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Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election

chico 29 May 07 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 29 May 07 - 12:42 PM
Jack Campin 29 May 07 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 29 May 07 - 01:53 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 May 07 - 02:12 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 May 07 - 02:33 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 May 07 - 02:40 PM
Linda Kelly 29 May 07 - 03:33 PM
chico 29 May 07 - 04:26 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 May 07 - 06:25 PM
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Subject: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: chico
Date: 29 May 07 - 12:32 PM

Can someone offer some kind of historical commentary on this broadside. My guess is the whigs are the american rebels? Who are the blues? Holyroyd? (That was the spelling, with the 'y')

(1780, Parliamentary elections at Coventry; AIR -- Rule Britannia)

Now loyal Britons lend your Aid
Nor let the dastard Whigs e'er boast
Their's is the Charter, it always shall be said
That loyal Britons rule the roast

Rule ye Blues, stand firm to George our King
In ceaseless numbers ever sing

True Britons nere can conquer'd be
They'll make all Foe before them fly
And well known Traitors to their Confusion see,
That sooner than we'll turn, we'll die

Our streaming flag shall make them pale
And terror seize the rebel throng
To see the Standard of the Blue prevail
And norne in awful Pomp along

Up-rais'd shall virtuous Holroyd pass
And thronging Myriads bless his Name
Whilst each rebellious Knave and Whigish Ass
Shall hide his recreant Head for Shame

from
http://bodley24.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/acwwweng/ballads/image.pl?ref=G.A.+Warw.+b.1(506)&id=24775a.gif:24775b.gif&seq=1&size=1


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 29 May 07 - 12:42 PM

The Whigs were the antecedents of the nineteenth century Liberal party (along with the Peelites), made up mainly of the great artistocratic families and their relatives. You couldn't become a Whig in the modern political sense (although you could support them by voting for their candidates) - you either were one by birth or you were not. The 'blues' would be the Tories, who became the modern Conservative Party (it's still their political colour). In effect, the Tories were the party of the gentry, the country squire etc.

There probably is a connection within the song to the American Revolution - its liberal/radical ideas would always find a more sympathetic hearing among the Whigs and their supporters than the Tories.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 May 07 - 01:22 PM

The odd thing is that there was a song about it at all. Before the Reform Act of 1832, there were so few people entitled to vote that campaigning in the modern sense had no role - you got votes by exerting personal influence, bribery and threats.

There must have been some fearsome piece of local politics behind it. Oddly, there were also songs about an election for Lord Provost in Edinburgh in 1780 - an outsider candidate managed to outbribe the Establishment, among some extraordinary shenanigans.

America wouldn't have been a big issue. A much bigger one in some parts of Britain was the proposed Catholic emancipation legislation that led to the Gordon Riots. You really need to look at the local media of the time to see what people in Coventry got worked up about - chances are it wasn't something you could guess.

Relatively few Whigs were supporters of the American Revolution. About the furthest most of them would go was to suggest that the Tory policy of starving the colonists wholesale into submission was just a teensy bit over the top.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 29 May 07 - 01:53 PM

No real argument, Jack, other than to mention that Coventry, before 1832, had an electorate of about 2,400 and that the ideas of the radical whigs helped fuel the American revolution. But, yes, local politics could be pretty fearsome and they threw up some 'interesting' songs!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 May 07 - 02:12 PM

For details on Craven and Holroyd and the election see British History Online - The City of Coventry Parliamentary representation (about half way down).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 May 07 - 02:33 PM

Roy Palmer's book The Sound of History also has another fragment about Holroyd:

"The name of John Baker Holroyd (1735-1821), a candidate in two bitterly contested elections (one a by-election) in Coventry in 1780, is repeated in one piece with a frequency which would be unremarkable with a brand name in a television commercial today. The tune was 'Hearts of Oak':"

  Then for Holroyd we'll vote, and for Holroyd we'll sing,
  He's a Friend to our Country, our Rights, and our King;
  As a Soldier he'll fight in our Country's Cause,
  As a Member he'll stand by our Rights and our Laws:
  True blue is our colour, true blue are our Men,
  Then always be ready, steady Boys steady,
  To vote for a Holroyd again and again



Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 May 07 - 02:40 PM

You might also look at the two songs on this sheet at the Bodleian: The Tories Last Shift (or The Sin of Ingratitude displayed) and The Coventry Lion (A New Song) (the second dated August 14, 1780).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 29 May 07 - 03:33 PM

The blues obviously refers to the Sky Blues Football team -rubbish but lovely stadium.(I'll get me coat)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: chico
Date: 29 May 07 - 04:26 PM

Do you have the rest of that Holroyd / Hearts of Oak song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song on the 1780 Coventry Election
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 May 07 - 06:25 PM

chico

Sorry - that's all that's quoted in the book. I meant to include the reference with the post, so I'll give that now: The book gives it as:

'A New Song', street ballad without imprint; in London UL, Broadside Collection, 423, 9

I had a quick look at the index there and this appears to be the reference at Senate House Library: Holroyd papers. You can probably get a copy from there.

Mick


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