We certainly are at present living through interesting times! As I; and I’m sure a lot of you as well, find ourselves confined to quarters I’m chastened by the lack of campfire camaraderie that living history events afford The Society.
We are a very social group and a great part of that is at the end of the day when public at large away, the daylight shrugs off its unending task, dusk dutifully ushers in nightfall and the allure of the campfire draws the members like moths to… well… to a literal flame!
For it is usually then with full bellies and charged bumpers/tankards we barrack ourselves about and in good cheer and bawdy spirits often coerce one another into chantey (although it’s fair to say anybody unfortunate enough to be in earshot might well describe it is a caterwaul).
Now, as you will be aware the portrayals undertaken by The Society centre around the Queens Rangers, indeed if I were to discuss music and vague attempts at singing you would rightly assume I would take aim at (pun truly intended) “The Rebels” which is considered the regimental song. And for this entry I will – if only not to disappoint! That said I have taken the time to pen several other entries dedicated to our dirge-esque warbling attempts which I will publish in due course.
The words were penned by Capt. John Ferdinand Dalziel Smyth of the Queen’s Rangers the year after John Graves Simcoe had assumed command. Originally published in the Pennsylvania Ledger, 1778 the words mirror the accounts given within both his journal and that of Lieut-Col. John Connolly and suggest causal belief based on experiences rather than bombast or empty rhetoric for the sake of song. These angry, sarcastic lyrics are some of the most emotional left behind by the Loyal Americans and perhaps no song written during the American War of Independence better illustrates the Loyalist point of view.
Special credit to the American historian Christopher New for rediscovering the above song; of course this was before the advent of drives to make such information publicly available through wholesale digitisation and proliferation across the web making his efforts highly laudable.