Punch,  54 (1868), 264.

The One Thing I Could Make





Nationalism, Engineering, Military Technology, Steamships, War, Cultural Geography, Government, Politics

Institutions mentioned:


    Written from the perspective of Britannia, this laments the nation's dwindling status as a military power. The narrator recalls the time when she could build ships that outstripped those of 'all other people', but looks enviously 'all around' at other nations' ironclads, prompting her to question whether her ships 'excel, or fail, / For defence, or for attack, or locomotion'. Describess the deficiencies of her ships—the slow ones which 'lag', and the fast ones which 'roll so in rough weather' and cannot fire a shot. Blames this sorry situation on 'those old Bunglers at Whitehall', and urges them to 'charter Cowper Coles'—otherwise foreign ironclads will 'Beat John Bull upon the sea'.

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