Ye Parliament of England (I)
DESCRIPTION: The Americans present their claims against England: First limiting trade, then impressing American sailors, then insulting American captains. The Americans of course have gone to war, and mention their naval victories
EARLIEST DATE: 1836 (American Songster, according to Gray)
KEYWORDS: navy patriotic war
1812-1815 - War of 1812
Aug 19, 1812 - the 44-gun U.S.S. _Constitution_ defeats and captures the 38-gun H.M.S. _Guerriere_ in the north Atlantic
Oct 18, 1812 - sloop U.S.S. _Wasp_ engaged with sloop H.M.S. _Frolic_ off North America; _Frolic_ is rescued by the arrival of the British ship of the line _Poictiers,_ which captures the _Wasp_
Oct 25, 1812 - the 44-gun U. S. S. _United States,_ commanded by Stephen Decatur, defeats the 38-gun H. M. S. _Macedonian_ in the mid-Atlantic
Dec 29, 1812 - U. S. S. _Constitution_ defeats the 38-gun H. M. S. _Java_ off Bahia, Brazil
Feb 24, 1813 - U. S. S. _Hornet_ defeats H. M. S. _Peacock_
Sep 5, 1813 - U. S. S. _Enterprise_, defeats H. M. S. _Boxer_
FOUND IN: US(NE)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Gray, pp. 151-166, "You Parliament of England" (1 text)
Flanders/Olney, pp. 195-196, "Ye Parliament of England" (1 text)
Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 278-279, "Ye Parliaments of England" (1 text, 1 tune)
Shay-SeaSongs, pp. 158-160, "Ye Parliament of England" (1 text, 1 tune)
Colcord, pp. 128-130, "Ye Parliament of England" (1 text, 1 tune)
Erskine, pp. 36-37, "The Parliaments of England" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: C. H. Firth, _Publications of the Navy Records Society_ , 1907 (available on Google Books), p. 308, "Ye Parliament of England" (1 text)
Roger F. Duncan, _Coastal Maine: A Maritime History_, 1992; Countryman Press paperback edition 2002, pp. 277-279, "(no title)" (1 text, apparently collected from Nelson Poland of Maine in 1932)
cf. "Ye Gentlemen of England (I)" [Laws K2]
cf. "Charge the Can Cheerily" (theme, ships)
cf. "Wasp Stinging Frolic" (theme)
Jeff. Davis in the White House ("Ye northern men in Washington") (WolfAmericanSongSheets, p. 190)
NOTES: This ballad correctly identifies the American complaints that led to the War of 1812: restrictions on trade and the pressing of American seamen. It also highlights several small victories of the American navy (but ignores assorted American defeats, as well as the fact that many American ships, including the United States, were forced to stay in port for most of the war due to British blockade. The American fleet, composed of nothing larger than a frigate, in fact had no ability to challenge the British fleet of ships of the line).
Based on the events recounted, it would appear that this piece began life as a broadside in late 1812 or early 1813 (this based on the fact that it mentions the Essex positively; the Essex beat the Albert in 1812 but was defeated by Phoebe and Cherub in 1814; see Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812, pp. 156-157); it is possible that later versions added additional battles.
Many of the battles mentioned have their own songs. See "The Constitution and the Guerriere" [Laws A6] and "The Constitution and the Guerriere (II)" for the battle between those ships. "The Hornet and the Peacock" gives details on that battle. "Enterprise and Boxer" describes the battle of those two vessels. For the Battle of Lake Erie, see "James Bird" [Laws A5]. And for the whole rather pointless naval war, see "Charge the Can Cheerily."
Lest it be thought the Americans had it all their own way, see, e.g. "The Chesapeake and the Shannon (I)" [Laws J20], "The Chesapeake and the Shannon (II)" [Laws J21], "The Chesapeake and the Shannon (III)" [Laws J22]. The honest truth is, the British won the War of 1812 at sea, in much the same way they would win the Battle of Jutland a century later: They took more losses in the naval campaigns of 1812-1815, but by the end of the war, they had the American navy completely bottled up in port, unable to inflict any more damage.
The version printed by Duncan in Coastal Maine is apparently from the same source as the Shay text, and includes a half stanza which Shay omitted. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.