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Collection of ballads, songsheets: A New Song on the Catholic Emancipation

Collection of ballads, songsheets. 2 vols. London: J. Pitts, 1805­1840? University of Minnesota Libraries. WILSON Rare Books Quarto 820.1 Z. Vol. 2.

Pasted to album leaf 8: broadside.

Wood engraving of the royal arms.

A New Song on the Catholic Emancipation

          WHAT glorious news for Erin's sons
              All through the Irish Nation,
          For the Emancipation Bill has passed.
              And you have got your freedom
          O'Connell he will now rejoice,
              His troubles now are over,
          Though on a bed of thorns he's been
              Now he can rest in clover<.>
    Well, now my boys, what do you think about Catholic Emancipation? Now where's your Old Bags, & young bags, and all your little bags, O'Connell my boys, have bursted nearly all their bags, for the Bill has passed and nearl<y> choked all the Protestants in the Country.
          Now it will be his anxious care,
             To give the poor employment,
          And keep them all at home at work,
             That they may know enjoyment.
          That you may love a Protestant.
             And have no fuss and bother,
          But Catholics and Protestants,
             Go hand in hand together<.>
    Now what do <you> think of the Duke of Wellington? Bless his short nose, he's quite roasted them, and almost frighten'd one man to death, with a flash in the pan. And there's Peel, again, nearly skinned them all<.> Now my brave Irish Boys, there's nothing against you only one thing but that's two things, for ever Catholic. I am sorry to say, it will at the age of Forty, will have to keep two Wives, the one a Catholic, and the other a Protestant.
          Now Englishmen and Irishmen
              Be ye both of good will,
          And that you may be greater friends
              By passing this great bill<,> sir,
          For full these twenty years or more,
              You've bravely fought together
          And still united in one cause,
              All Britain's foes they'll leather<.>
    Now, there is some a<->going to walk all the way to Windsor, to Petition the King and poor fools, I pity their case, for I know well they have lost their fiddle and I'll be bound many of them won't have a shoe to walk home with, and their feet full of blisters, and ne'er a needle to Prick them with.
          An Irishman tho' a Catholic
              He has a noble heart sir,
          A Protestant he won't despise,
              Nor from friendship won't depart sir.
          More friends they will ever be
             United as one Nation,
          <S>o here's success to George our King
             And likewise to Emancipation<.>
    Now there's O'Connell has just settled the ash for us Irish boys, and we should all be well basted if ever we eat a baked potatoe without drinking success to O'Connell, who first brought about Emancipation, and now my boys, we have nothing to fear, except it is keeping of those two wives of two different Religions, but has this bill expresses it why, we must submit, and of course try to please them both, and if not why they must please themselves.
          So here's success to Parliament,
             And to the British Nation,
          And all those who so nobly stood,
             Up for Emancipation.
          And here's to Dan O'Connell too,
             And Wellington so clever,
          Who did Emancipation bring,
             And set us free for ever.
Pitts, Printer, Toy and Marble ware-house, 6, Great <S>t. Andrew <S>treet, Seven Dials. F<.>Chal<l>oner, No. 54 Leman Street, Whitechap<el.>

Transcription, annotations and HTML coding largely by Brett Single.  Pointed brackets mark conjectural readings and emendations.

The verse lines were presumably sung, and the prose spoken.

Passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829), which secured various political freedoms for Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom, especially  Ireland, was brought about largely thanks to the efforts of Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847).  Though elected a member of Parliament in 1828, O'Connell, a Roman Catholic, was himself excluded from that body until the passage of the Act.  He was known for organizing peaceful public protests, "monster rallies," suing for Catholic Emancipation; these proved successful in the end.

The Duke of Wellington, from 1828 Prime Minister, was a reluctant champion of the Act.  Along with Robert Peel, home secretary and leader of the House of Commons, he realized that Catholic Emancipation was necessary to prevent revolt on a scale suggested by O'Connell's massive protests.

For further commentary see Brett Single, "Celtic History and Politics in The Ballads of Seven Dials."

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Michael Hancher
Department of English, University of Minnesota
URL: <http://umn.edu/home/mh/catholic.html>
Comments to: mh@umn.edu
Created 6 May 1997
Revised 28 June 1997