Advice to Federal America

You’ve now got a navy or iron
And to man it your Yankee lads,
But you haven’t yet taken Charleston
With your navy of iron clads.
‘Tis defied by Secessia’s power;
And your bluster we take at our ease;
The eagle won’t frighten the Lion
While a Semmes can sweep your seas.
You Yankees, whose sires left our fathers,
Your brothers forsake you today,
Your menacing overgrown Union
In vapour is passing away;
Let those that shall rise from its ashes,
More wise than itself was before,
Shake hands with the miscalled old tyrant,
And trade with John Bull at his door.
And where in the wide world’s the nation
That you’ll harm with your Iron Ducks?
You can scarce hold your own seas and harbours
With your Ironsides and Keokuks.
Don’t talk of your navy of iron,
But fling your brag to the breeze;
Give ear to the counsel of Europe,
And commerce restore on the seas

Title:Advice to Federal America


Publication:Colne and Nelson Guardian

Published in:Colne


Keywords:politics, satire, war


This poem, discovered by Maggie Simms of the University of the Third Age is a Lancashire republication of a Punch satire. Published quite late in the American Civil War, the piece pointedly calls for an end to the conflict and the resumption of trade with the UK and other European nations. Typically of Punch verse during this period, America is presented as a rather immature relation of Europe and the poem mocks various military effort on the part of the American Navy to defend its shores, using colloquial terms such as ‘Iron Ducks’ and ‘Ironsides’ to refer to the relatively new metal warships. The USS Keokuk was one of these experimental ironclad steamers, first launched in 1862. – SR