[From Manx Soc vol 16]
IN the year 1840 the old copper coins of the Isle of Man were called in, and a new and beautiful copper coinage, amounting to £1000, issued from the Mint for the use of the Island. The obverse bore the impression of the Queen's head, and the reverse the three legs and motto of the Island. Under the old system, fourteen pence was the value of the shilling, but the value of the new currency is assimilated to that of the empire. Many of the Manx manifested such hostility to this innovation, that very serious riots took place in consequence in the towns of Douglas and Peel, which rendered the presence of the military necessary, by whom they were speedily quelled. These disturbances suggested the following song by J. B Laughton, BA
I'LL tell you how about the row so dreadful and unproper,
Which for a while, in this here isle, was riz, about the copper; 1
A worse, indeed, I never seed, and hope I ne'er again shall,
But I'll narrate the story nate, " full true " and circumstantial.
Chrus.-Hurrah, the copper!
The beautiful new copper!
T'he beautiful new copper !,
I'll tell you how this mighty row at first originated:
The Cabinet and Council met, and long the plan debated;
This was the plan which they began,-it really was quite funny,
To give to all, both great and small, a stock of ready-money.
The Govermnent to the Island sent this blessed scheme for doing
They thought, perhaps, that our old raps would very shortly
ruin us; ! .
So a thousand pounds of browns they crown'd with Vic's physog most gracious,
And our three legs,which here I beg tosay was most howdacious.
The coin came out, beyond all doubt it look'd extremely beautiful
And so we thought we really ought to take it all quite dutiful ;
But when we came" to make a claim with a bob for fourteen fishes,
We found, alas! but twelve would pass, which rather seem'd suspicious.
Hurrah ! etc.
A precious mess, as you may guess, we found that we'd got into ;
We thought to seize the House of Keys, and chop for sauce the Mint too;
Up started then some glaziers' men, as fierce as Turks or Hindoos,
And cried, " Come, boys, we'll make a noise, and smash the Douglas windows."
Then up we got, with blood all hot, and marewd about the town,
And all night long, two thousand strongg, paraded up and down, six ;
The panes went crash in every sash, thus causing great expenses;
The gentry folk thought that no joke-the women lost their senses.
But with daylight there came in signt the forces miltary,
From Castletown they all came down, and grinned ferocious very;
The Baffif High, cried "Yield or die!" which really verry rum I, call ;
They cooled their guns, so off we runs, for we as all struck comical
Some ten or more, perhaps a score, were grabbed and sent to quod,
Where they must stay for many a day, to wait the Deemster's nod, sir;
If he says so, why off they go, all to the Bay of Botany;
But if money brings such horrid things, I wish I'd never got any!
Now every blade of every trade wot grumbles at the copper,
My pretty chap, you'd better clap upon your jaws a stopper!
For when they comes with guns and drums, all marshalled by an ossifer,
The sight of the steel will make you feel not much like a philosopher!
Hurrah, the copper!
The beautiful new copper!
The beautiful new copper !
[see Clay's Currency p203]