The Bishops turn’d Navigators

A Song, on the Worcester intended Canal Bill being thrown out of the House of Peers.

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Navigation’s a lottery frequently had,
And some it make cheerful, and some it makes sad;
Stourport and Hampton rejoicing have been,
Whilst others elsewhere have been deeply took in;
Canals pay so well, can it wonder excite,
Why some to get fresh ones so fondly unite,
For why, tell me why! should a few private elves,
Engross the good things of the world to themselves.

That pit-coal’s a blessing will not be deny’d,
For ever with us may that blessing abide,
But whilst we have plenty, and plenty to spare,
Is it right that our neighbours should not have a share?
But think with what strange apprehensions it fills,
The owners of lands and the owners of mills!
Whose anger was rais’d to a very high pitch,
At what many said would have been a dry ditch.

Delays on the Severn for commerce make bad,
There should, and their must be a regular trade,
But if I’m not greatly deceived in my aim,
The Marquis of Staffordshire play’d a fly game;
Spectators might well with amazement be fill’d,
When heaps of lawn sleeves in the house they beheld;
The scene was alarming, for all of us know,
The lumber troop always with ministry go.

A contest so great on a mere private bill,
With wonder must many undoubtedly fill,
A dozen Right Rev’rends object to the plan,
And strong navigators commence to a man;
Providing a war very soon should take place,
Our monarch I hope will consider the case,

Think, think gracious George of the Bishops I pray,
One half keep at home – let the rest go to sea.

Landaff's learned prelate as public prints tell,
In chymics and nautics but few can excel,
Instead of the mitre – of many the jest,
Let the anchor or compass appear for his crest;
But think not the cloth I would wish to disgrace,
Not one should have less than a Commodore's place,
And why not to figure in Keppel’s next wake,
The Primate of York a Vice Admiral make.

Int’rest the bill through the lower house bears,
And int’rest ‘tis said threw it out of the Peers;
Our hopes tho’ once baffled again shall revive,
A fig for the calls, keep the spirit alive;
Rouze, rouse! ye committee men every one,
Fear not in the end but the work will be done,
And if you completely would manage affairs,
Take care that the Bishops are furnish’d with shares.
From The Political Songster by John Freeth.

broadside

Tune : The Chace of Kilruddy.