Royal Reels: Gambling


When I first considered this paper in 2003, I gave it the title of “Donkey/Mule and Teddy/ Joey”, for I could not differentiate whether the kicking quadriped was a donkey or a mule and whether it represented a monocled Teddy Roosevelt or Joey Chamberlain. Additional research confirmed that Joseph Chamberlain was the subject of this cartoon postcard, which was probably of English manufacture.

The postcard has a central kicking quadriped with a monocled right eye, a halter around its neck and ‘RETALIATORY TARIFFS’ on its body extending down its kicking leg. The kick is aimed at a tumbling German, identified by an expletive ‘ACH’, a fleeting Dutchmen in clogs tripping over a bucket labeled ‘FREE TRADE’, as well as an unidentified booted man. The beaming top-hatted corpulent man, presumably English and suggestive of John Bull, is showing his approval exclaiming ‘JOEY SHOWING FIGHT’ and the cartoon is entitled “ONE FOR THE FOREIGNERS”. The artist is identified as R.O. LONGMIRE 1903, the date having a stylized bird, perhaps an insignia of the artist in its format (Figure 1).

The reverse also has interest for it is addressed to Miss Hordern, Hordern & Sons, 9 Golden Lane, London E.C., England and the green ½d QV and the red 1d ‘Arms’ N.S.W. stamps postmarked with a duplex HAYMARKET/ AU 30/ 12 50 PM/ 04/ N.S.W and the barred numeral ‘165′ cancel. There is also a roller cancel SYDNEY/AUG 30/ 1 PM/ 1904/ 15 plus an incomplete LONDON / 7 15 am/ OC 15/ 04/ AD arrival postmark (Figure 2).

The firm of Anthony Hordern and Sons has a long history of at least 3 generations of Anthony Horderns starting in England, who developed a drapery business at Brickfield Hill Sydney in 1844, and at the Haymarket in 1855, and they opened in 1881-82 offices in England. The sender of the card, Miss Hordern would have been one of Anthony’s or his brother Samuel’s daughters. This does not do justice to the Anthony Hordern family or to the venerable firm, but we have “other fish to fry”. Similarly extensive search for the cartoonist R.O. Longmire has been unproductive in England, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.A. However there is no doubt that the quadriped represents Joseph Chamberlain, the proof being absolute in the following cartoons.

Joseph Chamberlain (b. London 1836-d. 1914) was a Birmingham councillor and mayor, and he was elected unopposed to Parliament in 1876, being appointed by Prime Minister Gladstone as the President of the Board of Trade in 1880. In the election of 1885 he was leader of the Radicals with his calls for land and housing reform as well as higher taxes for the rich. In a subsequent cabinet he became the Colonial Secretary, where he was primarily responsible for policy in the Boer War.

In September 1903, he resigned from office so that he would be free to advocate his scheme of Tariff Reform. He wanted to transform the British Empire into a united trading block, with preferential treatment accorded to colonial imports. British companies producing goods for the home market would also be given protection from cheap foreign goods. The issue split the Conservative party and in the 1906 election the Liberal party which supported Free Trade had a landslide victory. One of Joseph’s sons, Neville (“Peace in our time”) Chamberlain was the Prime Minister from 1937-1940, when World War 2 broke out in 1939.

In a long political life, Joseph had an influence on both Australian and Canadian affairs: Chief Commissioner to the Washington conference for settlement of a fisheries’ dispute between the USA and Canada; and, in charge of the measure for the Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth in 1900.

It would appear that Joseph Chamberlain was often at the mercy of the political cartoonists of the day as shown by the cartoon where he is helping Queen Victoria to add another dab of red on the map of the British Empire (Figure 3).

In addition, a newly found R.O. Longmire cartoon showing the administration of PREFERENTIAL TARIFF TREATMENT to the colonies of Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand leaves no doubt that Joseph Chamberlain was the target of Longmire’s barbed humour in my original postcard (Figure 4).

An earlier version of this paper was published in the New South Wales Philatelist August 2003, Volume 25, pages 6-8.

Categories: Cartoons, Postcards