Barefooted Tatterdemalions

Woodcut depicting James Rivington being hanged in effigy, as it appeared in Rivington’s New-York Gazetteer, April 20, 1775.
Woodcut depicting James Rivington being hanged in effigy, as it appeared in Rivington’s New-York Gazetteer, April 20, 1775.

It cannot have escaped the notice of the most inattentive observer, that this country has been brought to its present state of distress and confusion, chiefly by the art and industry of pretended patriots, both in England and America, who were stimulated by indigence, avarice, or ambition, to embroil the government, and mislead the people. The Pennsylvania Ledger or the Philadelphia Market-Day Advertiser, February 28, 1778.

THE REBELS (1778)
(sung to the tune: Black Joak)

THE REBELS.

YE brave, honest subjects, who dare to be loyal,
And have stood the brunt of every trial,
Of hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns:
Come listen awhile, and I’ll sing you a song;
I’ll show you, those Yankees are all in the wrong,
Who, with blustering look and most awkward gait,
‘Gainst their lawful sovereign dare for to prate,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.

The arch-rebels, barefooted tatterdemalions,
In baseness exceed all other rebellions,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
To rend the empire, the most infamous lies,
Their mock-patriot Congress, do always devise;
Independence, like the first of rebels, they claim,
But their plots will be damn’d in the annals of fame,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.

Forgetting the mercies of Great Britain’s king,
Who saved their forefathers’ necks from the string;
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
They renounce allegiance and take up their arms,
Assemble together like hornets in swarms,
So dirty their backs, and so wretched their show,
That carrion-crow follows wherever they go,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.

With loud peals of laughter, your sides, sirs, would crack,
To see General Convict and Colonel Shoe-black,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
See cobblers and quacks, rebel priests and the like,
Pettifoggers and barbers, with sword and with pike,
All strutting, the standard of Satan beside,
And honest names using, their black deeds to hide.
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.

This perjured banditti, now ruin this land,
And o’er its poor people claim lawless command,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
Their pasteboard dollars, prove a common curse,
They don’t chink like silver and gold in our purse;
With nothing their leaders have paid their debts off,
Their honor’s, dishonor, and justice they scoff,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.

For one lawful ruler, many tyrants we’ve got,
Who force young and old to their wars, to be shot,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
Our good king, God speed him ! never usèd men so,
We then could speak, act, and like freemen could go;
But committees enslave us, our Liberty’s gone,
Our trade and church murder’d; our country’s undone,
By hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.

Come take up your glasses, each true loyal heart,
And may every rebel meet his due dessert,
With his hunting-shirt, and rifle-gun.
May Congress, Conventions, those damn’d inquisitions,
Be fed with hot sulphur, from Lucifer’s kitchens,
May commerce and peace again be restored,
And Americans own their true sovereign lord.
Then oblivion to shirts, and rifle-guns.
God save the King.

(Originally published in The Pennsylvania Ledger, 1778.)
Lyrics: Captain Smyth, Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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