his Punch cartoon marks the advent of Sir John Tenniel's, tenure with the famous London magazine. Tenniel depicts British Prime Minister Lord John Russell as the Biblical hero David, confidently preparing for battle against his "Philistine Goliath," Cardinal Wiseman, commander of an army of Catholic bishops and archbishops. The cartoonist responds to "papal aggression" which in 1850 established the Catholic Church hierarchy(1850) and appointed archbishops and bishops to English sees. Destruction of the potentially colossal power of the papacy, (analogized in the Cardinal's portrayal as Goliath), is clearly supported by both Punch and the English people, embodied in the figure of John Bull. Inscribed on Lord Russell's sword are the words "Act of Parliament," referring to the 1851 Ecclesiastical Act which imposed fines on those assuming Anglican religious titles, e.g. Bishop of York, etc. Papal aggression was regarded as "disrespectful of England and Protestantism," particularly as some Church of England sees had already been abolished in Ireland in 1833, allowing for their appropriation by Roman Catholics. Cardinal Wiseman appears as a hulking beast stalking the earth with his seductive disease of conversion. In this cartoon, Wiseman, as a representation of the empire of Roman theocracy, is regarded as the one major force that could hinder the expansive state religion of Anglicanism and destroy the British empire.
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[Victorian initial "T" by Harlan Wallach ęcopyright 1994.]