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Naughty Jonathan


On July 6, 1861, the British humor magazine Punch published the above cartoon, by John Tenniel.

Brother Jonathan, representing the North, appears here as a scrawny, spoiled child, brandishing a ragged flag as he throws a tantrum in the presence of his long-suffering Mother. Britannia, in the persona of a plump matron seated comfortably in her middle class parlor, wishes only to enjoy her tea in peace. She wears a cap topped with a starched, folded fabric decoration that hints at the warrior’s helmet typically worn by Britannia in her youthful, more militant, guise [cf. December 12, 1861], and sports a Union Jack flag as her apron. On the mantle, an elaborate clock displayed under a bell jar is topped by miniature figure of the British Lion.
A note from the Introduction to the cumulated Volume XLI of Punch explains: “The American press at this time contained some strangely contradictory articles. Whilst one writer blamed England for not assisting the North to crush the South, another repudiated all aid from the Mother Country, and declared any interference on the part of England would be an insult to the United States.”

NOTE: The website from which this image originated appears to be down. We hope it’s not permanent.

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