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202 The National Music of America.
of poetry to music made under more inspiring influences." (Gallagher's account, printed in Harper's Magazine^
Never was a bolder or more fantastical claim set up in musical history. Yet Ferdinand Durang deserves at least the credit of being probably the first to sing the song. An account published by the Baltimore American, Sept. 12, 1872, contains the following comments on the history of the patriotic hymn:
" The poet, Francis Scott Key, was too modest to announce himself, and it was some time after its appearance [in the Baltimore American^ that he became known as its author. The song was brought to Baltimore and given to the publishers of the American, by John S. Skinner, Esq., who had been appointed by President Madison to conduct negotiations with the British forces relative to the exchange of prisoners. In this way Mr. Skinner chanced to meet Mr. Key on the flag-of-truce boat, obtained from him a copy of his song, and he furnished the manuscript to the American after the fight was over. It was at once put in type and published. It was also printed in slips and extensively circulated." *
1 It will be noticed that the account makes a few slight errors regarding Mr. Skinner's meeting with Mr. Key.