- Museum number
- Object: The able doctor, or America swallowing the bitter draught
America, a partly-draped female figure, is being held down by Lord Mansfield (r.) in judge's wig and robes, while North, holding her by the throat, pours the contents of a tea-pot down her mouth. America ejects the tea in a stream directed at North's face. From his pocket hangs a paper inscribed "Boston Port Bill". Sandwich (l.) kneels, holding America down by an ankle, while he lifts the edge of her draperies and peers beneath them. Behind Mansfield (r.) stands Bute in Scots cap and kilt, holding a drawn sword, its blade inscribed "Military Law", pistols are thrust through his belt. Behind America stands Britannia resting one hand on her shield; she averts her face and covers her eyes with her hand. Behind Sandwich (l.) stand two men dressed in the French and Spanish fashions and representing France and Spain or the monarchs of France and Spain; the order of the Golden Fleece hangs from the neck of Spain. They stand close together, pointing towards America with expressions of interest and concern.
In the foreground is a torn document inscribed "Boston petition". In the background is the sea; on the horizon and on a minute scale are the spires of a town surrounded by ships, above is engraved, "Boston cannonaded". 1 May 1774
- Production date
Height: 103 millimetres
Width: 168 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', V, 1935)
From the 'London Magazine', xliii. 184.
The print illustrates a report of the debates on the Boston Port Bill: the text of the Bill is given in full because it is "of vast importance to the mercantile part of the nation and indeed to the whole British Empire", pp. 165-85. The Boston Port Bill became law on 31 Mar. (one of the "five intolerable acts") passed as a punishment for the 'Boston tea-party' (16 Dec. 1773): the port of Boston was closed and its rights transferred to Salem till compensation should be made for the destruction of the tea. Boston, of course, was not cannonaded, Gage was its military and civil governor and he closed the harbour in accordance with the Act on 1 June, see BMSat 5227, 5228, 5230, 5236. The "Boston petition" is presumably the petition of Americans in London to the House of Commons against the Boston Port Bill, 'Parl. Hist.', xvii. 1189-92. For other references to the tax on tea see BMSat 5232, 5282, 5490, 5491, 6190. For the 'Tea Party' see Van Tyne, 'Causes of the War of Independence', 1921, ch. xix.
Reproduced in Bernard Fay's 'Franklin', 1929, p. 362, but incorrectly dated 1770.
A copy signed "P. Revere Sculp", was published in the 'Royal American Magazine', vol. i (June 1774), Stauffer, BMSat 2673. Reproduced, 'Propylden-Weltgeschichte', ed. W. Goetz, vi. 1931, p. 461, J. T. Adams, 'Hist, of the American People', 1933, p. 93.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number