The Rebels | American Revolution War Song

About the author

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.

Capt. Smyth, the author of this bold and loyal song, was an in Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers. Many of his compositions were published during the war. The present one first appeared in the Pennsylvania Ledger, as “a new song, to the old tune of Black Joke, and subsequently in a ballad sheet, under its present title.

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 desert,
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.1
God save the King.

  1. Then oblivion to shirts and rifle-guns. The uniforms and equipments of the Continental soldiers were the subject of much contempt and irony on the part of the loyalists. The companies of riflemen, from the western mountains, were generally dressed in hunting-shirts and trowsers, of fawn color or brown, adorned with a fringe.”These from the cerulean mountains hurried down;
    Beneath their aim the hostile leaders fall,
    For death rides swift th’ unseen, unerring ball.” – Humphrey’s Washington.

Related posts