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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Taxation of America

By Revolutionary Songs and Ballads

[Written by Peter St. John, of Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1765.]

WHILE I relate my story,

Americans give ear;

Of Britain’s fading glory

You presently shall hear;

I’ll give a true relation,

Attend to what I say

Concerning the taxation

Of North America.

The cruel lords of Britain,

Who glory in their shame,

The project they have hit on

They joyfully proclaim;

’Tis what they’re striving after

Our right to take away,

And rob us of our charter

In North America.

There are two mighty speakers,

Who rule in Parliament,

Who ever have been seeking

Some mischief to invent;

’Twas North, and Bute his father,

The horrid plan did lay

A mighty tax to gather

In North America.

They searched the gloomy regions

Of the infernal pit,

To find among their legions

One who excelled in wit;

To ask of him assistance,

Or tell them how they may

Subdue without resistance

This North America.

Old Satan the arch-traitor,

Who rules the burning lake,

Where his chief navigator,

Resolved a voyage to take;

For the Britannic ocean

He launches far away,

To land he had no notion

In North America.

He takes his seat in Britain,

It was his soul’s intent

Great George’s throne to sit on,

And rule the Parliament;

His comrades were pursuing

A diabolic way,

For to complete the ruin

Of North America.

He tried the art of magic

To bring his schemes about,

At length the gloomy project

He artfully found out;

The plan was long indulged

In a clandestine way,

But lately was divulged

In North America.

These subtle arch-combiners

Addressed the British court,

All three were undersigners

Of this obscure report—

There is a pleasant landscape

That lieth far away

Beyond the wide Atlantic,

In North America.

There is a wealthy people,

Who sojourn in that land,

Their churches all with steeples

Most delicately stand;

Their houses like the gilly,

Are painted red and gay:

They flourish like the lily

In North America.

Their land with milk and honey

Continually doth flow,

The want of food or money

They seldom ever know:

They heap up golden treasure,

They have no debts to pay,

They spend their time in pleasure

In North America.

On turkeys, fowls and fishes,

Most frequently they dine,

With gold and silver dishes

Their tables always shine.

They crown their feasts with butter,

They eat, and rise to play;

In silks their ladies flutter,

In North America.

With gold and silver laces

They do themselves adorn,

The rubies deck their faces,

Refulgent as the morn!

Wine sparkles in their glasses,

They spend each happy day

In merriment and dances

In North America.

Let not our suit affront you,

When we address your throne;

O King, this wealthy country

And subjects are your own,

And you, their rightful sovereign,

They truly must obey,

You have a right to govern

This North America.

O King, you’ve heard the sequel

Of what we now subscribe:

Is it not just and equal

To tax this wealthy tribe?

The question being askèd,

His majesty did say,

My subjects shall be taxèd

In North America.

Invested with a warrant,

My publicans shall go,

The tenth of all their current

They surely shall bestow;

If they indulge rebellion,

Or from my precepts stray,

I’ll send my war battalion

To North America.

I’ll rally all my forces

By water and by land,

My light dragoons and horses

Shall go at my command;

I’ll burn both town and city,

With smoke becloud the day,

I’ll show no human pity

For North America.

Go on, my hearty soldiers,

You need not fear of ill—

There’s Hutchinson and Rogers,

Their functions will fulfil—

They tell such ample stories,

Believe them sure we may,

One-half of them are tories

In North America.

My gallant ships are ready

To waft you o’er the flood,

And in my cause be steady,

Which is supremely good;

Go ravage, steal and plunder,

And you shall have the prey;

They quickly will knock under

In North America.

The laws I have enacted

I never will revoke,

Although they are neglected,

My fury to provoke.

I will forbear to flatter,

I’ll rule the mighty sway,

I’ll take away the charter

From North America.

O George! you are distracted,

You’ll by experience find

The laws you have enacted

Are of the blackest kind.

I’ll make a short digression,

And tell you by the way,

We fear not your oppression

In North America.

Our fathers were distressèd,

While in their native land;

By tyrants were oppressèd

As we do understand;

For freedom and religion

They were resolved to stray,

And trace the desert regions

Of North America.

Heaven was their sole protector

While on the roaring tide,

Kind fortune their director,

And Providence their guide.

If I am not mistaken,

About the first of May,

This voyage was undertaken

For North America.

If rightly I remember,

This country to explore,

They landed in November

On Plymouth’s desert shore.

The savages were nettled,

With fear they fled away,

So peaceably they settled

In North America.

We are their bold descendants,

For liberty we’ll fight,

The claim to independence

We challenge as our right;

’Tis what kind Heaven gave us,

Who can take it away?

O, Heaven sure will save us

In North America.

We never will knock under,

O, George! we do not fear

The rattling of your thunder,

Nor lightning of your spear:

Though rebels you declare us,

We’re strangers to dismay;

Therefore you cannot scare us

In North America.

To what you have commanded

We never will consent.

Although your troops are landed

Upon our continent;

We’ll take our swords and muskets,

And march in dread array,

And drive the British red-coats

From North America.

We have a bold commander,

Who fears not sword or gun,

The second Alexander,

His name is Washington.

His men are all collected,

And ready for the fray,

To fight they are directed

For North America.

We’ve Greene and Gates and Putnam

To manage in the field,

A gallant train of footmen,

Who’d rather die than yield;

A stately troop of horsemen

Trained in a martial way,

For to augment our forces

In North America.

Proud George, you are engagèd

All in a dirty cause,

A cruel war have wagèd

Repugnant to all laws.

Go tell the savage nations

You’re crueler than they,

To fight your own relations

In North America.

Ten millions you’ve expended,

And twice ten millions more;

Our riches, you intended

Should pay the mighty score.

Who now will stand your sponsor,

Your charges to defray?

For sure you cannot conquer

This North America.

I’ll tell you, George, in metre,

If you’ll attend awhile;

We’ve forced your bold Sir Peter

From Sullivan’s fair isle.

At Monmouth, too, we gainèd

The honors of the day—

The victory we obtainèd

For North America.

Surely we were your betters

Hard by the Brandywine;

We laid him fast in fetters

Whose name was John Burgoyne;

We made your Howe to tremble

With terror and dismay;

True heroes we resemble,

In North America.

Confusion to the tories,

That black infernal name

In which Great Britain glories,

Forever to her shame;

We’ll send each foul revolter

To smutty Africa,

Or noose him in a halter

In North America.

A health to our brave footmen,

Who handle sword and gun,

To Greene and Gates and Putnam

And conquering Washington;

Their names be wrote in letters

Which never will decay,

While sun and moon do glitter

On North America.

Success unto our allies

In Holland, France and Spain,

Who man their ships and galleys,

Our freedom to maintain;

May they subdue the rangers

Of proud Britannia,

And drive them from their anchors

In North America.

Success unto the Congress

Of these United States,

Who glory in the conquests

Of Washington and Gates;

To all, both land and seamen,

Who glory in the day

When we shall all be freemen

In North America.

Success to legislation,

That rules with gentle hand,

To trade and navigation

By water and by land.

May all with one opinion

Our wholesome laws obey,

Throughout this vast dominion

Of North America.