Prometheus Bound

 
March 2, 1867, page 137

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Prometheus Bound
 
Please see the HarpWeek commentary of this cartoon below:

HarpWeek Commentary:    Nast depicted General Grant as Prometheus, held captive by Johnson’s policies and a Supreme Court decision ("ex parte Milligan") which called into question the authority of military trials for civilians when civil courts were open. Grant is tormented by the hungry eagle of the unseen Zeus (Johnson) and the demonic furies of the Confederate States. At the middle left, the spectral goddess Congress urges her sister Columbia to aid Grant, and the spirits of the Union states on the right rise to do just that. The dialog ends on a positive note: "And See! More Come!"

Indeed, the Military Reconstruction Act and the Tenure of Office Act were passed on March 2, the same date as this issue which went to press two weeks earlier. Nast also recited some of the military crimes and insults which occasioned the cartoon.


Text from the "Prometheus Bound," Thomas Nast illustration:

SCENE

A Ravine in the Southern States. Prometheus (Grant)
Is discovered bound to the precipice. Panthea (Colum
Bia) and Ione (Congress) are sitting at his feet. South
Ern Furies, Minor Spirits, etc. Time–Night. During
The scene morn slowly breaks.

First Fury

The hope of torturing him smells like a heap
of corpses to a death bird after battle.

Second fury

We are the ministers of pain and fear,
And disappointment, and mistrust, and hate,
And clinging crime; and as lean dogs pursue
Through wood and lake some struck and sobbing fawn,
We track all things that weep and bleed and live,
When the great King (Andy) betrays them to our will.

Ione

Hark, Sister!—
Darest thou observe how the fiends torture him?

Third Fury

Blood thou canst see, and fire, and canst hear groans;
Worse things, unheard, unseen, remain behind.

Panthea

Look, Sister, where a troop of spirits gather,
Like flocks of clouds in spring’s delightful weather,
Thronging in the blue air!

Ione

And see! More come!

 

INSULTS TO UNITED STATES SOLDIERS

Washington, Feb. 6– A messenger has arrived from Richmond to consult General Schofield regarding insults to the troops stationed around that city. It appears that while a body of soldiers were marching through the town on the way to camp, on Saturday, the inmates of a private house, occupied by a prominent rebel family, displayed the rebel flag from the windows and greeted them with jeers and taunts.

General R. S. Granger, in command during General Schofield’s absence, at first determined to arrest the whole party and occupy the house; but reflecting that under the President’s orders and the decisions of the Supreme Court the military authorities have no further power in the South, he decided to report the facts to General Schofield. The latter was greatly incensed, and left for Richmond at once.

REWARDS OFFERED FOR THE KILLING OF UNION OFFICERS IN TENNESSEE

The Nashville Press and Times of February 4, contained the following statement:

We have received direct information of a diabolical conspiracy which has been entered into by certain rebel citizens of Cannon, White, and Warren Counties, to procure the assassination of a number of leading and influential Union men, all late officers of the Federal Army, residing in the Third Congressional District. The following are the names of the persons marked out for death and the sums offered for making way with them:

For Colonel W. B. Stokes……….$5000

For Colonel Blackburn…………....4000

For Colonel Pleasure……………...4000

For Captain Vanatta………………2000

For Captain Hathaway……………2000

A rebel citizen living near Alexandria, in De Kalb County, has offered to give $1000 for the assassination of Captain Vanatta. It is understood that three notorious cut-throats, who were once members of Champ Ferguson’s gang of bushwhackers, have been employed to do the work. Several Union citizens, fearful of their lives, have fled to Alexandria for safety, where a number of discharged Federal soldiers, formerly belonging to Colonel Stokes’s cavalry, reside.

STATE OF THINGS IN TEXAS

General Sheridan says: "Two soldiers were shot at Brenham, Texas, about two months ago; they were unarmed, and offered no provocation. The grand jury could find no bill against their would-be assassins, but found a bill against Brevet Major Smith, Seventeenth Infantry, for burglary, because he broke into the house of some citizen in his attempt to arrest these men."

Large grants of lands and money have been made to rebel soldiers in Texas. The bodies of rebels have been brought from other States for reinterment, and an Act has been passed to remove the bodies of Union soldiers from the State cemetery.

MURDER OF UNION SOLDIERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The recent release of Joseph Crawford Keys, Robert Keys, his son, Elisha Byren, and F.G. Stowers, for the wanton murder of three Union soldiers in South Carolina, is creating a good deal of comment. The victims were Corporal W. C. Corbett, Emory Smith, and Mason Browning, all of the First Maine Veteran Volunteers, who were killed while on guard over cotton. Each had been shot through the head; two with wounds which must have cause immediate death; the third evidently having been drowned after receiving his wound. The hair of each was scorched, showing the pistols had been discharge close to their heads. The defendants are very rich, and it is stated one of their counsel alone received $10,000 for his influence with the President in the matter.

"In South Carolina," says General Sickles, "when arrests are made by military authority, and the parties turned over to the civil tribunals, the accused are generally admitted to easy bail."

 

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