A Message from the Sea, by William Henry Boucher (1837-1906). Judy (24 January 1872): 124-25. Click on image to enlarge it.

Neptune (to Britannia): “I tell you what it is, Marm — if you want to keep on ruling the waves you’ll have to get another set of rulers.”

For much of the nineteenth century Britannia did in fact “rule the waves,” as the famous song declares, going so far as to violate international law to enforce its attack on slave ships. It could do so because no other country had the sea power to challenge it, but towards the close of the century France and other European nations began to threaten British sea power when they began constructing large steam-powered, multi-gunned ships. Here the cartoonist, working for a conservative journal, proclaims that the country must install a Conservative government to retain its primacy.

Image capture, formatting, and commentary by George P. Landow You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the the Hathi Trust and Harvard University, and (2) link your document to this URL or cite it in a print document. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

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Created 28 February 2022