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By O. H. White

“Am I her child!” born in the darkest night

Of her seared soul’s oppression and excess,

“Her  daughter!  and  her  mightiest  heritress!”

Dowered with thoughts of blasted hope and bloody blight

Of her deeds of darkness that were not right,

Let  answer:   Boston,  Bunker  Hill,  or India, yea,

And blighted Ireland, and the Boers’ distress.

This our answer:   keep your bloody fray.

White, O. H. “America’s Answer to William Watson, of England—‘To England Concerning America’.” The Fatherland 1, no. 25 (January 27, 1915): 12.

White, O. H. “America’s Answer to William Watson, of England—‘To England Concerning America’.” The Fatherland 1, no. 25 (January 27, 1915): 12.



This and the next verse enumerate examples of British “oppression and excess.” Boston, home of the colonial government and a strategic port city, was the site of significant events in the American Revolution. The Boston Tea Party (December 16, 1773) was a response to the tea duty imposed by England upon its colonies: protesters boarded British ships in the harbor and threw tea into the water. The 11-month Siege of Boston included the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775), which resulted in heavy casualties (more than 1,000 men) for the British. The colonists nevertheless had to withdraw, after losing about 440 men.

Cannon, John, and Robert Crowcroft. “Boston Tea Party.” In A Dictionary of British History. Oxford University Press, 2015. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780191758027.001.0001/acref-9780191758027-e-463..

Lennon, Donald R. “Bunker Hill, Battle of.” In The Oxford Companion to United States History. Oxford University Press, 2001. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195082098.001.0001/acref-9780195082098-e-0226.



The Indian Mutiny (also known as the First War of Indian Independence), which began on May 10, 1857, serves as another example of people attempting to free themselves from British rule. Indian soldiers in Meerut revolted, killed their British officers, and took over Dehli the next day. In June the rebels killed 200 British women in Cawnpore. The British killed 2,000 Indians in retaliation. The mutiny did not end until the following June.

Macedo, Lynne. “Indian Mutiny.” In The Oxford Companion to Black British History. Oxford University Press, 2007. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780192804396.001.0001/acref-9780192804396-e-192?rskey=wFpOrI&result=3.


blighted Ireland

After England’s political union with Ireland in 1801, Ireland “sank deeper into destitution” as agricultural products dropped in value and only Ulster experienced industrial prosperity. About one million Irish died in the famine caused by the potato crop failure in the 1840s.

“Ireland.” In A Dictionary of World History, edited by Anne Kerr and Edmund Wright. Oxford University Press, 2015. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199685691.001.0001/acref-9780199685691-e-1831.


Boers’ distress

In the First Boer War, or Transvaal Rebellion (1880-81), Boer farmers in the Transvaal, who had established an independent republic, rebelled against the British annexation of 1877. The war ended with the Transvaal and the Orange Free State being granted independence under British sovereignty. In the Second Boer, or Anglo-Boer War (1899-1901), the British went to war again against the Boers in the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. By the time the Boers surrendered, 4,000 Boers had been killed and another 30,000 Boers, 15,000 non-whites and 13,000 Britons had died of disease or malnutrition.

Badsey, Stephen. “Boer War, First.” In The Oxford Companion to Military . Oxford University Press, 2001. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198606963.001.0001/acref-9780198606963-e-170.

Wilcox, Craig, and Hugh Bicheno. “Boer War, Second.” In The Oxford Companion to Military History. Oxford University Press, 2001. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198606963.001.0001/acref-9780198606963-e-171.


America’s Answer to William Watson

This poem is a response to William Watson’s poem, “To the United States,” published in his anthology The Man who Saw (1917). Sir (John) William Watson (1858–1935), a British poet and literary critic, earned a knighthood for the title poem in his anthology, a tribute to the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George (1863–1945). The second half of “To the United States” challenges American neutrality: “But when a Despot, swoln with the desire / Of boundless sway, forbears not to uncage / War’s wolves on shieldless youth and guardless age, / Greater, O Nation, greater then is ire! / Doff then thy placid mien: unleash thy rage, /And sear and blast him with thy lips of fire.”

Nelson, James G. “Watson, Sir (John) William (1858–1935), poet and literary critic.” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. September 23, 2004. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-36774.

Watson, William. The Man Who Saw, and Other Poems Arising Out of the War. London: J. Murray, 1917, 24. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015022407848?urlappend=%3Bseq=30.

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