The Old Print Shop

Mexican Don Quixote. The,

  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Harper's Weekly. January 27, 1877.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving,

    DATE: 1877.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 10 5/8 x 9" (27 x 22.7 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: Additional text reads "Don Hewiit (on his journey in search of a country for Sancho Usufruct to rule). 'I wonder if there is any thing left in the Post-Office after my charge upon it? and what shall I destroy next?'" <br><br> In this cartoon Abram Hewitt is depicted as Don Quiote and Samuel Tilden as his sidekick, Sancho Panza (riding the Democratic donkey). The title plays on the events that had transpired in Mexico just the year before - Porfirio Diaz had seized power of the government through a coup. In this way, the artist, Thomas Nast, likens the actions of Hewitt to Diaz. <br><br> The story of Don Quixote is played out with Hewitt's failed assault on the infamous windmill, which Nast has illustrated as the "U.S. Post Office." In the story these windmills represented imaginary enemies, and so is true for Hewitt. During the 1876 election Hewitt managed Tilden's presidential campaign. Hoping to sway Republican voters, many personalized letters were mailed out. After the election (but before the ballots were re-counted, due to electoral fraud) Hewitt used his congressional power to attack the Post Office. He claimed his letters had been tampered with and information about the Democratic Committee had been leaked. Outraged, the Postmaster General, James N. Tyner, offered full support in investigating the matter, but Hewitt refused to give details or even speak with investigators. It later turned out a member of the Democratic Committee had been the one behind the leaks. <br><br> In the bottom left of the cartoon a tea kettle pours hot water into the building river, which Hewitt has fallen into. The words "Mr. Hewitt, the little tea kettle is at work again. Anonymous" is written on its side. Hewitt's lance reads, "This is the lance that will prove my letters were opened in the Post Office." It is as broken, like his words, and the Post Office remains completely unharmed.


  • CONDITION: Good condition, save a few small repaired tears in the margins.