Thursday, April 7, 2011

William Hone Part IV

A Political Christmas Carol by Mathew Crowther >

Next up is A Political Christmas Carol which was released either in late December 1819 or early January 1820.

It's a short pamphlet and in some instances was included as a light-hearted addendum to The Man in the Moon.

Hone re-writes 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' as an attack on Lord Castlereagh. Castlereagh was perhaps the most frequent target of Hone's satire as, along with Lord Sidmouth and George Canning, he was one of the chief architects of the various pieces of repressive legislation which were introduced in Britain in the years following the end of the Napoleonic Wars and as foreign secretary had also negotiated the Quadruple Alliance which aligned Britain with the absolutist monarchies of Russia, Prussia and Austria.

The caricature of the Foreign Secretary which was developed by Hone in The Political House and other pamphlets became so deeply rooted in the public mind that even loyalist pamphleteers felt obliged to copy it in order to ensure that there readers, who wouldn't have had access to expensive official portraits of men like Castlereagh, could recognise pictures of him. Thus in the loyalist The Men in the Moon, or, The Devil to Pay Castlereagh still carried the cat-o-nine-tails which Hone and Cruikshank had given him in order to remind their readers of the harsh code of corporal punishment he had imposed on the military during his time as Secretary for War.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Next: Political A Apple Pie

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