Napoleonic Wars, Resumption of Hostilities Following the Peace of Amiens,
Ex-Admiral Hood Collection.
"Britons Strike Home" is a patriotic song which originated with a production by Henry Purcell in 1695.
Such was its popularity that it reappears throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for example in John Gay's The Beggars Opera in 1728. It became very popular with soldiers and sailors during military campaigns.
At the time it was seen on a par with "Rule Britannia" and "Heart of Oak" in the public's affections.
Following the collapse of the First Coalition in 1797, Pitt the Younger stood up in the House to announce that an attempted peace with revolutionary France had failed and that he was determined to fight the war to its conclusion.The whole House rose to its feet and sang Britons Strike Home!
With the disintegration of the Peace of Amiens of 1802, after only one year and the invasion threat of 1803 -1805, Charles Dibdin produced "Britons Strike Home, a Table Entertainment," first performed in September 1803 and the same year James Gillray issued a print entitled "Buonaparte 48 Hours After Landing" showing John Bull with Napoleon's head on top of a pitchfork, which included the same refrain.
In the many hours that the two fleets took to come together prior to the Battle of Trafalgar, the band aboard HMS Tonnant played Britons Strike Home, sailing into action, only stopping when a shot killed two bandsmen.
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