Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home

Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec

GUEST,.gargoyle 24 Apr 05 - 01:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Apr 05 - 02:53 PM
Ron Davies 21 Feb 13 - 12:21 PM
Ron Davies 21 Feb 13 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,DrWord 21 Feb 13 - 01:10 PM
Ron Davies 21 Feb 13 - 04:06 PM
Ron Davies 21 Feb 13 - 05:46 PM
Ron Davies 21 Feb 13 - 05:52 PM
Share Thread
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:

From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 01:23 PM

All the "Marching to Quebec" was reported in W. W. Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, 2nd ed., New York, 1903 (Dover reprint, 1963), pp. 125 and 246.

Emrich, Duncan American Folk Poetry - An Anthology Little, Brown and Company, 1974 p 42-43. "Play-Party, Courting, and Kissing Games and Songs."


As we were marching to Quebec,
The drums were loudly beating;
The Americans have won the day,
The British are retreating.
March! march! march! march!
(Philadelphia, prior to 1883)

We a\were marching to Quebec,
The drums were loudly beating;
America has gained the day,
The British are retreating.

The war is o'er, and they are turned back,
For evermore departed;
So open the ring, and take one in,
For they are broken-hearted.

Oh, you're the one that I love best,
I praise you high and dearly;
My heart you'll get, my hand I'll give,
The kiss is most sincerely.
(Massachusetts and Maine, prior to 1883)

We are marching down to Quebec Town,
Where the drums and fifes are beating;
The Americans have gained the day,
The British are retreating.

The war's all over; we'll turn back
To friends, no more to be parted:
We'll open our ring, and receive another in,
To relieve this broken-hearted.

This last song was sung by the whole company as it marched around one person, who was blindfolded and seated in a chair. He or she selected a partner by touching one of the ring with a long stick held for the purpose. The game concluded:

Put a hat on her head to keep her warm,
And a loving, sweet kiss will do her no harm.
(North Carolina, prior to 1883)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 02:53 PM

Added note:
Newell (1883, 2nd ed. 1903, as cited by Gargoyle) said "this bit of doggerel may be of revolutionary origin, as it can be traced [anecdotal] to near the beginning of the present [19th] century."

Newell also gave a satirical stanza in "American Dutch" which suggests "that the population of Dutch extraction in New York had no deep sympathy with the patriotic sentiments of revolutionary times..."

Loope, Junger, de roier kome-
Spann de wagen voor de Paarde!

Run, lads, the king's men are coming;
Harness the wagons before the horses!

The Canadian song "Marching Down to Old Quebec," is inspired by the same event. The American Forces under Montgomery captured Montreal in 1775, but were forced to retreat the following spring. Benjamin Franklin went to Montreal and tried to convince Quebecers to join with the Colonies, but sympathy deteriorated because the undisciplined Americans were often drunk and disorderly and were not above thievery.

From Edith Fowke et al., here is the Canadian version:


Oh, we're marching down to old Quebec
And the fifes and the drums are a-beating,
For the British boys have gained the day,
And the Yankees are retreating,
So we'll turn back and we'll come again
To the place where we first started,
And we'll open the ring and we'll take a couple in,
Since they proved that they are true-hearted.

"The song was used for a play-party game in which couples march around in a ring until they come to the line: "So we'll come back." At that point each couple does an about-face as quickly as possible, and the couple that is slowest in making the turn has to drop out of the circle. Then at the words "And we'll open the ring," the circle is broken for a moment, and the boy and girl outside rush to get in before it is closed again."

With music, Edith Fowke, Alan Mills and Helmut Blume, "Canada's Story in Song," nd [August, 1960], pp. 58-59, W. J. Gage Limited, Toronto.

Several hundred French-Canadians went south with the retreating Americans, and fought with Washington, but many became dis-illusioned. The French-Canadian song "Le sergent" tells their story.
Same source, pp. 60-61, with music, French lyrics with English translation by Alan Mills.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 12:21 PM

"sympathy deteriorated because the undisciplined Americans were often drunk and disorderly..."

This is oversimplified.   

There were many other factors in the Americans' defeat.   Especially important was the fact that the British government was enlightened enough, especially under Carleton, to treat the French Canadian culture--and religion--with respect.   On the other hand "anti-Papist" feeling ran high in New England. Many Yankees had already fought the French Canadians in the French and and Indian War and had no respect for Catholicism-- sometimes had celebrations mocking it, in Boston, for instance.    So the French Canadians did not anticipate better treatment by joining the Americans.

Also the Americans were forced to attack before the end of 1775--since many enlistments ran out at the end of the year--though this was not the best time (to put it mildly).

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 12:58 PM

In fact, having done more research, I would question the "drunk and disorderly",   "not above thievery".   Details later.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 01:10 PM

Political history notwithstanding, for me it was sweet to see Edith's work referenced. E.F. was a fabulous folklorist & collector!
Like Lomax in the US and the Opies in UK, a treasure to Canada. Thanks, gargoyle
keep on pickin'

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 04:06 PM

I think historical accuracy is worth striving for--and history is hardly ever simple, though people often take a simplistic approach.

From Almost A Miracle, book by John Ferling, p. 86:   "Bostonians had long celebrated Pope's Night, an annual evening of Catholic-bashing that was observed with gusto in a carnival-like atmosphere."

I can think of a few Mudcatters who would no doubt have been enthusiastic party-goers.

And then there's the description of the papacy as a force which had dispersed " bigotry, persecution, murder...throughout every part of the world".   Amazingly enough, that was not written by a Mudcatter, but rather by the First Continental Congress.    Carleton got a copy and had it posted throughout his province.    Congress also characterized Carleton's liberal attitude toward Catholicism as "dangerous to the Protestant religion."    This did not help the Americans' case.

At any rate there were in fact two American armies involved in the 1775 Canadian campaign.

It turns out some soldiers of Richard Montgomery's--untrained and untried-- army were in fact the wretches described above--did in fact plunder terrified civilians. Montgomery himself was disgusted and tried to put a stop to this, but of course just one incident would be enough to establish a reputation hard to recover from.

At any rate, Washington was very aware of the problem of friction with Canadians and the importance of maintaining good relations if the expedition had any hope of success.   He cautioned Benedict Arnold, one of the best American generals until 1779--due especially to boldness and perseverance-----to treat the Canadians and Indians as "Friends and Brethren" and to "avoid all Disrespect or Contempt of the Religion of the Country".   "Arnold saw to it that this was enforced."

To be continued

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 05:46 PM

Arnold's army 'scrupulously purchased its supplies, and the residents were anxious to sell for hard currency".

In fact, despite the problems the Americans had, including a hellish march through the Maine wilderness, and despite Carleton's prudence and wise behavior regarding the French Canadians, the Americans came very close to taking Quebec City as they had taken Montreal.    Carleton had sent a force of about 1,000 to relieve St. Johns.    Unsuccessful in this, the he did allow the garrison to hold out 55 days, which delayed the American assault on Quebec City until the Canadian winter arrived. Interestingly, Montgomery allowed a lenient surrender at St Johns, allowing the Canadian solders even to keep their reserves of winter clothing, which "sparked a short-lived mutiny among the shivering New York troops, who wanted the heavy garments for themselves". And many Connecticut men went home in November when their enlistments expired, as did the Green Mountain Boys.

Meanwhile however the attempted relief force for St Johns had returned to Quebec City--just before Arnold's army arrived.   As Arnold realized, if he had been a few days earlier, there would have been no army to defend Quebec City. Even with his 550 men--after a loss of 450 men after the battalion at the rear had defected (with all the food reserves) ---he likely would have taken it--even without Montgomery.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Marching to Quebec
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 05:52 PM

"Unsuccessful in this, he did allow..."

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")

Mudcat time: 18 November 9:29 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.