Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Cruikshank Caricature

Isaac Cruikshank.

The last Grand Ministerial Expedition on the St. Piccadilly.

In this fascinating, historical caricature, Isaac Cruikshank is highlighting a significant political event that took place in 1810. The trouble arose when the reformist politician, Francis Burdett, spoke out in parliament against what he perceived to be an embargo on reporting over the ill fated "Walcheren Expedition" of 1809. He was also a vociferous opponent of political corruption and the use of corporal punishment in the armed forces so clearly he was seen by many as nothing but a troublemaker! Many, including the Prime Minister (pictured centrally in this vignette), thought he needed to be silenced in order to avoid political dissent and any potential civic disorder. Foot soldiers had failed to breach Burdett's barricaded house on Piccadilly so the Horse Guards were brought in to lead the fray. At the height of what became known as the "Piccadilly Expedition" we see the soldiers trampling over innocent citizens in their quest to capture the MP and silence his radical views. The episode ended with victory for the establishment and Burdett getting incarcerated in the Tower of London for his views. So much for free speech!


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