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Abraham Lincoln Civil War Caricature

November 14, 1863

 Lincoln, as Mrs. North: “How about the Alabama, you wicked old man?”

Davis, as Mrs. South: “Where’s my rams? Take back your precious consuls— there!”

This interesting Punch cartoon caricatures both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis making their pleas to the symbol of England, John Bull. In Wilson's explanation of the cartoon below he captures the importance of the warship construction in England which highly interested both Lincoln and Davis. What he doesn't mention is the significance of Davis dressed up as a women. When Robert E. Lee surrendered and Jefferson Davis fled Richmond the President of the Confederate States of America was captured shortly after by Union forces in the disguise of a woman!

Lincoln In Caricature by Rufus Rockwell Wilson

The cartoon by Tenniel, Neutrality, appeared in London Punch on November 14, 1863. Here again the selfish disregard of some Britons for the puissant issues underlying the war between the States is again in evidence. A seated John Bull is shown, calmly enjoying his pipe and morning paper, while President Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, clad as old women, stand one on either side of him, engaged in this angry dialogue:

 Lincoln, as Mrs. North: “How about the Alabama, you wicked old man?”

Davis, as Mrs. South: “Where’s my rams? Take back your precious consuls— there!”

British neutrality in November, 1863, so far as it affected the Union cause, was of a sort that in the end was to afford John Bull little reason for the complacent mood in which Tenniel pictures him. The Confederate cruiser Alabama, built, equipped and coaled at Liverpool, was permitted to sail from that post on July 29, 1862, despite vigorous protests and efforts on the part of our minister in London to prevent it, and before its destruction by the Kearsarge off the French coast in mid-June, 1864, looted and sank many million dollars worth of American shipping. Not a few Englishmen refused to condone the ravages of the Alabama, and their anger found impressive expression in April, 1863, at a great meeting held in Manchester “to protest against the building and fitting-out of piratical ships in support of the Southern Slave-holders’ Confederacy.”

The principal speaker at this meeting was Goldwin Smith, then a professor at Oxford, and never did that champion of justice deliver an address that in after years gave him a fuller measure of satisfaction. “The duties of nations toward each other,’’ he declared, ‘‘are not bound by the technical rules of law. They are as wide as the rules of morality and honor; and if in our dealings with America we violate the rules of morality and honor, we must abide the consequences of wrong doing, though our lawyers may advise us that we are secure. No nation ever inflicted upon another a more flagrant or maddening wrong. No nation with English blood in its veins has ever borne such a wrong without resentment. Built and equipped in a British port, manned by British seamen, with the English flag flying, the Alabama went forth to cruise from an English port against the commerce of our allies. That is the substantial grievance of the American government, and no technicalities can make it other than a heinous wrong.”

When ten years later the British government paid without dispute the fifteen and a half million award of the Alabama Claims Tribunal it afforded tacit yet ample confession that Goldwin Smith’s protest in 1863 had been a needed and righteous one.

Price: $65

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