The balance of justice

“From the opposite ends of a horizontal balance hang (left) a triangle from which are suspended the corpses of thirteen sailors, and (right) the body of a military officer in uniform (Governor Wall); all have bandaged eyes. The balance hangs in front of a stone building, in the centre of which is an open door showing men seated at a council table, a messenger stands in the doorway giving a dispatch box marked ‘GR’ to another messenger, saying, “Deliver this Immediatly He must Die.” The pilastered doorway is inscribed: ‘Justitiae Soror Fides’; above it are kneeling statues of Truth and Justice; between them they support an inscribed tablet: ‘It is determined that British Justice shall never be Stained by Partiality, while the poor & ignorant suffer for their Folly the Rich shall also suffer for their Brutality and Infamy.’ On the wall are two placards: (left) ‘An Account of the Mutiny’, and (right) ‘A Full True and Particular Account of the Trial of . . . For the Murder of. . .’ This is headed by a print of a man being tied to a cannon and flogged, while an officer looks on and soldiers stand at attention.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Title: The balance of justice [graphic] : NB in a few days will be published the old gunner lashed to the shrouds.
  • Published: [London: Pud. March 3d 1802 by S.W. Fores, 50 Piccadilly, 3 March 1802]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection


Acquired November 2013

The sailor and the judge

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A judge sits in a chair (left) looking at sailor who stands, hat in hand, before him. He says, “Are you certain, in respect to your being sober at the time the circumstance happened.” The sailor with caricatured features and warts on his face, replies: “Sober. come I like that, may I never again weigh anchor if I would not call him a lubber be he who he would, that would say I was drunk, please your grave and reverend worship. I had only shipp’d in eight grogs and a gill not enough to make a lawyer merry, in short your honor, I’ll be d-nd if I was not as sober as a judge.”

  • Printmaker: Roberts, Piercy, active 1791-1805, printmaker.
  • Title: The sailor and the judge [graphic] / etch’d by Roberts.
  • Published: [London : Pubd. by Roberts, Middle Row, Holborn, between 1800 and 1807?]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection


Acquired November 2013

Impressment orders for … Middlesex …

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A three page summary signed by ‘Butler” of the General Session of His Majesty’s Justices in Middlesex responding to the “speedy supply of Seamen and Seafaring Men to Man his Majesty’s Fleet”.

  • Author: Middlesex (England). Justices of the Peace.
  • Title: Impressment orders for the county of Middlesex, 1771 October 25.

Catalog record

LWL Mss File 103

Acquired November 2012

Jack in his element

Jack in his element.

Published: [London] : Publish’d 17th June 1793 by Robt. Sayer & Co., Fleet Street, London, [1793]

793.06.17.01+ Impression 2

Poll, the widow of William, stands at her cottage door in a village near the sea, a ship in full-sail in the distance, as Jack delivers the sad news of the death of her husband. In the verses engraved below recount the “jovial” life of a sailor to the refrain of “In every mess I finds a friend, in every port a wife.” Five columns of verse below title: Bold Jack the sailor, here I come, pray how d’ye like my nib …

Jack in his element: 1 print on wove paper : mezzotint ; plate mark 35.3 x 25.3 cm., on sheet 37 x 29 cm.Subjects (Library of Congress): Sailors; Dwellings; Servants; Spouses; Satires (Visual works)–England–1793; Genre prints–England–1793; Mezzotints–England–London–1793; Sayer, Robert, 1725-1794, publisher.

Gift of William M. O’Keefe; July 2010.

Lewis Walpole Library new acquisition: July, 2010