|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
160 The National Music of America.
vice-president of the American Philosophical Society, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, etc. As to the writing of the words, we can have no better authority than Doctor Hopkinson himself, and we therefore quote a letter written to Rev. Rufus W. Griswold, a short time before Hopkinson's death :
"' Hail Columbia' was written in the summer of 1798, when war with France was thought to be inevitable. Congress was then in session in Philadelphia, debating upon that important subject, and acts of hostility had actually taken place. The contest between England and France was raging, and the people of the United States were divided into parties for the one side or the other, some thinking that policy and duty required us to espouse the cause of 'republican France,' as she was called, while others were for connecting ourselves with England, under the belief that she was the great preservative power of good principles and safe government. The violation of our rights by both belligerents was forcing us from the just and wise policy of President Washington, which was to do equal justice to both but to take part with neither, and to preserve an honest and strict neutrality between them. The prospect of a