<Go back to the People Index results>

Complete Explanation:
A representation of a banner commissioned by the Whigs of Baltimore for the Whig National Convention in May 1844. The banner was made by John Gade and painted by William Curlett. As noted on the lithograph, the original banner was "to be presented by the Whigs of the City of Baltimore to the Whigs of such state, as shall have the proportionably largest number of Delegates in attendance at the Young Men's Whig National Convention of Ratification, to meet in Baltimore on the 2d of May 1844." The lithograph was apparently produced as a small-scale souvenir replica or campaign badge. (An impression printed on silk from the same stone is in the Smithsonian's Lepman Collection.) The print also lists the members of the "Whig Banner Committee under whose direction, the Whig National Prize Banner was prepared & to whom this Badge is by permission most resp[ectfully] inscribed." They include: Levi Fahnestock, Chairman, James Grieves, Benjamin C. Ross, John A. Robb, Edward V. Ward, Isaac A. Roberts, Charles R. Hardesty, C.C. Egerton Jr., William S. Browning, Robert M. Proud, William R. Jones, Alfred L. Moore, John B. Mathiot, and John C. Blackburn.

The banner's iconography reflects Henry Clay's commitment to a strong union and protection of American industrial and commercial interests. It is suspended from a staff whose finial is a Roman fasces. Its upper corners are held by two bald eagles between whom stretches a festoon of grain and fruits with scythes, signifying abundance. On the banner itself is a bust portrait of Henry Clay in a medallion, surmounted by another eagle and supported by two seated female figures: Commerce (left), with two sailing ships on the sea behind her, and Ceres or Agriculture (right) holding a scythe and resting on a sheaf of wheat, with a spinning wheel, railroad bridge, and a mill--symbols of industry--in the background.

The central motif is surrounded by a framework of acanthus, which sprout two cornucopias holding various fruits and grains. Below is a banderole with a motto praising Clay as "In all Assaults our Surest Signal." Beneath the banner the candidate's litany continues with the couplet:

Statesman yet friend to truth of soul sincere,

In action faithful and in honor clear.

According to the text the verso of the banner is painted with a wreath composed of the arms of each of the twenty-six states, surrounding the words:

"The Union,

Our strong defence, to foes impregnable,

Priceless to friends."

Website design © 2010 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2010 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com