Matthias and Mary Darly's Political and Satirical History, 1763

I have always delighted in viewing history through the eyes and pencils of caricaturists. I was therefore pleased to obtain a copy of Darly's Political and Satirical History displaying the unhappy Influence of Scotch Prevalency in the Years 1761, 1762, and 1763, being a Regular Series of Ninety-Six Humourous, Transparent and Entertaining Prints....The Darly husband and wife had two outlets for their engravings, Matthias at the Acorn in the Strand, and Mary at Ryder's Court in Leicester Square. Their card-sized prints proved to be particularly popular, which led to the publication of a series of small volumes (12.5cms x 10cms), one each year between 1757 - 1766. The volume I have was presumably published in 1763, and it concentrates on the influence of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute who became Prime Minister from 1762 - 1763. His influence was not welcomed by many in England. Bute's rise to power was launched when he became tutor to the Prince of Wales, later George III. During his premiership, he was responsible for raising taxes in America to pay for the cost of resisting the perceived threat from France and Spain, which led to the War of Independence. According to Thackeray, "Bute was hated with a rage there have been few examples in English history."

One must remember, too, that England had been wary of Scotland since the Battle of Culloden which had taken place in 1746, some 14 years previous. With the Act of Proscription (1746), the government was attempting to bring the Highland population into English ways and culture. Thus, in the caricature of 1761, Scotch Collops...the text reads "The genius of the Scotch is mutiny...Prompt to rebel on every weak pretence, Blustring when courted, crouching when oppress'd, restless in change and perjur'd to a proverb."

There are 12 pages at the front of the book on which brief explanations of each caricature are given. So, for the frontispiece: "An Hieroglyphic, representing by a Thistle the baneful influence of Scotch power, by depriving the Crown (that's by it) of Part of its Splendor, &c. The Head of the Thistle seems drooping, and hangs by a single thread; over it appears a black Cloud, portending its dissolution; the implements of Justice, with their Mottos explain the rest." The motto 'Ich Dien' is associated with the Prince of Wales, the German 'I serve', possibly implying a near-homophone for the Welsh 'Eich Dyn' - 'Your Man'. The axe is poised to fell the thistle.

One or two of the early prints in my copy have lost half of the image (the outer fold). I won't be displaying them.

                                                    We are all acomeing, or Scotch Coal for ever. 1761.

The reference to coal is explained at the front: "The Query. Which will give the best Heat to a British Constitution, Pitt, Newcastle, or Scotch Coal?" Pitt is obviously William Pitt, and Newcastle the Duke of Newcastle who was Prime Minister 1757 - 1762. Here we see the threat of Bute's Scottish favourites heading south to take English jobs - "I hope to be Physician in Ordinary...I'll be a Bishop...Statesman...Maid of Honour...Ensign...etc.". An English bystander complains "I can't get a lodging on this road without danger of the Scotch Fiddle", while a cart heads for Scotland 'MT'!

Attributed to George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend. Soldier, MP and amateur artist, Townshend produced many caricatures, and is a key figure in the establishment of such cartoons as an acceptable satirical artform.

                                          Sawney Discover'd, or the Scotch Intruders, 1760.

Sawney was an English nickname for a Scotsman, a Lowland diminutive of Alexander. This is another print by Townshend, showing more Scots queuing up to take lucrative jobs. "I have a large recommendation besides my impudence" says one man, while a lady alludes to the Scottish allegiance to France: "I hope to be a Duchess soon, that I may be grateful to the French." The description of this caricature notes "....the Calidonians extolling their merits, while their mighty Gisbal is making his way behind the screen, which may be better understood by being brought to a proper light, either of the Sun or Candle."   Sure enough, hold the print up to the light, and another image can faintly be made out, the Lady receiving the gents! Remarkable!

It is not easy to make out what they are saying, but I think the Lady greets them with "May I serve you All." The gent replies "I must be in your favour." One of the bystanders says "I shall get by this Sawney" and the other, "Most(?) agreeable."

'Gisbal' may well be reaching out to embrace the lady? I suspect that had this been published at the end of the century, it would have been a good deal more suggestive, but I think there is no doubt that the implication is that this is a sexual predator as well as a seeker after employment. The Lady is perhaps Princess Augusta, with whom Bute was said to have had an affair.

Gisbal was the name of an "eponymous hero" in a work satirising Macpherson's Ossian by J. Pridden, which was published in 1762. Satirists used the name in connection with Bute.

The next caricature in the book, is another "Transparency", showing "the Mighty Gisbal  and Beersheba...dancing behind the curtain...". Unfortunately the copy in my book is damaged, lacking the outer fold.

Princess Augusta was married to Frederick, Prince of Wales and son of George II. He died suddenly in 1751. Augusta never remarried, and her son became George III. Her relationship with Bute caused her much unpopularity: "Impeach the King's Mother" was a popular cry.

                   Scotch Collops, an Antidote for an English Stomach, 1761.

A good insight into English attitudes to Scotland post-Culloden. The description explains that the image "Represents the Scotch giving their Opinion of a Hero that knows them too well to put any Trust in their Promises or Loyalty." The text below says it all: "The Genius of the Scotch is mutiny, they scarcely want a Guide to move their madness. Prompt to rebel on every weak pretence, Blustring when courted, crouching when oppress'd, restless(?) in change and perjured to a proverb." In the cartoon, the Englishman exclaims "The devil take that englishman that takes a favour from a scotchman."

Now for three without particular Scottish involvement:

The Fox and Goose, or the True Breed in full cry, 1761.

The British Museum explains that this is a satire on Henry Fox and the Duke of Newcastle, pursued by the Opposition. 'West Country Sweet Lips' refers to William Pitt, and 'West Indian Towser' is William Becford.

Monr. Bussy's politics, or Goody Mahon outwitted, 1761.

Again, thanks to the British Museum for explaining that this shows the Duke of Newcastle entertaining the French Ambassador. He was thought to be too willing to make peace with France.

Merit Triumphant or Pitt & Liberty for ever, 1762.

The description explains that this "represents our happy Acquirements by the Wisdom of Mr Pitt whose Virtues are as durable as the Albion Rocks."

The Caledonian Voyage to Money-land   

The British Museum has a more detailed copy of this caricature, with a poem at the bottom, and many more speaking-bubbles from those waiting to board. The pub is called "The Boot", not the Scotch Rose, while the ship waiting in the distance the "Pitt Frigate". See the BM website for more details. But the essence of the message on both is clear: it was perceived that with Bute's position of power, his cronies from Scotland would descend on London and take up lucrative positions.

The Caledonians Arrival in Money-land

Again, the British Museum has a more elaborate version of this print. Here, Bute greets his cronies who are fawning before him, while Princess Augusta welcomes them with "I am happy to see you all safe arrived my dear Cousins. I ever loved a Scotsman....". At the bottom is a poem "The voyage o'er, the Northern Band is now arrived in Money-Land/Do but observe the hungry crew For places, posts and pensions sue."

                              John Bulls House in Flames

Again, larger versions of this cartoon exist, including one in the British Museum. It is Bute on the left who is farting, and causing the chaos which Pitt and his friends on the right are trying to control. "Oh for a Blast from the North," says Bute. "Damn the bellows, they will not blow." Henry Fox exclaims "Damn the Scotch Dogs, how they Stink. I'll turn my Tail on 'em."

The Lyon Entranc'd

The British Museum suggests that the Lyon (Britain) is dead. The text in the book, merely that "a Lion is supposed to have  had too large a Portion of Scotch Opium and is so sleepy that Time only can awaken him." Either way, the inference is clear: Bute has seduced and ruined the government. A lady says "those cursed Scotch have poisoned my favrite Leo," But a man (the King?) assures her "Comfort yourself, Madam, he is not dead, but Sleepeth."

Political See-Saw

A more elaborate version of this print can be found in the British Museum, published by Henry Howard in 1762. Here for the first time we see Bute emerging from a boot. The Duke of Cumberland attempts to hold the balance, but Newcastle and Pitt are flung off by Princess Augusta. Britannia lies on the ground, pleading "Save poor Britannia".

                                     Gisbal & Bethsheeba in the Hyperborean Tale, 1762

According to the text, this is "a Pleasant Representation of the Scotch Hero and his Heroine, with their bare-breech'd Admirers about them." Bute says "...Ambition shall crown all my Actions", while Princess Augusta declares her love for him. Bute's followers are in breeches (following the Act of Proscription?), and Bute's Trophy is a petticoat.

                                     The Scotch Mountebank

Bute seen on a stage distributing wealth to his favourites. "You insolent Scott will bring all the English to Beggary" exclaims one bystander. Princess Augusta, in  Welsh hat (once Princess of Wales) looks on from behind. Bute says"If I had not travell'd early and late to find out a passage thru Wales, I should never have had it in my power to have served my dear relations and Countrymen. Take my pills of infatuation and then ye'l be ripe for rebelion, Rapine and murder."


The caption reads "Not from Kings, but they from us, Old Scotland's Annalls tell."Bute's family motto. He appears to be flying through the air on the back of a peacock. Note the tartan breeches again.

The Exaltation of the Boot

 The text for this reads that it "Points out the Laird of Corruption seeing his Creatures for evil Services; and a plaided Miscreant driving out the Sons of English Liberty."

At the bottom of the print: "A Fine Exaltation ye Britons behold/How Sawney profusely here squanders Yr Gold."

One Scotsman marvels that "in 45 I was active agst [against] ye House of Hanover", while the 'plaided miscreant' shoos off Liberty with "Get out ye Southerns loons. We will Beggar and starve ye all."

                             We are all come, or Scitch Coal burns longer than Pitt or Newcastle Coal

The Scottish beneficiaries of Bute's influence gloat over their success. "There's the Boot [Bute] that will kick the English out of doors" says one, while another, a lady exclaims "I think I am in a fair way of being Booted, that is being made a Duchess of."

The Fan and Mull, or the modern Stupefaction

The text explains that here "is Gisbal with modern Ensign, where the Cross of St Andrew is in Perfection, and the Cross of St George is nearly obliterated." Sawney offers the seated figure French Opium, and Scotch Snuff, while his accomplice (Princess Augusta?) assures him "I'll take care he shan't see thru our designs."

A Wonderful Sight, or the Go Cart 1762

Again, the text explains that we see here "The Hero of his Country stopping the two Wretches that are drawing the Booted Lyon as a young Cub incapable of going alone." "Let 'em pull, they'll be brought to repentance soon" says the lawyer[?] at the back, while the Lyon complains that "This boot will make my Poor Head Ake Before 2 years at an end". The thistle is being painted above the door.

Yale has a copy of this print published by Edward Sumpter.

Within, and.....


"See here, the State turned upside down/The Bonnet triumphs o'er the - [Crown]/ The half starved clans in hopes of prey/Come o'er the Hills and far away." Bute assures them "I will provide for all my gued friends", while the lawyer assures him that "Your Will shall be my Law." Henry Fox is seen seated. He enjoyed a seat in the Cabinet when Bute was Prime Minister.



"With Shame, O Britons here behold/Sly Sawney pocketing your Gold/ While we who got it for his use/Are forced to pocket the Abuse." The Highlanders are seen taking the wealth of England. "Heave out, Sawney," says one of them. "Let's not leave 'em a Bawbee nor bit of Bread."

The State Quack

The text informs us that we are seeing "an excellent representation of those Heroes that play the Scotch Farce upon the new raised Political Stage." Bute stands centre stage, promising "to mend the Constitution and cause an Evacuation" while Princess Augusta topples sideways from her tightrope, crying out "In full swing." The British Museum has a more elaborate example of this caricature. The print is attributed to Paul Sandby.

The French Peace Soup Makers

Bute and Henry Fox were seen as being keen to make peace with the French. A note bottom right states "I shall agree to evry thing that my friend the French King propos and I give up all to him."  The cooker, fired by French coals, declares it is making "Peace Porridge without Flavour by Mr Boot cook from the Oecononuy Tavern near St James." Another caricature by Paul Sandby.

The Laird of the Boot, or needs must when the Devil drives

Underneath: "See the coach fill'd with Scottish Thanes/ A female managing the Reins/ Veteran OldCastle England's Pit/ Great Alexander too besh-t".

The King and Queen are driven in a coach by Princess Augusta, with Bute just visible in her petticoats. "The nearest way to the Tweed is thru Wales" he says, while she assures him "I'll keep a tight Rein over 'em". Britannia is about to be run over. "I hope Britannia will be killed"says an onlooking Scotsman, while another on the coach commands "Drive to the North where's clear of that Damned Pitt." The University of Michigan has a more elaborate version of this caricature.

The Coach Overturn'd

The downfall of Bute is predicted. "You have got but a Slippery hold, Jocky" says the Lion, while a true native of England says "Never fear, when my Countrey wants me I am ready and will do my duty as an Englishman." Bute exclaims "I have got into a damn'd hole. I had better stand(?) more Honesty and less Occonomy."

The Lion made Ridiculous by Sawney & Jenny

The text explains: "The Lion is led by his ward and dressed in French Petticoats, while Beersheba holds a thistle in terrorem, lest he should attempt to roar."

The Scotch Cradle, or the Caledonian Nurse

Explanation: "The Lion, hushed to sleep by Gisbal & Beersheba while the Duke of Barebones is bowing for the laurel, which Gisbal ? offers him." Barebones thanks Bute: "You have saved my countrey. If it had not been for you, the damn'd Englis would have ruined my Master and Spain."Bute offers him the Olive "...on your own terms. I prefer your Master's friendship before any monarchs' in Europe." Augusta, meanwhile advises "Do all your work while he sleeps, for ever the roaring Pitt wakes him, we're ruin'd for ever."