Could Be Worse; Could Be a Jay-Bird


Fight between the Kentucky coon & the Tennessee alligator


Written for the National Clay Minstrel.

Tune, — “Dandy Jim of Caroline.

A race, a race! And who will win?
Who will be out? who will be in?
Trot out your nags! we’ll see who’ll take
From all, the Presidential stake.
The people say, they’ll go for Clay,
The true heart’s hope, the country’s stay;
So raise the shout, and clear the way,
For work and worth and Harry Clay!

First Tyler comes the boon to crave;
A laugh and hiss meet the traitor knave.
He lowers his nose and sneaks away;
For he dares not face old Harry Clay,
For the people say, &c.

Next sneaking in, Grimalkin Van,
Purrs low, and thinks “I will if I can,”
But we whipp’d him once — Lord, how he ran!
Hang up your fiddle — you’re not the man.
For the people say, &c.

Then comes Calhoun, now right, now wrong;
Though six feet two, he’s “nothing long.”
But short or tall he’ll be no higher.
We’ll nullify, the nullifier!
For the people &c.

There’s Old Tecumseh: he won’t do.
While he loves black, he will get blue;
And taking a wife, so weak his sight,
Poor man! he didn’t know black from white.
So the people say, &c.

Buchanan comes. A shilling a day!
Work Locos! How d’ye like your pay?
Old Conestoga’s stall’d, they say,
He’s sticking in Kentucky Clay.
For the people say, &c.

Now hobbles in old Madam Cass;
She’s not what she was, alas! alas!
She might be a pet of the frog-eater’s king,
Where the people rule she’s not the thing.
For the people, &c.

Then Clay, with a lion port strides by.
And shouts of thunder cleave the sky;
The pure, the bright, the tried and true,
The laurel wreath belongs to you.
For the people say, &c.


Henry Clay was the Whig candidate in 1844.

Possible Democratic candidates are named.  The first, though, Tyler, wasn’t a Democrat at all.  He was a Whig, and president (after the death of Old Tippecanoe).   “Lowers his nose” — John Tyler had a large nose.  The Whigs supposed Tyler would run as a Democrat after he was thrown out of the Whig party … but he didn’t.

“Grimalkin Van” is Martin Van Buren, here described as a cat rather than the more common fox. Van Buren had been president in 1836-1840. Van Buren ran again in 1840, and was beaten by Harrison.

John C. Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina, was a central figure in the Nullification Crisis.  (That was, the belief that the states could “nullify” Federal laws inside their own borders.)  President Jackson had been on the point of ordering Federal troops to South Carolina, and hanging Calhoun for treason, before Clay came up with one of his astounding compromises (which served to kick the Civil War can down the road for another thirty years).  “Nothing long” is part of the expression, “everything by turns and nothing long,” describing someone who never masters an art before moving on.  In modern terms, a flip-flopper.

“Old Tecumseh” is Richard M. Johnson, whose claim to fame was shooting Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812.  The things about “loves black” and “didn’t know black from white” refer to his black wife.  (At least he referred to her as his wife, and treated her as a wife; he couldn’t legally marry her since she was black.  Also, his property.  Literally.)

Buchanan, AKA “Ten Cent Jimmy” had unfortunately once said that ten cents a day was a reasonable wage for a working man, and the Whigs never let him forget it.  The “Locos” are the radical Democrats.  The Conestoga Pike was a road in Pennsylvania; Buchanan was a Pennsylvanian. The Conestoga wagon, a heavy cargo-hauler, named for the area in Pennsylvania where it had been developed, had been around for over a hundred years by the time of this song.

“Old Madam Cass” was Lewis Cass, age 62.   He had served in a variety of government posts, both civilian and military, over his long career.  The “pet of the frog-eater’s king” refers to his role in the early 1840s as US Ambassador to France.

This song is in praise of Henry Clay, of Kentucky, the Whig candidate.

Tomorrow: Gallant Young Whigs

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Whig Humor

Robert Tyler

Robert Tyler

REPARTEE. — Robert Tyler addressed a crowd of persons at a recent term of the Northampton Superior Court, in Jackson, N. C. — Being asked who would probably be the nominee of the Democratic National Convention, he replied as follows: —

“Gentlemen, it is difficult to answer that question, but if Calhoun is the nominee, Clay will beat him 190,000 votes — if Van Buren should be selected, Clay will beat him 170,000 votes; but if the administration runs, it will succeed without difficulty. In fact, gentlemen, Clay has his all staked on the hazard of a single die.” “Yes,” interrupted a whole souled Whig, “and he’ll throw sixes, sir, and no mistake.” Bob looked blue, and a hearty laugh repaid the witty repartee.


Robert Tyler (1816-1877)  was the son, and personal secretary, of President John Tyler.   He was a published poet.    Later, he went on to be the Confederate secretary of the treasury.  His signature appeared on Confederate paper money.

Calhoun was John C. Calhoun, a Democrat, senator from South Carolina.  Van Buren was Martin Van Buren, another Democrat, president of the USA from 1837-1841.   “The administration” would be President Tyler, formerly a Whig but thrown out of the Whig party (and not accepted by the Democrats).  As it happened, John Tyler wasn’t even considered at the Democratic Nominating Convention.  No one at the time of this “witty repartee” could have suspected that the original “Dark Horse,” James K. Polk, would be the Democratic nominee in 1844.

Tomorrow: The ‘Coon Song

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Up and Over

Grand National Whig banner.


Tune — “Washing Day

The Tars will man their gallant ships,
And fling the canvass free,
Again unfurl the “Bunting stripe”
And cheerily put to sea,
They’ll heave, and weigh, and stow, and pull,
And sing and hoist away,
They’ll hoist, and hoist, and hoist, and hoist,
And hoist in Henry Clay.

The Carmen long to see the loads
Of merchandise arrive,
For then the wharves, and streets and roads,
Will be a busy hive,
They’ll back, and pack, and pile and lash,
And drive and cart away;
And cart, and cart, and cart, and cart,
And carry in Henry Clay.

The press foretells a brighter day,
To cheer the Printer’s breast
They’ve turned the world the other way —
There’s Sunrise in the West!
They’ll set and impose, correct and revise,
And print, and publish away,
They’ll publish, and publish, and publish, and publish,
The name of Henry Clay.

The ladies, — bless the lovely band —
Our country’s joy and pride,
They go for Harry, hand in hand,
Maid, matron, belle, and bride,
To gain ‘Protection’ for themselves;
They’ll marry and marry away,
And tell their lovers, and husbands, and sons,
To vote for Henry Clay.

The rich, the poor, the bowed, the free,
Through all our noble land,
To bring the nation’s jubilee
Will lend a helping hand;
They’ll pull together all as one,
And shout and work away,
Together, together, together, together,
Huzza! for Henry Clay!


A song in favor of that staple of the Whig platform,  protective tariffs.

A “bunting stripe” is a line of banners used for decoration.

A Carman is a carter.

Sunrise in the West is Henry Clay, from the West (Kentucky).

The Protection the ladies are looking for is protective tariffs, not what you’d you think (though if they have both lovers and husbands they probably need it).  One wonders what is meant by ‘marry’ here. The Whigs had pioneered including women in political campaigns in 1840, with amazingly good effects.

Tomorrow: Repartee

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

So We Saw the New Ghostbusters Today

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patriots for Clay

American sympathy and Irish backguardism


Tune.— Rory O’More.

Onward! — speed onward! and spread to the gale,
The time-honour’d banner our fathers once bore,
And fast to the mast-top the star spangles nail,
‘Till our country’s great conflict is gloriously o’er!

They fought for that freedom, so long our proud boast —
They perill’d their fortune, their honour, their life,—
And shall all be betray’d, or dishonored, or lost,
And their sons hazard naught in the patriot strife!

The laurels they won are still green in their age,
And never shall fade in a chaplet so pure,
But brighter and clearer on history’s page,
Shall glow the proud record while time shall endure.

Then onward! press onward! nor pause ye to rest,
While a foe to your country is found in the land!
The bulwarks of freedom securely shall stand.

J. S. L.


The star-spangles are a reference to the War of 1812, while the lives, fortunes, and honor are in reference to the Revolution.  Not much else to say about this one… Hal of the West is Henry Clay of Kentucky.  The Whigs liked him.  Nice tune, though.

Tomorrow: The Tars Will Man Their Gallant Ship

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The More Things Change….

The People's Welfare My Reward


The Tariff question is now a settled question with the people. The Whigs have always espoused the cause of American agriculture and manufactures. The mass of all other parties are favorable to the Tariff; and, it is only through the deep, plotting designs of a British faction of Southern demagogues, that the Tariff will be put down. Let us sum up a few facts in relation to this destructive policy of permitting the British to come in with their goods while they will not allow us to take ours into Great Britain.

1. It is known to all parties, that a large majority of voters in the United States are in favor of a protective Tariff.

2. The enemies of the Tariff know they must divide its friends to conquer them.

3. Their chief reliance is upon party devotion, and party organization to effect a division.

4. They seek to divide its friends about candidates for the Presidency, even before one is nominated.

5. They appeal to the people of the Slave States to unite against protection, representing it as unfriendly to their interests.

6. They secure the services of the best theoretical writers on political economy, both, in England and the United States in their cause.

7. They manage to secure the election of those opposed to protection, by disguising their opinion from voters.

8. They threaten to dissolve the Union, if Tariff for protection are not repealed.

9. They threaten to forsake their party, if their party friends will not vote for the repeal.

10. They procured donations of land to settlers in Florida, to get an anti-Tariff State there, as soon as Wisconsin will be ready to come into the Union.

11. They are making great efforts for the annexation of Texas to the Union, to secure a permanent ascendancy in the Senate, against protection.


The Whigs really liked protective tariffs!

The things about “Southern Demagogues,” and “threaten to dissolve the Union” are talking about John C. Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis.

Tomorrow: Onward!

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One of Those Summers

Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services

And this is an election year in America, which always makes the summers worse even when we aren’t afflicted with as polarizing a pair of candidates as I think I’ve ever seen. (Though I’m amazed that the right-wing true believers haven’t given up on hoping to pin something on Hillary by now. You’d think that after over two decades of trying and failing, during which she’s been under almost constant investigation by a regular clown parade of different interest groups, they would wise up to the fact that either there’s nothing there for them to find, or that where leading a double life is concerned she’s got Batman, Superman, Daredevil, and the Amazing Spider-Man all beat to hell.)

This year, though, it isn’t just us here in the USA. The UK has got the results of the Brexit vote to contend with, and France has mass terror attacks, and Turkey…

View original post 207 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alas, the Alarm Clock Had Yet to be Invented

The political dancing Jack: a holiday gift for sucking Whigs!!

Written for the National Clay Minstrel.

Tune. — The Cracovienne.

Ye voters all throughout the land,
For Clay and Freedom nobly stand,
In the brick-bat Tyler’s place,
Clay must rub out our land’s disgrace.

Wake up Whigs, all come along,
(Repeat) For Harry Clay we’ll go it strong.

Now Freedom raps at ev’ry door,
As once she did in days of yore,
All men of Clay she bids arise,
And where’s the wretch who’d shun her cries,
Of wake up Whigs, &c.

In every house there is a man,
For ev’ry man a vote, to fan
The glorious fire of Freedom, on
Then up, before that fire is gone.
Wake up Whigs, &c.

On each man’s vote hangs ev’ry right
Of peace, or comfort, and delight,
On each man hangs his freedom fair,
Then let him hang back if he dare.
Wake up Whigs, &c.

On each man hangs a right to hang,
The daring “White house” gambling gang,
Who sold our country’s fame away,
And now are feasting on the pay.
Wake up Whigs, &c.

Clay, it was our mother’s earth.
Clay fed man since creation’s birth,
To Clay we go, — then go for Clay,
And you shall live to bless the day.
Wake up Whigs, &c.


The first adjustable mechanical alarm clock was patented in 1847.  The Whigs could have used one.

A “brick-bat” here is an uncomplimentary remark.

Given that Clay was a notorious card-player,  knocking Tyler for “white house gambling” was pretty gutsy. So I’m probably missing something here.

Tomorrow: Facts For the People

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How I Brought the Good News from Aix to Ghent

Macdonough's victory on Lake Champlain and defeat of the British Army at Plattsburg by Genl. Macomb, Sept. 17th 1814


The following anecdote of Mr. Clay, at Ghent, is worth repeating.

Being on a tour through the Netherlands preparatory to the negotiation, Hon. Henry Goulbourn, one of the British commissioners, procured and sent him a file of London papers, containing accounts of the burning of Washington by the British troops, with a courtsey epistle, stating that he presumed Mr. Clay would be happy to receive the latest news from America. Mr. Clay returned his thanks for the civility, and in further acknowledgement, enclosed to Mr. Goulbourn a later file of Paris papers containing accounts of the defeat of Sir George Prevest at Plattsburg, and the utter destruction of the British flotilla in the fight at that place.


As to whether it’s “worth repeating” opinions may vary.

This anecdote makes clear that, despite whatever impression the Whigs had attempted to give that Mr. Clay had stood beside Harrison in the War of 1812, that he stood beside him at a distance of over three thousand miles.

The British troops had indeed taken Washington in August 1814 and burned the White House (and other government buildings, including the Library of Congress) in revenge for earlier burning of Canadian government buildings by US troops.   General Ross, the British commander, realized that while he could take Washington he couldn’t hold it, and so withdrew three days later. (In the course of the fight for Washington, President James Madison took command of an artillery battery at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, and so became the only US Commander in Chief to hold a combat command while president.)

The Battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814 was, in fact, a major US military victory, one that put the US in a good bargaining position to end the war on favorable terms.  (Favorable terms were, pretty much, everyone back to their starting places; pretend this never happened.) The treaty of Ghent was signed in December, 1814, but the word of the treaty didn’t reach the US until after Andrew Jackson had won the Battle of New Orleans in January, 1815.

“Mr. Goulbourn” was Undersecretary for War and the Colonies Henry Goulburn, one of the negotiators at Ghent.  (He later had a town in Ontario named after him.)

Tomorrow: Wake Up Whigs

Posted in Huzzah!, politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Clearest Case for Jury Nullification That I’ve Ever Seen

The person  (or one of the people) who  exposed the Steubenville Rapists has been charged with computer hacking, and faces ten years in jail.  The indictment was handed down a week ago on Thursday, the 7th of July.

The two convicted rapists got one and two years, and both of them are already out and back on the football team, one after serving just ten months.  (This was another case like the infamous Stanford rape:  “Look!  There’s a drunk girl!  Let’s rape her!” where the perp got six months.  Difference being that the young lady in Steubenville was not only drunk, she was underage so that even if she had been cold stone sober she would still have been unable to give valid consent.)

Again, athletes get off easy.

In the Steubenville case, if not for the hackers, no one would have even heard of the crime, let alone shamed local authorities into prosecuting anyone.

More here:

Deric Lostutter Legal Defense: Fund Grows For KYAnonymous, Who Helped Expose Steubenville Rapists

Note: that defense fund no longer exists.  It is still possible to sign the petitions.

The alleged “hacker” doesn’t deserve a trial;  he should get a medal and a cash reward.

Meanwhile: Jurors.  You have the right to find someone Not Guilty regardless of what the state claims and proves.  That’s called “Jury Nullification” and is a citizen remedy to misuse of the law.  Step up and do your duty to truth, justice, and the American Way.

Note for the Confused:  If you have sex with someone without their informed consent, it’s rape.  See also: Tea or Sex.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment