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Drawing the Line

Chapter 2.
Madness and Masculinity in the Caricatures of the Regency Crisis, 1788–89

Jamie Agland, Monash University

When George III descended into madness towards the end of 1788, the ministry of William Pitt the Younger faced the prospect of dismissal should the Prince of Wales, who favoured the Foxite Whigs, become Regent. The Regency Crisis encouraged an outpouring of writings and images, of which its caricature prints are especially fascinating. The caricaturists managed and exploited the tensions, uncertainties and opportunities generated by the king’s madness in a uniquely visceral fashion. Already highly proficient in the manipulation of political figures, the caricaturists contrasted and intermeshed various ‘ways of being mad’ with existing political masculinities to both augment and defuse political vices, follies and (to a much lesser extent) virtues. The imagery of mania and ‘raving madness’ has tended to dominate inquiries into the relationship between madness and politics in the late eighteenth-century, but representations of melancholy and despair were also highly significant, and these played an important role during the Regency Crisis. A wide spectrum of the relationship between madness and masculinity must be addressed, this paper argues, if we are to fully appreciate the role and the resonance of these imageries in political culture.

‘The Regency Crisis of 1788–9’, writes John Derry, ‘is frequently regarded as a barren and futile episode in party warfare, complicated perhaps by wearisome discussions on constitutional technicalities, but especially sterile nevertheless’.1 The crisis was sparked by the increasingly erratic behaviour of the king, George III, in the final months of 1788. On 5 November he attacked his son, the Prince of Wales, before collapsing in a state of exhaustion. The king was probably suffering from a metabolic disorder called porphyria, attacks of which often pass after several weeks or months.2 From an eighteenth-century perspective, however, the king’s affliction resembled a potentially incurable madness. The prospect facing the administration of William Pitt the Younger was that the Prince of Wales, if invested with full regal powers as Regent, would dismiss the ministry and install the opposition Whigs under his political ally, Charles James Fox.3 Following the announcement of the king’s recovery in late February 1789, however, Pitt and his ministers were saved from dismissal and the hopes of the Foxites were conclusively dashed.

With the benefit of hindsight, then, the Regency Crisis may indeed seem a ‘barren and futile episode in party warfare’, but for the protagonists it was a ‘make or break’ affair. Pitt and his ministers faced the prospect of being ousted from power and perhaps languishing in opposition for a considerable time. For the Whigs, too, as Derry points out, ‘the winter of 1788–9 [was] a time of scarcely relieved and almost unbearable strain. Until a very late stage in the crisis expectations were high, and yet subject to constant fluctuation as the latest bulletins [on the king’s condition] arrived from Kew’.4 The hopes and fears of the opposing factions spurred a fierce contest for public opinion, which was waged through parliamentary debates, newspapers, pamphlets, and caricature prints. Much of this contest revolved around the personal capabilities and moral qualities of the key players. Pitt, for example, was often portrayed as cold and ruthless and Fox as unreliable and untrustworthy. Chancellor Thurlow was attacked for his double-dealing and Edmund Burke for his insensitive and violent rhetoric.5 The Regency Crisis, then, was a significant political cultural moment, which bequeathed a rich body of materials to cultural historians. These writings and images are especially relevant to those interested in the role of masculinities in the comprehension of political crises and in the embodiment of vice and virtue in political culture.

This chapter is concerned with the caricature prints produced during the crisis, which offer a fascinating insight into the significance of male bodies in the political culture of late eighteenth century England. M.D. George estimates that approximately eighty caricatures in the British Museum’s unparalleled collection of satirical prints are concerned with this brief affair.6 In this chapter I highlight the ways in which the caricaturists managed and exploited the tensions, uncertainties and opportunities generated by the king’s madness. Caricature, which was governed by far less rigid conventions than other forms of artistic production, such as portraiture and history painting, was proficient in the manipulation of its male characters to suggest political vices and virtues. Since the emergence of caricature as a major tool of political satire in the early-to-mid 1700s, certain physical distortions had come to signify certain aspects of manliness and unmanliness in political life. Extreme thinness, for example, generally stood for parsimony and mean-spiritedness, while a protruding nose and chin suggested deviousness and a weakness for destructive pleasures. The masculinities of political players were also heavily reliant on performative gestures. As Diana Donald and Jane Kromm have noted, the prints of the 1780s exploit the ‘ostentatious rhetorical styles’ of parliamentary performers and thereby ‘demonstrate considerable insight into character and deportment’.7 I am keen to show, however, that the links between particular physical characteristics and gestures and particular vices and virtues were open to challenge and manipulation. Some physical characteristics and gestures were amenable to alternative meanings, and some meanings could be enhanced or neutralised by surrounding characters, objects and settings. As Kathleen Wilson suggests, ‘the gender categories produced by and through eighteenth-century political culture were … mutable, contested and always under construction’.8

During this brief period of ‘scarcely relieved and almost unbearable strain’ the caricaturists enlisted existing masculinities, such as the rake, the courtier and other figures drawn from political tracts, novels, plays, folk tales, paintings and prints, but these existing models were reconstituted as the satirists engaged the peculiarities of the Regency Crisis. The state of the king’s mind and body, in particular, encouraged the development of new, albeit often ephemeral, characters. The sensitivity surrounding the king’s illness prohibited the widespread use of his body in caricature prints, but if the caricaturists directed their attention away from the king and towards the factional competitors the powerful political analogy of madness, in its many and bewildering varieties, could be readily exploited. Jane Kromm’s insightful study of mania in European visual culture has entrenched the dominance of extravagant and violent display in the study of the relationship between politics and madness in eighteenth-century art, but I am keen to show that subtler varieties of madness, and especially melancholy madness, also played a key role in reflecting the vicissitudes of political life.9 The conflation of various kinds of madness with existing models of political masculinity, a process that was facilitated by caricature’s visual and discursive versatility, enhanced the ability of these prints to imply immorality and instability. Only by attending to the full spectrum of the relationship between madness and masculinity in Regency Crisis caricatures can we begin to appreciate the ways in which they sought to focus and direct the political hopes and fears of their viewers. This chapter, then, seeks to give adequate weight to the capacity of caricature, given its familiarity and versatility with the male body, to mark the convergence of madness and masculinity in an indelible and peculiarly visceral fashion.10

The king was treated respectfully in the caricatures of the Regency Crisis. Christopher Reid, in his study of the rhetoric surrounding the king’s illness, observes that while the ‘analogy between madness and political and cultural disorder … appeared to have materialised as a political fact, the possibilities of representation were … severely constrained by considerations of delicacy and protocol’. The king’s condition was ‘spoken of hesitantly, through coded reference and studied circumlocution’ in the parliament and in the press.11 Reid notes that King Lear ‘had become virtually a forbidden text’, and that the Prince of Wales’ physician, Dr Richard Warren, was chastised for his use of the term ‘insanity’.12 The caricatures produced during the crisis reflect these sensitivities.

This respect for the king is largely explained by the growing popularity of George III in the 1780s. This was partly dependent on his observance of domestic virtues. It was perhaps equally dependent on the growing unpopularity of the notoriously disobedient and dissolute Prince of Wales. The Prince’s reputation for gambling, drinking and extravagant spending contrasted sharply with his parents’ modest and homely image. The Prince’s ‘secret’ marriage to his Catholic mistress Maria Fitzherbert in 1785 (the 1701 Act of Settlement excluded those who had married a Roman Catholic from succeeding to the throne), and his amicable relationship with the Foxite Whig opposition, had further soured his relationship with the king and his public image.13 This drama of inter-generational conflict, combined with the king’s public displays of familial devotion, probably reinforced the public’s empathy with the royal family, and helped to promote the image of the king ‘as a neutral father figure to the nation’.14 Linda Colley suggests that there was ‘a shift away from anger at the institution to mockery of individual royals and their foibles’ during the 1780s, and this seems consistent with the ensuing shift from mockery to solemnity and studied respect during the period of the ‘royal malady’.15

Undoubtedly the nature of the king’s illness was especially significant. Marilyn Morris reports that the king himself was seen to have ‘set the standard for humane treatment of mentally deranged opponents’ following the attempted assassination of the monarch by Margaret Nicholson on 2 August 1786.16 The king’s clemency, in Vincent Carretta’s words, ‘greatly reduced the availability of the royal madness as a weapon for would-be satirists of the king’ in 1788–89.17 Taking her lead from Carretta, Marilyn Morris points to a ‘reconciliation between the king’s two bodies in this post-divine right age: the body politic became capable of accommodating a corporeal king who was familiar and human’.18 Linda Colley and John Barrell contend that this personalisation and humanisation of the monarch was encouraged by the regular reports on the state of his health from late 1788.19 Due to the nature and seriousness of the king’s condition, it seems, satirical mockery gave way to a wealth of underlying affection, or at least the imposition of more rigorous standards of self-censorship.

Little attention, however, has been paid to the visual masculinity of this increasingly ‘familiar and human’ king, and to the ways in which other key figures helped to define, and were defined by, the existing and shifting identities of the king during the Regency Crisis. Representations of the king and references to the king’s illness in the caricature prints of 1788–89 strive to reinforce both the humanity and the sanctity of the king’s body, and to amplify the immorality and instability of his political enemies. These caricatures lead us beyond the arguments of Reid, Carretta, Colley, Barrell, and Morris to the underlying significance and visual resonance of the stricken king’s body in English political culture.

Isaac Cruikshank’s Frith the Madman Hurling Treason at the King (Figure 2.1)was published on 31January 1790, almost a full year after the announcement of the king’s recovery. This image parodies an incident, which was reported on 21 January, in which a ‘disturbed’ man named John Frith threw a stone at the royal coach. Drawing a parallel with the reporting of the Margaret Nicholson affair, Carretta suggests that ‘the king again demonstrated understanding and mercy’ in his response to this incident.20 Although this print postdates the Regency Crisis, it spectacularly evokes the representational dynamics of the winter of 1788–89, and highlights the ongoing impact of the crisis on the satirical identities of the key political actors.

Figure 2.1: Isaac Cruikshank, Frith the Madman Hurling Treason at the King. Published by S.W. Fores, 1790. Hand-coloured etching.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. British Museum Catalogue number (hereafter ‘BM’) 7624.

In Cruikshank’s print, George III is seated in the royal coach, which is surrounded by Yeoman of the Guard and mounted Life Guards. Dignified and almost angelic, he is not at all concerned or flustered by the surrounding activity. Edmund Burke is cast as the stone-throwing John Frith. He is being restrained by a vigorous looking protector of the king and by a young man who resembles the Prince of Wales. Burke is accompanied by Fox, who is dressed as a woman, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who is dressed as a sailor. The three opposition figures are unshaven, dishevelled and ragged, and they stand in stark contrast to the noble king, and the sturdy guards who attend to his safety. Fox holds a paper titled ‘Dying Speech’ and Sheridan a paper titled ‘[Ki]ngs last speech’. Above Fox’s head is inscribed the words: ‘Creul [sic] Fortune thus our hopes Destroy’, and Sheridan laments: ‘Dam’d unlucky’, suggesting the unprincipled and cruel opportunism of their political position ‘against’ the vulnerable king during the crisis of 1788–89. Their disorderly dress, dejected countenances, and complete lack of manly deportment, denote shame and failure. This is exemplified by the despondent, effeminised Fox.21 Fox’s transgression of ‘natural’ gender roles may also signify a propensity for falseness and deception through masquerade.22 Jane Kromm notes the prominence in the 1780s of female figures ‘whose agency, unnaturalness, and immodesty bear the paticular imprint of maniacal excess’, but in this instance Fox’s female clothing and tearfulness suggest a weakness for feminine passions that undercuts his efficacy as a public man.23 The incongruity inherent in Cruikshank’s picturing of Fox amplifies his political impotency, while simultaneously pointing to some of the vices and weaknesses underlying his predicament. Cruikshank uses the imagery of the royal procession as a metaphor for the state of the nation, a strategy that distinguishes two other prints of the Regency Crisis, The Grand Procession to St. Paul’s on St. George’s Day (1789) and Going in state to the House of Peers (1789). All three of these prints employ grotesques, mostly plebeians, as signifiers of folly and disorder. Distinguished by their torn clothing, their exaggerated noses and chins, their gangling limbs, and their disorderly comportment, these grotesques threaten to exercise an undue influence on the conduct of the state coach. In these prints, political virtue is set between the opportunism of parliamentarians, on the one hand, which is seen to foster degradation, and plebeian politics, on the other, which marks the realisation of that degradation. The demotic physiognomies, posture and dress of the Foxite Whigs in Frith the Madman connotes the ‘unnaturalness’ of their politics, and the decline of their political sensibilities and fortunes.24

The king and his attendants, in contrast, constitute a cohesive body with a clear direction. They display the discipline and fortitude necessary for stability and order, and a devotion to their respective tasks. As John Brewer observes, ‘legitimate politics was a matter of aristocratic and genteel leadership, of orderliness and of a hierarchy in which every man and woman knew their place’.25 The king seems impervious to the disruption. His profile, which is reminiscent of representations of George III on medals and coins, suggests solidity and reliability, and his composure denotes a benign and unflinching devotion to duty. The king’s pose, furthermore, underlines the potentially disastrous consequences, for national health and prosperity, of Burke’s assault.26 Atop the coach, however, there crouches a devilish imp, playing a fiddle, which suggests the existence of an undesirable influence on the king, most probably William Pitt. Perhaps Cruikshank is implying that the king is unapproachable, unreachable, and oblivious to the concerns of the lower orders. Whether the king’s pose indicates fortitude and clarity of mind, or insensibility and vulnerability to exploitation, Cruikshank nevertheless surrounds the king with a supportive, robust presence. The endangered king serves as a rallying-point, as a locus of cohesion and solidarity. His centrality to political virtue is not undermined by his weaknesses, as these weaknesses invite unity of purpose and vigilance in the interest of steady progress.27

The casting of Burke as John Frith, of course, taints the Foxite Whigs with the political symbolism of physically violent forms of madness. His aggressiveness signifies an absence of good sense, control and solidarity. This is demonstrated by Fox and Sheridan, who turn away from their disturbed colleague, and by the Prince, who attempts to contain him. Burke’s characteristically intense rhetorical style left him vulnerable to accusations of mental instability. In February 1789, for example, he infamously declared that George III had been ‘hurled by Providence from his throne’.28 Cruikshank exploits the heatedness of Burke’s oratory to suggest the irony and hypocrisy of his attitude towards the stricken king. Burke’s treatment of the king in Frith the Madman also connotes a general lack of compassion and sensibility, a charge that was repeated by Mary Wollstonecraft in the same year that this print was published.29 The picturing of a physically threatening form of madness in this print amplifies the ineffectuality and instability suggested by the Whigs’ depressed and ragged state. In several ways this print may be read as a sequel to Richard Newton’s A Ministerial Farce (1786), which also features a composed king under assault, a sturdy protector in support, and Fox in female attire. In Newton’s print, however, Fox is not passive and tearful but violent and enraged as he assumes the role of the king’s would-be assassin, Margaret Nicholson. The change in the nature of Fox’s passions from A Ministerial Farce to Frith the Madman is striking and telling. At the conclusion of the Regency Crisis, Burke is the last remaining agent of demented fury in the ranks of the thoroughly downcast Foxite Whigs.

Several prints of the Regency Crisis make direct references to the king’s illness, but express their respect and caution by avoiding visual representations of the king himself. These caricatures depend instead on the opportunism of his opponents. In Blue and Buf Loyalty (Figure 2.2), for example, Thomas Rowlandson underlines the political threat posed by the king’s incapacity. On ‘Saturday’ a concerned Dr Willis (the mad-doctor appointed by Pitt to treat George III) refers to the king’s state as ‘Rather worse – Sir’. Sheridan responds with villainous delight: ‘Ha – ha – rare news’. On ‘Sunday’, however, His Majesty is ‘Better thank God’ which leads Sheridan, in a vicious aside, to curse ‘Damnation’. Willis’ concern is theatrically delineated: he clutches his physic’s cane tightly in his left hand, the handle held to his bottom lip in consternation. The two Sheridans – the first offering a cruel smile, and the second a frustrated grimace – are joined at the centre of the print. This strongly evokes the disturbing intemperance and volatility of the stock political villain. Willis, with his hat respectfully tucked beneath his arm, is concerned and dignified, if somewhat foolishly unsuspecting, while Sheridan is erratic, grasping and haggard, as he lurks in the background, ready to exploit ill news. Rowlandson employs the theatrical convention of the villain’s aside, a punning device as Sheridan was also a playwright, to delineate his self-interestedness and unscrupulousness.

Figure 2.2: Thomas Rowlandson, Blue and Buf Loyalty. Published by S.W. Fores, 31 December 1788. Hand-coloured etching.

The title refers to the resistance to the American War of many of the opposition figures, who expressed solidarity with the colonists by wearing the ‘buff and blue’ associated with the revolutionary cause.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7394.

Sheridan’s reputation as a hard drinking and womanising rake facilitated Rowlandson’s characterisation, but Sheridan’s weakness for the temptations posed by the king’s illness mark him with a striking volatility and an insatiable ambition. He is charged with a dark and dangerous masculinity, but his threatening nature is set alongside a politically charged effeminacy, signified by the playwright-politician’s submerged and cowardly dealings ‘behind the scenes’. Sheridan displays, in the words of Vicesimus Knox, writing in 1795, the courtier’s tendency to ‘pursue his own interest, regardless of all honour and honesty, whenever they may be violated without detection’.30 The physical absence of the king in Blue and Buf Loyalty sensitises the reactions of Sheridan and Willis, as it creates uncertainty over the likelihood of his recovery and focuses attention firmly on the characters adjacent to the vulnerable king. To desire the king’s recovery and to rejoice in his recuperation was a way of asserting membership of the national body, and of asserting the superiority of its virtues and values. Alexander Bicknell, writing in 1790, claimed that the ‘People … are heard; – he is restored; – and a Joy so fervent, so sincere, and at the same time so extensive, stands not on the Records of any Nation’.31 The physically absent king is central to Rowlandson’s characterisation of Sheridan, as Sheridan’s moral and political quality is decisively coloured by his callous and selfish response to the king’s misfortune.

The king’s ‘madness’, when directly represented or referred to in Regency Crisis prints, is almost always reconstituted as an unfortunate delirium, and the potential for recovery is seen to be reliant on the generous and sympathetic spirit of the community. This paints the king’s opponents as enemies also of ‘the people’. In James Sayers’ A Peep behind the Curtain at Drury Lane (Figure 2.3), which was inspired by reportedly vigorous requests for ‘God Save the King’ at the theatre on 26 December 1788, Sheridan lurks behind the stage curtain instructing the musicians: ‘D[am]n em dont play God Save the King’. Sheridan, the real-life manager and part-owner of Drury Lane, again displays a lack of sympathy for the king, but on this occasion his self-interestedness positions him directly against a vocally royalist audience. This implies that the power he desires will be wielded with an unscrupulous disregard for the sentiments and inclinations of the people. His response to this public show of sympathy for the ailing George III also suggests cowardliness. Fearing the disclosure of his dark ambitions, he lurks in the shadows and stoops forward in a calculating fashion. In failing to hold a solid and upright posture, he fails to embody the devotion to principle and capacity for self-sacrifice required of true servants to the nation.

Figure 2.3: James Sayers, A Peep behind the Curtain at Drury Lane. Published by Thomas Cornell, 14 January 1789. Etching and aquatint.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7484.

The tendency to rationalise the king’s illness, in the process of enlisting it against his enemies, is especially apparent in Rowlandson’s Filial Piety (Figure 2.4), in which the Prince and his dissolute companions, George Hanger and Sheridan, burst into the king’s bedchamber in a state of drunken celebration. The Prince is shockingly disrespectful: ‘Damme, come along, I’ll see if the Old Fellow’s [Mad? Dead?] or not’. Hanger leans against the bedroom door with an expression of intoxicated curiosity, clutching a bottle with both hands, as Sheridan, his face characteristically blotched from excessive drinking, waves his hat facetiously. George III, in his sickbed, turns from the chaos with an expression of weary disappointment. The king, despite his mental and physical ill health, seems a far surer guarantor of national honour and virtue than his impish heir, corrupted by association with his father’s unscrupulous political enemies. Despite his illness, the king clearly perceives the unreliability of his wayward son. His good-sense and judgement is seemingly intact.

Figure 2.4: Thomas Rowlandson, Filial Piety. Published by S.W. Fores, 25 November 1788. Etching and aquatint.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7378.

Contrary to John Barrell’s assertion, this sympathy and concern for the king does not represent a ‘feminisation’ of his identity, as it is consistent with the development of a virtuous, mature manliness.32 Bicknell claimed that the monarch was ‘afflicted’ despite ‘the Possession of many valuable Qualities, both as a Man and a King’. Afflictions of the kind endured by the king originated not ‘from Depravity of the Mind … [but from] corporeal Malady; or, if mental, from some Source to be traced only by the All-seeing Eye’. His virtuous qualities encouraged ‘not only his own People, but distant Lands [to] lament the afflictive Stroke; and … [to] unite in pious Supplications for its Removal’.33 The central concern of such prints as A Peep behind the Curtain at Drury Lane and Filial Piety is the humanisation, not the feminisation, of the king, leading to an enhancement of his symbolic significance, and a thorough destabilisation of the reputations of the Prince of Wales and his supporters. The youthful, indolent Prince, with his propensity for debauchery, and his poor choice of associates, embodies a lack of self-control and a corruptibility that threatens to infect the manly rectitude vital to the health and reputation of the nation.34 In visually transforming the king’s ‘madness’ into a ‘delirium’, conceivably the product of such manly virtues as hard work and selflessness, Filial Piety seeks to enhance the king’s status as a key signifier of political virtue.35

The transformation of the king’s madness into a vaguely defined ‘malady’ or ‘delirium’ in these prints insulates the king from the negative political connotations of madness. This development left the Pitties and the Foxites especially vulnerable to the chief varieties of madness and ‘maladies of the mind’ in political satire.

Several Regency Crisis prints employ the striking imagery of the asylum interior. In these prints the political players are often subjected to restraint, in the form of shackles and straightjackets. These figures are tainted with dangerous and threatening forms of madness, which connote the complete and irreversible degeneration of their political minds. In The Hospital for Lunatics (Figure 2.5), for example, we are presented with three cells of ‘Incurables’. The first contains William Pitt, who sits on a chamber pot wearing a crown of straw. He is naked below the waist. Above Pitt’s head is written ‘went mad supposing himself next heir to a Crown’.36 Richmond, the Master of the Ordnance, occupies the second cell. He wears a chamber pot on his head and a simple night shirt, and he is surrounded by a ring of toy cannons. The third cell contains a woman who, we are told, was ‘Driven mad by a Political itching’. She resembles the Duchess of Gordon, a Tory figure.37 A doctor approaches saying ‘I see no signs of convalescence’. The attendant behind him responds: ‘No damme. they must be all in a state of Coercion’. The political illegitimacy and ineffectuality of these figures is established through their appropriation of the visual and verbal indicators of incurable madness. The suggestion of sexual debauchery was a stock weapon of political satirists, but in this instance it is used to reinforce the link between political vices and madness. The connection between overweening political ambition and sexual desire is suggested by the Duchesses’ ‘Political itching’. For many eighteenth-century writers a corrupt and effeminate polity was linked to the political influence of women, who might use their emotional and sexual leverage over powerful men to weaken the body politic.38 In this case the Duchess has contracted venereal disease (‘itching’) through her political-sexual misconduct, and this in turn has reduced her to madness and misery. The Duchesses’ condition, furthermore, underscores the deluded thinking and emasculation of her fellow inmates.

Figure 2.5: Thomas Rowlandson, The Hospital for Lunatics. Published by H. Holland, 7 February 1789. Hand-coloured etching.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7504.

James Gillray’s Cooling the Brain or – The Little Major, shaving the Shaver (Figure 2.6), contains a particularly confronting and downright portrait of raving madness. In this print we see Burke on the straw-covered floor of a madhouse, his right wrist and left ankle chained to the floor. He is bare-chested except for a rosary and crucifix, and his head is being shaved to enable it to cool, a familiar remedy for the intemperately mad. Burke’s muscularity is striking, and his fists are clenched with rage. These chains, then, restrain an obvious physical menace, and the process of ‘Cooling the Brain’ is clearly overdue. His sympathy for Catholics, as signified by the rosary and the crucifix, underscores his political recklessness and illegitimacy.39 Christopher Reid details the ways in which Edmund Burke worked ‘imaginatively on the medical evidence he had gathered’ on maladies of the mind to suggest that Pitt and his ministers were ‘grotesquely inverting political rationality and correct constitutional practice’ during the Regency Crisis.40 But ironically, the complexity and violence of Burke’s oratory left him vulnerable to charges of irrationality and even outright madness. A notice commenting on Burke’s behaviour, a parody of Willis’ reports on George III, was actually posted at Whitehall during the Regency debates: ‘calmer this morning but tending towards unquietness’.41 Gillray’s portrait of Burke as a stereotypical Georgian lunatic, then, underscores his hypocrisy and intemperance, and thereby his political judgement and efficacy, in a vivid and arresting manner. ‘Inconstancy of temper’, wrote Benjamin Fawcett, is ‘deplorable … as it is almost incurable. It puts the whole mind out of order, and taints every object of every sense’.42

Figure 2.6: James Gillray, Cooling the Brain or – The Little Major, shaving the Shaver. Published by James Aitken, 8 May 1789. Hand-coloured etching.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7529.

The metaphor of the madhouse connotes a loss of political reason, potency and influence. The restraint to which these figures are subjected heightens the comedic potential of such scenes, as the anxiety associated with violent displays of madness is contained. Rowlandson and Gillray had at their disposal a wide and overlapping variety of late eighteenth-century discourses on madness, many of which, such as ‘Incoherent Insanity’, were rich in political overtones. For Thomas Arnold, writing in the 1780s, this state of mind was characterised by ‘an incoherency of ideas, occasioned by an Excessive, Perverted, or Defective activity of the imagination and memory, accompanied by images existing in the mind, which do not exist externally’.43 The king’s illness permitted the political connotations contained in eighteenth-century treatises on delusion, incoherency, and raving madness to resonate, and encouraged the caricaturists to enlist them in the process of unmasking and indelibly marking the factional players.

Perhaps a greater sense of anxiety is created in such prints as A Coronation in Pall Mall and St. Stephens Mad-House; or, The Inauguration of King William the Fourth in which the raving madness of Pitt and his supporters runs potentially unchecked.44 In A Coronation in Pall Mall (Figure 2.7) Pitt strikes a regal pose as the Duchess of Gordon crowns him with a chamber pot. A concerned doctor – not Willis but ‘Wil Lies’ – stands alongside them. His report on these characters’ activities, a parody of Dr Willis’ reports on the king, reads:

her Grace … on Pit’s entering the room … discharg’d an utensil (she lately us’d) full in his face, but recollected herself soon after, and ask’d if he could like where it came from – fix’d furiously the vessel on his head – said the crown was empty, and he should have it.

Figure 2.7: Anonymous (attributed to ‘H.W.’), A Coronation in Pall Mall, 16 January 1789. Etching.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7490

Nevertheless, in a savage attack on Willis’ reliability and impartiality, these disturbing words and actions ‘considerably encreases the good hopes I entertain of her Grace’. ‘Wil Lies’, too, is clearly mad, as his shaved head and his comments in response to the Duchesses’ claim ‘that people frequently become more reasonable from insanity’ suggest: ‘applied to me’, he says, ‘I confirmed it’. In St. Stephens Mad-House Pitt wears a straw covered crown, and strikes an arrogant pose, as his deranged followers dance about him. Although madhouse coronation scenes such as these ridicule the political players by suggesting delusions of majesty and the unnaturalness of dramatic social elevations, Pitt’s madness is combined with political potency and influence. This amplifies the threat of political and social destabilisation. In St. Stephens Mad-House, for example, the Pittite Pepper Arden is selling titles and honours: ‘Coronets a Shilling a piece, Stars and Garters sixpence’. Pitt and his followers embody a dangerously potent combination of madness, venality, and political power. The depiction of the characters in these prints in full dress, rather than in the rags and chains of asylum inmates, contributes to this tension. These figures are clearly mad, but their potency is undiluted. This unchecked madness threatens the health and stability of the body politic. ‘Where the ruling mischief … prevails among the great’, wrote Vicesimus Knox,

then even the palliative remedies cannot easily be applied. The reason is manifest: a coercive power is wanting. They who should cure the evil are the very delinquents; and moral and political physic no distempered mind will ever administer to itself … In such minds, the idea of a public has no place.45

These Regency Crisis images of chained and raving madmen mark a significant point of development in the satirical representation of politics. The Regency Crisis spurred the development of ‘raving madness’ as a political metaphor in caricature prints, and the French Revolution encouraged its continued use and development. As Jane Kromm argues, an emphasis on images of mania in political culture is justified on the basis that ‘the political participation of the era was imbued with maniacal tendencies, whether these inhered in the noisy activities of majority or opposition, or in the assaultive responses their verbal and visual rhetoric provoked’. And, more importantly, mania deserves special attention due to the conflation of ‘the dynamics of mania’ and the ‘forces of revolutionary change’ in the artistic production of the 1790s.46 The gendered dimensions of this change in the general application of maniacal traits from male parliamentarians to female radicals, is especially noteworthy. The vanguard of revolutionary politics in the caricatures of the 1790s are frequently ‘insane female personifications and female revolutionaries’, especially those ‘whose militarism did much to revive the warrior ethics and the iconography of ira and furor’. The observations of French commentators ‘about the indecent and demented character of revolutionary women’, Kromm suggests, ‘could only reinforce the truth claims of foreign political caricatures in which the revolution and its philosophy appeared as furious madwomen’.47 In her characterisation of this development, however, Kromm tends to downplay the significance of Regency Crisis caricatures, which apply maniacal traits to male politicians with remarkable frequency and ferociousness. As a result, she also downplays the continuity and resonance, into the 1790s and beyond, of the raving parliamentarian in caricature. Moreover, while Kromm’s emphasis on mania is both justified and important, it neglects the contribution of subtler varieties of madness, and especially melancholy madness, to the political images of the 1780s and the 1790s. Kromm notes the ‘mixed or sequential, rather than entirely distinguishable’ shapes given to mania and melancholy in the works of William Hogarth, but she doesn’t explore the coexistence of mania and melancholy in the prints of the 1780s and the 1790s.48 Little attention, then, has been paid to the ways in which the prints of this period make use of the ‘various Shapes’ of madness. ‘In some’, explains Alexander Bicknell, madness ‘produces Ravings, Distraction, and all the Symptoms of ungovernable Fury. In others it assumes a gentler form, and terminates in Melancholy, Despondence, and Despair’.49 Images of ‘Melancholy, Despondence, and Despair’ were extensively used during the Regency Crisis. These images made a significant contribution to the political masculinities of Fox and his allies, as they were central to the attempts of the caricaturists to reflect Pitt’s gradual betterment of the Foxite Whigs.

The political efficacy of the Foxites is destabilised in The Regency Twelfth Cake not cut up and The Funeral Procession of Miss Regency by establishing their despair at the king’s recovery. In The Regency Twelfth Cake (Figure 2.8) the Foxites are gathered about a cake, which has as its centrepiece the Prince’s headdress beneath a crown. Each section of the cake is inscribed with a ministerial position. A ray of light – perhaps a heavenly declaration of the king’s recovery – has just emerged to disturb the celebration. A banner hovering above the cake proclaims: ‘The King shall enjoy his own again’. Louis Weltje, the Prince’s comptroller, drops a large cake knife in response and exclaims: ‘Den by Got we sall heb no Cake’. The Duke of Portland is frozen with shock, and Stormont, Loughborough and Sandwich are deflated. Their mouths and faces are sunken and impassive. Sheridan, with sunken eyes, cowers as he gazes into the light and misquotes Joseph Surface, a character from his play School for Scandal: ‘Now our Ruin is complete’.50 In the foreground Fox strikes a forlorn and defeatist pose as he turns from the disaster with his hands in his pockets. Burke, in contrast, glares at the light and banner, his arms folded in obstinacy and frustration.

Figure 2.8: James Sayers, The Regency Twelfth Cake not cut up. Published by Thomas Cornell, 19 February 1789. Etching and aquatint.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7509.

Gillray’s The Funeral Procession of Miss Regency (Figure 2.9) is characterised by a more intense atmosphere of defeat and despair. This strip design features the supporters of the Prince of Wales in a funeral procession. The casket, which of course symbolises the death of the Whig’s prospects, is ‘supported by six Irish Bulls’. These stand for the Irish delegation, which had staged an address to the Prince in late February 1789, requesting that he assume ‘all regal powers, jurisdictions, and prerogatives’.51 Having arrived just after the announcement of the king’s recovery, however, the Irish commissioners were subjected to intense ridicule.52 Burke, as Ignatius Loyola, leads the coffin in a Jesuit’s biretta and robes. The Foxites follow a distraught Maria Fitzherbert, the Prince’s Catholic mistress, (‘They call me now, poor Shadow, painted Queen … A Queen in Jest!!’), as they mourn the death of their political fortunes. Fox and Sheridan stand contained within black cloaks and carry looks of tearful despondency. Fox says ‘Ah! me! I can no more! dye Charley, dye! For Sherry grudges thou should’st live so long’. Sheridan laments ‘Ah! Charley hadst thou neer been seen This neer had hapt to me! I would that Pitt had seal’d my Eye E’er I had joined with thee!’. Loughborough continues this procession of deflated, impassive figures. He despairs ‘To see our hopes all gone to pot Our hopes that were so great’.53

Figure 2.9: James Gillray, The Funeral Procession of Miss Regency. Published by S.W. Fores, 29 April 1789. Hand-coloured etching.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. BM7526.

In both prints the Foxites’ inability to establish or regain political mastery is conveyed through gatherings of despondent and deflated bodies. Impotent and directionless, these figures are resigned to despair. References to debauchery and gambling, such as the dice that sit atop the Regency coffin in The Funeral Procession, suggest a lack of self-restraint in addition to a lack of political potency. The Funeral Procession, moreover, reinforces the political illegitimacy of these men by making numerous references to the Jacobite scare of 1745. Fox, or ‘Charley’ as he is repeatedly called, is laden with much of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s political baggage. The failed leader of the ‘45 had died in exile mere months before the publication of Gillray’s print.54 Fox and Sheridan are referred to as ‘The Rival Jacobites’, and Loughborough’s suggestion that ‘our hopes [have] all gone to pot’ invites a comparison with the character of Sawney, a derogatory stereotype of the Scottish Highlander employed by George Bickham in an anti-Jacobite print of 1745, Sawney in the Bog-House. Gillray draws on this scatological reference to lend a sense of undignified finality to the Foxites’ hopes, which have ‘gone to pot’. Loughborough himself is described as ‘A remnant of 1745, or the would-be Chancellor’. Burke’s Jesuit trappings in Gillray’s composition, and his pose in defiance of the heavenly ray in Sayers’ The Regency Twelfth Cake, suggest his obstinate disregard for political reality, and for the values and pillars of the Protestant nation. Burke’s deportment, in combination with these references to the Stuart and Catholic threats of the past, connote the backwardness and futility of the Foxites’ political desires. This charge is linked to the immaturity and fragility of the Foxites’ political dreams through Burke’s ‘Ode upon his Majesty’s Recovery’ which reads: ‘Yea our great Regency itself, Is dissolv’d! And like the baseless fabrick of a vision Not a wreck left behind!’. These prints clearly link political impotence, which is indicated by impassive and despairing bodies, with political folly. The undoing of the Foxites, these prints contend, has stemmed from their thirst for personal advancement in disregard of the nation’s well-being. Their grief and enervation, furthermore, negate their capacity to invigorate the body politic and to preserve its vitality. They are stricken with a melancholy that marks a significant decline in their fortunes, and a deflation of their grand visions. Dissolute habits, excessive passions, and flights of imagination related to the pursuit of power have fostered their descent into hopelessness.

In these prints, the Foxites resemble the tragic Sempronius who, as Alexander Bicknell lamented, ‘gave his Passions the Reign, and roved uncontrolled … through the flowery Paths of Pleasure’ until an inevitable ‘lonely Moment’ gave ‘Melancholy’ an opportunity to fortify ‘herself in her strong Hold’.55 In political satire a melancholy state of mind did not merely signify an unhealthy weakness for pleasure, however. The thoughts of a melancholy gentleman, wrote Benjamin Fawcett,

are most of all about himself, in unprofitable, or rather mischievous anxiety … He cannot turn his thoughts to other subjects, any more than a man in the tooth-ach can avoid thinking of his pain … He is very averse to a course of action, suitable to his station in life.56

As Anthony Pasquin implied in 1784, the melancholy politician was unacceptable to the ‘cool and dispassionate citizen, who respects integrity … and prefers the consistency of reason to the flights of caprice’.57 In indelibly marking the Foxites with the visual signs of melancholy, then, these caricature prints isolate them from the good sense and capacity for action integral to political efficacy and stability.58

The barrenness and futility of the political wrangling that accompanied the ‘royal malady’ of 1788–89, then, should not blind us to the richness of its cultural outpourings, and especially its caricatures, which inscribed and circumscribed the crisis in a unique fashion. The caricaturists suffused the bodies of Pitt, Fox, Burke, Sheridan and the Prince of Wales, players with whom they were already familiar, with those vices and follies related to the pursuit and operation of power most strongly evoked by the king’s incapacity. Protocol prohibited the widespread use of the king’s body, but this only intensified the caricaturists’ scrutiny of the parliamentarians, and exacerbated the destabilisation of their political virtue and efficacy.

These caricatures reflect, as Philip Carter notes in his survey of manliness and politeness in eighteenth-century literature, ‘a complex blend of contemporary and more established’ models of masculinity, such as the rake, the courtier, and the ‘man of feeling’, but these masculinities are complicated by complex blends, too, of eighteenth-century discourses and images of madness.59 In this chapter, I have attempted to demonstrate that makers of masculinities, in addition to managing and recasting undesirable elements, actively and enthusiastically engage with the possibilities that such events promote and provoke. In embracing the positive political connotations of mental distress the caricaturists sought to highlight the king’s vulnerability, enhance his humanity, and thereby amplify his symbolic significance. George III’s illness, prints such as Filial Piety make clear, did not stem from ‘Depravity of the Mind’, but from a selfless regard for public duty. And, as prints such as Frith the Madman and The Grand Procession to St. Paul’s demonstrate, the king possessed the manly fortitude to eventually subdue and even master his malady. The king’s vulnerability, too, as Frith the Madman and A Peep behind the Curtain at Drury Lane show, excites the sensibility and compassion, tempered by vigilance and martial spirit, of the nation’s stalwarts. Most Regency Crisis caricatures, however, in amplifying and extending the links between masculinity and madness, strive to imprint a peculiarly visceral picture of vice and folly in political life. Certainly, prints such as Blue and Buf Loyalty, The Hospital for Lunatics, and Cooling the Brain reflect a pre-existing perception that the nature of politics made its practitioners vulnerable to delusional thinking and maniacal behaviour, but the nature and sheer intensity of the Regency Crisis encouraged the intermeshing of an intricate array of masculinities and ‘ways of being mad’. The raving madness of the political players is contained and thereby rendered impotent in such prints as The Hospital for Lunatics and Cooling the Brain. The characters in these kinds of mad-house prints are typically semi-naked and chained as they squat on chamber-pots and straw-covered floors. These figures are divorced from the standard trappings and enclaves of powerful men, and thereby rendered manageable. In such prints as A Coronation in Pall Mall and St. Stephens Mad-House, however, the anxiety associated with raving madness is heightened by the spectacle of unhinged politicians, dressed and housed in the manner of the powerful and the influential, and engaged in the dispensation of honours and riches. Particular kinds of madness were amenable to the evocation of particular kinds of political masculinities in the context of the Regency Crisis. Raving madness held a long-standing capacity to connote power-lust and tyranny, and the vulnerability of the king strengthened this association, whereas ‘Melancholy, Despondence, and Despair’ were temptingly coterminous to political failure and loss of fortune. The caricaturists made extensive use of melancholic imagery, an often overlooked aspect of the imagery of madness, to paint the outcome of the Regency Crisis as the coup de grace of Pitt’s gradual betterment of the Foxite Whigs since the fall of the Fox-North Coalition in 1783. In suffusing the existing political masculinities of these characters with the visual and verbal signs of madness, in its many vaguely defined and overlapping varieties, the caricaturists attempted to unmask an overly ambitious, conspiratorial, venal and above all, capriciously unstable polity. The factional competitors in these prints are overwhelmingly self-interested and contemptuously weak to the temptations presented by the king’s vulnerability and political absence. The Foxites, in particular, are rendered vulnerable to madness and misery through their lack of fortitude, honour and transparency, and through their weakness for destructive pleasures. The madness and melancholy of the Pittites and the Foxites in these prints connote, too, an inability to live up to the demands of English freedom and prosperity. Thomas Arnold claimed that the English, because of their independent and entrepreneurial spirit, were more prone to disorders of the mind than the French, who were:

less ardent in their desires, less sanguine in their hopes, and less liable to be elevated by success, or dejected by disappointment, in consequence of the enervating effects of the nature of their government, – which by its perpetual checks and restraints, produces a habit of tame moderation, and patient acquiescence.60

Masculinities are made known and reconstituted through cultural products and performances, and these prints highlight the vulnerability of political masculinities to the vicissitudes of such events as the Regency Crisis.

The caricatures discussed in this chapter combine visual and verbal techniques to stake their claims about the nature and causes of vice and virtue in political life, but their primary tool is the visually rendered male body. These images are striking in their ability to imbue the masculinities of powerful men with a vivid and evocative corporeality. And their capacity to embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by the ‘royal malady’ points to the mutability of such characteristics. These prints highlight the ways in which, during the Regency Crisis, political vice and virtue were indelibly marked by the expressions, postures, gestures and fashions of madness. In appropriating these elements, the caricaturists sought to amplify and energise the political symbolism inherent in certain masculinities. Above all, they sought to visually complement and reinforce the charge, as set forth by Vicesimus Knox in 1795, that ‘They who should cure the evil are the very delinquents’.

Endnotes

1    John W. Derry, 1963, The Regency Crisis and the Whigs, 1788–9, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1.

2    On the king’s illness see: Ida Macalpine & Richard Hunter, 1967, ‘A Clinical Reassessment of the ‘Insanity’ of George III and some of its Historical Implications’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 40: 166–85; Ida Macalpine & Richard Hunter, 1991, George III and the Mad-Business, London: Pimlico: 172–75; M.T. Haslam, 1997, ‘The Willis Family and George III’, History of Psychiatry [Great Britain], 8: 539–53.

3    The only significant studies of the Regency Crisis are: Derry, The Regency Crisis and the Whigs; Bruce E. Gronbeck, 1972, ‘Rhetorical Invention in the Regency Crisis Pamphlets’, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 58: 418–30; Macalpine & Hunter, George III and the Mad-Business; Christopher Reid, 1992, ‘Burke, the Regency Crisis, and the “Antagonist World of Madness”’, Eighteenth-Century Life, 16: 59–75; Charles Chenevix Trench, 1964, The Royal Malady, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. Useful accounts of the crisis can be found in: Christopher Hibbert, 1998, George III: A Personal History, London: Viking: 254–303; L.G. Mitchell, 1971, Charles James Fox and the Disintegration of the Whig Party, 1782–1794, London: Oxford University Press: 118–52; Loren Reid, 1969, Charles James Fox: A Man for the People, London and Harlow: Longmans: 233–48; Robin Reilly, 1978, Pitt the Younger, 1759–1806, London: Cassell: 154–68. On the impact of the Regency Crisis in Ireland, see: Neil Herman, 2001, ‘Henry Grattan, the Regency Crisis, and the Emergence of a Whig Party in Ireland, 1788–9’, Irish Historical Studies, 32: 478–97; Nicholas K. Robinson, 1986, ‘Caricature and the Regency Crisis: An Irish Perspective’, Eighteenth-Century Ireland, 1: 157–76.

4    Derry, The Regency Crisis and the Whigs: 2.

5    M. D. George provides a useful overview in: M. D. George, 1959, English Political Caricature to 1792: A Study of Opinion and Propaganda, Oxford: Clarendon Press: 196–203. See also: Gronbeck, ‘Rhetorical Invention in the Regency Crisis Pamphlets’; Reid, ‘Burke, the Regency Crisis, and the “Antagonist World of Madness”’.

6    See George’s introduction to Volume VI of: M. D. George, 1978, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, London: British Museum: xx–xxi, 526–542, 569–626.

7    Jane Kromm, 2002, The Art of Frenzy: Public Madness in the Visual Culture of Europe, 1500–1850, New York: London: Continuum: 173; Diana Donald, 1996, The Golden Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 66.

8    Kathleen Wilson, 1995, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England 1715–1785, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 21.

9    Kromm, 2002, The Art of Frenzy.

10  There are only a handful of discussions of the images discussed in this chapter. M.D. George’s catalogue entries for the British Museum’s collection of satirical prints are an invaluable resource (see above, note 6). She also discusses several Regency Crisis prints in her English Political Caricature to 1792 (196–203). George’s approach to caricature prints, however, was somewhat limited. As Roy Porter points out, she ‘clearly thought of them essentially as visual documentation for a political narrative’ (‘Prinney, Boney Boot’, London Review of Books, 20 March, 1986: 19). Nicholas Robinson provides an interesting but mostly descriptive reading of Regency Crisis prints in his history of Edmund Burke in caricature: Nicholas Robinson, 1996, Edmund Burke: A Life in Caricature, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 118–35; and in his article on the Irish dimensions of the crisis: Robinson, 1986, ‘Caricature and the Regency Crisis: an Irish Perspective’. Vincent Carretta offers a useful analysis of several Regency Crisis caricatures in: Vincent Carretta, 1990, George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron, Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press: 273–87. Jane Kromm notes the contribution of Regency Crisis caricatures to the development of ‘aspects of furor embedded in the nature of tyranny’, but she tends to downplay the overall significance of the episode (Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 164, 180–184). Some attention has been paid to the rhetorical strategies used by the factional leaders and orators in attempting to secure ‘public opinion’: Bruce E. Gronbeck, 1970, ‘Government’s Stance in Crisis: A Case Study of Pitt the Younger’, Western Speech, 34 (4): 250–61; Gronbeck, 1972, ‘Rhetorical Invention in the Regency Crisis Pamphlets’. Perhaps the most sophisticated work on Regency Crisis discourse is Christopher Reid’s analysis of the ‘analogy between madness and political and cultural disorder’ inspired by the king’s ‘malady’ (1992, ‘Burke, the Regency Crisis, and the “Antagonist World of Madness”’: 59).

11  Reid, ‘Burke, the Regency Crisis, and the “Antagonist World of Madness”’: 59–75, 59.

12  Reid, ‘Burke, the Regency Crisis, and the “Antagonist World of Madness”‘: 59–60.

13  Saul David, 1999, Prince of Pleasure: the Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency, London: Abacus: 32, 57–91; Reid, Charles James Fox: 171.

14   David M. Craig, 2003, ‘The Crowned Republic? Monarchy and anti-monarchy in Britain 1760–1901’, The Historical Journal, 46 (1): 167–185, 171; Marilyn Morris, 1996, ‘The Royal Family and Family Values in Late Eighteenth-Century England’, Journal of Family History, 21 (4): 519–533, pp. 519–520; Marilyn Morris, 1998, The British Monarchy and the French Revolution, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 142–145.

15  Linda Colley, 1996, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837, London: Vintage: 224–225.

16  Morris, The British Monarchy and the French Revolution: 37.

17  Carretta, George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron: 275, 282.

18  Morris, The British Monarchy and the French Revolution: 161.

19  Linda Colley, 1984, ‘The Apotheosis of George III: Loyalty, Royalty, and the British Nation 1760–1820’, Past and Present, 102: 94–129, 125; John Barrell, 2000, Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide 1793–1796, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 54–55.

20  Carretta, George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron: 275.

21  Anna Clark notes that effeminacy ‘could connote … being turned into woman’. See: Anna Clark, 1998, ‘The Chevalier d’Eon and Wilkes: Masculinity and Politics in the Eighteenth-Century’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 32 (1): 19–48, 20.

22  On cross-dressing and masquerade, see: Ludmilla Jordanova, 1999, Nature Displayed: Gender, Science and Medicine 1760–1820, London and New York: Longman: 27; Peter McNeil, 1999, ‘“That Doubtful Gender”: Macaroni Dress and Male Sexualities’, Fashion Theory, 3 (4): 411–448, 419.

23  Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 171.

24  For a fuller discussion of images of the Foxites as plebeians, see: John Brewer, 1986, The Common People and Politics 1750–1790s, Cambridge and Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey: 32.

25  Brewer, The Common People and Politics: 45.

26  Significantly, the king was on his way to open parliament when John Frith threw his stone. George, Catalogue: 658.

27  Philip Carter claims that the assumption that ‘true and manly courage was determined by selfcontrol, consideration and ultimately compassion … [was] a common eighteenth-century theme that played readily into the more pronounced equation of sensibility and militarism evident from the late 1750s’ (Philip Carter, 2001, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society: Britain, 1660–1800, Harlow: Longman: 108). The portrayal of the king’s protectors in these prints exemplifies this claim. Their valour is an expression of their controlled compassion for the national body through their defence of the king.

28  The Earl of Stanhope reminded Burke of his inflammatory language in his response to Burke’s speech on the French Revolution, which was given in the House of Commons on 9 February 1790 (Earl Stanhope, 1790, A Letter from Earl Stanhope, to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke: Containing a Short Answer to his Late Speech on the French Revolution, Third Edition, Dublin: P. Byrne: 12).

29  Mary Wollstonecraft, 1790, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Second Edition, London: Joseph Johnston: 60.

30  Vicesimus Knox, 1795, The Spirit of Despotism, London: 126.

31  Alexander Bicknell, 1790, Painting Personified; or, the Caricature and Sentimental Pictures, of the Principal Artists of the Present Times, Fancifully Explained, London: Printed for R. Baldwin: 198.

32  Barrell, Imagining the King’s Death: 54.

33  Bicknell, Painting Personified: 195, 198.

34  Kromm notes that descriptions of the rake in literature often detail ‘the same psychological tendencies found in maniacs’ (Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 113). On moderation and manliness see Philip Carter, 1999, ‘James Boswell’s Manliness’, Tim Hitchcock & Michèle Cohen, editors. English Masculinities 1660–1800, London and New York: Longman: 111–130. On excessive drinking, sociability, self-control and debauchery see Richard Peers, 1740, A Companion to Youth, Second Edition, London: Printed for T. Astley; Carter, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society: 65–66, 83 (note 39); Elizabeth A. Foyster, 1999, Manhood in Early Modern England: Honour, Sex and Marriage, London: Longman; Robert B. Shoemaker, 1999, ‘Reforming Male Manners: Public Insult and the Decline of Violence in London 1660–1740’, Hitchcock & Michèle Cohen, editors. English Masculinities, 133–150, 136–137.

35  On the virtues of madness, see: Roy Porter, 1987, Mind Forg’d Manacles: A History of Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency, London: Athlone.

36  Kromm notes that ‘royal paraphernalia’ was a ‘common device well known from representations of deluded professional types’ (Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 178). Those familiar with the work of Hogarth will recognise the similarity between Pitt and the figure who occupies the central cell in plate 8 of: William Hogarth, 1735, The Rake’s Progress, London.

37  George, Catalogue: 588.

38  See, for example: John Brown, 1757, An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times, London: Printed for M. Cooper: 65–82, 101. On femininity and politics see: Vivian Cameron, 1991, ‘Political Exposures: Sexuality and Caricature in the French Revolution’, in Lynn Hunt, editor. Eroticism and the Body Politic, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press: 90–107; Lynn Hunt, 1999, ‘The Many Bodies of Marie Antoinette: Political Pornography and the Problem of the Feminine in the French Revolution’, in Hunt, editor. Eroticism and the Body Politic: 108–130; Jordanova, Nature Displayed: 21–47; Joan B. Landes, 2001, Visualizing the Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press: 113–134; Gill Perry, 1994, ‘Women in Disguise: Likeness, the Grand Style and the Conventions of ‘Feminine’ Portraiture in the Work of Sir Joshua Reynolds’, in Gill Perry and Michael Rossington, editors. Femininity and Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press: 18–40; Amelia Rauser, 2002, ‘The Butcher-Kissing Duchess of Devonshire: Between Caricature and Allegory in 1784’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 36 (1): 23–46; Kathleen Wilson, 1995, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England 1715–1785, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 223, 281–283.

39  Burke was an advocate of Catholic emancipation.

40  Reid, ‘Burke, the Regency Crisis, and the “Antagonist World of Madness”’: 59–75, 67.

41  George, Catalogue: 608. See also: Robinson, Edmund Burke: A Life in Caricature: 133–134.

42  Benjamin Fawcett, 1780, Observations on the Nature, Causes and Cure of Melancholy, London: Printed by J. Eddowes, and sold by J. Buckland & T. Longman: 8.

43  Thomas Arnold, 1782, Observations on the Nature, Kinds, Causes, and Prevention of Insanity, Lunacy, or Madness, 1, Leicester: Printed by G. Ireland: 136–137.

44  A Coronation in Pall Mall, H.W. Published 16 January 1789. BM7490. This date appears on an uncoloured version of this print in the British Museum. George specifies the month only; St. Stephens Mad-House, ‘Designed by Margaret Nicholson, Etched by Mr. Stone’. Published 27 January 1789. BM7495.

45  Knox, The Spirit of Despotism: 129.

46  Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 168, 203.

47  Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 201.

48  Kromm, The Art of Frenzy: 115.

49  Bicknell, Painting Personified: 193.

50  George notes that ‘the actual words are “‘Tis now complete!”’. Catalogue: 592.

51  John Derry attributes the decision of the Irish commissioners to ‘the unpopularity of Buckingham, the Lord Lieutenant; the unreliability of the boroughmongers and placemen; the desire of Grattan and Charlemont to assert … the independence of the Irish legislature under the constitution of 1782; the connexion between the Irish patriots and the Prince of Wales’s circle in London’ (Derry, The Regency Crisis and the Whigs: 198).

52  See, for example: William Dent’s The Irish Audience, Designed by Wit, Executed by Bulls and Rats (1789), the Irish Ambassadors Extraordinary!!! (1789), and The Ambassadors Extraordinary Return, On Bulls Without Horns (1789).

53  These phrases are taken from Shakespeare’s Richard III, Henry VI, and others.

54  On Charles Edward Stuart, see: Thomas E. Kaiser, 1997, ‘The Drama of Charles Edward Stuart, Jacobite Propaganda, and French Political Protest 1745–1750’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 30 (4): 365–381; and Bruce P. Lenman, 1991, ‘Some Recent Jacobite Studies’, Scottish Historical Review [Great Britain], 70 (1): 66–74.

55  Bicknell, Painting Personified: 204–206.

56  Fawcett, Observations on the Nature, Causes and Cure of Melancholy: 5.

57  Anthony Pasquin, 1784, A Novel: the Forty Days Madness of a General Election in England, London: Printed and Sold by J. Axtel: 36.

58  On ‘melancholic man’, see: Porter, Mind Forg’d Manacles: 47. On the meanings of madness during the 1790s and early 1800s, see also: Roy Porter, 1990, ‘Reason, Madness, and the French Revolution’, in Leslie Ellen Brown & Patricia B. Craddock, editors. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 20, Cleveland, Ohio: Press of Case Western Reserve University: 55–80, 63.

59  Carter, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society: 2.

60  Arnold, Observations on the Nature, Kinds, Causes, and Prevention of Insanity, Lunacy, or Madness: 23.

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Cite this chapter as: Agland, Jamie. 2009. ‘Madness and masculinity in the caricatures of the Regency Crisis, 1788–89’. Drawing the Line: Using Cartoons as Historical Evidence, edited by Scully, Richard; Quartly, Marian. Melbourne: Monash University ePress. pp. 2.1 to 2.24.

© Copyright 2009 Jamie Agland

All rights reserved. Apart from any uses permitted by Australia’s Copyright Act 1968, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission of the copyright owners. The fact that this book is published online does not mean that any part of it can be reproduced without first obtaining written permission: copyright laws do still apply. Inquiries should be directed to the publisher, Monash University ePress: http://www.epress.monash.edu/contacts.html.

Drawing the Line

   by Richard Scully, Marian Quartly