James P. Malcom. “The Jail, Philadelphia.”
London: Universal Magazine, July 1789. 3 x 5 1/2. Engraving by J.P. Malcom. Snyder: 130; Stauffer: 2170.
James Peller Malcom was born in Philadelphia, where he began to study engraving in 1784. In 1789 Malcom continued his artistic education in London, but before he left he arranged to have three of his engravings published in London by the Universal Magazine, one of several British illustrated magazines. This view shows the Jail, an important Philadelphia structure situated on Walnut Street across from the State House garden, the gate of which is depicted in the image. The Jail was built in 1775 in order to accommodate the ever increasing prison population for Philadelphia county. Before it could be put into use, the British occupied the city and used the jail to house their prisoners of war. The British jailer, William Cunningham, starved and beat his charges, and left the building unheated during the winter of 1777-78. After the war the jail was used for Philadelphia inmates until Moyamensing Prison was built in 1835, at which time the jail was sold at auction and the lot used for dwellings. This is a rare image of this historic, no-longer existing Philadelphia structure.