'The Amnesty', 1863. Artist: John Tenniel
'The Amnesty', 1863. Russia says: Though I Have Burned Your House and Murdered Your Children, Leave Off Hitting Me and I'll Forgive You! The Russians had recently launched a campaign of conscription in Poland. After some 2, 500 young men had been conscripted by Russian police agents and soldiers in one day, there was a Polish rebellion. On 3rd May 1863, the Polish Central Committee declared itself a Provisional Government. Earlier, Russia had offered a conditional Amnesty that Poland had rejected outright. Here, the Bear cowers against the wall whilst Poland belabours it with the butt of a rifle. Russia offers forgiveness to Poland even though it had in fact been the aggressor. In the background are, from left to right, Napoleon III, Francis Joseph of Austria, and Britannia. These represent the three countries who had tried, and failed, to mediate by means of diplomatic intervention. From Punch, or the London Charivari, April 25, 1863.
© The Print Collector / Heritage-Images