Van Humbug 's Cabinet of Curiosities

Description (Brief):

This 1837 is a commentary on the Specie Circular, an executive order implemented by President Andrew Jackson in 1836, and implemented by Martin Van Buren during his presidency. In this print, New York politician/ longtime ally of Van Buren, Silas Wright who is holding a whip and driving a carriage. Seated next to him is “Globe” editor, Francis Preston Blair who is giving a speech on the Species Circular and its impact through a trumpet. The carriage is being pulled by a team of four horses with the heads of Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury, Secretary of War Joel Roberts Poinsett, Secretary of the Navy Mahlon Dickerson, and Postmaster General and Democratic political advisor Amos Kendall. These four men were part of the driving force of the Specie Circular, represented in this print by them pulling President Van Buren and Secretary of State John Forsyth. They are chasing a devil-like character who is leading them towards a gold nugget in the road. The Specie Circular mandated that all government lands be purchased in gold or silver, a decision in line with the Jackson Administration’s desire to preserve the gold standard for currency.

Description (Brief)

The lithographer of this print is Moses Swett. He began his career in Boston around 1826, working with the Pendletons and Annin and Smith, and as the superintendent of the Senefelder Lithographic Co. from 1828 to 1829. In 1830 he moved to New York, and worked with George Endicott until 1836 when he moved to Washington.

Date Made: 1837

Depicted: Van Buren, MartinBlair, Francis PrestonForsyth, JohnWright, SilasWoodbury, LeviDickerson, MahlonKendall, AmosPoinsett, Joel RobertsMaker: Swett, Moses

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: District of Columbia, Washington

Subject: EconomyPolitical CaricaturesChronology: 1830-1839CarriagesMusic


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Peters Political Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.3419Catalog Number: 60.3419

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Measurements: image: 11 3/4 in x 19 1/4 in; 29.845 cm x 48.895 cm


Record Id: nmah_325645

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