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Brother Jonathan, a Forerunner of Uncle Sam, Appears in a Trio of Poems on Anglo-American Relations

This song sheet features three poems on Anglo-American friendship. In June 1848, Martin F. Tupper (1810-1889), an English writer, poet, and author of Proverbial Philosophy, penned a “Loving Ballad” to “Brother Jonathan,” the personification of New England or the United States in general. In response, John Thomas of LaGrange, Mississippi, responded with “A Loving Answer from the West” to Tupper’s poem. Rev. James Cook Richmond (1808-1866), an Episcopal priest in Providence, Rhode Island, also responded in verse with “A Loving Answer from the East.” All three poems display a friendly relationship between Great Britain and its former colonies, with which it had fought two wars.

These poems came shortly after treaties had resolved several border disputes between the United States and British territories in Canada. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 settled the borders in Maine and Minnesota. The 1846 Oregon Treaty established the border between British North America and the United States along the 49th parallel to the Strait of Georgia, but secured the whole of Vancouver Island to the British.

The term “Brother Jonathan” dates to at least the 17th century, when it was used to describe Puritans during the English Civil War. It came to include residents of colonial New England, many of whom were Puritans. After the Revolutionary War, “Brother Jonathan” was a nickname for Yankee sailors and came to refer to all citizens of New England. “Brother Jonathan” was usually depicted in editorial cartoons and patriotic posters as dressed in striped pants, somber black coat, and stove-pipe hat, elements that contributed to pictorial representations of “Uncle Sam” as a personification of the United States generally after the American Civil War.

[ANGLO-AMERICAN RELATIONS.] Printed Document, Broadside Song Sheet for “The Loving Ballad to Brother Jonathan” by Martin F. Tupper; with “A Loving Answer from the West, to Brother John” by John Thomas, and “A Loving Answer from the East, to Brother John” by Rev. James Cook Richmond. London: M. Mason, ca. 1848. 1 p., 9.5ʺ x 15.5ʺ. Expected folds; very good.
Together with Peter Cassidy, “Regulations for the Harbours of Lepreaux and New River, [New Brunswick, Canada],” ca. 1850s. 1 p. Some light staining and edge wear.

Excerpts:

The Loving Ballad to Brother Jonathan,” “Albury, June 8th, 1848.”

By Martin F. Tupper
Ho! Brother, I’m a Britisher,
A chip of heart of oak
That wouldn’t warp or swerve or stir
From what I thought or spoke,
And you—a blunt and honest man,
Straightforward, kind, and true,
I tell you, Brother Jonathan,
That you’re a Briton too.


O Brother, could we both be one
In nation and in name,
How gladly would the very sun
Lie basking in our fame!
In either world to lead the van
And go ahead for good,
While earth to John and Jonathan
Yields tribute gratitude!


A Loving Answer from the West to Brother John,” “Natchez, Miss., July 1848.
By John Thomas
And now I rede you, sturdy John,
That I’m a Yankee true,
But hope that ‘scrimmages’ are done,
Which erst have ‘made us two;’
So, for the hand which you extend
I give a Yankee grip,
And with my hand my heart I blend,
My loyal ‘Brother Chip.’


We should be friends, no less than kin,
For clouds are on the sky;
Let’s strive each other’s heart to win
By generous courtesy:
We’ve many rights in common, John,
By land and on the wave,
Which, if a sudden storm comes on,
We must prepare to save.


A Loving Answer from the East, to Brother John,” “En route, September 7th, 1848.
By Rev. James Cook Richmond
Ho! Brother John, I’ve made a call!
Stout Briton though you be,
Young Jonathan is grown as tall,
Beyond the Western Sea;
And, if this paradox you doubt,
I’ll prove it through and through
That Jonathan is John throughout,
Himself and yourself too.


You freed the slave; but ah! that’s new,
’Twas scarce ten years ago:
In this I own the sin, and rue
That this time we are slow;
But men who slumber late and strong,
O John, are sadly prone
To find a neighbour’s nap too long,
If longer than their own.

Also includes printed broadside of regulations for the Canadian harbors of Lepreaux and New River in New Brunswick by Irish-born Harbor Master Peter Cassidy (b. ca. 1808). These harbors are fewer than thirty-five miles northeast of the American border in the Bay of Fundy.

Excerpt:

That all vessels lying in the harbours of Lepreaux and New River, shall be under the directions of the Harbour Master there, and the Owner, Master, or other persons having charge of any such vessel, who shall disobey the orders of the said Harbour Master, touching the lying, fastening, berth, or removal of any such vessel, shall for each and every offence, forfeit and pay the sum of Twenty shillings.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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