England And The American War.
“The recognition of the Southern Confederacy
would be a recognition of slavery itself.” – Vide Mr Sumner’s Speech.
Title:England and the American War
Publication:The Blackburn Times
Date:October 24, 1863
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