Punch’s jab at Lincoln

5 Aug

Here’s an interesting—and, in a British context, very early—reference to the American art of mixing drinks. (Let’s not forget Charles Dickens, though, who in American Notes had already mentioned a Boston bar where “the stranger is initiated into the mysteries of Gin-sling, Cock-tail, Sangaree, Mint Julep, Sherry-cobbler, Timber Doodle, and other rare drinks.” [American Notes for General Circulation (London: Chapman and Hall, 1842), chapter 3].)

Written after the Battle of Seven Pines and the Seven Days Battles, and just before the Second Battle of Bull Run, when the American Civil War was going very badly indeed for the Union, this anonymous doggerel in the great satirical magazine Punch mocks President Lincoln’s reputation for honesty in light of his attempts to talk up the defeats his generals insisted on delivering him.

Incidentally, the “Jonathan”  described in the poem is “Brother Jonathan“, the original personification of America, before his work was outsourced to (the non-unionized) Uncle Sam.

From: Punch, vol 42 (26 July 1862), p. 33.

A couple of pages later John Tenniel’s cartoon makes the Lincoln-as-mixologist theme expilcit:

From: Punch, vol. 42 (26 July 1862), p. 35.


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