Print, The Ballance of Power

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  • Engraver: R. S.; Publisher: Robert Wilkinson
  • London, England
  • January 17, 1781
  • Black and White Line Engraving
  • 1960-93

The lower margin reads: "The Ballance of Power/ America, dup'd by a treacherous train,/ Now finds she's a Tool both to France and to Spain;/ Yet all three united can't weigh down the Scale:/ So the Dutchman jumps in with the hope to prevail./ Yet Britain will boldly their efforts withstand,/ And bravely defy them by Sea and by land:/ The Frenchman She'll Drub, and the Spaniard She'll Beat/ While the Dutchman She'll Ruin by Seizing his Fleet:/ And each to the other be Mutual Delight./ London, Published as y.e Act directs, Jan.y 17, 1781, by R. Wilkinson, at N.o 58 in Cornhill."

New alliances among Continental nations were formed as the Revolution continued, and again the scale has been used to symbolize the shifting balance of power. Holding her shield and sword of justice and firmly outweighing the others, Britannia announces that "No one injures me with impunity." Her enemies struggle with little success to return the balance to their side. In despair, Indian Princess America fears that recent British victories will cause her defeat. Encouraged by France, Holland, losing coins from his pocket, attempts unsuccessfully to climb on the scale. He vows that he will do anything for money. Spain laments that much of her fleet has been lost to the British.

This optimistic prediction of British victory was to be short-lived, as the battle of Yorktown effectively ended the Revolutionary War a few months later.

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