[Holland. ca. 1778]. Broadside, engraved folio leaf affixed to folio text leaf, approximately 17 1/2 x 17 inches total. Plate size: 8 x 12 inches. In Dutch. Light toning and edge wear, small dampstain in right margin, not affecting image. Else a near fine copy, untrimmed. Item #WRCAM39095
A rare, illustrated Dutch allegory on the political situation between Britain, the European powers, and America, presumably during the American Revolution. "Dr. Schasz" was the playwrighting pseudonym of the Dutch journalist, patriot, and political writer, Pieter 't Hoen (1745-1828). If this "Critical Show of the Stage-Actors of Dr. Schasz" refers to a particular play, it may be to part of the trilogy Hoen wrote on the subject of the American Revolution in the 1778: HET ENGELSCHE EN AMERICAANSCHE KAARTSPEL, DE GEPLAAGDE HOLLANDER..., and DE MISREKENING. In the large and detailed engraving, a cast of ten characters, each numbered for the explanatory key in the text below, occupies a colonial landscape, marked in the background with cannons being fired from a coastal fortress. The characters include a Mr. Brodding, looking "with downcast eyes upon the sealed papers"; William Griff, who "wails about the empty subsidy pockets and the broken teapots"; "Goodheart" ("dressed as a sailor in underwear"); "Oecnomicus"; Mercator; "Patriot"; Don Lopes and Don Aylva; Jean Prener; Dr. Schasz himself; and "the Wildman (on the other side)," who "always continues to gather his wares and to ship them while he shoot from his fortresses and his batteries, to show that he is at home." Jean Prener, with the aid of a felt board and animal pictures, is showing Dr. Shasz "the known fable of the Lion, the Bear, the Monkey, and the Fox," which is explained at length in a footnote. The fable suggests that the cleverness of Holland in its diplomacy with England during the first part of the American Revolution has spared it from British aggression. This would suggest the allegory was printed before 1780, when Britain declared war on the Dutch to prevent it from joining the League of Armed Neutrality. The broadside is apparently not listed in M.D. George's exhaustive CATALOGUE OF POLITICAL AND PERSONAL SATIRES. Very rare.