“Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” of March 2nd, 1861, two days previous to the inauguration of President-elect Lincoln, contained the caricature reproduced here. It was intended to convey the idea that the National Administration would thereafter depend upon the support of bayonets to uphold it, and the text underneath the picture ran as follows:
OLD ABE: “Oh, it’s all well enough to say that I must support the dignity of my high office by force—but it’s darned uncomfortable sitting, I can tell yer.”
This journal was not entirely friendly to the new Chief Magistrate, but it could not see into the future. Many of the leading publications of the East, among them some of those which condemned slavery and were opposed to secession, did not believe Lincoln was the man for the emergency, but instead of doing what they could do to help him along, they attacked him most viciously. No man, save Washington, was more brutally lied about than Lincoln, but he bore all the slurs and thrusts, not to mention the open, cruel antagonism of those who should have been his warmest friends, with a fortitude and patience few men have ever shown. He was on the right road, and awaited the time when his course should receive the approval it merited.