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Christian Endeavor organ, 1894–1897; editor of Forward, a Presbyterian weekly, 1897–1902; Philadelphia Press editor, 1903–1908. He has lectured and made addresses in all parts of the United States, and is the author of a number of volumes dealing particularly with religious topics.
INDEPENDENCE BELL (Page 203) It is not known who wrote these verses entitled “Independence Bell,” but a few facts about the circumstances leading to the writing of this selection can be given. The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, in the State House (Independence Hall) May 10, 1775. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia moved “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states. John Adams of Massachusetts seconded the motion. Later a committee of five was appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson drew up the paper, though some changes were made in it by the committee and by Congress. It was adopted on the evening of July 4, 1776. When it was adopted, the event was announced by ringing the old State House bell, which bore the inscription, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land, to All the Inhabitants Thereof !” The venerable bellman had his grandson stand at the door of the hall, to await the announcement of the event by the door keeper. When the grandson was given the signal, he rushed to where he could see his grandfather, and shouted, “Ring, ring, ring !”
Hail, COLUMBIA (Page 205) Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842), an American jurist, was born in Philadelphia, November 12, 1770. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, 1786, and practiced law in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia. He conducted the defense in the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Samuel Chase, and was a Representative in Congress from 1817 to 1819. President J. Q. Adams
appointed him judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1828–1842. He wrote many addresses and articles as well as “Hail, Columbia.” He died in Philadelphia, January 15, 1842.
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER (Page 207) Francis Scott Key (1780–1843), lawyer and poet, was born in Frederick County, Maryland, August 9, 1780. He graduated from St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, practiced law at Frederick in 1801, and later after going to Washington became district attorney of the District of Columbia. He was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frederick, Maryland.
Shortly before the close of the War of 1812, the British bombarded Fort McHenry. During this action Key was held a prisoner by the British aboard a small ship. He was in extreme suspense about the outcome of this engagement, and was relieved in the early dawn by the sight of the Stars and Stripes still floating over the fort. Under inspiration of this sight, he wrote on the back of a letter the first draft of "The Star-Spangled Banner.” It became popular almost immediately upon being printed. A large national flag is kept floating over Key's grave.
THE AMERICAN FLAG (Page 208) Joseph Rodman Drake (1795–1820) was a poet and i newspaper contributor, who was born in New York City. His father and mother both died when he was very young. From childhood he showed a special talent for writing poetry. He entered business life, but did not like it, and then decided in 1813 to study medicine, which he began to practice three years later. In 1819 he made daily contributions to the New York Evening Post. He died in New York City, September 21, 1820.
AMERICA (Page 210) Samuel Francis Smith (1808–1895) was born in Boston, attended the Boston Latin School, and graduated from Harvard, 1829, and from the Andover Theological Seminary in 1832. He was a Baptist minister, and taught modern languages at Colby University, 1834-1841. He edited several religious periodicals, and besides being the author of “America,” he wrote many other productions, among which are “The Morning Light is Breaking,” and
Rock of Ages." He died in Boston, November 16, 1895.
CONCORD HYMN (Page 211) Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), an American philosopher and poet of renown, was born in Boston, May 25, 1803. His father was a preacher. Even in childhood Emerson was fond of writing, and at the age of eleven wrote a version, quite a good one, of a part of Virgil. At the age of fourteen he entered Harvard College, and did remarkable work in Greek, history, declamation, and composition. He was the class poet. He studied theology in Harvard in 1823, and became an ordained minister in 1829. His church was opened to all reformers, since Emerson himself was interested in all public questions. He was a Unitarian early in his ministry. He did considerable lecturing on various subjects. From 1842 to 1844 he was editor of The Dial.
He made many contributions to The Atlantic Monthly, and wrote and lectured a great deal on the abolition of slavery. President Lincoln sought an introduction to Emerson after he had listened to one of Emerson's lectures against slavery. In 1866, Harvard honored him with the degree of LL.D. He is the author of many volumes of essays,
poems, letters, and sketches. He died at Concord, Massachusetts, April 27, 1882.
On April 19, 1836, a monument was dedicated in honor of the patriots who fell in the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. This monument was erected at Concord ; Emerson wrote this hymn for the occasion.
THE BATTLE-FIELD (Page 212) William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878) was sent to the district school in Cummington, Massachusetts, when he was four years old, and attended the school until he was twelve. He wrote a poem in his eleventh year, and recited it at the close of the winter school. In 1809 he wrote a satire attacking President Jefferson. He attended college at Williams and at Yale, but for financial reasons was unable to complete his course. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1815. In 1818, he became regular contributor to the North American Review. By 1823 his poems had won him a European reputation. In 1836 he became editor and part owner of the New York Evening Post. At first he was a Democrat, but later became a Republican. In 1873 he was made an honorary member of the Russian Academy at St. Petersburg. In his eighty-first year he wrote “The Flood of Tears. He died from the results of a fall soon after he delivered the address at the unveiling of the statue of Mazzini in Central Park, New York.
“The Battle-Field” is thought by many critics to be Bryant's most worthy poem. It appeared in the Democratic Magazine for October, 1837. It is not certain what battlefield was in the author's mind.
COLUMBIA, THE GEM OF THE OCEAN (Page 214) There is some discussion as to the authorship of this song. A theatrical performer by the name of Thomas à Becket claimed the authorship. He declared that David T. Shaw requested him to write a song for Shaw
be sung by Shaw for his benefit night in Philadelphia. Ā Becket said he wrote it, and Shaw sang it. It seems to be safe to say that the name and the idea of the song originated with Shaw, but the words and music were written and composed by à Becket. It is difficult to find very much about either one of these men, both of whom were interested in the theater, and traveled as
theatrical performers. À Becket retired from the stage and lived in Philadelphia in 1879, where he was a teacher of music. This song also goes under the title of “The Red, White, and Blue," and in England is popular under that title and “Britannia the Pride of the Ocean."
STANZAS ON FREEDOM (Page 215) The West Indies lie_between the southern part of Florida and the Gulf of Paria, Venezuela, South America. Among these islands are Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and Porto Rico. Jamaica became an English possession, May, 1655, when Oliver Cromwell was head of the Protectorate. Slavery could not exist in the British Isles after 1807, for at that time England abolished the slave trade. But slavery did exist in the West Indies. The West Indian planters stoutly resented an agitation for the abolition of slavery in the British colonies. But a bill was passed in Parliament in August, 1833, decreeing that slavery should cease August 1, 1834. A gift of 20,000,000 pounds (about $100,000,000) was made to slave owners as compensation for the loss of their property.
These stanzas were sung at the anti-slavery picnic in Dedham on the anniversary of West Indian emancipation, August 1, 1843.
James Russell Lowell is considered one of our greatest men of letters. Among his works are the following: Poems (1844); The Vision of Sir Launfal (1845); Poems (1848); The Biglow Papers, First Series (1848), Second Series (1867); Poems (1849); Poetical Works (1869); Among My Books, First Series (1870), Second Series (1876); My Study Windows (1871); Democracy and Other Addresses (1887).
THE PRESENT CRISIS (Page 216) This poem was written in December, 1844, and published by Lowell in a second series of his poems in 1848.
The political situation in 1844 was as follows: The presidential campaign of that year centered about the