The History Of Colonel Nathaniel Bacon's Rebellion In Virginia - Poem by Benjamin Colman
This CANTO gives you a Narration
Of Col'nel Bacon's Provocation;
And shews, in what rebellious Manner
He ventur'd to display his Banner.
I sing those dire Baconian Wars,
Which, like the Oliverian Jars,
Long since broke out in Smoke and Fire,
'Twixt testy Knight, and waspish 'Squire:
The First of which, (as Authors tell)
Govern'd VIRGINIA very well,
'Till little Nat, presumptuous Hector,
(Aspiring, like the Lord Protector)
O're the Atlantick Ocean came,
And put the People in a Flame;
Set Folks together by the Ears,
Who liv'd in Friendship many Years,
And in a Snare drew headstrong Rabble,
Who too much listen'd to his Babble.
BUT e'er the Plot grew ripe for Action,
That was begun by Bacon's Faction,
Fame led the Van with hot Alarms,
Of Ab-origines in Arms,
Who far and near did then resort,
In Haste to Susquehanna Fort,
Hell bent on Thoughts of Massacree.
(Inspir'd by their accurs'd Okee)
Combining in their Hellish Anger,
To cut off ev'ry Marylander.
Thus Devils, in the Shape of Men,
Secur'd themselves in moated Den,
Which oft the Planters try'd to take,
But still in vain Attempts did make.
The Indians making such Resistance,
Caus'd English Foe to seek Assistance,
Who thought it fit, without Delay,
To sound their Neighbours down the Bay;
And try how Gov'nor Berkley stood
Affected to the Common Good;
(Praying VIRGINIA to stand
In Time of Need by MARYLAND
Who, out of Christian Compassion
To Neighb'ring Friends of his own Nation,
Sent Washington, (with Vet'ran Forces,
Arm'd at all Points with Leaden Doses,
And double Rounds of Cannon Powder,
To make their Pop-Guns sound the louder
For MARYLAND, to aid poor Brethren,
That were attack'd by barb'rous Heathen
With whom a sharp Dispute began,
Wherein was kill'd both Horse and Man;
Some Pris'ners were, some Cripples made,
By Indian Scouts in Ambuscade;
(Who ne'er in vain at Friend or Foe,
A Trigger draw, or bend their Bow,
As able Archers, and as good,
As Little John and Robin Hood)
Others were left on Foot to trudge it,
(With Carbine slung, like Tinkers Budget)
That to the Combat did advance, Sir,
Mounted on Skeletonian Prancer,
Whose down-cast Looks seem'd to foretell
Their certain Fate, in Battle fell:
Whilst many were to Slaughter led
By Salvages, on Horse-flesh fed,
Which from the English Camp, in Fight,
They carry'd off, or stole by Night,
To satisfy the greedy Maws
Of such as scarce cou'd stir their Jaws,
But lay as if they had been dead,
Stretch'd out on Honour's Truckle-Bed,
Almost with Hunger famished.
Thus the beleaguer'd in their Hive,
By Carrion were preserv'd alive,
'Till glutted with such Trojan Diet,
And willing to depart in Quiet,
Six Captains (famous in Report)
To sue for Peace rush from the Fort;
Whom the Besiegers, with small Pains,
To Pluto sent, without their Brains:
Which treach'rous Act (by all Relations
Against the Law of Arms and Nations)
Provok'd the Infidels with Ire
And Indignation to retire.
So in the Night they left their Cell,
(Resemblance of a future Hell)
And to their Subterfuges went,
On bloody Vengeance fully bent,
Leaving the English (struck with Wonder)
Their empty Citadel to plunder;
Who pelted at the Dæmons Nest,
With Courage not to be express'd;
Whilst the Delinquents, in their Flight,
In Morpheus' Arms slew Ten out-right
Of the Besiegers, whom they found
Extended on the Mossy Ground;
And to compleat their furious Anger,
(With Tomahawke instead of Hanger)
They made the Number up Threescore,
Leaving them welt'ring in their Gore,
Whose harmless Lives (like bloody Hounds)
They had let out by mortal Wounds.
THEN, to extenuate the Act,
(Which wilful Murder was, in Fact)
They to VIRGINIA's Chief complain,
'Their Heroes by the English slain,
'Were Messengers of Peace sent out,
'To put a Period to the Rout;
'So should have been to Council led,
'And not (like Dogs) knock'd on the Head
'By Centinels, to them inferior,
'Altho' in Number much superior;
'Wherefore they ask for Satisfaction
'For Damages sustain'd in Action:
'And further, they desir'd to know
'Why Berkley was so much their Foe,
'As to assist the MARYLANDERS,
'With valiant Soldiers and Commanders;
'Which brought their Indian warlike Nation
'To Poverty and Tribulation?
'Telling how Popps and Squaws lay dead,
'(Like rotten Sheep) for want of Bread:
'That in Revenge, they thought it fit,
'That Ten for One should pay for it:
'That if he wou'd the Peace renew,
'He must Compassion to them shew;
'Recall forthwith his Sons of Thunder.
'Who prov'd their Courage to a Wonder,
'By making Salvages knock under:
'Or else, resolv'd they were each Man,
'To fight it out, kill as kill can.
This free Remonstrance of their Case,
Rebellion carry'd in its Face;
And was rejected, with Derision,
By Persons of the best Condition,
Whose Int'rest lean'd the other Way;
Such as, for Honour or for Pay,
Made Sword and Pistol their Vocation,
And held it an Abomination,
And base Dishonour to their Station,
On any Terms t'accept a Peace
From Infidels; that, like wild Geese,
Beyond the Western Mountains roam,
And rarely can be found at Home.
This rais'd the Indians mortal Rage,
Which nought but Death of Foes could 'swage,
Who to their Aid (to share the Spoil,
And bear a Bobb in Martial Toil)
The neighb'ring Savages soon call,
And draw to Battle great and small,
That to the English Tribute paid;
On whom they fresh Incursions made,
And oft did use their Scalping Trade.
Great was the Slaughter, great the Cries,
(Throughout the English Colonies)
Of Murders, Rapines, Conflagrations,
Committed by outrag'ous Nations;
Like antient Picts of monstrous Size,
And Aspect frightful to the Eyes:
Tho' false, and Cowards in their Natures,
Yet terrible and fierce as Satyrs;
As many found it to their Cost,
Who dearest Friends, and Substance lost;
With plenteous Crops, and Herds and Flocks,
Being forc'd to fly to Woods and Rocks;
Wand'ring like Pilgrims, Lord knows whither,
Expos'd to Wind and stormy Weather;
This raging Calenture to shun,
Or by the Heathen be undone.
Thus was VIRGINIA's prospr'ous State
Disturb'd at first, by adverse Fate;
With Indian Wars, and various Rumors,
Which ended with intestine Tumors;
That Minds, to dire Rebellion bent,
Rais'd to disturb the Government;
Beyond Will's Power to prevent.
For Fortune, that is ever fickle,
And always has some Rods in Pickle,
To plague the Governour much more
Than she had done some Years before,
Rais'd civil Discords in the People,
Who, chatt'ring like Jack-daws in Steeple,
Against Sir William; chose this Bacon
Their Champion; whom at first I spake on;
A Man respected by the Mob,
As a fit Fool to do their Jobb;
Who, Sword in Hand, would rescue Cattle,
And give the Indians bloody Battle;
That had from MAR'LAND taken Flight,
Dreading with Bonnett blew to fight,
Who well they knew (as Scotch Highlander)
Was hot, as fiery Salamander.
Wrapt in their little God of Strife,
Who was (to draw him to the Life)
From Head to Foot scarce Nine-pin high,
Nor half so thick as Magogg's Thigh,
The Male-contents with one Consent,
Brave Nat with Praises compliment;
Then to Sir William recommend him,
As qualified, would he send him
With Force their Gen'ralissimo,
'Gainst their Ocanackeean Foe:
But Will, that better knew than they,
The Indian Game he had to play,
Would not on any Motives yield,
To let Nat govern in the Field;
And in Derision bid them nim'ly
'Go smoak their Bacon in the Chimney.
Now as these Matters were debating,
(At Council-board scarce worth relating)
News came, that much disturb'd Nat's Quiet,
Of an unlawful Indian Riot,
Committed by a Generation
Of Vipers, rifling his Plantation;
Who, not content the same to plunder,
Had Overseer cut in sunder.
Wherefore, at this unhappy Season,
Without consulting first his Reason,
(Like unadvised Polititian)
He readily accepts Commission,
From furious Mobb, who give their Hand,
By him in greatest Streights to stand.
Thus, great as Noll, as Quixot stout,
At Head of Planters he rid out,
The Woods of Salvages to clear,
Pursu'd by Berkley in the Rear;
Who (being obliged by his Station)
Had sally'd forth from Midd Plantation,
With Life-Guard, resolutely bent
Impending Mischiefs to prevent;
Make Lilliputian Cavilero,
(As great in Thought as Spanish Hero)
On bended Hams Peccavi cry;
Or Bacon hang on Gibbet high,
For daring contumaciously,
To levy War on Enemy,
Without the general Assent
Of Governour and Parliament;
Who of the Publick Good to treat,
Were then at James-Town call'd to meet.
Whither, disbanding Voluntier
Sir William went t'advise w'his Peers;
Oblig'd the Wild-Goose Chase to quit,
Not knowing how the Way to hit;
That Nat had in his Rambles took,
When he Domestick Cares forsook;
And rashly follow'd empty Fame,
But gain'd a Traytor's odious Name,
And Blots, whose vile Characteristicks,
You'll plainly see i'th following Tristicks.
An Order's made Traytor to seize on,
For Bacon (not without good Reason,
Was judg'd, as tainted with High-treason:
So that by Berkley's Proclamation,
He got a pitchlike Defamation
Sticking to him and's Generation,'
As in the Sequel of the Story
Appears; eclipsing Bacon's Glory.
Who, after he had put to Flight
The Ab-origenes in Fight,
Retir'd with great Precipitation
To visit Country Habitation;
Where presently, in County Squabble,
He was elected by the Rabble,
To serve as Burgess, tho' unfit
In House of Burgesses to sit;
As having been (e're in Disgrace)
By Will advanc'd to higher Place,
Who Bacon raised, (from a Shote)
In Upper House to give his Vote.
HOWEVER, Nat (resolv'd to see
If there he might admitted be)
With Forty Men and Mack'rel Gale
For the Metropolis set sail:
When dropping Anchor, 'twas their Fate;
To be made Prisoners of State;
And then by Gard'ner forc'd on Board,
Whose Ship before the Town was moar'd:
Whither in Spight of all Denial,
The Rebels were convey'd for Trial,
By Order of the higher Powers,
(Huzza'd by Mobb from Oaken Bowers)
Where instantly they were acquitted;
And Bacon once again admitted,
At Council Board to take his Post,
By Berkley, Ruler of the Roast;
Who also promis'd (tho' not hearty)
To make him Gen'ral of a Party;
Intended by the Government,
Against the Indians to be sent.
But, Promises are scarce worth minding,
And (as Civilians say) not binding,
Grounded on mental Reservation;
Or made without Consideration,
As Nat experienc'd to his Cost,
When he (by adverse Fortune cross'd)
Imaginary Honours lost.
FOR, when the Rabble were withdrawn,
And promis'd Day had pass'd it's Dawn,
For putting Bacon in Commission,
Will, like a crafty Polititian,
Refus'd to sign the Instrument,
Drawn up in Form, for that Intent;
Under Pretence, that Col'nel Bacon
Had other private Measures taken.
Nat (thus deluded) thought it best,
To let his hot Resentment rest;
And patiently pretend t'endure,
What (whilst in Town) he could not cure,
With Hopes he should a Method find,
To pay Sir William in his Kind;
Which soon came int' his frantick Brain,
Nor did the Project prove in vain.
For, as the Council sat at Table,
(You may believe me, 'tis no Fable)
A Letter was to Bacon brought,
With melancholly Tidings fraught;
Importing, that his loving Wife
Lay ready to depart this Life:
As Nat inform'd the Governour;
Desiring Leave (unlucky Cur)
To visit his betrothed Spouse,
Who ne'er had broke her nuptial Vows:
To which his Excellence reply'd,
The Motion could not be deny'd:
So, since he made such Moan for's Dear,
The Gov'nor bid him, go and see her;
Against th' Advice of faithful Friends,
Who guess'd at Bacon's wicked Ends:
For knowing well the Tricks of Nat,
They in the Letter smelt a Rat;
Which (when too late to be detected)
Was found (as rightly was suspected)
To come from Party disaffected;
That, loving Bacon very heart'ly,
Had manag'd Matters very smartly;
Informing Nat, 'That Mob was ready,
'And in their Resolutions steady,
'That when he'd give the Sign to rise,
'They'd cut all Bacon's Enemies,
'As small as Meat is minc'd for Pies,
'In Case Will would not, with Submission,
'Put Bacon in a blank Commission:
This said the Letter: Now let's see
How Berkley's blind Credulity,
By the Impostor was rewarded,
As it in Story stands recorded.
Nat having play'd this cunning Trick,
Instead of visiting the Sick,
Before black Messenger rid Post,
(As if the De'el had drove) to th' Host;
To head a factious, stubborn Crew,
(As e're o're Seas for Refuge flew)
Of Servants, Slaves, and Overseers,
At least Five Hundred Mutineers;
That to insult the Government,
(By Bacon's Preincouragement)
At Nat's Approach began to bluster,
And Hurley-burley soon did muster,
Like Tumble-T--ds got in a Cluster.
With these new listed Sons of Plunder,
Nat enter'd Town, to Berkley's Wonder;
Who, when required to make good
His Promise, like a Statue stood:
Nat threatening to give no Quarter,
But burn poor Will like Smithfield Martyr;
Swearing, that if he lost his Aim,
He'd put the City in a Flame.
AT this the House, thro' Fear, divide,
And Berkley's take, or Bacon's Side;
In whose Behalf (to save the Hive)
'Twas carried in th' Affirmative,
'That Nat should General be sent,
'Intestine Quarrels to prevent;'
Who, with his new created Power,
(Extorted in an evil Hour
By Force of Arms) rid from his Dwelling,
Like Oliver, a Colonelling.
First then, he settles Ways and Means,
For proper Posture of Defence;
Then fits his Troops, then makes Drums rattle
For March, to give the Indians Battle.
Now b'ing advanc'd to Out-plantations
Searching for Foes of Indian Nations;
News comes of Berkley's Preparations:
Which puts the Rebels to their Trumps,
And makes them look in doleful Dumps,
Like Withrington, upon his Stumps.
Howe'er the Bully re-advances,
To Midd-Plantation, since by Francis,
Call'd Williamsburg; makes Replication,
To Berkley's second Proclamation:
Then by each other, One and All,
The Rebels swear to stand or fall;
And sign the League, which you may see,
Drawn up at large, in Beverley:
Which put Sir William in a Fright,
Who with his Friends took hasty Flight,
Across the Bay to Accomack;
But thence was quickly hurry'd back,
In Time t'oppose this grand Rebellion:
That's all, this CANTO is to tell y' on.
This CANTO tells of Gov'nor Will
Being routed by Nat Bacon's Skill:
Of Stafford Folks with Treason sullied;
And Glo'ster Men from 'Leigiance bullied:
Here too, you'll find, to make you merry all,
Accounts of Bacon's Death and Burial.
Next I describe t'you Bacon's Army,
You need not fear, they will not harm ye;
Altho' they were (whilst under Nat)
Like Kentish Rebels, led by Watt;
A thoughtless, giddy Multitude,
From Newgate, and from Bridewell spew'd,
As Straw, or Kett, or Wyat, rude,
B'ing Bullies, Ruffians, Debauchees,
Cheats, Gamesters, Pimps, and Raparees.
With these undaunted mean Rascallions
Poor Shabberoon Tatterdemallions;
(The small Remains of those Battalions,)
Nat on the Frontiers turn'd a Drift,
Amongst the Planting Herd to shift;
Through pathless Woods his Way he made,
To turn the Town into Blockade;
Which Berkley, whom the Mob detested,
In Bacon's Absence had invested;
Transporting from the Eastern Shore
(T'augment the Force he had before)
Of Arms and Ammunition Store,
And Men, who fought for ready Pay,
Twelve Pence a Head, for ev'ry Day;
With Plunder of all that had taken
Rebellious Oath to Col'nel Bacon.
Who, on the Banks of Powhatan,
Before th' intended Siege began,
First cramm'd his Army, ev'ry Man,
With Hommony and Pone, and got,
Sufficient Progg for Pan and Pot,
With Drams enough of Aquæ vitæ,
To make his Men like Devils fight ye.
BUT e'er he could the Siege commence,
He needed Trenches for Defence;
Which thus he made: First, out he sent
Some Horse and Foot, with an Intent
To seize the Wives of Loial Party,
And all that were not to him hearty;
These taken, sitting at their Dinners,
They drest with Aprons, Bibbs and Pinners;
And rang'd them on their Works, in View
Of Citadel and Cannon too:
So that no Loialist durst fire,
To make Baconians retire,
Lest, with his Foes, his Wife or Daughter
Might first be slain in common Slaughter.
SO, thus by Petticoats protected,
He rais'd the Works he had projected,
In Order to reduce the Town,
Taking at Night these Life-guards down,
Who trembling, in the Day time stood
Like Virgins bound to Stumps of Wood,
That were ordain'd by Fate's Decree,
To Hydra's Jaws to be a Prey;
As Authors tell us in the Story,
So were these Women, to their Glory,
On Martial Bank oblig'd to stand,
Like Mourning Captives, Hand in Hand;
Leaving behind their Linen Geer,
When Phoebus in his hot Career,
Forsook the Western Hemisphere,
Stuck artificially on Poles,
Which made their Husbands think, poor Souls,
They had done Duty all the Night,
Appearing still dress'd up in White,
To open View, as Sol begun
His Oriential Course to run:
But where they slept, 'tis hard to say,
'Till Phosper usher'd in the Day;
Unless with Nat, a Nap they took
In Tent, as black as Chimney Nook.
Now, having well secur'd his Men,
In Trenches deep (like Pigs in Pen)
He Female Pioneers dismiss'd,
To take their Rambles where they list;
Declaring they had done more Good
For him, whilst on the Ditch they stood,
Then e're their Husbands would perform,
For Berkley, whom he meant to storm.
Who, b'ing inform'd the Fair were got,
Beyond the Reach of Cannon Shot,
Resolves with Bacon not to dally,
But boldly venture on a Sally;
And Storm Nat's Hold, tho' at th' Expence
Of a few Men; to drive him thence.
Besides his mercenary Troops,
Confin'd on Board (like Geese in Coops)
Might get the Scurvy (as he thought)
In Case to Shore they were not brought.
OF these, Will sends a Party strong,
That did to Accomack belong,
Commanded by one Huber Farrell,
More us'd t'attack a Cyder Barrel
Than face a Foe upon old Sorrel.
THE Ships forthwith began to play,
And with their Shot clear Farrell's Way,
By Order of the Governour:
But all in vain, Nat would not stir;
'Till lucky Chance did on him smile,
And render'd fruitless, Huber's Toil:
Who (tho' he had but little Skill)
In's Thoughts did vie with Machiavel:
Wherefore, resolv'd with Nat to cope,
Strutting at Head of Forlorn-hope,
(Sent out to drive Nat from his Trenches,
Well lin'd with Men, and stroling Wenches)
He bids his Bands, in Martial Paces,
By stooping down, to save their Faces
From Shot; (thus Woodcocks hide their Snout,
In Bush, but leave their Bodies out)
When once they saw him this to do,
He order'd them, to do so too.
Then marching on, a Ball from Nat
Laid Farrell on his Belly flat;
Which b'ing observ'd by Farrell's Bands,
They all fall flat upon the Sands,
Thinking he did it, as the Token,
Of what he just before had spoken:
Whereby a Body of Foot Soldiers,
Compos'd of Servants and Freeholders,
That follow'd Farrell in the Rear,
Were forc'd to halt when they drew near;
Which made a Troop of Horse, behind,
Towards the Marsh about to wind,
To see what should be the Occasion
Of unexpected Retardation;
Who looking over tow'rds the Main,
Thought all their Forlorn-hope were slain.
So Wheeling suddenly about,
They put their own Reserves to th' Rout;
Which made them all retire for Shelter,
In great Confusion, Helter-skelter,
Excepting such as Bacon's Shot
Imbargo'd dead upon the Spot,
And One or Two that in Retreat
Were trod i'th' Water under Feet.
HAD Nat now follow'd them to Town,
No Doubt the Day had been his own;
When Cowards (brought from Accomack)
With Threats came out, with Fears ran back.
But Bacon thought his Forces were
Inferior to Will's Numbers far;
Which made him not pursue the Rabble,
And get so little in this Squabble:
In which Encounter some were wounded,
And Eight or Ten were kill'd or drowned.
Whereas each Man of Bacon's Party,
Were still alive, and brisk and hearty.
Next Day, the Gen'ral was reliev'd,
With Reinforcements he receiv'd,
(Under Command of Major Whaley,
Who had assisted Bacon daily)
With Pieces Three of heavy Cannon,
As good as e'er flung Shot o'er Shannon;
Which Bacon mounted on the Trench,
In Order soon the Siege to clench;
And try, with this his fresh Assistance,
To drive the Ships to greater Distance;
Which (tho' as yet they'd done no Harm)
Might Neighbours prove, for him too warm.
The Governor, at this sad News,
Did soon resolve, no Time to loose;
But, summoning both Old and Young,
He strait perswades the trembling Throng,
Like Men, to save themselves, retreating,
And not (like Dogs) run Risque of Beating.
So, Bag and Baggage, they by Night
To Accomack again take Flight.
The Birds b'ing fled, Nat thought it best,
In Ashes to consume their Nest:
So, soon as Will with Gang retir'd,
In Brutish Rage. the Town he fir'd.
Then, that he might Examples make,
Of all that Berkley's Side shou'd take,
To shew that he would prove impartial,
He calls together a Court Martial,
Condemns and shoots, before departing,
A poor Lieutenant, for Deserting,
Who fought for Berkley; tho' he'd taken
The Oaths before to Col'nel Bacon.
Thus, having Berkley put to Rout,
For Green-Spring next he fac'd about.
Thence, with his Army, into Glo'ster,
At Tindall's-Point he boldly cross'd, Sir:
Where Bacon scarce Two Days had staid,
At Co'nel Warner's (as 'tis said)
Before a Letter, by a Post,
(Which did not much disturb his Host)
Informs him that one Col'nel Brent
Had left Pattowmack, with Intent
In Will's Behalf to give Nat Battle,
And make his Bones in's skin to rattle,
With Men, a Thousand and Two Hundred,
As nimble Rogues as ever plunder'd,
(Staffordians, Indians, and new Negroes)
Destruction threat'ning to Beseigers.
Surpris'd hereat, as well he might,
Not having Men such Odds to fight,
To Camp Nat comes, in mighty Heat,
Commanding first his Drums to beat.
Then to his Soldiers, in close Order,
Now under Colours, (like Recorder)
He ope's the Letter, Gutheridge sent,
And pumps, to find his Soldiers Bent,
Pretending Love to Government,
And King, and Country, tho' rebellious:
(Thus did old Noll, and Rumpish Fellows.)
Then Soldiers swear, by all the Gods,
They'd fight Brent's Men, at Tripple Odds,
And under Nat wou'd singe their Codds.
From thence to Gloster Courthouse strait,
In Rank and File they march'd; where Fate
Decreed the Fields should be their Quarters
That Night; but as they were true Starters,
For Col'nel Smith's, near Purton, they
Began their March at Break of Day;
Where News was brought, by quick Express,
That Brent was left in great Distress,
His Men intending to desert,
And (most) to take the Traytor's Part,
Consid'ring should they follow Brent,
They might perhaps too late repent,
The Day they Bacon-hunting went.
Thus Cowards of a tim'rous Heart,
At their own Shadows often start,
Quit those that most in them confide,
And basely take the strongest Side.
So they, that most to Brent pretend,
I'th' Lurch do leave him in the End,
Adoring here the Rising Sun,
As in the East, they say, 'tis done.
These happy Tidings brought to Bacon,
Who by the Ear wrong Sow had taken,
Did providentially prevent
A bloody War 'twixt him and Brent.
Now Nat to'th' Court-house does repair,
To meet the Gloster Gentry there,
According to his Invitation,
Not for the Sake of Recreation,
But to seduce them to his Measures,
And gain their helping Hand and Treasures,
Which always chiefest Sinews are
Alike, of just and unjust War.
Who mounting Steeds, the Hero met,
On Propositions vile to treat,
Whom Nat with Flat'ry and Caresses,
With artful Rhetorick Addresses:
He tells them, smiling, Cap in Hand,
'That he from Friends did understand,
'They ne'er had sign'd the Covenant,
Then says, 'He hopes they will partake on,
'The common Cause, with Patriot Bacon'.
To which the Gentlemen reply'd,
'They would not join with either Side;
'For as they could not take the Oath,
'So to oppose him they were loath'.
TO which the Gen'ral sternly said,
'They would be damn'd (he was afraid)
'With basest Villains, who expected
'The just Man's Peace, but Works neglected.'
At this a certain Officer,
Apply'd to's Honour, saying, Sir,
'You've spoke to'th' Horse but not the Foot,
''Tis ten to one, but they will do't'.
Quoth Nat, 'You miss my Speech's Force,
'I spoke to th' Men, and not the Horse,
'Though 'twas scarce worth my whil t' harangue 'em,
'They're such obdurate Rascals, hang 'em;
'Pray you go speak t'your Brother Creatures,
'Asses best know the Horses Natures'.
However, at a second Meeting,
At Warner's House, for farther Treating,
The Gloster Men, th' Engagement sign'd,
And willingly with Bacon joyn'd.
Mean-while there came a Letter o're,
Inviting Nat to th' Eastern Shore;
Humbly requesting, 'That he wou'd,
'Come there, to rescue Publick Good,
'From Governor, who seiz'd Provision,
'With Horses, Men, and Ammunition,
'And would not pay late Expedition;
'When they at James-Town ran away,
'Fighting, per Poll, Twelve Pence a Day;
'Which Eastern Shore Men did not like,
'And made them take 'gainst Will a Pique;
'Pray Bacon's Party to assist 'em;
'For if they'd come, none shou'd resist 'em.
The Letter too, 'In Bacon's Power,
'Propos'd to put the Governour,
'And of his Loial Party three,
'Ludwell, and Cole, and Beverly':
Which Friends the Gov'nor most respected,
His Cause by them b'ing most protected:
So probably to human Thinking,
Berkleyan Intr'est was just Sinking:
But Providence now interven'd,
And to Nat's Life, soon put an End;
Who on a sudden being pent
By dang'rous Illness up, intent,
One Bremington, 'gainst Indian sent;
Intending when he did recover,
To Eastern Shore to hurry over.
On these Designs was Bacon harping,
At Berkley's Conduct often carping;
When Death at's Chamber door came rapping,
As Moss caught Mare, took Bacon napping.
But e're he was by Death arrested,
With his Commission he invested,
One Johnson (alias) call'd Ingram,
To head the Rebellious Army (trinctram
As Richard Cromwell, wise and brave,
Like Quixot's Sancho, Fool and Knave.
BUT Hero now confin'd to Bed, Sir,
By Flux and Fever (as 'tis said, Sir)
By Lice was eaten up alive,
That crawl'd thro's Skin (as Bees from Hive)
From Maggots hatched in hot Brain,
Where Passage out they sought in vain,
Thro' brazen Front; so down they went,
And through his Pores sound easy vent;
Where marching out in num'rous Armies,
They seiz'd 'Squire Bacon, vi & Armis;
So Vermin slew this Publick Evil,
That fear'd not GOD, nor Man, nor Devil.
THE Gen'ral thus (as Herring dead)
Was wrapt in Winding Sheet of Leed,
And sunk into an Arm o'th' Ocean,
Because his fearful Friends had Notion,
That if his Carcass should be found,
By adverse Party under Ground,
To rot on Gibbet, Bones of Nat,
Like Bones of Noll would have the Fate:
So they secur'd them in the Water,
From Foes, Indignities, and Laughter.
SATAN of old, possessing Swine,
Pickled his Pork in Neptune's Brine;
In which sad Pickle for his Kitchins,
'Tis fear'd he 'as sows'd poor Bacon's Flitchins.
He died o'th' Murrain (that is true)
Tho' Carron, yet De'll takes his Due:
At smallest Game, he'll take a Bout,
Rather than unconcern'd stand out:
Thus when he had no Fish to fry,
How Pork would do, he long'd to try.
He driving Hogs, need run, ('tis said)
Tho' brought to Market ne'er so bad.
Now tho' the Creepers spoilt their Bacon,
For which at first, they sadly take on;
Yet Bacon's Friends (I say't in Jest)
Of their bad Market, made the best,
Which brought their Minds some little Rest:
For tho' they could not save their Bacon,
They sav'd his Bones from being taken.
Who's born for Hanging (Proverb says)
Ne'er needs fear Drowning in the Seas;
So, vice versa, 'stead of Tree,
The Fates ordain'd Nat to the Sea;
Who justly merited the Halter,
But nought the Fates Decrees will alter;
Tho' t'had been better, had he swung,
Such Bacon being best well hung.
But, now beneath the restless Billow,
He rests, who ne'er had Rest on Pillow.
The Year that Nat set Sail for Styx,
Was Sixteen Hundred Sev'enty Six,
I'th Month October, the 18th Day:
So I've no more of him to say.
This CANTO shews, how Will came o're,
To chase the Male-Contents, once more:
Who, under Ingram (as their Head)
Were to deserv'd Destruction led:
'Till at the last, these Rebels fell,
And that is all I have to tell.
The News, that Bacon was departed,
Made Berkley once again light-hearted.
But, tho' Nat's dead, yet sad Distraction,
Springs from the Root of Bacon's Faction:
The Rebels for the good old Cause,
Persist 'gainst Governour and Laws,
Who Might and Main, intended still,
With bloody Rods, to Whip poor Will,
By Fighting under Ingram's Banners,
And Whaley's; whose rebellious Manners,
(Like Lambert and like Fleetwood bold)
Provok'd Sir William, now grown old,
To try if he could stem the Tide,
Of Treason, and ambitious Pride,
That like a sudden Inundation,
Had drove him from his Habitation.
HE then conceiv'd, the surest Way
To quash the Rebels o're the Bay,
Was now to strike, whilst Iron's hot,
And so make Traytors go to Pot;
Before they could their Courage rally,
So now he thought not fit to dally.
Thus, at Noll's Death (as Stories tell us)
Will dockt the Rump of the Rebellious;
Of civil Wars, first clipt the Pinions,
Proclaiming Charles in his Dominions.
FOR of VIRGINIAN Territory,
'Tis said to their immortal Glory,
This Antient Colony most Loial,
Stuck longest firm to Party Royal;
And having last 'gainst Cromwell stood,
Did first restore the Common Good;
Being of all the English reckon'd,
The First that dare own CHARLES the Second.
ALL this was done (as we are told)
Under Sir William, Wise and Bold;
Who now to save his youthful Praise,
In his declining aged Days,
Did bravely rouse his drooping Sprits,
And (to augment his former Merits)
For Good of King and Colony,
Resolves to Conquer, or to Dye.
The Scene thus chang'd, it was not long
Before he sent a Party strong,
In Sloop or Shallop (which you please)
From Accomack, Nat's Friends to seize;
That on York-Banks, the Coast to guard,
At Auborn's House kept Watch and Ward:
Where Col'nel Hansford, with some others,
Who, in Rebellion, were sworn Brothers;
Was after some Resistance made,
By Auborn's wanton Wife betray'd;
And thence across the Bay convey'd,
And hang'd at Accomack, 'tis said.
This Expedition being over,
Will (who with Friends did live in Clover)
Of whom the Mob did vilely talk,
Resolv'd the Matter not to baulk:
And so Embarks without Delay,
Then for York-River plows the Bay.
Where having Wind, which prov'd a Flanker,
At Tindall's Point he soon cast Anchor:
From whence, he sends forth Men Six Score,
Bold hardy Soldiers (less or more)
Marching in Ranks, of diff'rent Size,
Few Scatterlopers to surprise,
Of Male-contents, and beardless Boys,
That scarce had left their childish Toys;
Who at a House not far from thence,
In Arms were muster'd, on Pretence
Of standing in their own Defence;
Commanded by th'aforesaid Whaley,
As great a Rogue, as Water Baily.
But, lest his Soldiers should prove tardy,
He sent some Friends, both bold and hardy,
(As faithful Ludwell,) with Intent,
To give the more Encouragement;
Lest Hubert, who Commander went,
Should sail again in his Descent;
Who of the Wound, was now quite well,
He got, when he at James-Town sell.
These now at Piny-point safe landed
By Hu (as said before) commanded;
Their Heads do first together lay,
To study out the safest Way,
Without much Loss, to win the Day;
On which they did not long consult,
Before they came to this Result,
That is: If Centry should demand
Who's there, or order them to stand,
To seize and gagg him; then Pell-mell,
To enter into Rebels Cell;
Which had no Barricades by Chance,
So they the easier might advance,
And take the House in Dusk of Night,
Without the Risque of bloody Fight.
But, pray behold the bad Conclusion,
Of this well grounded Resolution:
For 'stead of this to Centry's Call,
They made Reply with Musquet Ball.
So they by Centry were betray'd,
Who, when they Shot, loud Hollw'ing made,
To give Alarm to those i'th' House,
Who scarce awake, half drunk soon rouse
To Arms, and headlong fal'ing out,
Put Farrell and his Men to Rout;
Who dropping instantly a Stern,
Secur'd themselves behind a Barn,
To which i'th' Dark, they quickly got,
To screen themselves from Rebels Shot:
Where long they pelted at each other,
Tho' none was kill'd in all this Pother,
Excepting Hubert, who i'th' Chase,
Fell once again upon his Face;
When pop came Ball, from Musquet Barrel,
That thro' the Back shot Hubert Farrell.
Thus stoutest Braggadochio must
At last lay's Honour in the Dust:
So Pitcher now, you see is broke,
At James Town crack'd, by Random Stroke
From Nat; as I before have spoke.
His Men observing him to fall,
Not by the Sword, as did King Saul,
Aboard their Vessel, hast in Hurry,
T' avoid the Danger of the Florry;
Thro' thick and thin, thro' Mire and Sands,
One Pair of Heels, worth Two of Hands;
Happy the Man, that first can get
To Shallop, tho' like drown'd Rat wet,
Higgledy Piggledy Malpas shot,
Heels over Heads, away they trot,
'Till safe unto their Boat they got:
Ev'n those that others Legs did use,
In getting out (to save their Shoes)
Run on their own Legs now, to choose.
When Hubert's miss'd, streight four or five,
Resolve to find him dead or' live,
Who for their Valour dearly paid,
Being by Whaley Pris'ner made.
NOW, though Sir William lost the Day,
By Hubert basely giv'n away;
Yet Gloster Men, full Thirty Score,
With Middlesexians many more,
B'ing rais'd, he's brisker than before.
But, see the Turns of Fate; for soon,
His Matters go but badly on;
For Ingram had no sooner heard
That all this Force for Will appear'd,
But streight he sent Lieutenant Walkett,
To Middlesex, to try to baulk it;
Who march'd with thirty able Horse,
The choicest of the Rebels Force;
And kept the Fort from Major Smith,
A Friend of Berkley's (spight of's Teeth)
For all he had Five Hundred Men,
So Smith soon marches back again
To Dwelling House of Mr. Pate,
Where Matters were in dismal State.
For, Ingram having Information,
That Smith had left Pate's Habitation,
Whips in between the House and Major,
And swore like Tinker in his Rage, Sir;
'That'less the Garr'son would surrender
'On Terms that he should please to tender,
'He'd Shoot, or Burn, or Hang, or Kill,
'Each Person that declar'd for Will':
Which naughty Words, of wicked Whoreson,
Did so affright poor Captain Parson,
Whom Smith had left to guard the House,
(In Peace a Man, in War a Mouse)
That, not accustom'd to such Sport,
He forthwith gives him up the Fort,
Resolving now to mind his Church,
And ne'er more leave her in the Lurch;
But stick to's Text, and mind his Book,
Since Mars had such a dismal Look;
Ne'er fight again, with temp'ral Sword,
But fight the Battle of the Lord;
And never use a Sword at all,
Besides the Sword that's spirit'al.
INGRAM, obtaining this Rendition,
Found Store of Arms and Ammunition,
With Provender for Man and Beast,
Which was laid in for Captain Priest:
On which he feasts, yet had the Sense
To keep in Posture of Defence;
Lest Major Smith should in the Centre,
Of all his Jollity re-enter;
And spoil his Stomach, by insisting
On Satisfaction, for such Twisting
Of Ducks and Capons (well worth praising)
And Roasters not of his own raising.
SMITH, like a Lion to his Den,
Was now return'd, to Pate's again;
Where much against his Expectation,
He Ingram found in Warlike Station,
Which prov'd to him a sad Vexation:
It made him Mad; but yet not quite
Enough to make him Ingram Fight;
Having more Wit in this his Anger,
Than to fall foul on this great Stranger.
Whilst Ingram, on the other Hand,
Did but on Part Defensive stand.
Each fear'd the Dance first to begin,
So Curs at one another grin.
Thus they continue Scolding, Bawling,
Like Cats in Cockloft Caterwawling:
Tho' some o'th' Rebels were for Blows,
Being half starv'd, for want of Cloaths,
Who env'ing Spruce Berkleian's Bravery,
Long'd for their Cloaths, to cloak their Knavery;
Whilst other Ingramites thought best,
Tho' naked, in whole Skins to rest;
Who on the Belly fully bent,
With Meat and Drink were well content.
But now lets us take a Turn, and see
How Major Smith, and's Men agree.
He and some more Glocestrian Gentry,
Were into Pate's for forcing Entry;
Who bold and zealous were for Battle,
To Life or Limb tho' ne'er so fatal.
Others (by far the better Christians)
Wanted Retreat to greater Distance;
Who thought to spill Man's Blood was heinous;
Saying, the Guilt of Blood sha'nt stain us.
A middle Sort, I now must mention,
That had a kind of mixt Intention;
Who wisely minded, that there are
Most bloody Accidents in War;
But that on t'other Hand to fly,
Would brand them with black Infamy.
This Sort propose Capitulation,
To save their Lives and Reputation.
In this Tripartite Strife, at last
The light heel'd Gentry t'others cast.
Then each Man down his Arms does lay,
And wing'd with Fear, all run away;
Who, tho' they save their Hides and Cloaths,
Yet thus their Arms and Honour lose;
Nay spoil their Coat, with Blot of Coward,
Saith Herauld, under Marshal Howard.
Like harmless Lambs, they're now become,
Who bluster'd at first Noise of Drum,
And roar'd like Phalaris's Bull,
With Rage and windy Courage full,
A mighty Cry, but little Wool.
Like Lewis, Smith with many Men
March'd out, and then run back again.
NOW comes the Trick of Captain Grantham,
Which some think base; but I think handsome:
He long had traded in the Parts,
Knew Planters Tempers and their Hearts;
And had great Infl'ence far and near,
Either for Int'rest, Love, or Fear;
As many worthy Traders have,
Who in their Hands still keep the Staff;
By keeping Planters Egg in Nest,
Pray don't be Mad, 'tis but a Jest.
This Captain, cut out for the Work,
I'th Nick of Time arriv'd in York;
And privately on Will attending,
Got Management o'th Cause depending;
For Will and he together lay
Their Heads, the Traytors to betray.
When under Rose, they had agreed,
To Ingram, Grantham goes with Speed,
To try what could be done by Skill,
Since Arms had fail'd i'th Cause of Will.
GRANTHAM, a nat'ral Rhetorician,
A Merchant, Tar, and Politician,
Did try with Words, as smooth as Oil,
If he could stubborn Ingram foil,
And Walkett, both to Reason bring;
'Who taking Arms against the King,
'Had Lives and Fortunes forfeited,
'And were in Law already dead:
'As Grantham told them; adding further,
'He really thought it wilful Murder
'To kill poor Subjects, on Pretence
'Of standing in their own Defence;
'Which could not be, since (as he heard)
'They by Nat's Compass blindly steer'd;
'So if their Course they would not alter,
'They'd soon be moar'd to Tree, by Halter:
'So begg'd them well to weigh the Case,
'And Mercy by all Means embrace,
'Whilst certain Mercy could be found,
'Before the Men of War struck Ground,
'With Men 'tixt Decks, and Arms i'th Hold,
'Chuck-full, like Grecian Horse of Old'.
Thus he advis'd them to submit
To Government, if they thought fit.
AT this, they both began to look
As if they had been Thunder-struck,
Which Sligo saw; and then said he,
'Since you dead-hearted seem to be,
'I will with Berkley stand your Friend,
'Who to request may condescend,
'(Perhaps) a piteous Ear to lend:
'If you surrender to his Mercy,
'He'll pardon (I believe by Hear-say
'Besides, some Time with him I spent,
'Before I last to England went;
'And then to me he seem'd inclin'd
'To be compassionate and kind:
'So knowing him, and knowing you,
'I'll tell you what you'd best to do;
'And if you'll do as I wou'd have you,
'I dare believe, that I can save you'.
This friendly cordial Advice,
Made both the Wolves, as quank as Mice;
Both condescending for to take
The Terms that he should for them make:
The Terms agreed, he does propose
That they their Minds must not disclose,
Nor let their Army know what he
With both their Honours did agree;
But in their Noddles private keep all,
'Till he had fathomed the People.
THIS done, the Captain tacks about,
And next address'd the Rebel-Rout;
But with these Folks, sly Grantham found
That he should gain but little Ground,
Unless with Wheedles he could nick 'em,
And so into a Halter trick 'em;
Well knowing that he had to do
With Runaways and Freemen too.
At length he saith; 'Good Gentlemen,
'You know, that I long Time have been
'A Trader here, where I have got
'A deal to help to boil my Pot;
'But now (I tell you to my Cost)
'My Trade is likely to be lost,
'Whilst you bear Arms in this your Post;
'Poor Crops are made, Tobacco low;
'What I shall do, I do not know,
'For whilst you here are nothing doing,
'Merchant and Planter run to Ruin;
'You have been all, saith he (good Sirs)
'My Friends, Acquaintance, Customers;
'And often have had Room to try
'My Kindness to the Colony;
'B'ing bound in Interest and Honour,
'To love and value such a Donor;
'But you 'bove all (and then he swore)
'Who have been Dealers at my Store:
'Excuse me therefore, if I be
'For your own Good, too frank and free:
'I left a Fleet moar'd in the Downs,
'Freighted with Redcoats, Bloody Hounds!
'That CHARLES has sent to aid Sir William,
'To seize the Rebels, and to kill 'em.
At this they glibly swallow Bait,
And for Advice impatient wait;
Which they request, that he would give 'em,
And at this ticklish Point relieve 'em.
He soon reply'd, 'I'll go and try,
To sound Sir William, by and by;
'I dare believe his Heart is tender:
'And he'll forgive, if you surrender
'On Terms like these: As first suppose,
'There was Indemnity for those
'That Freemen are and good Freeholders;
'And then for all the listed Soldiers,
'Suppose for them I get their Pay,
'And get the Servants freed, what say y'?
To this they soon unan'mously
With Thanks and Joy did all agree:
But yet before with them he parted,
Thinking the Gen'rals hollow-hearted,
He bid them not let Ingram know
What they had thus contriv'd to do;
Lest he and Walkett should prevent,
What was their Int'rest and Intent.
This done, they parted, Grantham went
Down to his Ship, they to the Tent.
BUT 'twas not long e're Grantham brought
The Pardon, which the Rebels sought;
Which being drawn in ample Manner,
Induc'd them soon to strick their Banner.
Next Day a board a Sloop they'r stow'd,
And down to Tindal's-point are tow'd,
Their Arms b'ing first secur'd with Care,
Lest they should still persist in War.
Oh how Will treats them with good Cheer!
With Pork, and Beef, and Drams, and Beer.
Then after mutal Compliment,
Each to their Habitation went.
WITH joyful Hearts the Planters set
To Work, with Ax and Hough, to get
Their Bread, which each had often wanted,
Since last they'd Corn and 'Tatoes planted;
Resolving never more to enter,
Nor Corps in civil Wars to venture.
Now Readers you must understand,
You are arriv'd in Sight of Land;
As said Diogenes of old,
When One a tedious Story told.
For finding the Conclusion near,
There's Land (saith he) brave Boys! don't fear.
Thus you may know by this Allusion,
My Story's almost at Conclusion.
FOR now Sir William's got ashore,
And safe arriv'd at Home once more,
His House by Friends b'ing now retaken
From Garrison, put there by Bacon:
Whence Goods and Prog were took, but Drummond
And poor French Valet, paid for some on't,
Who almost starv'd and famish'd found,
Were soon truss'd up, Twelve Foot from Ground.
And now each Party seem'd at Ease,
Supposing nought could break their Peace,
When Council and Assembly thought,
That some o'th archest Rebels ought,
By Death to make some Satisfaction,
For all the Ills of late Distraction,
To frighten Folks from trayt'rous Action.
THEN here and there did Rebel swing,
On Limbs of Trees, like Dogs in String.
To put the Saddle on right Horse,
The vilest hangs in Chains in Course;
So 'Tony Arnold, who kept Ferry,
Was thus prefer'd to Charon's Wherry.
Thus oft the Villains Offspring find
Just Vengeance, when a like inclin'd
To do the same, as Dad had done,
And into Punishment will run.
MAY all such Rebels to the State,
For Arnold's Crimes have Arnold's Fate,
Which basest Rebel did attone,
For Hundreds, who less Harm had done.
Now, having told o'th' greatest Villain,
You can't expect me to go still on;
And other Rebels Names bespatter,
So Mum's the Word about this Matter.
I've said enough, I really think;
The more 'tis stir'd, the more 'twill stink.
SO much for Hanging and for Killing,
Enough (I hope) for half Five Shillings;
For I've no more of this to tell.
Comments about The History Of Colonel Nathaniel Bacon's Rebellion In Virginia by Benjamin Colman
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