Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/330
Duke of Cumberland.The duke himself was one of the most unpopular personages of his time, and evinced on his part a contempt for public opinion which did nothing to lessen the prejudice with which he was generally regarded. We dislike a man none the less for knowing that he is conscious of and indifferent to our good or bad opinion; and so it was with the Duke of Cumberland. He followed his pleasure (field sports amongst the rest) with a serene and happy indifference to all that the world might think or say about him. This characteristic of his Royal Highness is satirized in another of the "sketches," where he is supposed to sing "My Dog and My Gun," as "Hawthorn," in the then popular opera of "Love in a Village." His Royal Highness made himself a remarkable character in those smooth-faced days by wearing a profusion of whisker and moustache perfectly white. A rumour somehow got abroad and was circulated in the tittle-tattle newspapers of the time, that at the instance of some fair lady he had shaved off these martial appendages. The cavalry for some unexplained reason were the only branch of the service who were then permitted to wear moustaches, and in one of his sketches, the artist places the smooth-shaved duke in the midst of his brother officers, who regard him with the greatest horror and amazement.
The Ministry which succeeded that of the Duke of Wellington had entered office under express declaration that they would forthwith apply themselves to the reform of the representation of the people; and accordingly, on the 1st of March, 1831, a bill for that purpose was actually introduced by Lord John Russell; but the strength and violence of the opposition which could still be mustered against it may be judged by the fact, that the second reading was carried by the hopeless majority of one in the fullest house that had ever been assembled. A dissolution took place shortly afterwards, and the avowed intention of such dissolution had been to obtain from the people at the general election (which followed) a House of Commons pledged to support the Reform Bill; indeed, the only test by which candidates were tried, was their expressed pledge to support this particular measure. On the 24th