A Song from the Quaker City
News-Commentary, Drollery; Poetry, Drollery
Military Technology, Steamships, Religion, War, Nationalism, Politics, Cultural Geography
Discusses a 'popular naval ballad' sung in Philadelphia, the 'City of the Society of Friends'. The ballad asks for 'a Navy of Iron' with which to 'conquer the world's broad ocean'. Less becoming of the 'Doves of Colombia' is the ballad's boast, 'Then adieu to Britannia's power, / We'll crush it whenever we please', and its claim that John Bull will be punished 'at his door' with a 'Navy of Iron' because he gloated in hope that the American union would dissolve. The ballad ends with a boast about the unprecedented strength of the American 'Iron Jacks' and the likelihood that they will sweep away the 'despots of Europe'. Punch is baffled by the fact that the ballad anticipates destroying the American ironclad Merrimac (suggesting that he is not a 'genuine Yankee'), and retaliates with its own ballad. In this, Punch boasts that 'Our Armstrongs will crack' the American 'Knavy of Iron-clads' like 'fleas', reminds 'You Yankees' of the revolt that has 'come home to your door', and agrees with the first ballad that it should sweep from its seas and harbours all Alabamas and Merrimac, the very ironclads with which America seeks to defeat England.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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