Friday, March 18, 2011


The Way to Preferment

Description in Frederic George Stephens and Edward Hawkins, Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Division I. Political and Personal Satires (No. 2016 to No. 3116) (Printed by Order of the Trustees, 1877), p. 334 (No. 2447, dated 1740), footnote omitted:
An engraving, showing an entrance gateway, the road of which is stopped by a Colossus (Sir Robert Walpole) standing with his back to the spectator, bending down, and exposing his naked posteriors. Between his legs is seen a long arcade leading to "St (James's) Place", "The Treasury." "The Exchequer." and "The Admiralty." Between the legs of the giant a courtier is driving a hoop, inscribed, "Wealth Pride Vanity Folly Luxury Want Dependance Servility Venality Corruption Prostitution". In his hand he carries a "Petition for", i.e. for anything. Such, it is intimated, is the courtier's object, and the course he pursues to obtain it. Another courtier has raised himself on a post in order that he may salute Sir Robert's posteriors.

Beneath the print is engraved:—

"And Henry the KING made unto himself a great IDOL, the likeness of which was not in Heaven above, nor in the Earth beneath; and he reared up his Head unto ye Clouds, & extended his Arm over all ye Land; His Legs also were as ye Posts of a Gate, or as an Arch stretched forth over ye Doors of all ye Publick Offices in ye Land, & whosoever went out, or whosoever came in, passed beneath, & with Idolatrous Reverence lift up their Eyes, & kissed ye Cheeks of ye Postern."—"Chronicle of the Kings, page 51."
I spent much of my life working in the lower echelons of large corporations, where my observations led me to conclude that this is the quickest way to advancement in the business world, as well as in the political world. I suspect it's no different in other walks of life.

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