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MAJOR JOE BUNKER'S LAST PARADE, OR THE FIX OF A SENATOR AND HIS 700 INDEPENDENTS.
   
Complete Explanation:
Democratic senator Nathaniel P. Tallmadge of New York was the leader of the conservative or pro-Bank Democrats. Here Clay satirizes Tallmadge's attempts to undermine party support for Van Buren's hard money fiscal agenda, whose cornerstone was his independent treasury program. The cartoon most likely dates from September 1837, when a coalition of Loco Foco and moderate Democrats robbed the conservative wing of the party of much of its support.

Tallmadge appears here in the character of the Yankee militia officer "Joe Bunker," from James Hackett's comic play, "Down East, or the Militia Muster." He marches toward the right where a group of men rally beneath a "Madisonian" banner. (The "Madisonian" was a newspaper advocating the soft-money or pro-Bank interests of the Democratic party). Tallmadge turns to realize that his troops have deserted him to watch a parade of soldiers with a standard "The Message" moving toward the left. The "Message" was Van Buren's important September 14 message to Congress wherein he proposed his independent treasury system, as well as the temporary issue of treasury notes to alleviate the effects of the Panic of 1837.

The soldiers loiter under the sign of the Van Buren Hotel. One calls out, "Hallo! Pigtail, you're wrong." Tallmadge also addresses his pigtailed fellow officer, "Blood and Nassacreeation! aint they comin' Captn Ben c. I swow I don't believe they see our colour." Pigtail responds, "If they dont, I'll oppose 'em, if it costs me {dollar}1600 and two more bullet holes in my hat." The men under the "Madisonian" banner lament, "We might as well go to Texas!," "Alas! poor Williamsburg," and "We're in the minority." Behind them is the "New National Bank." The expression "go to Texas" may refer to the contemporary code "Gone to Texas," used by embezzlers of the period."

The Library's impression was registered for copyright on September 16, 1837.


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