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[Untitled] "Can you rest one hand on the sacred altar of Liberty, and with the other extend the domain of the darkest curse . . ."

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A strongly pro-Van Buren cartoon, espousing the antislavery platform of the Free Soil party and condemning Whigs and conservative Democrats alike. The artist also reflects the lingering bitterness among many Democrats over the death in 1848 of former Democratic governor of New York Silas Wright. Wright's death was widely considered the result of pressures exerted on him by the federal patronage apparatus under President James K. Polk.

On the right stand (right to left) Liberty, Martin Van Buren, and his son John Van Buren. Liberty, here a gowned female holding a staff and Phrygian cap, says to the elder Van Buren:

"Freedom's battle once begun,

Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son,

Though baffled oft is ever won."

Van Buren holds the Constitution and rests one hand on a pedestal marked with his own name and those of Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson. His son John points to the coffin of Silas Wright at his feet, saying, "The blow that was aimed at a living statesman fell upon his new grave, the creature who sought to be an assassin was, by an inscrutable dispensation, converted into a jackall." The coffin is inscribed "Justice is the emblem of our Government, and her light is truth." Nearby, the jackal "Propaganda" paws at a grave.

In the center stands Albany editor Edwin Croswell near a large sow with a Negro's head, labeled "Federal Pap." Several piglets surround her hoping to feed, including Erastus D. Corning and New York senators Daniel S. Dickinson and Henry Allen Foster.

Croswell: "More money! Canal Bank's broke! Damn it Corning, the people have found us out. They're all Barnburners--Matty's their next President, and we're used up! Oh dear!!"

Corning: "Oh no. Croswell, here's the cash. Abuse Van Buren; call him a traitor."

Dickinson: "O carry me back to old Virginny."

Sow: "Talk about glory. Gull the doughfaces. If they resist the extension of Slavery, threaten the Union. We don't care, we must have a market for our property."

On the left stand presidential candidates Lewis Cass and Zachary Taylor. Cass laments, "Confound them nigger drivers--Prince John [i.e., Van Buren] was right, They've got my soul and sent my body home by the lakes; now even Croswell can't save me." Taylor muses, "Van Buren is the greatest Statesman of the age; but I'll keep still and may be elected yet."

Below the picture is an extract from an antislavery speech by Daniel Washburn at the Utica convention in June 1848:

"Can you rest one hand on the sacred altar of Liberty, and with the other extend the domain of the darkest curse that a righteous heaven permits on earth? Every impulse of humanity revolts at the idea. The trials and struggles of our patriot fathers, the blood and agony of their battlefields, a thousand witnesses of the blight and desolation of Bondage on a virgin soil, and thronging Millions from distant shores seeking a Free Land for their Free labor, utter an awful and undying protest!"

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Current Print >> 28 of 89:  1848

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