The Old Print Shop

The Capture of Tweed - The Picture That Made the Spanish Officials Take Him For a "Child-Stealer."

  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Harper's Weekly. October 7, 1876.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving.

    DATE: 1876.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 10 5/8 x 9 1/8" (27 x 23.2 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: Originally published in Harper's Weekly in July of 1876, the paper re-published it following the capture of Boss Tweed. The cartoon really meant to portray, in part, that it takes a thief to catch a thief - Tweed is shown grabbing up a pair of boys who had filled their pockets with stolen coins. The other part of the cartoon is a call for honest officials who would stop thieves without being corrupt themselves. The text in the upper left talks about this. The various billboards around Tweed also address the issue with calls for reform. It turns out, however, the Spanish misinterpreted the cartoon and only saw Tweed as a kidnapper. <br><br> Tweed had run the corrupt Democratic power house known as Tammany Hall for over a decade before his removal in 1871. Though placed in jail, Tweed escaped in 1875 and fled to Cuba. From there he managed to avoid arrest through a fake passport and false name, but only for so long. As fate would have it, the same day an arrest warrant was made, Tweed boarded a vessel bound for Spain. Cuban officials arrived too late to stop him. News was quickly telegraphed to Madrid and, with the assistance of Nast's cartoon, the ship was boarded by officials just off Vigo, Spain. Tweed was quickly identified and arrested, and would later be extradited back to America. <br><br> Much of the story regarding his escape and capture is printed below the image in a story entitled "Capture of Tweed."


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