Hone's reissue of a work that favored governmental reform. Hone's criticism of government in 1821 was expressed through his dedication of the work to Lord Castlereagh and through Cruikshank's t.p. vignette of a spaniel licking the scourge. Cf. A. Bowden, William Hone's political journalism, 1815-1821, pp. 366-368.
Before theater was standard entertainment, before it was even legal in some countries, there were liturgical plays performed both inside and outside churches to dramatize the stories of the New Testament. These plays developed from lavish church ceremonies and became yearly events, being performed at the appropriate time during the ecclesiastical year. In Ancient Mysteries Described, William Hone reprints and annotates plays that were developed as additions to the liturgical plays, telling stories beyond the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. Some of these plays include the early life of Mary and God's conversation with himself over incarnating as Jesus. English satirist and free-speech pioneer WILLIAM HONE (1780-1842) was brought up on charges for his political satires exposing the excesses of royalty and clergy, but was acquitted on all counts. He is remembered for The Political House That Jack Built (1819) and Apocryphal New Testament (1820).
This book is a collection of pamphlets that includes illustrations by artist George Cruikshank. William Hone began employing Cruikshank to illustrate his pamphlets and the two collaborated on many projects. The Political House that Jack Built is a 24-page pamphlet composed of political nursery rhymes and 12 etchings by Cruikshank. The pamphlet was a response to the Peterloo Massacre, and Hone was said to have gotten the idea while reading The House That Jack Built to his young daughter.