Congressional Pugilists. Etching, 6.25 x 8.75 in. (plate), on sheet 8 x 10.5 in. John McAllister: Philadelphia, ca. 1860. Later state restrike of a scarce early American political cartoon. No. 17 in top right margin.
This famous cartoon depicts a physical brawl on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1798, between Federalist Roger Griswold and Jeffersonian Republican Matthew Lyon. The fight, which was first prompted by an insulting reference that Griswold made to Lyon, depicts Griswold armed with a cane, kicking Lyon, who is tugging at the former's arm while in the act of attacking him with a pair of fireplace tongs. A number of onlookers are illustrated, including Speaker Jonathan Dayton, Clerk Jonathan W. Condy, and Chaplain Ashbel Green (each identified in the plate). Captioned lower right "Congress Hall / in Philada. Feb. 15, 1798 / S.E. Cor. 6th & Chesnut St."
Below the chaotic scene are the verses: "He in a trice struck Lyon thrice / Upon his head, enrag'd sir, / Who seiz'd the tongs to ease his wrongs, / And Griswold thus engag'd, sir."