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Abraham Lincoln Civil War Caricature

October 24, 1863

Lincoln In Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

The cartoon Extremes Meet appeared in London Punch on October 24, 1863. The good-will shown by Russia for the Union, when it stood without other friends among the nations, from the first was warmly resented by the ruling class of England, and British ill-will found characteristic expression in the present drawing. The Polish insurrection was then in progress, and the American President and the Russian Czar were depicted triumphantly clasping hands in the foreground of an arresting picture of rapine and desolation. The effect sought by the artist is made clear in the appended dialogue:

Abe: Imperial son of Nicholas the Great,
We air in the same fix I calculate,
You with your Poles, with Southern rebels I,
Who spurn my rule and my revenge defy.

Alex: Vengeance is mine, old man; see where it falls,
Behold your hearths laid waste, and ruined walls,
Your gibbets, where the struggling patriot hangs,
Whilst my brave myrmidons enjoy his pangs.

Russia displayed friendship for the Union, despite the fear entertained in high circles in St. Petersburg that its cause was a losing one. “Your situation is getting worse and worse,” Prince Gortschakoff said to Bayard Taylor in late October, 1862 “the chances of preserving the Union are growing more and more desperate …Can you find no basis of arrangement before your strength is so exhausted that you must lose for many years to come your position in the world?” But Russia’s lively concern for the welfare of the Union took form in deeds as well as words. A Russian fleet of war vessels arriving in New York City in September, 1863, was given an enthusiastic popular and official welcome, and when it visited Washington, the President being ill, marked attention was shown its admiral and officers by Secretary Seward, this “to reflect the cordiality and friendship which the nation cherishes toward Russia.” It was widely believed that the fleet had been sent to American waters to help the United States in case of war with France or Great Britain. There was no tangible basis for this belief, but four years later, as will be noted in another place, it stilled opposition to the purchase by the United States of what is now the Territory of Alaska.

Part of the an additional poem on the subject of the print is shown below. The entire poem will be included with the print and the Wilson description.

The print is matted and enclosed in clear plastic (the cause of the reflection) is shown below. The print color is less brownish than shown below and less bleached than shown above.

Price: SOLD