|Dialogue Between Cuffee and his Master
From the MASSACHUSETTS SPY
Republished in The Providence Gazette and Country Journal
DIALOGUE between CUFFEE and his Master
Saturday, December 26, 1772, Vol. XI, No. 468, page 3, column 1.
Well Cuffee ! What’s the world about?
Your master’s sick – no stirring out
Confined a week and not a friend
Vouchsafes a single hour to spend.
The gout indeed’s no social creature
Stand off you whelp – behold these feet here.
I’m sorry masser! – People say
De ship be going all away;
De Newport folks, I’m berry sorry,
Are what d’ye call them—no! no tory ;
They burn a Cooner, flog the men,
And den go hide demself agen.
King George say guy! Now what de matter
Dat all my sailors no go get her?
And so he send de Admiral word
To get he people all aboard,
And go and nab ‘em, if he can,
And den he’ll hang ‘em ebery man:
The sojer too be going dere,
And leave poor cassel very bare.
Cuffee no cry, but glad to see
Dat Bosson will once more be free.
Strange news, indeed; do they suppose
These people dread such puny foes?
That they shall seize with vulture claws,
The patrons of the public cause?
Are they secure, so small, so few,
T’is but to go, to see, subdue?
Those hardy sons are apt to flame,
Encourage schooners scarce will tame:
The soldiers are a scanty band,
To cope with heroes hand in hand:
But should they seize the destined few,
What can they say? What would they do?
The people rise, and aids from far,
Will rush to join the sacred war:
Brothers for Brothers sure will fight,
For common safety—common right.
Will heav’n consent the troops once more
Shall stain the streets with native gore?
For every drop, thus vilely shed,
I’d gladly count a soldier dead.
Hand me my shoes, I’ve lost my pain,
My gout is cured—I’m well again.
- One interpretation of this colorful piece is
that the Master is a well-to-do, elderly Bostonian with patriotic
leanings who writes the part of Cuffee in the vernacular of his lowly,
but informed black slave.
- Vouchsafe is an archaic synonym for "to offer".
- Fort Castle (William), in the midst of
Boston Harbor, was used as a garrison for the soldiers of British
General Gage. In January, 1773 they had been tasked to be
available to march to Newport to support and protect the Royal Court on
Inquiry into the burning of the Gaspee the previous June.
The only soldiers at this time were the British, the American militias
were not considered professional soldiers in 1772.
The writer seems to be begging for a fight and willing to start a war over the rights of Colonists as expressed in 1772