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Wit, Mirth & Spleen

George III’s government, supposing in May of 1778 that words might halt the war between Great Britain and America, proposed to send a five-person peace delegation to Philadelphia for a little palaver. To publishers Matthew and Mary Darly, who printed satirical prints and political cartoons in their London shops, the mission was a fit object for fun. Two of the delegation quit before it started. The Darlys’ presses produced two letters, “Britannia to America” and “America to her mistaken mother,” as rebuses. In a rebus, pictures of objects or symbols whose names represent or sound like an intended word puzzle the text. “America to her mistaken mother” appears in the above. “Britannia to America” ran in the winter journal. Hints: an Indian commonly symbolized America; an eye can be seen as I; yew is a species of tree; and a ling is a member of the cod fish family.


In May of 1778, when yet there was hope Great Britain and America might reconcile, His Majesty’s government proposed to dispatch to his recalcitrant colonies a five-person peace delegation to stop the fighting. Publishers Matthew and Mary Darly, from whose shops in London’s Strand issued satirical prints and political cartoons, thought the ill-fated mission—two of the delegation quit before it started—an object for fun. Their presses produced two letters, “Britannia to America,” and “America to her mistaken mother,” as rebuses. In a rebus, pictures of objects or symbols whose names represent or sound like an intended word puzzle the text. “Britannia to America” appears above. Hints: what we might call a “tankard,” was then a “can,” just as some barrels were “butts;” a snake symbolized colonial union; 80, pronounced with an “h” sound, approximates hate.




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