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  • Attributed to: Philip Dawe
  • London, England
  • February 16, 1775
  • Black and White Mezzotint Engraving
  • 1960-131

The lower margin reads: " THE ALTERNATIVE OF WILLIAMS-BURG./ London Printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett N.o 53 Fleet Street, as the Act directs, 16 Feb. 1775."

In the capitol courtyard at Williamsburg, liberty fighters have suspended a plank across two tobacco barrels to serve as a table upon which the pledge has been placed for signing. One of the barrels is labeled tobacco, a gift intended for John Wilkes, lord mayor of London, in appreciation for his support of colonial causes. Some of the colonists appear reluctant to sign the pledge because curtailing the export of tobacco would cause great financial loss. The alternative is obvious: behind the table, suspended from a gallows, are barrels of tar and feathers.

In the background is a statue honoring Lord Botetourt, the highly respected royal governor of Virginia from 1768-70, which erected in 1774 as a symbol for what was then British-American unity.

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