The Hartford Convention, or Leap No Leap



Print Quality: 

Background Notes

This cartoon by William Charles depicts the three New England States who dominated the Hartford Convention. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are crouching towards leaping off of a cliff into the waiting arms of England's King George III, who not only promises plenty of codfish and goods to smuggle, but also numerous titles and nobility. On the bank of the cliff is a monument with a bow of ribbons at the top. Inscribed in the ribbon are the words "This is the produce of the land they wish to abandon." And listed underneath this ribbon are American military heroes of the War of 1812. [1]

Crouching in the center of the print is Timothy Pickering, a leading Massachusetts Federalist who was strongly in favor of the Hartford Convention.

1. Weitenkampf, Frank, Political Caricature in the United States, An annotated List, (New York Public Library, NY, 1953) p. 17

Transcription of Primary Source

Rhode Island (top left): “Poor little I, what will become of me? This leap is of a frightful, size - I sink into despondency –"

Connecticut (top middle): “I cannot Brother Mass; let me pray and fast some time longer - little Rhode will jump the first.”

Massachusetts (top right): “What a dangerous leap!!! but we must jump Brother Conn –"

King George III (bottom right): “O’tis my Yankey boys! jump in my fine fellows; plenty molasses and Codfish; plenty of goods to Smuggle; Honours, titles and Nobility into the bargain –"

Timothy Pickering (bottom middle): “I Strongly and most fervently pray for the success of this great leap which will change my vulgar name into that of my Lord of Essex – God save the King”

Memorial on cliff base (ribbon): “This is the produce of the land they wish to abandon –"

Memorial on cliff base (body): “Perry, McDonough, Hull, Decatur, Bainbridge, Jones, Lawrence, Porter, Rogers, Burrows, Blakely, _ Pike, Brown, Harrison, Gaines, Scott, McComb, - Jackson, - &c_&c_&c_ Enter’d according to act of Congress”

Curator Notes

Political Cartoon
etching with aquatint
William Charles Sc.
Place of Publication: 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
American Antiquarian Society
Catalog Code: 
Polit. Cart. H328