GaspeeVirtual Archives
The Burning of the Gaspee
By Karen Girouard

Great events in history /Are moments seized, not planned

Spontaneous opportunities / Challenge the will of man
A conflict pitted colonists / Against a monarchy
The British crown determined / To control economies
For many years, were left alone / To build, prosper and farm
In times of hardship, obstacles / The English lost her charm
Great Britain had to pay its debts /Across oceans and seas
Infringing on their colonists’ / Civil liberties
When needing cash for mounting debt / Incurred because of wars
Taxed items of necessity / Forced merchants to endure
But principles and instincts live / In spirits, minds and hearts
When faced with new, strict policies / Rebellion found its start
Soon everything was taxed upon / Molasses, stamps and tea
The schooners patrolled local waters / Regulating seas
Between the French and Indian War /And Revolution years
Much money came from trading / Goods and slaves from profiteers
Custom officials were corrupt / Showed favor and took bribes
Harassed merchants, seized untaxed goods /The rum used to imbibe
Some years before, two boats were burned / By local men of trade
The Maidstone and the Liberty / Sunken to murky graves
Another imminent showdown / Was destined to take place
Evading smugglers plotted / To evade patrols, efface
Lieutenant Dudingston was given / Power and prestige
Hated because of his abusive / Command of the seas
The time was ripe for rebellion / The Hannah would implore
A chase from Gaspee’s hot pursuit /Off Warwick’s eastern shore
Now, Captain Benjamin Lindsey / Knew every sandy place
Enticed the Gaspee to pursue / His Hannah in a race
Maneuvered towards Namquid Point / The Gaspee ran aground
Then, Lindsey went to Providence / To seek help from John Brown
The Captain, Whipple led many / Disguised know citizens
As silent long boats paddled round / Intent to apprehend
Surrounded, Dudingston ordered his men / To shoot on sight
As one impatient colonist / Took aim, shot in the night
The bullet ripped through the Lieutenant / Wounded, but not dead
Was forced to grovel for his life / Before the rebels fled
A surgeon bandaged bleeding wounds / The crew taken ashore
The Gaspee torched, her mast afire / To sail the seas no more
Dressed as natives, with black-smeared grease / To hide identities
Many months before the infamous/ Party of Tea
The next morning, on June the tenth / Not one soul could be found
Who witnessed any colonists’/ Crime against the crown
Rewards were offered / One lone witness, Prudence Island slave
Claimed was one of the hidden / Members present in the raid
But no one else would verify / The boy’s testimony
Impartial appointees / A royal court of inquiry
Could not find evidence / Attaching blame to any man
The daring colonists / Had won their own Revolution
Always a crucial mighty force / Against a tyranny
Rhode Island fought for freedom’s choice/ Defending liberty
Each year, you’ll hear the drum beats sound / Through neighborhoods and streets
To celebrate that fateful night / Rebels burned the Gaspee.
Back to Gaspee Virtual Archives
Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 2009    Girouard.html