Political mathematicians, shaking the broad bottom'd hemispheres

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Political mathematicians, shaking the broad bottom'd hemispheres. A pair of breeches, formerly belonging to Fox, much inflated and forming two merging and transparent globes with projecting legs, is poised (at the seat) on three ostrich feathers, erect in a round bed of (ministerial) roses. Within these globes, members of the Ministry sit at a round table, devouring loaves and fishes. The nearest ones are in back view, and have the heavy posteriors characteristic of the Grenvilles. Lord Grenville, a fish in each hand, with Lord Ellenborough on his right, Buckingham on his left, and, next the latter, Lord Temple. They sit on a cushioned bench like those of Parliament, which follows the curve of the breeches. The others, left to right from Temple, are Spencer, Windham, Erskine, Petty, Lord Holland, [Identified by his own note.] Moira, who sits full face opposite Grenville, Lauderdale, Sheridan, Howick; Sidmouth on Ellenborough's right completes the circle. All are gormandizing on fish in different degrees, except Spencer and Holland who eat normally. Before Grenville is a dish containing two large fish. A dog puts its forefeet on the bench, yapping at Grenville's back. On the ground beside him are three cats eating fish in a dish. Rats surround a dish inscribed 'Scribblers' [ministerial journalists and pamphleteers]. Larger rats in the Ministerial rose-bed gnaw at the feathers which support the breeches. Two parties are trying to pull down the precariously poised Ministry: Burdett and his friends (right) and in the distance (left) the Pittites. The former use a lever with which they try to hoist up the breeches. It passes through a loop at the knee, and rests on the head of Paull, who sits cross-legged on a tailor's board. He is dressed as a tailor and holds out a tape-measure, which he is about to cut with the shears, not of a tailor, but of Atropos. In his belt are two duelling pistols, indicating his duel in India, an the proposed duel with Elliot, a Westminster politician, prevented by the Bow Street magistrates in Dec. 1806. Beside him are a tailor's goose and a roll of tartan cloth. Under his board are cabbages. This board rests on a battered 'Rock of Independence' which rises from a mound which are other emblems: a goose stands on a cabbage, hissing violently at the breeches. There are also mushrooms (to denote the upstart), cucumbers, and a thistle. Three men pull hard at the end of the long pole resting on Paull's head: Cobbett, Burdett, and Horne Tooke. At the other end of their pole is a bonnet rouge terminating in the bell of a fool's cap, and with a tricolour cockade. After the title: "Mr Paull is fixed upon a Rock, and be assured he will prove the Fulcrum by means of which the present Broadbottomites will be Overset. - Sir F. Burdett's Speech." In the right foreground is a group of emblems in shadow. The Pittites haul downwards, pulling ropes attached to the knee of the other leg of the breeches. The foremost is Castlereagh, with Canning and Hawkesbury behind him, and on the extreme left Perceval and Rose. Behind them is a lofty monument standing on a rock. On it stands Pitt, wearing the robes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, his head hidden by thick clouds. His right hand rests on a pillar. Britannia, seated on the rock, leans against the pedestal, in great distress. The British Lion sits near her, scowling furiously at the breeches. In the left foreground the ghost of Fox, weeping, emerges from a broken tomb. His head and hands appear above ground. In the background, below the plateau on which the breeches and its enemies stand, is the sea-shore, with a deep-horizoned sea. Above the design: To that last Hope of the Country, the New Opposition, this Representative of "Charley's Old Breeches in Danger" is Respectfully submitted (BM). Artist: Gillray, James, 1756-1815. Date: January 9, 1807. Sourced from Digital Commonwealth website.

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