London Times on American Affairs.
Title:London Times on American Affairs.
Date:November 30th 1861
Keywords:cotton, politics, war
This satirical poem, mocking a Cockney London accent, imagines a conversation between John Bull and The Times, here expressive of British commercial interest and foreign-policy opinion. In the poem, Bull instructs The Times to pitch his views on the Civil War, as his instinctive sympathies lie with the Confederacy and its President, Jefferson Davies, owing ultimately to his lust for cotton: ‘But as Jeff. ‘as the cotton I’ll cotton to he.’ The poem captures the initial confidence held by the Confederacy in their strategy of ‘cotton diplomacy’, feeling that British neutrality would eventually give way to the need for raw cotton. As ‘Part Second’ depicts, though, Britain remained steadfast in its neutral policy, and sought cotton from alternative global sources – in particular, Indian, Brazilian and Egyptian cotton became a major presence on Western markets.
l. 16 ‘himportin’ shillalahs from Herin’s green isle’ – Many Irish Americans fought during the Civil War for the Union in the Irish Brigade. ‘Shilalahs’ is a misspelling of the Irish weapon, Shillelagh.
l. 19 ‘Hexeter ‘All’ – Exeter Hall was a venue in London which had hosted meetings of the Anti-Slavery Society. It had become a metonym for the British anti-slavery sentiment.