Pubd by S W Fores 50 Piccadilly May 16th 1815.
Hand coloured etching, 'Phipps & Son' watermarked laid paper, image 215 x 335mm, 8½ x 13¼". Letterpress slip is pasted below the print, headed 'Explanation of the Brown Bread'. Join splitting, reinforced by backing tape. Letterpress sheet chipped at left edge, overall well preserved compared to an impression in the BM.
Satire on the opposition of politician and brewer Samuel Whitbread (1756 – 1815) to the war with Napoleonic France. A large cask, upright on a low stand, is in the centre of the design, with four slits for letters, which are being used by enemies of Britain for treasonous correspondence. From the top of the cask, and surrounded by froth, emerge the upper part of Whitbread's head and his right arm, holding out a loaf of bread. He says to the enemy agents: "Take this Loaf of Brown bread back with you." The cask is inscribed 'Old [scored through and replaced by] New English Porter'. On the left of the cask the agents are (1) a man with a bag inscribed 'Agent from Fouche' [sic], posting a letter: 'To our estee[med] Friends in England'. (2) A plainly dressed man with lank hair and broad-brimmed hat with a number of documents under his arm labelled 'Agent from Madison'. He posts a letter with the same inscription. (3) On the extreme left a courier hurries forward holding a bag 'from Genoa'. The seal only of his letter is displayed. On the right the most prominent figure is (4) a French officer, thin, ragged, and foppish, wearing great jack-boots, and holding in his left hand a heavy courier's whip and a bag 'From Buonaparte'. He is labelled 'Agent from Buonaparte'. He posts a letter showing the sealed side. Beside him is a theatrically dressed man holding a paper inscribed 'agent from Murat', and posting a letter 'To our Most Esteemed Friends in England'. Behind and on the extreme right stands John Bull, a stout citizen with a walking-stick. He says: "I do remember such a man as Mr Fox who did send one Adair to Russia on private Business; & yet he did escape, Alack!! 'twere bettet if justice were administred!!!!" The printed slip below explains the brown bread reference: “On the 26th. of April, a Young Lady of Condition arrived at the Hotel "Bellevue" in Brussels, with a large suite of Servants, but one of them being known to an officer to be an active Agent of "Bonaparte's", the whole group were arrested. Among them a Man . . . with a "brown loaf" under his Arm . . . the officer observing his solicitude to get rid of his "brown loaf" . . . discovered several Letters inside, directed to "Bonaparte" and his "Minister's". Whitbread's opposition to the war is stigmatized as sedition. Son of the founder of the brewing dynasty (also Samuel), Whitbread entered Parliament as a Whig MP in 1790, where he established himself as one of the leading figures of the Foxite Whig opposition in the Commons. A reformer, he championed religious and civil rights, the abolition of slavery, and a national education system. He failed to secure office when the Foxites came to power in Lord Grenville's coalition ministry in 1806. This marked the turning point of his political career, which waned from then on. In 1815, suffering from depression, he took his own life. By George Cruikshank (1792 - 1878).
BM Satires 12540. See BM 1868,0808.8215.
[Ref: 21074] £280.00