The Protector – Rogues in Grain – A Lesson for Monopolizers.

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The Protector – Rogues in Grain – A Lesson for Monopolizers.
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Cromwell stands in a market-square, addressing corn-dealers; in the background are gabled houses forming a large rectangle, with wagons piled with neatly packed sacks. All wear quasi-Cromwellian dress, except for one man in cloak and trunk hose, who says, bowing: My Lord Protecto [sic ] I have brought fivety load to market, I claim the Premium! The next man, pointing to the wagons, says: My Lord it’s mine, I have brough three times as much, the premium’s mine. Cromwell turns his head towards them, pointing to the right, where an ungainly fellow eagerly holds out a rope noose; he says; You precious Rogue in Grain! You shall be paid the money, and as I think it is not sufficient, I will give you a halter into the bargain - Hangman do your duty! The man says; If your Highness thinks proper, both gentlemen may be rewarded, I have plenty of rope! Two onlookers just behind the foreground figures say; We are pity Rogues we should never be able to claim the premium! And But then we excape the rope. A man on horseback says; I’ll go and sell my Corn at a fair price – its time to be honest, I find. His companion says; Why Neighbour it appears to be a hanging Markett to day is the Protector come to purchase. A youth on the right waives his hat, shouting; No Monopoly! The Protector for Ever! Huzza. Below the design; By unjust dealing and Monpoloy during the Protectorate, a pretended scarcity having taken place in a plentifull year and Oliver Cromwell knowing there was a great quantity of corn in the Country, took the following method to find out and punish the rogues in Grain; He advertised £1000, as a premium. To him who brought the greatest quantity of corn to market on a certain day – immense quantities were produced, but one man above all produced more than the rest – Oliver paid him down the money telling him he woul [sic] give him a halter into the bargain, ordered the Monopolizer to be hanged – Dedicated to the late & present Lord Mayors, Schooly & Domvile Novr 9 1813.
The reason for the discrepancy between the price of wheat and flour was said to be that a dry season had deprived the mills of water. The phrase ‘Rogue in Grain’, punningly used for the dishonest dealer in corn derives from an epigram of 1785. The attitude to Cromwell is exceptional, he is usually pilloried as a dictator. BM 12095