image: 17 1/2 in x 10 3/8 in; 44.45 cm x 26.3525 cm
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
This 1850 print offers a defense of slavery in America by satirically comparing it with a perceived system of “wage slavery” in England. In the top panel, two Northern men and two Southern men look upon a group of seemingly content slaves who are shown dancing, playing music, and smiling. The Northerners are surprised at this scene, amazed to find that popular assumptions at home about slavery were unfounded. The Southerners hope that the Northerners will return home with a new perspective on slavery, but demonstrate their readiness to fight for their rights if necessary. The lower panel shows a gathering of people outside of a cloth factory in England. On the side of the factory, a sign reads, “Sale / A Wife to be Sold.” On the left, a young farmer talks to his childhood friend, who appears as an old man. The older figure explains that life in a factory ages one more quickly, and that the workers die of old age at 40. To their right, a mother looks down upon her three children, lamenting “What wretched slaves, this factory life makes me & my children. Continuing right, two factory workers contemplate running away to the coal mines, where they would only work for 14 hours instead of their current 17. On the far right, two rotund men approach the workers with books labeled “Tythes” and “Taxes.” In the right corner, a man thanks God that he will soon die and be free of his “factory slavery.” Below the panels is included a portrait of the bust of George Thompson, a Scottish abolitionist. An accompanying quote from Thompson reads, “I am proud to boast that Slavery does not breathe in England,” although the creators of this print would argue otherwise. It was printed by J. Haven, who was active in Boston in the mid-19th century.