6 Reflections on the French Revolution

Isaac Cruikshank (1756 – 1811)

Reflections on the French Revolution , 1793


Published by S.W. Fores, No. 3 Piccadilly, London, 1st January 1793

The event depicted in this caricature occurred mere days prior to its publication on January 1st 1793. On December 28th 1792, while debating the Alien Bill in the House of Commons, Edmund Burke, author of the critical Reflections on the Revolution in France , produced a dagger and exclaimed that this was what Britain could expect from France. In his speech Burke said that it was his aim ‘to keep the French infection from this country; their principles from our minds and their daggers from our hearts.’ This incident marked the public break between Charles James Fox and Edmund Burke, both of whom where politically aligned to the Whigs but whose very differing views on the Revolution led to the demise of their professional and personal relationship.

In this caricature, Cruikshank portrays a giant Burke with a dagger in each hand standing outside the House of Commons. Words in speech bubbles spill from his mouth including ‘Levellers’ ‘Plunderers’ ‘Assassins’ and ‘Republicans’ and are representative of his views of the French. Charles James Fox is seen fleeing on the right, typically represented as unshaven and plump, while speaker of the House of Commons Henry Addington can be seen in the background.

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