The Bully WHIG:


The Bully WHIG:


OR, The Poor Whores Lamentation for the Apprehending OF Sir THOMAS ARMSTRONG.


Sir Thomas Armstrong was implicated in the the Rye House Plot (1683), an alleged Whig conspiracy to assassinate or mount an insurrection against Charles II of England because of his pro-Roman Catholic policies. The plot drew its name from Rye House at Hoddeston, Hertfordshire, near which ran a narrow road where Charles was supposed to be killed as he traveled from a horse meet at Newmarket. After fleeing to Amsterdam Armstrong was kidnapped by the King's agents and brought back to London in chains. After being hung and quartered his head was stuck on a pike at the gates of St. James Palace. It was later judged by Parliament that Sir Thomas had been unjustly executed and his principal accuser was expelled from Parliament.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Huntington Library, Bridgewater, HEH 134741; EBBA 32146

Set to tune of...

Ah! Cruel Bloody Fate!


AH! Cruel Bloody Tom!
What canst thou hope for more,
Than to receive the Doom
Of all they Crimes before?
For all they bold Conspiracies
Thy Head must pay the score;
Thy Cheats and Lies,
Thy Box and Dice,
Will serve thy turn no more.

Ungrateful thankless Wretch!
How could'st thou hope in vain
(Without the reach of Ketch)
Thy Treasons to maintain?
For Murders long since done and past,
Thou Pardons hast had store,
And yet would'st still
Stab on, and kill,
As if thou hop'dst for more.

Yet Tom, e'r he would starve,
More Blood resolv'd to've spilt;
Thy flight did only serve
To justifie thy Guilt:
While They whose harmless Innocence
Submit to Chains at home,
Are each day freed,
While Traytors bleed,
And suffer in their room.

When Whigs a PLOT did Vote,
What Peer Justice fled?
Tom durst not shew his head.
Now Sacred Justice rules above,
The Guiltless are set free,
And the Napper's napt,
And Clapper clapt

Like Cain, thou hast a Mark
Or Murder on thy Brow;
Remote, and in the dark,
Black Guilt did still pursue:
Nor England, Holland, France or Spain,
The Traytor can defend;
He will be found
In Fetters bound,
To pay for't in the end.

Tom might about the Town
Have bully'd, huff'd and roar'd,
By every Venus known,
Been for a Mars ador'd:
By friendly Pimping and false Dice
Thou might'st have longer liv'd,
Hector'd and shamm'd,
And swore and gam'd,
Hadst thou no Plots contriv'd.

Tom once was Cock-a-hoop
Of all the Huffs in Town;
But now his Pride must stoop,
His Courage is pull'd down:
So long his Spurs are grown, poor Tom
Can neither fly nor fight;
Ah Cruel Fate!
That at this rate
The Squire shou'd foil the Knight!

But now no remedy,
It being his just Reward;
In his own Trap, you see,
The Tygre is ensnar'd;
So may all Traytors fare, till all
Who for their Guilt did fly,
With Bully Tom
By timely Doom
Like him, unpity'd die.

Method of Punishment

hanging, drawing and quartering


high treason



Execution Location


Printing Location

Sold at the Entrance into the Old-Spring-Garden, 1684.

Tune Data

Reference: Simpson 1966, pp. 4-6



From Curiosities of Street Literature, by Charles Hindley, p.168 

The Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, about nine o'clock in the morning, coming to Newgate and demanding their prisoner, he was forthwith delivered to them, and put into a sledge and drawn to the place of execution, attended by a numerous guard, and as great a number of spectators, of all degrees and qualities, as have been seen on such occasions. Tho' he affected an air of courage, yet something of sullenness and reserve appeared in his countenance.

He employed the time he was drawing to Tyburn in reading The Whole Duty of Man, till he came within sight of the gallows, and then he laid it by, and with lifted up hands and eyes, addressed himself to Heaven, till he came beneath the tree, where he remained about a quarter of a hour in the sledge; before he ascended the cart that stood ready for him, he desired the Sheriff to admit Dr Tennison to come to him; and having delivered a paper to the Sheriff, the Doctor kneeled down with the prisoner, and prayed with him about a quarter of an hour, during all which time the prisoner preserved a becoming and heroick countenance, little daunted with the terror of that fate he was in view of; but rising from his devotions, be pulled off his cravat and hat, which he gave to his servant who attended him, and had followed him by the sledge-side, when kneeling down himself, he prayed for a short time with fervency and devotion, begging pardon of his God for those manifold and crying sins he had too often been guilty of, and concluded with a resignation of himself to the God of heaven and earth, before whose judgement seat he was forthwith to appear, desiring that the whole world would forgive him, with, with whom he hoped to die in peace and charity. Having thus ended these devotions, he again stood up, and putting of his periwig, he had a white cap delivered to him, which he put on; and being soon tyed up, the chief of his discourse was addressed to a gentleman who stood by him; and after a short space, holding up his hands, he again renewed his prayers; his visage little changing all the time, till the very moment the cart drew away; the Executioner having pulled the cap over his eyes, he continued his prayers all the time, and even whilst he hung he hung, as long as life was in him, and he had the command of his lips; after he had hung about half an hour, and the executioner had divested him of his apparel, he was cut down according to his sentence, his privy members burnt, his head cut off, and shew'd to the people as that of a traitor, his heart and bowels taken out and committed to the flames, and his body quartered into four parts, which with his head, was conveyed back to Newgate, to be disposed of according to His Majesty's pleasure.

Wikipedia:  Sir Thomas Armstrong (c. 1633 - 20 June 1684) was an army officer and MP executed for Treason. During the Interregnum he was a supporter of Charles II, participating in the plot to seize Chester Castle in 1655, and carrying funds from Aubrey de Vere, 20th Earl of Oxford to Charles in exile. He was possibly imprisoned for a year on his return. In 1657 he married Catherine niece of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon.

Following the Restoration, he received, in February 1661, a commission with the Horse Guards. In August 1675 Armstrong killed the son of one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting at a London theatre. Armstrong was pardoned on the grounds that his opponent had drawn first.

Armstrong served with James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth in France from 1672, fighting at the Siege of Maastricht (1673) and alongside the Dutch, in 1678. He was wounded at St Denis. In 1679 helped suppress the covenanter rising and fought at the battle at Bothwell Bridge.

Monmouth's influence secured him as MP for Stafford in March 1679 to the first Exclusion Parliament. Following the Rye House Plot in 1683 he was indicted for high treason. He fled to Cleves and then Rotterdam but was captured and sentenced to death by Judge Jeffreys. Armstrong was executed on 20 June 1684. His head was affixed to Westminster Hall, three of his quarters were displayed in London, and the fourth at Stafford.




“The Bully WHIG:,” Execution Ballads, accessed April 13, 2024,

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