Britania's assassination, or, The republicans amusement

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James Gillray
1756-1815
Britania's assassination, or, The republicans amusement
etching, hand colored
image: 218 x 344 mm; mm; sheet: 242 x 361 mm
Peel 2386
Provenance: 
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.
Notes: 

By James Gillray.
Library's copy trimmed within plate mark.

Summary: 

Print shows members of the new Ministry attempting to pull from its base a headless stone statue of Britannia, who is seated on a globe, holding a broken spear; her right leg from the knee and her left arm have been broken off. A fox (Charles Fox) with its fore-paws on the square base bites her leg. Two judges, Thurlow and Mansfield, pull at ropes to keep her in position. Within the ropes stand a group of patriots threatening Britannia: Wilkes in the forefront, a book "No[rth] B[riton]" under his left arm, his right hand, holding a rolled document inscribed "Libel", is raised to strike. Behind him Dunning holds over his head in both hands a book inscribed "Sydney on Government". Next is the Duke of Richmond, holding above his head in both hands a musket by its barrel, with which he is about to smite the statue. He is saying "Leave not a Wreck behind". Behind him stands Burke (?) raising in his left hand a rolled document inscribed "Reformation Bill". The last is Keppel, who, turning his back on Britannia, holds a flagstaff from which he is hauling down the flag, saying "He that Fights & runs away, May live to fight another day." On the extreme left America, as a Native American, in a feathered head-dress and girdle, runs holding Britannia's head in his left hand while her arm, in which is an olive branch, is held over his right shoulder. Next comes France running in pursuit with arms extended, saying "You dam Dog, you run way wit all de Branche". Spain follows, carrying Britannia's leg over his left shoulder. Holland, a short burgher, flees with Britannia's shield on his head and shoulders.

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