Saturday, 1 July 2017

1st July 1817: George Cruikshank's satirical print - 'Conspirators: or, Delegates in Council'

A larger version of this cartoon can be viewed here
On Tuesday 1st July 187, the caricaturist George Cruikshank published a cartoon about Oliver, among other spies. The description below is from the catalogue entry in the British Museum.

Three Ministers sit at a council table on which is a large green bag, from which docketed papers project; the bag has folds making it resemble a grotesquely sly face. With them are three ruffianly looking agents or spies. On the extreme left sits Sidmouth in profile to the right; thin, elderly, and angular, his hands resting on a tall cane; his queue terminates in a clyster-pipe instead of a bag. Opposite him sits Thomas Reynolds, indicated by a paper beside him: 'Reynolds Ireland'. He shows Sidmouth a paper: 'List of Victims in Ireland'. Beside him is a bag inscribed 'Blood Money'. At the opposite end of the table sits Castlereagh, also very thin but elegant and fashionable; he sits forward his hands on his crossed knees, holding a paper 'To Mr Reynolds', the name scored through but just legible. On his right hand is Canning, who covertly points to two ruffians, one on each side of the table, saying, "Don't you think my Lord that our friends, Castle & Oliver should be sent to Lisbon or somewhere as Consul Generals, or Envoys?" Castlereagh answers: "Can't you negotiate for some boroughs—" The two men, who grin expectantly, are indicated by papers addressed respectively to 'Oliver Leeds' and 'Castle Spafields'; in the latter's hat is a bundle of 'Forged notes'. Papers in the green bag are docketed: 'An Oath to be Proposed to the distressed'; 'Plan for the Attack on the Regents Carraige'; 'Treasonable papers to be sliped into the pockets of some duped artisans'; 'Plans for a General Row'. On the table: 'Toast to be given in the Company of moderate men & then Swear they drank them' [Castle's evidence]; 'Every means to be taken to implicate Sr F. Burdett Ld Cochrane & —'. On the floor beside Sidmouth: 'Instructions for Entrapg the poor & needy', and 'under santion [sic] of Government'. Beside Castlereagh lie flags and favours labelled 'Tricolord Flags &c &c for Spa Fields', with a stuffed stocking labelled: 'A Waggon Load of Ammunition!!! Vide Mr Cannings Speech in ye House of Coms'. Through a window on the extreme right, and just behind Castlereagh, John Bull, registering horror, gazes into the room; he exclaims: "Oh! Oh I have found out the Conspirators at last, poor Starving John is to be enslaved into Criminal acts & then the Projectors & perpetrators are brought forward as principal evidences! This is another Vaughan, Brock & Pelham business, and I suppose they are to be made Consuls too, the high road to Ld Castlereigh's particular favor—Canning travelled it."

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