Skip to content

General Joseph Reed.

March 26, 2010

Or, The Incorruptible Patriot.

Governor Johnstone is said to have offered Gen. Joseph Reed £10,000 sterling if he would try to re-unite the colonies to the mother country. Said he. “I am not worth purchasing; but, such as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to buy me.”

—Rev. Edward C. Jones.

I SPURN your gilded bait, oh, King, my faith you cannot buy;
Go, tamper with some craven heart, and dream of victory;
My honor never shall be dimmed by taking such a bribe;
The honest man can look above the mercenary tribe.
 
Carlisle and Eden may consort to bring about a peace;
Our year of Jubilee will be the year of our release.
Until your fleets and armies are all remanded back,
Freedom’s avenging angel will keep upon your track.
 
What said our noble Laurens? What answer did he make?
Did he accept your overtures, and thus our cause forsake?
No! as his country’s mouth-piece, he spoke the burning words,
“Off with Conciliation’s terms—the battle is the Lord’s!”
 
Are ye afraid of Bourbon’s house? And do ye now despair,
Because to shield the perishing the arm of France is bare?
That treaty of alliance, which makes a double strife,
Has, like the sun, but warmed afresh your viper brood to life.
 
And art thou, Johnstone, art thou, pray, upon this mission sent,
To keep at distance, by thy craft, the throne’s dismemberment?
Dismemberment!—ah, come it must, for union is a sin,
When parents’ hands the furnace heat, and thrust the children in.
 
Why, English hearts there are at home, that pulsate with our own.
Voices beyond Atlantic’s waves send forth a loving tone;
Within the Cabinet are men who would not otter gold,
To see our country’s liberty, like chattel, bought and sold.
 
You say that office shall be mine, if I the traitor play;
Can office ever compensate for honesty’s decay?
Ten thousand pounds! ten thousand pounds! Shall I an Esau prove,
And for a mess of pottage sell the heritage I love?
 
If you can blot out Bunker Hill, or Brandywine ignore,
Or Valley Forge annihilate, and wipe away its gore;
If you can make the orphans’ tears forget to plead with God.
Then may you find a patriot’s soul that owns a monarch’s nod.
 
The King of England cannot buy the faith which fills my heart;
My truth and virtue cannot stand in Traffic’s servile man;
For till your fleets and armies are all remanded back,
Freedom’s avenging angel will keep upon your track.

 

Advertisements

Comments are closed.