Self murder, or, The wolf tried and convicted on his own evidence

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Isaac Cruikshank
Self murder, or, The wolf tried and convicted on his own evidence
Peel 1702
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

A satire on dissenters.
Library's copy trimmed within plate mark.


Print shows Priestley hanging from a gallows, wearing a sheepskin over his dress, as the wolf in sheep's clothing. He appears dead, but says, "Dam the Church & State I hate them both the hand bill ah! that is the Divel!!!" (an allusion to the handbill circulated at Birmingham before the outbreak of the notorious Birmingham riots). Under the gallows is a heap of writhing serpents, from their fangs shoot the words 'Enthisism', 'Fanaticism', 'Athism', and 'Sedition'. On the cross-bar of the gallows sits Price, with the body of a serpent with a barbed tail. He aims a cannon, inscribed 'JP', at a bishop, wearing a mitre, and a parson, who converse, looking over a high wall behind which is the corner of a Gothic church. Priestley says, "Down with their Cathederal Stalls & Caterpillars". The bishop turns to the parson, saying, "Beware of Wolves in sheep's Clothing for the Poisen of Asps is under their tongues". The parson answers: "Yes Sir Under the Denomination of Dissenters they P--y P--e and L--y have brought a Stigma on all Dissenters in General tho' it is only the followers of those three Blasphemers who have made the Disturbence". Nevertheless, on the extreme left, a winged and horned monster with the head of (?) Wesley emerges from a cloud of smoke, saying, "I now come forward in a Glorious Cause." On the right of the gallows, Lindsey, with a serpent's body like that of Price, addresses the serpents with uplifted arms, saying, "Believe me the Church of England which they thought they were supporting has Received a greater Shock by their Conduct than all our Bretheren have aimed at" (evidently a reference to the Church and State mob at Birmingham) A row of dissenters, with serpents' bodies, emerges from the ground in the foreground, the only one completely above ground being Lindsey on their left; a demon flies above their heads with a watering-pot, as the one next Lindsey says, "Why to be sure we have had a Nock or two at it as well as the Constitution." Below these creatures is etched: "If we are Destroyed an Hundred will Appear".

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