[Philadelphia? William Charles, 1817]. Etching, 16 x 11 1/2 inches. Small chip in lower right corner, small bit of wear in upper right corner. Near fine. Matted. Item #WRCAM40088
A rare print satirizing the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 1817, and the fight for the nomination of the Democratic-Republican party between William Findlay and Charles Hiester. William Murrell attributes the print to William Charles, who clearly favors Findlay and charges Hiester with various forms of corruption. There is no imprint in the etching, only the words, "designed and executed by one who has neither place nor pension." The 1817 election marked Pennsylvania's first open political convention, and this print exposes the supposed purity and impurity of the two sides. Findlay is shown ascending on clouds toward the governor's chair, as his supporters (gathered around a platform or a ballot box) cheer him on as the "voice of the people," and the candidate of "true democracy" who was free of "bribery or corruption." Hiester is shown on the right side of the print, standing on a shaky foundation of "Federalism" and "Old Schoolism," which is further supported by stacks of the UNITED STATES GAZETTE and AURORA newspapers. Hiester's supporters appear downtrodden and reconciled to defeat, saying "we must have recourse to all kinds of strategem or we cannot succeed," and "I would vote for Old Nick provided I could get a good office." Findlay won the Democratic-Republican nomination for governor over Hiester by a vote of 113 delegates to 39, and won the election of 1817, but he was defeated by Hiester in his bid for re-election in 1820. This is one of two states of the print, with the addition of "roulette" (or "rocker work") to reinforce the shading. OCLC locates only one copy of this print, at the American Antiquarian Society. Reilly notes that the Library of Congress has copies of the print in both states: one with and one without the roulette shading. Rare, and a very effective satire on an obscure but important political contest. MURRELL, p.95. WEITENKAMPF, p.20. REILLY, AMERICAN POLITICAL PRINTS, 1817-1. OCLC 191119823.