The Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring & Feathering
Attributed to Philip Dawe (British, 1745?–?1809)
R. Sayer and J. Bennett (London)
October 31, 1774
Mezzotint and etching
sheet: 14 x 10 1/8 in. (35.6 x 25.7 cm)
Gift of William H. Huntington, 1883
Not on view
This pre-American Revolution satire published in London shows John Malcolm, British customs agent in Massachusetts, tarred, feathered, and forced to drink tea. The event of January 24, 1774 occurred soon after the Boston Tea party of December 16, 1773 where colonists famously dumped imported tea into the harbor to protest a tax levied by the British Parliament. This is the earliest known representation of the later event with strong tonal contrasts and broad details produced by a worn printing plate.
Inscription: in plate: "Plate I"
Donor: William Henry Huntington
British Museum Satires 5232A
Frederic George Stephens, M. Dorothy George Catalogue of political and personal satires preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. 11 vols., London, 1870-, vol. V, no. 5232A.
R. T. Haines Halsey The Boston Port Bill as Pictured by a Contemporary London Cartooinist. The Grolier Club, 1904, pp. xix, 82.
Joan D. Dolmetsch, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Rebellion and reconciliation: satirical prints on the Revolution at Williamsburg. 1976, cat. no. 27.