An unusually well-drawn satire on the failure of Congress to pass a national bankruptcy act before it adjourned in July 1840. The measure was passed by the Senate in May 1840 but later defeated in the House.
The drawing and title of the cartoon have anti-semitic overtones. A well-dressed gentleman, evidently a Jew, grips another man by the throat, saying from one side of his mouth, "Pay me what thou owest" and from the other side, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." The victim protests, "Have patience with me."
The dialogue is taken in part from the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matt. 18:25-35. The parable tells of a servant who, pardoned by his master for owing money, put a fellow servant in jail for the same offense.