This engraving comes from a small French volume made up of 16 engravings and 2 maps, all related to major events of the American Revolution. Early image of the 1774 story of John Malcom, British Customs agent in Boston, being tarred and feathered by Patriots.
‘Recueil d'estampes représentant les différents évènements de la guerre qui a procuré l'independance aux Etats-Unis de l'Amérique’
The first French book to mention the’ United States’ on the title page.
Lettered with production detail: 'Dessiné et gravé par F. Godefroy', publication addresses: 'A Paris chez Mr. Godefroy rue des Francs-bourgeois, Porte St Michel' and 'chez Ponce, rue St Hiacinthe No.19', title, and text in French.
Has been cut down from original size.
Condition Fair-Good. Crease UL, LR coner. LL corner missing bit. Small tear lower border. Smudges
17 x 17.50 cm // 6 ¾” x 6 ⅞”
An early collection of (not surprisingly) Franco-centric scenes of the American Revolution, including the tarring and feathering of British customs official John Malcolm, the battle of Lexington, the surrender at Saratoga, the attack of French forces on the island of Dominica, the surrender of Senegal, the capture of Grenada, the capture of Pensacola, the capture of Tobago, the surrender of Cornwallis, and three plates of heroic French activity on Guadeloupe, as well as two map plates, and a series of vignettes commemorating the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.
Engraving showing John Malcolm being removed from his home by a band of Patriots, shortly before he was tarred and feathered in January 1774.
The image shows John Malcolm being forcibly bound and lowered onto a cart from the window of his own house after a mob had broken in and subdued him.
The tarring and feathering of John Malcolm was one of the most publicized incidents of its kind in the Revolution period. He was a Bostonian who worked for the British customs service, and known as a hard-line Loyalist and staunch supporter of royal authority. On January 25, 1774, according to the account in the Massachusetts Gazette, George Robert Twelves Hewes, a Patriot who a month earlier had protested at the Tea Act by dumping tea into Boston Harbour (the 'Boston Tea Party') saw Malcolm threatening to strike a boy with his cane. When Hewes intervened to stop Malcolm, the two began insulting each other, after which Malcolm struck Hewes hard on the forehead with the cane.
Hewes went to a magistrate's office to get a warrant for his assailant's arrest. That night a mob seized Malcolm in his house and dragged him into King Street where, over the objections of Hewes, he was covered with tar and feathers. They then took him to the Liberty Tree, where they first threatened to hang him and then threatened cut off his ears if he did not apologize for his behavior and renounce his customs commission. Malcolm relented and was sent home. The event was reported in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.