Digital Tradition Mirror

Twelve Hundred More

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Twelve Hundred More

O workingmen dear, and did you hear
The news that's goin' round?
Another China steamer
Has been landed here in town.
Today I read the papers,
And it grieved my heart full sore
To see upon the title page,
O, just "Twelve Hundred More!"

O, California's coming down,
As you can plainly see.
They are hiring all the Chinamen
And discharging you and me;
But strife will be in every town
Throughout the Pacific shore,
And the cry of old and young shall be,
"O, damn, `Twelve Hundred More' "
They run their steamer in at night
Upon our lovely bay;
If 'twas a free and honest trade,
They'd land it in the day.
They come here by the hundreds
The country is overrun
And go to work at any price-
By them the labor's done.

If you meet a workman in the street
And look into his face,
You'll see the signs of sorrow there
Oh, damn this long-tailed race!
And men today are languishing
Upon a prison floor,
Because they've been supplanted by
This vile "Twelve Hundred More!"

Twelve hundred honest laboring men
Thrown out of work today
By the landing of these Chinamen
In San Francisco Bay.
Twelve hundred pure and virtuous girls
In the papers I have read,
Must barter away their virtue
To get a crust of bread.

This state of things can never last
In, this our golden land,
For soon you'll hear the avenging cry,
"Drive out the China man!"
And then we'll have the stirring times
We had in days of yore,
And the devil take those dirty words
They call "Twelve Hundred More!"

From American Labor Songs of the Nineteenth Century, Foner
Note: In 1877-1878, Dennis Kearney's Working Men's Party achieved
some political success in California by attacking, not the other
political parties or the bosses, but the Chinese who were
imported as a source of cheap labor. The party splintered and
broke up shortly after, but left a legacy of exclusionary
legislation aimed at the Chinese in California.

tune: Wearing of the Green

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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