The life of William-Cobbett, written by himself. No. 4 [graphic] / Js. Gillray invt. & fect.

Publish'd Septr. 29th, 1809, by H. Humphrey, 27 St. Jamess [sic] Street
[29 September 1809]
Physical Description:
2 prints on 1 sheet : etching on wove paper, hand-colored ; plate mark 28.1 x 21.2 cm and plate mark 8.8 x 20.4 cm, on sheet 38 x 22 cm
Title etched below image.
Fourth print of eight in a series entitled: The life of William-Cobbett, written by himself.
Below image is printed a second plate etched with text only: 4th plate. I was now made sarjeant major and clerk to the regiment, and there being only one man in it besides myself who could read or keep himself sober ... Vide, my own memoirs in the Political Register of 1809.
Series number etched above image, in upper left.
Sheet trimmed to margin of plate mark.
Alfred Bowditch Collection; December, 1966; Acquisitions no.: 966-12-10-63.
Mounted to 41 x 26 cm.
"Sergeant-Major Cobbett, helped by Corporal Bestland, furtively copies regimental documents in a room with a bolted door. Bestland, registering alarm, sits at the writing-table holding open a book, while Cobbett, facing him, stoops to write. The book is inscribed: 'Regimental Account of Provisions --Cloaths--Accoutrements. 51st Regt--Bread--Meat--Potatoes'. The room is lit by one candle. On the door is a placard: 'Regimental Orders. 51st Royal Regt--Ordered,--that none but trusty Persons shall have Access to the Regimental Books and Accounts--N.B. the Keys are left in the possession of Serjt Majr Cobbett'. Let into the wall above Cobbett's head is a cupboard or safe, the door open, the key in the lock. In it are books, five being inscribed 'Regimental Book', 'Army-Extraord[inaries]', '51st Regiment', 'Cash Account', 'Provision Acct'. Above this is an oval half-length portrait of 'Lord Edwd Fitzgerald', his head cut off by the upper margin (see No. 9227, &c). He holds a paper inscribed 'Rebellion', and the frame is fringed with daggers pointing outwards. Over the door is a trophy of crossed blunderbusses, with spear, firebrands, and a bonnet rouge supported on a dagger. Regimental muskets and pistols are ranged against the wall (right). Behind Cobbett is an open chest, 'Wm Cobbett's Private Box', filled with documents: 'Copies of the Regimental Accounts', 'Cuttings from the Regimental Books', 'Scraps for Court Martial', 'Stolen Documents for to make Grounds for Charges'. On the ground lies his tasselled cane. On a chair behind Bestland are books: 'Army Ac . . .', 'Pay-Office', 'Regimental Book--Cash account 51st Reg.--Wm Cobbett'. On the floor is a money-bag labelled 'for private use W. Cobbett', and inscribed '£200 Regimental Money 51st Regt'. Beside it are two large books: 'Extracts from the Regimental Accounts to be altered as Convenient--Willm Cobbett J Bestland', and, 'Robberies of the Mens Provisions-- Witness W. Cobbett J. Bestland'. On the table are ink-stand, seal, and sealing-wax."--British Museum online catalogue.
Associated Names:
Gillray, James, 1756-1815 [Printmaker]
Gillray, James, 1756-1815 [Artist]
Humphrey, Hannah, active 1774-1817 [Publisher]
Auchincloss, Hugh Dudley
Cobbett, William, 1763-1835
Harvey, Francis
Riviere & Son
Etchings -- England -- London -- 1809
Satires (Visual works) -- England -- 1809
Watermarks (Paper) -- J. Whatman -- 1816
Content Type:
Prints & Photographs
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Call Number:
809.09.29.04 Impression 1
Orbis Record:
Yale Collection:
Lewis Walpole Library
Digital Collection:
Lewis Walpole Library
Local Record Number:
Digital version