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Lord Rawdon’s Proclamation (in verse)

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.


To all our subjects true and loyal,
We greeting send this promise royal,
Tho’ signed by Rawdon and Balfour,
They’re George’s sentiments, we’re sure.
And therefore if you can believe it,
As such we doubt not you’ll receive it.
‘Tis true we are a little staggered,
(But when so, we have always swaggered,)
And found the trick has sometimes taken,
As by it oft we’ve saved our bacon,
And for so once we think we’ve reason,
T’ exhort you strongly against treason;
For tho’ to save ourselves ’twas meet
That to Charleston we should retreat,
To keep ourselves from rebel Greene,
The d—dest cut-throat e’er was seen;
Yet still we think it very right
That you should stay behind and fight;
You know the worst—you can but die,
Or into our protection fly;
And if the rebels do not carve you,
We with the greatest ease can starve you;
But should you suffer them to bang you,
Unless y’ escape, we’ll surely hang you;
For only such as to us run,
Shall ‘scape the halter or the gun.
For running is a token sure,
That on our side you are secure,
Which is the greatest test we have
To prove the loyal and the brave,
From such we never draw the blood,
But (if we have it) give them food,
To strengthen them and make them fat,
To march the better in retreat.
This nostrum great Cornwallis taught,
And with it we have wonders wrought,
By this arcanum Tarleton soon
Escaped that butcher Washington,1
Who but for this had flay’d him down,
From nape of neck to knuckle bone.
I, Rawdon, too, from, Camden hurried,
Or flashing Greene my hide had curried.
Should our predicament befall you,
Or should you fear that they may mall you,
Or should oppression from the rebel,
Greater than ours be twice or treble,
Come quickly to us we invite you,
And we will do our best to right you,
And when we get a strong remittance,
Will give you of those scoundrels quittance;
These we expect each day will come,
(We sometimes think we hear their drum,)
But should our organs be mistaken,
Ne’ertheless we hope you’ll be unshaken,
Firmly to your allegiance hold,
Till we can get a little gold,
Then faithful subjects we’ll reward,
And punish t’others with a cord;
Then think how foolish they will look,
(Hung by th’ neck in every nook,)
While you with pockets full may strut,
And all your vengeance safely glut.
Who would not yield what they possess,
For a time, t’ arrive at so much bliss?

That all we’ve told you is most Certain,
(We therefore here will drop the curtain,)
As that two and two make four,
And sign R. Rawdon, N. Balfour.
N. R. I’ the name of George our gracious king,
It’s known, we may say any thing.2


1 At the Cowpens.
2 Pennsylvania Packet, July 12.