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Abraham Lincoln Civil War Caricature

April 5, 1862

This is the first of many Civil War caricatures of Abraham Lincoln which involves the issue of slavery, here his efforts to solve the slave question by purchase of the slave owners' interest in slaves. This print comes with a satirical song called "Tall Doin's" also aimed at Lincoln that was published in the same issue of Punch as the Lincoln caricature in Oberon and Titania. The song is shown below and will be included with the matted print and the explanation of the print by Wilson.

From Lincoln in Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

 The cartoon by Tenniel, Oberon and Titania, appeared in London Punch on April 5, 1862.  Mr. Lincoln garbed as Oberon is represented as thus supplicating Virginia, who as Titania holds a negro child by the hand:

 Oheron—” I do but beg a little nigger boy to be my henchman.”

Titania—” Set your heart at rest. The northern land buys not this negro child from me.”

 Tenniel’s drawing reflects British reaction, cynical and shortsighted, to Mr. Lincoln’s patient and persistent efforts to end the conflict between the sections by purchase at a fair price of all the slaves owned in the South, which he argued, in conferences with Union leaders and in messages to Congress, would assure the saving of unnumbered lives and dollars. He first urged such a measure on the slave holders of the Border States, and in April, 1862, induced Congress to pass a joint resolution approving his plan in principle, and pledging pecuniary aid to any State that would adopt gradual abolishment of slavery. But, as his secretaries phrase it, the attitude of Union leaders in the Border States, was “one of doubt, of qualified protest, and of apprehensive inquiry”; and, due to a miscarriage of plans by the lawmakers regarding Missouri, no grant of money to any State was ever made by Congress to aid in the purchase of slaves.

 Slavery, however, was abolished in the District of Columbia with reasonable payments to owners, and even after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Mr. Lincoln continued to labor valiantly but in vain for compensation to Southern owners as in his belief a prompt and fair solution of the slavery issue. Alexander H. Stephens reports that at the Hampton Roads Conference in February, 1865, he declared that he “would be willing to he taxed to remunerate the Southern people for their slaves’’; that he believed that ‘‘the people of the North were as responsible for slavery as the people of the South,” and that he would favor “the Government paying a fair indemnity for the loss to the owners.”

 And Gideon Welles, records in his Diary that on the morrow of his return from Hampton Roads, Mr. Lincoln in “an earnest desire to conciliate and effect peace,” proposed to his cabinet that four hundred million dollars—the cost of two hundred days of war—be paid to the Southern States “for the extinguishment of slavery, or for such other purpose as the States were disposed. It did not meet with favor,” Mr. Welles concludes, “and was dropped.” It was not the fault of Mr. Lincoln that the people of the South faced bankruptcy at the end of the war.

Price: $60

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