New Year’s Address by the Carrier Boy of the Kalamazoo Gazette to His Friends and Patrons.

Once again the News Boy greets you
As on New Year’s morn he meets you,
Bringing records of the year,
Old year, dead or just now dying,
With its wondrous memories lying
Deep in hearts oppressed with fear.
Year like this has never hasted
O’er us, and our life sands wasted,
Ride with reason, crime and death.
Its first morning found the nation
Waiting filled with expectation,
Stating dumb with bated breath.
Treason ruled in highest places,
Flung defiance in the faces
Stern of every Northern brave;
Creeping now with serpent glidings,
Stalking now with giant stridings,
Digging deep the nation’s grave.
On the land our credit shattered,
On the ocean ships wide scattered,
Arms and money southward moved,
Showed a COB in financiering,
And a FLOYD adept at stealing,
And one Yankee traitor proved.
But the Ides of March came o’er us,
As these visions passed before us,
And the traitors slunk aghast.
Patriotic ardor fired us,
And with joyous hope inspired us
That the darkest hour had passed.
AVE, the honest, -so they call him,
May no evil change befall him—
Trembling took the helm of State,
While a nation’s prayers ascended
That our land might be defended,
From a Greek or Roman fate.
Hopes of peace so brightly dawning,
Faded on that fatal morning
When ‘gainst Sumpter’s frowning wall
Iron hail came fiercely beating,
And our gallant men retreating
Saw the starry banner fall.
Like a nation’s death-knell tolling
Sumpter’s thunders onward rolling,
Roused our millions from their sleep,
Shouting, Float our flag forever,
Peace nor truce we’ll never, never
With such dastard traitors keep.
From the rugged Northern mountains,
From the silvery Eastern fountains,
From the broader Western land,
From the halls of Legislation,
From all ranks and every station
Rushed a strong and mighty band.
Southward, like a mighty torrent,
Moved this living thinking current
Toward the old Potomac’s shore.
Then, on winged lightning flying,
Came the news that men lay dying,
Northern men, in Baltimore.
Massachusetts blood was flowing,
Richer honor now bestowing
On the day of Lexington.
But the human tide still sweeping
Onward, ever swelling, never sleeping,
Rolled along to Washington.
Then came days of waiting, waiting;
We sad, gloomy, sad, debating,
Wile the golden spring time fled.
Then arose the sound of waiting
As our flag came torn and trailing
from MANASSAS strewn with dead.
‘Mid the host, all eager hasted
One whose life blood soon was wasted
On Virginia’s “sacred soil.”
Fearless ELLSWORTH early perished,
But his mem’ry, deeply cherished,
Nerves the soldier in his toil.
Now a wail of lamentation,
Like the mourning of a nation
Striken, o’er the wide land swept;
Party strife the sorrow stilling,
Anguish every bosom filling,
All or noble DOUGLAS wept.
Columns, broken and defeated,
In confusion wild retreated,
Fleeing victory and fame,
While behind the wounded lying,
Dead unburied, kindred dying
Tinged the cheek with angry shame.
And “our boys” were in the battle,
Saw it, heard the musket rattle
And the cannon’s deadly roar.
But their God and Father kept them,
And in sorrow we’ve not wept them,
Coming from the strife no more.
Other sisters, wives and mothers
Have been waiting sons and brothers,
Husbands; waiting all in vain;
For in Southern prisons wasting;
Shame and degredation tasting,
They, alas! come not again.
Shall such suff’ring still be slighted?
Shall such wrongs be never righted?
Righted by the land they serve?
Naked and in prison are they,
Like convicted felons fare they,
Rather than from honor swerve.
But the war’s red demon rages,
And his bloody conflict wages
Not alone on Eastern shores.
Nobly, grandly, bravely daring
LYON fell, his life not sparing,
Where the dark Missouri pours.
By the waves of Western ocean,
Far away from this commotion,
Weep they for a soldier slain,
For their gifted hero calling
Ask they, blinding tears fast falling,
Why did BAKER die in vain?
Everywhere reigns wild commotion,
By the river, on the ocean,
All along the border land;
Danger calls for action, action,
Bids our freemen cease from faction,
And march fearless hand in hand.
In Kentucky kindred slighting
Ties of blood and birth, are fighting
Round the grave of HENRY CLAY.
Writing, fighting, now sinks down low,
Where brave JACKSON once held sway.
“Clouds and darkness” thick are o’er us,
Hosts behind and seas before us,
Hearts within that sink with fear;
Yet the clouds have sometimes broken,
Giving now a better token,
Shining brightly forth to cheer.
For our banner still is streaming
And the “Stars and Stripes” are gleaming
‘Mid the din of bloody strife,
Where the war-horse wildly dashes,
And the ringing steel sharp clashes,
And fast flows the stream of life.
And our gallant, new born navy
Bears the dear old flag of PERRY,
Where first treason reared its head;
Hasting, with its fiery greeting,
CAROLINA’S SODS retreating,
As the boasting braggarts fled.
Not for vengeance are we praying,
When we joy that bolts, delaying
Long, are falling on that shore,
Near by Sumpter, let the city,
Sharing only in our pity,
Sink, if need be, evermore.
But just now, with mane uprising,
And with sudden roar surprising,
Britain’s Lion bids us stay;
Right beneath his paw were lying
Traitors, for protection flying,
Snatched by saucy WILKES away.
But we trust that moderation
Calm, will rule in either nation,
Using judgement safe and reason;
Unless all for cotton trading,
English hypocrites are aiding
Slavery and basest treason.
Such the themes the News-boy sings you,
Such the sad’ning tale he brings you,
Of the past, so full of fear;
Yet again with joy he greets you,
As once more, once more he meets you
On the glad, the glad, New Year.

Title:New Year’s Address by the Carrier Boy of the Kalamazoo Gazette to His Friends and Patrons.


Publication:Kalamazoo Gazette

Published in:

Date:January 3rd 1862

Keywords:politics, war


Published in the Kalamazoo Gazette of Michigan to welcome in the New Year of 1862, this narrative poem retells the events of 1861 and, in doing so, sets the scene to introduce the coming news agenda. Like many Union-sympathising poems, the pronounced message is one of Northern resilience and an unperturbed attachment to a liberal ideal, where ‘banner still is streaming | And the “Stars and Stripes” are gleaming’. In following a linear sequence of events from the previous year, the poem’s closing stanzas introduce the unresolved tensions between Britain and the Union over the Trent Affair; an ongoing diplomatic dispute triggered in November 1861 when Captain Charles Wilkes seized Confederate diplomats onboard the British postal vessel, RMS Trent. The Trent Affair presented the real threat of British intervention in the Civil War, fuelled by their outrage over the accused illegality of Wilkes’s naval interception. Indeed, in December 1861, the British had readied troops on the Canadian border and accelerated their naval preparations, in anticipation of escalated conflict. The poet declares their hope in a peaceful resolution of the Affair ‘Using judgement safe and reason’, though highlights the volatility introduced by the British commercial interest, who advocate intervention ‘all for cotton trading’. The poem, as with the year itself, ends with a fraught suspense, hoping that the English cotton interest does not extirpate the Union cause (though, ultimately, the tensions were eased in January 1862, when Abraham Lincoln released the captured diplomats and disavowed the actions of Charles Wilkes).