chapter  1
'English Men Went Head to Head with their Own Brethren': The Welsh Ballad-Singers and the War of American Independence
Pages 24

London, 1776. David Samwell (Dafydd Ddu Feddyg), who later came to fame as the surgeon on Captain Cooke’s last voyage, penned a poem about the tumultuous events of the day.2 By that time, the troubles brewing between Great Britain and her colonies in America since the 1760s regarding ‘taxation without representation’, as the popular slogan put it, were coming to a head. e rst shots of what is now called the American War of Independence were red in the towns of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in May 1775; by the summer of 1776, the Americans had issued their declaration of independence, and British troops under the leadership of William Howe had reached New York, ready to begin an intense military campaign.3 Understandably, there was great interest in these events among the public in Britain, especially so in London, where strong objections were voiced against the coercive measures of Lord North’s government by a group of political radicals. ey believed that: ‘As we would not su er any man, or body of men to establish arbitrary power over us, we cannot acquiesce in any attempt to force it upon any part of our fellow-subjects.’4