Harper’s Weekly – September 23, 1871

Many of Harper’s regular readers who had been on vacation as the Times disclosures rolled out in July and August, returned by September. The Citizens Association held a meeting of influential citizens from both parties on September 4, and formed a Committee of Seventy to lead the charge against the Ring. Committee President William Havemeyer, who would succeed Oakey Hall as Mayor in 1873, challenged the audience with Nast’s slogan “What Are You Going To Do About It?”

As action against the Ring accelerated after the Committee of Seventy was formed, Nast engraved A Group of Vultures Waiting for the Storm to Blow Over — Let Us Prey. His titular pun was the exclamation point for the rapacious quartet of Tammany predators hunkering down to attempt to ride out the storm of rising public indignation. It was in print by September 13 as the Ring was blowing apart.

The beaked Tweed, Connolly and Hall squatted on the supine figure of New York City, its fist clenched in defiance, as they stared in fear. The dog’s muzzle at Hall’s claws was reserved “for the Press,” which the besieged Mayor was trying to silence or placate. Only Sweeny looked up at the giant boulder, dislodged by lightning, which was about to hit them. On their ledge, lay bones and skulls of “rent payer, tax payer, liberty, justice, law, suffrage and New York City Treasury.”