(The ship which bore to the Mersey the contributions of the United States to the relief of Lancashire.)

Before thy stem smooth seas were curled,
Soft winds thy sails did move,
Good ship that from the Western world
Bore freight of brother’s love.
‘Twixt starving here and striving there
When wrath flies to and fro,
Till all seems hatred everywhere,
How fair thy white wings show!
O’er the great seas thy keel ploughed through
Good ships have borne the chain
That should have knit old world and new
Across the [weltering] main.
The chain was borne – one kindly wave
Of speech pulsed through its coil;
Then dumb and dead in ocean’s grave
Lay hope and cost and toil.
But thou, good ship, again hast brought
O’er these wide waves of blue,
The chain of kindly word and thought
To link those worlds anew.

Title:A Greeting to the George Griswold


Publication:The Bolton Chronicle

Published in:Bolton

Date:21st February 1863

Keywords:america, charity, war


Like Adam Chester’s ‘The Coming of the George Griswold’ this poem celebrates the entry into British waters of a ship sent by the Union containing barrels of flour to assist the starving workers in Lancashire, and to thank them for their reported support for the Union cause. The sending of this ship was a major propaganda coup for Lincoln as he tried to garner British support in the Civil War despite the government’s neutral position. Everything did not go Lincoln’s way, however. The chaplain of the Griswold went on a speaking tour of Lancashire and was shouted off the stage by a crowd in Preston who had been whipped up by the eloquence of none other than William Cunliffe (the poet known as ‘Williffe Cunliam’ on this database). Cunliffe, and many others, objected to the attempt to break Britain’s neutrality. – SR