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210 The National Music of America.
land. Yet America lags far behind the mother country in this field. Dibdin's songs were so potent an influence in war that, in 1803, the British government engaged him to write a series of songs, " to keep alive the national feelings against the French," and his biographer adds: "His engagement ceased with the war he thus assisted in bringing to a glorious close." His songs were estimated to be worth ten thousand sailors to the cause of England.
It was not unnatural, therefore, to find America, during and immediately after the Revolution, using the songs of Charles Dibdin ; we find them copied in many of the early music collections on this side of the Atlantic, during the last two decades of the eighteenth century. In the celebration of the deeds of our naval heroes during the war of 1812, we still find the custom (most natural in a nation which possessed scarcely a single composer) of appropriating foreign