One day, when I was burrowing through the Brock Collection at the Huntington Library (and not getting ready to go surfing, I swear), I found this poem.  It was scribbled on the obverse of a letter written on this date, 2 July, in 1776, from Charles Hansford at the Halfway House, a tavern at the midpoint between Williamsburg and Yorktown, Virginia, to the Rev. Mr. Samuel Shield in Caroline County.  Clearly, it was hastily composed and might well be a copy of a more well known piece that I have yet to find.  It struck me for several reasons, not least with its relatively early lionization of Congress, Washington, and the local committees, and its simple definition of what it takes to be a patriot: Deny the King.

“I love & ever will obey

What Congress either does or say

Where George the 3d his sway maintains

There’s nothing but Tyranny & Chains

If yonder Washington commands

May he be crushed with endless woe

Who to the Congress is a Foe

What George the 3d by Law commands

To Ruin upon once happy Lands

Fair Freedom sits & waites around

Where active Committees abound

A band of motley Paltroons waits

Who does his King but once deny

With him I live, with him, I die.”


SOURCE: Huntington Library mss, BR Box 258 (29).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s