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Origins: The Catalpa

DigiTrad:
CATALPA


Benjamin 29 Oct 97 - 10:00 PM
plnelson 10 Jun 10 - 05:22 PM
EBarnacle 10 Jun 10 - 07:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jun 10 - 07:44 PM
Bob the Postman 10 Jun 10 - 09:03 PM
Art Thieme 10 Jun 10 - 10:48 PM
Janie 11 Jun 10 - 12:21 AM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Peter Nelson 11 Jun 10 - 02:18 PM
Stewart 11 Jun 10 - 04:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Jun 10 - 05:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Jun 10 - 05:45 PM
Joybell 12 Jun 10 - 01:39 AM
EBarnacle 08 Dec 10 - 12:40 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Dec 10 - 02:09 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 10 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,Steve Burgess 22 Dec 11 - 02:08 PM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Dec 11 - 03:31 AM
bubblyrat 23 Dec 11 - 05:31 AM
Joe Offer 23 Dec 11 - 05:36 AM
Joybell 10 May 12 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,warren fahey 10 May 12 - 09:02 PM
Joybell 10 May 12 - 09:06 PM
Sandra in Sydney 11 May 12 - 02:09 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 12 - 02:04 PM
Joybell 02 Apr 13 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,Stevebury 16 Apr 13 - 07:36 PM
crism 16 Apr 13 - 10:30 PM
SqueezeMe 16 Apr 13 - 11:45 PM
mark gregory 27 Mar 14 - 06:31 AM
Sandra in Sydney 27 Mar 14 - 06:02 PM
mark gregory 27 Mar 14 - 08:18 PM
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Subject: Catalpa
From: Benjamin
Date: 29 Oct 97 - 10:00 PM

having just checked to make absolutely sure in DT, I put out this request.

On the Bushwhackers album "Beneath the Southern Cross" which I cannot find a copy of anywhere now, there was a song called "The Catalpa" (I think, anyway it was about the Catalpa incident) and it's not the one that goes "come all ye screw warders and gaolers".

This one begins

    In 69 those Fenian Men would see their Ireland free again
    But a word to the British in the night
    Rebellion never saw the light

    Chorus
    From every home with Irish blood
    the Fenians turned into a flood
    Hoist the anchor, Set the main
    We'll fly the flag of freedom again

It's to a fairly upbeat tune and I'm not sure if it wasn't written by the Bushwhackers.

Anyway I can't remeber all the verses (some I nebver knew as the tape I had was in bad condition)

Can anyone help?

Sla/n

Benjamin


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Subject: Origins: The Catalpa
From: plnelson
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 05:22 PM

There is a song called "The Catalpa" commemorating the escape of a group of Irish convicts from Australia with the aid of the American whaling bark the Catalpa in 1876.

After reading the Wikipedia article about this event - wiki article   - I was unclear whether the song was written recently or in the past.    The first references to it the article makes appear to be modern:

"Irish rebel music band The Wolfe Tones recorded a song about the Catalpa incident called "The Fenians' Escape".
The Real McKenzies, a Celtic punk band from British Columbia, Canada, included their rendition of the song "The Catalpa" on the 2005 Fat Wreck Chords album "10,000 Shots "

. . . but it's listed as "traditional".   So does the song originate at the time of the incident or was it written recently?

Thanks in advance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 07:21 PM

It can be found in the Digitrad as Catalpa.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 07:44 PM

Nothing in the writings and poems by John Boyle O'Reilly, nor other sources I tried.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 09:03 PM

The notes here on Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Songs site say the song was first published in 1957 after being collected from someone who had learned it many years earlier.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 10:48 PM

You must know, when searching for the ORIGIN of "The Catalpa", that, as the old verse says, "Only God can make a tree!"

And now you know, right??

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Janie
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 12:21 AM

I'm curious about the naming of the ship. A beautiful sounding name, and also a rather beautiful North American tree (also 'catawba' - catalpa is the result of a misspelling by an early european naturalist - but it stuck, and so is now official). It is a soft-wood tree, however, and not likely to have been used in ship-building. I'd love to know why the vessel as named thus.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 12:34 AM

Probably named in honor of Catalpa Jones, a San Francisco ecdysiast. She may have been "soft-wood", but her suitors...

(Yes, I'm making this up.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: GUEST,Peter Nelson
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 02:18 PM

Probably named in honor of Catalpa Jones, a San Francisco ecdysiast. She may have been "soft-wood", but her suitors...

(Yes, I'm making this up.)


Too late.   It's now officially part of folklore.   Before the year is out someone, somewhere, will write "The Ballad of Catalpa Jones".

Anyway, I'm really just posting to thank everyone for their helpful answers to my original question.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Stewart
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 04:43 PM

There's a very nice version of The Catalpa (sung by Mick Moloney) on The Green Fields of America

Here are the liner notes from this CD

The Catalpa
This is one of a very few songs which links Ireland, Australia, and America. It describes one of the most famous and outrageous escape stories of the 19th century. Six Irish revolutionaries Thomas Darragh, Michael Harrington, Thomas Hassett, Martin Hogan, Thomas Cranston, and James Wilson, all members of the Fenian Brotherhood, were transported between 1863 and 1865 from Ireland to Australia, and sentenced to fourteen years in prison. An elaborate escape plan was hatched in the United States by John Devoy and other American-based Fenian leaders.They bought a whaling ship, named it The Catalpa after a native American tree (thanks to Bangkok-resident Frank Crocker for this piece of esoterica) and sailed it as a working vessel for two years. Captained by George Smith Anthony, a Fenian sympathizer The Catalpa sailed across the world to Australia where in April 1876 a rendezvous was carefully planned for with the six prisoners with a lot of help from John Breslin and Tom Desmond, two Fenians already on the ground in Australia. With their help the prisoners escaped from Freemantle jail on April 17th as authorities were distracted by the festivities of the Perth Regatta taking place on that same day. They traveled fifty miles to Rockingham where Anthony was waiting for them with a rowboat to transport them on board.

The Catalpa was pursued by the Georgette, an Australian naval vessel. Just as it got within hailing distance of the escapees the Catalpa entered international waters. Anthony immediately raised the Stars and Stripes and this presented the captain of the Georgette with a major dilemma. If he fired on, or attempted to board, the Catalpa this action would in effect amount to a declaration of war on the United States. So the Georgette turned away and headed back to the mainland as the Catalpa sailed off into the Indian Ocean en route to America where it arrived to a tumultuous welcome on August 19, 1876.

Mick first heard this song performed by Australian singer Paul Jensen in the Warsteiner-Stuben pub in Bangkok and got the words from The Big Book of Australian Folksongs compiled by the famous pioneering collector Ron Edwards. Mick had the great honor of being invited in October, 2004 to Ron's home in Kuranda in Northern Queensland high in the rain forest above Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly Ron passed away on January 4th, 2008 leaving an extraordinary legacy of over 300 published books and booklets on various aspects of Australian folklore and folklife.This song is dedicated to his memory.

-----

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 05:35 PM

Folksong or 20th c. composition- all depends on whether "the someone who learned it many years earlier" is real or not.

But a good song nevertheless.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 05:45 PM

Janie, the Catawba rhodendron ('azalea') bush, Rhodendron catawbiense, has nothing to do with Catalpa speciosa, the tree (or its related southern form, Catalpa bignonioides).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Joybell
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 01:39 AM

The tune is "Rosin the Beau" (or alternate spelling)for what it's worth.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: EBarnacle
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 12:40 AM

The song can be found in Warren Fahey's "Eureka, The Songs that made Australia," 1984, pp 65-57. Fahey does not state when the song originated.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 02:09 AM

Q, both Russel Ward & Victor Courtney are listed in the National Library of Australia catalogue - Russel Ward in the Oral History collection as a collector (Extract from entry re his papers - There are a large number of ballads and bush songs which he collected when he was writing The Australian Legend.)


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Subject: Lyr Add: FENIAN'S ESCAPE + BALLAD OF THE CATALPA
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 03:05 AM

Two songs on the subject from Wright's Irish Emigrant songs and ballads.
Jim Carroll

THE FENIAN'S ESCAPE

Now, boys, if you will listen to the story I'll relate,
I'll tell you of the noble men who from the foe escaped;
Though bound with Saxon fetters in the dark Australian jail.
They struck a blow for freedom, and for Yankee land set sail,
On the 17th of April last the Stars and Stripes did fly
On board the bark "Catalpa," waving proudly to the sky;
She showed the green above the red, as she did calmly lay
Prepared to take the Fenian boys in safety o'er the sea.

When Breslin and brave Desmond brought the prisoners to the shore
They gave one shout for freedom—soon to bless them evermore—
And manned by gallant hearts, they pulled toward the Yankee flag,
For well they knew, from its proud folds no tyrant could them drag.
They have nearly reached in safety the "Catalpa," taut and trim,
When fast approaching them they saw a vision dark and dim;
It was the steamer "Georgette," and on her deck there stood
One hundred hired assassins, to shed each patriot's blood.

The steamer reached the bounding bark and fired across her bow,
Then in loud voice commanded that the vessel should heave to;
But noble Captain Anthony, in thunder tones did cry:
You dare not fire a shot at that bright flag that floats on high;
My ship is sailing peacefully beneath that flag of stars,
It's manned by Irish hearts of oak, and manly Yankee tars;
And that dear emblem at the fore, so plain now to be seen,
'Tis the banner I'll protect, old Ireland's flag of green.

The Britisher he sailed away—from the stars and stripes he ran—
He knew his chance was slim to fight the boys of Uncle Sam;
So Hogan, Wilson, Harrington, with Darragh off did go,
With Hassett and bold Cranston, soon to whip the Saxon foe.
Here's luck to that noble Captain, who well these men did free,
He dared the English man-of-war to fight him on the sea.
And here's to that dear emblem which in triumph shall be seen,
The flag for which those patriots fought, dear Ireland's flag of green.

Source: O'Conor, Irish Com-All-Ye's.
O'Conor, Manus. Irish Com-All-Ye's. New York: The Popular Publishing Co., 1901. Also as Old Time Songs and Ballads of Ireland (with music).


THE BALLAD OF THE CATALPA

She was a Yankee whale ship and commander
Called the Catalpa by name,
Came out to Western Australia
And stole six of our convicts away.

Chorus:
So come all you screw warders and jailers
Remember Perth regatta day;
Take care of the rest of your Fenians
Or the Yankees will take them away!

For seven long years have they served you,
And seven or more would have stayed
For defending their country, Ould Ireland,
'Twas for that they were banished away.

You kept them in Western Australia
Till their hair began to turn grey,
When a Yank from the States of America
Came out here and stole them away.
Now all the Perth boats were a-racing,
And making short tacks for the spot;
But the Yankee she tacked into Fremantle
And took the best prize of the lot.

The Georgette, well manned with bold warriors,
Went after this Yank to arrest,
But then she hoisted the star-spangled banner, Saying,
"You'd better not board me, I guess!"

Now remember these six Fenians colonial,
And sing o'er these few verses with skill,
And remember the Yankee that stole them
And the home that they left on the hill.

For they're now in the States of America,
Where all will be able to cry,
"We will hoist the green flag with the shamrock!
Hurrah for Ould Ireland we'll die!"

"The Ballad of the Catalpa"
From The Wearing of the Green by Bill Wannan. Melbourne: Lansdowne, 1966.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: GUEST,Steve Burgess
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 02:08 PM

I know this is an old thread - but here is the best history of the Catalpa incident I have yet read. The "Ballad of the Catalpa" is a true folk song - the singing of which was banned by the West Australian Government.
http://www.fremantleprison.com.au/whatson/previousexhibitions/escapefremantletofreedom/Documents/1%20OVERVIEW%20CATALPA.pdf


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 03:31 AM

here's Steve's link -

Catalpa story from Fremantle Prison exhibition

thanks for providing the info, Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: bubblyrat
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 05:31 AM

We have a Catalpa tree in our garden here in Oxted , Surrey , England.
It is a strange ,wild ,unkempt looking thing , from which whole limbs occasionally drop ,although it redeems itself with a veritable snow-storm of white blossom . There are much bigger , better specimens in Wisley Gardens , I have to say . The story of the barque (as we spell it in England ) "Catalpa" is most interesting ; I shall inform our specimen when next in a "talking to trees" mood !!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 05:36 AM

You'll find a nice recording at John Thompson's Australian Folk Song a Day.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa FOUND AUTHOR
From: Joybell
Date: 10 May 12 - 08:03 PM

I may have found the author of "The Calalpa". If we can believe Perth's newspaper, The Western Mail, on June 2nd 1916 -- it was Walter Howson. Howson was a singer, minstrel, musician, performing in Australia from 1848. He was part of a large family of performers.
The newspaper article tells the story of the Caltalpa and goes on to say the song was Howson's "popular music hall composition". The chorus of the song is given. It's the same song alright.
I have to mention the name of the writer of the article -- Hugh Kalyptus. Great name!
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: GUEST,warren fahey
Date: 10 May 12 - 09:02 PM

great detective work Joy. Keep it coming.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Joybell
Date: 10 May 12 - 09:06 PM

Thanks Warren. One of my many, many side tracks. Thank you for being so patient over my dear BB. So many loose ends and lost puzzle pieces.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 May 12 - 02:09 AM

another useful bit of info


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 12 - 02:04 PM

Confirms that the song is old (Only anecdotal before).
Thanks, Joybell.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 07:04 PM

Because a question regarding the origins of this song is buried within an unrelated thread I'll add the answer here.
Guest Livia -- I've sent you a belated email. Sorry for the delay.
The Perth newspaper is on the Australian National Library site --"Trove". A wonderful resource. I note that the song title is not mentioned in the article. You need to search by the date I've given and/or by other key words. "Howson's", "Fenians" , "Georgette" for example.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 07:36 PM

When I first heard the story of the Catalpa rescue, my immediate thought was, "There's a song in there somewhere." It didn't take long to discover that I didn't have to write it, because someone (several someones) already had.

In the course of my research, I discovered another song associated with the Catalpa expedition: a version of "Rolling Home" (which is the subject of a different thread).

John Breslin was one of the conspirators in the rescue plot, having travelled separately to Australia. He posed as a wealthy American businessman, looking to invest in gold mines. He became acquainted the the Governor of Western Australia, who gave him a tour of the Fremantle Prison. Z. W. Pease (The Catalpa Expedition, 1897, pp 163-4) recounts how, after the rescue,

-----

The [rescued] men were given the freedom of the ship and thoroughly enjoyed the liberty which had been restored to them. Mr. Breslin wrote a song which the men were wont to sing as they lay on the decks on warm evenings. These were the words:

Right across the Indian Ocean, while the trade-wind follows fast,
Speeds our ship with gentle motion; fear and chains behind us cast.
Rolling home! rolling home! rolling home across the sea;
Rolling home to bright Columbia; home to friends and liberty.

Through the waters blue and bright, through dark wave and hissing foam,
Ever onward, with delight, we are sailing still for home.
O'er our pathway, in the sunshine, flies the wide-winged albatross,
O'er our topmast, in the moonlight, hangs the starry Southern Cross.

By the stormy Cape now flying, with a full and flowing sail,
See the daylight round us dying on the black breast of the gale!
See the lightning flash above us and the dark surge roll below!
Here's a health to those who love us! Here's defiance to the foe!

Now the wide Atlantic clearing with our good ship speeding free.
The dull 'Cape of Storms' we 're leaving far to eastward on our lee.
And as homeward through the waters the old Catalpa goes.
Ho! you fellows at the masthead, let us hear once more, "She blows."

Next by lonely St. Helena, with a steady wind we glide
By the rock-built, sea-girt prison, where the gallant Frenchman died.
With the flying fish and porpoise sporting 'round us in the wave,
With the starry flag of freedom floating o'er us bright and brave.

"Past 'The Line' and now the dipper hangs glittering in the sky.
Onward still! In the blue water, see the gulf weed passing by.
Homeward! Homeward to Columbia, blow you, steady breezes, blow,
'Till we hear it, from the masthead, the joyful cry, "Land ho!"

----

Taking the third and fourth lines as a chorus, and splitting each of Breslin's stanzas into two verses, this is highly singable. I sang it a while back at a chantey sing in Washington (edited to a reasonable length) -- perhaps the first time it had been sung in over a hundred years!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: crism
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 10:30 PM

Slight digression, but Tom Lanigan wrote another excellent song about the story, "Voice from the Tomb," after visiting the grave of James Wilson in Rhode Island. You can hear "Voice from the Tomb" at Tom's Web site, http://tomlanigan.com/ .


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 11:45 PM

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

Quote: "Past 'The Line' and now the dipper hangs glittering in the sky..."

Last verse of Breslin's fine song gives me this dreadful vision of a concertina hanging from the top of the mast....

The stuff of nightmares!!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: mark gregory
Date: 27 Mar 14 - 06:31 AM

I just discovered what may be the first published version of this song in the Western Australian newspaper the Mirror 24 November 1923

The Fenians' Rescue

A noble fine ship and commander,
Called the Catalpa, they say,
Bore down on the shores of West Australia,
And took six bold Fenians away.

Chorus.
Then come all ye "screws," warders and gaolers,
Remember Perth Regatta day.
Take care of the rest of your Fenians,
Or the Yankees will take them away.

The Perth boats were racing for prizes,
And sporting about all the day,
When the Yankee came close up behind them,
And took six bold Fenians away.

Chorus.

The "Georgette" gave chase with brave warriors,
With orders this Yank to arrest.
When he hoisted his star-spangled banner,
Saying "You'd better not touch us, I guess."

Chorus.

For seven long years they had served
And seven more they had to stay.
For defending their country, Old Ireland.
And for this they were banished away.

Chorus.

Now they are in the States of America
And they have said to the prison, "Goodbye,"
And they'll wear the green flag and shamrock,
And shout for Old Ireland "we're ready to die."

I have added it to the Australian Folk Songs collection (now in its 20th year online)

see http://folkstream.com/180.html

cheers

Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 Mar 14 - 06:02 PM

another great find, Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Catalpa
From: mark gregory
Date: 27 Mar 14 - 08:18 PM

there is also a fragment of the song in an earlier newspaper

The West Australian Wednesday 5 February 1902 p. 3.:--

Some years after private letters were received in Western Australia, one from John Boyle O'Reilly, and another from Collins, which explained the whole of the plot. An American newspaper arrived about the same time, giving the whole details of the plan and the escape, and in this journal it was stated that O'Reilly had admitted that he was largely responsible for the design which had enabled the six men to escape.

Even in those days, the music hall custom of seizing upon prominent events of the day for topical allusions was not unknown in Western Australia, and it is not surprising that such an exciting occurrence should have been availed of by local versifiers. Within a week of the escape, the following doggerel was sung with great gusto in the streets and elsewhere, to the tune of "Botany Bay":

The Georgette was manned by brave warriors,
Who resolved the Catalpa to chase;
But they hoisted their star-spangled banner,
Saying. "You'd better not touch us, I guess."

Now all you brave warders and gaolers,
Remember that glorious day;
Take care of the rest of your Fenians,
Or the Yankees will steal them away.

Chorus.
Singing, tooral lal looral lal laddity,
(Also) tooral lal looral lal lay.
(Likewise) tooral lal ooral lal laddity.
(Not forgetting) tooral lal looral lal lay.

Mark


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