The Taking of Chusan.H.B. Sketches No. 667.
Published Dec.r 31st 1840 by Tho.s M.cLean, 26, Haymarket.
Lithograph. Printed area 280 x 380mm, 11 x 15". With the blindstamp 'HB Subscriber's Copy'. Trimmed to printed border at top.
A satire of the 'Bedchamber Crisis', with the assault of the Conservative Party on the Whig government is compared to the taking of Zhousan during the First Opium War (1839-42). It shows Robert Peel in the stern and Wellington in the bow of a man-of-war's boat full of Conservatives, approaching a fort, on which Viscount Melbourne, dressed as a Chinaman, hangs a board inscribed: "Spare Us for the sake of our Women'. In 1839 Viscount Melbourne resigned as Prime Minister and Queen Victoria asked Peel to form a new government. However the Conservatives were a minority in the House of Commons, and so, fearing that forming a weak government would damage his future, Peel refused unless the Queen purged her ladies of the bedchamber, her closest companions, many of whom were the wives or daughters of whig politicians. No agreement was reached, so Melbourne was persuaded to stay on. On 8th December, 1840, the Times reported the assault on Zhousan: 'On landing, the troops found the city and suburbs abandoned by the inhabitants, with the exception of one man, who was holding up a board, with this inscription upon it - 'Save us for the sake of our wives and children'.' Doyle could nt let the opportunity for satire pass. The Conservatives continued to make headway and in 1841 Peel got a majority in the General Election, replaced Melbourne and removed the Whig ladies. As Victoria had married Albert in 1840 she relied on them less and so made no complaint.
The original sketch is in the British Museum Satire Colletion.
[Ref: 24559] £140.00