There are many things to show that the fires which burned up in the last campaign are not out yet, and there is some evidence that they are going to blaze up higher/” Henry George, Speech, April 16th.
Prophet Powderly---"Hear ye not the rumblings of you Labor Vesuvius! Beware the eruption! It will destroy you all and bury you out of sight in 1888!"
Democratic Leaders---(indifferently)---"Away, false croaker! We are too used to its grumblings to be frightened of them now."
Garland, draped in orange, President Cleveland, and other officials of the first Cleveland administration are admonished by Terence V. "Prophet" Powderly, Grand Master Workman of the Knights of Labor. The "fires which burned…" quotation comes from a speech by Henry George, reformer and political figure of the day. His book Progress and Poverty criticized the distribution of wealth in industrial societies.
The cartoon title refers ominously to The Last Days of Pompeii, by the English baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton. This novel describes years of warning quakes, rumblings and other signs culminating in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii in AD 79. Cleveland administration officials appear in this undated work as complacent citizens of Pompeii, indifferent to the warnings of their own destruction in the coming election of 1888, which they lost.