Chevalier D- E-n return'd or the stock-broker outwitted

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Chevalier D- E-n return'd or the stock-broker outwitted
[England : s.n., 1771]
3 7/8 x 6 1/16 in. (99 x 154 mm.)
Peel 0931
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

Lettered with speeches for the various figures. D'Eon says: "Well Broker, how have you Manag'd our Scheme." The broker answers: "Glad to see you return'd Chevalier, we have took the Knowing ones in Swingingly." One broker says to another: "Oh Ch------st I've lost my all"; the other answers: "Let us Waddle off Quietly" (a defaulter on the Stock Exchange was then called a lame-duck). I A bearded Jew stooping over the desk with a pen in his hand, says: "Ay and 'tis time for me to be going." Two men standing behind him say: "I told you he would come back", and "Ha! ha! ha! let them laugh that wins say I."
"This was identified by Dorothy George in "BM Satires" as coming from 'The Oxford Magazine', vol. xii, p. 56. Although this particular plate is dated 1 September 1771, it refers back to events earlier in the year, during May and June 1771. Widespread betting had taken place in London on the question of whether the Chevalier d'Eon was a man or a woman ... By May 1771, according to the London Evening Post, the amount of money wagered on the issue exceeded £60,000. D'Eon stood aloof, refusing to indulge the prurient speculation by making a public statement on the matter. The Chevalier in a letter to their patron, the Comte de Broglie, at around this date, marvelling at 'all the extraordinary reports coming from Paris, London and even Saint Petersburg about the uncertainty of my sex' and complaining that there was gambling 'for considerable sums at the Court and in the City on so indecent a subject'. It was not the indecent subject, though, which eventually angered the Chevalier. Due to d'Eon's refusal to engage with the issue, the newspapers were whipping up suspicions that personally - and perhaps also friends of the Chevalier, such as John Wilkes - were benefitting financially from the numerous policies being taken out on the issue. This is the theme of this print, in which d'Eon visits the stockbroker to gloat with him at their joint success in fleecing the gullible public. It was this suspicion of complicity that finally provoked d'Eon to action, though not in the way the Chevalier's critics had hoped. Instead, on 23 March 1771 d'Eon arrived in a tavern near the stock exchange in a fury, in their Dragoon Captain's uniform, and confronted a banker named Bird who had been among the first to take bets on the subject, challenging him to a duel. D'Eon was persuaded to calm down, but this provided more grist to the mill for the satirical press. ..."--British Museum online collection catalog, item Y,4.568.


Scene in a stockbroker's office, or perhaps in Jonathan's or Lloyd's, a room with a small writing-desk (right) and on the wall a 'Table of Interest'. The Chevalier d'Eon enters from the left. and is greeted by a stockbroker who points with his right to other brokers on the right who watch the entry, some with dismay, others with pleasure. Cf. British Museum online catalog.