Maryland Resolves | American Revolution War Song

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Frank Moore
Frank Moore

Frank Moore was a journalist and Revolutionary historian. He published a number of books on the American Revolution during his career in the mid-19th century, including Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution, Diary of the American Revolution and The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution.

About the middle of December, 1774, deputies appointed by the freemen of the province of Maryland, met at Annapolis, unanimously resolved to resist the authority of Parliament, taxing the colonies, if attempted to be enforced, and to support the acts and designs of the Continental Congress at all hazards. They also recommended that every man should provide himself “a good firelock, with bayonet attached, powder and ball, and be in readiness to act in any emergency.” These resolutions were productive of many ludicrous and bombastic ballads. From among these, the one following, adapted to the air “Abbot of Canterbury, or Wilkes’ Wriggle,” is selected.1

Maryland Resolves

ON Calvert’s plains new faction reigns,
Great Britain we defy, sir,
True liberty lies gagg’d in chains,
Though freedom is the cry, sir.

The Congress, and their factious tools,
Most wantonly oppress us,
Hypocrisy triumphant rules,
And sorely does distress us.

The British bands with glory crown’d,
No longer shall withstood us;
Our martial deeds loud fame shall sound
Since mad Lee now commands us.2

Triumphant soon a blow he’ll strike,
That all the world shall awe, sir,
And General Gage, Sir Perseus like,
Behind his wheels he’ll draw, sir.

When Gallic hosts, ungrateful men,
Our race meant to extermine,
Pray did committees save us then,
Or Hancock, or such vermin?

Then faction spurn ! think for yourselves !
Your parent state, believe me,
From real griefs, from factious elves,
Will speedily relieve ye.

  1. Maryland resolves. This song was published in Rivington’s Gazette, with the accompanying letter, from its anonymous author, to the editor of that paper. “You, no doubt, have seen the resolves of certain magnates, naming themselves a Provincial Congress ! I will not say these worthies are under the influence of the moon, or are proper subjects for confinement, but one of their resolves is exactly calculated for the meridian of the inquisition, and the others smell furiously of Bedlam. I gladly contribute my humble mite to ridicule the folly, ingratitude, and violence of our deluded patriots.”
  2. “Since mad Lee now commands us.” Major-general Charles Lee, was an officer in the British Army, at the age of eleven years. He served under Abercrombie, at the unsuccessful attack of Ticonderoga, and was wounded. Under General Burgoyne, in Portugal, he distinguished himself. After this, he spent a few years in rambling over Europe, and some time in the Polish service, finally sailing for New York, where he arrived just in time to embrace the cause of the Colonists, which was now grown serious and decided. He received a commission from the Continental Congress in 1775, and was very active during the war, until the battle of Monmouth, where he disobeyed the orders of the commander-in-chief, and, by this means, threw the troops Into confusion. He was reprimanded by Washington, and in the warmth of his resentment used improper language in return. For this he was tried by court martial, found guilty, and suspended from duty for twelve months. He made a splendid defence of his course, but Congress confirmed the sentence, which was like a mortal wound to his ambitious spirit. When he heard the confirmation he exclaimed, pointing to his dog, “Oh that I were that animal that I might not call man my brother.” He became vindictive, and abused General Washington in his conversation and writings. Finding himself abandoned by his friends, he retired to his plantation in Virginia where he amused himself with his books and dogs, and in the autumn of 1782, weary of his life, he went to Philadelphia, where he died soon after, calling upon his “brave grenadiers to stand by him.” In his will, he earnestly desired that he might not be buried in any churchyard, or within one mile of a Presbyterian or Anabaptist meeting-house, as he “had kept so much bad company when alive, he did not choose to continue it when dead.”

Lee’s character is very correctly portrayed, in a letter from Mrs. Mercy Warren to Samuel Adams, where she speaks of him as “plain in his person to a degree of ugliness; careless even to unpoliteness, his garb ordinary; his voice rough; his manners rather morose; yet sensible, learned, judicious and penetrating.”

The celebrated Thomas Paine once said, that Lee “was above all monarchs and below all scum.” Thacher’s Journal.

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