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Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?

DigiTrad:
FIGHTING FOR STRANGERS
TWA RECRUITIN' SERGEANTS


Related thread:
Tune Req: Twa Recruitin' Sergeants (7)


Kim C 27 Nov 00 - 12:09 PM
Thyme2dream 28 Nov 00 - 10:01 AM
Calach 28 Nov 00 - 10:48 AM
Kim C 28 Nov 00 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 28 Nov 00 - 01:12 PM
Thyme2dream 28 Nov 00 - 04:18 PM
Kim C 28 Nov 00 - 05:13 PM
Stewie 28 Nov 00 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 28 Nov 00 - 09:30 PM
Thyme2dream 29 Nov 00 - 12:40 AM
Stewie 29 Nov 00 - 01:09 AM
Calach 29 Nov 00 - 04:01 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Nov 00 - 06:18 AM
Kim C 29 Nov 00 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Rab B 07 Feb 11 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Lighter 28 Aug 13 - 10:04 PM
Gutcher 29 Aug 13 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Teribus 29 Aug 13 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,Lighter 29 Aug 13 - 12:32 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Aug 13 - 03:39 PM
Gutcher 29 Aug 13 - 04:55 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Aug 13 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Lighter 29 Aug 13 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 30 Aug 13 - 04:45 AM
Teribus 30 Aug 13 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 30 Aug 13 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Lighter 30 Aug 13 - 12:14 PM
Reinhard 30 Aug 13 - 11:52 PM
Gutcher 31 Aug 13 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 31 Aug 13 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,Lighter 31 Aug 13 - 10:05 AM
Steve Gardham 31 Aug 13 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Lighter 31 Aug 13 - 04:43 PM
Gutcher 01 Sep 13 - 02:13 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Sep 13 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Sep 13 - 11:10 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Sep 13 - 02:40 PM
Jim McLean 01 Sep 13 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 01 Sep 13 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Sep 13 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 01 Sep 13 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 01 Sep 13 - 10:46 PM
Teribus 02 Sep 13 - 04:05 AM
Tattie Bogle 02 Sep 13 - 04:37 AM
Jack Campin 02 Sep 13 - 05:55 AM
Teribus 02 Sep 13 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 02 Sep 13 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,meself 02 Sep 13 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Tattie Bogle 02 Sep 13 - 10:00 AM
Tattie Bogle 02 Sep 13 - 10:10 AM
Reinhard 02 Sep 13 - 10:39 AM
Jack Campin 02 Sep 13 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 02 Sep 13 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,meself 02 Sep 13 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Sep 13 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Sep 13 - 12:58 PM
Tootler 02 Sep 13 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Sep 13 - 06:27 PM
Jack Campin 02 Sep 13 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Lighter 02 Sep 13 - 09:25 PM
Teribus 03 Sep 13 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Sep 13 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,MAG 03 Sep 13 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,gutcher 04 Sep 13 - 03:51 AM
Tattie Bogle 04 Sep 13 - 04:04 AM
Teribus 04 Sep 13 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,gutcher 04 Sep 13 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Sep 13 - 04:12 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Sep 13 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 04 Sep 13 - 06:59 PM
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Subject: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:09 PM

For some reason I can't get the Super Search to work. It didn't work last week either. Does anyone know how old this song is? Thanks!

KC


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Thyme2dream
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 10:01 AM

I think it's from the era of the Napoleanic wars, Kim. (early 1800's) The chorus gives that indication with the locations mentioned

And it's over the mountains and over the main,
Through Gibralta, tae France and tae Spain,
Get a feather for your bonnet,and a kilt abeen your knee,
Enlist bonnie laddie, an' come awa' wae me.

I'll give my darlin' in Scotland a call tho and get him to post a bit more background for you~he knows a lot about the background of most Scottish folk songs.
~Thyme


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Calach
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 10:48 AM

Twa Recruitin' Sargeants.... the recruiting sergeant was the army equivalent of the naval "press gang". They operated in rural areas, enticing the less secure members of the community into army service. Once the young man had accepted the "King's Shilling" (whether he was sober enough to remember or not), he was listed as being in the army and treated as such.
They operated from the early 1700's to mid 1800's, but were most active between 1770 and 1815 drafting cannon fodder for the wars firstly in America, then against Napoleon in the Low Countries, Spain and Portugal, then latterly Belgium and France.
Other songs of the same ilk are; The Collier Recruit, & Over the Hils and Far Away, both featured heavily in the ITV TV series (PBS USA) "Sharpe" Starring Sean Bean.
Calach/Ian.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 11:39 AM

I have also seen it listed as French & Indian war era, but I don't know.... the Black Watch was around at that time. Do you suppose we're safe enough to perform it at a 1790 historical site?


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 01:12 PM

Gavin Greig said it was made to fit Victorian times ('Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection',I, #77), but noted there were earlier versions.

The earliest version is "The Recruiting Officer",(Over the hills and far away) which (with ABC of its tune), is in the Scarce Songs 2 file on my website (in Mudcat's Links). The latter first appeared in 'Pills to Purge Melancholy', 1706.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Thyme2dream
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 04:18 PM

Well, I first heard it performed at a regional Renaissance Festival, so you have to be closer to the mark than that. Some of the Scots that fought in the revolutionary war were recruited the same way so I should think you could stretch it about 10 years and no one would notice. What sort of 1790 historical site?


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 05:13 PM

Mansker's Station in Goodlettsville, TN. It's a recreation of a fort built there by a longhunter named Kaspar Mansker. On the original fort site there is now a Kroger McMiniMall. (You want fries with that?)


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 07:30 PM

A.L. Lloyd pointed out that Farquhar's play, 'The Recruiting Sergeant' (1706) helped popularise 'Over the Hills and Far Away'. The song was often sung during the Napoleonic Wars. It 'survived for two and a half centuries among folk singers, dwindling all the time, till it seemed to be limited to the Scottish north-east'. Then a variant came back into 'vigorous circulation in English cities under the title "Two Recruiting Sergeants from the Black Watch"'. ['Folksong in England' Paladin 1975 pp 237-238].

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 09:30 PM

Farquhar's play was The Recruiting Officer, and only a version of the chorus appears printed editions of the play.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Thyme2dream
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 12:40 AM

At least the MaCMiniMall brings in the Scots element eh? Aye right, like the Glencoe massacre was all about the soup and restaurant business! (Campbell, MacDonald....??)


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 01:09 AM

Quite right, Bruce. I typed 'Sergeant' because it was on my mind from the thread title. Mea culpa.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Calach
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 04:01 AM

TWA RECRUITIN' SARGEANTS is definately about the Black Watch regiment.... Only highland regiments wore the kilt, lowland regiments wore trews, plus, even today the regiment wears no badge, just a red hackle comprising several red feathers... "get a feather in your bonnet, a kilt abin your knee" Black Watch regiment formed 1720ish???
calach


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 06:18 AM

This version of the song became popular among revival singers during the 1960s, as Stewie mentions above in his reference to A.L. Lloyd's comments.  The source for this version was Jeannie Robertson, though John Strachan recorded another traditional version (also, I think, from the Northeast) at around the same time, which was set in the Victorian period and did not mention the Black Watch.  The difficulty with dating a song like this one is that, while it can with reasonable certainty be traced back to a presumed ancestor -in this case The Recruiting Officer of the early 18th century, as Bruce says- it is however pretty well impossible to tell at what point it became identifiably (text or tune) the song we have here, and, for that matter, at what point the Black Watch became involved (presumably at around the time a "localised" variant became established?).  The fact that it refers to campaigns which are themselves dateable doesn't of itself indicate the song's age, since these may derive from earlier songs in the line of descent.  When looking for material for "authentic" performance, the only certain way is to stick to things which had appeared in print in the form you intend to use, by the required date; mind you, since truly "historically accurate" performance is essentially impossible, I assume that there's a certain amount of leeway allowed in such things!  In all, it seems very unlikely that the song had evolved into anything very close to the particular form we have here by 1790, but that doesn't prove that it hadn't...

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Kim C
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 10:29 AM

Thanks Malcolm. There are some situations where I will not play something that can't be documented, and others that are a bit more free where I can say "we don't really know anything about this song but we like singing it so here it is, if you know anything about it please tell us."

Since we don't have any recordings of period performances, we can only guess at some things, and do the best we can with what we've got.

Isn't research FUN?!?


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Rab B
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 04:35 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk1zlT6ti9U

Know I'm late with this post.   Saw this Band live a couple of years ago at the Black Watch Barracks in Dundee.   Their live version is brilliant, especially when there is 200+ troops singing along with them.
The bands name is a Parcel o Rogues.   The above link will get to them on Youtube


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 10:04 PM

A recent performance with a folk-processed tune that seems to be getting popular:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSdtjb2xOow

Though the name "Black Watch" was used informally in the 18th century, it seems that the name became official - as "The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)" - only in 1881. Greig & Duncan collected their versions in 1906.

The direct, informal diction suggests to me that the song as we know it is most likely a late 19th century creation - though of course the refrain harks back to the Napoleonic Wars.

I don't know of any broadside printings.

"But a' that they 'listed wiz forty and twa" is obviously a joke on the pre-1881 designation, "42nd Highland Regiment." Compare "The Gallant Forty-Twa," a name suggesting that there were only 42 of 'em.

The song seems not to have been well known beyond Northeast Scotland until Jeannie Robertson popularized it during the Revival.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Gutcher
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 02:53 AM

Lighter--it was no joke. I will get back with the story behind the song when I return from the hospital in the late evening if someone does not give it before that time.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 03:17 AM

As far as the "Black Watch" goes and references to France, Spain and Gibraltar in the chorus ("Through Gibraltar tae France and tae Spain) the song would have to date from the French Revolutionary Wars and the early years of the Napoleonic War together covering a period from between 1796 and 1807 when the 42nd Regiment of Foot was stationed at Gibraltar (In 1808 the Spanish became our allies).


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 12:32 PM

Thanks for the historical info, Teribus.

Below is the well-known "ancestral" song in full, from Henry Playford's _Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy_, Vol. IV, pp. 102-104. (Playford, not D'Urfey, was the sole editor of the first edition.) The indicated "foregoing Tune" - "Jockey's Lamentation" - is not notably like the "Twa Sergeants" tune.

The great Bruce Olson provided words from the second ed. of _Pills_ (1707)on an earlier thread. Except for trivial differences in punctuation, spelling, and italicizing (all reproduced below for pedants), the 1706 words are identical.

The refrain of "Twa Sergeants" has been modernized from this song. But aside from that and the general inspiration, the two songs are quite distinct:



       _The Recruiting_ Officer; _Or, the Merrie Voluntiers: Being an Excellent New_ Copy _of Verses upon Raising Recruits. To the   foregoing Tune.

Hark! now the Drums beat up agen,
For all true Soldiers Gentlmen;
Then let us list, and March I say,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills and o're the Main,
To _Flanders, Portugal_ and _Spain_,
Queen _Ann_ Commands and we'll obey,
_Over the Hills and far away_.

All Gentlemen that have a Mind,
To serve the Queen that's good and kind,
Come list and enter into Pay,
Then o're the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills and o're the Main,
To _Flanders, Portugal_ and _Spain_,
Queen _Ann_, &c.

Here's Forty Shillings on the Drum,
For those that Voluntiers do come,
With Shirts and Cloaths and present Pay,
When ore the Hill and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Hear that brave Boys and let us go,
Or else we shall be Prest you know;
Then List and enter into Pay,
And o're the Hills and far away;
O're the Hills, &c.

The Constables they search about,
To find such brisk young Fellows out;
Then let's be Voluntiers I say,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over the Hills, &c.

Since now the French so low are brought,
And wealth and honours to be got,
Who then behind wou'd sneaking stay,
When o're the Hills and far away;
Over, &c.

No more from sound of Drum retreat,
While _Marlborough_, and _Gallaway_ beat,*
The French and Spaniards every day,
When over the Hills and far away; &c.

He that is forc'd to go and Fight,
Will never get true honour by't,
While Voluntiers shall win the Day,
When o're the Hill and far away;
Over, &c.

What tho our Friends our Absence mourn,
We all with honour shall return,
And then we'll sing both Night and day,
Over the Hills and far away;
Over, &c.

The Prentice _Tom_ he may refuse,
To wipe his angry Master's Shoes:
For then he's free to Sing and play,
Over the Hills and far away. &c.

Over Rivers, Bogs and Springs,
We all shall live as great as Kings,
And Plunder get both Night and Day,
When o'er the Hills and far away.&c.

We then shall lead more happy Lives,
By getting rid of brats and Wives,
That scold on both Night and Day,
When o're the Hills and far away. &c.

Come on then Boys and You shall see.
We every one shall Captans be,
To Whore and Rant as well as they,
When o're the Hills and far away, &.

For if we go 'tis one to Ten,
But we return all Gentlemen,
All Gentlemen as well as they,
When o'er the Hills and far away; &c.


Olson adds the following in explanation of "Gallaway":

"Henry de Massue, French, created Earl of Galway by the English in 1697, reviving extinct title. In 1707 he lost the battle of Almanza. The tune, presumeably Irish, "Lord Gallaway's Lamentation", probably refers to him. (D. O'Sullivan's 'Carolan', II, p. 128-9)."

Lloyd and others note that "The Recruiting Officer" is sung in George Farquhar's play of the same name, also published in 1706. The play, however, includes only Playford's stanzas 10 (with a "soundrel" master); 12 (who "scold and Brawl"); the refrain (with "the "Queen" unspecified); and the first couplet of stanza 13.

Interestingly enough, the Dublin-born playwright Farquhar was himself a recruiting officer for the British army from 1703-1706. It suggests at least the possibility that during that period he himself wrote the full song, abridging it and improving a few words for the play. (Both appeared independently in 1706.)

The "Twa Recruiting Sergeants" looks like an inspired Scots rewrite and expansion of the stanzas sung in Farquhar's classic play. "The Voluntiers" could not have simply "evolved" into the "Sergeants."

Scott, undoubtedly reflecting wider usage, called the Black Watch "The Forty-Twa" so early as 1816.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 03:39 PM

Jon,
Absolutely! Just because 2 songs share a few words and one may have been inspired by the other certainly doesn't make them the same song by any stretch of the imagination.

The only thing I can see they have in common is the one line 'Over the hills etc' and this we demonstrated recently on another thread derives from earlier ballads of the 17thc so both songs could derive from the earlier independently, or their similarities could simply be mere coincidence.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Gutcher
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 04:55 PM

From memory, which is failing fast--had the question been posed 50/60 years back I could have supplied names and dates.
The Black Watch regiment was formed not many years after the union of 1707 as an elite regiment known colloqualy as "The Breakan Dhu" from the colour of their tartan, the personel being composed of the scions of the landed gentry, smaller lairds and tacksmen all picked men who applied in such numbers that two regiments could have been formed, Scotland being a poor country and to make a living these men had to fight as mercenaries in foreign wars, in this case they were recruited to fight on the continent.
After training they were marched to the South Coast for embarcation where they discovered that instead of the continental wars for which they had signed the government had hired them out to the West India Company to fight in that plague ridden area from whence very few white men ever returned.
They of course mutinied and refused to board the troop ships and a stand off took place during which three of the ringleaders were tried and hung, the only one of the three whose name comes to mind at this time is Farquar Shaw.
Finding that coertion was of no use the government cut their losses and marched the regiment to the Scottish/ English border and dismissed them there to find their own way home to the highlands.
Now when it turned out a few years later [1730s?.] troops were urgently required some bright spark in the government remembering how the highlanders had turned out to enlist sent the recruiting drum through the highlands with the result as mentioned that only forty two men enlisted.
Solely from memory full details are in print somewhere--seek and ye shall find.
1737 comes to mind for the date of the abortive recruiting drive.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 05:45 PM

Looking at the versions in Greig Duncan it appears at least the choruses have more than just a coincidental connection.

'Over the mountains and over the main
Through Gibraltar, France and Spain,
Queen Victoria commands us by land and sea
It's out over the hills and awa' with me (B version)

However the presumably earlier C version runs

Over the mountains and over the main
Thro Gibraltar, France and Spain,
King George commands, we maun obey,
Over the hills and far away.

which is pretty close to Recruiting Officer as Bruce says, but nothing else in common with the verses. Of course George could mean anything from 1714 to 1830.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 08:51 PM

Thanks for the tip, Gutcher! The facts are most interesting....

According to the sympathetic account in David Herbert's "Great Historical Mutinies" (1876), this one took place in May, 1743. The regiment had been marched from Perth to London for service in Flanders, though as usual the men were told nothing more than that they were going to London to turn out for inspection by King George, who had never seen a Highlander. When a general showed up for the review in place of the King, the Highlanders, who'd never expected to be ordered out of Scotland, became suspicious and restive, particularly since the English they'd encountered on their march mostly saw them as unpredictable, gibberish-speaking primitives. Within the regiment, a rumor quickly spread that it would be sent "to the American plantations...to be kept for life in those realms of the most degrading banishment to penal servitude."

Rather than risk it, most of the regiment decamped for the Border in the middle of the night. Soon surrounded by English troops and threatened with "no quarter," they negotiated a truce and were taken into custody.

Three enlisted men, including Pvt. Farquhar Shaw, were shot at Tower Hill after court-martial. A hundred and thirty-three other mutineers (most of whom, apparently, intended only to resume their previous duties in the Highlands) wound up convicted and transported, many indeed to Georgia and the West Indies. The remainder of the regiment was deployed to Flanders - which seems to have been the plan from the beginning.

Since the 42nd comprised six companies, I have to assume that far more than "forty-twa" remained for service on the Continent.

Herbert gives the Watch's original Gaelic name as "Freicudan Dhu."


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 Aug 13 - 04:45 AM

"The Black Watch regiment was formed not many years after the union of 1707 as an elite regiment known colloqualy as "The Breakan Dhu""

Highland Companies were raised by the Scottish gvt in the 17thC. So although they (ie the Watch) were made an official regiment of the British army shortly after the union of 1707 they were in existence prior to that. According to Peter Simpson (a former company commander in the regiment) in his book "The Highland Companies 1603-1760" the name Black Watch (Am Freiceadan Dubh) was probably first used in the 1670s.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Teribus
Date: 30 Aug 13 - 04:59 AM

Chorus from the song I know with the Title Twa Recruitin Sergeants goes:

"And it's over the Mountains and over the Main
Through Gibraltar tae France and tae Spain
With a feather in your bonnet and yer kilt abin yer knee
Enlist ma bonny laddie and come awa wi me"

The Black Watch were originally raised as a militia in 1725 by General George Wade to keep "watch" for crime and to assist and protect the men, equipment and supplies required to build the network of roads that he was commissioned to build in the highlands after the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion.

The six Independent Highland Companies were recruited from local clans, with one company coming from Clan Munro, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Grant and three from Clan Campbell. Four more companies were added in 1739 to make a total of ten Independent Highland Companies, the required number to make up a single battalion regiment of the line.

The Black Watch, as a regiment of the line, was formed officially in 1739 as the "43rd Highland Regiment of Foot". As such it was first mustered in 1740, at Aberfeldy, Scotland. The Colonel was John Lindsay, 20th Earl of Crawford and the Lieutenant-Colonel was Sir Robert Munro, 6th Baronet. They were renumbered after the '45 Rebellion to the 42nd in 1748 on the disbanding of the existing Oglethorpe's 42nd Regiment of Foot allowing the regiment to assume that number as its own.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 Aug 13 - 05:01 AM

Simpson's book basically agrees with Lighter's account. The regiments had been raised to specifically "keep the peace of the braes" so basically only to be deployed within Scotland itself. It was marched to London to be inspected by the king but was actually inspected by General Wade. They were in fact to be deployed to Flanders to fight on the continent but a rumour swept round the regiment that they were to be shipped to the fever ridden West Indies so there was a mutiny.

They were shipped to the continent but much of the time were in training rather than combat as the commanders tried to get them used to the Lowland Scottish and English methods - however they kept reverting to the Highland Charge type of method. When they were eventually used they were incredibly succesful and their ferocity was feared by the enemy.

During the 45 rebellion, although other Black Watch companies were raised and active in Scotland against the Jacobites, the bulk of the regiment were brought back from the continent and stationed at Blackheath to help guard against a possible French invasion.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 30 Aug 13 - 12:14 PM

Minor correction: apparently "much" of the regiment mutinied, not "most" of it.

Steve, thanks for comparing the choruses. Few of us have easy access to Greig & Duncan. Could you post their texts of the song, or at least the fullest one?

Are the melodies like Jeannie Robertson's?


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Reinhard
Date: 30 Aug 13 - 11:52 PM

Greig & Duncan have these four versions of The Recruiting Sergeant:

A - 'Twas in That Year, sung by Alexander Robb (June 1906)

'Twas in that year Eighteen hundred and two
When a oor man did lose his cee,
When he hadna anither ane to fill up her sta',
We'll over the hills and far awa'.

We'll over the mountains, over the main
Thro' Gibraltar, France and Spain,
King Geordie commands and we maun obey -
We'll over the hills and far away.

B - Old Recruiting Soldier Song, sung by John Wight (November 1908)

A recruiting soldier came frae the Black Watch to the markets,
And ever as some troops for it he did catch,
And aye as he listed some forty and twa,
Come out o'er the hills and far awa.
    I over the mountains and over the main,
    Through Gibraltar, France, and Spain,
    Queen Victoria commands us by land and by sea,
    It's out over the hills and awa wi' me.

Now, ploughman lad, great is the danger you're in,
Your horse may scare and your owsen may rin,
The farmer will judge for to buy your penny fee,
So list, bonnie laddie, and come wi' me.

It'a awa wi' your tawties, your meal and your kale,
Your ill-syed sowens and stinkin' ale,
Your stinkin' whey and bread fired raw,
So list, bonnie laddie, and come awa.

Now, my lad, if you chance to get a bairn,
We'll soon rid your hand of that.
And you need not pay a farthing of the law,
So list, bonnie laddie, and come awa.

A reeky fire and a rinnin'-oot pan,
Three little weans and a wife for to ban,
Three beats o' the drum will rid you o' that a',
So list, bonnie laddie, and come awa.

C - sung by Miss Bell Robertson (1908)

Over the mountains and over the main,
Thro' Gibraltar, France, and Spain,
King George commands, we maun obey,
Over the hills and far away.

Fan ye hae thrashen strae enough
Ye maun gae oot and yoke the pleugh,
Your back and sides like to fa' in twa,
Ootower the hills and far awa'.

A reeky reeky house and a rinin-oot flan,
A girnin' geet and a wife to ban',
And that is toil above all care
Ootower the hills and toil nae mair.

Over the mountains and over the main,
Thro' Gibraltar, France, and Spain,
King George commands, we maun a' obey,
Ootover the hills and far away.

D - sung by Miss Annie Shirer

And we'll over the mountains, we'll over the main,
We'll thro Gibraltar, France, and Spain;
Queen Victoria commands, and we must obey,
So it's busk, bonnie laddie, and gang far away.

I wonder if Bell Robertson of version C is related to Jeannie Robertson.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Gutcher
Date: 31 Aug 13 - 12:21 AM

Memory still niggles that the recruiters when they made a trawl of the highlands were only able to recruit 42 inferior men at a period before the 1743 mutiny mentioned by Lighter. My memory seems to have been mixing up two distinct events when I recalled the name of Farquar Shaw as beimg involved in the incident that lead to this boycott of the recruiters.
Could I have the story of the failure from Grants Deeside Tales?, a book I loaned to a sassenach some 50 years back and have not seen since, Des, if you are still to the fore and are reading this, please return my book.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 31 Aug 13 - 08:23 AM

The point of the song, in the familiar modern version, is nothing to do with foreign wars. It takes the recruitment situation as a pretext for an extended grumble about the conditions of life for a farmworker, and seems specifically to be about the way it was in north-east Scotland in the late 19th century. I've never seen "join the army and get better food" as a theme in any 18th century source.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 31 Aug 13 - 10:05 AM

Thanks for the texts, Reinhard.

Bell Robertson had one of the most extensive folksong repertoires in British history (400 songs), but she was apparently not musical and would only recite. (Recitation by non-singers must have been pretty common even if collectors had little to say about it.)

"A" is an unrelated ditty with the "over the hills" refrain attached.

"C" seems like some kind of inspirational midpoint: it combines the popular refrain (added perhaps, as in "A," simply because it was catchy and familiar) with complaints about farm life - but the army is otherwise absent. The complaints would fit in well with the "Sergeants," but it's hard to imagine that, in this version, all the familiar stanzas have been forgotten, leaving only two otherwise unattested(?) ones.

I wonder if the volume notes shed any light on these relationships.

"D," of course, is merely the refrain. Placing it with this song is presumably arbitrary.

Which leaves John Wight's "B" as the only other early text of Jeannie Robertson's song. Each contains a minor element absent from the other. Robertson's lyrics are more polished. ("Ill-syed" rhymes with "hillside" and means poorly strained.)

Wight's recruiter urges the plowman to ditch his whole family, but Robertson's sergeant frankly suggests a more traditional (and perhaps more appealing) inducement to enlist - to escape a careless paternity:

Laddie, gin ye hae a sweetheart wi bairn,
Ye'll easy be rid o' that ill-spun yarn:
Twa rattles o' the drum, and that'll pay it a'!
Sae list, bonnie laddie, and come awa'!

The appearance of Queen Victoria somewhat encourages the suggestion that the song is a mid to late 19th century creation in spite of   "France and Spain" in the leftover chorus.

Had the newer words been written in response to any specific war (Crimean War, Indian Mutiny, etc.), convention should have dictated some direct reference.

Jack, yes, it's more about bothy life than about recruiting. But both themes are present. The sergeants' timeless mendacity adds bite to the the truthful description of hard conditions on the farm. And that makes the call to head "over the mountain and over the main" even more attractive. (The promise of better room and board in the service is summed up in America by the phrase "three hots and a cot.")

Yet "catching" recruits and the sergeants' inability to snare more than 42 of them implies the singer's skepticism about the whole process.

There's a not-unusual shift in perspective from the third-person (the sergeants did such-and-such) to the first (Laddie, come awa'!). Thus the singer can unconsciously enjoy playing both the the calculating tempter and the wry skeptic. I certainly do.

In Jeanie Robertson's version it's one of the greatest folksongs. No wonder it's become "standardized."


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Aug 13 - 03:58 PM

Jon,
I'm afraid I'm text bound and not all that familiar with Jeannie's version though I have heard it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 31 Aug 13 - 04:43 PM

Steve, if memory serves (and it still does sometimes), the DT version below, from the singing of Cilla Fisher & Artie Trezise is within two or three trivial words of the one I associate with Jeanie Robertson:

                   TWA RECRUITIN' SERGEANTS

1. Twa recruiting sergeants came frae the Black Watch
Tae markets and fairs, some recruits for tae catch
But a' that they 'listed was forty and twa:
Enlist my bonnie laddie an' come awa.

Chorus:
And it's over the mountain and over the main
Through Gibraltar, to France and Spain
Pit a feather tae your bonnet, and a kilt aboon your knee
Enlist my bonnie laddie and come awa with me.

2. Oh laddie ye dinna ken the danger that yer in
If yer horses was to fleg, and yer owsen was to rin
This greedy ole farmer, he wouldna pay yer fee
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa wi' me

3. With your tattie porin's and yer meal and kale,
Yer soor sowan' soorin's and yer ill-brewed ale,
Yer buttermilk, yer whey, and yer breid fired raw
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa

4. And its into the barn and out o' the byre
This ole farmer, he thinks ye never tire
It's slavery a' yer life, a life o' low degree
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa with me

5. O laddie if ye've got a sweetheart an' a bairn,
Ye'll easily get rid o' that ill-spun yarn
Twa rattles o' the drum aye and that'll pay it a'
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa.

I first heard the song from the Ian Campbell Folk Group, about 1968.

Without being identical to it, the tune is reminiscent of "Over the Hills and Far Away."


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Gutcher
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 02:13 AM

Lighter as you say the version above is what was generally sung with a slightly more Scottish version o a wheen words.
Verse four went:---
An it's intae the barn an oot o the byre
This greedy aul fermer thinks ye'll never tire
It's a slavery joab o low degree
Sae list ma bonny laddie an cum awa wi me.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 06:23 AM

Jon,
The tune in Greig Duncan looks to me to be closer to the older song but somewhere in between the 2. Would it be a help if I scan it and send you a copy?

FWIW Greig in FSNE article 176 gives GD versions B and C but declines to print the rude v4 in B.

Karl Dallas in 'The Cruel Wars' gives Jeannie's version with vv3&4 interchanged with tune as does Norman Buchan in 101 Scottish Songs p76
and Alasdair Clayre in 100 Folk Songs and New Songs all derived from Jeannie.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 11:10 AM

Thank you, Steve; a scan would be great.

Concerning B4, MTV fans will find it incomprehensible that anyone could have been offended by it a century ago. You'll recall Child's comment on "The Keach in the Creel," which, he says, contains lines that are "brutal and shameless almost beyond example." Today, no one is sure what he could have meant.

Even in big-city America in the '60s, the "sweetheart wi bairn" seemed, not "rude," but far spicier than anything one might hear in pop music. The bastardy was bad enough, but there was then the frank recommendation to get away uncaring and unscathed. Today the humorless will find the sexism objectionable rather than the fornication.

Teen folkies (if there are any) may find such musings enlightening.

Gutcher, when I write Scots I try to stick as close to ordinary English spelling as conscience will allow. (Even Burns wrote " *To* a Mouse." My students still had to grapple with the poem as though it were written in Dutch or something.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 02:40 PM

Scanned and despatched.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 02:46 PM

Lighter, it WAS written in Dutch or something, the something being Scottish (I hate the word Scots as an adjective).


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 07:10 PM

"Even Burns wrote " *To* a Mouse." Mind when you hear people introducing that poem they do tend to say the title in standard English as it is written then go on to pronouncing Scots in the text. I do find the history interesting though. When writing in Scots the writers in the time of Burns, including Burns himself, tended to drop the more traditional Scots spellings for, not a phonetic spelling but, how the words would have looked with the English spelling. This was following on from Allan Ramsay who had also introduced the now oft frowned upon apostrophes to denote missing vowels which would have been there had the word been written in standard English. A standard spelling never came about in Scots like it did in English and then with the drop in the status of Scots the more traditional Scottish spelling of the early Scots Makkars was kind of laid aside not to be revived until the 20th century Scots Rennaisance. Despite his cry of 'back to Dunbar not Burns' even MacDiarmid retained the apostrophes though others then dropped them.

People sometimes spell phonetically and others sometimes spell as it would sound in English. However, though there is no strict standard, there has been a move in the last century or so back to more traditional Scottish spelling amongst many writers – and there has been recommendations made by the Scots Language Society etc not to dictate how spelling should be but to let people know the more traditional spellings. So for instance generally 'ou' instead of the English 'oo' so you'd maybe have houss, mouss, doun and toun instead of hoose, moose, doon and toon. Although people do use the other spellings too. Doesn't seem to really matter.

David Purves in his "A Scots Grammar" gives a version of MacDiarmid's poem Crowdieknowe written in line with the SLS recommendations. It's kind of how I'd spell though I find 'waws' a bit strange for 'walls' and I'd normally use 'waas'. Just what you're used to I suppose and at least 'waws' is consistent with 'blaws'.

O ti be at Crowdieknowe
Whan the lest trumpet blaws,
An see the deid cum lowpin owre
The auld grey waws.

Mukkil men wi tousilt baerds
A grat at as a bairn
'l skrammil frae the croudit cley
Wi fek o sweirin

An glower at God an aw his gang
O angels I the lift
Thae trashie bleizin French lyke fowk
Wha gar'd thaim shift!

Fain the weimen-fowk'l seek
Ti mak thaim haud thair rowe
Fegs, God's no blate gin he steirs up
The men o Crowdieknowe.









"


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 08:06 PM

Jim and Allan, since I have no stake in it, I find the attempt to establish Lowlands Scots/Scottish English as a formal or literary language by *making it look as weird to other English-speakers as possible* to be unnecessarily complicated (and therefore self-indulgent). Particularly since pronunciations vary even within Scotland. Is it "abin" or is it "abeen"?

I suspect that even Scots must be momentarily taken aback to read words that may sound familiar when spoken aloud but look unfamiliar on the page.

Then there are old words that must be pretty unfamiliar outside of old songs or poems.

When we were in Scotland some years ago, everyone seemed to be speaking English that, after the first five or ten minutes at the airport, we had no difficulty at all in understanding. Of course, maybe they were going easy on the Yanks....


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 10:22 PM

The MacDiarmid poem above really doesn't have an archaic words in it. Certainly wouldn't have been any archaic in his day. Nowadays here you maybe wouldn't here 'fegs' which is just an exclamation but I'm pretty sure it'd be quite common in his day. I don't use 'blate' but my grand-parents did. The point there was not to make it less like English as much as to simply use the more traditional spelling prior to the said spelling being anglicised. If you are going to use a spelling convention to write your own language then why would you have to use the spelling convention of another language - even if it is closely related? Not only the spelling but the grammar differs quite a bit too. Burns famously wrote "Scots Wha Hae" but quite honestly nobody would ever have said that. Scots words with English grammar!

As to the what Scots speak. Well the Scots dialects are still around. I live in an area where many people speak Border Scots. Most people in Scotland speak SSE (that is Scottish Standard English) which is basically just a Scottish form of English rather like American English differs from Standard English. It is English with a few Scotticisms thrown in influenced by Scots. The estimate is that about 1 million speak Scots to some extent (so about 20%) though the problem is where does SSE stop and Scots start? There is no definite dividing line. But there are plenty of people who speak Scots dialect proper. I myself jump between Borders Scots and SSE depending on who I'm speaking to. Really without even thinking about it. Writing it is much harder because it was dropped from Scottish Education and only in recent decades has it been introduced again in a small way. Both Scots and Gaelic were ostracised by the Education Act of 1872 (approx)and English was for a while the only medium used. After a couple of decades gaelic was given a slight reprieve. I'm unlikely to speak in my native dialect to a foreign tourist though! I've seen the effect of it when you do though.....

Standing on the first tee at Minto Golf Club with a friend of mine from Hawick (the town is renowned for having a particularly heavy Border's brogue) when two American Ladies approached. One asked my friend "could you tell us if there's a pro-shop here" my friend looked up and said "Nah A deh ken" so the lady looked to her friend and said "oh it's ok they don't speak English" and walked off. :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 10:46 PM

Another thing about MacDiarmid. Some if his poems in Scots like the one quoted in the last post are just his natural language whilst some others (eg Water Music)are quite high browed word plays and sometimes scientific in tone which involve trawling through dictionaries to understand them. Hence you get some people suggesting his Scots was all made up from dictionaries. Rubbish of course as he wrote in exactly the same way in some of his English language poems and he certainly didn't make up the English language :-)

Here is the first verse of his "On A Raised Beach"


"All is lithogenesis—or lochia,
Carpolite fruit of the forbidden tree,
Stones blacker than any in the Caaba,
Cream-coloured caen-stone, chatoyant pieces,   
Celadon and corbeau, bistre and beige,   
Glaucous, hoar, enfouldered, cyathiform,   
Making mere faculae of the sun and moon,   
I study you glout and gloss, but have
No cadrans to adjust you with, and turn again   
From optik to haptik and like a blind man run   
My fingers over you, arris by arris, burr by burr,   
Slickensides, truité, rugas, foveoles,
Bringing my aesthesis in vain to bear,
An angle-titch to all your corrugations and coigns,   
Hatched foraminous cavo-rilievo of the world,   
Deictic, fiducial stones. Chiliad by chiliad   
What bricole piled you here, stupendous cairn?   
What artist poses the Earth écorché thus,   
Pillar of creation engouled in me?
What eburnation augments you with men's bones,   
Every energumen an Endymion yet?
All the other stones are in this haecceity it seems,   
But where is the Christophanic rock that moved?   
What Cabirian song from this catasta comes"


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Teribus
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 04:05 AM

I thought the question asked in the thread title was How old was the song entitled "Twa Recruitin' Sergeants"? If so where does a song and variants of "A Recruiting Sergeant" come into it? Or indeed the "Over the Hills and Far Away" references.

As far as I am aware at no point in Queen Victoria's long reign were British troops ever raised to march through France or Spain.

Militia Regiments were raised specifically for Home Defence and joining one was a means of dodging dangerous service overseas with the regular army.

In 1739 however the Black Watch changed from being a "Militia" Regiment to being a regular infantry line regiment so they could be sent wherever they were required.

During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars some 40 "Militia" and Regular Line Regiments were raised in Scotland. All the lowland Scottish Regiments had to recruit - not the case with most of the Highland Regiments who were privately raised as basically single clan regiments, notable exceptions being the Black Watch and the 71st Glasgow Highland Regiment. For example the 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders) privately raised and paid for by Sir Allan Cameron of Erracht if the Regiment needed men then the Head of the Clan just sent his "Tacksmen" out with orders to gather the number required. A relatively small clan they did expand their base for recruits in the design of their tartan which was a combination of Cameron and Macdonald (Sir Allan Cameron's wife designed it and she was a Macdonald).

Specific mention of the Black Watch and the line "Through Gibraltar to France and tae Spain" means that it had to date from a period after the Regiment came into being and from a time when Britain was at war with both France and Spain and a time when it was not present in Portugal.

The line "And a' they've listed is forty and twa" is merely a device to weave the number of the Regiment into the text of the song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 04:37 AM

Lighter said, "Few of us have easy access to Greig-Duncan"
There is free access to the following sites provided by the University of Edinburgh, the second only having been launched a matter of weeks ago.
Greig-Duncan tunes
Can't post second link as blickifier has just gone offline! Will do it later.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 05:55 AM

Specific mention of the Black Watch and the line "Through Gibraltar to France and tae Spain" means that it had to date from a period after the Regiment came into being and from a time when Britain was at war with both France and Spain and a time when it was not present in Portugal.

That dates a phrase in the chorus and no more. The text Jeannie Robertson sang is from decades later. Songs change with time, and in this case the most interesting and creative parts of it aren't the oldest, and neither is the ironic rhetorical structure.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Teribus
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 06:55 AM

"Specific mention of the Black Watch and the line "Through Gibraltar to France and tae Spain" " - So that dates a phrase in a chorus and no more??

"The text Jeannie Robertson sang is from decades LATER"

Really? (Shouldn't that be decades EARLIER if your point is to make any sense) So the version of the song referring to the Black Watch, to the countries mentioned, must bear no relation in identifying the age of the song - For some obscure reason the font of all Scottish Folk Songs must be those as sung by either Jeannie Roberston or Ewan MacColl - utter crap, how do you know where they got them from? How do you know that they remembered them correctly?

As far as I can see Jeannie Roberston sings the same version as we do, i.e. it mentions the Regiment by name so it cannot predate 1739 so all references linking Jeannie Roberston's rendition of Twa Recruitin Sergeants to Marlborough and Queen Anne can be be dismissed - as the Regiment did not exist for anybody to sing about.

For Gibraltar, France and Spain to be specifically mentioned (And NOTE: it is THROUGH Gibraltar to France and Spain) then that could only refer to a time when the French and the Spanish were allied against the British and before 1808 when British troops landed on the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal by which time the Spanish were on "our" side.

But we will go along with your decades LATER that must put it into the mid to late 1800s and unfortunately for yourself and Jeannie at no point at all subsequent to the ending of the Napoleonic War did Britain fight France or Spain - making the song a complete and utter piece of ill-thought up nonsense if what you contend is correct.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 09:07 AM

Mind it is also possible that historically the lyrics are a nonsense! Not saying that they are just that it is at least possible. The Haughs of Cromdale is an example of a lyric making no sense historically


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 09:50 AM

Evidence in the lyrics can suggest only a 'not-made-before', as opposed to a 'not-made-after', date. For instance, we can assume a song mentioning Hitler was made no earlier than the 1930s, but we cannot assume it was not made later than 1945. (However, I suppose I've invalidated my argument by, according to internet logic, being the first one to make a Hitler comparison ... )


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 10:00 AM

Here's the other link - blickifier working again!
Greig-Duncan songs


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 10:10 AM

Or is it? Faulty link: tried re-doing it and testing before posting but no joy!
Anyway if you're interested, go to the Edinburgh Uni site at www.ed.ac.uk then just put Greig-Duncan Songs into their Search box.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Reinhard
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 10:39 AM

Tattie, the 'Make a link' thingy seems to restrict URLs to 128 characters so your link to
http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/celtic-scottish-studies/news-events/greig-duncan-songs/greig-duncan-songs
was cut to
http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/celtic-scottish-studies/news-events/greig-duncan-songs/gr
and therefore doesn't work :-(


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 10:52 AM

Teribus, the words of the Skye Boat Song refer to the exile of Prince Charles Stuart. Do you think that dates it to 1746?

The point of Twa Recruiting Sergeants (the familiar one) is that the recuiters are offering the farmworker an alternative to indentured labour. The bothy system that employed farmworkers like that didn't exist at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, and recruitment didn't work that way either. The song is a brilliant piece of anachronism.

Tattie Bogle,I think this was the link you meant to post:

Greig-Duncan

Thanks for that, I hadn't heard of it before.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 11:24 AM

"For instance, we can assume a song mentioning Hitler was made no earlier than the 1930s" I suppose we can't even assume that for the bulk of the song as lines etc can be added at any time.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 12:34 PM

You got me there. And I thought I was being so clever ... !


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 12:52 PM

Through the magic of clicking the wrong button at the wrong time to check out Greig-Duncan, my extensive reply to Teribus has vanished forever.

The gist, however, is that Jack and meself are correct about the subtle difference between "earliest possible" dates, "apparent dates," and actual dates. And Alan is correct that the "Twa" lyrics need not be historically accurate or consistent.

The countries mentioned in the refrain could have been modernized at almost any time during the French wars without being attached to any surviving text. For all we know, the Scottish reviser of the 1706 song was inspired by knowing *only* the modern refrain to its evolved modern tune: he may then have discovered "Over the Hills and Far Away" in a book or on an old broadsheet and decided to rewrite it in the Victorian era, keeping the Napoleonic refrain he knew because it was catchy, prefabricated, and able to impart some Napoleonic glamour. (But that really *is* just conjecture, just like is my sudden notion that he may have been spurred on by reading Kipling's "Barrack-Room Ballads.")

By way of comparison: the anachronistic "Battle of New Orleans" was written well into the twentieth century, not in 1815, and John Tams in the 1990s created a number of "Sharpe" stanzas to "Over the Hills and Far Away" - all of them cleverly designed to resemble relics of the Waterloo era.

Tattie and Jack: the link led me to the U. of Edinburgh, but a click there on the Greig-Duncan link refused to work.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 12:58 PM

The practical consequences to this discussion are as follows:

If you were to write a book or script about an 18th or early 19th century war and have a character sing JR's "Twa Recruiting Sergeants," you would very possibly receive a chiding letter from me and perhaps from one or two other people. Can you begin to imagine the withering humiliation of such an experience? Regardless of how rich your misguided efforts may have made you?


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 04:10 PM

It should be remembered that during the period under discussion, the British Army, unlike the Navy, relied entirely on recruiting volunteers. OK acts for impressment were passed in 1778 and 1779 but they were repealed by 1780 and I doubt they had much impact.

The recruiting sergeant, therefore, would have been a very important person to the regiment as he had to recruit sufficient volunteers to keep the regiment up to strength.

The song, as I see it, is a brilliant evocation of the kind of patter that they would use to persuade young men to join up. If you look at TV advertising for the British Army today, you can see that they are saying much the same kind of thing event though the terminology is different.

The phrase "markets and fairs" in the first verse surely refers to the annual hiring fairs where agricultural labourers were hired for the next year. These were not unique to North East Scotland but were found all over Britain. These would be an obvious place for recruiting sergeants to target as there would be plenty young men who are looking for work for the next year and there would likely always have been some who were attracted to the army as an alternative to the usual sorts of occupation on offer especially if they were fit and healthy but, for some reason or another were have problems finding employment for the next year or had had enough of agricultural labour with its poor pay and conditions - or even, dare I say it, had a "sweetheart and a bairn!".

Is the song cynical? In some respects it is but I see it more as someone observing the recruiting sergeants at their work with wry amusement.

If you want a cynical view of the bothy system of North East Scotland, surely the Barnyards o' Delgatay is a much better example.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 06:27 PM

> someone observing the recruiting sergeants at their work with wry amusement.

Agreed. Whatever the historical moment.

Isn't "wry amusement" unusual in trad songs outside of the overtly comical ones? Or do I need to get out more?


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 08:37 PM

The phrase "markets and fairs" in the first verse surely refers to the annual hiring fairs where agricultural labourers were hired for the next year. These were not unique to North East Scotland but were found all over Britain. These would be an obvious place for recruiting sergeants to target

They would have been if they'd existed. But they postdate the Napoleonic Wars - the feeing fair system only reached its final form when farms began be consolidated into larger units from about 1820 on. Before that, farms were mostly very small family concerns and there was no turnover of labour.

The way military recruitment usually worked in Scotland in the 18th century was that a clan chief or large landowner would raise a levy of men on request. It wasn't done by direct appeal from the army to the prospective soldier. The army didn't have the leverage that a laird's personal authority had on a local scale.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 09:25 PM

Jack, I was going to ask. Thanks for the specialized and specific information.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Teribus
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 05:38 AM

"Skye Boat Song" was retrospectively written by Sir Harold Boulton, to an air collected in the 1870s by Anne Campbell MacLeod. The song was first published in "Songs of the North" by Boulton and MacLeod, London, 1884 and it does refer to "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and his escape to Skye in 1746. But as everything is "known" about the song there can be no ambiguity or debate about it.

On the other hand, as far as "Twa Recruitin' Sergeants" goes (The Jeannie Robertson Version), nothing is known about who wrote it - the fact that similar phrases appear and are used that occur in other songs means nothing, lack of originality, laziness, or simple coincidence could account for that, certainly means nothing as far as the specific question asked goes. The song is however about a specific regiment and it is about a specific time in the history of that regiment and in looking into the history of the regiment the period being referred to in the song can be identified. If it is a "recruiting song" why sing about the regiment being where it isn't?

Quite agree about the Haughs of Cromdale - it is complete and utter nonsense - As a song it is also complete and utter crap primarily because it is nonsense.

Likewise the faux "Bold Recruiting Sergeant" written in modern times but often introduced as a recruiting song from the days of Marlborough -

"A bold recruiting sergeant marched through the streets of Rochester
Bound for the wars in the low countries,
And he called as he marched to the beating of a kettle drum,
Who'll be a soldier for Marlborough and me?

Who'll be a soldier, who'll be a soldier
Who'll be a soldier for Marlborough and me
Who'll take the Queens shilling and wear a Scarlet Uniform
And fight in the Lowlands with Marlborough and me"


The tune is the same as for Andrew "Banjo" Patterson's Waltzing Matilda. The above was also re-jigged presumably by Tams for the Sharpe's Regiment episode.

There have been hiring fairs (Normally two a year) for centuries timed to coincide for events in the agricultural callendar where extra labour was required - biggest improvement in Scottish agriculture came with the Act of Union in 1707 and the arrival in Scotland of the "English Plough" which meant that the old and extremely inefficient "run-rig" system could be abandoned.

The system of recruitment described by you Jack ONLY applied to Clan based Highland Regiments - two exceptions amongst Highland Regiments were the Black Watch and the 71st who had, having been made up and taken onto the strength of the Army Lists, did not have any "local" recruiting base, so they had to rely on Recruiting Parties in exactly the same manner as the Lowland Scottish Regiments did and the English County Regiments did.

Oddly enough the Navy did not have too many problems recruiting as Prize Money served as incentive, likewise with the Army "plunder" served as a lure - obviously a regiment based in the West Indies or at home had little opportunity for "plunder" whereas one engaged on active service in Europe obviously did (even although the risks were a great deal higher) - so a recruiting song would advertise albeit in not so many words the fact that the opportunity for "plunder" was to be had.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:18 AM

> If it is a "recruiting song" why sing about the regiment being where it isn't?

Am out of my depth historically and socially, but I question the meaning of "recruiting song."

The 1706 song is unambiguous. It directly invites men to enlist for a range of motives: patriotism, adventure, honor, quick cash, free clothing, avoidance of naval impressment, plunder and wealth, recognition, proof of manliness, certain victory, public-spirited volunteerism, heroic return, escape from irascible boss and/or shrewish wife and screaming brats, wild sex, plus military and social advancement.

What a deal! However, the opening lines of "The Twa Sergeants" intentionally undermines the effectiveness of the appeal. Two sergeants are needed rather than just one (because one might not be enough to cajole the ordinary dubious youth?) They come to "catch" recruits, not to offer them the chance of a lifetime. But even so they can only induce 42. That number is no accident: it's there because the regiment was called "The Forty-Twa," which the singer interprets humorously as meaning it has only 42 soldiers in it instead of the prescribed hundreds. In the context of real recruiting, that's a snide suggestion that the Watch is a kind of fraud that sensible men will stay far away from. (Without those opening lines, of course, the song would be a forthright sales pitch, like its 1706 predecessor.)

So, if anything, JR's is more of a mild "anti-recruiting" song. Being unsympathetic to the recruiters, the song-maker could have had little interest in the details of where the real regiment might be sent, particularly since he had a ready-made refrain to hand. For the average person before about 1905, another war with France (with Gibraltar somehow involved) probably seemed as plausible as any.

"Internal evidence" in anonymous verses of uncertain date, that could have been altered on a whim or supplemented with new bits from elsewhere at any time, usually says little reliable about the date of composition, except that certain phrases (like "Queen Victoria" or "King George" in Greig-Duncan) could not have appeared *before* a certain moment. But they could appear at any time after.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,MAG
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 04:54 PM

re. escaping a pregnant girlfriend: i point out that it was all too common during our anti-Vietnam War.

Norman Kennedy used to point out that children were social security back in the day, tho' Thomas Hardy wrote in one novel about a young man forced by the village fathers to marry a girl so she wouldn't be left on the "public rolls." The girl did not flourish in this marriage.

i'll shut up now


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 03:51 AM

Read Deeside Tales from ch.5 page 38. Whilst making no mention of the figure 42 it does state that during a recruiting drive less than 50 men enlisted. This was following the 2nd. mutiny of 1783.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 04:04 AM

Thanks for the info re links, Reinhard, and to Jack for providing one which worked fine for me. If it doesn't work for others, just Google Greig-Duncan and go from there.

And yes, Lighter, very frustrating when you type something, then- while keeping same tab open- you look at another page on a separate tab, but when you come back to the Mudcat tab, your draft post has disappeared! It has happened to me several times.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Teribus
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 05:29 AM

"The 1706 song is unambiguous.

It most certainly is and it is abundantly clear that that song is NOT Twa Recruitin' Sergeants so has no relevance at all in answering the question posed in the OP.

"However, the opening lines of "The Twa Sergeants" intentionally undermines the effectiveness of the appeal."

In what way?
"Twa Recruitin' sergeants cam frae the Black Watch,
Through Markets and Fairs some recruits for to catch"

Plain statement of fact, nothing more, nothing less.

"Two sergeants are needed rather than just one (because one might not be enough to cajole the ordinary dubious youth?) They come to "catch" recruits, not to offer them the chance of a lifetime."

A recruiting party carried quite a bit of money with them in hard cash and the make up of any recruiting party would be as directed by the Officers of the Regiment - it was a show - Normally the recruiting party would be:

One Sergeant
Two Corporals
Four Privates
One Drummer

Men had to be enticed and cajoled into joining - at a hiring fair the itinerant labourers had about three days to secure themselves a position. If it was the fair held later on in the year the Army offered the unnsuccessful, free board, free clothing, free food, drink and regular pay - while life in the Army might seem harsh, the life of an itinerant farm labourer was not exactly a bed of roses. To some of the lucky ones who did enlist it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

Once recruited and sworn in, the recruits had to guarded to prevent them sobering up coming to their senses and absconding with their bounty - so one man most definitely could not do all that on his own.

"But even so they can only induce 42. That number is no accident: it's there because the regiment was called "The Forty-Twa," which the singer interprets humorously as meaning it has only 42 soldiers in it instead of the prescribed hundreds.

What utter tosh - If TRS is a recruiting song the figure is there to advertise the number of the Regiment as that is how its achievements would have been reported in broadsheets and periodicals of the day. 42 men would represent in terms of man power about half a line company, there being eight line companies, one Grenadier Company and one Light Company in any infantry regiment and a company consisting of 100 Officers, NCOs and other ranks - so not too shoddy a performance considering that although there were normally only two hiring fairs per year, markets were held every week, normally on different days within a given area and of course each regiment could have as many recruiting parties as it liked or needed - The Kings Own Scottish Borderers was known as the 25th Regiment of Foot - the Regiment raised in 40 minutes. The part of the quotation picked out in Bold is complete and utter twaddle, and should be even to the person who wrote it if his arithmetic is up to snuff (i.e. 2 recruiting sergeants + 42 recruits would make a regiment of 44 wouldn't it?). I am also amused at the assumption that this song was not written by someone in the Army.

"In the context of real recruiting, that's a snide suggestion that the Watch is a kind of fraud that sensible men will stay far away from."

Believe me in those days both the Army and the Navy were things that sensible men shied well clear of. But needs must when the devil drives and some (Convicted felons) had no choice in the matter, as previously stated life for the poor in those days was no bed of roses.

"So, if anything, JR's is more of a mild "anti-recruiting" song. Being unsympathetic to the recruiters"

Hardly, the figure, or group, subjected to the singers utmost scorn are the farmers, not the recruiters.

"For the average person before about 1905, another war with France (with Gibraltar somehow involved) probably seemed as plausible as any."

1905?? where did that date spring from? Most people in Britain by 1905 knew exactly who the next war was going to be with, especially after all the help in the form of weapons and munitions that that nice Kaiser Bill had given the Boers.

"Internal evidence" in anonymous verses of uncertain date, that could have been altered on a whim or supplemented with new bits from elsewhere at any time, usually says little reliable about the date of composition, except that certain phrases (like "Queen Victoria" or "King George" in Greig-Duncan) could not have appeared *before* a certain moment. But they could appear at any time after."

Then the OP asked a question that could not be answered - nobody can definitively tell how old the song is, but as it mentions the Black Watch in connection with Gibraltar it - the song Twa Recruitin' Sergeants - cannot possibly predate 1796.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 02:08 PM

It would certainly be after 1788 if composed near the time of the 1783 mutiny as 5 years elapsed from the time of that event to the next abortive recruiting drive.
Do the records give details of the 1783 mutiny.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 04:12 PM

Thanks to Teribus and Gutcher for what is undoubtedly more information directly relevant to "The Twa Recruiting Sergeants" than has ever appeared anywhere. This is Mudcat at optimal functionality, i.e. "its best."

Now for the contentious part.

Michie's "Deeside Tales," p.44, says that as a result of the punishment meted out to the 42nd in 1743, "though several recruiting paries were sent to the Highlands, not fifty men in the *subsequent five years* could be enlisted to supplement the ranks of the 43rd" in Flanders. (My emphasis.) Michie refers to the 1740s, not the '80s.

Ten men a year, in Michie's offhand estimate, suggests that a single recruiting visit to a single locale in the 1740s might have been lucky to snag even one or two. Thus, to say, as the song does, that "all" they enlisted was "forty and twa" is inconsistent with that era.   As Teribus and I have suggested, 42 is simply a pun on the 42nd Regiment (the Black Watch).

And at least *in the song*, 42 is assumed not to be very many: the song explicitly says that's why more men are being sought ("*Sae* list…and come awa'.") If that assumption relates at all to reality, it may support a very late date of composition when thirty or forty men really was a poor haul. But I'm only speculating. It may mean nothing at all.

I don't know much about the state of humor in old Aberdeenshire, but if I'd heard that a regiment called "The Forty-Twa" (rather than "The Forty-Second") was looking for men, I'd be very inclined to say "You mean there's only 42 in the whole bloody lot? They must be staying away in droves. The song need not refer specifically to the period Michie describes. The pun would have been possible at any time, and just *as a pun* it says nothing about when "The Twa Recruiting Sergeants" was written.

Who wrote the original lyrics, in our out of the army, is unknown. Moreover, Jeannie Robertson's song is unlikely to afford the unaltered original text. Pronouns may have been changed from the original, altering the writer's intended point of view.

Consider: If JR had sung "A' that *we* listit was forty and twa" instead of "they," the narrator would suddenly become one of the sergeants. In fact, it's tempting to guess that the original really did say "we," because it would make the appeal as unambiguous as that of 1706. It would also make the song rather less "wry" and thus, to some of us, less attractive.

But this thread chiefly concerns the song *as popularized by Jeannie Robertson and standardized by her fans.* There's no telling, in every detail, what the lyrics were like before, or what alterations, if any, she may have made over the years.   But in JR's version , the sergeants have to "catch" recruits rather than, say, "find" them. Sure, "catch" is there to rhyme with "Watch," but "catch" is all we have and, like it or not, that's what the song says. The song paints the sergeants as little more than official con men, though certainly their arguments might persuade some, and certainly some recruits would have been better off in the army than on the farm. That rhetorical "tension" is part of what makes the song interesting. (The jaunty tune helps too.) But unless I'm much mistaken, relatively few folkies hear the song as a respectful tribute to the personal opportunities offered by the British Army. The 1706 song, in contrast, is undeniably gung-ho and, unless written by a deluded civilian, undeniably mendacious.

As for the French, though Chesney's "Battle of Dorking" (1871) effectively began popular speculation that Germany would be Britain's next adversary, it wasn't until the papers reported the Entente Cordiale in 1904 that the average British subject might have breathed easy that France realistically was no longer a potential foe. Even if the government thought otherwise, the average late Victorian would not have been amazed to hear that the French were up to their old tricks. Old tricks were a French weakness, _non_?

But on the basis of the limited available evidence, it is certainly true that the entire song cannot antedate 1796 in any form or postdate (in form and substance) 1908. Not a very satisfying answer to the OP, but that's folklore for you.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 04:35 PM

All I can add to this summary is that if the earliest possible date is 1796 then obviously there is a very strong possibility it also antedates 1830 with the mention of George, perhaps even refers to George III in which case it antedates 1821.

Considering we only have such a time window of probable composition for most of our folk songs I think that's the best we can do.


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Subject: RE: Help: Twa Recruiting Sergeants - How old?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 06:59 PM

"though several recruiting paries were sent to the Highlands, not fifty men in the *subsequent five years* could be enlisted to supplement the ranks of the 43rd" in Flanders."

According to Simpson's book three companies of Black Watch were raised in 1745 to be captained by the Laird of Mackintosh, Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtentyre, and Campbell of Inverawe. They didn't go to Flanders right enough but that is because they were raised for action in Scotland itself and of course the main regiment itself was pulled out of Flanders and decamped outside London in case of a French invasion. One of the companies stayed to help police the Highlands whilst the other two were sent to Edinburgh though only the one led by Murray managed to meet up with Cope's army.

Cpt Murray, his lieutenant James Farquharson, and the ensign Allan Campbell were killed at Prestonpans alongside many of the troops. The remainder were captured and refused to join the Jacobite Army seemingly paying a harsh penalty though Simpson doesn't mention what that supposedly was.

Meanwhile apart from the Black Watch various other companies were being raised in the Highlands for the gvt and Lord Loudon was in overall command. The captains of each of the companies were

Cpt George Monroe of Calcairn
Cpt Peter Sutherland of Kinminminty
Cpt Hugh McKay, the younger of Bighouse
Cpt Alexander Gun of Badenloch
Cpt George Mckay of skibo
Cpt Mcleod of Talisker
Cpt mcLeod of Waterstyn
Cpt McLeod of Bernara
Cpt MacDonald of Castleton
Cpt William McKintosh of Inverness
Cpt Macleod of Guineas
Cpt MacDonald of Airds
Cpt John Donald of Kirkibost.

Obviously as well as these companies there was also the substantial force of the Argyl Militia of Clan Campbell, as well as various other Hanovarian clans.

Interesting stuff!


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