George Cruikshank

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Gin has furnished many subjects to Mr Cruikshank, who labours in his own sound and hearty way to teach his countrymen the danglers of that drink. In the ' Sketch-book ' is a plate upon the subject, remarkable for fancy and beauty of design; it is called the ' Gin Juggernaut,' and represents a hideous moving palace, with a reeking still at the roof and vast gin-barrels for wheels, under which unhappy millions are crushed to death. An immense black cloud of desolation covers over the country through which the gin monster had passed, dimly looming through the darkness whereof you see an agreeable prospect of gibbets with men dangling, burnt houses, &c. The vast cloud comes sweeping on in the wake of this horrible body-crusher; and you see, by way of contrast, a distant, smiling, sunshiny tract of old English country, where gin as yet is not known. The allegory is as good, as earnest, and as fanciful as one of John Bunyan's, and we have often fancied there was a similarity between the men.

Illustration by George Cruikshank

The reader will examine the work called My Sketch-Book' with not a little amusement, and may gather from it, as we fancy, a good deal of information regarding the character of the individual man, George Cruikshank. What points strike his eye as a painter; what move his anger or admiration as a moralist; what classes he seems most especially disposed to observe, and what to ridicule. There are quacks of all kinds, to whom he has a mortal hatred; quack dandies, who assume under his pencil, perhaps in his eye, the most grotesque appearance possible -- their hats grow larger, their legs infinitely more crooked and lean; the tassels of their canes swell out to a most preposterous size; the tails of their coats dwindle away, and finish where coat tails generally begin. Let us lay a wager that Cruikshank, a man of the people if ever there was one, heartily hates and despises these supercilious, swaggering young gentlemen; and his contempt is not a whit the less laudable because there may tant soit peu of prejudice in it. It is right and wholesome to scorn dandies, as Nelson said it was to hate Frenchmen; in which sentiment (as we have before said) George Cruikshank undoubtedly shares. Look at this fellow from the Sunday in London.

* The following lines -- ever fresh -- by the author of ' Headlong Hall ' published years ago in the Globe and Traveller, are an excellent comment on several of the cuts from the ' Sunday in London.'

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