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The W__st_r JUST ASSES a Braying


__ or __ the Downfall of the E.O. Table


Wright & Evans Description | British Museum Description


Engraving from the 1851 Bohn edition
Originally Published August 26, 1782
8 7/8"w x 12 1/2"h


Wright and Evans Description (More ...)

August 26th, 1782.

This appears to allude to some active measures taken at this period for the suppression of gambling in private establishments, while it was publicly tolerated on the Stock Exchange. We find the following paragraph in the Daily Advertiser, July 31, 1782:-

"Late on Monday night Justices Wright and Addington visited, with a strong body of constables, several E.O. Tables at the west end of the town, and in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden, which they broke up, and took the persons they found at play, with the Masters of the Tables, into custody, and lodged them in Covent Garden Round-house. About the same time a detachment of civil officers visited a table in St. Martin's-le-Grand, which they broke into pieces.

"There were eight tables broken in the whole, and twenty persons apprehended, who were examined yesterday at the Public Office in Bow Street, and were released on their giving bail never again to be found at any of these tables."

"Yesterday a noted E.O. Table was destroyed in a private court, near Queen Anne Street, Mary Bone, and one of the Proprietors taken in custody by the police officers." — August 24th.

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

Pubd Augt 26th 1782. by W. Humphrey No 227 Strand.

An E.O. table lies in the street, outside a house, its legs already broken, its central mechanism damaged. It is being further attacked with mallets and a poker by justices and constables of Westminster. The two Bow Street justices, Addington and Wright, and their clerk, Bond, have asses' heads. Justice Addington (l.), his head bleeding, is being chased from the open door of the house by a maidservant of meretricious appearance who holds a broom above her head as if to strike; she says, Come out here! I'll Just-ass Addlehead you! what you'll open my Loch too, without a key will you? Addington holds his hands over his head saying, Help! Murder!-help-Fire! Thieves: Popery! help! Justice Wright, wearing a bag-wig, stands over the table, his mallet raised above his head about to strike the table. A constable attempts to stop him, holding up both hands, saying, O Lord, M Just-ass you'r not Wright! [The W. has been scored through) they'll dite you on Magna-Charta for breaking open their Houses! & have you before the Judges. Wright answers, The Judges? damn the Judges! & Magna-Charta too! ! our Warrants above them both — This constable wears a wig, a hat in whose upturned brim is a tobacco-pipe, a belted coat, a constable's staff terminating in a crown thrust through the belt. On the r. of the table stand two other constables of disreputable appearance, one wields a poker, the other a large hammer; only the latter has a constable's staff protruding from his waistcoat pocket; his breeches are undone at the knee, his stockings ungartered. On the extreme l. Bond, the clerk at Bow Street, stands on an upturned tub, his hands on his hips, saying, Slap away Boys, slap away: I am Bond for all the mischief you do — I hope soon to be a Just-ass myself, for my Ears are now grown almost as long as Just-ass Addleheads —

The background is the lower part of the house from which the E.O. table has been taken, showing the door, part of two sash-windows. Plaster has fallen off in patches showing bricks.

Below the title is engraved N.B. The Jack-Asses are to be indemnified for all the mischief they do, by the Bulls & Bears of the City.

This satire is founded on a raid on 1 Aug. on Dr. Graham's, the quack,who had moved his Adelphi establishment ... to Schomberg House, Pall Mail, calling it the 'Temple of Health and of Hymen'.' In a raid three days earlier the tables had been cut to pieces but the constables 'were not strong enough to take the company, for there were not less than 300 persons present'. On this occasion Justices Hyde, Wright, and Addington broke two tables, 'Mr. Addington was very severely hurt by a stroke of a bludgeon on his head — an enormous crowd gathered round the house, report having spread that Mr. Addington was killed. ' The allusion to 'Bulls and Bears' was probably inspired by the statement that the laudable activity of the justices was caused 'by an application from the Directors of the Bank to Mr. Secretary Townshend, stating that they had suffered considerably by this public practice of gaming in the Metropolis, and requesting, on behalf of themselves, and the Public, that the laws now in being against gaming, might be extended as far as possible . . .' London Chronicle, 30 July-i Aug.; '-3 Aug. 1782.

The satire is also a characteristic attack on the methods and personnel of the Bow Street office ... Addington ... and Wright had been Bow Street magistrates under Sir John Fielding, who died in 1780. Bond was the very capable Bow Street clerk ... afterwards made a magistrate.

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