Full tilt for the Capitol
The artist envisions public repudiation of Democratic hard-money policies, and the triumph of administration opponent Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, a conservative Democrat. Tallmadge, on horseback and armed with a lance "public opinion," rides over a fallen Van Buren, saying, "Roll off that ball, tis the voice of the People, they tolerate no more of your hard money humbugs." Van Buren protests, ". . . take your horse's hoofs from off my shoulder; I've no room for S̀ober second thoughts' now." He leans against a large ball marked "Solitary and Alone," which rolls over Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton and Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury. Benton, who wields a quill "Expunger" and holds "Mint Drops," exclaims, "Woodbury get out of my way, or the ball will overwhelm us both." "Mint drops" was a colloquialism for gold coins, and refers to Benton's advocacy of a higher ratio of gold to silver in circulation. (For an earlier use of the giant ball metaphor see "N. Tom O' Logical Studies," no. 1837-14.) Editor Francis Preston Blair (seated on a bench at right) says, "Benton out with your old pistols that you shot Jackson with, & pop down Talmadge & his horse, or he'll reach the Capitol." Behind him appear the faint outlines of the Capitol. At left former postmaster general Amos Kendall and former New York governor William L. Marcy sit on the ground. Kendall asks, "By the powers tis the Bronze Horse, he carries all before him. Marcy what shall we do?" Marcy complains, "Confound it I'm down, quite down, with my britches torn again." Marcy's trousers are mended with a "50 cents" patch. (On Marcy's trousers' patch see &2Executive Mercy/Marcy and the Bambers, &1no. 1838-5.) The print probably appeared during the 1840 presidential campaign, when Tallmadge used his formidable influence in New York State in support of Harrison. It is also possible that it appeared during one of his own bids for reelection in 1838 or 1840. Comparison with other 1840 prints by "HD" supports the later date.