Search-night, or, State-watchmen mistaking honest-men for conspirators [graphic] : vide, state arrests / Js. Gy. invt. & fect.

Pubd. March 20th, 1798, by H. Humphrey, No. 27 St. James's Street
[20 March 1798]
Physical Description:
1 print : etching on wove paper, hand-colored ; plate mark 25.7 x 36.1 cm, on sheet 28 x 40 cm
Title etched below image.
Temporary local subject terms: Interiors: cottage -- Fireplaces -- Daggers -- Vermin: rats -- Bonnet rouge: supply of bonnets rouges -- Lighting: lantern -- Emblems: dark lantern of conspiracy -- ladders -- Allusion to the London Corresponding Society -- Allusion to the planned French invasion of Ireland -- Allusion to the French Revolution -- Newspapers: The Press.
Peter Murray Hill, Chelsea, London ; Oct. 1958.
Watermark: 1794.
Some of the subjects identified below image in contemporary hand.
"The interior of a bare, poverty-stricken room with a raftered roof. Pitt and Dundas, as watchmen, batter down the upper timbers of a door (right) which has been strongly bolted, locked, and barricaded. Both have long staves, Pitt holds up a lantern. The occupants hide or flee, except Lord Moira, who stands stiffly in profile to the right on the extreme left, his crisped fingers outspread deprecatingly, disassociating himself from his companions (cf. BMSat 9184); he wears regimentals with a cocked hat. A heavy but ragged cloth covers a rectangular table in the middle of the room, on which are ink-pot and papers: a 'Plan of Invasion' with a map of 'France' and 'Ireland'. This lies across a paper signed 'yours O'Conner'. A dark-lantern stands on the open pages of the 'Proceedings of the London Corresponding Society'. An office stool has been overturned. Prone under the table, their heads and shoulders draped by the cloth, are (left to right): Horne Tooke, Nicoll, and Tierney. Fox and Sheridan escape up a ladder to a trap-door in the roof; the latter still has one foot on the floor. Between ladder and wall (left) is an iron-bound chest filled with daggers; more daggers are heaped on the floor: beneath them are two papers: 'The Press' (the organ of the United Irishmen, started by O'Connor, see BMSat 9186) and 'Bloody News from Ireland Bloody News Bloody News'; this lies across a paper signed 'Munchausen' (cf. BMSat 9184). The Duke of Norfolk is timorously waiting his turn to escape by the wide chimney, up which Bedford is disappearing; the latter is identified by a paper hanging from his pocket: 'Bedford Dog Kennel'. A large fire burns in the grate, on the bar of which Bedford puts his foot. Across the chimney is scrawled 'Vive l'Egalite', on either side of a bonnet-rouge. Above it are prints, bust-portraits of 'Buonapart' and 'Robertspier'. On the right is a casement window showing a night sky and the turrets of the White Tower. Below it is hung a broadside headed by a guillotine and the words 'Vive la Guillotin'. In the corner of the room (right) is a pile of bonnets-rouges. In the foreground rats scamper towards a large hole in the ramshackle floor. Beside them are papers: 'Assignats' and 'Plan for raising United Irishmen'."--British Museum online catalogue.
Variant Titles:
State-watchmen mistaking honest-men for conspirators
Associated Names:
Gillray, James, 1756-1815 [Printmaker]
Humphrey, Hannah, active 1774-1817 [Publisher]
Bedford, Francis Russell, Duke of, 1765-1802
Fox, Charles James, 1749-1806
Hastings, Francis Rawdon-Hast
Melville, Henry Dundas, Viscount, 1742-1811
Norfolk, Charles Howard, Duke of, 1746-1815
Pitt, William, 1759-1806
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 1751-1816
Etchings -- England -- London -- 1798
Satires (Visual works) -- England -- 1798
Watermarks (Paper) -- 1794
Content Type:
Prints & Photographs
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