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The heroine's expectation that she can appeal to authority to demand support from the father of her child suggests that the song pre-dates the Poor Law reform of 1834 which removed the right of women to prosecute the father and get support from him [i] although that expectation may have lingered in the pubic mind for a few years after the reform.

[i] Barret-Ducrocq, Francoise (Trans. John Howe) Love in the Time of Victoria: Sexuality and Desire Among Working-Class Men and Women in Nineteenth-Century London (1991, Verso)


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