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Current Print >> 46 of 77:  1840

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THE FORTY THIEVES OR THE COMMON SCOUNDRELS OF NEW-YORK.

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The title continues: "Breaking up of a Grand Spree in the Tea Room & total abflustification of the common scoundrels." Weitenkampf calls the print a satirical look at members of the New York Common Council "after a spree of eating and drinking," and cites two others by Elton. The artist also suggests corruption in that Tammany-controlled civic body, a center of Democratic power in 1840.

It is a crowded scene of drunken merriment. In the foreground are several comical figures in various attitudes, including a reeling heavy-set man who says, "I'm affraid I've not done me juty to me w-a-r-d this evening, let me see what I've had: three Oyster stews . . . " He leans on a smaller man who says, "Don't make yourself uneasy Sir, if you havent done your duty on this occassion, I would like to see the man who has & if there is such a man all I want is his Daguerreotype Likeness to hang on the inside of my shirt to remember him by . . ." (Daguerreotypes were first introduced in 1839, and portrait studios had opened in several major cities in the United States by early 1840.)

On the right two others converse. One, with a bulbous red nose, lifts his glass aloft. The second holds a bag marked "40,000." The first says, "Ah! that's the talk! let me see with that amount of stuff, I can cut out forty pairs of pantaloons with a thousand sets of trimmings for each man, o yes Sir depend on it, the documents shall be forthcoming!" The second, "Here is the Stuff for pantaloons & I hope now you will put that matter through & let me have the contract without delay." In the middle ground left a black manservant holds a tray of cups before the open door to a "Tea Room."

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Current Print >> 46 of 77:  1840

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