A virulent attack on Vice-President George M. Dallas, charging the former Pennsylvania attorney and senator with duplicity in his stand on the tariff of 1846. "Jesuitism" was a strong contemporary term for deception and intrigue, and the artist portrays Dallas's support of the 1846 tariff as a reversal of his campaign pledge to support the popular tariff of 1842. In 1846, the Polk administration introduced and passed (Dallas's own vote as president of the Senate being a deciding factor) the Walker Tariff. The 1846 tariff involved a reduction of the tariff of 1842, which had been supported by the Democratic platform in the 1844 election. The later measure, a revenue tariff rather than a protectionist one, was reviled by the considerable industrial interests of Pennsylvania and other northeastern states.
In the print, Dallas (right) addresses a crowd in the street from the steps of his law office. He displays a large banner reading, "Polk, Dallas, Shunk [successful Democratic gubernatorial candidate Francis M. Shunk] And The Tariff of 1842."
Dallas: "Friends & Fellow Citizens, the Tariff of 1842 is a democratic measure & as such will be supported by Mr. Polk & Myself! I am, as my friend Joel B. Sutherland [former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania] says, a man of principle according to my interest!"
Various comments from the crowd:
"Go it George We all want Protection!"
An Irishman with shillelagh: "That's the way to talk! Dan [i.e., Whig senator and champion of protectionism Daniel Webster] himself couldn't bate that be Jasus!"
"Hurah! a true Pennsylvanian every inch of im."
In the lower left a conversation among several gentlemen: "I told you that Polk & Dallas were more in favor of the Tariff of 42 than [1844 Whig presidential candidate Henry] Clay!"
"I'll believe it when I see it!"
"who does he [i.e., Dallas] remind you of?"
"He's very much like Talleyrand in hair & Principles--in all else wanting."
A Pennsylvania German with a clay pipe remarks, "I says noding but I dinks so much!"
Francis Shunk enters from the left with arms full of papers with the names of western Pennsylvania counties on them. He announces to Dallas, "Hold on till I bring some big Democratic Guns from the west--to bear on the question! When it come to the point then I'll talk, For I'm the real Simon "Pure!""