The National Music of America - online book

The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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182 The National Music of America.
June i, 1798, the Massachusetts Chari­table Fire Society celebrated its anniversary in Boston, with a meeting and banquet. Robert Treat Paine had been commissioned to write a song for this occasion. When first given, it awakened such an enthusiasm that it was immediately published broadcast. Paine received $750 for the copyright, an enormous sum for those days. In the fac­simile of this work which is given (from the
•Alfred' for Garrick and Mrs. Arne at Drury Lane in 17 51, declared that of Thomson's work he only retained ' three or four single speeches and a part of one song,' and, moreover, inasmuch as he allowed Lord Bolingbroke to mutilate three stanzas of ' Rule Britannia,' there is some reason to believe that it was the ' one song' referred to. For those who know the race best will agree that, although poets would willingly allow anybody to rewrite the works of their friends, they would not admit that even a peer of the realm could improve upon their own masterpieces. The whole question was thrashed out when it was raised in 1851 by the late Dr. Dmsdale, when William Chappell very powerfully urged the claims of Thomson to the authorship. The Scotch disputants may meanwhile content themselves with the reflection that both Thomson and Mallet were born north of the Tweed." — London Daily News.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III