The Old Print Shop

The Pedlar and his Pack or the Desperate Effort, an Over Balance.

  • ARTIST: James Akin

  • MEDIUM: Aquatint and engraving,

    DATE: c.1828.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 9 7/16 x 13 7/8" (24 x 35.3 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: A satirical piece referencing John Binns's "coffin handbill" tactic during the 1828 presidential election. He used them to attack Andrew Jackson on a highly personal level and not all the claims were true. The "coffin handbill" received its name because the early attack pamphlets used coffins to signify the people who had died because of Jackson in the War of 1812. <br><br> In this cartoon Binns is seen struggling with a load of coffins. Resting on top of them are Henry Clay (left) and John Quincy Adams (right), who was the presidential incumbent. Binns is shown saying, "I must have an extra dose of Treasury-pap, or down go the Coffins Harry, for I feel faint already." Henry Clay is seen crying, "Hold on Jonny Q--for I find that the people are too much for us, and I'm sinking with Jack and his Coffins!" Meanwhile, Adams desperately holds onto the presidential seat saying, "I'll hang on to the Chair Harry, in spite of Coffin hand-bills Harris's letter Panama mission or the wishes of the People."<br><br> James Akin (occasionally spelled "Aikin") was born c. 1773 in South Carolina and worked as a clerk for the state department in Philadelphia. In 1804, after learning the process of engraving during an apprenticeship in London, Akin moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he worked as an engraver, painter, and caricaturist. In 1808, he returned to Philadelphia, where he died on July 16, 1846.


  • CONDITION: Good condition, minor spotting.