William Charles Georgian Caricature Indiaman in Danger


Sitting in the clouds, a providential Earl of Buckinghamshire, the government official who oversaw the British East India Company from 1812-1816, directs four different winds at the floundering vessel. These gusts (from North, East, South and West) perhaps symbolise the “Out-ports” whose resentment at the London monopoly on Indian trade, was compounded by their loss of historic markets during the Napoleonic Wars.

Safely moored at harbour are four ships (Bristol, Plymouth, Leith and Glasgow), all with their separate complaints, but in agreement that the ungainly vessel (East India Company) should be left to its doom. In a sense, this detachment and devastation signify two significant aspects of modern economics: the destructive capacity of The Market and the belief that it should be free from Government interference.

Published on “March 1st 1813” by 'the Proprietors of Town Talk.", the cartoon
anticipates the rising appeal of Free Trade in the English-speaking World during the 19th century. The perceived merits of such a policy would be later accepted in government, with the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846.

The condition of the print is good, with a few small age-related tears and discolouration.

Size of Engraving: 457 x 350mm (18 x 13¾”)
Size of Frame: 53 x 38 x 2cm (20¾ x 15 x ¾”)
Weight: 1.5kg