England And The American War.
“The recognition of the Southern Confederacy would be a recognition of slavery itself.” – Vide Mr Sumner’s Speech.


Where Sol sends forth his genial rays,
Down from his throne in western skies,
Dread Mars with gory sceptre sways
And fills the land with groans and sighs.
Alas! a lovely, happy land,
Where dwells the free, the strong, the brave,
Has, by an abject, rebel band,
Been made a charnel-house to brand
More deep the forehead of the slave.


Fair Albion , thou hast ever fought
With wondrous power to rid the world
Of slavery’s curse; thy sword has smote
Where freedom’s banners waved unfurled.
Slavemongers, human right ignoring
Ask thee thy deeds to recognise
As righteous; while clouds are lowering,
Mercy from thee the slaves imploring,
Ere their last hope of freedom dies!


What would thy deeds of valor be
For freedom’s cause on land and see,
If (as false patriots ask of thee)
Thou recognised this slavery?
‘Twould soil for aye thy fairest fame,
And dim the lustre of thy crown.
England! let not thy glorious name
Be a partaker of this shame,
Do right, and spurn the tyrant’s power.


Lord, send thine aid, and purge the nation
From this foul stain, we humbly crave, ---
Such wrongs defile thy fair creation;
We pray for freedom for the slave!
Let freedom all their sorrows smother,
Thou, who art King and Lord of all;
Oh! teach mankind to love each other,
For why should man enslave his brother?
Lord, cause the bondsman’s chains to fall!
RICHARD RAWCLIFFE 3 Quarry-street, Eanam, October 20th, 1863.

Title:England and the American War

Author:Richard Rawcliffe

Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:October 24, 1863

Keywords:politics, religion, slavery, war


This poem is composed of four stanzas arranged in nine lines with a quite complex rhyme scheme (except for a slight variation in stanza III) of ABABCDCCD. The metre is iambic tetrameter and the form of address is declarative, with England eventually being revealed as the addressee in the second stanza. The numbering of these stanzas with Roman numerals indicates the seriousness of the piece and this is reflected in the diction, which is highly formal. The reference to classic literature is almost immediately indicated by the Latinised personification of the sun as ‘Sol’. Unequivocally abolitionist, this poem joins the ranks of many poems published in Lancashire during the Cotton Famine which support the Union against the Confederacy. Indeed, although there are many poems which do not support the Union so strongly, they tend to be ambivalent rather than pro-Confederate, often just condemning both sides for their belligerence. The political context of this is interesting in that debate in the region raged at the time as to the extent which Britain should support the North in its war with the South. Although many were sympathetic, others contended that the official neutrality of Britain should be maintained, and resented what they saw as Union coercion through relief shipments across the Atlantic and visiting abolitionist speakers in Lancashire. – SR