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"Let me die the death of the Righteous –
– and let my latter end be like his."


Wright & Evans Description | British Museum Description


Engraving from the 1851 Bohn edition
Originally Published July 22, 1782
8 7/8"w x 12 1/2"h


Wright and Evans Description (More ...)

August 2nd, 1782.


On the death of the Marquis of Rockingham, and the appointment of Lord Shelburne as the First Lord of the Treasury, Fox, who had aspired to the control of the Cabinet, with his adherents, Burke, Lord John Cavendish, &c. quitted office, calculating that their example would be followed by the Duke of Grafton (who was appointed Lord Privy Seal), General Conway, the Commander-inChief, and other leading members of the administration. In this expectation they were disappointed, and in consequence the ensuing debate on Colonel Barré's pension was characterised by much personality and bitterness. To the attacks of Fox on the new First Lord of the Treasury, as about to bring forward dangerous and fatal measures, Conway replied, though with moderation: — " With solemn protestations he declared that he had not been able to discover the slightest intention on the part of the new First Minister to abandon the principles upon which the administration was originally constituted." Burke, after treating Conway with great severity for trusting to Lord Shelburne's professions, compared the General to the little Red Riding Hood, who mistook a wolf for her grandmother. Gillray has here drawn the General as hood-winked, and led in triumph by the double-faced Premier. The younger members of the new Cabinet are represented as rats, in allusion to their alleged desertion of their principles and party.

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British Museum Description by M. Dorothy George (More ...)

Pubd August 2d 1782. by E. D'Achery St James's Street.

This print is a sequel to print 5966. A fox (C. Fox) hangs from a gibbet, the Conway family, as rats, dance triumphantly round him holding hands, the leader, General Conway, blindfolded and led by the nose by Shelburne. Shelburne (r.) has two faces, his own looks smiling towards Conway (not a rat), saying,

Huzza! my friends -- huzza -- the Monster's dead, and we
Full-merrily will dance, around his fatal Tree
Honours thick falling, shall our steps attend,
Come where I lead -- to Glory we'll ascend.

He waves his hat over his head. His other face, looking to the r. is that of a devil; it says,

     Unthinking Fools!-who will as tenderly be led by the Nose, as Asses are -- but if he (at whose overthrow they rejoice) scourged them with Whips! they shall find I will chastise them with Scorpions!

General Conway, blindfolded, looks towards Shelburne. His sheathed sword is in his r. hand, with his l. he points up to the fox on the gallows, saying, What I'm — Political Innocence — to be sure — Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm the last to see what's obvious to all the World-am I? He! He! He!

Behind Conway and holding to his coat-tail with his r. hand is his brother, Lord Hertford (not a rat), in profile to the r., saying,

All my prayr's are not in vain
For I shall have my Place again.

Hertford had been forced to resign his post as Lord Chamberlain on the appointment of the new Ministry, and the newspapers accused Lady Hertford of trying to curry favour with Fox.

Hertford is in profile to the r. His l. hand holds that of Lady Hertford, a stout lady with a rat's head, saying, He! He! He!-well--I always said that Dismal would come to be Hang'd-Ha! Ha! Ha! With her l. hand she holds that of her youngest son, here depicted as a young boy, who holds the hand of his young sister. The two children are on the extreme l. of the circle of dancers; the little girl holds the hand of a grown-up sister wearing a hat, who says, La Mama! he stinks like Poverty. Next comes a brother in regimentals, saying, Zounds! I'm almost afraid of this Gunpowder-Guy-Fox — 'though he be dead — He holds by the hand a brother dressed as a clergyman, evidently the Hon. Edward Conway, Canon of Christchurch, who is saying,

The Year of Jubillee is come
He's gone to his Eternal home.

The next brother, looking up at the fox with upturned eyes, says, Quite Chop-fallen by Heav'ns!-Ha! Ha! Ha! The last brother, in cockaded hat, says, pointing up at the fox with his r. hand, A Nick by Jupiter!-He! He! He! On the gallows is inscribed, Sic transit gloria Mundi. Below the design is
engraved, 'Let me die the death of the Righteous-and let my latter end be like his.' A cloud beside the cross-bar of the gibbet is drawn as a profile to the r., looking with an anxious expression towards Fox and the words Sic transit. Conway, who was Commander-in-Chief with a seat in the Cabinet under Rockingham, not only failed to resign with Fox, but defended Shelburne's administration from the attacks of Fox on 9 July. For this he was compared by Burke to Little Red-Ridinghood, hence the allusion to 'Political Innocence'

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