Europe with a melancholy interest observes,
That this war and its sad consequences paralyse the nerves
Of Industry and Commerce, so that energy is dead;
For her factories are silent, though her people cry for bread.
The courage of the combatants there’s no one can gainsay:
All fought with equal bravery save those who ran away,
With the blood-stained balance equal now, it something might avail
Should another Gaul like Brennus, fling his sword into the scale.
We must overlook the petty crew of continental kings,
The potentates whose revenue the gaming-table brings,
And constitute ourselves the foremost leasers of advance,
The pioneers of progress – England, Muscovy, and France.
It’s quite time this wholesale slaughter should provisionally cease:
Let us bind them over jointly for six months to keep the peace.
It is likely at our jurisdiction they will only laugh,
But we shall have done our duty on Humanity's behalf.
I invite you those considerations duly to present
To Lord Russell and Prince Gortschakoff, and find out the intent
Of the two respective Governments, and tell them if you please,
I have written to St. Petersburgh. – Yours,
Now, my very dear Lord Russell, a diplomatist like you
Can readily imagine what must palpably ensue;
It will set the North about our ears, and then, if you’ll but aid,
A couple of our ironsides will smash up the blockade.
As from you I have no secrets, now the blessed truth I’ll tell:
I have settled the whole programme with Commissioner SLIDELL,
And he has promised, for the South that if for them I go
They will not oppose the monarchy I mean for Mexico.
The gallic Count de Flahault stole
On my official ease,
And read me a long rigmarole
He says the War has raged and roared
For upwards of a year;
The soldier leant upon his sword
And wiped away a tear.
He tells us, on our industry
Misfortune seems to lower.
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour.
He insinuates, the fellows
A great deal of blood have shed;
But he quite forgot to tell us
That Queen Anne was also dead.
He fancies ‘twould be proper for
The Powers to combine:
She’s all my fancy painted her,
She’s lovely, she’s divine.
He thinks it’s time to stop the row,
But we can’t see it yet:
There’s no one left to love me now,
And you too may forget.
The Emperor, it is but fair
To day, quite well behaves:
He helped us in the “Trent affair:”
Britannia Rules the Waves.
To ask them to lay down their arms
Just in the battle’s heat,
Our instinct of fair play alarms;
Pray how is your poor feet.
We’ll wait; such madness to appease
There’s no efficient plan;
So you may read this to Lhuys,
Or any other man.
And if with its true meaning
We may choose to have a tussell,
Explain it to him if you can;
If not – no matter – RUSSELL.
That L.N. has his eye teeth cut,
The world can plainly see;
I'm a young man from the Country; but,
You can’t get over me.

Title:French Message


Publication:Rochdale Pilot

Published in:Rochdale

Date:Nov 28 1862

Keywords:america, politics, war


This poem satirises the discussions between Europeans relating to the economic effects of the American Civil War. Drouyn de Lhuys was the French foreign minister at the time and the French cotton industry, especially cities like Rouen had been similarly devastated by the American blockade. Part of the reason there was no real integrated European response is that countries acted in their own national interest and saw each other’s textile industries as rivals. – SR