John Bull makes a discovery
An anti-British satire, reflecting Northern fears of English assistance to the Confederacy. The print probably appeared in late 1862 or early 1863, when a cotton shortage caused by the Union blockade of Confederate shipping crippled the English textile industry. Strenuous diplomatic efforts were then under way by the South to win support for the Confederacy from Britain. The artist here predicts British abandonment of its humanitarian antislavery stance in favor of economic self-interest. In the center stands a stout John Bull feeling the hair (i.e., "wool") of a kneeling slave at left and a piece of raw cotton taken from a bale at right. He announces, "Well, yes! it is certain that "Cotton" is more useful to me than "Wool!!"" In the background left stand another black man and a crying gentleman in a tall hat. On the right, behind bales of cotton, stands a planter in a broad-brimmed hat.