Picture

Representation of the Concord Court

Date: 1787
Publisher: Bickerstaff
About this artifact

This engraving from a Bickerstaff's Almanack for 1787 shows the disdain for lawyers and the courts during the depression of the mid 1780s. The men depicted here have grown fat from a "feast" of business at the court in Concord. In the middle of the picture, the lawyer is shown in a dignified manner, but the scenes to the left and right tell a different story. On the right, the lawyer holds his full belly, while his friend lies on the ground in a drunken state. On the left, a lawyer is whipping a goat--a symbol of the countryside--while others cheer him on. The "Sons of Coke and Littleton" refers to Sir Thomas Littleton and Sir Edward Coke. Littleton wrote a treatise on real property law called "On Tenures" in 1481. Coke wrote "Coke upon Littleton" in 1628. Both of these books would have been on every lawyer's bookshelf in the 1700s.

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Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA