The defeat of the high & mighty Bailissimo Corbettino and his famed Cecilian forces on the plains of St. Martin ...

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Thomas Rowlandson
The defeat of the high & mighty Bailissimo Corbettino and his famed Cecilian forces on the plains of St. Martin ...
image: 208 x 330 mm; sheet: 241 x 330 mm
Peel 2385
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

Printmaker from George.
Library's copy trimmed within plate mark.


"A scene in the Vestry Room of St. Martin's, Westminster, symbolizing the defeat of the Government on the Scrutiny on 3 Mar., when Sawbridge carried by 38 his motion that the High Bailiff be forthwith ordered to make his return. Fox (left) and Wray (right) are fighting; Wray's sword is broken and he shrinks back from Fox, who threatens him with the sword of Justice. Fox's shield is inscribed 'Majority 38', Wray's is inscribed 'Ingratitude'. A flying cherub holds over Fox's head a laurel wreath, and a scroll inscribed, 'It is Ordered that Thomas Corbett. Esqr do immediately Return - '. From his mouth issues the word "Victory". Fox says, "The Wrath of my Indignation is kindled and I will pursue them with a mighty hand and outstretched Arm until Justice is done to those who have so nobly supported me". Wray says, "My Knees wax feeble and I sink beneath the weight of my own Apostacy -". He steps back across the prostrate body of Corbett, the High Bailiff, who says, "my Conscience is now at peace". Wray's counsel in the Scrutiny are fleeing to the right in confusion. Three of them say, respectively: "Nor Law nor Conscience nor the aid of Potent Ministers can 'ere support this Contest 'gainst such a Chief"; "Help! Help! Our Chief is fallen! O Conscience support me -", and, "Our support is gone and we are fallen into a Pitt, yea even into a Deep Pitt, -". Fox's counsel advance behind him from the left in triumph. The foremost raises a book inscribed 'Truth'; three others hold rolled documents inscribed respectively, 'Law', 'Eloquence', and 'Perseverance'. On the walls of the room are notices: 'At a Vestry holden in and for the Parish of St Martin in the Fields--It is ordered that the Parish Officers be Vigilant in apprehending all Vagabonds in this Parish'. A placard purporting to be a transcript of the creed begins, 'I believe in Murphy the Assessor Almighty maker of good and bad V--[votes] visible & invisible and. . . . from thence shall come to Judge the quick & the [dea]d--' Next to this is a 'List of bad votes Jn° Hale Esqr J. Matthias Senr J. Matthias J. . . .' After the title is etched: 'and his famed Cecilian Forces on the Plains of St Martin on Thursday the 3rd day of February 1785 by the Champion of the People and his chosen Band, after a smart Skirmish which lasted a considerable time, in which many Men were lost on both sides. But their great Ally at length losing ground, Desertions took place and notwithstanding their vast superiority in Numbers and weight of Metal at the first onset, they decreased apace, altho' often rallied by the ablest Men in Command, till at length the Forces gave way in all quarters & they were totally overthrown. This Print is dedicated to the Electors of the City & Liberty of Westminster who have so nobly stood forth and supported their Champion upon this trying occasion by--An Independent Elector.'"--British Museum online catalogue.

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