Two Jacobite Caricatures.

"Desprae Tendenten Triumph."

"A Race from Preston Pans to Berwick."

I was delighted to stumble upon these two caricatures recently. One is a dark image with German text, titled at the top Desprae Tendenten Triumph, the other easier to comprehend for those of us not fluent in German, A Race from Preston Pans to Berwick, which shows three men arriving on horseback at the heavily fortified town of Berwick on Tweed.

Both cartoons are in the collection of the British Museum, and I am grateful for their excellent online collections site, and for their descriptions which have enabled me to understand what is going on in both images.

First, the Race.

The Battle of Prestonpans was an early engagement in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie had raised his standard on July 19th, 1745 at Glenfinnan, and marched down to Edinburgh unopposed as the Commander of the English forces, Sir John Cope, had brought his army north to Inverness. The two armies eventually met at Prestonpans on September 21st, 1745, in a battle that lasted barely half-an-hour, the inexperienced government soldiers fleeing in the face of the Highland charge.

Not a great day for Sir John Cope and his British army. To add insult to injury, the contemporary ballad Hey Johnnie Cope suggests that the fleeing Cope was the first person to arrive at Berwick with news of the defeat, and it is that event that is depicted in this caricature.

Sir John leads the charge. His hat and sword lie on the ground, and in his hand is his broken baton. "Defeated and Routed by G[0]d" he cries. Sir Mark Kerr, the Govenor of the important border town of Berwick, greets him with the remark "You're ye first General that ever was ye messenger of his own defeat."

Behind follow two more horsemen, with General Lascelles first, exclaiming "For Gardiner's Dragoons". Colonel James Gardiner, commanding the Dragoons at the battle had been mortally wounded trying to repulse the Highland attack once his soldiers' ranks had been broken. General Peregrine Lascelles was said to have shown similar courage in the face of the Highland charge, but had escaped with his life.

Behind him follows General Thomas Fowke, crying out "For another coach and six."

Fowke was Cope's deputy, in charge of two regiments of Dragoons who fled the battle without firing a shot. All three Generals faced a court martial after the battle, and all three were exonerated, but not without damage to their reputations. Cope never commanded a force again.

The lines of verse which lie below the illustration speak for themselves.

The reference to Sir John Suck-Lynn refers to the poet Sir John Suckling (1609 - 1641) who took part in a disastrous campaign in the 2nd Bishop's War of 1638 - 40. The identity of the two Generals following Cope are founded on annotations on an impression of this print in the British Museum.

The British Museum ascribes the artist of this caricature to George Bickham the Younger "on stylistic grounds."

Describing the contents of the other engraving is a more complicated business, not least because the text is in German. The British Museum also has a copy of this print in Dutch, which goes to show just how alarmed Protestant Europe was by the Rebellion taking place in Britain in 1745-46.

The caricature was, in fact, published in England in September, 1745 by Charles Mosley. There it was titled The Invasion, or Perkin's Triumph - a Protestant Print, Inscrib'd to all true Lovers of their Religion and Liberty. The theme of the engraving suggests that if the Rebellion is successful, James Stuart will impose Catholicism on Britain.

The Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, can be seen in the coach leaning out of the window, holding a mask. On the door is written 'Perkins', a reference to Perkin Warbeck implying that the Prince is an imposter (it was a name often ascribed to James by satirists). The coach is driven by King Louis XV, and behind can be seen two monks and the Devil. On the English edition, the coach is running over a Protestant priest, with papers strewn about with titles 'Exchequer', 'Bank', 'Leases' etc. suggesting the Pretender's accession will lead to financial ruin for the country. On this German example, the priest has been removed.

The Pope is the postillion, riding the leader. The carriage is led by a monk with a banner displaying the word 'Inquisition.' Below the horses lie a priest carrying the Bible, and a Judge holding the Magna Charta. In the background, a procession of priests is followed by an Archbishop, possibly Archbishop Herring being ejected from York Minster or Westminster Abbey. Troops can be seen guarding a cart bearing a grim gallows scene. On the far right a Jesuit is seated on a snail.

Further scenes of horror can be found in the background on the left-hand side, including the burning of a man at the stake, and an ominous eclipse hangs in the sky. Behind the coach follows a troop of Scotsmen, with banners bearing the names of men involved in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (this detail differs from the original English version, where the banner shows a pair of wooden shoes and the word 'Slavery'). A strange figure can be seen in the foreground, thought to be a man in an armoured box, carrying a toy windmill (an allusion to the theory that the Old Pretender was the son of a miller).

The British Museum translates the text on the Dutch engraving as follows:

"You Briton, You Scotsman and Irishman, famous for bravery, You admirers of Freedom, who see your Freedom trampled, Look at your Pretender, supported by Rome with Prayers, by Louis and Philip with strong hand armed, introduced in your kingdoms; Notice his government, so that you might succumb in loyalty. However, his image, laurelled with a fool's crown, and decorated with smoke and wind by many idle thug, shows you de vanity of his mischievous attempts. May he before long, like smoke from your eyes disappear, and if he manages badly with sack and pack will return to Father on toad or snail."

The image of the Young Pretender, crowned with a fool's crown, and decorated with 'smoke and wind'.

The image of the Young Pretender, crowned with a fool's crown, and decorated with 'smoke and wind'.