Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/339

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
251
"JIM CROW."

Sir William Molcsworth. Notwithstanding the exertions of the ministers and their friends to secure the election of Mr. Leader, that gentleman was not only beaten by a very considerable majority, but lost as a natural consequence his seat for Bridgwater, a fact which suggested to the artist another able sketch, The Dog and the Shadow. The election itself forms the subject of A Race for the Westminster Stakes, in which the aged thoroughbred (Sir Francis), ridden by Lord Castlereagh, beats the young horse Leader, jockey Mr. Roebuck. Among the backers of the losing horse, Daniel O'Connell and Joseph Hume may be easily detected by the lugubrious expression of their faces. The sketch of A Fine Old English Gentleman was suggested by a remark made by the Times during the progress of the contest, in which it described Sir Francis as "a fine specimen of the old English gentleman." In the left-hand corner of this sketch the artist has placed a picture of the Tower of London, by way of reminder of the days when the baronet was regarded not so much in the light of "a fine old English Gentleman" as a radical of the most advanced type, and as a martyr in the cause of public liberty.

Changes in Political OpinionA change of opinion however is obviously a necessary incident of political life, and we have ourselves witnessed some remarkable instances of such versatility in our own days. In some cases these changes are only temporary or partial, in others they are radical and complete; sometimes they are dictated by conviction, at others by necessity; occasionally they seem to be the result of absolute caprice; while in not a few instances, I fear, we should not be very far wrong in assigning them to feelings of disappointment or personal or political pique. This tergiversation in public men forms the subject of one of HB's happiest inspirations. In 1837 there appeared at the Adelphi Theatre an American comedian named Rice, the forerunner of the Christies and other "original" minstrels of our day, who sang in his character of a nigger a comic (?) song, which, being wholly destitute of melody, and even more idiotic than compositions of that kind usually are. forthwith became exceedingly popular, being groaned by every organ, and whistled by all the street urchins of the