THE PEDLAR AND HIS PACK OR THE DESPERATE EFFORT; AN OVER BALANCE.
[Philadelphia? 1828]. Broadside, 10.5" x 15.5". Etching hand colored with watercolor. Several chips at blank margins touch upon the border but do not affect text within the border. Else Very Good.
The artwork is usually attributed to Philadelphia printmaker and satirist James Akin. "A satire on the reverse impact of John Binns's anti-Jackson 'coffin handbill' campaign during the presidential race of 1828. Editor-publisher Binns supports on his back a large load of coffins, upon which are figures of Henry Clay [whose nickname was 'Harry'] (left) and incumbent President John Quincy Adams (right).
"Binns: 'I must have an extra dose of Treasury-pap, or down go the Coffins Harry, for I feel faint already.'
"Clay: 'Hold on Jonny Q--for I find that the people are too much for us, and I'm sinking with Jack and his Coffins!'
"Adams (grasping the presidential chair): 'I'll hang on to the Chair Harry, in spite of Coffin hand-bills Harris's letter Panama mission or the wishes of the People'" [Reilly].
Binns, holding eight coffins on his back, was the Philadelphia publisher who had issued the notorious "coffin handbill," displaying six black coffins and calling Jackson's execution of six Tennessee militia men in 1815 an act of murder. The usual descriptions of this item depict Clay and Adams as stuck in between or on top of the coffins; instead, it appears as if each has pulled himself half out of his own coffin.
Weitenkampf 21. Reilly, American Political Prints 1828-3. OCLC records seven locations under several accession numbers, as of January 2018. Item #34551