Free Photo: Behind the Scenes
Description: Black and white image of another venomous attack on the Lincoln administration by the artist of "The Commander-in-Chief Conciliating the Soldier's Votes," and "The Sportsman Upset by the Recoil of His Own Gun." Here Lincoln and his cabinet are shown in a disorderly backstage set, preparing for a production of Shakespeare's "Othello." Lincoln (center) in blackface plays the title role. He recites, "O, that the slave had forty thousand lives! I am not valiant neither:--But why should honour outlive honesty? Let it go all." Behind Lincoln two men, one with his leg over a chair, comment on Lincoln's reading. "Not quite appropriately costumed, is he?" comments the first. The second replies, "Costumed, my dear Sir? Never was such enthusiasm for art:--Blacked himself all over to play the part, Sir!" These may be Republicans Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens. Before them is a wastebasket of discarded documents, including the Constitution, Crittenden Compromise, Monroe Doctrine, "Webster's Speeches," "Decisions of Supreme Court," and "Douglass." At left five ballerinas stand beneath a playbill advertising "Treasury Department, A New Way to Pay Old Debts . . . Raising the Wind . . . Ballet Divertissement." Near their feet is a pile of silver and plate, "Properties of the White House." They listen to a fiddler who, with his back turned to the viewer, stands lecturing before them. At right Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton instructs a small troop of Union soldiers waiting in the wings to ". . . remember, you're to go on in the procession in the first Act and afterwards in the Farce of the Election." One soldier protests, "Now, see here, Boss that isn't fair. We were engaged to do the leading business." Nearby an obviously inebriated Secretary of State William Seward sits at a table with a bottle, muttering, "Sh--shomethin's matt'r er my little bell: The darned thing won't ring anyway confixit'." Seward reportedly once boasted that he could have any individual arrested Suggest a better description.
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