A Picture of a President

Essence of Parliament. Extracted from the Diary of Toby, M. P.. Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910). Punch (12 February 1881): 63. Source: The Hathi Trust Digital Library’s online version of a copy in the Harvard University Library. Click on image to enlarge it.

Sambourne’s “Essence of Parliament” cartoons take many forms, some with realistic portraits, others as caricatures, and some like this with animal imagery (although this one’s attacking eagle also has a caricature of Gladstone’s face). The accompanying text explains that “a gentleman named Garrett rose to move the adjournment of the debate on the First Reading of the Protection Bill . . . But the House is at length tired of this travesty of freedom of debate, and uproariously cheered when Mr. Gladstone, in the fewest possible words, announced that the Motion would be resisted.” The cartoon depicts the eagle’s attack making the letters of obstruction in the form of twigs explode from the nest as the smaller birds flee in panic.

Related material

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto Library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow.]

Last modified 10 May 2020