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The National Music of America. 229
ment of our constellation of stars), then red, and lastly white, — the " Blue, Red, and White," in short, — while Great Britain's flag (spite of the sanguinary name which its sailors bestow upon it), is properly, in ranking order, " The Red, White, and Blue."
But this is not all, nor even the chief controversy, about this hazy song. Many editions give it as the work of " David T. Shaw," but it would seem, at least as regards its American words, to be the production of Thomas a Becket (an Englishman, once resident in Philadelphia), who states his claims and wrongs as follows : "
" In the fall of the year 1843, being then engaged as an actor at the Chestnut St. Theatre in this city [Philadelphia], I was waited upon by Mr. D. T. Shaw (then singing at the Chinese Museum) with the request that I would write him a song for his benefit
'Letter dated Philadelphia, Dec. 16, 1876, written to Rear-Admiral Preble, quoted in " History of the Flag," P- 755-