Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    "Lead us to Liberty or death!"

    Revolutionary War: "Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression" Prohibitively Rare Copper Engraved Cartoon Celebrating the Boston Tea Party. 13.5" x 10" [sight] copper engraved cartoon on laid paper, double-matted and framed to an overall size of 19" x 15.5". One of the most significant cartoons of the pre-Revolutionary period. Titled: "Liberty Triumphant: Or the Downfall of Oppression." Attributed to the Philadelphia & New York engraver Henry Dawkins, published after December 27, 1773, but before April 1774. The rather busy and caption-filled cartoon shows British politicians & merchants in league with the devil, on the left side, and American colonists (seven dressed as Indians representing those at the Boston Tea Party)) on the opposing right side (labeled Boston, New York and Delaware Bay). Captions at the bottom serve as a "key" to the people and symbolic figures depicted. The men on the left side are, for the most part, representatives of the East India Company, along with Philadelphia Loyalist Dr. John Kearsley, Jr. The men in the lower right are colonial merchants who opposed the Tea Party, but deem it better to acquiesce, now that the deed is done. "The people have discovered our design to divide them, & we shall never be able to regain their confidence." The Goddess of Liberty says "Behold the Ardor of my sons and let not their brave Actions be buried in Oblivion." The lead Indian exclaims "We will secure our freedom, or die in the Attempt."

    The Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773 was the most dramatic act of civil disobedience to the Tea Act passed that previous Spring. The Tea Act continued an existing tax of three pence per pound on tea exported to the colonies and authorized the East Indian Company to sell tea directly to colonial merchants. Mass protests in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston effectively prevented the unloading of cargo. It lead to the passage of the "Intolerable Acts" and the forced closing of Boston harbor. Both the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre were signal events in the lead-up to our war for independence.

    We are aware of six copies in institutional holdings. A recent Eastern manuscript auction had a copy in poor condition (pasted to board, stains, tears and loss to title) which realized $27,500. Our example, though not examined out of frame, displays in great condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    25th-26th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,375

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 1 day left to consign to the 2021 March 23 Casey Key Beachfront Estate Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search