“The Green Fields of America (I)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1863 (broadside, Bodleian Harding 2806 b.10(70))
Keywords: emigration farewell poverty America
Found in: Ireland

Description

The singer bids farewell to Ireland. His parents weep to leave but he wants a trouble-free life in America with no taxes or tithes. We must follow "our manufacturies" across the Atlantic. "The landlords and bailiffs" have driven us from home.

Notes

Many versions of this song note that there are "no taxes or tithes to devour up our wages" in America. While this obviously is not true (America always had at least some taxes, even if only on the sale of taxable items), the freedom from the tithe was very important. For many years, Irish Catholics were charged a tithe which went to the (Anglican) Church of Ireland. Ireland was not entirely freed of the tithe until the mid-nineteenth century, though after 1838 it was up to the landlords to administer it. - RBW

Cross references

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. Tunney-StoneFiddle, pp. 156-158, "The Green Fields of Canada" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. DT, GRNFLDA3* GRNCANAD
  3. Roud #2290
  4. BI, DTgrncan