Naval Triumph or Favors Confer'd
(caricature) Satirizing the appointment of Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser as Governor of Greenwich Hospital, to which he was raised through the influence of his patron Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1780. Palliser - a Tory of the ruling Court party - had been second-in-command of the Channel Fleet under Augustus Keppel - a notable opposition Whig- when they fought an indecisive action with the French off Ushant in 1778, during the War of American Independence. In general recriminations afterwards Palliser criticized Keppel, who demanded a court martial to clear his name. In this - at a time of deep Government unpopularity - he was acquitted, prompting popular celebrations which included Palliser's house being burnt by a mob. Palliser in turn sought a court-martial in which Keppel refused to prosecute, but although Palliser was exonerated in a long hearing it was not without criticism. He resigned various positions, including as an MP, but Sandwich made great efforts to reward his loyalty by having the King appoint him Governor at Greenwich in 1780. Sandwich lost office in the fall of Lord North's government two years later, after which Palliser expressed his gratitude by commissioning Gainsborough to paint his portrait for the Hospital boardroom in 1783: the painting is now NMM BHC3009 (Greenwich Hospital Collection). Palliser remained Governor at Greenwich until his death in 1796. This print contrasts the treatment of British seamen, crippled and destitute in the service of their country, with the rewards given to their betters for failure. The figure riding on a an invalid's back appears (from likeness) to be Sandwich, conducting Palliser (on foot) in state to the distinctive west gate of the Hospital - them set closer to the buildings than it is today. Seamen in the surrounding crowd make critical comments. The figure representing Palliser is not a notably good likeness and the fact his coat is red (rather than blue) in this copy may just be a colouring error.
J. Harris (publisher)
Original size: 248 mm x 349 mm
- Image reference: PY3331
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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