'Twas in the reign of George the Third,
The public peace was much disturbed
By ships of war that came and laid,
Within our ports to stop our trade.
In seventeen hundred and seventy-two,
In Newport harbor lay a crew
That played the part of pirates there,
The sons of Freedom could not bear.
Sometimes they'd weigh and give them chase,
Such actions, sure were very base!
No honest coasters could pass by,
But what they would let some shot fly.
Which did provoke to high degree,
Those true-born sons of Liberty,--
So that they could no longer bear
Those sons of Belial staying there.
It was not long 'ere it fell out
That William Duddingston so stout
Commander of the Gaspee tender,
Which he has reason to remember--
Because, as people do assert,
He almost met his just desert;
Here on the twelfth † day of June.
Between the hours of twelve and one,
Did chase the sloop called the Hannah,
Of which one Lindsay was commander--
They dogged her up Providence Sound,
And there the rascals got aground.
The news of it flew that very day,
That they on Namquit Point did lay;--
That night, about half-past ten,
Some Narrangasett Indian-men,
Being sixty-four if I remember,
Soon made this stout coxcomb surrender--
And what was best of all their tricks,
In him a ball too they did fix--
Then set the men upon the land,
And burnt her up, we understand--
Which thing provoked the Kings so high
He said these men should surely die.
So if he can but find them out,
King George has offered very stout
One thousand pounds to find out one
That wounded William Duddingston.
One thousand more he says he'll spare
To those who say they sheriffs were--
One thousand more there doth remain
For to find out the leader's name.
Likewise one hundred pounds per man,
For any one of all the clan;
But let him try his utmost skill,
I'm apt to think he never will
Find out one of those hearts of gold,
Though he should offer fifty fold.
* From The Chad Browne Memorial (Brooklyn, 1888), p. 34; which cites John S. Taylor, Sketches of Newport and Its Vicinity (New York, 1842)
† Historians say the ninth of June.