Figure 1. BMS.6572 (etching) Anon, A new way to secure a majority; or no dirty work comes amiss. London: William Wells, 3 May 1784.
Chronicles, Heralds and Advertisers!
Sweeps, Sharpers, Swindlers, Duchesses and Punks!
Fit Bribes for Beggars, Drunkards, Misers, Fools!
And Gold for Knaves! and Lechers what they love!
Figure 2. BMS.6480 (etching) Anon, The West-tr candidate coming north about the geese. London: S.W. Fores, 31 March 1784.
|Figure 3. BMS.6493 (hand-coloured etching) Samuel Collings(?), Female influence; or, the Devons—e canvas. London: William Wells, 3 April 1784.|
Figure 4. BMS.6548 (etching) Thomas Rowlandson, Wit's last stake or the cobling voters and abject canvassers. London: 22 April 1784.
Figure 5. BMS. 6599 (etching) Thomas Rowlandson, Liberty and Fame introducing Female Patriotism to Britania. London: 25 May 1784.
Figure 6. BMS.6527 (etching) William Dent, The Dutchess canvassing for her favourite member. London: J. Carter, 13 April 1784.
Figure 7. BMS.6503 (etching) Anon, A new weather cock for St Stephens Chapel. London: John Wallis, 6 April 1784.
You’re trap’d with all you Triks at last.
Figure 8. BMS.6543 (hand-coloured etching) Thomas Rowlandson, The Covent Garden Night Mare. London: William Humphrey, 20 April 1784.
And o’er the Bounds of Delicacy fly?
Forget my Sex’s Softness, to Defend
The sinking Cause of my politic Friend.
|Figure 9. BMS.6546 (etching) Thomas Rowlandson, Political Affection. London: John Hanyer, 22 April 1784.|
|Figure 10. BMS.6577 (hand-coloured etching) Anon, The Political Shaver. London: J. Moore, 10 May 1784.|
Of hamper’d Decency, and modest Fools.
Despite the profusion of prints and other propaganda against Fox and Georgiana, Fox managed to win a parliamentary seat at the Westminster election. The prints that appeared against Fox and the Foxites during the election of 1784 reveal a world where pleasure and consumption mixed freely with politics. It was not sufficient to win over the populace with political rhetoric. Prints both for and against Fox illustrate that voters could expect to receive alcohol and female attention. Yet by the 1780s, the British public – influenced by nationalism amongst other things – were becoming disillusioned with the excessive practices of the ruling elite. Thus prints attempted to discredit Fox by suggesting that the votes gained were deemed corrupt because the voters had been won through an unfair use of excessive influence. This theory of excess was also apparent in the personal attacks on Fox and the duchess who were both visibly affected by the allegations against them. Amanda Foreman argues that these attacks on Georgiana had ‘not only discredited herself but her method of canvassing’. Likewise, Fox claimed that ‘caricatures had done him more mischief than the debates in Parliament or the works of the press’. Nevertheless, influencing voters by satisfying their carnal desires remained an integral component of politics in the eighteenth century, as Charles Churchill affirmed:
And those will best succeed, who best can pay:
Those who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Must add to force of Merit, force of Bribes.