The Dissolution of Parliament, 1774 207
This cartoon appeared as an engraving in the London Magazine
, 43: opposite p. 464 (November 1774). It illustrated a lead article on the likelihood that the new Parliament would be as wretched as the last, which had been suddenly dissolved in September 1774.
The writer roundly criticizes the campaign speeches and the general corruption of the country. His pessimism was soon shared by John Adams, who punctured the optimism of his friend James Warren on this score (Warren to JA, 19 Dec. 1774
; JA to Warren,
, both below).
The engraving shows corrupt ministerial candidates riding in comfort in a coach labeled, “For the Corupted Boroughs.” Behind, honest patriots are jolted in an attached basket, on which is written, “We are honest though poor; or who would be jolted thus for his Country!” The driver exclaims, “I will not overset Ye, if Ye dont overset Yourselves.” On the roof, one of the riders shouts, “May the Patriots ride uppermost.” One of the bystanders, a double amputee with one of his wooden legs broken, curses, “Ah, rot such Members, my Members are better.” Others shout, “You have Starved me, and my Children”; “There they go, & the D——l go with them”; “What a litter they have left behind them.” The last refers to the litter of Parliamentary enactments in the street-general warrants, the Port Act, the Quebec Act, an enclosures bill, and so on. The lead horse, labeled “Galloping Liberty,” is going past the shop of John Wilkes, which advertises “Neat Post Chaises.” See British Museum, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires, 5: No. 5236.
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.