« PreviousContinue »
blue frock-coat. When within about a sword's length, they reined up and halted. Colonel Wilkinson then named the gentlemen, and General Burgoyne raising his hat gracefully, said, 'The fortune of war, General Gates, has made me your prisoner.' The victor promptly replied, 'I shall always be ready to bear testimony that it has not been through any fault of your excellency. The other officers were introduced in turn, and the whole party repaired to Gates's headquarters, where a sumptuous dinner was served. After dinner the American army was drawn up in parallel lines on each side of the road, extending nearly a mile. Between these victorious troops the British army, with light infantry in front, and escorted by a company of light dragoons, preceded by two mounted officers bearing the American flag, marched to the lively tune of Yankee Doodle.”
The foregoing gives an idea of the Yankee Doodle of the Revolution, which continued without material change, or addition to the number of songs, until the French war cloud arose in 1798, when the sentiment of Yankee Doodle became changed to suit the times.
“In this year, Washington was again awakened from his sweet dream of peace in his home on the Potomac, by the call of his country to lend to it once more his voice and his arm.
There were signs of war in the political firmament. France, once the ally of the United States, assumed the attitude of an enemy. The king and queen of that unhappy country had been murdered at the command of a popular tribunal. Out of the anarchy that ensued had been evolved a government in which supreme power was vested in five men called a Directory.”
“The French Directory assumed a tone of incomparable insolence, and the American representatives in Paris were insulted. Three judicious men had been sent to adjust all difficulties with the French government. They were refused an audience with the Directory, unless they would agree to pay a large sum into the French treasury.
“Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute,' said Charles Coatsworth Pinckney, one of the American Envoys; and he and John Marshall, another of the envoys, were ordered out of the country.”
Almost three quarters of a century has rolled away since these
words were uttered to the insolent Directory of France, and though, to perpetuate their memory, we often see a copper coin stamped, “Not one cent,” yet the history of Mr. Pinckney's laconic speech has almost been forgotten in America. In these latter days we have not frequently seen those words on our banners and transparencies in processions ; nor have we but once seen them "paraphrased” or “played upon” like other words in the same category.
It was not until the beginning of our present troubles in the United States, when “Yankee Doodle” was at a discount, and "Hail Columbia” under a temporary obscuration, that a certain politician forsook the flag of his country in a certain dark hour of its history; and though he did not throw stones at the flag himself, yet, like Saul of Tarsus, he stood by and held the garments of those who did. But when the flag in this politician's locality began to show signs of life once more, and stream majestically from numerous poles around him, he ignored all stoning parties, offered himself as a candidate for sheriff, hitched up “Old Fig” to his wagon, and conveyed wagon loads of his peers to the convention to nominate him.
The opponent of this would-be sheriff meeting him in the road with his wagon-load of nominating patriots, and referring to Mr. Pinckney's short speech in France and to a certain hour when the flag of his country was about to suffer martyrdom, he proclaimed in the ears of “Old Fig's” living load, and the candidate for sheriff'Wagon loads for sheriff, but not one man for his country !"
The following is a specimen of the Yankee Doodle of 1798:
There's Ichabod is come to town from Philadelphy city;
to fit yel He's been among the peoplish folks, and vows them rotlen clever. They talk so cute and crack sich jokes, that make you stare for
Yankee doodle, doodle, do,
Our tried old chief is coming forth again to lead and save us,
us; Our nation's boast-his name is host: let foes and traitors fear
Be Washington each patriot's toast, then rise to lail and cheer him.
Yankee duodle, doodle, do,
Yankee doodle, be divine,
The Yankee Doodle of the Revolution, and of 1798, were also the Yankee Doodle of the war of 1812. No change having taken place except in the marine department of the United States, and this was as follows:
Yankee land is Liberty,
But Geo. P. MORRIS, Esq., our lyric poet, has recently immortalized the Yankee Doodle of all ages, by the following pleasing song, adapted to the air :
Once on a time old Jonny Bull flew in a raging fury,
Yankee doodle—these are facts-Yankee doodle dandy;
John sent the tea from o'er the sea, with heavy duties rated;
A long war then they had, in which John was at last defeated,
I've told you now the origin of this most lively ditty,
Mount Vernon in '97— Aunt Phillis— Billy Lee- The Turkey Driver
Belated— Old Tige, the Hound—“What dat hit me
It was now about four o'clock at Mount Vernon on a calm, warm evening in August, 1797. The dinner dishes had been “washed up," and the servants began to visit each other, as was the custom, until it was time to return and “put on" the melodious tea-kettle.
Seated on the steps of Aunt Phillis's cottage, was Billy Lee, the venerable body-servant of the chief, with broad straw hat, styled a “continental beaver," in hand, ever and anon striking at the flies, and putting a host to flight. Aunt Dolly had been on a visit to Aunt Phillis, both for business and an evening chat. Conversation between Billy and Aunt Phillis hail “fagged ;” the grating knitting needle, with the hum of the host of flies, was all that disturbed repose ; and the old lady began to nod over her knitting, and Billy fell into a sound sleep. Their repose remained undisturbed until the slow degrees of motion had brought the hour hand nearly down to six, and the lofty fir trees had cast their sombre shadows far across the lawn.
Aunt Phillis was the kind mother of several sprightly boys; and
"In the clear heaven of her parental eye,