Pitt and Anti-Jacobin Hysteria: In the 1790s a Press Campaign Lambasted Jacobins and Fellow-Travellers

By Andrews, Stuart | History Today, September 1998 | Go to article overview

Pitt and Anti-Jacobin Hysteria: In the 1790s a Press Campaign Lambasted Jacobins and Fellow-Travellers


Andrews, Stuart, History Today


In the 1790s a press campaign Lambasted Jacobins and fellow-travellers. Stuart Andrews considers whether the Government orchestrated it all.

The inaugural issue of the Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine for July 1798 carried an engraving of a famous Gillray cartoon. It depicts the `High Priest of the THEOPHILANTHROPES, with the Homage of Leviathan and his suite'. Leviathan has the face of the Duke of Bedford, on whose back ride Charles James Fox, John Thelwall and other figures waving revolutionary caps. Some appended verses help to identify other participants: the `wandering bards' Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey, Charles Lloyd (their protege) and Charles Lamb; the Unitarian chemist Joseph Priestley and those exponents of the `New Morality', Thomas Paine, William Godwin, Gilbert Wakefield and Thomas Holcroft. Mary Wollstonecraft's Wrongs of Woman is among a pile of pamphlets spilling from a `Cornucopia of Ignorance', while representatives of the radical press cluster round Louis Marie de La Revelliere-Lepaux, the `holy hunchback' of the French Directory. A sack stuffed with ecclesiastical mitres and communion plate, labelled `Philanthropic Requisitions', implies the imminent confiscation of church property in order to relieve the poor.

The term `Theophilanthropes' derived from the Theophilanthropic societies of Paris that first appeared in 1796. Followers of the new religion described themselves as `Adorers of God and Friends of Men'. In spite of its aim to transcend party politics it attracted the support of Lepaux and the approval of the Directory. In his cartoon, Gillray applied the label to a remarkably mixed bag of radicals, while the verses below supplied an equally variegated spectrum of French revolutionaries ranging from the least Jacobin of Directors, through the decidedly assorted `Jacobins' of Marat, Mirabeau and Voltaire. The prospectus to the July issue of the journal, to be published on August 1st, claimed that there is no need to define Jacobinism, since `the existence of a Jacobin faction, in the bosom of our country, can no longer be denied'.

Confusingly, the publication was the second journal to bear the Anti-Jacobin title. Its predecessor, the Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner had first appeared in November 1797. The introduction to the bound volumes later claimed that the weekly journal was directed against `those writers with whom France and French freedom are all in all', and who opposed the war as `one of unexampled disaster and disgrace'.

The war with revolutionary France was certainly going badly for the British government. The year 1797 had not only witnessed the Nore and Spithead mutinies in the Royal Navy's own fleets, but also saw French armies triumph all over Europe--except in Wales. The French landing at Fishguard in February had been a fiasco, with their surrender two days later, but, as publication of Admiral Hoche's orders in the Anti-Jacobin show, only a contrary wind had diverted them from attacking Bristol. The editor's stated aim at this critical time was `to invigorate the Exertions of our Countrymen against every Foe, Foreign and Domestic'. Among the domestic foes, it seems, were the Romantic poets. The first two issues of the weekly focused on `Jacobin poetry'--poems of social protest such as Robert Southey's `The Widow'--where the poets were accused of demanding an increase in misery in order to make political protest more effective.

The Anti-Jacobin counters this supposed tactic with a parody `The Friend of Humanity and the Needy Knife-grinder' which ends with the frustrated philanthropist overturning the grinding-wheel in anger at the grinder's resigned acceptance of his lot. The parodists were two Old Etonians, John Hookham Frere and George Canning, the future prime minister who had just been appointed under-secretary for foreign affairs, in return for quitting the Whigs to join William Pitt and the Tory government. Canning and Frere also concocted another parody of Southey's verse ('The Soldier's Friend'), besides writing a spoof Foxite speech hailing a French-style English Revolution. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Pitt and Anti-Jacobin Hysteria: In the 1790s a Press Campaign Lambasted Jacobins and Fellow-Travellers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.