The meeting of the friends, City Hall Park  family photo

The meeting of the friends, City Hall Park

The meeting of the friends, City Hall Park New York governor Horatio Seymour's famous "My Friends" speech, delivered from the steps of New York's City Hall during the draft riots, was widely misrepre ... show more

The meeting of the friends, City Hall Park
1 print : wood engraving with letterpress on wove paper ; 21.8 x 22.6 cm. (image)
New York governor Horatio Seymour's famous "My Friends" speech, delivered from the steps of New York's City Hall during the draft riots, was widely misrepresented in the press. On the basis of reports such as this, Seymour was viewed as a disloyal "Copperhead" agitator. The riots, which took place between July 11 and 16, 1863, broke out as a result of the Enrollment Act, which was highly discriminatory to the lower classes. (On this see "Wanted a Substitute," no. 1863-13). Although not an enthusiast of President Lincoln's war policies, Seymour actually rushed to the scene of the riots and tried to restore order. Here Seymour stands on the City Hall steps, addressing a motley crowd of armed rioters, most of them Irish. In the foreground one rioter holds the head of a black man in a noose, while three other black men hang from a tree in the background. (In reality, the rioters sacked and looted a Negro orphan asylum and hanged black men from lampposts.) Behind Seymour stand three men, including (left to right) a fool (no doubt a newspaper editor) wearing a cap labeled "Express," former mayor Fernando Wood (whose top hat fails to conceal a pair of devil's horns), and a man resembling Tammany boss Peter B. Sweeny, with a hat tagged "4-11-44." Below the scene is the dialogue: A Friendly Voice: "Governor, we want you to stay here." Horatio Seymour: "I am going to stay here, M̀y Friends'" Second Rioter: "Faith and the Governor will stay with us." Horatio Seymour: "I am your f̀riend;" and the f̀riend' of your families." Third Rioter: "Arrah, Jemmy, and who said he cared about the D̀irty Nagurs'?" Fourth Rioter: "How about the draft Saymere?" Governor: "I have ordered the president to stop the draft!" Chorus: "Be jabes, he's a 'broth of a boy." Weitenkampf, probably correctly, attributes the drawing for the print to Henry L. Stephens. It may have been published in connection with the New York "Tribune," whose building is prominent in the background. The "Tribune's" editor, Horace Greeley, was among Seymour's most vocal critics.
  • Probably drawn by Henry L. Stephens, New York.
  • Title appears as it is written on the item.
  • Weitenkampf, p. 138.
  • Purchase; Caroline and Erwin Swann Memorial Fund.
  • Forms part of: American cartoon print filing series (Library of Congress)
  • Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1863-12.
  • Cartoon Prints, American
Stephens, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1824-1882.
  • Seymour, Horatio,--1810-1886.
  • Sweeney, Peter Barr.
  • Wood, Fernando,--1812-1881.
  • United States.--Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.--Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • New York tribune--1860-1870.
  • African Americans--1860-1870.
  • Draft protests--1860-1870.
  • Draft--1860-1870.
  • Journalism--1860-1870.
  • Politics & government--1860-1870.
  • New York (N.Y.)--1860-1870.
  • New York (State)--1860-1870.
  • Political cartoons--1860-1870.
  • Wood engravings--1860-1870.
American cartoon print filing series (Library of Congress)
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Photo provided courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.