Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/326

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

proposed to be benefited were such important centres as Macclesfield, Stockport, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Brighton, Whitehaven, Wolverhampton, Sunderland, Manchester, Bury, Bolton, Dudley, Leeds, Halifax, Sheffield, North and South Shields; while it was stated that the same principle would apply to extend the representation to cities of such importance as Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Belfast. All the resolutions, however (comprising a third which we have considered it unnecessary to refer to), were negatived by the amazing majority of 213 to 117. The fact that this was a much larger majority than that which had thrown out the previous and more limited proposal for extending the franchise to three only of the manufacturing towns, will suffice to show the spirit in which the unreformed parliament of 1830 was accustomed to receive any suggestion of improvement and reform, reasonable or otherwise.

It may perhaps seem strange that at this stirring period there was an absolute dearth of political caricaturists, but the fact we have already attempted to account for. George Cruikshank, the finest caricaturist of his day, as well as his brother Robert, neither of whom can be described as purely political satirists, had now practically retired from the practice of the art, and were employed on work of a totally different character. Political caricature languished; indeed, if we perhaps except William Heath, oftentimes better known by his artistic pseudonym of "Paul Pry," there was not a political caricaturist of any note in 1829-30.

At this juncture there arose a graphic satirist—if indeed we are justified in, so terming him—of genuine originality. Before 1829, he had been known only as a miniature painter of some celebrity; but he possessed a taste for satiric art, and had essayed several subjects of political character which he treated in a style and manner differing altogether from the mode in which satirical pictures had hitherto been treated. These he showed to Maclean, one of the great caricature publishers of the day, who had sufficient discernment and prescience to recognise in them the work of a man of unquestionable original ability. He prevailed on