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Gillray - Pages 2 and 3

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Carlo Khan's Triumphal Entry into Leadenhall Street James Sayers (1783)

This engraving appeared in December 1783, just after the Foreign Secretary Charles James Fox had published his India Bill. Fox is dressed in oriental costume and holds a flag inscribed 'King of Kings' in Greek. He rides an elephant on which Lord North's face is superimposed, representing the alliance of the two secretaries of state. Edmund Burke, the statesman and actual author of the 1783 India Bill, blows a bugle, proudly announcing their arrival at the East India Company's headquarters in Leadenhall Street. Only the raven, sitting on a distant chimney top, hints at impending disaster.

In creating this unflattering and often pirated depiction, Sayers depicts the three politicians motivated by greed. Fox later admitted that this particular satire had caused him considerable political damage.

Prior to 1783, Fox had shown little interest in Indian affairs, but alarmed by the loss of the American colonies, he set up the India Bill. The bill would have transferred all the East India Company's assets to seven commissioners appointed by the government, hence the jubilant atmosphere in the engraving. This euphoria was premature however, as the bill was rejected by the House of Lords. Deeply embittered by this defeat, much of Fox's interest in the subsequent impeachment of Hastings was motivated by a desire to vindicate himself and his India Bill.

 
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