Loose principles. (BM 1868,0808.5823)


Loose principles. (BM 1868,0808.5823)



Fox rises from a close-stool; Sheridan (left) is about to apply a syringe, inscribed 'R------ts [Regent's] Clyster', to his rectum. Burke (right), wearing a Jesuit's biretta (cf. BMSat 6026), gropes in the close-stool, holding in his left hand its lid, inscribed 'Not searching from Precedents but Consequences' (a characteristic dictum); he says, "To Ordure - Ordure" (Burke was often called to order for his speeches on the Regency, cf. BMSat 7499, &c). Pox says, "Exegi Monumentum cere perennias, or the finishing Stroke" (perhaps an allusion to the revolution Pillar, see BMSat 7396). In his hand is a paper inscribed 'Magna Charta Non Posteris sed Posterioribus'; his posterior is inscribed 'Patriotic Bum' and 'Vox Populi'. He stands on a paper inscribed 'Resolutions of P------l------t.' Sheridan is 'Principal Promoter of loose Principles'; under his right foot is an open book: 'Congreve Plays School for Scandal', probably implying plagiarism by Sheridan (cf. Moore, 'Life of Sheridan', p. 180, where resemblances between 'The School for Scandal' and 'The Double Dealer' are noted). The background is a library wall: a book-case containing folio volumes in some disorder is flanked by scowling busts of 'Wat Tyler' and 'Jack Kade'. The books are inscribed: 'The Laws of Pharaoh' (Faro, cf. BMSat 5972), 'Political Prints', 'Life of Oliver Cromwell' (cf. BMSat 6380, &c), 'Cataline' (cf BMSat 6784), 'Memoirs of Sam House' (see index). 21 January 1789





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