope’s “Widow Married” (a sequel to her “Widow Barnaby”), which made its appearance in the “New Monthly Magazine” of 1839, and whose hand will also be found in Marryat’s “Peter Simple,” “Jacob Faithful,” Harrison Ainsworth’s “Court of King James II.,” etc. Although his designs lack the genius, the artistic power, the finish and the comic invention of Leech or Cruikshank, they show nevertheless that as an etcher and designer he was possessed of exceptional talent and ability. The first experience, however, of this able artist as an etcher was peculiarly unfortunate and vexatious.

When poor Seymour shot himself in 1836, the draughtsman first called in to supply his place was Robert William Buss. He had been recommended to Messrs. Chapman and Hall by John Jackson, the wood-engraver, but does not seem at that time to have had any practical experience of etching, as he himself explained to the member of the firm who called upon him. Mr. Buss, in fact, was decidedly indisposed to undertake the work, being then engaged on a picture he was preparing for exhibition, and he undertook it only after considerable pressure. He immediately began to practise the various operations of etching and biting in, and produced a plate with which the publishers expressed themselves satisfied. Two subjects were then selected for illustration, The Cricket Match, and The Fat Boy Watching Mr. Tupman and Miss Wardle. When, however, Mr. Buss began to etch them on the plate, he found, having had little or no experience in laying his ground, that it holed up under the etching point; and as time was precious, he placed the plates in the hands of an experienced engraver to be etched and bitten in. Had opportunity been given him, his son (from whom we take this account) tells us he would have cancelled these plates and issued fresh ones of his own etching. Designs were prepared by him for the following number, when he received an intimation that the work of illustrating the “Pickwick Papers” had been placed in other hands. The illustrations referred to were suppressed, and the collectors who are so anxious to secure an edition with the two “Buss plates,” will be pleased to learn that, 365 although the design was his, not one line of the etchings which bear his name are due to the artist’s point.180

The father of Robert William was an engraver and enameller, and under his directions he acquired a knowledge of this technical branch of art; but evincing a taste and preference for drawing and painting, he became a pupil of George Clint, A.R.A., under whose direction he studied subject and portrait painting. He painted fifteen theatrical portraits for Mr. Cumberland in illustration of his “British Drama,” and a collection of these works was afterwards exhibited at that melancholy monument to past exhibitions, the Colosseum in the Regent’s Park. He was employed by Charles Knight in the illustrations to his “Shakespeare,” “London,” “Old England,” “Chaucer,” and the now forgotten “Penny Magazine,” for all of which publications he executed many designs on wood.

It must not be supposed because Robert William Buss was not considered the right man to illustrate “Pickwick,” that he was therefore an indifferent draughtsman. His finest book etchings are probably those which he executed for Harrison Ainsworth’s novel of “The Court of James II.”; but in a higher and far more ambitious walk in art he was not only more successful, but achieved in his time a considerable reputation. Among his pictures may be mentioned one of Christmas in the Olden Time, which, apart from its merits as a painting, showed that he possessed considerable antiquarian knowledge. Other works of his are, The Frosty Morning, purchased by Lord Charles Townshend; The Stingy Traveller, bought by the Duchess of St. Albans; The Wooden Walls of Old England, the property of Lord Coventry; Soliciting a Vote, and Chairing the Member; The Musical Bore; The Frosty Reception; Master’s Out; Time and Tide Wait for no Man; Shirking the Plate; The First of September; The Introduction of Tobacco; The Biter Bit; The Romance; and Satisfaction. For Mr. Hogarth, of the Haymarket, he painted four small subjects illustrative of Christmas, entitled, The Waits; Bringing in the Boar’s Head; The Yule Log, 366 and The Wassail Bowl; all afterwards engraved. For Mr. James Haywood, M.P., he executed a series of drawings illustrative of student life at Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, London, and Paris; while two vast subjects, The Origin of Music and The Triumph of Music (each twenty feet wide by nine feet high), were painted for the Earl of Hardwick, and are, or lately were, in the music saloon at Wimpole, in Cambridgeshire. His pictures were seventy-one in number, twenty-five of which were engraved. On the whole, therefore, Robert William Buss might afford to bear the refusal of Charles Dickens’s patronage with equanimity.

The paintings and etchings of Robert William Buss evince a strong leaning in the direction of comic art, a taste which prompted him, in 1853, to deliver at various towns in the United Kingdom a course of very successful and interesting lectures on caricature and graphic satire, illustrated by several hundred examples executed by himself. In 1874, the year before his death, he published for the amusement of his friends, and for private circulation only, the substance of these lectures, under the title of “English Graphic Satire and its Relation to Different Styles of Painting, Sculpture, and Engraving.” The numerous illustrations to this work were those drawn for his lectures by the artist, and reproduced for his book by the process of photo-lithography. So far as comic art and caricaturists of the nineteenth century are concerned, the author has comparatively little to say; but the work is valuable as regards the subject generally, and might have been published with advantage to the public. The artist delivered also lectures on “The Beautiful and the Picturesque,” as well as on “Fresco Painting.”

Mr. Buss, if not very original as a comic designer, possessed nevertheless a keen sense of humour. One of his pictures (engraved by H. Rolls), entitled Time and Tide Wait for no Man, represents an artist, sketching by the sea-shore, so absorbed in the contemplation of nature that he remains unconscious of the fast inflowing tide, and deaf to the warnings of the fisherman who is seen hailing him from the beach.



The comic publications which either preceded or ran side by side with Punch had for the most part a somewhat short and unsatisfactory career. Perhaps the most successful of them was Figaro in London, 1831-36, which we have already noticed. The Wag, a long-forgotten publication, enjoyed a very transient existence. In 1832 appeared Punchinello, on the pages of which Isaac Robert Cruikshank was engaged. Punchinello, however, ceased running after its tenth number. Asmodeus in London, notwithstanding the support it derived from Seymour’s pencil, was by no means a commercial success. The Devil in London was a little more fortunate. This periodical commenced running on the 29th of February, 1832, and the illustrations of Isaac Robert Cruikshank and Kenny Meadows enabled it to reach its thirty-seventh number. Tom Dibdin’s Penny Trumpet ignominiously blew itself out after the fourth number. The Schoolmaster at Home, notwithstanding Seymour’s graphic exertions, collapsed at its sixth number. The Whig Dresser, illustrated by Heath, enjoyed an existence exactly of twelve numbers. The Squib (1842) lasted for thirty weeks before it exploded and went out. Puck (1848), illustrated by W. Hine, Kenny Meadows, and Gilbert, died the twenty-fifth week after its first publication. Chat ran its course in 1850 and 1851. The Man in the Moon, under the literary guidance of Shirley Brooks, Albert Smith, G. A. Sala, and the Brothers Brough, enjoyed a comparatively glorious career of two years and a half. Diogenes (started in 1853, under the literary conduct of Watts Phillips, the Broughs, Halliday, and Angus Bethune Reach), notwithstanding the graphic help rendered by McConnell181 and Charles H. Bennett, gave up the ghost in 1854. Punchinello (second of the name) flickered and went out at the seventh number. Judy (the predecessor of the present paper) appeared 1st February, 1843, but soon died a natural death. Town Talk, edited by Halliday and illustrated by McConnell, lasted a very limited time. London, started by George Augustus Sala in rivalry of Punch, soon ceased running; while the 368 Puppet Show, notwithstanding the ability of Mr. Procter, enjoyed but a very brief and transitory existence. The strong and healthy constitution of Punch enabled him not only to outlive all these, but even a publication superior in some important respects to himself. We allude to the Tomahawk, whose cartoons are certainly the most powerful and outspoken satires which have appeared since the days of Gillray.182

Among the draughtsmen whom Punch called in to help him in his early days was a useful and ingenious artist, inferior in many respects to Kenny Meadows, his name was Alfred Henry Forrester, better known to most of us under his nom de guerre of “Alfred Crowquill.” The scribes of the “Catnach,” or Seven Dials school, of literature are satirized by Forrester (in the second volume), wherein we see a “Literary Gentleman” hard at work at his vocation of a scribe of cheap and deleterious literature, consulting his authorities—“The Annals of Crime,” a “Last Dying Speech and Confession,” and the “Newgate Calendar.” In The Footman we have a gorgeous figure, adorned with epaulets, lace, and a cocked hat, reading (of all things in the world) the “Loves of the Angels,” over a bottle of hock and soda-water! The Pursuit of Matrimony under Difficulties is a more ambitious performance. “Punch’s Guide to the Watering Places” (vol. iii.) is illustrated with a number of coarsely executed cuts, wholly destitute of merit; the fourth volume contains a cartoon entitled Private Opinions. But the graphic humour of Alfred Crowquill, although amusing and sometimes bright and sparkling, was unsuited to the requirements of a periodical such as Punch. As better men came forward, he gradually dropped out of its pages, and we see nothing more of him after the fourth volume.

Alfred Crowquill.

[From “The Book of Days.”


[Face p. 368.

Alfred Crowquill.

[From “The Book of Days.”


“When any person passed through Highgate for the first time on his way to London, he, being brought before the horns, had a mock oath administered to him, to the effect that he would never drink small beer when he could get strong, unless he liked it better; that he would never eat brown bread when he could get white, or water-gruel, when he could command turtle-soup; that he would never make love to the maid when he might to the mistress; and so on  .  according to the wit of the imposer of the oath, and simplicity of the oath-taker.”

[Face p. 369.

Alfred Crowquill was a sort of “general utility” man, essaying the character of a littérateur as well as that of an artist, and achieving as a natural consequence no permanent success in either. In his literary capacity, Alfred Henry Forrester made his first appearance (we believe) in “The Hive,” and “The Mirror,” under the editorship 369 of Mr. Timbs; while as an artist he illustrated his own writings, besides those of a host of other authors. An early effort of his pencil is entitled, Der Freyschutz Travestied; this was followed by “Alfred Crowquill’s Sketch Books,” which were dedicated to the (then) Princess Victoria, by command of the Duchess of Kent. We find him afterwards employed on the pages of the “New Monthly,” but on the death of its editor, Mr. Theodore Hook, his useful talents procured him an engagement on the staff of “Bentley’s Miscellany,” to whose pages he was not only an indefatigable contributor, but rendered it substantial assistance in its difficulties with George Cruikshank. The best of his illustrative works (mostly designs on wood) were executed for this periodical, and selections were afterwards collected and published under the title of “The Phantasmagoria of Fun.”

In these days a man like Forrester would be almost at a discount, but at the time when he started there was less competition, and a useful, clever man, like he undoubtedly was, was fortunately not lost. His hands, in fact, were always full, and a list of some of the books to which his pen and his pencil contributed will be found in the Appendix. One of the best of his designs was a title-page he executed for a work published by Kent & Co., under the title of “Merry Pictures by the Comic Hands of Alfred Crowquill, Doyle, Meadows, Hine, and Others” (1857), a réchauffage of cuts and illustrations which had previously done duty for books of an ephemeral character, such as “The Gent,” “The Ballet Girl,” and even of the superior order of “Gavarni in London.”183 Some excellent designs executed by him on wood will be found in Messrs. Chambers’ “Book of Days.” In his dual character of a writer and comic artist, Crowquill was an inveterate punster. Leaves from his “Memorandum 370 Book” (1834) will give us a good idea of his style. In “Tea Leaves for Breakfast,” Strong Black is represented by a sturdy negro carrying a heavy basket; a tall youth with a small father personating Hyson; a housemaid shaking a hall mat, to the discomfort of herself and the passers-by, is labelled Fine dust; a cockney accidentally discharging his fowling-piece does duty for Gunpowder; while Mixed is aptly personified by a curious group of masqueraders. The vowels put in a comical appearance: A with his hands behind him listens to E, who points to I as the subject of his remarks, which must be of a scandalous character, as the injured vowel looks the picture of anger and astonishment. E finds a ready listener in O, who opens his mouth and extends his hands in real or simulated amazement and horror.

Crowquill was a clever caricaturist, and began work when he was only eighteen. We have seen some able satires of his executed between the years 1823 and 1826 inclusive. One of the best, published by S. Knight in 1825, is entitled, Paternal Pride: “Dear Doctor, don’t you think my little Billy is like me?” “The very picture of you in every feature!” Ups and Downs (Knights, 1823), comprise “Take Up” (a Bow Street runner); “Speak Up” (a barrister); “Hang Up” (a hangman); “Let-em-Down” (a coachman); “Knock-em-Down” (an auctioneer); “Screw-em-Down” (an undertaker). The following are given as Four Specimens of the Reading Public (Fairburn, 1826): “Romancing Molly,” “Sir Lacey Luscious,” a “Political Dustman,” and “French à la Mode.” Two, in which he was assisted by George Cruikshank, entitled, Indigestion, and Jealousy, will be found in the volume published (and republished) under the name of “Cruikshankiana.” The latter shows on the face of it that, while Crowquill was responsible for the design, the etching and a large share of the invention are due to Cruikshank.

Chas. H. Bennett.

[“Shadow and Substance.”

“... creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school.”—As You Like It.

[Face p. 371.

If not a genius, the man was talented and clever,—a universal favourite. He could draw, he could write; he was an admirable vocalist, setting the table in a roar with his medley of songs. Even as a painter he was favourably known. Temperance and Intemperance were engraved from his painting in oils, and called forth a letter of 371 thanks from the great apostle of temperance, Father Mathew himself. Other works were The Ups and Downs of Life, the well-known President and Vice President (both engraved), and many others. A clever artist in “black and white,” two of his pen-and-ink sketches—The Huntsman’s Rest and The Solitary—were honoured with a place among the drawings at the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1846. His talents did not end here; most of the Christmas pantomimes of his time were indebted to him for clever designs, devices, and effects. The kindly, genial, gifted man died in 1872, in his sixty-eighth year.


Some of our readers may possibly remember seeing in one of the comic publications published concurrently with or shortly after the appearance of Mr. Charles Darwin’s work, a series of comical designs ridiculing the theory of the “origin of species” in a manner which must have astonished as well as amused the learned philosopher. The origin of the genus footman, and of the dish he carries to his master’s table, is traced out as follows: The dish carries a bone, which eventually finds its way into the jaws of a mongrel cur with a peculiarly short tail. The process then goes merrily onwards; the dog gradually develops; his skin turns into a suit of livery with buttons, the dog-collar gradually assumes the form of a footman’s tie, until the process is ended and the species complete. In like manner, a cat develops into a spinster aunt; a monkey into a mischievous urchin; a pig into a gourmand; a sheep into a country bumpkin; a weasel into a lawyer; a dancing bear into a garrotter; a shark into a money-lender; a snail into the schoolboy to which Shakespeare likens him; a fish into a toper, and so on. These “developments” (twenty in number), which were dedicated to Mr. Darwin, are signed “C. H. B.” and these are the initials of Charles H. Bennett, one of the gentlest, most promising, and withal most original graphic humourists of the century.

Amongst the earliest of the serials which he illustrated was, we believe, Diogenes, a sort of rival of Punch, which made its appearance and ran a brief course in 1853-4. Associated with him in the illustrations 372 were McConnell and Watts Phillips, the latter of whom contributed largely also to the literary matter. We find a clever design of his (in Leech’s style) in the second volume: “Now, gentlemen of the jury,” says a brazen-faced barrister, “I throw myself upon your impartial judgment as husbands and fathers, and I confidently ask, Does the prisoner [the most murderous-looking ruffian un-hung] look like a man who would knock down and trample upon the wife of his bosom? Gentlemen, I have done!”

There was considerable originality in the designs of Bennett, which is more particularly manifested in the well-known series of humorous sketches in which the effect intended to be produced is effected by means of the shadows of the figures represented, which are supposed to indicate their distinguishing failings and characteristics. Among them may be mentioned a tipsy woman amused at the shadow cast by her own figure of a gin bottle; an undertaker, in his garb of woe wrung from the pockets of widows and orphans, casts the appropriate shadow of a crocodile; a red-nosed old hospital nurse of a tea-pot; a worn-out seamstress of a skeleton; a mischievous street boy of a monkey; an angry wife sitting up for a truant husband of an extinguisher; a tall, conceited-looking parson, with a long coat, of a pump; while a sweep, with his “machine,” to his mortal terror beholds his own shadow preceding him in the guise of Beelzebub himself. The series is continued in a work published by W. Kent & Co. in 1860, under the title of “Shadow and Substance,” the letterpress of which is contributed to Bennett’s pictures by Robert B. Brough. Literary work of this description, like William Combe’s “Doctor Syntax,” is necessarily unsatisfactory; but the pictures themselves are distinctly inferior to the series which preceded them, the best being Old Enough to Know Better,—a bald-headed, superannuated old sinner behind the scenes, presenting a bouquet to a ballet girl, his figure casting a shadow on the back of the scene of a bearded, long-eared, horned old goat.

Chas. H. Bennett.

[“Shadow and Substance.


[Face p. 372.

We are in no position to give a detailed list of Charles Bennett’s work, which was of a very miscellaneous kind, comprising among others a series of slight outline portraits of members of parliament, 373 which appeared in the Illustrated Times, an edition of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” edited by the Rev. Charles Kingsley; “John Todd,” a work by the Rev. John Allen; “Shadows,” and “Shadow and Substance,” just spoken of; “Proverbs, with Pictures by Charles H. Bennett,” etc., etc. His talent at last attracted the notice of the weekly Punch council, and he received the coveted distinction of being engaged on the permanent staff of that periodical.

His life, however, was a brief one. The diary of Shirley Brooks, who took much personal interest in him, refers with some anxiety to his illness on the 30th of March, 1867. On the 31st of March the report was somewhat more favourable; but the 2nd of April brought a letter from the editor of Punch, Mark Lemon, which said that Charles Bennett had died between the hours of eight and nine o’clock that morning. “I am very sorry,” adds Shirley Brooks in an autograph note appended beneath the letter referred to. “B[ennett] was a man whom one could not help loving for his gentleness, and a wonderful artist.” The obituary notice by the same hand which appears in Punch records that “he was a very able colleague, a very dear friend. None of our fellow-workers,” it continues, “ever entered more heartily into his work, or laboured with more earnestness to promote our general purpose. His facile execution and singular subtilty of fancy were, we hoped, destined to enrich these pages for many a year. It has been willed otherwise, and we lament the loss of a comrade of invaluable skill, and the death of one of the kindliest and gentlest of our associates, the power of whose hand was equalled by the goodness of his heart.” Charles Bennett was only thirty-seven when he died.

He left a widow and eight children unprovided for, for his health having precluded it, no life insurance had been effected. The Punch men, however, with the unselfishness which so nobly characterizes them, put their shoulders to the wheel for the family of their stricken comrade. “We shall have to do something,” said Shirley Brooks in his diary of the 3rd of April; and they did it accordingly. A committee was immediately started, on which we find the names of 374 Messrs. Arthur Lewis,184 Wilbert Beale, Mark Lemon, Du Maurier, John Tenniel, Arthur Sullivan, and W. H. Bradbury. Then came rehearsals, and, on the 11th of May, a performance at the Adelphi in aid of the Bennett fund. Mr. Arthur Sullivan had, in conjunction with Mr. F. C. Burnand, converted the well-known farce of “Box and Cox” into an operetta of the most ludicrous description. This was the opening piece—the forerunner of “Pinafore,” “Pirates,” “Patience,” and other triumphs. Arthur Sullivan himself conducted, and the players were Mr. Du Maurier, Mr. Quinton, and Mr. Arthur Blunt. Then followed “A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing,” in which Mesdames Kate Terry, Florence Terry, Mrs. Stoker, Mrs. Watts (the present Ellen Terry), and Messrs. Mark Lemon, Tom Taylor, Tenniel, Burnand, Silver, Pritchett, and Horace Mayhew took part. This was succeeded by Offenbach’s “Blind Beggars,” who were admirably personated by Mr. Du Maurier and Mr. Harold Power. The evening concluded with a number of part songs and madrigals sung by the Moray Minstrels—so called from their chiefly performing at Moray Lodge, the residence of Mr. Arthur Lewis. Between the two portions of their entertainment, Shirley Brooks came on and delivered an address written by himself, which contained the following allusion to him for whose family the generous work had been undertaken:—


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[Back to p. 375.

“Only some friends of a lost friend, whose name

Is all the inheritance his children claim

(Save memory of his goodness), think it due

To make some brief acknowledgment to you.

Brief but not cold; some thanks that you have come

And helped us to secure that saddened home,

Where eight young mourners round a mother weep

A fond and dear loved father’s sleep.

Take it from us—and with this word we end

All sad allusion to our parted friend—

That for a better purpose generous hearts

Ne’er prompted liberal hands to do their parts.


You knew his power, his satire keen but fair,

And the rich fancy, served by skill as rare.

You did not know, except some friendly few,

That he was earnest, gentle, patient, true.

A better soldier doth life’s battle lack,

And he has died with harness on his back.”

The last verse alludes to Kate Terry’s approaching marriage:—

“Last, but not least, in your dear love and ours,

There is a head we’d crown with all our flowers.

Our kindest thanks to her whose smallest grace

Is the bewitchment of her fair young face.

Our own Kate Terry comes, to show how much

The truest art does with the lightest touch.

Make much of her while still before your eyes—

A star may glide away to other skies.”

By this performance, a second which took place at Manchester on the 29th of July, and the efforts of Shirley Brooks and the members of the committee, a large sum was raised.


The Punch volumes, prior to his withdrawal from its pages, are interspersed with numerous mirth-provoking drawings on wood by the late Mr. Thackeray. Probably the best of these will be found in the “Novels by Eminent Hands,” in one of which (in amusing burlesque of Phiz’s spirited title-page to “Charles O’Malley”) we see the hero flying over the heads of the French army. Charles Lever was nervously sensitive to ridicule, and, although he laughed at and enjoyed the clever jeux d’esprit in which “Phil Fogarty,” “Harry Jolly-cur,” “Harry Rollicker,” etc., put in their respective appearances, he declared nevertheless, with evident vexation, that he himself might just as well retire from business altogether. This, indeed, he proceeded to do; and although we miss from that time the rattling heroes of the Frank Webber and Charles O’Malley school, we are indebted to Thackeray for the striking proof which Charles Lever was thus enabled to afford us of the versatility of a genius which enabled him to change front and alter his style with manifest advantage to his literary reputation.


The fact of his waiting upon Dickens at his chambers in Furnival’s Inn “with two or three drawings in his hand, which strange to say he did not find suitable” for “Pickwick,” has been told so often that there is no occasion for repeating it again; but the circumstances under which he seems to have sought the interview not being, so far as we know, stated anywhere, we shall now proceed to relate them. Thackeray was in London when Seymour shot himself in 1836. The death of the latter caused a vacancy in the post of illustrator to “Figaro in London,” which at that time Seymour was illustrating as well as “Pickwick,” and such vacancy was supplied by Thackeray, who, I think, continued to illustrate it until the paper died a natural death. His designs for “Figaro in London” were drawn in pen and ink on paper, and transferred to the wood by the engravers, Messrs. Branstone and Wright, and the remuneration he received for them was very trifling, at most a few shillings each. It was probably this circumstance which put into his head the idea of illustrating “Pickwick.” From what we know of the graphic abilities of Thackeray and the fastidious requirements of Dickens, we may readily understand why the post rendered vacant by Seymour’s suicide was given to an abler artist.

We wish that from a work dealing with comic art in the nineteenth century the name of Mr. Thackeray might be omitted; for no notice of him, however short, would be just or complete which failed to refer to his book illustrations. To do this we must separate Thackeray the artist from Thackeray the man of letters. Regarding him simply in the character of illustrator of the novels of W. M. Thackeray, we are bound in justice to the memory of that great and sterling humourist, to say that he has undertaken a task which is manifestly beyond his powers. While Thackeray with his pen could most effectively describe a fascinating woman, like Becky Sharp, the illusion vanishes the moment his artist essays to draw her portrait with his pencil. While Thackeray’s women are pretty and fascinating, well dressed and accomplished, the artist’s women on the contrary are hideous; their waists commence somewhere in the region of their knees; and their clothes look as if they had been 377 piled on their back with a pitchfork. The same remarks apply to the men; while the originals are witty or clever, handsome or well-dressed, those presented to us by the artist are destitute of calf, and their limbs so curiously constructed that the free use of them as nature intended would be a matter of utter impossibility. Those defects are the more noticeable because the artist has shown in his admirable essays on George Cruikshank and John Leech how thoroughly he was alive to the possession of artistic genius in others.

The admiration which we have for Thackeray the man of letters, and the way in which we have already expressed that admiration, render it unlikely that the drift of these remarks will be misunderstood. While rejoicing that the admirable tales and satires of the humourist are uninjured by illustrations which are altogether unworthy of them, we venture to suggest how much better the result might have been had the latter been entrusted, as in the case of “The Newcomes,” to other hands, and the artist contented himself with the initial letters and designs on wood with which his writings are pleasantly interspersed. We have seen it somewhere stated (we think in the volume entitled “Thackerayana”) that the author’s rapid facility of sketching was the one great impediment to his attainment of excellence in illustrative art. Some of his designs indeed bear on their face evidence of the rapidity with which they were thrown off; but no satisfactory explanation appears to be possible of his contempt for what Mr. Hodder has termed the “practical laws which regulate the academic exercise of the pictorial art,” and his apparent ignorance of the art of balancing his figures so as to enable them to stand upright, to walk straight, or to move their limbs with the grace and freedom assigned to them by nature. One of the designs to “The Virginians” shows a horseman, who in the letterpress is described as crossing a bridge at full gallop, whereas in the picture both man and horse will inevitably leap over the parapet into the river below. Nothing could possibly avert the catastrophe, and the effect thus produced is due, not to the manifest carelessness and haste with which the sketch is thrown off, but to a 378 palpable defect in the artistic powers of the designer himself. Yet in the face of defects so patent and so palpable we have found it gravely stated, “The world which is loth to admit high excellence in more than one direction, has never fitly recognised Thackeray’s great gift as a comic draftsman. Here [i.e. in a work edited by his daughter] he will be found advantageously represented; inferior, it is true to the unjustly neglected Hablot Browne (’Phiz’), but often equalling if not sometimes surpassing the greatly over-rated John Leech.”

Ay! “the world is loth to admit high excellence in more than one direction,” and experience has taught it that few men, however gifted, are capable of exercising two different arts with an equal measure of success. Thackeray was both a genius and an artist, but the world has long recognised the fact that the former manifested itself only when he laid down the pencil and took up the pen. If called on to prove his incapacity to illustrate his own work, we will refer the reader to his admirable novel of “Vanity Fair.” The time selected for the story is the early part of the present century; and on the plea that he had “not the heart to disfigure his heroes and heroines” by the correct but “hideous” costumes of the period, Thackeray has actually habited these men and women of 1815 in the dress of 1848! Cruikshank, Leech, “Phiz,” or Doyle, it is unnecessary to say, would have been guiltless of such an absurdity; and the difficulty in which the gifted author found himself, and the confession of his inability to cope with it, afford the clearest possible evidence of his utter incapacity to illustrate the story itself. If any further proof be wanted, look at the designs themselves. Captain Dobbin would be laughed out of any European military service; such a guardsman as Rawdon Crawley could find no place in her Majesty’s guards; “Jemima” (at p. 7), “Miss Sharp in the schoolroom” (p. 80), the children waiting on Miss Crawley (p. 89), the figures in the fencing scene (p. 207), “The Family Party at Brighton,” “Gloriana” trying her fascinations on the major, “Jos” (at p. 569), and “Becky’s second appearance as Clytemnestra,” without meaning to be so, are caricatures pure and simple; and yet these are 379 admirable compared with the designs to “The Virginians,” which may safely be reckoned amongst the worst in the entire range of English illustrative art. Contrast them with illustrations confessedly not up to the severe standard of excellence required by the art critic, but admirably adapted for their purpose, Mr. Doyle’s etchings to “The Newcomes,” and remark the immeasurable superiority of the latter.





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W. M. Thackeray.

[“The Rose and the Ring.


[Back to p. 379.

And yet, in justice to the great humourist of the nineteenth century, let us hear what another great writer has to say upon the very illustrations which seem to us to call for such severe animadversion. After telling us that Thackeray studied drawing at Paris, affecting especially Bonnington (the young English artist who died in 1828), Mr. Anthony Trollope goes on to say, “He never learned to draw,—perhaps never could have learned. That he was idle and did not do his best, we may take for granted. He was always idle, and only on some occasions, when the spirit moved him thoroughly, did he do his best even in after life. But with drawing—or rather without it—he did wonderfully well, even when he did his worst. He did illustrate his own books, and every one knows how incorrect were his delineations. But as illustrations they were excellent. How often have I wished that characters of my creating might be sketched as faultily, if with the same appreciation of the intended purpose. Let any one look at the ‘plates,’ as they are called, in ‘Vanity Fair,’ and compare each with the scenes and the characters intended to be displayed, and then see whether the artist—if we may call him so—has not managed to convey in the picture the exact feeling which he has described in the text. I have a little sketch of his, in which a cannon-ball is supposed to have just carried off the head of an aide-de-camp,—messenger I had perhaps better say, lest I might affront military feelings,—who is kneeling on the field of battle and delivering a despatch to Marlborough on horseback. The graceful ease with which the duke receives the message though the messenger’s head be gone, and the soldierlike precision with which the headless hero finishes his last effort of military obedience, may not have been portrayed with well-drawn 380 figures, but no finished illustration ever told its story better.”185 We read these remarks with profound astonishment, and can only ask in reply: If, as Mr. Trollope has admitted, Thackeray “never learned to draw,—perhaps never could have learned,” how he could manage “to convey” in any of his pictures “the exact feeling he has described in the text”?—how, in the face of the admitted incorrectness of “his delineations,” he could be in any way fitted to illustrate a novel of such transcendent excellence as “Vanity Fair”?

It has been assumed, without any sort of authority, that it was only when Thackeray found he could not succeed as an artist that he turned to literature. The statement is altogether unwarranted. At or about the very time he was engaged in drawing the cuts for “Figaro in London,” he was—if we are to judge of the sketch of “the Fraserians” in the “Maclise Portrait Gallery,” in which young Thackeray may easily be recognised—writing for “Fraser’s Magazine.” Be this, however, as it may, it seems tolerably certain that the rebuff he received from Dickens had no hand in turning him into the path of letters, towards which his genius and unerring judgment alone most fortunately guided him.

177 There is a scarce edition of the “Bon Gaultier Ballads,” which contains some unacknowledged tailpieces, etc., by Kenny Meadows; in all subsequent editions these are omitted—why, we know not.

178 So great was the scarcity of good engravers in 1880, that in September of that year the proprietors of the Graphic newspaper acknowledged the difficulty they experienced in obtaining the assistance of high-class engravers, and stated their intention to found a school of engraving on wood. Specimens of a new style of illustration have lately come from America, which appear in illustrated serials; some are good, but the majority, notwithstanding the song of praise with which they were first received, are nothing less than abominable.

179 Onwhyn’s name occurs frequently in illustrative literature. He etched a set of designs for “Pickwick” and “Nicholas Nickleby;” for Mr. Henry Cockton’s “George St. Julian,” and a translation of Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of Paris.” He is well known as the illustrator of “Valentine Vox,” “Fanny the Little Milliner,” and other works. Some of his best designs will be found in Mrs. Trollope’s “Michael Armstrong.” He occasionally displays some ability, but his performances are very unequal.

180 See Mr. Alfred G. Buss, in “Notes and Queries,” April 24th, 1875.

181 A very clever and promising artist, who died early, of consumption.

182 As the Tomahawk appeared in 1867, it does not come within the scope of the present work.

183 A work produced by David Bogue, in 1849, and illustrated by the celebrated French caricaturist, which professes to give sketches of “London Life and Character.” Allowing for the unfaithfulness of the portraits, which are wholly Parisian, these designs possess unquestionable merit. The literary contributors were Albert Smith, Shirley Brooks, Angus B. Reach, Oxenford, J. Hannay, Sterling Coyne, and others.

184 Afterwards married Kate Terry.

185 “Thackeray,” by Anthony Trollope, in “English Men of Letters,” p. 7.




We gather from the article in “The Month” which followed his death, and to which we have to acknowledge materials of which we have availed ourselves in the revision of the present chapter,186 that Richard Doyle’s first work was The Eglinton Tournament, or the Days of Chivalry Revived, which was published when he was only fifteen years old. Three years later he produced A Grand Historical, Allegorical, and Classical Procession, a humorous pageant which the same authority tells us combined “a curious medley of men and women who played a prominent part on the world’s stage, bringing out into good-humoured relief the characteristic peculiarities of each.” Apart from his talent, it was no doubt the fact of his being his father’s son—the son of John Doyle, the once famous and eminent HB—which first attracted the attention of the promoters of Punch, and he was only nineteen when, in 1843, he was taken on the regular pictorial staff of that periodical. It was to the cheery, delightful pencil of Richard Doyle that the paper owed much of the popularity which it subsequently achieved.

“It was from his father that he not only inherited his artistic talent, but received, and that almost exclusively, his artistic training.” The writer in “The Month” goes on to tell us that John Doyle would not allow his son “to draw from models; his plan was to teach the 382 boy to observe with watchful eye the leading features of the object before him, and then some little time after reproduce them from memory as nearly as he could.... He had no regular training in academy or school of art; he painted in the studio of no master save his father; and it is curious to see how his genius overleapt what would have been serious disadvantages to an ordinary man.... He attached himself to no school; he was not familiar, strange to say, with the masterpieces of foreign artists. He had never been in Paris, or Rome, or Vienna.” It will be well for the reader to bear this in mind, because Doyle is one of the few book illustrators or etchers whom the professional art critic has condescended to notice, and it will enable him the better to understand and appreciate the soundness of his criticism. No one, we are told, owed less than Richard Doyle “did to those who had gone before him; and if this rendered his works less elaborate and conventional, it gave them a freshness and originality which might have been hampered if he had been forced into conformity with the accepted canons of the professional studio.”187 The writer of the article from which we have quoted would seem to have read what Mr. Hodder has told us respecting his friend Kenny Meadows, for the following is certainly not new to us: “He was not a self-taught artist, for he was trained by one who had a genius kin to his own, but he was an artist who had never forced himself into the observance of those mechanical rules and canons which to ordinary men are necessary to their correct painting (just as rules of grammar are necessary to correct writing), but hamper and trammel the man of genius, who has in himself the fount whence such rules proceed, and instinctively follows them in the spirit, though not in the letter. So far as they will forward the end he has in view, and no farther.”188 It will be seen by the above that the kindly writer gives Doyle credit for genius, and we who are strictly impartial will cheerfully admit that if he had not positive genius,—which we somewhat doubt,—he was certainly one of the most genial and graceful of comic designers.


It was Punch’s practice during the earlier years of his career to produce a new cover with each succeeding volume.189 Richard Doyle, however, signalized his accession by the contribution of a wrapper which was considered too good to be thrown aside at the expiration of a few months. The well known and admirable design was stereotyped, and still forms, with certain modifications, the permanent cover of Punch’s weekly series.

Specially worthy of note amongst his Punch designs may be mentioned The Napoleon of Peace (Louis Philippe), and The Land of Liberty, “recommended to the consideration of Brother Jonathan.” In the latter, allusion is made to the Mexican war, rifle duelling and rowdyism, repudiation, Lynch law, and the then but no longer “peculiar institution.” These will be found in the thirteenth volume, with a design of great excellence, Punch’s Vision at Stratford-on-Avon, supposed to occur in the house of Shakespeare.

A new English (?) party had been growing up and gradually forcing itself into English politics. This was the Peace-at-any-price party, the members of which, oblivious of the fact that the best preservative of peace is to be found in a perpetual state of readiness for war, erased from their minds all remembrance of the position won for the nation by our glorious army and navy, and ruled that national honour and national obligations must now be considered subordinate to the interests of peace, trade, and commerce. Conspicuous among these men of the new school was Mr. Cobden, an able, earnest, but (so far as our foreign policy was concerned) thoroughly mistaken enthusiast. He figures as “Peace” in Doyle’s cartoon of John Bull between Peace and War (i.e. the Duke of Wellington). In Gentlemen, make your Game while the Ball is Rolling (1848), the best cartoon ever designed by Richard Doyle, the various European monarchs are engaged at roulette under the auspices of Punch himself. The ball is the world, and the edges of the board are respectively inscribed, “Reform,” “Progress,” “Republicanism,” “Equality,” “Constitutional Government.” 384 “Anarchy,” and “Liberalism.” Bomba of Naples having staked a large sum, he and other monarchs follow the erratic movements of the ball with absorbing attention. In the background may be seen the then Queen of Spain and Louis Philippe, who, having staked their all and lost, are just leaving the apartment. Another, following up the same subject, is the political sea serpent of “Revolution” suddenly appearing above the surface of the sea and upsetting, one after another, the cockle-shell boats in which the various European sovereigns are endeavouring to get to shore. The writer in the Catholic “Month” points out the fact that “this picture was drawn in the earlier part of the year, before the Roman revolution, and the Holy Father was still riding safely unharmed by the monster which is working havoc in France and Germany, and Austria and Spain.” In The Citizen of the World we find a capital skit upon the “admirable Crichton” delusion which made my Lord Brougham fancy himself in every character he chose to assume, or on any subject to which he condescended to give his attention, facile princeps. Here we find him figuring in turn as an English Lord Chancellor, a German student, a French subject, a French National Guard, an American citizen, a Bedouin Arab, a Carmelite monk, a Chinese mandarin, an Osmanli, a red Indian, a Scottish shepherd, and by the unmistakable nose and self-complacent smirk on his countenance, it is clear that in each and every character Henry Lord Brougham feels himself thoroughly at home. The Sleeping Beauty is a clever composition. “Beauty,” by the way, is Lord John Russell, and amongst the sleeping attendants may be recognised the Duke of Wellington, Benjamin Disraeli, Colonel Sibthorpe, and Lord William Bentinck; while the ever indispensable Brougham of course puts in an appearance, this time in the character of a jester.

Richard Doyle, as we have seen, was young when he joined the ranks of the Punch staff. Young men are apt to “dream dreams,” and one of Richard Doyle’s was in truth a charming one. In Ireland: a Dream of the Future, he shows us our Queen gazing into the depths of an Irish lake, wherein she beholds prosperous towns, smiling fields, a contented peasantry, flourishing homesteads, a land flowing with 385 milk and honey. On the opposite bank sit in dreary solitude a starving cottier and his family. This was Richard Doyle’s dream in 1849. He did not live to wake to the reality of 1884: half a dozen “Gladstone” bags filled with American dynamite, the property of subjects of a republic who allows her mongrel murderers to plot the deaths of thousands of the people of a friendly nation without lifting a hand or a finger to restrain them. A home government too weak to pass a law which would stop these outrages by hanging these foreign miscreants as high as Haman. These formed no part of course of the young artist’s dream. He delighted in sunshine. The year 1850 was memorable for the repeal of the window tax, one of the most extraordinary impositions which ever crossed the inventive mind of a Chancellor of the Exchequer. “Hollo! old fellow,” says a workman to his family, hailing the unwonted appearance of the sunbeams in their dark and dreary apartment, “Hollo! old fellow; we’re glad to see you here.”

Among the numerous illustrations which Doyle designed for Punch, probably the most original were the series entitled “Manners and Customs of ye Englishe,” which, under the title of “Bird’s-eye Views of English Society,” he afterwards continued in the Cornhill Magazine in a more elaborate form. The “Manners and Customs” form a curious record of the doings of the period, and remind us of “Sam Cowell” and the cider cellars, the Jenny Lind mania, Julien and his famous band, Astleys, the Derby day, and many of the forgotten scenes and follies in which some of us may have mingled in days gone by. They are very clever so far as they go; but none of them, as the writer in “The Month” would have us believe, are at all “worthy of” or in any way remind us of “Hogarth” (why are all the writers on comic art immediately reminded of Hogarth?). “Each face in one of these pictures—A Prospecte of Exeter Hall, showynge a Christian Gentleman denouncynge ye Pope,” says the same writer—“deserves a careful study, and tells the tale of bigotry, prejudice, and gaping credulity which has made Exeter Hall a bye-word among men.” Although we agree with the writer on this subject, we would at the same time take leave to remind him that the Catholics are singularly 386 fortunate in England compared with the religious freedom or tolerance enjoyed by Protestants in Catholic countries—in Italy for instance, or in Spain. As for “bigotry,” let him look only at Catholic France during the reign of priestcraft there, where an actor of the position of Talma, writing with reference to a proposed monument to his English brother, John Kemble, could add by way of shameful contrast, “Je serai trop heureux ici si les pretres me laissent une tombe dans mon jardin!”

When we first completed this chapter, and while the artist was yet living, we deemed it better to say as little as possible in reference to the conscientious motives which induced him to throw up his lucrative position on Punch, and with it the whole of his splendid prospects in comic art; and this course we had decided to follow after Richard Doyle had been removed from us by death. As, however, the Catholic organ has entered fully into the subject, not only is every cause for further reticence removed, but by being placed in a position to understand causes and motives, we are enabled to do justice to the memory of this most generous and unselfish of men.

The Catholics have cause to feel satisfied with the results of what the benighted Protestants of England are apt to term the “Papal Aggression.” The conduct of the latter in relation to this portentous event is thus described by “The Month”:—“In 1850 the Catholic Hierarchy was established in England, and the Protestant public raved and stormed and talked bigoted nonsense without end respecting this new invasion. Parliament passed the futile and obsolete Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and Punch took up the popular cry. Cardinal Wiseman was represented as ‘tree’d’ by the Papal bull, and comic verses and personal ridicule was lavished on the Pope, the new hierarchy, and Catholics generally.

“Doyle remonstrated, but received answer that, as he had been allowed to turn Exeter Hall and its doings into ridicule, it was only fair that his own opinions should have their turn. But those who used this argument little knew, and could scarcely be expected to know, the difference between the devotion of supernatural faith and 387 the bigotry of a self-chosen creed. Doyle was anything but narrow or over-scrupulous. It was not any of the cartoons which was the immediate occasion of the step that he took, nor was it (as some of the notices of him have intimated) any mere personal attachment to Cardinal Wiseman. ‘I don’t mind,’ he said, ‘as long as you keep to the political and personal side of the matter, but doctrines you must not attack.’ Douglas Jerrold and Thackeray were not likely to appreciate this reversal of the general sentiment, which resents personal attack above all else. ‘Look at the Times,’ they argued; ‘its language has been most violent, but the Catholic writers on its staff do not for that reason resign. They understand, and the world at large understands, that the individual contributor is not responsible for the opinions expressed by other contributors in articles with which he has nothing to do.’ ‘That is very well in the Times,’ was Doyle’s answer, ‘but not in Punch. For the Times is a monarchy [we believe these were his very words], whereas Punch is a republic.’ So, when a week or so later an article, attributed to Jerrold himself, jeeringly advised the Pope to ’feed his flock on the wafers of the Vatican,’ it was too much for Doyle. Dignified protest was not sufficient now. To be any longer identified with a paper which could use such language was intolerable to the faithful soul. To ply his skilful fingers and busy inventive brain in behalf of those who scoffed at the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar was out of the question. His connection with Punch must cease. But is he bound in conscience to throw away a good income and congenial work, because there were expressed opinions different from his own in a paper in which, republic though it was, solidarity was scarcely possible? Who would expect that in a comic journal each and all of the contributors should agree with each and every sentiment expressed? Never mind; whatever Richard Doyle might have been strictly bound to do, generosity at least urged him to make the sacrifice—the sacrifice of his career, of his future success it may be. At least he could show that Catholic belief was no empty superstition, no set of mere traditional observances, which sat lightly on the man of culture, even if in his heart he accepted them at 388 all. So he wrote to resign his connection with Punch, stating the reasons plainly and simply. This was in 1850, after he had been contributing for more than six years. Now he must simply start afresh, in consequence of what his Protestant friends regarded as an ecclesiastical crotchet. He must turn aside from the path of worldly success; he must give up all for conscience’ sake. But as the Daily Telegraph remarks, in an article respecting him that does it honour, ‘He made a wise and prudent choice. The loss was ours, not his; and, apart from the claims of his genius to admiration, such conduct at the critical moment of a career will never cease to command respect.’”

Passing by (as we may afford to do) the assertion that we Protestants “raved and stormed and talked bigoted nonsense without end respecting this new invasion,” and the somewhat unnecessary boast that Lord John Russell’s Ecclesiastical Titles Bill has been suffered to become a “futile and obsolete” measure, we would recognise the value of the writer’s remarks as establishing in the clearest possible manner the perfect honesty and unselfishness of the motives which induced the artist to resign his connection with Punch, and to throw up the chances of an assured and brilliant future. We think however, that the value of his statement does not end here. We may here acknowledge that, while admitting the perfect purity and disinterestedness of Doyle’s motives, we ourselves never thoroughly understood them until we had read the article from which we have quoted. We had taken into consideration the fact that when he took this decided step he was but twenty-five years of age, and we suspected (let us honestly own it) that other influences might have been at work independent of the artist himself, of which we as Protestants must always remain ignorant. There are grounds on which Protestant and Catholic writers may meet one another even in connection with religious questions; and although a “bigoted” Protestant, I am glad to admit that the writer’s clear and lucid statement has removed an impression that was absolutely without foundation.

With respect, however, to the ultimate consequences of this decisive 389 step, the Catholic writer and ourselves are wholly at variance. “We are inclined to believe,” continues the former, “that apart from the respect he earned by his noble sacrifice, Mr. Doyle achieved a higher reputation in consequence of his retirement from comic journalism, than if he had continued to employ his pencil in its services all his life through. It is true that his name was not, towards the end of his life, so familiar to the popular mind of England as was that of John Leech at the end of his career, and as that of Du Maurier at the present time, but the work which he did in his later life was more lasting and more world-wide. Punch is an English periodical; you must be an Englishman to understand the allusions. The humour is essentially and almost exclusively English; it would never attain any great popularity in other English-speaking nations, in spite of its undoubted claim to be the first comic journal in the world. If Doyle had confined himself to the pages of Punch, or directed his energies mainly to the weekly issue of some design in its numerous columns, the limnings of his pencil would scarcely be known outside of England, whereas all over the continent of America, and in the English colonies, the old Colonel Newcome, and the Marquis of Farintosh, Lady Kew, and Trotty Veck meet us with their familiar faces as we turn over the Transatlantic editions of Thackeray and Dickens, not to mention the exquisite paintings, of which we shall have more to say presently, exhibited in the Grosvenor Gallery, and to be found in many a country mansion as a lasting memorial of Dicky Doyle.” Does the writer seriously mean to tell us that Doyle could not illustrate Thackeray and Dickens at the same time and side by side with his illustrations for Punch or any other serial of a satirical character? Granted that Punch is a periodical appealing to English tastes and sympathies, yet it was through the introduction obtained by means of its pages that the artist probably obtained employment upon the very works to which the writer refers, and upon which (as he claims) his reputation will rest.

Nor do we, nor can we, admit that, out of the circle of his coreligionists, or the still narrower circle of educated unbiassed minds, 390 Doyle reaped much respect by the “noble sacrifice” of which the writer speaks. English prejudice looks with special coldness on conscientious motives it does not understand, and with which it can have but little sympathy. Doyle was a man of purer motives and finer sympathies than George Cruikshank; but the same insular prejudice which conduced to the ruin of George Cruikshank, wrecked the future prospects of an artist almost as original in some respects as the more brilliant George. From the moment that Doyle retired from Punch, English fanaticism and English prejudice persisted in regarding him as a supporter of the “Papal aggression,” and he permanently lost from that moment the ground which his talent and his reputation had so honourably won for him. From the moment he deemed it his duty to retire from the circle of literary and artistic wits and humourists with whom he was then associated, he took himself practically out of the range of comic art, and the public ceased to trouble itself about him, although it had lost (in the expressive language of Mr. Thackeray) “the graceful pencil, the harmless wit, the charming fancy,” of one of the most genial and promising of English graphic satirists of the modern time. Before he left Punch he had executed for the periodical upwards of five hundred illustrations, of which nearly eighty are cartoons.

But Richard Doyle manifested the honesty of purpose which was a part of his noble nature by other sacrifices than his retirement from Punch. From the friendly hand which has strewn flowers upon his grave, we learn that at one time he was offered a handsome income to draw for a periodical started some years ago, but declined the engagement because he disapproved of the principles of those by whom it was conducted. “At another he had a similar offer made him by a distinguished statesman on behalf of a political journal, in which the work would have been light and the remuneration excellent.” He was offered his own terms to illustrate an edition of Swift’s humorous works; but here too he refused, because he did not admire the morality of the witty Dean of St Patrick’s. “In these and other cases like them, religion, virtue, high principle, carried the day against interests which would have proved too much 391 for any but a man of Doyle’s noble and lofty character.” His biographer points out the fact that all this while he had to look to his pencil for bread, and denies the statement, made by one of the leading newspapers at the time of his death, that during the latter part of his life he was independent of his profession.

In one set of illustrations, now very scarce and little known, Doyle has shown that he possessed eminent powers as a caricaturist. We have a set of lithographs before us, entitled, “Rejected Cartoons,” a sort of pictorial “Rejected Addresses,” supposed to be intended for the then new Houses of Parliament, some of them caricatures of the works of living artists—Maclise, Pugin, etc., whose styles are closely imitated and most amusingly burlesqued. Some of them are irresistibly droll, such as King Alfred sending the Danes into a Profound Slumber with the Sleepy Notes of his Harp; “Canute reproving the Flattery of his Courtiers;” The Faces of King John and his Barons at the Signing of Magna Charta; Perkin Warbeck in the Stocks; The Meeting of Francis and Harry in the Field of the Cloth of Gold, etc. Few people with whom the touch of Richard Doyle is perfectly familiar would recognise his hand in these amazing and amusing cartoons. We met with them at a bookstall twenty years ago, unconscious until lately that they were due to his pencil.

The once celebrated “Adventures of Brown, Jones, and Robinson” would alone secure for this artist an eminent position amongst the number of English comic designers. Graphically relating the experiences of the most ordinary class of continental tourists, they cannot fail to bring to the recollection even of the most commonplace traveller some of the experiences which may have actually happened to himself. Doyle of course enlarges on these experiences as his fancy and imagination suggest; but after all, there is little which might not have actually befallen any ordinary English travellers such as this unlucky trio. The episode of “Jones’s Portmanteau undergoing the ordeal of Search” at Cologne; The scene at the “Speise-Saal” Hotel; The Jewish “Quarter of the City of Frankfort, and what they saw there”; The Gambling Scene at 392 Baden: The Descent of the St. Gothard; The Academia at Venice; will appeal to the actual experiences of nearly every continental tourist; and notwithstanding its extravagant drollery, little Browne’s adventure at Verona is sufficiently possible to remind one of personal vicissitudes encountered off the track or on the frontiers, which might almost match the experiences of this personally uninteresting little sketcher.

Richard Doyle.

[“Brown, Jones & Robinson,” 1855.

Robinson (solo): “I stood in Venice—,” etc. Jones and Brown, having heard something like it before, have walked on a little way.

[Face p. 392.

Besides Punch, Mr. Doyle’s hand will be found in the following:—“The Fairy Ring,” Leigh Hunt’s “Jar of Honey,” Professor Ruskin’s “King of the Golden River,” Montalba’s “Fairy Tales from all Nations,” “Jack and the Giants,” “The Cornhill Magazine,” “Pictures from the Elf World,” “The Bon Gaultier Ballads,” Thackeray’s “Rebecca and Rowena,” Charles Dickens’s “Battle of Life,” “The Family Joe Miller,” Mr. Tom Hughes’ “Scouring of the White Horse,” “Pictures of Extra Articles and Visitors to the Exhibition,” Laurence Oliphant’s “Piccadilly,” “Puck on Pegasus,” PLanche’s “Old Fairy Tales,” À Beckett’s “Almanack of the Month,” “London Society,” and Mr. Thackeray’s “Newcomes.” Writing of this last, Mr. Hamerton says, “I never regretted the hard necessity which forbids an art critic to shut his eyes to artistic shortcomings more heartily than I do now in speaking of Richard Doyle. Considered as commentaries on human character, his etchings are so full of wit and intelligence, so bright with playful satire and manly relish of life, that I scarcely know how to write sentences with a touch at once light enough and keen enough to describe them”;190 and then the critic goes on to expose the glaring faults which characterize Mr. Doyle’s performances from a purely artistic point of view, his feeble attempts of light, his undeveloped “sense of the nature of material,” and his absence of imitative study. It is somewhat singular that whilst Mr. Hamerton is silent on the subject of the book etchings of Leech and Phiz, he should have selected for criticism those of Doyle, who never intended to claim for these sketches the dignity of etchings. The critic, however, 393 is not only just, but remarkably fair. With reference to the illustrations to the “Newcomes,” he acknowledges “their all but inestimable dramatic value.” “Illustrations to imaginative literature,” he continues, “are too frequently an intrusion and an impertinence, but these really added to our enjoyment of a great literary masterpiece, and Doyle’s conception of the Colonel, of Honeyman, of Lady Kew, is accepted at once as