BRITISH INTEREST.

image91666

Thomas Nast

Artist's Biography

British Interest.

Wood engraving, 1877.
Image size 13 5/8 x 9 1/8" (34.6 x 23.2 cm).
Good condition.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 91666
Price: $50.00
Publisher : Published by Harper's Weekly. June 23, 1877.
Additional text reads, "T. Carlyle. 'Look before you leap.'"

Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher, historian and writer. During the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) Britain considered entering to aid the Turkish people, an idea that Carlyle was against. He felt the Russians were the most noble of the two factions and that Czar Alexander II was both strict and just. The Ottoman Empire on the other hand was in dire need of reform. In an article he wrote for a newspaper in November of 1876, as tension were rising between the two nations, Carlyle said, "It seems to me that something very different from war on his behalf is what the Turk now pressingly needs from England and from all the world; namely, to be peremptorily informed that we can stand no more of his attempts to govern in Europe, and that he must 'quam primum' turn his face to the eastward, for ever quit this side of the Hellespont, and give up his arrogant ideas of governing anybody but himself."

In this cartoon Carlyle is shown holding back the British lion and Scottish unicorn from the perilous cliff of war. At the bottom is ruin in the form of a destroyed city. The Russian bear sits just below them, holding a Russian helmet out on a stick - the very icon that makes the United Kingdom want to leap to its death.

The sign above the Scottish unicorn reads, "The (English) newspaper outcry, 'On-To-Russia."
18th-19th Century Subjects , Caricatures and Satirical

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