Tars Of The Victory 1808


Tars of The Victory Back in about 1983 I was looking for early Ontario music in the Toronto Reference Library. There they had a shabby book of fiddle tunes and dances called "Button and Purday's Country Dances for 1808" - or something like that. I photocopied it and learned a few tunes out of it including one called "The Tars Of the Victory" - a jig whose title referred to the sailors on Lord Nelson's flagship. I always wonder whether the tunes in old books ever actually got played - apparently this one did. Not long after I found a reference to the tune in an account of the celebrations of Queen Charlotte's birthday in York (Toronto) in 1817 dated January 23, 1817. Here's what the Upper Canada Gazette had to say: "On Saturday last, the Anniversary of Her Majesty's [i.e. Queen Charlotte's] Birth Day, the Principal Officers of Government, the Officers of the Garrison [at Fort York] and His Majesty's Ship Charwell, lying in the Harbour, and the Gentlemen in the vicinity, partook of an elegant entertainment, given by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, in Honor of the day. ... The Ice having made in the Bay, has added greatly to the gaiety of the place, by affording an easy access to His Majesty's Ship Charwell. ... On Monday evening, the Deck of His Majesty's Ship presented a novel, and interesting appearance; the gallant Captain ... had converted it into an elegant Ball room, by extending sails from the foremast, to the mizzen, so well disposed, that the inclemency of the weather was completely excluded ... by means of a judicious arrangement of Stoves. ... The company assembled abourt 8 o'Clock, His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Gore honored the company with their presence. ... The Starboard side of the Deck, was appropriated for dancing, - at 8 o'Clock Mrs. Gore led off "The Tars of Victory" [an English Country Dance] and was followed by twenty couples who kept up the dance with great spirit, till one o'Clock, when they were summoned to the Supper Tables, laid out on the Larboard side, which were covered with a profusion of every delicacy, displaying at once the taste and hospitality of the gallant entertainer. After Supper the dancing recommenced, and at four the Company separated, hightly gratified with the evening's Amusement." [Quoted in Edith Firth's The Town of York, 1793-1815.] On the video I'm playing the tune on a (square!) Bflat / F anglo Concertina made by Bob Tedrow. It's a copy of a mid-19th century "Harley" instrument


Details

Title Tars Of The Victory 1808
Subject Reference Material Other Music, Dance & Entertainments Lakes & Rivers Jigs
Year 1808
Locale Southwestern
Keywords Purday & Button Queen Charlotte Toronto war York

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