Political caricature no. 1. The grave of the Union. Or Major Jack Downing’s dream. Drawn by Zeke

Political caricature no. 1. The grave of the Union. Or Major Jack Downing’s dream. Drawn by Zeke

LC-USZ62-8876

Title: Political caricature no. 1. The grave of the Union. Or Major Jack Downing’s dream. Drawn by Zeke

Description: The first in a series of four harsh anti-Lincoln satires published by Bromley & Co. in New York. An imaginary dream of Jack Downing (a comic Yankee character created in the 1830s by Seba Smith) has Lincoln and some of his supporters and cabinet members as a band of undertakers about to inter the Constitution. In 1862, displeased by Attorney General Edward Bates’s slowness in enforcing the Conspiracies Act, the President took matters into his own hands and issued a proclamation “directing trial by court martial or military commissions of all persons who impeded the draft, discouraged enlistments or committed other disloyal acts.” Around thirty-eight thousand people were arrested, denied the right of habeas corpus, and held in jail until brought to trial. This heavy-handed act provides the fuel for the artist’s attack here. Secretary Stanton is shown driving a hearse “War Democracy” drawn by four horses with the heads of War Democrats (left to right): John Cochrane, Benjamin F. Butler, Thomas Francis Meagher, and Daniel S. Dickinson. Secretary Stanton says, “My jackasses had a load, but they pull’d it through bravely.” Cochrane: “I pull for the side that pays the best always.” Butler: “A million of dollars from New-Orleans.” (For the reference to New Orleans, see “The Radical Party on a Heavy Grade,” no. 1868- .) Meagher: “When you meet a Copperhead squelch him.” Dickinson: “I dont think I look like a ribboned ox’ now.” At right journalist Horace Greeley and Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner bury a casket labeled “Constitution.” Three other caskets, “Union,” “Habeas Corpus,” and “Free Speech Charge Express,” wait nearby. Greeley: “I guess we’ll bury it so deep that it will never get up again.” Sumner: “Be still, you old fool. Let us first be sure that it is all under.” A sober Lincoln watches with folded arms, asking, “Chase will it stay down?” Beside him, treasury secretary Salmon P. Chase responds, “. . . It must stay down. Or we shall all go up!” A bonneted and bearded Gideon Welles exclaims, “O Dear. I wish it were all over!” Abolitionist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher presides over the ceremony with a black child in his arms, praying, “Not thy will oh Lord! But mine be done.” Above them Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who has the legs and tail of a demon and holds a dagger, flies off crying, “If it were done, when ’tis done.”

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