THE JACK KNIFE WAR. Tammany Hall, Tweed Ring.


[New York: Currier & Ives, 1871]. Lithograph, oblong 16-1/2" x 12". Light dusting, Very Good.

This rare illustration is an extremely negative take-- complete with severed heads-- on Boss Tweed's hijacking of New York City's finances. "The 1870 New York City charter, written by Tammany Hall political boss William Marcy Tweed and his associates, gave the 'Tweed Ring' carte blanche to deplete the city's treasury. This cartoon, probably issued shortly after the charter's passage, is critical of the leeway given Tweed by some of New York's leading political figures. Tweed, as an Indian Tammany, raises his tomahawk to decapitate an unidentified man whose head lies on a stump. On his arm is tattooed a large '6,' a reference to the Americus or 'Big Six' Fire Company, which Tweed led in his earlier days. The victim moans, 'Putty can't save me.' Three severed heads already hang from Tweed's belt. Beside him an unidentified man standing beneath a hangman's rope remarks, 'Bad noose for me'." [Reilly]
Depicted around Tweed are Mayor A. Oakey Hall; Governor John Hoffman, who cries, "Save me from my friends"; New York's City Chamberlain, its City Comptroller, several New York journalists, including Horace Greeley. "On the basis of style the work can be attributed to the Currier & Ives shop" [Reilly].
Reilly 1871-2. Weitenkampf 162 [2- NYHS, NYPL]. OCLC 299947235 [1- Lib. Cong.], 1004241521 [1- AAS] as of February 2020. Item #35445

Price: $1,500.00