The Life and Times of the Star-Spangled Banner

An Appeal to Loyalists

Not everyone in the the colonies took the side of the rebels. Some wanted to remain as colonies of Britain. These people were called Loyalists. They, too, had songs. This one was written to be sung to the tune of Packington's Pound. Of course, we know that that goes to the same tune as Anacreon, and, therefore, The Star-Spangled Banner. This version of the tune has a common variation of Packington, where the last two lines are sung twice.

We do not know who wrote An Appeal to Loyalists, or even which side of the Atlantic it comes from. It draws on deep fears from English history. Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, mentioned in the song, were the leaders of a peasant revolt that took place in 1380. The revolt was bloody and so was its suppression. Although the song makes it sound like an unjustified revolt against the natural order of things, most people today would be sympathetic to repressed peasants trying to throw off their masters. The song raises the fear that the American rebels are allied with France, the traditional rival of England. Loyalists are told to expect that any new American state will therefore be Catholic, and Protestants will be repressed. In the light of subsequent history, this was obviously an exaggerated fear.

Wat Tyler and the Peasant's Revolt


An Appeal to Loyalists

The old English cause knocks at every man's door,

And bids him stand up for religion and right;

It addresses the rich as well as the poor;

And fair liberty, bids them, like Englishmen fight.

And suffer no wrong,

From a rebel throng,

Who, if they're not quelled will enslave us ere long;

Most bravely then let us our liberty prize,

Nor suffer the Congress to blind all our eyes.

Or each rebel cut-purse, will soon give us law,

For they are as bad as a Tyler or Straw.

From France D'Estaing to America has come,

The French banditti will rob our estates;

These robbers are all protected by Rome;

Consult but their annuls, record but their dates,

It's their politics

To burn heretics,

Or poison by water that's fetched from the Styx.

Let Frenchified rebels, in vain then attempt

To bring our own church, or our king to contempt;

For no rebel cut-purse shall e'er give us law,

Should they prove as daring as Tyler or Straw.

The farces of Rome, with carrying her hosts,

Are laugh'd at and jeer'd by the learned and wise,

And all her thin tinsels apparently lost,

Her stories of relics, and sanctified lies.

Each ignorant joke

Believe, or you smoke,

And if we are conquered we receive the Pope's yoke;

But despising the counsels of Adams and Lee,

As loyal Americans, we'll die or be free.

For no rebel cut-throat shall e'er give us law,

Should they prove as daring as Tyler or Straw.

Let cursed most vile, and anathemas roar,

Let half-ruined France, to the Pope tribute pay;

Britain's thundering canon, shall guard safe our shore;

Great George shall defend us, none else we'll obey,

Then France joined by Spain,

May labor in vain,

For soon the Havana shall be ours again.

The French then will scamper and quit every state,

And find themselves bubbled, when morbleu it's too late.

For no Frenchman, or rebel imp of the law

In our old constitution can point out a flaw.