1815.2 - "Petition for a New War!"

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1815.2
Petition for a New War!
Anon
The Champion (January 29, 1815)

The following is a minute of proceedings,
Speeches, replies, resolutions, and pleadings,
Deliver'd at a meeting of various contractors,
Underwriters, newsmen, corn dealers, factors,
And others concern'd in the horrid ruination,
Which a GENERAL PEACE must infallibly occasion.

    The chairman in a speech full of argument and strength,
Which we're sorry that our limits will not let us give at length,
Stated to the meeting the points for which they met, and
The greatness of the danger with which they all were threaten'd,
When an editor arose, and with infinite combustion
Pronounced a malediction of elevated fustian:—
Contended that peace-making was the very worst of crimes,
Confess'd he didn't like the complexion of The Times,
For tho' England, he admitted, lost thousands by the war,
His losses by the peace were more ruinous by far.—
The Congress, he repeated, would eventually rise
Without one act magnificent, magnanimous, or wise.
For instance, might they not have employ'd their men and
                                        treasures
In establishing a standard of common weights and measures?
Might not all the kings and emperors have club'd their stock
                                        of knowledge,
In founding and endowing a European college?
If a continental peace gave us nothing of the kind,
He who hoped it from the Yankees must be obviously blind;
He therefore day by day a wordy war whoop threw in,
But ministers (Hear! Hear!) seem'd determin'd on our ruin,
And England was destroy'd by that truculent event
That sanguinary sacrilege the signature at Ghent.—

    A gentleman from Liverpool had heard with great attention
The arguments adduced, but requested leave to mention,
That the columns of the editor were open to suspicion,
In affecting to be friendly to the slave trade abolition,
When 'twas known and ascertain'd that the traffic on the
                                        coast
Was the greatest friend to wars that the universe could boast.

    This charge of inconsistency called up the former speaker
To answer to the argument, (he never heard a weaker;)
What were Afric's wars to him?—Why, they didn't sell a paper,
It was therefore just as cheap to philanthropise and vapour.
Campaigns that were not vendible were clearly waste of blood,
And did the present company no earthly sort of good.

    As the advocate for slavery was rising to reply,
"Order! Order!" and "Chair! Chair!" was the universal cry.

    The horn-boys regretted the busy period when
The consumption of their papers was greater than of men;
But twelve were now in deep declines, in spite of the physicians,
From blowing horns to puffing sales of fifth and sixth editions.

    An eminent contractor, whose name we couldn't hit on,
Said that peace would put an end to the tranquillity of Britain,
For such a state was quite at war with all our modes of acting,
And fatal to those worthy men who fatten'd by contracting.

    A landholder with profits had for twenty years been cramm'd,
Until this fatal peace, (for which ministers be ------;)
However 'twas a hardship too enormous to endure,
For 'twas only beneficial to the hungry and the poor.

    Several other speakers follow'd, and agreeing every one,
The resolutions underneath were determined on nem. con.

    RESOLVED, That we abhor this most diabolic Peace,
And hope that (under God!) it may very shortly cease.

    RESOLVED,—That a state of interminable war,
Is more christianlike, more noble, and more profitable far,
And that therefore a Petition be immediately prepar'd,
Requesting that the Regent, out of fatherly regard,
Would declare another war on the very first occasion,
And thereby heal the wounds of his peace-afflicted nation.

    Resolved,—that our thanks be given to the chairman,
For having done his duty like a competent and fair man.

    Resolved,—that the Times our advertisements have earn'd,
And that our patriot meeting for the present be adjourn'd.


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Published @ RC

September 2004