MAGAZINE OF HISTORY
NOTES AND QUERIES
Extra Number No.
THE PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA A Sketch, 1775
WILLIAM ABB ATT
410 EAST 32o STREET NEW YORK
Urbem, quam dicant Romam, Melibce, putavi,
Stultus ego, huic noftrcz fimilem :
Sic canibus catulos fimiles, fie matribus bcedas
Nor am; fie parvis componere magna folebam.
N E W-TORK:
PRINTED IN THE YEAR M,DCC,LXXV.
(Being Extra No 27 of THE MAGAZINE OF HISTORY WITH NOTES AND QUERIES)
EDITOR S PREFACE
IN THIS curious Revolutionary poem the original thirteen
States are characterized as schoolboys: and notwithstanding
"a Tory here reviles the Whigs in verse," it is a clever per
formance, with curious notes. It was probably printed by James
Only two copies of the original are known to exist in the United
States hence it may be classed among the rarest items of Ameri
cana and we believe it has not before been reprinted.
THERE is not a single Pamphlet written in North- America,
that does not, by some Accident or other, find its Way to
England. At a Time when the English News-papers may
probably be filled with Equipments of Fleets, Embarkations of
Armies, &c. the dullest Composition, relating to the Affairs of this
Country, will be read there with Avidity. The author has there
fore thought it proper to subjoin here and there a Note, for the
Information of his English Readers. He has occasionally quoted
a few Scraps of Latin, not because, like Panurge, he chooses to
speak any Language rather than his Mother Tongue ; for he abhors
Pedantry and Affectation of every Kind : But partly from his dread
ful Apprehension of the Tarrers and Featherers of the Country in
which he resides ; none of whom, he is well assured, were ever bred at
a Latin School: And partly, from Respect to the female Part of his
Readers, for whose Innocence and Modesty he has a sacred Regard.
At the same Time, lest while the latter acquit his Manners they
should think hardly of his Morals, he begs Leave to assure them,
that Ribaldry is unknown to that Language. The Philosophers,
Poets, and Historians with whose Names the Men are too prone to
insult their Understandings, abounding with Expressions, which
literally translated, would be too foul for the Mouths of the most
brutal of a modern Rabble.
MEN plac d by Chance, or sovereign Fate,
In Life s low, unambitious State;
Whilst undeprav d, all amply share
Wise, bounteous Nature s equal Care
To them impartial Heav n assign d
Contentment calm, sweet Peace of Mind,
Deny d them Fame and Pow r and Wealth,
But gave them Temp rance, Mirth, and Health;
Preserv d them from the fatal Snares
Which Lux ry spreads for Fortune s Heirs.
From all the dire insidious Train
Of Wants unreal, Wishes vain,
Refinements false, and fierce Desires,
Voluptuous Arts, and lawless Fires;
Soft Blandishments of Wealth, and Ease,
Which ruin while they smile, and please
From childish, restless Whim, that reigns
In satiate Taste and pamper d Veins;
From the dire Weight of vacant Time,
(That fatal Source of many a Crime;)
10 PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA
Envy of Pension, Power and Place,
Vain Competition, sad Disgrace;
Honour and Virtue meanly sold
For Titles, Rank, or sordid Gold:
Corroding Cares, that constant wait
To check the Triumphs of the Great.
Doom d them to earn their wholesome Fare
By gentler Toils, than anxious Care:
Free from the Woes Ambition brings,
And made them happier far than Kings.
To them our equal Laws dispense
Fair Liberty and sure Defence;
From Pride, from Force, and brutal Scorn
Of Knaves, to Power and Fortune born:
Of Foplings, dainty, weak and nice,
Who hold plain Poverty as Vice.
The same great sacred Rights afford,
They give to every splendid Lord;
Subject alike to just controul,
Dear social Parts of one great Whole;
Whilst undeprav d, and just, and free,
Content with modest Liberty,
Industrious, Temp rate chaste they live,
They merit all that Praise can give:
With Morals pure, Affections kind,
They claim the Love of all Mankind.
The Men deprav d, 1 who quit their Sphere
Without Remorse, or Shame or Fear,
And boldly rush, they know not where;
1 See the names, in the list of Committees, in the Federal Districts of North America and
enquire what are their callings.
PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA 11
Seduc d, alas! by fond Applause
Of gaping Mobs, and loud Huzzas.
Unconscious all of nobler Aim,
Than sordid Pelf, or vulgar Fame;
Men undefined, by any Rules,
Ambiguous Things, half Knaves, half Fools,
Whom God denied the Talents great
Requir d, to make a Knave complete;
Whom Nature -form d, vile Party -Tools,
Absurder much than downright Fools,
Who from their own dear Puppet-Show,
The World s great Stage, pretend to know.
In Politics mere Punchinellos,
Yet pass for rare, for clever Fellows;
Like Punch, who struts, and swears and roars,
And calls his Betters, 2 Rogues and Whores;
Like Punch, who speak their Prompter s Sense,
Like his, their pow rful Eloquence,
Like his, their wond ring Audience.
Poor, busy, factious empty Things,
Who nothing know of Courts or Kings;
Who Lords or Commons ne er have seen,
But think they re like Committee-men;
By Rote, like clam rous Parrots prate
Of Trade, Revenue, Church, and State.
2 It is the practice of these Orators, all over America, to summon the Mob by some anony
mous portentous handbill, addressed to the public; to mount into a gallery or elevated Station,
in or near a place of public resort; and from thence, with a grave important face, harangue on
the deplorable state of public Affairs and the total loss of liberty in a country which, were it not
for them, would be the happiest and the freest country in the Universe. To retail from Scraps
of Party Papers the Merits of the Leaders of Opposition; ascribe Opinions to them which they
would hear with the highest indignation, and to engage for their countenance and support
Opinions, Designs, &c., as if they were familiarly known to them as their own Characters are to
their Wives, Children and Servants if they happen to have any. On the first Personages of
Great Officers of State and the Majority of both Houses, they liberally bestow the delicious
Epithets of Jacobites, Papists, Tyrants, Hirelings and Scoundrels, amidst the repeated Shouts
of their greasy followers.
12 PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA
Born to be lodg d, and cloth d, and fed,
By other Toils than Toil of Head;
Form d for the Oar, 3 the Sledge, the Saw,
Yet rave of Government and Law,
As fond at Committees to prattle,
As Babe and Suckling of its Rattle.
In costive Brains whole Weeks revolve,
To frame some lawless, mad Resolve;
Some Hand-Bill vile, 4 with Threatenings dire,
Of Murder, Feathers, Tar, or Fire,
Of rich and poor decide the Fate
With Scorn, of every Magistrate.
Is there among them who can read,
It serves to turn the Ideot s Head;
Is there among them who can write,
It serves to wreak the Miscreant s Spite;
With Vipers leagu d, 5 in borrow d Name,
They hiss and blast their Neighbour s Fame;
3 The Author could have added the Awl, the Trowel and many other tools, but he thinks
his Rhyme rough enough in all Conscience as it is. Such Tools are as little adapted to Poetry
as to Politics.
4 The Oracles of North America, like the Sibyl s Leaves, scattered over the whole Country.
They have been lately collected with great labour and Expense, digested by the Sanhedrim at
Philadelphia, and compiled into a regular Code. A memorable JSra in the Annals of North
America. A Code by which the Principles of Common Sense, every System of Ethics, ancient
and modern, the Authority of the most celebrated Jurists, the Common and Statute Laws of
Great Britain, the laws of the several Provincial Legislatures, the Authority of Provincial
Magistrates and the revealed Laws of God, are all abrogated and done away. A Code which
the gaping vulgar of America thumb with the same Delight as they con Jack the Giant- Killer:
which the great and little Vulgar of England will laugh over as at the farce of High Life Below
Sta rs: and which every Man in Europe of Sense and Benevolence will read with Grief and
Invida satorum series, summisquejiegatum stare diu.
Antiquum repetens, iterum Chaos.
5 Alluding to the Figure of a Snake with which certain Printers of American Newspapers
adorn their Publications, designed to allure a certain Set of Customers, and to enlist a certain
Crew of Writers, who have contributed in a most criminal Degree, to subvert the laws of this
Country, have already enflamed it into the most dangerous Convulsions, and threaten to com
plete its final Destruction. These Standards were erected perhaps in Imitation of certain well-
PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA IS
Vipers like, - *
- or Dolt.
Fair Truth exclude from many a Press, 6
On Pain of every dread Distress:
As Priests, their Flocks to circumvent,
Forbid to read Christ s Testament,
With senseless Jargon, stupid Lies,
Like Morpheus, close the People s Eyes,
Vile, false, pernicious Doctrines preach,
Rebellion rank and Treason teach,
Malignant o er the Land they crawl,
And wither, blast, and poison all.
So when the Dev l with horrid Joy,
Hatch d the dire Project to destroy
Mankind, created frail and weak,
He took the Form of groveling Snake,
And stung with Envy, Rage, Despair,
To see a World so gay, so fair
A World as erst, alas, was this
The Seat of Pleasure, Ease and Bliss:
known Signs in Blood-Bowl Alley of London, and in la Rue D Enfer of Paris: the Resorts of
Bullies, Spies, Informers, Incendiaries, Highwaymen and Murderers. This Custom is not
common to all the Publishers of Newspapers; some of the Fraternity, equally malignant in
their Designs and more successful in their Operations, hang out no Sign at all. They are of
old-established Credit; their Wine needs no Bush.
* The name of John Holt, editor of The New York Journal, was evidently meant to be
inserted here. [ED.]:
6 Not every Press; Mr. Rivington of New York continues to discharge the duties of his
Profession faithfully, in Spite of frequent letters from unknown Villains, threatening him with
Fire, Assassination &c., in Defiance of many unwarrantable Associations in different parts of
America, exhorting some and compelling others to withdraw their Subscriptions to his useful
and impartial Gazetteer, in the Face of numerous Committees, who have taken the same sage
Precautions to prevent the Introduction of his Publications into their respective Realms as if
they had been consign d from Smyrna or Aleppo in a Time of a general Pestilence. He grows
bolder by Persecution, to the Confusion of a pernicious set of Scriblers and of an envious Gang
of Rivals, who constantly mark him in their News-Papers to the deluded Rabble for Destruc
tion. The Public is, in the Author s Opinion, much obliged to him, and to the good Sense and
Liberality of the Gentlemen of all Parties in that Province, by whom he is countenanced and
employed indifferently, as his Gazetteer and his Catalogue of Pamphlets testify.
The Author believes there is likewise a free Press or two at Boston, defended by an Army
and a Fleet, by which alone they preserve their Freedom.
14 PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA
A World where Spirits foul from Hell,
Were too impure, too black, to dwell
With Mortals, harmless as the Dove,
Midst Innocence, and Peace, and Love,
Till they had made the simple Elves,
As foul and guilty as themselves;
Triumphant, us d the same Device,
And made a Hell of Paradise.
In Brothels, Corners, Fields, who lurk,
Fond of Cabals, detesting Work,
Neglect their useful Occupations,
And starve themselves to starve whole Nations.
Whose foul, remorseless, guilty Souls,
Nor Laws of God or Man controuls;
Who scowl on Wealth 7 with envious Eye,
For Wealth and Fame, and Influence sigh,
And strive intent, on Pelf and Spoils,
To plunge the Land in civil Broils.
Furious and sleepless, till they see
One general, glorious Anarchy.
(Sad Scenes! where idle Ruffians gain
Riches unearn d by Toil or Pain,)
And ruthless, clear their bloody Way
To wild, despotic, brutal Sway.
7 No Man of common Observation who has crossed the Atlantic can have failed to remark
the great Difference between the Manners of the lower and middling sort of People in England,
and of People of the same Classes here. Altho those Orders of Englishmen are not much
celebrated for their Civility, The Author, who had often beheld in certain Countries of Europe
the miserable and abiect State of that great and Sacred Portion of the human Species, and had
seen the insolent and brutal Abuse of Rank, Titles and Power, on his first arrival in North
America exulted in an Appearance so honourable to Humanity; he recollected the Observation
of a Philosopher, in discovering a Circle exactly described on an unknown Shore where he hap
pened to be wrecked; and thought this as sure a Proof of general Felicity as that of Civility
and Science. Jealous tho he is naturally of his Superiors (and his Superiors are innumerable)
he begins to find he was mistaken, and to perceive that there are Pleasures, like the Pleasures
of Excess, exquisite but short-lived, and ending in Disease and untimely Death.
These Men begin to look upon their Superiors as if the Order of the Universe had been in
verted in their Favour; as if they were possessed of what naturally belonged to themselves, and
were determined to seize the first Opportunity to recover it Vi et Armis.
"Ye take too much upon yourselves, seeing all the Congregation are holy, every one of
them: Wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the Congregation of the Lord ?"
PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA 15
Like Thieves and Plund rers, Traitors fell,
The same vile Progeny of Hell.
When some fair City, rous d from Sleep,
In calm, Oblivious Mid-night Deep,
Alarm d by dreadful Din of Bells,
Loud Cries of Fire, and dismal Yells;
When Interest, Duty, Love demand
Th Aid of every friendly Hand,
Whilst the wide-spreading Flames resound,
With joyful Ears all catch the Sound;
Rush on their Prey, a grisly Mob,
And seize the dreadful Hour to rob.
Shall we applaud this vagrant Crew,
Whose wretched Jargon, crude and new,
Whose Impudence and Lies delude
The harmless, ign rant Multitude:
To Varlets, weak, impure, unjust,
The Reins of Government entrust.
Will Raggamuffins bold like these,
Protect our Freedom, Peace, or Ease ?
Ah! surely no, it cannot be,
These are false Sons of Liberty.
The Men who form their Hopes and Fears
From Hand-Bills, Pamphlets, Gazetteers;
Swallow like Gudgeons, every Lie
Which Malice, Rage, and Guilt supply ;
Whose Views reach not an Inch from Home,
Who think their little Mantua, 8 Rome.
8 There is a very remarkable Difference between the Opinions, Principles and Conduct in
general, of the Natives of this Country, who have resided in Europe or have conversed much
with Europeans, and of those who never passed the Limits of their own or of some neighbouring
Province. Arts, Sciences, Knowledge, Accomplishments, Wealth, Power, Dignity, are all
comparative. Comparisons are frequently mortifying in the extremest Degree to that Vanity
which is inseparable from our Nature: But without it no Man can form a true Estimate of him-
16 PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA
The dullest Ignorance betray 9
In all they do, and write, and say.
Boldly affirm each wild Position,
As if inspir d by Intuition;
Untaught in Wisdom s modest School
That Confidence proclaims a Fool :
Their scanty Stock of useless Knowledge,
Taught them by Floggings sheer of College,
Or which, alas! is ten Times worse,
Deriv d from some polluted Source.
From Clodius, Judge of Men and Things,
Of Statesmen, Ministers and Kings;
Of power supreme, of just Protection,
Of Order, Peace, and due Subjection;
Too fond and credulous to see
Treason in Mask of Liberty.
What false Conclusions Knaves can draw
From Gospel Truths, from Statute Law;
How much like Fools these Knaves can write,
From Hunger, or from Party Spite,
Of regal Power, of legal Right.
self or establish a just Rule of his Conduct. However nauseous the Medicine may be, it is a
salutary one. An overweening Conceit of the Importance of this Country, and a very inade
quate Knowledge, or a total Ignorance of the Parent Country are among the fatal Sources of
the dreadful Calamities at this Moment impending over a Part of this Country; may they never
extend over the Whole.
9 Ignorance of the true Nature, Conditions, and Ends of Government, and of the Applica
tion of general Doctrines to particular Circumstances, in which they resemble certain bold
Empiricks, who by administering excellent and efficacious Medicines unseasonably and in too
large Doses, throw their Patients into Convulsions and destroy them. There are three or four
Pamphlets, said to be written in America within these twelve Months, by Gentlemen called
Whigs. These Gentlemen appear by their Writings to be Men of Sense and Candour. They
are Proofs, in the Author s Opinion, how frequently Men are led by Youth, Inexperience, Con
finement to narrow Scenes, Want of Leisure and general enlarged Knowledge, to form false
and fatal Conclusions from the noblest Principles. The Epidemic, may it not prove the mortal
Disease of this Country. Esto Perpetua.
There is a Pamphlet likewise lately written by a Gentleman who calls himself a Whig,
under the Title of Strictures, very different from the former in its Design, if not in its Effect.
"Abominable, unutterable, and worse
Than Fates yet have feign d or Fear conceiv d;
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire."
PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA 17
From Curio s frothy Declamation,
Decide on Trade, on Legislation,
On Charter Rights, and dread Taxation;
(That nauseous Cant of old and young,
That Theme of every Booby s Tongue;)
Like Pettifoggers, pert and raw,
Who grope in Indexes for Law,
Prating of Books they nevr read,
Toiling o er Parchment for their Bread;
Form d at the most to scrawl a Lease,
Yet dare to judge of War, and Peace;
Whom God for Scriv ners only, meant, 10
Yet dare to ape high Parli ment;
Scorning o er mouldy Books to pore,
And learn what pass d in Days of yore,
W r ith wise, important Lessons fraught,
How Patriots acted, Sages thought.
How Greece, that Seat of every Art
That charms the Eye, and mends the Heart;
By Phoebus, by the Muses chaste,
Inspir d with Genius, Wit and Taste:
Of Heroes erst the blest Abode
Of many a Sage and Demi-God;
Source of a long illustrious Line
Of Sculptors, Painters, Bards divine,
Favour d of Heav n, immortal Land,
Form d to enchant, to teach, command;
10 The Author has been assured that no less than 28 of the Members of the Sanhedrim were
Lawyers: he expressed Astonishment on hearing this, but on enquiring he found they were
what they call in England Attorneys at Law, his Astonishment ceased. When he recollected
the Observation of the celebrated Judge Blackstone "on Gentlemen placed at the Desk of some
skilful Attorney, ita lex scripta est is the utmost his Knowledge will arrive at, he must never
aspire to form, and seldom expect to comprehend, any Arguments drawn d priori from the
Spirit of the Laws and the Natural Foundations of Justice". In the same Page he admits one
or two shining Exceptions in all Great Britain; how many he might admit here, the Author is no
Judge. By the abuse of certain Words of an ill Sound, much debated about in this Country,
he is afraid there are many among them who are not well acquainted even with Lex scripta,
nor much versed in English Dictionaries.
18 PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA
Whose various, wise instructive Page,
(Fond Theme of ev ry Land and Age)
With sense sublime, with Truth replete,
With Precepts wise, Examples great:
Midst Ignorance dark and deep as Night,
Diffused its kind, refulgent Light;
From Goths and Vandals, fierce and blind,
From Slav ry, rescu d half Mankind.
How ev n wise Greece, illustrious Greece,
Wanton with Plenty, Wealth, and Peace,
To lawless Mobs resign d its Pow r,
Chang d Men and Measures ev ry Hour.
For ev ry Whim, Town-meetings call d,
In greasy, tatter d Troops cabal d,
Conven d, intrigu d, harangu d, resolv d,
The Laws of God and Man dissolv d,
Till Liberty was prostrate laid,
By hireling Demagogues betray d:
Her Offspring now, a hapless Race,
Expos d to Want and dire Disgrace,
Extinguish d all those sacred Fires,
Which warm d the Bosoms of their Sires;
Each Trace of ancient Worth effac d,
Their Souls by Servitude debas d,
See all around, with brutish Eye,
Stupendous Arts in Ruin lie:
The vast, magnificent, sublime,
The Prey of Rage, and mould ring Time;
Yet when or why erected there,
The wretched Slaves nor know nor care,
Unconscious that a noble Race
Renown d, for Valour, Genius, Grace;
Chosen of Heav n, the World s great Pride,
Their Ancestors, did there reside;
PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA 19
There, where their hapless Offspring lurk,
The abject Slaves of haughty Turk.
How dreadful! awful, was the Doom
Of wise, imperial, haughty Rome,
Freedom s and Honour s glorious School,
Ordain d by Heav n for sov reign Rule;
Whose glorious Deeds, through many an Age,
Adorn th Historian s wondrous Page;
Whose Sons were taught, from earliest Youth,
To fear the Gods, to rev rence Truth,
The Syren Pleasures to oppose,
Wisdom s and Valour s mortal Foes,
To look on Danger with Disdain,
And smile at Want, at Grief and Pain;
To shrink from nought but mean Disgrace,
Heroes of more than mortal Race:
In Battle fierce as thund ring Jove,
In Peace as mild, as timid Dove;
As gentle, modest, and as plain
As artless Child or simple Swain;
In all the endearing Scenes of Life,
To Friend, to Parent, Child, or Wife
To love, to pity, taught to yield,
And only dreadful in the Field;
Yet fir d with noble patriot Zeal,
Prefer to all, the Public Weal,
Their own, their Wives, their Children s Blood,
The sacred Pledge to general Good.
How Manners simple, Morals pure,
Fair Liberty and Peace ensure.
How arts Voluptuous soon efface
The Virtues of the happiest Race.
20 PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA
By Wealth, from foreign Lands acquir d,
How Knaves to Fame and Pow r aspir d,
For Plunder, won from conquer d Greece,
Their Honour sold, their Ease and Peace,
Wanton, and vain and turbulent,
Fit for no Form of Government;
Assum d the Patriot s sacred Guise
By bold Harangues, and specious Lies,
Allurements false, and sordid Bribes,
Seduc d the poor Plebian Tribes;
Taught them their fav rite, darling Theme,
To spurn the Rights of Pow r supreme,
The sacred Bonds of Peace dissolve,
To meet, to plot, cabal, resolve,
At China s Beck, at Sylla s Nod,
Trample on ev ry Law of God,
At Will of each alternate Lord,
To plunge, (as Ruffians gave the Word,)
In kindred Breasts, the murd ring Sword:
How by ambitious Tribunes led,
Deluded Millions fought and bled,
And see to mad Sedition prone,
The Mistress of the World undone.
Sad mournful Truths! Examples great!
Mirrors to every happy State!
Faithful, unerring Guides to shew
How Plans ideal, Doctrines new,
Blind Zealots, void of W T orth and Sense,
To patriot Love, how false Pretence.
Ambition, Lies, and Impudence,
How vain Desires, and fond Conceit,
Treach ry, Revenge, and mean Deceit;
PATRIOTS OF NORTH AMERICA 21
Fair Fortunes squandered, Debts unpaid,
Profusion, Lust, unprosp rous Trade.
Wild Mobs, to mad Sedition prone,
And Liberty licentious grown,
Must make the fatal Hour draw near,
Of civil Discord s wild Career,
Must cause one general Anarchy,
Must end in Loss of Liberty;
And this free Country soon become
Like Carthage, Florence, Greece and Rome,
Unless some God should interpose,
And save it from domestic Foes.
Men to Atlantic Empire born
Look down on Greece and Rome with Scorn;
Disdain their Maxims, Laws or Rules,
To take from any States or Schools,
Prefer their Mohawks, and their Creeks,
To Romans Britons, Swiss, or Greeks,
Their nobler Souls no Systems please,
But Savage Life, of Shawanese; 11
Or Monsters fierce of Woods and Seas.
Such Notions crude the Fools retail,
As paramount to Coke and Hale;
Hold stuff as sound and true,
As Blackstone, Grotius, Montesquieu:
Scorning to tread the beaten Road,
To take a Hint from any Code;
11 A Tribe of North American Indians. The Americans wish to live in populous Towns or
cultivated Countries, to have Manufactures to cloath them or Money to buy cloaths, their