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Abraham Lincoln Civil War Caricature

 May 6, 1865

Lincoln In Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

 The cartoon, Britannia Lays a Wreath on Lincoln’s Bier, appeared in Punch on May 6, 1865, and with Tom Taylor’s fine tribute in verse quoted elsewhere made atonement for the grudging treatment that journal had accorded Mr. Lincoln through four troubled years, not, however, with the whole-hearted assent of some of the men responsible for the policy of Punch. Layard in his biography of Shirley Brooks affords us an informing glance behind the Punch curtain, in the late April of 1865.

 He makes it clear that its editorial staff was divided as to Tom Taylor’s verses, Shirley Brooks vainly leading the opposition to their publication. In support of this contention, Layard prints the following entry from Brooks’ diary:

 “Dined Punch. All there. Let out my views against some verses on Lincoln in which T. T. (Tom Taylor) had not only made P. eat humble pie, but swallow dish and all.”

 In the end Punch ate what Brooks termed humble pie, and, looking back across the years, a later generation on both sides of the sea must regard its act as an honorable and manly one.

Included with the print is the poem eulogizing Lincoln that appeared in the same issue of Punch as the print. The first half of the poem is shown below.

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