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Broadsheet with the ballads 'Emmeline, the Glasgow Lass' and 'The Convict Maid'.

Date: 1838 - 1845
Overall: 240 x 190 mm, 0.029 kg
Display Dimensions: 240 x 193 mm
Medium: Woodcut engraving and print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017358
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Broadsheet with the ballads 'Emmeline, the Glasgow Lass' and 'The Convict Maid'.
    'The Convict Maid" is a cautionary of a young lady who stole money from her master to pay for her wedding. She was caught and sentanced to seven years transportation to Botany Bay. 'Emmeline, the Glasgow Lass' is the romatintic story of a Scottish heiress.
    SignificanceBroadsheets were designed as printed ephemera to be published and distributed rapidly. This also meant they were quickly disposed of with many of them not surviving the test of time. The museum's broadsheet collection is therefore a rare and valuable example of how maritime history was communicated to a wide audience, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They vibrantly illustrate many of the themes and myths surrounding life at sea. Some of them also detail stories about transportation and migration.
    HistoryEmmeline the Glasgow Lass.

    It was in Glasgow city, one morning in fair spring,
    The sun the meadows did adorn,
    The cook so sweet did sing; All on a bank of violets, as I along did pass,
    I met with lovely Emmeline, the buxom Glasgow lass.

    She appeared just like a goddess, her dark blue eyes did shine;
    She is a squire's daughter, possessed of a gentle mind;
    Like a blooming rose that will not fade, all flowers does surpass,
    She has my heart entangled, has this young Glasgow lass.

    Her portion's fifty thousand each year, all in bright gold;
    She is the maid I do adore, as you may now behold;
    In wedlock I would freely join, my life with her could pass;
    All roving I would give over, for my lovely Glasgow lass.

    Each morning as the day doe break I meet this lovely maid,
    Where we have oft confest our love, each other did embrace;
    Inconstancy we will deny, while time doe sweetly pass,
    When I shall be united to my pretty Glasgow lass.

    The wedding is appointed; we will join heart and hand,
    The village bells shall merrily ring, all in fair Scotland.
    Now they are tied in Hymen's bonds, all sorrows they will pass;
    May he in happiness be crowned, with his bonny Glasgow lass!

    Enjoyment and prosperity these lovers they do see,
    Their children are caressing, and climbing on each knee;
    So all galllant lovers may your time sweetly pass,
    Like that of lovely Emmeline, the handsome Glasgow lass.

    The Convict Maid.

    Ye London maids attend to me
    While I relate my misery
    Through London streets I oft have strayed
    But now I am a Convict Maid

    In innocence I once did live
    In all the joy that peace could give
    But sin my youthful heart betrayed
    And now I am a Convict Maid

    To wed my lover I did try
    To take my master's property
    So all my guilt was soon displayed
    And I became a Convict Maid

    Then I was soon to prison sent
    To wait in fear my punishment
    When at the bar I stood dismayed
    Since doomed to be a Convict Maid

    At lenth the Judge did me address
    Which filled with pain my aching breast
    To Botany Bay you will be conveyed
    For seven years a Convict Maid

    For seven long years oh how I sighed
    While my poor mother loudly cried
    My lover wept and thus he said
    May God be with my Convict Maid

    To you that here my mournful tale
    I cannot half my grief reveal
    No sorrow yet has been portrayed
    Like that of the poor Convict Maid

    Far from my friends and home so dear
    My punishment is most severe
    My woe is great and I'm afraid
    That I shall die a Convict Maid

    I toil each day in greaf and pain
    And sleepless through the night remain
    My constant toils are unrepaid
    And wretched is the Convict Maid

    Oh could I but once more be free
    I'd never again a captive be
    But I would seek some honest trade
    And never become a Convict Maid

    'The Convict Maid' "is a variant of the Irish song from 1788 rebellion, 'The Croppy Boy', a tune also used for the British ballad 'McCaffery'. Nearly 25,000 women were transported to Australia as convicts, half of them from Ireland."
    (Butterss & Webby Penguin Book of Australian Ballads where the song is called 'The London Convict Maid' )
    "Charlotte W - the subject of this narrative of London born of honest parents, she was early taught the value of honesty and virtue; but unhappily ere her attaining the age of maturity, her youthful affections were placed on a young tradesman and to raise money to marry her lover, she yielded to the temptation to rob her master, and his property being found in her possesion, she was immediately apprehended, tried at the Old Bailey Sessions, convicted, and sentenced to seven years transportation. On her arrival at Hobart Town, she sent her mother a very affecting and pathetic letter, from which the following verses have been composed, and they are here published by particular desire, in the confident hope that this account of her sufferings will serve as an example to dter other females from similar practices.
    [page 16, Oxley, D. "Convict Maids: The Forced Migration of Women to Australia", Cambridge University Press, 1996).

    Broadsheets or broadsides, as they were also known, were originally used to communicate official or royal decrees. They were printed on one side of paper and became a popular medium of communication between the 16th and 19th centuries in Europe, particularly Britain. They were able to be printed quickly and cheaply and were widely distributed in public spaces including churches, taverns and town squares. Their function expanded as they became used as a medium to galvanise political debate, hold public meetings and advertise products or cultural events.

    The cheap nature of the broadside and its wide accessibility meant that its intended audience were often literate individuals but from varying social standings. The illiterate may have also had access to this literature as many of the ballads were designed to be read aloud. In 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', Peter Burke notes that the golden age of the broadside ballad, between 1600 and 1700, saw ballads produced at a penny each which was the same price for admission to the theatre.

    The ballads also covered a wide range of subject matter such as witchcraft, epic war battles, murder and maritime themes and events. They were suitably dramatic and often entertaining, but as James Sharpe notes, also in 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', some of them were designed as elaborate cautionary tales for those contemplating a life of crime.

    The broadside ballads in the museum's collection were issued by a range of London printers and publishers for sale on the streets by hawkers. They convey, often comically, stories about love, death, shipwrecks, convicts and pirates. Each ballad communicates a sense that these stories were designed to be read aloud for all to enjoy, whether it was at the local tavern or a private residence.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: 'Emmeline, the Glasgow Lass' and 'The Convict Maid'

    Primary title: Broadsheet with the ballads 'Emmeline, the Glasgow Lass' and 'The Convict Maid'.

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