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The Anti-Gallican Privateer

[ Roud 3169 ; Ballad Index StoR158 ; trad.]

J. Collingwood Bruce, John Stokoe: Northumbrian Minstrelsy John Stokoe: Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Swan Arcade sang Anti-Gallican Privateer in 1973 on their first, eponymous LP on the Trailer label, Swan Arcade. They noted:

This version was taken from Northumbrian Minstrelsy. This privateer was the first to sail from Shields, completely fitted and manned. The song was written obviously before she sailed. Although a popular song at the time (1779) it is not sung very often around Newcastle, as the ship came back after six months empty-handed.

Louis Killen sang The Anti-Gallican Privateer in 1962 on his Topic EP of songs from the North-East and the border, Northumbrian Garland. This was also included in 1968 on the Topic LP (and in 1998 CD) of old and new Northumbrian songs, Along the Coaly Tyne. Louis Killen noted:

From The Northumbrian Minstrelsy–Brace and Stokoe.

The Anti-gallican privateer sailed from Shields, 6 March 1779, but returned without a prize of any kind, much to the disappointment of the inhabitants of Tyneside (the ship being the first of its kind to be fitted out and manned locally).

This song and its air were popular at the time of sailing.


Louis Killen sings The Anti-Gallican Privateer

The Anti-Gallican’s safe arrived,
On Board of her with speed we’ll hie;
She’ll soon be fit to sail away—
To the Anti-Gallican haste away,
    Haste away, haste away,
    To the Anti-Gallican haste away.

For gold we’ll sail the ocean o’er,
From Briton’s isle to the French shore;
No ships from us shall run away—
To the Anti-Gallican haste away.

These Spaniards, too—those cunning knaves,
We’ll take their ships and make them slaves;
Till war’s declared we’ll never stay—
To the Anti-Gallican haste away.

Our country calls us all to arms,
To keep us safe from French alarms;
Then let us all her voice obey—
To the Anti-Gallican haste away.

When we are rich, then home we’ll steer,
And enter Shields with many a cheer,
To meet our friends so blythe and gay—
To the Anti-Gallican haste away.

To Charlotte’s Head, then let’s repair,
We’ll be received with welcome there;
We’ll enter, then, without delay—
To the Anti-Gallican haste away.