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Title:print: The Able Doctor; or America Swallowing the Bitter Draught
Date Made:1774
Materials:paper, ink
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; London
Measurements:Plate: 4 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 11.4 cm x 16.5 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2012.15
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings and Photographs
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Printed along the bottom edge of the image in script:"The able Doctor, or America Swallowing the Bitter Draught.", this original London cartoon of the Boston Tea Party was made famous when Paul Revere copied it for his American version. It shows a helpless female representing America being given the tea treatment by authoritative males. The cartoon represents the Prime Minister, Lord North, pouring tea down the throat of America, a Native American whose legs are held down by the notorious Lord Sandwich while he looks up her skirt. Meanwhile, America's arms are being held down by Chief Justice Mansfield. The Boston Port Bill, a measure to close Boston Harbor after the Boston Tea Party, sits tenuously in Lord North's pocket. Politician Lord Bute stands to the right and brandishes a sword labeled "Martial Law." The other gentlemen represent Britain's rivals, Spain and France, while proud Britannia, bearing her shield, covers her eyes in humiliation. In the foreground a torn paper reads, "Boston Petition," in reference to the colonies' unanswered petitions, and in the background Boston is surrounded by ships with the title "Boston Cannonaded," showing how Parliament will respond to the Boston Port Act. The Able Doctor print was meant to amuse a British audience, and poke fun at how British politicians had bungled the handling of the Boston Tea Party. The Tea Act of 1773 prohibited all but the East India Company from selling tea in the colonies to save the company from bankrupcy. Thus, it created a monopoly and made tea cheaper by eliminating middlemen and allowing the East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonies. Rumor also circulated that the act eliminated the tax on tea established by the earlier Townshend Act. Colonists were outraged that they were still not fairly represented in Parliament, and their was worry that the East India Company intended to "enslave" American colonist as it had done in India. Their grievances erupted in the Boston Tea Party. While similar acts took place in the colonies, Boston's Tea Party received the most publicity. Britain responded by closing the port of Boston until the tea was paid for in the Boston Port Act, the first of the " Intolerable Acts." Pouring tea down America's throat was a literal symbol of how Parliament was trying to cure the colonies of their insolent behavior by attempting to force British authority down America's throat. America - though --- as you can see in the print - spit it back in defiance.

tea; caricatures; Native American

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