The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122362   Message #2685714
Posted By: Charley Noble
22-Jul-09 - 11:21 PM
Thread Name: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs

So far I have seen no reference at all suggesting that the term "bulgine" originated in England by Englishmen. Yes, there was the Edward Bull engine and he was an Englishman and there can be little doubt that the slang term was derived from his engine but by whom if not Black Americans?

The minstrel song "Whoop Jamboree" also has a "bullgine" verse (As sung by Daniel Decator Emmett and the Virginia Minstrels at White's Melodeon in New York City , circa 1850, in imitation of the Mississippi riverboatmen; in CHRISTY'S PANORAMA SONGSTER, published by William H. Murphy, NYC, pp. 135-136):

"De nigger an' de bullgine, dey running in cahoot –
De nigger pass de bullgine gwine through de (chuite) shoot. (CHO)"

It seems reasonable to me if black-faced White folks were making up Black dialect verses that they would be trying to imitate actual Black dialect. It's also possible that the minstrel Black dialect was an exaggeration of what was actually spoken by Southern Blacks but there most likely was a strong correlation.

Charley Noble