THE CREAM OF PUNCH. RULE BRITANNIA. ADMIRAL WILKES’S NEW EDITION FOR THE USE OF AMERICAN READERS. (To be sung with the accompaniment of a full brass band of native Americans from Ireland, Germany, France, and every other country of Europe, every man blowing his own trumpet.)
Title:The Cream of Punch – 'Rule Britannia'
This poem published after the Trent Affair at a time of great tension between Britain and America satirises the relationship and balance of international power between the two nations. It ventriloquises the voice of America singing the famous patriotic British song, and its introduction slyly notes that the majority of American citizens (white ones, anyway) are recently of European origin. The comment that each blow a trumpet for themselves is an interesting early observation of perceived American individualism and exceptionalism. – SR