Our Orange Flags May Gang to Rags
DESCRIPTION: The singer overhears two Orangemen. One would rather die than surrender. He fears emancipation since "popish Dan ... Again has won the Clare election" and Peel and Wellington have joined O'Connell. Their Orange flags and drums must be put away.
EARLIEST DATE: 1917 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: Ireland political
1829 - Irish Catholic Emancipation Act passes supported by Daniel O'Connell and the Catholic Association
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan3 691, "Our Orange Flags May Gang to Rags" (1 text)
cf. "Not a Word of 'No Surrender'" (subject and some lines) and references there
NOTES: For a reference to the Orange Drum see "You Ribbonmen of Ireland."
The speaker is talking to "dear Billy lad." GreigDuncan3 notes comments in the text that would make "Billy lad" be William the 4th [reigned 1830-1837]. - BS
Daniel O'Connell (for whom see, e.g., "Daniel O'Connell (I)" and the myriad cross-references there) had obtained Catholic Emancipation in 1829, in the reign of George IV. But William IV succeeded soon after, and in effect had the task of implementing it. It was hardly to his liking; he was an old man when he came to the throne (born 1765), and -- like most of the Hannoverians -- stubborn without being very bright.
According to Philip Ziegler, King William IV, Cassell, 1971, p. 241, William was hardly happy at his role in the reorganization of Ireland. He rejoiced when O'Connell was arrested in 1831, and was unhappy when O'Connell was acquitted. In 1833, when the Whigs in parliament proposed to reform the official Church of Ireland (to which tithes were paid by the people even though the vast majority were Catholics rather than Anglicans), William was again unhappy (Zieger, p. 242). It was a period of much trouble between a King with conservative inclinations and a series of parliaments with many Whigs and few MPs who were entirely in support of the government. As a result, Williams tossed out most of the cabinet in 1834, but found he could not govern with Tories alone. It was a difficult time in Westminster -- which was, indirectly, good for the Irish and O'Connell, because the English couldn't come up with a concerted plan for halting O'Connell's plans for liberalization.
Of course, that which was good for the Irish as a whole was bad, or at least was seen as bad, for the Orangemen. - RBW
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