An attack on Nicholas Biddle and the New York newspaper editors friendly to the United States Bank. The print was evidently prompted by Biddle's 1834 attempt to create a financial crisis through an artificial tightening of credit. Biddle created the shortage as a ploy to swing public support toward the United States Bank, then under attack by the Jackson administration. Whig editors James Watson Webb, Mordecai Manuel Noah, and a third (possibly Charles King, identified here as "Charley") are portrayed as Biddle's accomplices in an unsuccessful attempt to crush the common men of New York.
As Biddle (far right), Jack Downing, and a third man (with monocle) watch from the steps of the Bank as the three editors operate giant screw presses (a pun on "printing presses") which bear down upon crowds of working men, or "workies." The latter include carmen, sailors, masons, laborers, butchers, and others. Webb, standing on the press at right, tips his hat and exhorts his colleagues, "Major [Noah] and Charley let us give those workies a good screwing so as to fetch them to the Bank question, then I think that Mr Nick [i.e. Nicholas Biddle] will fee us well." "Major" Noah (far left) falls as his press is tipped by the men beneath it. He calls out, "Oh Master Nick, I rather think these workies will not stand my screwing them." Comments from below are:
"Aristocracy and U.S. Bank power is heavy stuff."
"Major I think you are rather a green hand to apply the screws."
"Charles Major & Co., you may screw and screw untill Nick doubles your wages then we will not submit to an Aristocracy Bank!"
In the center "Charley" works at turning his press, saying "Major & Co. I wish you would think on your friend and divide the spoils." From below:
"If those silk stockings and ruffle shirt gentry gain the day, we workies will never vote again!"
"I'll be darned if the General [i.e. Andrew Jackson] gave Nick such a patent right to screw us poor workies so!"
"No I rather think he forged such a patent as this is."
"I think the General is an honester man, he would rather put his veto on it."
Beneath Webb's press the men protest:
"You may screw Colonel [Webb] until you screw the cholera morbus out of you, then I will not bow down to a golden calf."
"I will submit to any thing but a golden calf!"
One man calls out to Biddle, "Split my tarry top lifts Old Nick I think you had better be reefing the fore top sail than standing on the quarterdeck giving the word put the screws on those poor workies!!"
Biddle is in fact urging his minions, "That's you my cousins give them the screws and I will remember you!" Jack Downing observes, "I'll be darned Mr. Nick with all our fleet and Rank and file men, I rather think thhat them ere workies will rule the day arter all for see the Major is going down!" The man with the monocle declares, "Oh! you workies If you fail in the next election you shall never vote again!"