Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/221

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149
INFORMERS.

of June, one Watson, a surgeon, was tried for high treason at Westminster Hall, and acquitted on the 16th, whereupon the Attorney General abandoned the prosecution against Thistlewood, Preston, and Hooper, who were also indicted under a like charge. All the accused were in indigent or humble circumstances, and the chief witness against them appears to have been Castle. Among the five persons sitting round the table, we recognise Castle (whose villainous face Is turned towards us) and Oliver. The others we cannot identify. The aristocratic looking gentleman receiving them so blandly is my Lord Castlereagh. "Don't you think, my lord," says the person next him, "Don't you think that our friends Castle and Oliver should be sent to Lisbon or somewhere, as consul-generals or envoys?" "Can't you," says his lordship to the beetle-browed ruffians by way of rejoinder, "Can't you negotiate for some boroughs?" John Bull, looking through the window at these negotiations, with much indignation, and recognising in these fellows the rascals by whom he has been " ensnared into [committing] criminal acts," hints in very plain terms that the conduct pursued by such men was the high road to political favour in 1817. Among the papers on the table we notice a "Plan for the attack on the Regent's carriage;"[1] a bundle of "treasonable papers to be slipped into the pockets of some duped artisans;" another, indicating the "means to be taken to implicate Sir Francis Burdett, Lord Cochrane," and other popular agitators of that day; "A list of victims in Ireland," and so on. On the floor at his lordship's feet lie some of the tri-coloured flags unfurled at the Spafields meeting; the obvious inference intended to be conveyed being of course that the Government were really at the bottom of the popular disturbances.

R-y-l Condescension, or a Foreign Minister Astonished, published by Fores on the 15th of September, 1817, is one of George Cruikshank's most finished but at the same time indelicate compositions. It refers to the rumours affecting the Princess Caroline's reputation which preceded the "bill of pains and penalties," to which we

  1. See Chapter III. (1817).