The English ambassador and his suite before the King at Madrid, 1790

“The King of Spain sits on a circular dais under a canopy, turning his head away from the English ambassador (left), a stout John Bull wearing top-boots behind whom stand four pugilists. Three Spaniards with pikes stand on the extreme right behind the throne, and three courtiers stand in the background. The King wears a short tunic and ruff with a feathered hat; all the Spaniards have long upturned moustaches, all look dismayed. Three of the pugilists are inscribed: ‘Big Ben’ [Benjamin Brain], ‘Humphries’, and ‘Mendoza’; the fourth is Ward. Beneath the design is etched: ‘Great Sir, I am arrived from Albion’s Court, Who have taken in Dudgeon what you may think Sport; So it may for the present; but we’ll soon make it appear, You’ll have reason to laugh the wrong side of your ear! Our Traders in Nootka, by some of your Curs, Were all sent to Quod and robb’d of their Furs, Your right so to do which you claim from the Pope, We Britons dont value the end of a rope! It’s a farce you may make your weak Subjects believe, But our right’s equal to yours from Adam and Eve. Therefore if you don’t make us immediate amends, No longer can we look upon you as Friends, Should you wish for a War we have got a new race, Of such brave fighting fellows, not the Devil dare face! A sample I’ve brought, only four of our men, Mendoza, Dick Humphries, Joe Ward, and Big Ben: So great is their power each Lad with one blow, Would knock down an Ox, or twelve Spaniards lay low, At home we can raise twelve hundred like these, That would crush all your Troops as easy as fleas. For Centuries past England’s rul’d o’er the main, And if it please Heavn’n hope to do so again. Thus with Sailors and Bruisers we your power defy, Being determin’d to conquer or fight till we die!'”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • CreatorByron, Frederick George, 1764-1792, attributed name.
  • TitleThe English ambassador and his suite before the King at Madrid, 1790 [graphic] / J.N. 1790.
  • PublicationLondon : Pubd. by Wm. Holland, No. 50 Oxford St., May 12, 1790.

Catalog Record 


Acquired May 2017