The Balance of Power

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The Balance of Power
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The Balalnce of Power

London. Jan 17. 1781. R. Wilkinson 58 Cornhill


Original hand colouring

250 x 350 mm

Neatly repaired tear affecting image on left.


A rare satire of American interest. A pair of scales whose beam is engraved "The Ballance of Power". On the left scale, which rests on the ground, stands Britannia holding her shield in her right hand, and in the left a short Roman sword inscribed "The Sword of Justice". She says, "No one injures me with impunity". On the other scale are the four enemies of England; in spite of the desperate efforts of Holland who clings to one of its ropes, his feet on its base, this scale is in the air, outweighed by Britannia. America as an Indian woman with a head-dress of feathers sits on the scale, her head resting on her hand, her eyes closed in an attitude of despondency; she says "My Ingratitude is Justly punished". France and Spain dressed in the conventional manner of caricature, one as a French fop, the other in the slashed doublet and cloak of a Spanish don, stand behind America. France says, "Myneer assist or we are ruin'd"; Spain says, "Rodney has ruined our Fleet". Holland, as a Dutchman smoking a pipe, is saying "I'll do any thing for Money"; coins inscribed "Ill got wealth", are pouring from his unbuttoned breeches-pocket; two papers are also falling from him, one inscribed "St Eustatia Saba St Martin", the other "Demerary Issequibo". Beneath the design is engraved: America, dup'd by a treacherous train, Now finds she's a Tool both to France and to Spain; Yet all three united can't weigh down the Scale: So the Dutchman jumps in with the hope to prevail. Yet Britain will boldly their efforts withstand, And bravely defy them by Sea and by Land: The Frenchman She'll Drub, and the Spaniard She'll Beat While the Dutchman She'll Ruin by Seizing his Fleet: Th' Americans too will with Britons Unite, And each to the other be Mutual Delight. B M 5827