All in a Family Way, A New Pastoral Ballad by the Poet, Thomas Moore

This was written in 1826, when the government was trying still to pay for the Napoleonic War. Peel used what has now become the Keynesian mantra that we should not worry about the National Debt as it was all owed to ourselves, as Keynes in fact did argue in the next Century. Our very own Gordon Brown also uses this argument as we sadly know as he is also inspired by these quack doctrines.

The poem is light hearted on such a heavy issue: enjoy!


“The Public Debt is due from ourselves to ourselves, and resolves itself into a Family Account.”–_Sir Robert Peel’s Letter_.
Tune–_My banks are all furnisht with bees_.
My banks are all furnisht with rags,
So thick, even Freddy can’t thin ’em;
I’ve torn up my old money-bags,
Having little or nought to put in ’em.
My tradesmen are smashing by dozens,
But this is all nothing, they say;
For bankrupts since Adam are cousins,–
So, it’s all in the family way.

My Debt not a penny takes from me.
As sages the matter explain;–
Bob owes it to Tom, and then Tommy
Just owes it to Bob back again.
Since all have thus taken to _owing_,
There’s nobody left that can _pay_;
And this is the way to keep going,–
All quite in the family way.

My senators vote away millions,
To put in Prosperity’s budget;
And tho’ it were billions or trillions,
The generous rogues wouldn’t grudge it.
‘Tis all but a family _hop_,
‘Twas Pitt began dancing the hay;
Hands round!–why the deuce should we stop?
‘Tis all in the family way.

My laborers used to eat mutton,
As any great man of the State does;
And now the poor devils are put on
Small rations of tea and potatoes.
But cheer up, John, Sawney, and Paddy,
The King is your father, they say;
So even if you starve for your Daddy,
‘Tis all in the family way.

My rich manufacturers tumble,
My poor ones have nothing to chew;
And even if themselves do not grumble
Their stomachs undoubtedly do.
But coolly to fast _en famille_,
Is as good for the soul as to pray;
And famine itself is genteel,
When one starves in a family way.

I have found out a secret for Freddy,
A secret for next Budget day;
Tho’ perhaps he may know it already,
As he too’s a sage in his way.
When next for the Treasury scene he
Announces “the Devil to pay,”
Let him write on the bills, “_nota bene_,
“‘Tis all in the family way.”

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