A Plumper for Paul !- or-The Little Taylor done over!
London, H. Humphrey, March 13th. 1807
Original hand colouring.
250 x 350 mm
After the title: ‘Vide – The terrible Effects of provoking a Red-hot Shot from the Broad-Bottom’d-Whig-Battery’ [cf. BMSat 10530]. A scene in the House of Commons. In the foreground is the space outside the bar, filled with burlesqued supporters of Paull’s petition against Sheridan’s return for Westminster. These are struck by darts of fire, lightning, and smoke from the Speaker (Abbot), a diminutive figure, almost entirely composed of a huge wig. There are two main blasts, the larger directed against Paull, the other against Bosville, Horne Tooke, and Cobbett. In the former is the fiery face of Sheridan, glaring at his enemy, with flames from mouth and nostril. Paull has been thrown violently on to his back, having slipped from the back of a goose with the head of Burdett, on which he has ridden into the House. The goose waddles off to the right., with outstretched neck, following Tooke, the toe of one of Paull’s boots still in a stirrup. From Burdett’s profile projects the beak of a goose; his long neck is labelled ‘Green-Goose from Brentford’. Burdett and his friends seem anxious to slink off without association with the calamity that has befallen Paull. The latter has dropped a long document, which is blazing; this is headed: ‘Petition – Humble Petition against Rd Brin[sley] Sheridan for Bribery Corruption . . .’ Other papers on which he has fallen are headed ‘Scr[utiny]’ and ‘Impeachment Marquiss Wellesley’. A bonnet rouge falls from his head; he has dropped his yard-stick, shears, a cabbage, cucumbers. Behind him on his left is his Counsel, Henry Clifford, in wig and gown, with a drink-blotched face, dropping a sheaf of papers: ‘Brief – Paul versus Sheridan.’ He heads a crowd of disreputable witnesses, characteristic of Gillray’s denizens of the underworld; some wear favours in their hats inscribed ‘Paul’. All fall backwards under the impact of the Speaker’s blast. One man, the palm of his hand branded ‘R T’ (signifying that he has returned from transportation), grasps a paper inscribed ‘Perjury’; a noseless old woman holds a ‘Forged Letter of Richd Br Sherridan.’ One man holds up a marrow-bone, another a cleaver inscribed ‘No Bastille, to show that they belonged to Burdett’s election mob, see BMSat 9878, &c. (though he dropped that cry in 1804). Other papers on the ground are: ‘Bribery’; ‘List of False Votes – J. Powell’; ‘Witnesses – Conkey Bean, Bill Soanes, Drake, Hart ye Informer – .’ Behind Paull and his witnesses are the Ministerial benches (l.) filled with amused members sketchily drawn. Howick, Petty, Temple, Windham, and (?) Fitzpatrick can be identified. On the r. only a corner of the Opposition benches is visible, with a few uncharacterized heads. In front of them and the bar Tooke walks off, his hands deep in the pockets of his overcoat look sideways at the calamity. Bosville takes his arm, outraged at the scene; from his coat-pocket projects a paper: ‘Expences of the Election’. Behind them Cobbett looks round in alarm; his hat (with a Paul favour) flies off, struck by the Speaker’s blast, and an open pamphlet falls from his hand: ‘Cobbetts Political Register – Attack upon the Sheridans.’ The two Clerks, their faces covered by huge wigs, sit at the Table BM 10708