“A great drinking song.” That’s Jon’s simple intro to this while he notes Forest School Camps as his source, which made me wonder exactly what they get up at said events! Anyway, that’s two drinking songs on the bounce. This one seems to be pretty well documented and this Wiki entry is interesting, questioning the possible association with either smugglers or the more well-to-do on account of the relative expense of brandy and rum. There are some possibly unnecessary rumblings on this Mudcat thread, but the end of it seems to nail this down to the early C19th. With its opening request to “Come all you bold heroes…” this possibly has something of the military and perhaps the officers’ mess about it. The timing might suggest a post Napoleonic celebration, with father beneath the sea possibly at Trafalgar, with the Pax Britannica bringing in the name-checked, exotic goodies. That might also explain the stability of the song if it was a) passed down between officers (or perhaps even just the rank and file), and b) had little chance outside of those circles to go through the folk process. Well, it’s a theory of sorts. Still, charge my punch glass… Oh no! We’ve done that one already.