Pewter Tailor, The
DESCRIPTION: The tailor, apparently needing money, enlists with Hugh Fraser. The captain warned him that he could not be a soldier if he is not sober. Someone tells the tailor's mother and his sister buys off the tailor.
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (GreigDuncan1)
KEYWORDS: army recruiting money humorous mother sister
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan1 76, "The Pewter Tailor" (1 text)
NOTES [169 words]: I am too dense for this humor. The chorus is "O for lead and tin, Pewter, tin and siller; O for twenty pun, To buy the pewter tailor." First, I assume "pun" stands for "pundis" or "pounds" (source: "Glossary" at Wedderburn pages site). Pewter is a silvery alloy of tin, copper and lead. Pewter was used in counterfeit British coins in 18th century (source: "Counterfeit British Coppers" at The Coins of Colonial and Early America site). Is any of this relevant?
GreigDuncan1: "There may possibly be a connection with the Hugh Fraser who was captain in the 78th (Highland) Regiment c. 1780" - BS
My speculation about the tailor being "pewter" has to do with the use of pewter as fake silver -- used for dinnerware, or (as noted) for counterfeit coin. The pewter tailor is an imitation soldier.
There is also the point that pewter eventually poisoned its users as the lead leached out. But the composer of the song would probably be less aware of that than of the use of pewter by those who couldn't afford silver. - RBW
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