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October 18, 1862

This classic commentary on the Emancipation Proclamation comes with another full page from Punch of the same date that includes another cartoon on the Proclamation and the poem quoted in part in Wilson's description below. When Abraham Lincoln first proposed the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet in July 1862 Secretary of State William Seward suggested that he wait until there was a significant Union military victory so that its issuance did not appear to be an act of desperation.  Despite the victory at Antietam that is exactly how it is pictured in the Punch cartoon. The cartoon comes with a related poem (referenced and pictured below) and another graphic that were published on the same date as the full page cartoon.

From Lincoln in Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

The cartoon, Abe Lincoln’s Last Card; or, Rouge et Noir, contributed by Tenniel to the October 18, 1861, issue of London Punch again shows how an important element in England, blind to the real trend and meaning of events, saw in Mr. Lincoln’s prayerfully meditated Emancipation Proclamation only the gesture of a wily but desperate gambler driven to a last resource. It was accompanied by the following lines in which Mr. Lincoln is represented by their author as giving expression to his real thought and purpose:

Brag’s our game; and awful losers
We’ve been on the Red.
Under and above the table,
Awfully we’ve bled.
Ne’er a stake have we adventured,
But we have lost it still,
From Bull’s Run and mad Manassas
Down to Sharpsburg Hill.

When luck’s desperate, desperate venture
Still may bring it back:
So I’ll chance it--neck or nothing—
Here I lead THE BLACK!
If I win, the South must pay for’t,
Pay in fire and gore:
If I lose, I’m ne’er a dollar
Worse off than before.

From the Slaves of Southern rebels
Thus I strike the chain:
But the slaves of loyal owners
Still shall slaves remain.
If their owners like to wop ‘em
They to wop are masters;
Or if they prefer to swap ‘em
Here are our shin-plasters!

Below is part of the cartoon that accompanies the poem above. The picture below is cropped but what will come to you is complete.

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