Print, The Associators; or A touch on the Times.
The upper margin reads: "1770/ The Associators; or A touch on the Times./ 1778"
The lower margin reads: "Here Britons view the Man that would have sav'd his Country./ There see the Idol who is the instrument of it's ruin."
The unknown maker uses two scenes to comment on the continued inability of the British government to deal satisfactorily with the colonial situation. The box at the left is subtitled "Here Britons view the Man that would have sav'd his Country". The year is 1770, and the man is George III, seated on his throne, who has allowed William Beckford, then lord mayor of London, and a group of his worried supporters to have an audience. A colonial sympathizer, Beckford has come to plead America's cause. Those attending George seem vaguely amused, while his dog yaps at Beckford and his followers.
The second scene is subtitled "There see the Idol who is the instrument of it's ruin". The year is 1778. Lord North, wearing ribbons symbolizing his political ideas, occupies a lofty perch. He is surrounded by all of his loyal supporters. However, a dissenter kneeling close to the steps observes that "they're aw a parcel o loons thus to boo to the Noorth, but ise hold my tongue". The Devil hovers over the group saying, "These are my darling sons, receive them to favor".
Unobserved by the group, the steps to the platform are inscribed with statements concerning the true British situation. They read: "The English Oak is crush'd by the American reed. May such be the fate of all power founded like the above upon the basis of Corruption L. 10,000 for Col. Reed G Johnstone, Comr". During the 1778 visit of the English commissioners to the colonies, Johnstone had attempted to bribe Col. Joseph Reed, a member of the American congressional committee. Reed revealed the offer, and Johnstone, already in disfavor for other misconduct, was asked to resign his position when he returned to England.