Anti-Slavery Songs

These songs were published in an eight-page pamphlet published in Edinburgh 1846. They were recorded by the traditional singers Gordeanna McCulloch and Bob Blair for a BBC Radio Scotland programme on Douglass in Scotland, called Send Back the Money (11 December 1996).

Most of these ballads were adaptions of existing songs, changing the words to fit the topic of the day. ‘My Boy Tammy’ was an old song, which served well because of the Christian name of the leader of the Free Church of Scotland, Dr Thomas Chalmers.

You can hear modern renditions of these songs here.


Tune – “My Boy Tammy”
SCENE – Boy Tammy sitting at a Table, scouring some suspicious looking Coppers with Intellectual Sand, and a Leaf of the Bible


Whaur got ye a’ the bawbees,
My Boy Tammy?
Whaur forgather’d ye wi’ these,
My Boy Tammy?
I dinna see the thistle blae –
The shamrock – or the roses gay,
Sae tell me whaur they a’ cam frae –
I dinna think they’re canny.

TAMMY – scouring away. ,

Ne’er fash about the bawbees,
My kind Mammy;
Speir naething, and I’ll tell nee lees,
My kind Mammy;
I got them as I got the lave –
I ask’d my frien’s – they freely gave;
Sae haud your tongue, and dinna rave,
They’re come frae Indiana.

KIRK – gazing earnestly at a Cent.

There’s bluid upon the bawbees,
My Boy Tammy,
There’s bluid upon the bawbees,
My Boy Tammy;
There’s bluid – I feel my vitals freeze –
I’m feared – I’m faint – my heart misgi’es –
curse is on the bawbees,
Away – they are nae canny.

TAMMY – terrified – imploringly.

Wheesht! Dinna speak in sic’ a strain,
My kind Mammy;
Oh! dinna speak in sic a strain,
My kind Mammy;
I’ll prove – just set your mind at ease, –
I’ll prove – eh? – ony thing ye please –
E’en that they’re a’ real guid bawbees,
My sweetest, sweetest Mammy.

KIRK – solemnly.

I’ve heard a voice on thunder borne,
My Boy Tammy;
I’ve seen the fingers rais’d in scorn,
My Boy Tammy;
Heaven rings wi’ DOUGLASS’ appeal,
An’ thrills my heart like burnin’ steel,
An’ conscience racks me on the wheel,
You’ve wranged – ye’ve grie’d your Mammy!

TAMMY – scratching his head.

Waes me! ye’re getting warm, warm.,
My kind Mammy;
Ye’re foamin’ like a keg o’ barm,
My kind Mammy.

KIRK – indignantly.

Shall I, as free as ocean waves,
Shake hands wi’ women’shippin’ knaves,
And build Kirks wi’ the bluid o’ slaves? –

TAMMY – discractedly.

Be mercifu’! an’ say nae mair,
My kind Mammy!
Ye’ll drive me headlang to despair,
My kind Mammy!
“Send back the _______!” oh! it canna be,
Ye’re gyte! that wad destroy, ye see,
Ca’ canny! – oh, ca’ canny!

KIRK – much affected.

I’m grieved to hear ye speakin’ sae,
My Boy Tammy,
My auldest bairn – wae’s me the day,
My Boy Tammy.
I’m never out o’ scrapes an’ stews;
There’s aye some crotchet I’ yoor views,
Ye’ll stain my robes – ye’ll toom my pews –
They’re flockin’ back to GRANNY!

TAMMY – puzzled.

What wad ye hae me dae? what? Fling –
Queer, queer Mammy!

KIRK – resolutely.

Yes, put away th’accursed thing,
My Boy Tammy;
Oh! cleanse away the filthy stain –
Return them a’ their plundered gain.

TAMMY – shaking his noddle.

I canno do’t, an’ yet I’m fain –



Exit TAMMY – Overturning in his progress the Table with the Coppers, while MOTHER CHURCH and DOUGLASS cordially shake hands.


The following SONG, with the INTRODUCTORY LETTER to the EDITOR, appeared first in the MONTROSE STANDARD:

MR YEDITUR, – on Munonday nicht our Jock gat me enteeced to gang doon on’ hear that chiel Douglass. I had cam awa’ wantin’ ma specks; but frae the luik I gat o’ him, he seem’t a buirdly fallow, and ane I shouldna like to hae a tussle wi’ aither fessecally or intellektually. But to the pint on han’. I cam’ hame an’ gaed aff to ma bed, leavin’ Jock sittin’ gey an’ dowf-like at the ingle cheek. “Jock, ” quo’ I, “gang your wa’s to your bed, an’ dinna sit there burnin’ coal an’caunie for nae an’: ye ken that wab maun be feenesh’t the morn.” “Oh aye,” quo’ he, “nae fear o’ the wab.” Weel, sir, thro’ the nicht I’m waukent wi’sumbody roarin’ an’ singin’. I luiks atower – an’ wad ye believ’t? – it was Jock, an’ it near twa i’ the morning’. I was in a pashin – nae wunner – a hale penny caunle brunt! “Ye ne’er-do-weel loon,” quo’ I, raxin’ ower the bed for ane o’ ma shoon, “sittin’ squeachin there at this time o’ the mornin’, disturbin’ the hale kintra side – this’ll no be the gate o’t i’ the mornin’ – there’ll be nae harlin ye oot o’ yer bed than.” Wi’ that, Mr Yeditur, I gars the shae play breenge at his head – it skifft his lug – coupit the caunlestick – bruke twa plates – an’ foosh doon the tea-tray wi’ a reeshle like thunner. Jock was ben the house like winkin’, an’ the door bar’t. I [went?] to see th’extent o’ the dawmage, an’ fell in wi’ [page torn], whilk Jock had drappit in his flicht. Wad ye juist stap it oot o’ the gate sume way, Mr Yeditur, for I canna luk at it without thinkin’ o’ the plates. And oblige,

Links, March 1846



(The Poet indulgeth in the descriptive.)

Oh, Tammy sat lane by his ain fireside,
He luikit dum foundert – he graned and he sighed
As he shuke his long pow – the tears pappin’ down came
“There’ll never be peace till that siller’s sent hame.”

(Moral relections about scourin’ bluidy bawbees.)

“I ha’e scoor’d thae bawbees till blabs stan’ on my broo –
I may scorr a’ may days, but the bluid aye keeks thro’;
I maun e’en sen’ them back, just to please oor auld dame,
For she’ll no be at peace till that siller’s sent hame.”

(A case o’conscience.)

“Send it hame: lat me see – it gans sair ‘gainst my heart;
But it’s better wi’ siller than conscience to pairt;
Can we haud be’t? Na! Douglass has blawn sic a flame,
That we winna hae peace till that siller’s sent hame.”

(A predic’.)

“It’s hard, unco’ hard, to confess we’ve dune wrang;
Ane micht do’t – but, oh, an Assembly! – ma sang!
But oor folk are uproarious, and cry ‘What a shame,’
And they’ll no gi’e us peace till that siller’s sent hame.”

(A dreary prospect.)

“I ken I’ve dune wrang – the warl’ maks sic a din;
Nae smile frae withoot, and nae comfort within;
The deed stamps eternal disgrace on my name,
And I winna hae peace till that siller’s sent hame.”

(No go.)

“Thae chiels in Dundee, tho’ weel gifted wi’ gab,
May talk of the slave-holding patriarch Job;
They kay [page torn] Bible – it comes a’ to the same –
[page torn] the sillar’s sent hame.”

(“Random Recollections.”)

“Ive play’d mony a queer pliskie, I trow, in my day;
I’ve belauber’t Dissenters – weel, weel, let that gae;
I’ve run aff frae my Granny, but I’ve stain’d my fair fame,
And I’ll never ha’e peace till the siller’s sent hame.”

(Real reminiscences.)

“I’ve danc’d mony a queer reel – aye, and danc’d them wi’ pride,
But this is the daftest like e’er I he’e tried;
For The Slavery Strathspey – a back step – (sic a name!) –
Maun de danc’d to the tune o’ ‘Send that siller hame.'”

(A melancholy state of arrairs.)

“My mither cries, ‘Tammy, correct the mistak’ –
As usual, there’s ‘Patteraw John’ at my back;
While ‘The Slave’ redds my hair wi’ his murderous kaim,
And I’ll no be at peace till the siller’s sent hame.”

(Ah, Tam! ah, Tam!”)

“My mither! – puir body! – shares a’ my disgrace:
Wi’ a tear in her ee, she aye glow’rs in my face;
She gangs aboot dowie, and greetin’ for shame,
And she’ll no gi’e me peace till the siller’s sent hame.”

(Tammy jocosely addresseth himself.)

“Aye, Tammy, ma man, ye’ve a will o’ your ain;
To ‘Retract e’en a hairbreadth, I ken gi’es ye pain;
But, I doot, ye maun do’t, tho’ twad coup ilka ‘scheme,’
For there’ll never be peace till the siller’s sent hame.”


Wi’ a heartrendin’ sigh, and a shot o’ his head,
Tammy, sairly perplex’t, slippit aff till his bed;
But he raved in his sleep, and cried oot in his drame,


SEND back the Money! send it back!
‘Tis dark polluted gold;
‘Twas wrung from human flesh and bones,
By agonies untold:
There’s not a mite in all the sum
But what is stained with blood;
There’s not a mite in all the sum
But what is cursed of God.

Send back the Money! send it back!
Partake not in their sin
Who buy and sell, and trade in Men,
Accursed gains to win:
There’s not a mite in all the sum
An honest man may claim;
There’s not a mite but what can tell
Of fraud, deceit, and shame.

Send back the money! send it back!
‘Twill strike the fatal blow,
That soon or late must yet be struck
Unto the Negro’s wo:
There’s not a mite in all the sum
But what will prove to be
As iron in the soul of him
Who has enslaved the free.

Send back the money! send it back!
Tempt not the Negro’s God
To blast and wither Scotland’s Church
With his avenging rod:
There’s not a mite in all the sum
But cries to Heav’n aloud
For wrath on all who shield the men
That trade in Negro’s blood.

Then send the money back again!
And send without delay;
It may not, must not, cannot bear
The light of British day.


Tune – Ballenomono Oro

Have ye heard what a stir Thompson’s made in our toun,
About the Free Church’s American boon?
The Slavehlders were pleas’d
With the Cunnin-game play’d;
They came down with their dollars,
The Priests with his prayers.

Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
The sung yellow guineas for me!

The worthy Free Priest was pleas’d to allow,
That all the Slaveholders were Christians now;
The Doctor he bless’d them for what they had paid,
And wish’d them success in their Slaveholding trade.

Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
The sung yellow guineas for me!

When the Free Deputation to American went,
To see the North States was their utmost intent;
To tell the Task-Masters how much they’d tried
By the Fierce Legislature and the Kirk they despised.

Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
The sung yellow guineas for me!

But the great Free Kirk Leaders are men of renown,
It is not public clamour will e’er put them down;
To “Send back the money!” they’ll lend a deaf ear,
And fondly caress all their ill-gotten gear.

Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
Then O for good luck to our coffers,
The sung yellow guineas for me!

The Free Church is like the toad in the fable,
It blows itself up as big as it’s able,
And like the vain creature in time it will burst;
‘Tis the end of all men who in vanity trust.

Then away with all falsification,
May the Old Church stand firm in the nation,
For with truth, she is fixed in her station,
And stands at the top of the tree.


The first mentioned found himself in the Unhappy predicmanet of a Slaveholder, or Haver, by God’s Providence

Pity me, stranger, pity me,
I’m friendless, and a slave!
I was so when I breathed at first,
I’ll go one to my grave.

I’m poor; the highest wage I got
For all my toil and pain,
Was blows and stripes from morn till night, –
The collar and the chain.

I had a wife, no not a wife –
But one I loved as dear;
Oh, I could bear the hardest toil
If only she was near.

Those eyes that now with care are dim,
Have seen my master’s lash
Sink deep into the quivering limb,
And the blood stream from the gash!

I saw them rivetting her chain,
I had no power to save;
I heard her cry to me for help,
‘Twas vain – I was a slave!

We had a child – oh, glad was I
When the weary day was done;
I always thought that I was free,
As I clasped my similar son.

I was too happy for a slave, –
Upon one fatal day.
My wife and child were torn from me,
And parted far away.

My master gave me love! – my life!
For gold, for cursed gold; –
For silks and jewels to his wife,
My only child he sold!

When they were gone, some white men came
From a land beyond the sea;
They took away the price of blood,
And gave it to the FREE!!!

While stranger, if thou hast a heart,
For white men here have none,
Return into thy slaveless land,
And tell the deeds here done.

Tell there of all our bloody tears,
Our every groan and sigh;
Tell that no bible e’er was here
To speak of God on high –
Three millions of thy fellow men
Will bless you ere they die!

(The Stranger’s Reply.)

Hush! says the Reverend double D,
These impious feelings smother,
Your master is a holy man,
A (blank) Church Christian Brother !!!

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