The History of Lincoln Waites

Cocky and the Bull, or The Downfall of Boney

Sung at the Theatre, Lincoln, by Mr Adamfon.

The note on the Broadsheet, beneath the title, claims that this song was sung at the theatre in Lincoln. After some considerable searching I have been unable to discover who Mr Adamson was, or why this song was performed at the Theatre.


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The "Bull" is a representation of England. John Bull, the personification of England and the English, was a fictitious character invented by Dr. John Arbuthnot, the Scottish writer, mathematician and physicist, for the five political pamphlets he wrote in 1712. Arbuthnot wrote the pamphlets in support of propaganda for the new Tory administration. The Tory's strongest priority was to bring about the end of the Spanish Wars of Succession. That fight had been raging for ten years and was becoming very costly to Britain and her allies. In this song, the idea of "John Bull" is applied to a more recent battle. The Napoleonic Wars started some 86 years after Arbuthnot's pamphlets were first printed. In the song, Napolean Bonaparte is referred to as "Cocky".

As for working out the date of this song - it is unlikly to have been performed in Lincoln before the early 19th century. The Napoleonic Wars began in 1799 and ended in 1815.


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