Paddy before Richmond

The Irish boy to the war is gone,
in the ranks of Grant you’ll find him;
By Yankee bayonets goaded on,
With a frequent prod behind them.
“Land of Crimps!” said the youth ill-starred,
“Let Bright and Cobden praise thee,
and ivery fool their words regard;
Och botheration maze thee!”
Poor Paddy fell on the Southern plain,
Ere he fire had well got under;
When he found himself on his legs again,
“I’m kilt,” he cried, “by thunder!”
And said, “Ye dirty blackguards, ye
Base sons of bogus knavery.
It’s fightin you that Trade mayn’t be free,
And not to abolish Slavery!”

Title:Paddy before Richmond


Publication:Colne and Nelson Guardian

Published in:Colne


Keywords:satire, slavery, war


This poem ripped from Punch and published in a Lancashire cotton town newspaper was discovered by Maggie Simms of the University of the Third Age. It discusses the phenomenon of Irish volunteers recruited by Union representatives to fight against the Confederacy on the battlefields of America. The poem, typically for Punch, is bipartisan and cynical, suggesting that the volunteers do not care about the issue of slavery, but join up for purely economic reasons, and there is a suggestion that they are used as ‘cannon fodder’. Also characteristic of Punch poems of this nature, the attempt at dialect is half-hearted and slightly self-mocking. Bright and Cobden, who here are portrayed as mistakenly praising the motivations of the volunteers, were prominent abolitionists and MPs, pressing the UK government to take the side of the North in the conflict. – SR