FOR HOME AND LOVE.
Title:For Home and Love
Publication:Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter
Date:November 23rd, 1861
This poem celebrates labour and domesticity and suggests that the former is dependent on the latter for motivation. The speaker is a blacksmith declaring that he is happy in his work because it enables him to support and express love for his family. Poems of this type were common in newspapers throughout the nineteenth century but the context here gives it an extra resonance. This early stage in the American conflict, six months after the Union blockade of exports from the Confederate states, created huge local anxiety and as towns heavily dependent upon cotton, Ashton and Stalybridge required their citizens to be as stoic as possible, despite the knowledge that almost all employment would be affected by the Distress. Poems like this act as encouragements for social cohesion during periods of crisis, and to some extent reflect the worries of the writers on behalf of the wider community. – SR