The Luck Went With The Sealers (Johnny Burke)

See also: The Sealers Strike Of 1902 (Johnny Burke)

Attention boys of Newfoundland,
who plough the raging main,
And hear about the sealers' strike,
that I will now explain;
Ye struck, my boys, for better terms,
the terms that ye did like,
And this is why brave Colloway
did lead the sealers strike.

Three-fifty was the figure, boys,
and nothing less would take,
Ye walked the streets with little food,
no drink your thirst to slake;
And no man would give an inch,
though hunger pangs they knew,
Until their terms did satisfy
both every steamer's crew.

Up spoke the leader of the strike,
"Come, boys, now fall in line,
We'll go at once and state our case
to Alfred B Morine;
And he will see we get fair play,"
spoke Colloway loud and clear,
And from five thousand manly throats
went up a deafening cheer.

He called at once on Mr Baird,
on Mr Job and Grieve,
Who said, "Of course we'll give the terms,
and no man will deceive."
The scene that day on McBride's Hill,
when Morine took the van,
Will ever hang on memory's wall
in every boy and man.

The luck went with the sealer boys,
though late they sailed away,
They struck the white coats in their prime
upon St Patrick's Day;
The best of seals the ships brought in,
and clever bills laid down,
A year to be remembered when
the strike was in the town.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published as The Luck Went With The Sealers Since Brave Colloway Led The Strike in Burke's Ballads, pp.15-16, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.

See more songs by Johnny Burke

Excerpted from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online 1901-1910 (Volume XIII) by Robert H Cuff © 2000 University of Toronto:
Simeon Kelloway (Calloway, Colloway) [1858-1903] - fisherman and sealer from Pool's Island, NL, traditionally identified as the leader of the great sealers' strike of 1902, when 3,000 men deserted the 14 steamers that were in St John's being readied to sail for the ice. James Baird, William C Job, and Walter Baine Grieve represented the merchants. Alfred Bishop Morine was the lawyer taken on by the strike committee to help present their demands. He put the owners' offer to the strikers by telling those who accepted it to walk down McBrides Hill which today is a short connecting street between Duckworth and Water Streets.

A different though related ballad was written as The Sealers Strike Of 1902 by Johnny Burke and published in 1905, on pp.9-10 of Murphy's Sealers' Song Book published by James Murphy [1867-1931].


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