Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Eighteenth Century Political Abuse

I recently came across a magnificently scurrilous piece of political abuse from the 1720s, printed in an anti-government publication called the "True Briton".  This extract describes an alleged piece of unsuccessful lechery by the Prime Minister of the day: Sir Robert Walpole:- 

"..... But Walpole, long by vice decayed,
Unable was to please the maid:
By none his fury can describe
To find one member scorn a bribe,
Unlike his wretched voting tribe,
And happy were it for the land
If corrupt members ne'er could stand".

How splendid! The play on the words "member" and "stand" (for election to Parliament) is especially inspired. And how feeble by comparison is our modern standard of political abuse! 
(This is an anti-Walpole cartoon from the 1730s, depicting "how to get on in politics" - by kissing the Prime Minister's bottom. Despite all the abuse, Walpole stayed in power for 21 years) 

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