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annexation of Texas. Mexico declared herself independent of Spain in 1821, and Texas was one of her“states” at that time. From the beginning of the nineteenth century Americans had been going over into Texas, and by 1830 their influence there was considered by the Mexican President so threatening that he forbade all further immigration from the United States into Texas. The settlers of Texas being mainly Americans now prepared for rebellion and desired to form an independent slave state. The Texans petitioned for separation from Coahuila, a Mexican province to whom they had been subjected by the Mexican President. Mexico would not grant this request. The Texans declared their independence March, 1836, and won it the following month. The Republic of Texas was set up immediately. President Jackson promptly recognized its independence. The Texans hoped and expected annexation to the United States.
In the campaign of 1844 the Abolitionists, those who wished to abolish slavery outright, appeared as the Liberty party, and were against the annexation of Texas. The Whig party would not commit itself on the subject of annexation. But the Democratic platform boldly declared for the annexation of Texas, and nominated James K. Polk for the presidency. The Democrats won the election. But the Congress and President Tyler did not wait for the new administration to take favorable action on the admission of Texas. A joint resolution passed the House by a vote of 120 to 98 and the Senate by 27 to 25. Thus Texas became a state in the Union, March 1, 1845.
In studying "The Present Crisis” and the preceding selection, Stanzas on Freedom," the student can easily determine Lowell's position on the question of slavery and human freedom. În them are found “strains of poet and preacher," and they constitute an “inspiring expression of moral passion.'
THE SHIP OF STATE (Page 221) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), a distinguished American poet, began his school life at the
age of three, and entered public school in Love Lane, Portland, Maine, in 1812. From here he was at once sent to a private school. He attended Bowdoin College, and then went to Europe to fit himself for the chair of modern languages at Bowdoin. He studied and traveled in England, France, Spain, and Germany, returning to America in 1829. In that year he became professor in Bowdoin, and prepared his own text-books in French, Italian, and Spanish. In 1836 he became professor of French and Spanish languages at Harvard. He wrote dozens of articles and published many books. He visited Europe several times, and while there was entertained by men of distinction, among them Charles Dickens and Tennyson. He has been termed the “American poet laureate.” England thought so much of him that a bust of Longfellow was placed in the Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey in March, 1884. America never tires of his “Evangeline,' Hiawatha,” and “The Village Blacksmith.'
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC (Page 222) Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910) was born in New York City, May 27, 1819, soon after the War of 1812. Her father was a successful banker, and gave her an education very liberal for her time. She married the noted New York philanthropist, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Before the Civil War she conducted with her husband The Commonwealth, an anti-slavery paper. In 1861 she wrote the famous “Battle Hymn of the Republic." In 1867 she went to Greece, and in 1869 became devoted to the cause of woman suffrage. She was a delegate to the World's Prison Reform Congress in London in 1872. Mrs. Howe has written many prose and poetical works; edited Sex and Education; was associate editor of the Woman's Journal, and contributed to many newspapers and magazines.
In 1918 Dr. Henry van Dyke wrote a stanza in answer to a request of the United States Marines in the training camp at Quantico. In writing to the editor concerning this stanza, Dr. van Dyke said :
Avalon, Princeton, N. J.
June 20, 1918 J. MADISON GATHANY, A.M.
Seekonk, Mass. Dear Sir:
Your favor of June 15th is duly received. In regard to the stanza to which you refer, it was not written as an addition or emendation to Mrs. Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It was merely an impromptu, composed in answer to the request of the U. S. Marines in the training camp at Quantico, who wished for a verse to express the spirit with which they had volunteered for this war, and who wanted to sing it to the old tune of John Brown's Body, which Mrs. Howe adapted for her Hymn. I gave strict instructions that the stanza should not be regarded as a part of that Hymn, but should be sung only after the Hymn was completed, to express the thought that the great result of the Civil War, the establishment of human freedom in our country, is the very thing for which we are fighting now on a larger scale and on behalf of mankind. My stanza should not be used or printed without this explanation.
HENRY VAN DYKE
The words of this stanza follow : We have heard the cry of anguish from the victims of the
Hun, And we know our country's peril if the war lord's will is
done We will fight for world wide freedom till the victory is won,
For God is marching on.
UNION AND LIBERTY (Page 223) Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894) attended Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1829. He wrote frequently for college publications, and wrote and delivered the poem at com
Then he prac,
mencement time. He later studied medicine at Harvard, and became professor of anatomy and physiology at Dartmouth College from 1838 to 1840. ticed medicine in Boston. In 1847 he was appointed professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard, and was dean of the medical school there from 1847 to 1853. Dr. Holmes did much lecturing and an abundance of writing: He was one of the founders of the Atlantic Monthly and contributed to it his well-known series of papers entitled “T'he Autocrat of the Breakfast Table.'' He resigned his professorship in Harvard in 1882, and from that time lived a retired but active life in Boston until his death, October 7, 1894.
BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM (Page 224) George F. Root (1820–1895), an American musician and song-writer of considerable note, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, August 30, 1820. He spent his youth in North Reading, not far from Boston, his father having moved there when George was only six years old. He was always very fond of music, and at thirteen he could “play a tune" upon as many instruments as he was years old. He said in the story of his life, “There was a chronic curiosity in the village choir as to what instrument the boy would play upon next.” The dream of his life was to be a musician. His musical books and his sheet-music compositions are altogether too numerous to list. He brought out books almost every year, and sometimes three and four each year, from 1847 to 1890. One man who served in that war said of Dr. Root's war songs : “Only those who were at the front realize how often we were cheered, revived, and inspired by the songs of him who sent forth the 'Battle Cry of Freedom.' While hers led the boys in blue to final victory, it was his songs that nerved the men at the front, and solaced the wives, mothers, sisters, and sweethearts at home.” Colonel F. D. Grant said : “His songs were a great comfort to the soldiers during the war, and helped to lighten the fatigues of many a weary march";
“The Battle Cry of Freedom,”
“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp,” and “Just before the Battle, Mother"
were among Dr. Root's most popular songs in the camps and on the battlefields of the Civil War.
In the story of his own life, Dr. Root says: “I heard of President Lincoln's second call for troops one afternoon while reclining on a lounge in my brother's house. Immediately a song started in my mind, words and music together : “Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys, we'll rally once again, Shouting the battle-cry of freedom.'
“I thought it out that afternoon, and wrote it the next morning at the store. The song went into the army, and the testimony in regard to its use in the camp and on the march, and even on the field of battle, from soldiers and officers, up to generals, and even to the good President himself (Abraham Lincoln), made me thankful that if I could not shoulder a musket in defense of my country I could serve her in this way.”
THE SWORD OF BUNKER HILL (Page 225) William Ross Wallace (1819–1881) was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1819. He attended Bloomington and South Hanover College, Indiana, and afterward studied law in Lexington, Kentucky, and began the practice of law in New York City in 1841. He devoted most of his time to literature. He contributed to the Union Magazine, Harper's, the New York Ledger, and other publications. He is the author of a number of poems besides the one quoted in this volume. He died in New York City, May 5, 1881.
THE REVOLUTIONARY RISING (Page 226) Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872) was an artist and poet. After his father's death he was apprenticed to a tailor, but so disliked this work that he secretly went