A Peculiar People

Choosing books largely at random, I sometimes discover surprising facts. In Witness Against the Beast, E.P. Thompson writes:

During the French Wars, when anti-Jacobin narks were on the look-out for seditious glee clubs, new divine songs were written to the airs of God Save the King, Heart of Oak and Rule, Britannia.

Seditious glee clubs; Who’d have thought? Clearly seventeenth century London was a very weird place. I’m not even sure who I should be rooting for. At first blush, I’d tend to favor the seditious singers over the ‘narks,’ but who knows? The singers might well have been completely obnoxious. They (it seems they were called Muggletonians) hated the Quakers; and I basically like the Quakers. But maybe the Quakers were less amiable back then.

The Jacobins, of course, were supporters of King James. That’s why they’re called Jacobins. You know; James, Jacob; Get it? Me neither.

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