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Complete Explanation:
Democratic party war-horse Andrew Jackson appears frequently in the satires of the 1844 election campaign. Here, wearing a long frock coat and tall hat, he leads a donkey carrying Democratic candidates Polk and Dallas toward "Salt River," a figure of speech for political disaster. The candidates ride in panniers while Martin Van Buren, in the form of a fox, is dragged along by his tail behind the donkey.

Van Buren: "I wish you would stop long enough to let me "define my position," for our sufferings "is intolerable!"" (The phrase "our sufferings is intolerable," an uncharacteristic Van Buren grammatical lapse, was quoted often by Whig humorists.)

Jackson growls back at him: "Be quiet, Matty! The honor of travelling in my company ought to satisfy you."

Polk to Dallas: "I feel like the baby in the primer [a children's reader] 'only born to weep and die.'"

Dallas: "This is not quite so bad as if we were riding to the gallows."

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