Item #7627 Abraam and Columbia

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Abraam and Columbia

[N.p., ca. 1864.]. Broadside, 10.5” x 3.5” plus margins; single column of verses within ornamental border. Early pencil inscription in lower margin reading “Geo. B. McClellan” identifying the point of view expressed in the text. CONDITION: Good, margins slightly chipped, old folds and creases, light toning to lower portion of the broadside, one stain at center.

A scarce broadside published during the 1864 presidential campaign, satirizing President Lincoln and articulating various Democratic criticisms.

Dramatizing the question of whether the country ought to switch presidents during the War, these verses begin with Columbia bursting in on “lank Abraam” who is “lolling in his library chair.” Columbia asks him, “Why shan’t I discharge you and try a new man?” Abraam retorts “Taint safe to swap hosses when crossing a stream.” Columbia protests, observing that her “fields” are “with the blood of my yeomanry red!,” citing high taxes, and more:

You crouch to John Bull, for French despots hurrah, / You cringe to the Spaniard, and toady the Czar; / My shield cannot shelter a poor refugee; / My commerce is hunted all over the sea. / How fallen am I—the young Queen of the West, / Who walked among Nations, more proud than the best.

Abraam replies to each of Columbia’s various charges by repeating the horse-swapping cliché. The poem concludes with Columbia vowing she will exchange her “old donkey” for a better team: “Columbia, disgusted, would listen no more, / But cried in a rage, as she stormed through the door— / “I have kept an old donkey, for nearly four years, / Who brings me but scorn and disaster and tears! / I vow I will drive a respectable team, / Though forced to swap hosses when crossing a stream!”

OCLC records only one copy, at Brown University.

Item #7627

Price: $750.00

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