The blessing of paper money, or king a bad subject

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The blessing of paper money, or king a bad subject
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George Cruikshank

The blessing of paper money, or king a bad subject.

London, M. Jones August 1st. 1811, The Scourge


Original hand colouring

209 x 402 mm

Traces of old folds as issued.

£380 J

ohn Bull sits in an armchair-commode directed to the left, attended by two doctors, Lord Stanhope and Perceval. He is in his shirt-sleeves, and his chest is bare to allow four leeches, one with a human head, to drain his blood. The lean and angular Stanhope (left) rams down his throat a roll of 'Bank Paper', and holds a similar roll inscribed 'Ld Stanhops R[?emedy]'. Perceval, diminutive and shambling in his Chancellor of the Exchequer's gown, holds the patient's left wrist, and a large ball inscribed 'Legal Tender a Bolus for John Bull'. Behind John's chair stands Lord King, flourishing rolled documents inscribed 'Lord Kings Leases', threatening Perceval, whose scraggy pigtail he holds up derisively. Napoleon, in uniform and wearing a crown, kneels behind Perceval to draw from under the commode a large pan overflowing with guineas evacuated by John Bull. In the foreground (right) is a large jar of leeches inscribed 'Whitmore & Co Leeches', on this is a pound note inscribed — 'Bank I promus to pay One Pound Henry Hase' [see No. 11716]; beside it is a large pill-box: 'Perceivall Pill Box' and a phial labelled 'A [?] fatal Dose Draght Mr Bull'. On the left two men are being cooked in a big pot inscribed 'The Combustible Knight [Sir R. Phillips] and his Esquire in Hot Water'. Under the pot are flames presided over by two demons, one using bellows, while a judge (Ellen-borough) applies a red-hot poker to papers which constitute the fuel. The victims say "D—n it—it is as hot as Crown Court" and "Yes! but not quite so hot as your house at Leicester." The papers are inscribed: 'O' Sullivan 30'000 Irish Bills'; 'Fourdriniai [sic] & Co'; 'McDonald £250 Forged'; 'Bills discounted by Jew King'; 'Chater & C°'; 'Brewer & Co Albany'; 'Tim Brown'; 'Martin & Co Irish Stamps Conspiracy &c'; 'Tabart & Co'; 'Juries'; 'Fenton'; 'No Effects Returned from the Bank of England'; 'Gardiner Leicester, Gillett accepted by my Son a minor'; 'McMillan'; 'Cox & Baylis'; 'Cooper'. On the horizon behind Ellen-borough are a tiny gibbet and a double pillory. In the background (right) stands Britannia with her spear and shield pointing to a high pyramid of confused papers lying upon the dead or moribund 'Credit' whose head and arm project from under the pile; she says: "Alas, poor Credit!" A head in the extreme upper right corner of the design blows a blast inscribed 'Puff' at the top of the pile, striking the words 'Bank Paper' (in large letters). 'Bank Paper', 'Paper', and 'Bank' are repeated on the pile, other inscriptions being 'Crown Tissue', 'White Linin Rags', 'Bills', 'note', and 'Hase'.