The Political House that Jack Built.'A straw-thrown up to show which way the wind blows.' With Thirteen Cuts. Twenty-Fourth Edition.
London: Printed by and for William Hone, Ludgate Hill. 1819. One Shilling.
8vo pamplet, disbound and mounted on album paper; pp. 20, 11 wood engravings by George Cruikshank.
William Hone's wildly popular radical pamphlet, attacking the authoritarian nature of the British government, satirising lawyers, the church, the monarchy and the army. The cover illustration shows the Duke of Wellington adding his sword to the Scales of Justice, trying to get the Establishment to outweigh a writing quill, captioned 'The Pen and the Sword'. Throughout Hone quotes from William Cowper's 'The Task'. First published in December 1819, this 24th edition was published before the end of the year. It is estimated that 100,000 copies were printed in two years. 1819 was the year of the Peterloo Massacre and the subsequent legislation known as the Six Acts, which made mass meetings illegal and toughened the laws against seditious publications. Hone was adept at defending himself against seditious libel and blasphemy charges: having been acquitted three times in 1817 he was virtually untouchable by the courts. Although the titlepage calls for 13 wood engravings, two of these appear in a second article in the pamphlet, 'The Clerical Magistrate', not present here.
[Ref: 37186] £160.00